Archive for June, 2012

The Stones and Blue Fruit of the 2007 Chelti, Saperavi

June 22, 2012 2 comments

I seem to have drunk several bottles of wine from Georgia this summer.  This selection is a tasty and affordable bottle of wine which will work well for daily consumption.  It has a profile that should appeal to many.  While there is the structure for further aging I rather like the amount of fruit right now.  I recommend you give it a try!  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

2007 Chelti Estate Vineyards, Chelti, Kakheti – $13
Imported by Potomac Selections.  This wine is 100% Saperavi sourced from 11-year-old vines on sandy, rocky soils.  The nose is light with earth, stones, and blue fruit.  In the mouth the tight stoney, blue fruit is steely with acidity eventually becoming blacker in flavor.  The tighter, stoney fruit mixes with watering acidity, and some drying tannins.  There is a certain lightness and contemporary style to the wine.  ** Now-2015.

A Pair from Montsant

In continuing my exploration of Montsant wines I purchased these two bottles. There was a brief period where I enjoyed the Buil & Gine wine but in the end it just was not my type of wine.  The Cellers Sant Rafel on the other hand was very enjoyable and just one reason why I enjoy Grenache and Carignan from Spain. The estate was previously an abandoned farm with terraced land.  Xavier Penas has been rehabilitating the property since 1997.  Today there are 9 of the 22 hectares planted with vines ranging from 8-35 years of age.  The vineyards are located at 350-425 meters on pebbly soils of clay and limestone.  The production of the two wines is still small at 2,725 cases but Xavier will continue planting vineyards.  I recommend you give this wine a try.  Note, the 2006 vintage was just released so if you try it let me know what you think! These wines were purchased at Wine World & Spirits in Seattle.

2007 Buil & Gine, 17-XI, Montsant – $20
Imported by Cavatappi Distribuzione.  This wine is a blend of Grenache, Carignan, and Tempranillo sourced from 10-45 year old vines.  The varietals were separately fermented, underwent malolactic fermentation, then were aged for six months in American oak casks.  This started with medium-bodied tart and stewed fruit with a core of decent red and blue fruit.  With air it became slightly gritty with red fruit and fresh, sandy tannins.  However on the second day the stewed notes returned.  ** Now.

2005 Cellers Sant Rafel, Solpost, Montsant – $24
Imported by Casa Ventura Imports.  This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 35% Carignan, and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon which was aged for 12 months in 60% American and 40% French oak barrels.  The nose revealed sweet spiced brambly fruit with a vanilla note.  In the mouth the brambly red fruit mixed with minerals, a cool aspect, and fine sweet tannins with spice.  With air it remained focused and young but managed to loosen up a bit.  There were ripe and sweet tannins which coat the inside of the lips.  There was good texture and a spicy note in the finish.  Drinkable now after two hours of air or wait one more year.  *** Now-2022.

Rose for the Heat Wave

Very hot weather is about to settle in Washington, DC.  With temperatures forecast to reach 97-99F I thought I would post about three roses we have recently tasted.  When it is hot and humid I prefer to start with a glass of rose instead of white wine.  For this extreme heat I would recommend the Chateau Pigoudet for it is refreshing but does not require much thought.  We preferred the Domaine Jean Reverdy, its unique profile attracts ones attention.  However it is robust so I would buy a few bottles to drink at the end of the summer.  The Chateau Pibarnon, last year’s vintage, was interesting for its nuts and wood but they have overtaken the fruit.  Its high-price is hard to swallow so I would pass on this wine. These wines were all purchased from MacArthur Beverages.

2011 Chateau Pigoudet, Le Chateau Rose, Coteaux d’Aix en Provence – $13
Imported by Oslo Enterprise.  This wine is a blend of 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Grenache, 30% Cinsault, and 10% Syrah sourced from soils of clay and chalk with gravel.  In the glass this was an ultra-light rose color.  The light, floral nose had a hint of sweetness.  In the mouth it was very focused, crisp on the tongue, before some texture and weight developed.  The tart fruit made way to a dry finish with a gentle ripeness in the aftertaste.  ** Now.

2011 Jean Reverdy et Fils, Rose, Les Villots, Sancerre – $18
Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils.  This wine is 100% Pinot Noir of which 90% is pressed and 10% saignee.  This was a very light pink rose and salmon color.  The light nose revealed some dried herbs and an asparagus note (in a good sense).  The flavors filled the mouth with stones, dry fruit, green veggies and old-perfume.  This was more robust with plenty of acidity that left a tang on the sides of the tongue.  It finished with dried herbs.  I would give it another six months to loosen up. ** Now-2015.

2010 Chateau de Pibarnon, Rose, Bandol – $35
Imported by Dionysos Imports.  This wine is a blend of 50% Mourvedre and 50% Cinsault.  The color was of salmon and dried roses.  The nose started off with some wet dog before moving on to a light nose of fruit.  In the mouth the flavors were tart and light with a bit of acidity at the front of the mouth.  Then a vein of mildly sweet and textured flavor carried through, taking on a lightly creamy mouthfeel.  There were flavors of nuts or perhaps wood in the finish as juicy acidity came out leaving an aftertaste with wood notes.  ** Now-2013.

Two Italian Wines for Daily Drinking

June 19, 2012 2 comments

This post focuses on two affordable wines as a counterbalance to my earlier post on the expensive 2004 Iskra.  The families which created the wineries featured in this post have roots outside of Italy.  The Lechthaler family moved from Lech Valley, Austria to Trentino, Italy where they begin producing wine one century ago. Today the estate is run by the Togn family.  This selection is produced from the Teroldego varietal which is only recognized in the single Teroldego Rotaliano DOC.  The Braggiotti family brings French and Turkish roots to Tenuta Mazzolino.  Since 1980 the estate has been updated with the winery redeveloped and the 22 hectares vineyard replanted.   The family brought over Kyriakos Kynigopoulos and Jean-Francois Coquard from Burgundy to produce their wines.

Vineyard, Image from Tenuta Mazzolino

Both of these wines will drink well over the short-term and are priced for daily consumption. While I recommend both of them I give a nod towards the Mazzolino for it is complete in all aspects. These two wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2010 Lechthaler, Teroldego Rotaliano, Trentino- $14
Imported by Vias Imports.  This wine is 100% Teroldego sourced from sandy and gravelly soils.  It was fermented then underwent malolactic fermentation in stainless steel.   There nose was light.  In the mouth the black fruity flavors were focused with tangy black fruit in the middle.  There were notes of stone and a touch of concentration to some grapey flavors.  This easy drinking wine finishes up with tart fruit and a decent aftertaste.  ** Now-2015.

2011 Tenuta Mazzolino, Terrazze, Pinot Nero, Provincia Di Pavia IGT – $13
Imported by Michael R. Downey Selections.  This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from estate vineyards.  It was fermented then underwent malolactic fermentation in stainless steel.  The color is a light to medium ruby.  The medium-strength aromatic nose reveals fruity strawberry and perhaps raspberry.  In the mouth the wine is very clean with light-red fruit driven flavors which are uplifting.  There is a slightly tangy finish with hints of orange.  With air a vein of fresh, dark fruit develops and continues into the aftertaste.  There are minimal tannins, good acidity.  It is perfect for what it is.  ** Now-2013.

The 2004 Iskra from Abruzzo

June 19, 2012 2 comments

Gianni Masciarelli began producing wine in 1978 at his father’s winery.  A young man at the time he decided to commit his life to wine.  He started purchasing and renting estates while augmenting his knowledge through a trip to France.  In 1987 during a winery visit in Croatia he met Marina Cvetic.  The two become married and Marina became quite involved with the winery.  In 1991 they begin producing a line of wine named after Marina.  In 2003 the first vintage of Iskra, Slavic for “sparkle”, was released.  The fruit for Iskra is sourced from the Controguerra vineyard of the Teramo estate.  In 2008 Gianni suddenly passed away.  He is credited with the revival of winemaking in Abruzzo and producing world-class wines from Montepulciano d’Aburzzo.  He is survived by his wife Marina and children.  Today the Masciarelli winery produces wine across four lines from some 300 hectares.

Vineyard, Image from Masciarelli

This is a serious bottle of wine which was meant to age.  It is drinkable at this stage but the fruit is still primary with the wood notes and tannins in need of more time for integration.  There are good components to this wine so I would cellar it for five years to see if it blossoms.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

2004 Azienda Agricola Marina Cvetic, Iskra, Colli Aprutini – $41
Imported by Masciarelli Wine Company.  This wine is 100% Montepulciano sourced from the 30 hectare Controguerra vineyard of the Teramo estate.  The 45-year-old vines are located at 220 meters.  It was fermented in stainless steel then aged for 12-18 months in barriques.  This young wine starts off with savory flavors of focused red fruit.  From the beginning there are sweet ripe tannins, minerality, a touch of tea, and watering acidity.  In the finish the red fruit takes on wood notes. *** 2017-2025.

Two Wines from Signargues

These two wines were produced by Etienne Gonnet of Domaine Font de Michelle.  The family has produced Chateauneuf du Pape since 1950 at the 19th century farmhouse in Bedarrides.  In 2002 the estate was expanded into the Cotes du Rhone and Cotes du Rhone Villages Signargues where the wine is produced under the La Font du Vent label.  These two selections are from Signargues and are produced at the winery  in Bedarrides.  Signargues was granted status in 2005.  This appellation is a 420 hectare plateau located between the four communes of Domazan, Estezargues, Rochefort du Gard, and Saze.  This makes it the most southern.  Located at 150 meters the soils are composed of round pebbles on sand or reddened clay.  Only red wines are allowed to carry the designation and they must consist of at least 50% Grenache, at least 20% Syrah or Mourvedre, and at most 20% other varietals.

Both of these wines are balanced offerings from the 2007 vintage and are drinking well.  My preference is for the Confidentia which shows a bit more complexity. The Notre Passion is available at Bradley Food & Beverage.  The Confidentia is available at MacArthur Beverages.

2007 La Font du Vent, Notre Passion, Cotes du Rhone Villages Signargues – $17
Imported by Robert Kacher Selections.  This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache and 50% Syrah sourced from vineyards on the Domazan heights.  Tasted over two nights the nose revealed some red fruit with green house aromas.  There was a good mouthfeel to the red and black fruit.  With plenty of acidity the flavors expanded in the mouth turning towards black fruit and licorice in the finish.  This mid-weight wine has integrated tannins which are slightly drying.  It strikes a bit of a resinous notes.  ** Now-2017.

2007 La Font du Vent, Confidentia, Cotes du Rhone Villages Signargues – $16
Imported by Robert Kacher Selections.  This wine is a blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache which was aged in used oak casks.  With a medium+ color of ruby with a dark blackberry core there is a note of delicate, bright berries.  In the mouth there is focused black and tart red fruit, a bit of suppleness, red citrus flavors, and tangy acidity.  With air a lavender and herb note develops along with some mixed berry ripeness.  *** Now-2017.

Pinot Noir from Block 7 and Samsara

This past week we investigated two relatively affordable Californian Pinot Noirs.  The Block 7 is produced by another winery from its own declassified fruit.  Samsara is a producer I am unfamiliar with so I grabbed their entry level wine.  The Block 7 is a decent drink with a lighter, fruitier personality.  My recommendation is to spend a few more bucks to embrace the power and vitality of the Samsara.  There is no mistaking this bottle of Californian Pinot Noir and if that is what you want to drink, you will enjoy drinking the entire bottle. Both of these wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2010 Block 7, Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast – $22
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from the Sonoma Stage Vineyard which is planted with Dijon clones.  It was fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged sur lie for 11 months in 30% new French oak.  This is a light ruby color in the glass with a touch of garnet.  The light nose steps out with red fruit which is definitely Cali-Pinot.  In the mouth there is an intial burst of bluer than red fruit, a touch of toast, then some spices.  The flavors lighten up and almost come across as watery at first but after a few hours they flesh out.  There are notes of toast and spices in the finish.  ** Now.

2010 Samsara, Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills – $26
This wine is 100% Piont Noir which was fermented with indigenous yeasts, underwent malolactic fermentation, and aged for 18 months in French oak barrels.  The nose is reminiscent of floral red fruit with the addition of gobs of cinnamon spice.  In the mouth there is a lot of fruit with prickly strawberry, cinnamon, and mouthfilling spice.  This textured wine is full of energy and wants to jump out of the glass. There are flavors of sweet spice in the finish.  It is a little spicy, initially unrestrained (in a good sense) before settling down with air, taking on a creamier mouthfeel.  It then reveals an inky nature, supple black fruit, and power.  *** Now-2017.