Archive for January, 2012

The Wine Related Still-Lifes of Georg Flegel

January 24, 2012 Leave a comment

My series of posts about the 17th century Dutch history of wine illustrates the popularity of sweet German wine through images of Roemer and Berkemeyer wine glasses.  Assuming that Baroque paintings often included objects found in the painter’s everyday life I decided to look at the wine related still-lifes of German Baroque painters in comparison with my Dutch posts.  This post contains an over of still-lifes painted by Georg Flegel.  Georg Flegel (1566-1638) was born in Moravia, in 1580 he moved to Vienna before settling in Frankfurt in 1593.

In the seven paintings included in this post there is a mixture of Roemer, Berkemeyer, and fluted wine glases.  There Roemer and Berkemeyer are similar to Dutch images I have posted on.  In this small sampling of images most filled glasses, including flutes, contains white wine except for a single instance in what appears to be a wine cup with a lid in Still-Life with Parrot.  This covered glass contains a light red or rose wine.  In The Dutch Wine Glasses of Pieter Claesz I found that his fluted wine glasses contained a light red or rose wine.

The two glasses which I find particularly interesting were both painted in 1635.  The tall Venetian flute in Still-Life with Cherries has complex stem like a coiled serpent.  The wine glass in Still-Life with Stag Beetle has a two part stem containing a ribbed bulb supported by curly cues adorned with stamped prunts.  Amongst the various wine pitchers we find two images of a similar Bartmann jug with pewter lid bearing both oak leaves and acorns topped with the face of a bearded man.  The Cupboard provides two fascinating objects, a wine decanter, perhaps exceedingly dark green with a long-neck, a base surrounded by glass roping, and a prunt bearing the portrait of a bearded man.  In front of this decanter there is a wine-filled Roemer glass attached at its base to an elaborate, gold holder.

In future posts I will attempt to compare these beautiful objects with other paintings and actual images.  In the mean time, please enjoy these made pictures available from the Web Gallery of Art.

Two More Recent Vintages

January 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Back in November we drank the 2005 Clos Fardet, Cuvee Moutoue Fardet.  Both 2005 and 2009 bottles from Clos Fardet are still available for $16.  I recommend purchasing the 2005 for it is a good, interesting wine whereas the 2009 was just a decent drink.  The Clos Fardet was purchased at MacArthurs.

In June we drank the 2007 Domaine la Tour Vielle.  The 2007 was attractive to drink and the 2008 is a good follow on.  While I preferred the 2007 for its ripe, savory, inkiness the 2008 has an engaging sea-side personality.  I certainly over payed for my 2008 bottle so if you can find it for $19 or less, then give it a go!  Otherwise get the 2007.   The Domaine la Tour Vielle was purchased at The Vineyard in McLean, VA.

2009 Clos Fardet, Madiran – $16
Imported by Wine Traditions.  This is a blend of ~80% Tannat and ~20% Cabernet Franc Drunk over two nights this wine is a medium opaque ruby with purple tinge.  There is a light+ nose of candied fruit and floral notes.  The flavors follow the nose but are leaner in the mouth.  The delicate fruit is structured with medium+ drying tannins which coat the inside of the lips.  Delicate flavors persist in the aftertaste.  This bottle was slow to change.

2008 Domaine la Tour Vieille, La Pinede, Collioure – $24
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 75% Grenache and 25% Carignan.  The light nose does not reveal much.  In the mouth the saline red fruit is medium bodied with gently supple delivery.  It tastes of the sea with cool notes of raspberry and cranberry, sweet, ripe tannins, and a dark finish.  The aftertaste leaves sweet, ripe flavors on the tongue.  I would drink this over the next five years.

Two Recent Release from Domaine du Pas de l’Escalette

January 23, 2012 Leave a comment

We recently tried new vintages of two wines from Domaine du Pas de l’Escalette.  Back in April we rather enjoyed  their 2009 Les petit pas along with a couple of their other wines.  The wines of this domaine are fermented with indigenous yeasts in conical wooden containers then aged in vats and oak casks.  Both of these wines will greatly benefit from short-term aging.  I thoroughly enjoyed Les grand pas with the beautiful, floral components to the nose and mouth.  With approximately $10 price differences between Les petits pas, Les clapas, and le grand pas I would recommend buying the $13 Les petit pas to drink while the $35 Les grand pas ages.  These wines are available at MacArthurs.

2009 Domaine du Pas de l’Escalette, Les clapas, Languedoc – $22
Imported by Elite Wines.  This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 30% Carignan, 20% Cinsault, and 10% Syrah.  This nose was more aromatic than le grand pas with redder fruit.  In the mouth the pure, clean, red fruit was grapier with grape-like tannins.  With air the flavors tilt towards cranberry.  I would cellar this for two to three years.

2009 Domaine du Pas de l’Escalette, le grand pas, Languedoc – $35
Imported by Elite Wines.  This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache and 50% Carignan.  There is an interesting, light nose with a mixture of red fruits and delicate floral aromas.  In the mouth the focused, floral fruit reminded me of violets.  The flavors are light in weight, effortlessly going down ones throat all the way to the perfumed finish with a touch of tartness.  With air there are high-toned raspberry flavors, a saline quality, and stone dust that turns focused in the finish with tart flavors, fine tannins, and salivating acidity.  I would cellar this for two to three years before drinking.

Three New 2009 Petit Chateaux

January 21, 2012 Leave a comment

These three wines were recently purchased from MacArthurs so that I could continue exploring affordable 2009 Petit Chateaux.  All three have been favorably reviewed so I was curious to try them.  The Chateau Arnauton was my initial favorite with its clean flavors, acidity, and ripe tannins.  It is an affordable wine that may be drunk now or cellared for a bit.  The Domaine du Bouscat, Caduce is certainly a good drink at the price but the wee bit of heat was a little distracting.  Still, it is amazing what you can drink for $11 a bottle.  At first I was put off by the Domaine du Bouscat, Cuvee la Gargone.  Immediately out of the bottle it was rich, opulent, and flamboyant with its fruit and barrel influences.  It is a wine that will stand out in a crowd with its power and mouthfeel but I could not put my finger on what exactly I was drinking.  On the second night the flamboyance receded and it became a good last glass because it was rich but held in check.  All three wines will give strong drinking pleasure for the price.  To me the Chateau Arnauton is a modern Bordeaux, whereas the other two are modern.

2009 Domaine du Bouscat, Caduce, Bordeaux Superieur – $11
Imported by Jeffrey M. Davies.  This wine is a blend of 60% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, and 10% Cabernet Franc.  Micro-oxygenated then aged for one year in tank and one year in French oak barrels and demi-muids.  This was a redder color than the cuvee la Gorgone.  The sweeter red fruit was grapey with a little heat and less concentration than the cuvee la Gorgone.  With air the clean red fruit became rich and tart in a creamy, spicy body.  Towards the finish there were cool, black fruit flavors, a little bramble akin to the Southern Rhone, and very fine, drying tannins coating the inside of the lips.  Drink now or over the short-term.  ** 2015-2022.

2009 Domaine du Bouscat, Cuvee la Gargone, Bordeaux Superieur – $18
Imported by Jeffrey M. Davies.  This wine is a blend of 60% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 20% Malbec.  Micro-oxygenated then aged for 18 months in French oak barrels.  The nose was focused with rich aromas of black fruit and sweet vanilla/wood.  In the mouth this was very rich, racy, spicy with flavors of black fruit and stones.  It was a little salty with more fine tannins.  The intense aftertaste had notes of vanilla-cream, sweet spice, and a spicy note.  Drink now, after decanting, or over the next 5 years.  ** 2015-2022.

2009 Chateau Arnauton, Fronsac – $15
Imported by Jeffrey M. Davies.  This is a blend of 98% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc. This wine is aged for 12 months in French oak barrels.  Interesting enough, the benchmark wine for this is Vergelegen, South Africa.  This tasted best on the second night.  There was a light nose of raspberries.  In the mouth clean blue fruit flavors and black currant were enlivened by slightly salivating acidity on the back sides of the tongue.  The almost racy flavors stood up to the initially fine, coating tannins which eventually became ripe and chewy.  Drink now or over the short-term.  *** Now-2017.

Another Argentine Wine the 2004 Tikal, Patriota

January 20, 2012 Leave a comment

This particular bottle was purchased quite a while ago.  In looking through my old Leighton House Selection notes it was back in the fall of 2006.  For several years we frequently drank the current vintage of Tikal, Patriota finding comfort in its vigorous blend.  Earlier this winter I came across this bottle buried towards the bottom of my wine boxes.  In my original tasting note I remarked, “Drink now for the vigor of youth (decanting recommended) or over the next year.”  I should have heeded my original drinking estimate.  While this bottle has plenty of life left, the fruit is receding with the structure and barrel influences gaining ground.

2004 Tikal, Patriota, Mendoza – $23
Imported by Vine Connections.  This is a blend of 60% Bonarda and 40% Malbec sourced from vineyards in Rivadavia, La Consulta, and Vista Flores.  The vines average 40 years of age and are located at 960 meters.  The wine is aged in 70% French oak (of which 40% is new) and 30% two-year old American oak.  This is salty with dark, flavors of roast.  It is still quite strapping with flavors that expand in the mouth.  Though it is strong there is not much complexity and the pleasing texture cannot make up for the current, heavy flavor profile.  On the second night it was a bit gritty, with cooler, blue fruit, and stoney notes.  Though this will live for many years to come, I would drink this now.

Two Recent Releases From Argentina

January 20, 2012 Leave a comment

It has been some time since we drank wines from Argentina.  I must admit that I drink my Argentine Malbec in small doses as it does not always excited me.  I typically prefer other varietals and blends.  So I was pleasantly surprised when I first tasted the Pulenta Estate wine.  It is quite enjoyable, should have broad appeal, and is strongly priced.  The Renacer, Enamore is a joint effort between the winemakers at Allegrini (in Italy) and Renacer.  Enamore is an anagram of Amarone, giving reference to the Italian appassimento method of air-drying the grapes.  The reduced water content in the shriveled grapes increase the fermentation time.  In fact the Enamore was fermented with indigenous yeasts for 90 days in stainless steel!  It is an interesting wine to try, the price is certainly reasonable for the style, but I would resist the temptation to open the bottle now and instead cellar it for 2-3 years.  These two wines were purchased at MacArthurs.

2010 Bodega Pulenta Estate, La Flora, Malbec, Mendoza – $13
Imported by Paul Hobbs Imports.  The fruit is sourced from a 135 hectare vineyard in Lujan de Cuyo.  The vineyard is located at 980 meters.  The introductory La Flor selections are made from the young vines.  This wine is 100% Malbec which underwent malolactic fermentation and was aged for 6 months in French oak barrels.  The nose is inviting with aromas of black currant jam.  The fruit is ripe but not overly done in this contemporary wine.  There is good texture, not quite brambly, with a mixture of red and blue fruit that are balanced by the acidity and tannins.  This is a very approachable Malbec that may be drunk over the short-term.

2009 Bodega y Vinedos Renacer, Enamore, Mendoza – $24
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is a blend of 62% Malbec, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc, 9% Bonarda, and 4% Syrah sourced form vines more than 50 years old.  The vineyards are located in Lujan de Cuyo, Medrano, and Rivadavia at altitudes of 600 to 980 meters.  The grapes are dries by winds until they have lost one-third of their weight.  They undergo malolactic fermentation before aging 12 months in new French oak barriques.  The rich flavors start with blue fruits then turn towards raisin notes with a bit of spirit.  There is a lovely flowing texture through out.  The sweet, confected fruit and dusty notes stand up to the moderate tannins providing a long, good finish.  This is not your usual glass of wine (obviously, being Amarone-like).  I would cellar this for a few years so that it may come together.

2006 Hexamer, Riesling Kabinett, Meddersheimer Rheingrafenberg

January 19, 2012 1 comment

This bottle from Weingut Hexamer was bought a few years ago from MacArthurs.  Having drunk three vintages of the Weingut Hexamer, “Quartzit” back in August I thought it would be fun to try this bottle.  From a vintage that produced a small amount of ripe wines this bottle is drinking very well at this point.  While I would not specifically search for this bottle at a store, I do not hesitate in recommending that you open a bottle from your cellar.

2006 Weingut Helmut Hexamer, Riesling Kabinett, Meddersheimer Rheingrafenberg, Nahe – $23
A Terry Theise Selection imported by Michael Skurnik Wines.  A golden-yellow in the glass.  There is a medium strength nose of rich fruit reminiscent of baked apples in cream.  In the mouth the rich flavors are almost unctuous with a textured tickling on top of the tongue.  The finish contains floral flavors bound in glycerine as stones come out in the long, darker aftertaste.  A solid effort that, while not particularly complex, is quite tasty and provides enjoyment.  Drink now or over the next several years.

Two Affordable Italian Wines

January 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Vineyard at the Regaleali Estate, Image from Tasca d'Almerita

These two wines  are quite good, delivering tasty personality for the money.  The San Polo is drinking very well right now whereas the Tasca d’Almerita should be cellared a few years before drinking.  Jenn even asked if we could make the San Polo one of our house wines.  Recommended by Jenn and myself both of these wines are available at MacArthurs.

2009 Poggio San Polo, Rubio, Rosso di Montalcino- $12
A Leonardo Lacascio Selections imported by Winebow.  This wine is mostly Sangiovese with a few other varietals sourced from soils containing calcium and clay.  It is aged for 12 months in large French oak casks.  The nose contains dark red fruit, notes of coffee, and a hint of vanilla.  There is a good initial mouthfeel as saline flavors of ripe fruit mix with a dark fruity characteristic.  The dark fruit has a strong racy, stone component in the middle before turning tarter in the finish.  The acidity causes the sides of the tongue to salivate as ripe, fine-medium tannins make way to a textured aftertaste of fresh, puckering fruit.  This is a strong value that is drinking well right now but will last for the short-term.

2009 Tasca d’Almerita, Nero d’Avola, Lamuri, Sicily – $16
A Leonardo Lacascio Selections imported by Winebow.  This wine is 100% Nero d’Avola sourced from the Regaleali estate which is located towards the center of Sicily.  The vineyards are 10-15 year old vines, located on hills at 450-750 meters, with sandy soils.  The wine is aged for 12 months in 20% new and 80% 2nd and 3rd use French barriques.  There are black cherry flavors which are a bit tart, a powdery sweetness, and hints of sweet spice.  With air the tart fruit is consistent throughout with the long aftertaste sporting darker red fruit.  The wine leaves impressions of clean and focused fruit.  This is a bit young so I would cellar this for a few years before drinking.

Two Old Journal Entries from 1993

January 17, 2012 Leave a comment

In cleaning out a room in our basement, that was to become a wine room but became a wine & everything-else room, I came across two of my journals from the 1990s.    I have only found two entries related to wine from my Bristol days outside of the tasting notes I wrote at the official Bristol Wine Circle tastings .  Here is the first entry.

5 January 1993

At the Museum, Musee-Galerie de la Sieta.  There is a wine shop run by a middle-aged woman with horrible teeth (dark, crooked) a 1978 Pommard for FF 170.  Nicolas is a chain store that stocks a fair array of wines.

N.B. Buy the Bordeaux book and a vintage chart.

Upon return to Bristol I did purchase David Peppercorn’s “Bordeaux” for 15 Pounds Sterling from Georges.  A bit more interesting are my tasting notes from one of our wine dinners.  You may find this second entry here:

A Wine Dinner at Bristol, 30 April 1993

2007s From La Bastide Saint Dominique

January 17, 2012 Leave a comment

As promised we tasted the 2007 La Bastide Saint Dominique Les Argiles Rouge and Cuvee Jules Rochebonne over the weekend.  Always well-priced, these two cuvees work well as daily or weekly selections.  I find they are approachable from release and last for several years.  The Les Argiles Rouge is more forward whereas the Cuvee Jules Rochebonne reveals old-school flavors from the greater percentage of Syrah.  These wines were purchased from MacArthurs.

2007 La Bastide Saint Dominique, Les Argiles Rouge, Vieilles Vignes, Cotes du Rhone – $15
Imported by Simon “N” Cellars.  This sports a grittier nose than the Cuvee Jules Rochebonne.  The flamboyant beginning shows up-front sweet, ripe fruit.  The flavors turn towards black fruits in the finish as a grainy texture comes out.  On the second night, the finely textured fruit develops spices and the slightest hint of stones.  A good drink.

2007 La Bastide Saint Dominique, Cuvee Jules Rochebonne, Cotes du Rhone – $18
Imported by Simon “N” Cellars.  This wine is a blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache with the Syrah sourced from the best parcels in Champovin and Bois Lauzan.  The wine is aged 18 months in oak barrels for the Syrah and vat for the Grenache.  The nose reveals mixed berries.  In the mouth the flavors are youthful, focused and while not particularly complex they show great depth.  The flavors are ripe in the middle with subtle spice notes.  The long aftertaste builds with time.  Will develop over the short-term.