Archive for November, 2013

New Chilean Wines

November 19, 2013 Leave a comment

I spent yesterday working on a new historical project which is based on some of my recent research.  I am very excited and would love to stay submerged in research but I figure I should recommend some wines.  The 2010 Santa Laura, Laura Hartwig, Carmenere, Reserva is a good value, evocative of Carmenere with a robust nature.  The 2010 Garcia + Schwaderer, Facundo is a brighter wine which should integrate and relax with a little cellar age.  The 2010 Clos Des Fous, Cabernet Sauvignon is also a brighter wine with smoky flavors.  It was a little split in personality between the young fruit and intensity.  Perhaps it just needs a few months in the cellar.  Lastly, the 2011 Garcia + Schwaderer, Pinot Noir, Special Selection Sofia was just odd.  The acidity, tannins, and integration were all good but the raisin and dried fruit aromas and flavors continued to develop.  They were the last thing I expected in a Pinot Noir.  We did not finish the bottle.


2010 Clos Des Fous, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alto Cachapoal –
Imported by Vine Connections.  This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from 15 year old vines on soils of granite and volcanic round rocks at 2000 feet of elevation.  It was aged for 18 months in wood and cement vessels.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose was a little smoky with red fruit, eventually becoming pungent red and black fruit.  In the mouth were riper, rounder fruit with powdery ripe then tarter red fruit flavors.  It was generally brighter, leaving the impression of younger vines or cooler climate.  It then ramped up in intensity with gum coating spices, tart acidity, and an earthy hint in the finish.  ** Now-2018.


2010 Santa Laura, Laura Hartwig, Carmenere, Reserva, Colchagua Valley –
Imported by Oasis Wine.  This wine is 100% Carmenere.  Alcohol 14%.  There was black fruit in the mouth with a hint of the vegetal Carmenere flavor.  Then there were firm black fruit flavors which were a little spicy, powdery, controlled ripeness and a little structure in the finish.  It had a good aftertaste with some gentle spice flavors.  It has some youthful robustness which makes it a pleasure to drink now.  *** Now-2018.


2011 Garcia + Schwaderer, Pinot Noir, Special Selection Sofia, Casablanca –
Imported by Vine Connections.  This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from 14 year old vines at 1030 feet of elevation.  It was fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged for 18 months in used French oak. Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose was a mixture of dried raisins, raspberry candy, and some fresh fruit.  In the mouth was red fruit with ethereal flavors of dried fruit.  There was nice acidity with both black and red fruit near the finish and an aftertaste with some candy sweet.  With air the dried fruit and raisin aromas and flavors developed to become heavily distracting.  * Now.


2010 Garcia + Schwaderer, Facundo
Imported by Vine Connections.  This wine is a blend of 50% Carignan, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 8% Petit Verdot, and 7% Malbec sourced from 30 year old vines on granitic soils at 325 feet of elevation.  It was aged for 24 months in French oak.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose was slightly pungent with black fruit.  In the mouth were tart red fruit, slightly smoky black fruit, more acidity then some tar.  It became brighter with salivating acidity flavors.  It was a little dense with both the structure and acidity noticeable on top of the tongue.  It had some grip, drying tannins, and citric hint.  **(*) Now-2020.


Drinks in Seattle with Lou

November 15, 2013 1 comment


I received a text message from Lou three days before my flight to Seattle stating he would be in Seattle the same time I would be.  Not only were we on the same flight out but we were seated in the same row.  I typically spend my free time in Seattle researching or writing posts for this blog.  But with Lou around, I shifted my research from online archives to wine bars and restaurants.


I returned to my hotel mid-afternoon on the first day.  Most places were not yet open so we walked from downtown, underneath the convention center to bar ferd’nand.  We weren’t quite sure what to drink so in entertaining discrete glasses of wine we sampled the 2011 Weingut Schellmann, Gumpoldskirchen.  This was an interesting blend of Zierfandler and Rotgipfler, certainly more weight and fruit than I expected, but perhaps from being near the end of the bottle it lacked verve from acidity.  I suspect it is worth trying from a complete bottle. We then tried a tasted from a fresh bottle of some French Chenin Blanc, but it was all apples and acidity.  Clearly if the wines by the glass selection was not satisfying, choosing from the Bottle Shop would be.  We walked in circles a few times, eventually focusing in on a bottle of Bordeaux.


2006 Chateau La Confession, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru
Imported by Bordeaux Wine Locators.  This wine is a blend of 51% Cabernet Franc, 46% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The first glass revealed not-quite rich weight of blue fruit, young in profile but softening.  After an hour of air there was black fruit flavors which were dense but not inky.  The dense mouthfeel continued into the really nice finish and aftertaste with flavors of stones.  The Cabernet Franc really shown through.  This bottle was entering its second phase with the acidity playing the lead over some ripe tannins.  This could be better with additional decanting or aging.  ***/***(*) Now-2025.


We met up with Julia and Clark on our second night for dinner at The Whale Wins.  The wines of Kermit Lynch and Louis/Dressner are heavily featured here.  That is a good thing.  While we waited for our table we consumed a bottle of the 2011 Punta Crena, Vigneto Reine, Mataossu, Colline Savonesi which is imported by Kermit Lynch.  Apparently Mataossu was quite popular in the 19th century but today only three producers make wine from it.  It is claimed that only Punta Crena has true Mataossu with the other vines actually Lumassina.


Our first red wine of the evening was the 2011 Louis Claude Desvignes, La Voute Saint-Vincent, Morgon imported by Louis/Dressner.   It was young but lovely with good young fruit, minerals, and nice structure for short-term aging.  This fruit for this wine is sourced from vines averaging 60 years of age.  It showed!


We wrapped up the evening with the 2012 Occhipinti, SP68 Rosso, Sicily.  This Nero d’Avola and Frappato blend had a rocking nose from the start.  The nose was a little more generous than the mouth so perhaps half a year in the cellar will be a benefit.  Still, it was seamless and approachable.


I have always found the architecture of Seattle interesting for its old decrepit houses, renovated historic buildings, and constant new construction.  I like the old moss spotted houses with their paint peeling off.  This result of weathering and neglect exhibits the age of the house beyond its design alone.  I remember how the houses pictured above were still occupied not too long ago.  The wine stores of Seattle do not have the depth of vintages found in Washington, DC, New York, or San Francisco.  However, a few restaurants do, so for our final night, we dined at The Wild Ginger where could drink from the reserve wine list.  I believe we tacitly agreed to start with a German Riesling though Alsace was a possibility.  Our first choice from Kerpen could not be located.  Apparently the previous two weekends had been spent shifting cases from the storage facility to the working cellar at the restaurant.  Our sommelier instead returned with a wine from Schlossgut Diel.  Implications must have been in the air for he proceeded to open the wine without discussing alternatives.  We could have sent it back but it was a really good wine.  For the red wine, in my mind, it was a toss up between drinking from the Rhone or the west coast.  The Rhone wines can be fabulously priced but there is a draw to drinking older, local vintages.  Our second sommelier had recently come from working at an Italian restaurant.  Being comfortable with the Italian portion of the list (and perhaps not wanting to leave it) he suggested 2001 Barolo.  Lou recently read an article in Decanter about the forward nature of the vintage.  These reasons led us to drink a Manzone Barolo, certainly one of the last regions we expected to explore that evening.


1997 Schlossgut Diel, Dorsheimer Goldloch Riesling, Nahe
A Terry Theise Selection.  Alcohol 10%.  There was an aromatic nose from the start with dusty notes, underlying apple aromas with hints of petrol and complexity.  In the mouth there was ripe fruit at first, with richer flavors expanding with grippy, crisp acidity.  The finish was drier with a little ripe spices.  There was a core of youthful flavor and body but this was so easy to drink now.  A lovely wine.  **** Now-2023.


2001 Manzone, Perno, Santo Stefano, Barolo
A Marc deGrazia Selection imported by Elliot Bay Distributors.  Alcohol 14.5%  The nose was almost minty fresh at first with roses and tobacco.  The flavors were firm but good with red and black fruit followed by lots of acidity towards the finish.  The finish had tangy, citric tannins followed by a little darker flavor where it became a touch rough.  A modern wine.  The attractive nose remained more advanced than in the mouth so I would cellar this further.   *** Now-2028.

My final taste of the week was the COR Cellars Malbec.  COR has some good wines but this Malbec from a warm vintage was outright intense! This is a one glass per night type of wine.


2009 COR Cellars, Malbec, Columbia Valley – $23
Alcohol 15.1%.  This remained a dense, almost viscous wine with extract, black fruit, and a savory tilt.  There was a meaty finish followed by a little heat and roughness in the aftertaste.  This was an intense, concentrated wine with a wall of flavor persisting through the spicy finish.  ** Now-2018.


Grape Cluster Illustrations From the Catalog of Bush & Son & Messiener, 1883

November 14, 2013 Leave a comment

I rather enjoy looking at images so here is a collection of grape clusters from the Illustrated Descriptive Catalogue of American Grape Vines published in 1883.

Autuchon (Arnold’s Hybrid No. 5.)

Black Eagle (Underhill’s 8-12)

The Croton Grape

The Hardy White Grape “Duchess”





Recently Tasted Italian Wines

November 13, 2013 Leave a comment

I am nearing completion of my post for the Wine and the Sea Symposium so my attention must be diverted there.  Do not be surprised by some very simple posts focused on my tasting notes.  My favorite wine of this group was the 2008 Duca Di Salaparuta, Passo Delle Mule, Nero D’Avola, Sicily.  It has a bit of everything, tasted Sicilian, and is attractively priced.  The 2012 Fatalone, Teres, Primitivo, Puglia was much lighter and less complex than the 2008 vintage.  Still it is a perfect wine to drink right now.  The 2011 Cantina Nals Margreid, Galea, Schiava, Alto Adige is another wine to drink right now, quite nice for the price.  The 2007 Cappellano, Gabutti, Dolcetto D’Alba and 2011 Roagna, Dolcetto D’Alba were definitely enjoyable on the first night.  They both showed a rather promising future, enough so that we tasted them again on the second night.  They both completely fell apart.  I would cellar these for another year or two before trying and when you do, drink them up in one sitting.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.


1999 Rocca di Montegrossi, Geremia, Tuscany – $30
Imported by Bacchus Importers.  This wine is a blend of 93% Sangiovese and 7% Merlot which was matured for 13-15 months in medium toast barriques.  Alcohol 14%.  Blue and black fruits, which still play it somewhat close.  It held up well with air, showing integration from bottle age but just a hint of complexity from maturity.  No rush to drink but I cannot image it will get any more complex. ** Now-2018.


2012 Fatalone, Teres, Primitivo, Puglia – $16
Imported by Williams Corner Wines.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The color was a very light orange-red.  There were lighter weight but flavorful ripe red fruit and citrus flavors on the sides of the tongue.  It was a gentle wine.  The flavors turn even lighter towards the finish, where they also become less complex.  There was a certain, smooth feel, a hint of yeast, and soft finish.  This was very much a drink now wine with a hint of stones.  ** Now-2014.


2011 Cantina Nals Margreid, Galea, Schiava, Alto Adige – $13
Imported by the County Vintner.  Alcohol 13%.  There was minerally red fruit with a hint of black fruit which was completely integrated with the acidity and very moderate tannins.  It was slightly tangy.  A satisfying wine.  ** Now-2016.


2009 Santa Lucia, Vigna del Melograno, Nero di Troia, Castel del Monte – $14
Imported by de Grazia Imports.  This wine is 100% Nero di Troia which was aged for 12 months in large oak casks.  Alcohol 14%.  There was a light nose of tar.  In the mouth were compact black fruits, powdery stones, more black fruit, and chalky drying tannins which stuck to the gums and inside of cheeks.  There was tangy and salivating acidity at the end and some smoke.  It remained compact but pleasing in its delivery.  ** Now-2018.


2007 Cappellano, Gabutti, Dolcetto D’Alba – $23
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  Alcohol 13%.  There was an earthy start with a touch of wood box.  There were firm, drying tannins with a more significant Pilsner aftertaste on the second night.  It was tart and acidic but seemed to have a core of good flavor.  Much better on first night.  ** 2014-2019.


2011 Roagna, Dolcetto D’Alba – $17
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  Alcohol 12.5%.  The nose bore a mixture of herbs, bitters, and blacker fruit.  The wine was young on the first night with interesting potential.  But on the second night it had tart fruit, simple flavors, lots of acidity, and woodsy tannins.  It was stemmy and bitters-like in the finish.  ** 2014-2019.


2008 Duca Di Salaparuta, Passo Delle Mule, Nero D’Avola, Sicily – $17
Imported by Wine Cellars Limited.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The flavors were a little darker, with riper fruit leaning towards red and black flavors.  The acidity was on the tongue tip, less obvious and certainly not on the sides.  It had good body, orange citrus notes, grapey density, and was good and lively.  There was a fine polished wood note.  **(*) Now-2019.


2007 Duca Di Salaparuta, Lavico, Nerello Mascalese, Sicily – $17
Imported by Wine Cellars Limited.  Alcohol 13%.  There was a familiar nose followed by tangy red fruit and acidity on the sides of the tongue.  The tannins were mostly resolved into the grapey, red berry fruit.  With air the flavors took on more pungent, black fruit, and they also became saltier.  It also took on more power and structure in the finish.  ** Now-2018.


Three Recent Drinks From Austria, Serbia, and Spain

November 12, 2013 Leave a comment

I recommend you try the first two wines featured in today’s post.  The 2007 Vina Budimir, Triada, Zupa is a good introduction to the grape Prokupac.  The extended aging has left a very approachable wine with the flavors of black fruit and cherries mixed with a wood note.  It is slightly different in flavor profile but should appeal to many.  The 2011 Terra Personas, Somsis, Tinto Joven, Montsant is all about berry smacking flavor.  One bottle that I tasted on the second night revealed a serious aspect that makes me wonder if this will be even better in the new year. The 2011 Franz & Christine Netzl, Carnuntum Cuvee was a decent drink with outgoing flavors and notes of stone.  It certainly lends an Austrian perspective to things but I would rather drink the less expensive Somsis.   These wines were all purchased at MacArthur Beverages.


2007 Vina Budimir, Triada, Zupa – $19
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is 100% Prokupac sourced from vines planted in 1935 which was fermented in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts then aged four years in large French and Serbian oak casks.  Alcohol 12.8%.  The nose revealed black floral fruit.  In the mouth were slightly creamy flavors of black fruit.  There was a drying structure of tannins then slightly different flavors which met a wood note.  The wine initially revealed some mature flavors but became youthful with air.  There was a little cherry in the aftertaste.  Drinking well now.  ** Now-2015.


2011 Terra Personas, Somsis, Tinto Joven, Montsant – $13
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is a blend of Carinena, Grenacha, and Syrah.  Alcohol 14%.  The good nose was a mixture of berries and ripe orange.  The mouth follows the nose with fresh yet weighty berry smacking flavor.  There was black fruit with a minor structure, lovely fruit, a little spice, and citric tannins in the gently structured finish.  **(*) Now-2016.


2011 Franz & Christine Netzl, Carnuntum Cuvee, Carnuntum – $15
A KW Selection imported by Select Wines.  This wine is a blend of 40% Zweigelt, 40% Blaufrankisch, and 20% Merlot sourced from 11 year old vines which was fermented in stainless steel tanks, underwent malolactic fermentation, and some aging in big oak barrels.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This had standup flavors of red and black fruit, finely ripe stones, and almost metallic acidity.  ** Now-2015.


A Pair From Domaine Alary

November 8, 2013 Leave a comment

Following up on the 2010 Domaine Alary, Le Font d’Estevenas, Cairanne which I reviewed in Many Bottles of Excellent Rhone Wine are the two wines featured in this post.   The 2010 Domaine Alary, La Gerbaude, Cotes du Rhone was best on the first night when it was robust with soil, minerals, and black fruit flavors.  I think it might benefit from a wee bit of age.  I really liked the 2010 Domaine Alary, L’Exclus, VdP Orange. It was a hypothetical blend of the North and the South that responded very well to a few hours of air.  If you enjoy young Rhone wines then try it now, just be sure to decant it.  These wines were purchased at Weygandt Wines.


2010 Domaine Alary, La Gerbaude, Cotes du Rhone – $17
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler. This wine is a blend of 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah and Carignan.Alcohol 14%.  The nose revealed black fruit and soil.  In the mouth were black, minerally fruit, slightly gutsy young fruit with seamlessly integrated acidity.  There were very fine tannins which dried on the gums.  This was a robust wine which was most satisfying on the first night.  **(*) Now-2020.


2010 Domaine Alary, L’Exclus, VdP Orange – $18
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of  50% Counoise and 50% Syrah.  Alcohol 14%.  This opened up over a few hours to reveal a lovely wine with ripe fruit and grippy, young flavors.  It was a lot like the Northern Rhone wine meets the Southern.  There was black fruit which built into a ripe set of flavors which coated the gums.  There was some salivating acidity.  *** Now-2023.


Four Selections From Weygandt Wines

November 6, 2013 Leave a comment

Lou and I recently stopped by Weygandt Wines during their four-year anniversary weekend.  After tasting some lovely wines that Tim and Warren opened I set about the store.  Four of the wines I purchased are featured in today’s post.  The 2012 Domaine Canet Valette, Antonyme might certainly be described as “the Beaujolais of Canet Valette” but I would spend the extra Dollar or two to purchase the Saint-Chinian in the form of 2010 Domaine Canet-Valette, Une et Mille Nuits.  The 2010 Domaine Jean Louis Tribouley, l’Alba, Cotes du Roussillon was most unevolved of the four wines featured in this post despite the delicate, orange peel note. The 2010 Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss, Les Grimaudes, Costieres de Nimes continued to reveal attractive earthy aromas and flavors, giving a sense of how it will develop, but it is young.  That is enough reason to recommend purchasing it but since it is only $15 you should pick up several bottles.  The 2011 Domaine Jean Baptiste Senat, La Nine, Minervois had a complex nose of potpourri and bitters followed by savory flavors that mixed with minerals.  While satisfying it its youth it has the components and balance to last a decade.  Buy this one as well.  These wines are available at Weygandt Wines.


2012 Domaine Canet Valette, Antonyme – $17
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of 50% Mourvedre and 50% Cinsault.  It was fermented then aged for four months in stainless steel.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose revealed youthful, clean berry aromas.  In the mouth the red and black berry fruit had grapey structure and almost juicy acidity.  With extended air it became evocative of a natural wine.  The flavors were grapey, turning blacker towards the finish where more ripe tannins and structure came out.  This was a well-made, light wine with light and drying black fruit flavors.  ** Now-2015.


2010 Domaine Jean Louis Tribouley, l’Alba, Cotes du Roussillon – $20
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of Carignan, Syrah, and Grenache.  Alcohol 13.5 %.  The nose revealed a little spiced berries and earth.  With extended air it delivered earth then berries, then potpourri aromas.  In the mouth the black and red fruit played it tight with a little orange people before shutting down some. The flavors eventually follow the nose with delicate red fruit, orange peel, and a perfumed finish.  The good mouthfeel was matched by moderate structure for short term aging.  This oscillated in nature so it is best to cellar.  **(*) 2015-2020.


2010 Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss, Les Grimaudes, Costieres de Nimes  – $15
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 25% Carignan, and 25% Cinsault.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There were earthy hints on the nose which was eventually joined by cherry candy.  In the mouth the earthy fruit follows the nose in this young, structured wine.  There was blue and black fruit that had an earthy expansion in the finish.  With air it showed good flavor, became a bit creamy, and continued the earthy, expansive flavors adding in cherry and black fruit.  The structure asks for age.  **(*) 2015-2020.


2011 Domaine Jean Baptiste Senat, La Nine, Minervois – $22
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 30% Carignan, 10% Mourvedre, 10% Cinsault, and 10% Syrah sourced from soils of clay and limestone.  The Grenache vines are 60 years old, the Carignan 100 years old, the Mourvedre 25 years old, and the Cinsault 50 years old, and the Syrah 15 years old.  It was raised in vats and barrels.  Alcohol %.  With air the interesting nose was pungent with potpourri, bitters, and a subtle orange nose.  In the mouth the fruit builds in weight as it becomes drier in flavor.  There was extract and texture, along with an appropriate structure.  With air it became a little creamy with savory, black and blue flavors, minerals, good texture in the finish, and a mouthfilling aftertaste.  *** Now-2023.