Archive for November, 2011

2009 Chateauneuf du Pape and 2009 Coteaux Languedoc

November 22, 2011 Leave a comment

I’m a huge fan of the La Bastide Saint Dominique, Cuvee Jules Rochebonne so it was exciting to try the Chateauneuf du Pape.  It is surprisingly accessible with enjoyable, clean fruit that will appeal to many.  The Mas des Dames shows more structure and will reward a few years of cellaring.  The La Bastide Saint Dominique is imported by Simon “N” Cellars and available for $30 at MacArthurs.  The Mas des Dames is imported by Vintage ’59 Imports and available for $17.  I do not have enough experience with Chateauneuf du Pape from the 2009 vintage but it seems to be an affordable introduction.  The Mas des Dames could be cellared while you drink the La Bastide Saint Dominique.

2009 La Bastide Saint Dominique, Chateauneuf du Pape
This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre, and 5% Cinsault sourced from vines 25-80 years old and aged for 18 months.  This wine starts off with amazingly pure aromas and flavors of blueberries.  Then with air it develops into jammy red and blue fruit that gains complexity.  There is a good powdery feel in this easy to drink, textured, balanced wine.  There is a wee bit of heat. **(**) 2015-2020.

2009 Mas des Dames, La Dame, Coteaux Languedoc
This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Carignan, and 20% Syrah.  There is a light nose of berries, floral notes, and fresh herbs.  In the mouth the red fruit is medium bodied with immediate flavors of dried herbs.  There is a slightly piercing acidity with light but vigorous tannins.  It is structured with stones.  The fruit puts on some weight in the mouth before it becomes a little woodsy with drying tannins in the finish.  I would cellar this for a few years. **(*) 2015-2020.

Purchases from Soul Wine

November 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Work was quite busy last week and it looked like I was not going to be able to purchase any wine to bring back home.  Brian was game for a dinner at Serious Pie in South Lake Union but we had to contend with heavy traffic due to protests closing the University Bridge.  Fortunately   I was able to swing by Soul Wine in time to purchase a handul of bottle for the return flight.  In keeping to my European focus I picked up two bottles from Spain, one from France, and an Italian wine recommended by Michael.

I purchased four bottles of red wine.

  • 2009 Jonan d’Anguera, Planella, Montsant
  • 2009 Alvaro Palacios, Camins del Priorat
  • 2009 Cantine Colosi, Nerello Mascalese, Sicilia
  • 2007 Domaine de Nidoleres, La Pierroune, Cotes du Roussillon

We periodically make our own cocktails and have traditionally used bitters from The Bitter Truth and Fee Brothers. During an earlier trip to Seattle I noticed a few other bitters which were new to me.  Scrappy’s Bitters are produced by Miles Thomas of Seattle.  They have been quite popular since their first production in 2008.  Available individually or as two different four-packs I opted for a single four-pack for variety.  The flavors include:

  • Lime
  • Orange
  • Lavender
  • Celery
Categories: Image

Wine at Flying Fish

November 21, 2011 Leave a comment

A group of us met up for dinner last week at Flying Fish in South Lake Union.  I did not realize the restaurant had relocated from Belltown even though I had been to Soul Wine, Serious Pie just to the north and Whole Foods to the south.  Unsure of whether to pick the 2009 Reinhold Haart or the 2009 Sparkman, Lumiere (I had enjoyed the 2010) the sommerliere, Claire Hansen, steered us towards the Reinhold Haart.  Having quickly polished off the Reinhold Haart she then recommend the 2009 Brian Carter Cellars, Oriana to accompany our variety of entrees.  My notes from memory are below.

2009 Reinhold Haart, Piesporter Grafenberg, Riesling Kabinett, Mosel Saar Ruwer
This had a strong sulphur “burnt-tire” nose at first but that eventually blew off to reveal citrus and minerals.  In the mouth there were white stone fruits, almost citrus like acidity, with minerals, some overt sweetness, and a petroleum note running through.  Balanced and textured on all fronts, everyone was pleased by the wine. A good Kabinett that could stay a wee bit of aging to come together. **(*) 2014-2022.

2009 Brian Carter Cellars, Oriana, Yakima Valley
This is a blend of 55% Viognier, 29% Roussane, and 16% Riesling that was sourced from Elderling, Solstice, and Olsen Brothers vineyards.  It was fermented and aged for six months in 67% stainless steel and 33% neutral French oak.  This took me completely by surprise with its tropical nose of “papaya” then hard, Rhone-like flavors in the mouth.  There were still some tropical notes mixed with pear-like flavors with a hard edge, decent mouth feel, and a good amount of acidity.  It cut through the food quite fine but was ultimately not the most pleasant to drink. * Now.

A Pair of Washington Wines Tasted Last Month

November 18, 2011 Leave a comment

I am a big fan of the Syncline wines and am always tempted to buy them during my trips to Seattle.  But I do try to purchase wines I have not drunk before so when I saw a new vintage of the Subduction Red I grabbed it.  In addition, Michael the owner of Soul Wine, recommended I try that Memaloose.  I had previously enjoyed the 2008 Memaloose, Idiot’s Grace so I was more than willing to give this bottle a go.

Vineyard in the Columbia Gorge, Image from grapeman(flickr)

These two wines were purchased at Soul Wines.  I will update this post with the prices when I am able to look at the receipt back home. I was a bit skeptical about trying an Italian blend from Oregon so was immediately surprised when I took my first taste. It was quite good right about of the bottle, well made, and pleasing to drink due to the low alcohol.  So if you want to surprise your friends or drink something Italian than purchase the Memaloose.  I recommend that you cellar the Syncline while drinking the Memaloose!

2010 Syncline, Subduction Red, Columbia Valley
This is a blend of 31% Mourvedre, 25% Syrah, 21% Grenache, 12% Cinsault, 7% Carignan, and 4% Counoise.  The wine is aged for 11 months in a combination of 5-10% new French oak and Nomblot tanks.  A rather purple color in the tumbler.  From an ever-changing blend this bottle was tighter, closed, and more tannic on the first night.  The second night it showed dense, tart red fruit, young red berries, and powdery, hard profile that was framed by fine tannins.  This clearly needs to be cellared but reveals hints of good potential! **(*) 2015-2019.

2009 McCormick Family Vineyards, Memaloose, York’s Reward Red Wine, Columbia Gorge
This wine is a blend of 64% Barbera, 32% Primitivo,  and 4%Dolcetto that was aged in 4-5 year old, neutral French oak barrels.  The organic fruit is sourced from their Idiot’s Grace Vineyard. It is a comfortable 12.7% ABV.  Some brighter red fruit, articulate, good texture, pleasing, and refreshing to drink. *** Now.

Two Spanish Wines From Whole Foods

November 18, 2011 Leave a comment

I rather enjoyed both of these wines over the first two nights.  Though completely different, I enjoyed the Vendrell for its ruggedness and fair price.  I consistently preferred the dark flavors of the Fernandez Rivera.  Clark and Julia were able to have some of the wine and they too liked the Fernandez Rivera.  Now these were drunk at out of the most unfriendly disposable plastic cups that were at my hotel.  While these are not the ideal vessels for wine tasting, I must remain flexible on travel and also realize that we do drink wine out of plastic cups at picnics.  The fact that both wines were highly enjoyable in this setting speaks a lot.  So I recommend that you try both wines then submit comments for this post!

Vendrell Vineyard, Image from Ryan Opaz (flickr)

The Josep-Maria Vendrell is imported by Beaune Imports of Berkeley, California and costs $16.  the Bodega y Vinedos Fernandez Rivera is imported by Classical Wines of Seattle, Washington and costs $19.  They are available at Whole Foods.

2008 Josep-Maria Vendrell, Sere, Montsant
This wine is 80% Grenache and 20% Carignan from younger vines.  It is produced by the 28 year old Josep-Maria with help from his father and an old family friend.  I thought this best on the first night.  It showed plummy, red fruit, good texture, and rugged power.  But on the third night it became a jammy red fruited, overt wine.  My advice, drink it over the first two nights! ** Now-2015.

2004 Bodega y Vinedos Fernandez Rivera, Dehesa La Granja, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon
This wine is 100% Tempranillo sourced from vines planted in 1998.  This wine is immediately enjoyable with its dark, ripe blue fruits.  This is smooth all around but not soft, there is a balanced amount of acidity to this weighty wine.  It is quite forward with its fruit.  This drank well over three nights without any gas. *** Now-2017.

18th Century Cellar,Image from Dehesa La Granja

“…has produced two bunches of grapes; a fact which would not be believed…” September 09, 1775

November 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Colonel Robert Bolling, Jr passed away in July 1775.  Two months later an unsigned article appeared in the Virginia Gazette describing the successful growth of Colonel Bolling’s slips.  It also mentioned finding promising wild grapes, which would have certainly pleased Andrew Estave.  The vineyard in Albermarle was not properly tended to thus ending the dispute between Colonel Robert Bolling Jr. and Andrew Estave.

From the Virginia Gazette, Dixon and Hunter, September 09, 1775, Page 2 (

Circumstances of intelligence, proving the excellence of the soil and climate of Virginia, which, to the astonishment of those who came from the best parts of Europe, have been, by many, thought to be bad.

 Of 184 plants of oranges, citrons, lemons, &c. put into boxes in Italy, in the month of October, landed in Virginia in June last (when of course they would have but small remains of life) and set in the earth in Albermarle about the latter end of the same month, there are now an hundred and thirty odd which have put out new and luxuriant shoots.  Two thirds of the vines which were planted under the same disadvantages have likewise put out new shoots.  The olive plants are all living.

The vines planted by Mr. Bolling in the county of Buckingham, although managed according to the directions of the French writes of the 48th and 49th degrees of latitude, are in a condition to yield wine the ensuring year, if well attended to.  The slips planted by that Gentleman the last year, after the method of the vignerons of Europe inhabiting a climate similar to our own, have now the appearance of vines 3 to 4 years old.  A slip planted by him in the spring of the present year has produced two bunches of grapes; a fact which would not be believed in the wine countries of the old world.

Two kinds of wild grapes have been discovered, of the most promising quality for making good wine when they shall be improved by cultivation, and doubtless more may be discovered.

The olive trees planted in Albermarle, under the Blue Ridge of mountains, about two months before the remarkable fruit of the

From the Virginia Gazette, Dixon and Hunter, September 09, 1775, Page 3 (

5th of May 1774, are now in a more thriving condition than it is thought they would have been under the like circumstance in any of the old countries of Europe.

This country is certainly calculated to produce, in perfection, every thing of the growth of the temperate zones; and may, by industry, be rendered abundant, happy, and rich, if it’s inhabitants can be persuaded to bet the better of their diffidence of it’s climate as to things which it will most readily yield.

“RUN away…” October 13, 1774

November 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Andrew Estave continues to advertise for run away slaves, with no mention of the state of his experiment at The Vineyard.

From the Virginia Gazette, Pinkney, October 13,1774, Page3

RUN away, about the middle of September, a negro fellow named JACK, about 35 years old, and about 5 feet 8 or 9 inches high; clothed as negroes generally are.  TEN SHILLINGS will be given to any person that will bring him to me, near Williamsburg.


2010 Grand Veneur, Reserve, Cotes du Rhone

November 17, 2011 Leave a comment

While it is great fun to drink the new wines from the 2009 vintage, selections from 2010 are starting to roll in so we are trying those as well.  From both of these vintages we are finding selections in the $12-$15 that may be drunk now or cellared.  This wine is imported by Kysela Pere et Fils and available for $12 at MacArthurs.  I would recommend buying this as an affordable wine for short-term aging.  I enjoy this type of “research.”

2010 Reserve Grand Veneur, Rouge, Cotes du Rhone
This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Cinsault.  Upon first being poured this structured wine asks to be cellared for the short-term  After two hours of air it opens up a bit to reveal hard red fruits, structured, powdery tannins, and an assertive hard acidity flavor.  The lip coating tannins are enjoyable.  There are dark undertones of blue and black berries, dried herbs, giving hints of what is to come.  I would cellar this 2-3 years before trying again. *(*) 2015-2017.

Two Spanish Wines To Taste In My Hotel Room

November 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Portuguese and Spanish Wines at Whole Foods

I decided to change my routine of solely purchasing wines of the Northwest for my current trip to Seattle.    I have a deep love for the wines of France and Spain so for this trip I am focusing on tasting Spanish wines that I do not see in the Washington, DC area.  In sticking with importers from the west coast I found these two bottles at Whole Foods.  The Josep-Maria Vendrell is imported by Beaune Imports of Berkeley, California and the Bodega y Vinedos Fernandez Rivera is imported by Classical Wines of Seattle, Washington.  Both were under $20 and are proving to be quite tasty!  I will report back later.

  • 2008 Josep-Maria Vendrell, Sere, Montsant
  • 2004 Bodega y Vinedos Fernandez Rivera, Dehesa La Granja, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon

“…a melancholy Description to the Injury done by the late Frost…” May 12, 1774

November 16, 2011 Leave a comment

The dialog between Colonel Robert Bolling, Jr. and Andrew Estave quieted down throughout the Fall and Winter of 1773.  In the Spring of 1774 it was Mother-Nature who offered no shelter from a devastating late frost.

From the Virginia Gazette, Purdie and Dixon, May 12, 1774, Page 4


ACCOUNTS from various Parts of the Country give a melancholy Description to the Injury done by the late Frost, which was the severest, at this Season of the Year, ever remembered.  The forward Wheat is greatly injured every Where, and in some Places ruined; the same may be said of the Tobacco Plants.  The Corn, which was generally come up, is demolished in such a Manner that it is feared it will never shoot out again, but may be all replanted.  The Fruit, of all Sorts, is destroyed ever Where but upon the Rivers; Vines, of all Kinds, are killed; and many of the Forest Trees have received such Injury that their Leaves are turned black and withering, so that there is but a bad Prospect of any Mast this Year. 

The Brilliant, Miller ( with Servants) and Martin, Clark, from London, the York, Rose, and ____, Benson, from Whitehave, are arrived in York River; and the Donald, Ramsay, from Glasgow, In James River.