Archive for June, 2013

Rosé and Rosado

June 28, 2013 1 comment

Of the trio of rosé bottles we have recently drunk I recommend the 2012 Bernard Baudry and the 2012 Chateau Miraval of Jolie-Pitt & Perrin.  At $20 and $23 per bottle they are approaching the expensive side of summer-time drinking but they both have merits.  The Bernard Baudry should not be drunk too cool.  If you store your bottle in the refrigerator then pour a glass and let it stand for 10-15 minutes before drinking.  What I found is a wine with compelling flavors which continued to expand and last in my mouth.  This drank well on the first two nights as every mouthful caught my attention.  The much publicized Chateau Miraval has a strong nose.  It smelled great throughout the entire bottle and was supported by the flavors.  The 2012 Ameztoi, Rubentis was interesting but the acidity was a bit too much for me so try it with food.  I typically drink rosé while I am grilling outside so a wine that can handle the warmth and be drunk alone is what works best for me.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.


2012 Bernard Baudry, Rosé, Chinon – $20
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc which was directly pressed.  Alcohol 13%.  The color was a light, dried rose and copper.  The fresh nose bore sharper aromas and lees.  In the mouth there were building flavors of red fruit like strawberry.  There was a grainy texture.  The flavors continued to build in the mouth and providing a long-lasting and expansive aftertaste.  The acidity started on the tongue tip then moved to the back of the throw as the texture built up.  *** Now.


2012 Jolie-Pitt & Perrin, Chateau Miraval, Rosé, Cotes du Provence – $23
Imported by Vineyard Brands.  This wine is a blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, and Rolle of which the Syrah was vinified by saignee and the other directly pressed.  Alcohol 13%.  The color was a very light dried rose.  The nose was aromatic with floral and fruity notes.  In the mouth there were pastille flavors and acidity.  The wine became almost chalky with drier flavors and some weight to the small berry flavors.  There was a longish aftertaste with a little texture.  The nose always had an attractive bouquet.  *** Now.


2012 Ameztoi, Rubentis, Rosado, Getariako Txakolina – $18
Imported by De Maison Selections.  This wine is a blend of 50% Hondaribi Zuri and 50% Hondarribi Beltza sourced from vines up to 150+ years of age.  It was fermented in stainless steel.  Alcohol 10.5%.  the color was a very light rose.  The delicate nose had aromas of dried fruit and dried flowers.  The wine was slightly spritzy on the tongue with bracing acidity.    After the bracing start there were flavors of dried red fruit and dried herbs.  The acidity returned in the finish along with some lees-like flavors.  Best with food.  ** Now-2014.


Australian Wines With Acidity

Jenn and I recently tasted through a slew of Australian wines.  John likes some age to his Semillon and of the three that I tried, the 2008 Kaesler, Old Vine Semillon was the most interesting and it is still young.  I would cellar it a few more years.  I found more to like with the red wines.  The 2010 Shadow Chaser, Red Wine is a good buy at $13.  The 2011 Torbreck, Woodcutter’s Shiraz proves to be another satisfying vintage and one I could drink by the case.  The 2010 Tournon, Mathilda Shiraz from Michel Chapoutier is evocative of the Northern Rhone.  It really is a good wine which I would age for a year.  It is also only $13 so grab several at a time.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.


2010 Torbreck, Woodcutter’s Semillon, Barossa Valley – $16
Imported by Wine Creek LLC.  This wine is 100% Semillon with fruit from the younger vines fermented in stainless steel and the older vines in used French barriques. Alcohol 14%.  The color was a light straw yellow.  The nose revealed tart pear and ripe lemon aromas.  In the mouth there were pineapple flavors which were a touch more ripe than the other Semillons.  The wine had a pebbly texture with berry and tooty-fruity flavors near the finish.  It showed some grip.  ** Now-2015.


2008 Kaesler, Old Vine Semillon, Barossa Valley – $17
Imported by Epicurean Wines.  This wine is 100% Semillon sourced from vines planted in 1961.  It was aged for seven months on the lees.  Alcohol 14%.  The color was a light straw yellow.  The nose was slightly rich with Semillon aromas that stepped out of the glass. Perhaps a little toast as well.  In the mouth there was acidity with tart white and light yellow fruit.  There was plenty of acidity for the gravelly, citrus flavors.  There was a ripe lemon texture and dried herbs in the finish.  In a sense this is still very young.  ** Now-2018+.


2007 Henschke, Tilly’s Vineyard, South Australia – $20
This wine is a blend of 57% Semillon, 24% Sauvignon Blanc, and 19% Chardonnay.  Alcohol 12.5%.  The color was a light yellow with a gold tinge.  The nose was subtle with dried herbs and flowers.  In the mouth there was richer fruit driven by acidity which promptly expands to reveal drier, lighter, and very lively flavors with underlying mature notes.  The white fruit brought a little focused citrus note in the back-end.  ** Now-2017.


2012 Shadow Chaser, White Wine, McLaren Vale – $13
Imported by Epicurean Wines.  This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from four vineyards with vines 11 to 34 years of age.  The fruit was fermented in stainless steel using indigenous yeasts and underwent partial malolactic fermentation.  5% of the wine was aged in French oak.  Alcohol 13%.  The color was a very light straw yellow.  There was toasty fruit on the nose which had some grip.  In the mouth there was focused, ripe white fruit, a good mouthfeel, and lots of integrated acidity.  It took on fine pebbly spices.  **  Now-2014.


2010 Shadow Chaser, Red Wine, McLaren Vale – $13
Imported by Epicurean Wines.  This wine is 100% Grenache sourced from two 40+ year old vineyards.  The fruit was fermented and aged in stainless steel.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There was a good nose of fragrant berries.  In the mouth there were fresh ripe berries, black and racy fruit, and a savory and weighty personality.  The flavors were drier in the finish where it was a little rough, or furry as Jenn put it.  The acidity was supportive from underneath with firm minerals towards the finish.  There was a nice mineral texture.  ** Now-2015.


2011 Torbreck, Woodcutter’s Shiraz, Barossa Valley – $19
Imported by Wine Creek LLC.  This wine is 100% Shiraz which was fermented in stainless steel, cement, and wooden vats.  It was basked pressed then aged for 12 months in used hogsheads and foudres.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The color was a medium black cherry.  There was a tart start with young, complex fruit with good depth.  The wine was a little chewy and sappy with a tautness from youth.  With air spices and black minerals came out in the finish.  *** Now-2018.


2010 Michel Chapoutier, Tournon, Shiraz, Mathilda, Victoria – $13
Imported by Fruit of the Vine.  This wine is 100% Shiraz which was vinified and aged in both concrete and stainless steel tanks.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose was lifted with aromas of smoke and some meat.  After a few hours the wine opened up with tart red fruit, tart black fruit, and some citric tannins.  It remained a little tart and grapey with minerals in the finish.  A good wine which needs a little time.  *** 2014-2019.


2010 Ring Bolt, Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River – $17
Imported by Negociants USA.  This wine  is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon which was aged 10 months in American and French hogsheads and barriques.  Alcohol 14.1%.  The nose bore greenhouse aromas.  In the mouth the flavors were not too tart with red and black fruit.  The wine was dry with the mouth following the nose.  It was rather focused the first night but showed more ripe fruit the second night.  ** Now-2015.


2010 Pyren Vineyard, Broken Quartz Shiraz, Pyrenees – $24
Imported by Vine St Imports.  This wine is 100% Shiraz which was aged for 10 months in used French and American barriques.  Alcohol 13.6%.  The nose was good with fresh aromas of exotic flowers, herbs, and pepper as if from cool fruit.  In the mouth there were very tart flavors of citric red fruit.  It was a little pebbly on the tongue time and certainly vibrant.  Interesting but I found it hard to drink.  ** Now.


Several Other Wines Tasted in Seattle


I tried several other wines during my recent trip to Seattle.  I did not bother taking any notes on these wines for I was rather tired.  But I did take some pictures so here are my general impressions.


After a few beers at King’s Hardware in Ballard a group of us moved on to dinner at Delancey.  Delancey serves up great pizza and has become a restaurant which I frequently visit during my trips to Seattle.  As I had to pass by the Portalis Wine Shop to get to my car I popped in to pick a few bottles for dinner.


I had never seen the 2011 Turley, Cinsault, El Porron, Lodi before.  Having enjoyed many Turley Zinfandels in the past I thought the $23 El Porron was worth a try.  It turns out this is made using fruit sourced from 127 year old vines at the Bechtold vineyard.  There was an engaging nose with lots of beautiful, fresh, red fruit in the mouth.  I really enjoyed it and though it disappeared quickly amongst the six of us, I suspect it will drink well over several years.  Definitely worth trying.  The 2011 Sinister Hand, Columbia Valley is a blend of 63% Grenache, 19% Syrah, 16% Mourvedre, and 2% Cinsault.  I picked it up for I thought we should also drink something a bit fruitier and from Washington.  This bottle remained a bit compact but was still very satisfying given that it was popped and poured.  It was the first bottle to be finished.


The evening we relaxed in Clark and Julie’s backyard.  The light rain sprinkles put a chill in the air but with the heater turned on we were fine.  Julia first brought out the 2005 Isenhower, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bachelor’s Button, Columbia Valley.  This appears to be a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot sourced from three vineyards planted in 1972, 1988, and 2000.  The nose did not give up much at all.  In the mouth it was very tight with any fruit clinging to the firm but approachable structure.  My first impression is that the structure was outliving the fruit.  I did revisit it an hour later and there seemed to be a very focused core of subtly ripe blue and black fruit coming out.  As an alternative Julia opened the 2009 Convergence Zone Cellars, Storm Front, Red Mountain.  She figured I had never heard of this wine and she was right.  This is a blend of 39% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 15% Malbec which was produced in nearby Woodinville.  It sees a chunk of new oak and it certainly comes out in the flavors.  The fruit does stand up to it in an attractive, seamless package.


For another dinner I met Clark and Julia at Bar Sajor in  Pioneer Square.  This restaurant is in the same group as Sitka & Spruce and bar ferd’nand.  It was a few years ago that I was first introduced to the 2010 Matteo Correggia, Anthos at bar ferd’nand.  I spied the 2011 Matteo Correggia, Anthos on the well-edited and interesting wine list.  Of course I ordered it.  This wine is 100% Brachetto sourced from vines planted in 1975.  The fruit is only briefly macerated so the color is rather light for a red wine.  Despite the light color the nose is highly aromatic and there is good depth to the flavors.  I strongly recommend you seek this out.


The last wine I tried during my trip was the 2010 COR Cellars, Momentum.  I really enjoyed the 2009 I tasted last year so of course I grabbed this bottle of 2010.  This wine is a blend of 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Petit Verdot, 26% Merlot, and 14% Malbec which is very similar to the previous vintage.  This was a cooler year than 2009 and I think it shows.  There were concentrated black fruit flavors, good extract, a sweet chocolate note, and the impression it needs a year to open up.  However, it came across a little muddled and rough in the finish.  It is still a decent wine for the money but it also shows how good the 2009 is.


The Hungarian Wines of the Sauska Family

Sauska Wines was founded by Christian Sauska.  It is a family run winery involving Christian and his wife Andrea.  Christian began producing wine in the early 2000s and with a serious interest in developing the winery he employed Paul Hobbs as a consultant from 2003-2009.  In 2009 he brought on Stefano Chioccioli as consultant who has focused much attention on the indigenous varietals.  Christian produces wines using a blend of indigenous and international varietals.  The fruit is sourced from and also produced in two different locations, Tokaj in north-east Hungary and Villány  in the south-west.

Christian Sauska, Image from Sauska Wines

Christian Sauska, Image from Sauska Wines

In Tokaj, Gábor Rakaczki is the winemaker and Stefano Dini is the Vineyard Manager.  The Tokaj vineyards are the older of the two with 80% of the vineyards 15-20 years old and 20% 1-12 years old.  The older vines show more terroir so they are often used for single-vineyard wines whereas the ever-changing young vines are typically blended.  The Tokaj vineyards are actually spread across 23 sites encompassing some 70 hectares.  The vineyards are located at 160-240 meters on brown loamy soils with volcanic rocks.  The separation helps insulate against hail damage, rain, and disease but it complicates vineyard work and the harvest.  These vineyards are planted with Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Hárslevelű, Sárgamuskotály, and Pinot Noir.  The vines are trained regular cordon because the volcanic soil retains and releases heat.  Too low a training would make for dirty grapes when it rains and increase the difficulty of vineyard work.  The vineyards are farmed to reduce chemical use and to be extra careful for vineyards meant to experience botrytis.  They even employ horses in the steeper areas.   The wine is produced in a centuries old building located in the center of Tokaj.  This building is a historic monument which already had an old cellar.  Though they faced many regulations in the conversion to a winery they are now able to press the grapes above street level so they can employ gravity to move the juice to the cellar.  To help keep the cellar clean they use germicidal lamps instead of chemicals.

Volcanic Soil in Tokaj, Image from Sauska Wines

Volcanic Soil in Tokaj, Image from Sauska Wines

In Villány, Laszlo Latorczai is the winemaker and Peter Pohl is the Vineyard Manager.  The Villány vineyards  were mostly planted in 2004 and 2005 though there is one Merlot vineyard named Kopár which was planted in 1992.  They have recently planted Kadarka.  The vineyards are spread across six sites encompassing some 60 hectares.  The Villány vineyards are located at 150-300 meters on limestone, clay, and brown loam.  These vines are trained medium-high cordon though they are experimenting with Guyot.  There are also some bush vines on the higher elevation vineyards which are difficult to reach.  They employ a combination of ground cover and plowing and periodically switch them up.  The ground cover is particularly important to minimize evaporation in the steeper sites.  Sometimes they even employ straw bails.  The wine is produced at a new winery with the first vintage being 2006.  The fruit and juice from these vineyards are kept completely separate until they are fully raised.

With the indigenous varietals they use a mixture of massal and clonal selections.  In Tokaj they are working with massal selections of Furmint and in Villány clones of the indigenous Kadarka.  During the communist era many different clones of Kadarka were used because it was suitable for mass production.  They are currently studying 15 different clones together with the University of Pécs and the Heimann Family Winery in Szekszárd.  For the international varietals such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Franc they used French and Italian rootstock and clones.

Barrels in Tokaj Cellar, Image from Sauska Wines

Barrels in Tokaj Cellar, Image from Sauska Wines

The 2010 vintage was extremely rainy in both Villány and Tokaj so the major goal was just to save the fruit.  The 2011 vintage in Villány was well balanced with a long ripening period.  The 2012 vintage was a challenge in Villány.  Though Villány is the most Mediterranean region in Croatia the heat is uneven and dramatic.  This vintage brought intense heat which caused the young vines to suffer.  They do not use an irrigation system so the older vines with deep roots fared better.  August brings further troubles with annual storms and hail which inevitably destroys fruit.

Three of the Sauska wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.  The 2010 Sauska, Cuvee 113 seems to show its volcanic origins with stone notes in the mouth.  It was the 2012 Sauska, Villányi Rosé and the 2011 Sauska, Cuvee 13 which were  my favorite of the three.  The rosé had an attractive, vibrant color which made way to hard red fruit, chalky minerals, and texture.  This may be drunk through next year’s release.  The later Cuvee 13 featured acidity driven flavors which combined with the tannins to stick to the mouth.  I would be tempted to keep this in the cellar until winter.  Many thanks to Andrea Sauska along with Laszlo Latorczai and Gábor Rakaczki for answering my many questions and providing images for this post.


2010 Sauska, Cuvee 113, Tokaj – $18
Imported by Opici Wines.  This wine is a blend of 60% Furmint, 17% Harslevelu, 11% Chardonnay, 9% Sauvignon Blanc, and 3% Yellow Muscat.  The fruit was fermented in stainless steel using indigenous yeasts, underwent malolactic fermentation, then aged for six months in 90% stainless steel and 10% used French oak.  Alcohol 13%.  The color was a light gold straw.  The nose was very finely textured with aromas of white fruit.  In the mouth the flavors were tart at first than they became tangy with a little weight spreading throughout the mouth.  There were firm, whiter fruit which with air took on an earthy note, dried herbs, and stones.  It maintained the crisp start with lots of acidity in the throat.  ** Now – 2016.


2012 Sauska, Villányi Rosé, Villány – $14
Imported by Opici Wines.  This wine is a blend of 50% Kekfrankos, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Merlot.  The fruit was fermented in stainless steel using indigenous yeasts then aged 1-4 months in stainless steel tanks.  Alcohol 13%.  The color was a light to medium, brilliant copper, pink, rose.  The nose was enjoyable with red fruit and some lees.  In the mouth there were lots of acidity at first then flavors of hard red fruit with chalky minerals.  There was a little weight to the fruit.  Cherry flavors came out with warmth and revealed the wine to have a more structured style.  There was a chalky, textured aftertaste.  ** Now – 2014.


2011 Sauska, Cuvee 13, Villány – $19
Imported by Opici Wines.  This wine is a blend of 37 % Cabernet Franc, 37 % Cabernet Sauvignon, and 26 % Syrah.  The fruit was fermented in stainless steel using indigenous yeasts, underwent pump over, punch down, and delestage.  It underwent malolactic fermentation then was aged four months in a combination of stainless steel and used French oak. Alcohol 14%.  The subtle nose eventually revealed a low-lying mulberry aroma.  The initial flavors were surprisingly good with acidity driven black and red fruit causing salivation.  The firm red flavors were integrated into the firm structure which had good, grapey tannins.  All of this stuck to the inside of the lips.  The wine was tart and textured in the aftertaste.  *** Now-2018.


Trying a Few New Wines in Seattle

June 21, 2013 2 comments


I grabbed several bottles of Washington State wine during my first evening in Seattle.  I picked them solely because I knew nothing about the producers.  I tried two of these wines during the course of my stay because the pure bottlings of Graciano and Cabernet Franc sounded interesting.  My favorite of the pair is the 2010 Idilico, Graciano made by Spanish winemaker Javier Alfonso.  He previously worked for Pomum Cellars.  Apparently the Graciano was planted at Upland Vineyands specifically for Javier’s use.   I believe these vines must have been planted in the mid 2000s because Full Pull Wines states the 2009 Pomum Tinto was the first Washington wine to incorporate Graciano.  In any event, this was a pretty good wine drunk out of a hotel tumbler.  I would have bought another bottle to bring back home for a second taste but I decided to carry back two other Idilico wines.  So if you are in Seattle, grab a bottle!  The 2010 PB Wines, Cabernet Franc is no cool-climate Cabernet Franc.  It is sourced from the Weinbau Vineyard in the Wahluke Slope.  This is a ripe and athletic version which could stand a little time to settled down.  While it is a little bit too much for me it should appeal to many.  These wines were purchased at Whole Foods on 64th St.


2010 Indilico, Graciano, Snipes Mountain, Yakima Valley – $25
This wine is 100% Graciano sourced from the Upland Vineyard in Snipes Mountain AVA.  The nose was complex with herbal and floral black fruit with a bitters-like complexity.  There was a lot of good flavor in the mouth which became drier as floral black fruit clung to the mouth.  There was tart acidity on the lips and tangy fruit with ripe,drying tannins giving substance to the wine.  *** Now-2017.


2010 PB Wines, Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley – $25
This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc which was fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged for two years in 60% neutral French oak and 40% new French oak.  The light nose revealed toasty, purple fruit.  There was a ripe and rich start to this mouthfilling but not creamy wine.  There was lots of fruit which was a little rough in the middle.  The fruit had density and ripe tannins which could stand another year of age.  In the end this is a big and ripe Cabernet Franc with gobs of flavor.  **(*) 2014-2018.


There is Peloursin in my Ridge Petite Sirah

June 20, 2013 1 comment

The Ridge, Petite Sirah is a wine I cannot recall seeing before on the shelves at MacArthur Beverages.  I also cannot recall having tasted a wine which included the varietal Peloursin.  Peloursin crossed with Syrah to produce Durif or Petite Sirah.[1]  Durif was first discovered then propagated in the vineyard of Dr. Francois Durif.  The earliest mention of “plant du rif” may be found in 1868.[2]  It was noticed by the Ampelographic Society of Viticulture Lyon in 1869 when they visited Michel Perret’s vineyards in Tullins.  During the visit Dr. Durif’s vines came to their attention.[3]   In describing the dominant varietals in the area they noted such vines as “la marsanne noire ou petite sirah” and “plant durif noir.”  As for the plant durif noir they noted it was introduced by Dr. Durif but he failed to tell them how it came about.  By 1878, plant durif noir was noted in Hermann Goethe’s Ampelographisches worterbuch.[4]  Durif was introduced to California by Charles McIver in 1884 founder of Linda Vista Winery near Mission San Jose.  He subsequently renamed it Petite Sirah.  These old Petite Sirah vineyards did not include pure plantings of just Durif but also included other varietals such as Peloursin and Syrah.

Linda Vista Winery, Mission San Jose, Sanborn Fire Map, 1897. Image from DSCQHR Excavation 2011.

Linda Vista Winery, Mission San Jose, Sanborn Fire Map, 1897. Image from DSCQHR Excavation 2011.

Four years later in 1888, the 1886 vintage of “Petite Syrah” from the St. Helena fruit of the Experimental Cellar of the State Viticultural Commission was presented.[5]  Two other entries include the 1887 vintages from Charles McIver of Mission San Jose as well as the 1887 vintage from H. W. Crabb of Oakville.  In January of 1889 two bottles of the 1886 vintage from the Experimental Cellar were sent by Clarence J. Wetmore to the Paris Exposition via the Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC. [6]

In the 1890s The California Agricultural Experiment Station was researching the grafting of different varietals on different rootstocks.  In 1905, the Experimental Stations provides a quote from Paul Masson, San Jose in the section “Experience of Growers. Wine Grapes.” [7]

I have quite a few acres of 11-year-old vines grafted on Rupestris St George, including the following varieties: Carignane, Mondeuse, Alicante Bouschet, Aramon, Grand Noir, Durif, Grenache, Pinot Semillon, Sauvignon vert, Folle blanche, Colombar, Pinot blanc. These are all doing very well, and, if anything, more vigorous and prolific than ungrafted vines of the same age. Carignane and Grenache. 12 years old on St George. have never failed to give a large crop and Aramon also seems very prolific.

Paul Masson appears to be the only one in the Bulletin who identifies the varietal as Durif. While he would have grafted the Durif vines around 1894, it is unclear if he always identified it as Durif instead of Petite Sirah.  Throughout the Bulletin are references to “Petite Sirah” which is not surprising given that it was planted in such areas as Amador County, Fresno, East Side Mission San Jose, West Side Cupertino, and Paso Robles.  Note the slight name changed from “Petite Syrah” to “Petite Sirah.”  A decade later in Bulletin 246 in the section “Vine Pruning in California” there is a paragraph about “Varieties which usually require long pruning.”  In this paragraph both Durif and Petite Sirah are listed.[8]

As for the wines, I highly recommend both but just be sure to cellar them for at least a few years.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.


2010 Ridge, Petite Sirah, Lytton Estate, Dry Creek Valley – $26
This wine is a blend of 88% Petite Sirah, 8% Zinfandel,  2% Syrah, and 2% Peloursin.  The fruit was destemmed, whole berry fermented with indigenous yeasts the underwent malolactic fermentation followed by aging in American oak.  Alcohol 14.3%.  The medium dark color was purple and grapey.  The nose was  a little pungent.  In the mouth there were fine, focused flavors, fine extract with strength but was still a refined wine.  There was a youthful, grapey note.  With air there were perfumed violets, a racy hint in the month, and pungent flavors.  There were very fine, ripe grapey tannins which I found pleasant.  ***(*) 2015-2030.


2009 Ridge, Lytton Springs, Dry Creek Valley – $30
This wine is a blend of 71% Zinfandel, 23% Petite Sirah, and 6% Carignan.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There were focused flavors of blueberry and blackberry which had a powdery aspect with impeccable acidity.  There were darker, lifted flavors in the finish which continued into the aftertaste.  While the aftertaste was deep it was not heavy and left the notion of fine, grapey extract in the mouth.  The wine became savory with, perhaps, a little glycerine.  Should develop well.  ***(*) 2015-2028.


[1] UC Davis Viticultural Information. URL: Last Accessed: 20 June 2013.
[2] Cherpin, De. Revue des jardins et des champs. 1868.
[3] Société des agriculteurs de France. Comptes rendus des travaux de la Société des agriculteurs de France, Volume 4. 1873.
[4] Goethe, Hermann. Ampelographisches wörterbuch. 1878.
[5] Report of the Sixth Annual State Viticultural Convention.  1888.
[6] State Office. Annual Report for the Board of State Viticultural Commissioners for 1889-1890. 1890.
[7] Grape Culture in California. University of California Publications Bulletin 197. 1908.
[8] Bioletti, Frederick T. Vine Pruning in California Part II. University of California Publications Bulletin 246. 1914.

Tasting Austrian and Italian Wines With Lou

June 18, 2013 3 comments

Lou came over last week so we could catch up and taste some wines.  He had recently been in San Francisco where he drank interesting wines from Huet, Donkey & Goat, Clos Saron, Ferret, and Broc Cellars at such places at Locals Corner and Terroir.  As attractive as his experience was we ended up having a pretty good night.  The 2004 Gernot Heinrich, St. Laurent was in fine shape.  It was showing maturity but not much complexity and was best drunk up on the first night.  The 2009 Weingut Arachon T. FX. T. Evolution was an interesting wine.  Weingut Arachon T. FX. T.  was started as a joint venture between Tibor Szemes, F.X. Pichler, and Manfred Tement.  After the passing of Tibor Szemes his widow jointed the venture.  A cooperative of twenty-five growers provide their best Blaufrankisch, Zweigelt, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.  The wine is then produced at the Arachon winery.  From both the first sniff and taste it is evident this is a serious wine meant to be aged.  I suspect the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot give it a bit of heft.  I would try this again in a few years when it might be even better.  I stared at the back of the 2010 Rosso Azzurro, A Crush on Mt. Eta, Nerello Mascalese label for sometime.  The graphics of the moon and lady bug looked familiar, even the font did.  It turns out this wine is the project of Jean-Marc of Domaine Rouge-Bleu.  There was pretty high-altitude volcanic fruit but the structure makes itself present and could use some integration.  Perhaps this will happen in a few years.  The 2007 I Custodi, Aetneus was a good wine.  I seemed to have drunk it more for enjoyment than for taking notes.  It was more athletic than the Rosso Azzurro and would work out well with food.  Lastly are the pair of wines from La Stoppa.  I recently tasted the 2010 La Stoppa Trebbiolo Rosso with Charles Gendrot of Williams Corner Wine.  I must agree with Phil that particular bottle was a bit bretty and took some work to get through.  This bottle was completely different and all about fresh and ripe red fruit.  Enjoyable and well priced.  I believe La Stoppa is a low sulphur winery so perhaps there will be some bottle variation.  The 2007 La Stoppa, Barbera Della Stoppa was the more serious of the two.  It showed more concentration and was also more rugged, perhaps the pure Barbera nature coming through.  I would stick this in the cellar and drink the Trebbiolo Rosso in the mean time.  As always Lou and I split the leftover wine making sure to inject a good dose of Private Preserve.  When I went to open a bottle of red wine for Jenn and I to actually drink she exclaimed, “Why? I really like these wines.”


2004 Gernot Heinrich, St. Laurent, Burgenland –
Imported by Vin Divino.  This wine is 100% St. Laurent sourced from 5-35 year old parcels in on high slopes at 140 meters in Gols. The fruit was fermented with indigenous yeasts in both stainless steel and wooden vats, underwent malolactic fermentation then was aged for ten months in used oak barriques.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose was almost mature with a little wood aromas.  In the mouth there was a slightly tart start with red fruit and acidity on the tongue.  The wine rounded out a bit with black fruit.  Best on the first night.  ** Now-2015.


2009 Weingut Arachon T. FX. T., Evolution, Mittel Burgenland – $35-$40
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of  Blaufrankisch, Zweigelt, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon which was fermented in stainless steel then aged in French oak barriques.  Alcohol 14%.  There was a good, assertive nose with almost floral pepper aromas and fine old perfume. The mouth follows the nose with black fruit and old perfume.  There was a firmness to the flavors which became racy towards the finish with a good aftertaste and watering acidity.  Serious.  *** Now-2020.


2010 Rosso Azzurro, A Crush on Mt. Eta, Nerello Mascalese, Sicily – $30
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is 100% Nerello Mascalese sourced from old-vines at 600 meters. The fruit was partially destemmed, fermented with indigenous yeasts in open-top barrels then aged for one year in two neutral 500 liter barrels. Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose bore powdery ripe red berry fruit and eventually minerally, black and red fruit developed.  In the mouth there was a fine firm structure which builds up until the drying tannins stick to the lips.  With air a very delicate, pepper and graphite flavor comes out.  The flavors are attractive but the structure suggests it needs age to both resolve and integrate with the fruit.  There was watering acidity in the end.  **(*) Now-2018?


2007 I Custodi, Aetneus, Etna Rosso – $32
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is a blend of 80% Nerello Mascalese and 20% Nerello Cappuccio sourced from 100+ year old vines at 750 meters.   The fruit is 80% destemmed then fermented in stainless steel vat before malolactic fermentation and 20 months aging in used barriques.  Alcohol 14%.  There was a distinctly Sicilian nose of ripe aromas and perhaps mulberry.  The mouth follows the nose with a good amount of fruit.  The tannins were obvious early on but mix well with the dry flavors and minerals.  Despite my short note I did like it.  Drink with food.  *** Now-2018.


2010 La Stoppa Trebbiolo Rosso, Emilia IGT – $20
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  This wine is a blend of 60% Barbera and 40% Bonarda macerated on the skins for 20 days then fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel.  There was a bright nose of berry fruit and toasted spices.  The flavors were rich in the mouth with ripe cranberry and other youthful, ripe red, fresh fruit.  Well done.  With air there were gobs of fresh red young fruit to which the acidity played a supporting roll.  There was almost a grapey pulp texture.  *** Now-2015.


2007 La Stoppa, Barbera Della Stoppa, Emilia IGT – $32
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  This wine is 100% Barbera sourced from 25-45 year old vines macerated on the skins for 30 days then fermented with indigenous yeasts.  It was aged for one year in used barriques.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The first whiff was of almost stewed fruit but then the nose became articulate.  The articulated scent follows in the mouth with a very ethereal earthy flavor and brambly nature.  With air the wine became more pebbly with earthy fruit, a hint of Pilsner, and a fine, drying structure of tannins left on the lips.  This definitely needs age.  A ripe red raspberry flavor came out but there is more to this wine.  It was a  little rugged and yeasty in the aftertaste.  *** 2015-2023.