Archive for July, 2014

Wine For French Troops During the Gallipoli Campaign, April 1915-January 1916

July 31, 2014 1 comment

“Wine for the French troops at the Dardanelles about to be shipped.” [1]


“A view of Mudros harbour on Lemnos. In the foreground is the French wine store and in background, the French hospital.” [2]


“French sailors (of a warship Gaudan ?) celebrating the blowing up of a Turkish battery with a number of bottles of wine.” [3]


[1] Brooks, Ernest (Lieutenant). 1915. #Q 13416. URL:
[2] Brooks, Ernest (Lieutenant). 1915. #Q 13673. URL:
[3] Brooks, Ernest (Lieutenant). 1915. #Q 13634. URL:

From Rondinella White to Sangiovese, Four Good Wines

There has been no shortage of good Italian wines lately.  First up, the 2012 Zyme, From Black to White, Il Biano, Veneto has a significant proportion of Rondinella White in it, something not possible before 1999.  Rondinella is typically a red variety used in Amarone.  When a branch of a vine mutated to provide white grapes it was carefully cultivated for eight year until there was a parcel of vines.  This wine was really well done and reminiscent of an attractive orange-wine or very light red wine.  If you can only afford to purchase one of the wines featured in today’s post, this is the one.   The 2011 Tenuta Ghiaccio Forte, Morellino di Scansano clearly has depth but also needs a few years in the cellar.  Its quite good.  I do not think (and I reviewed my notes) that I have had Aglianico as forward drinking as the 2011 Azienda Agricola San Salvatore, Aglianico Jungano, Paestum.  There is a nice touch from the minerals and earth so why not enjoy this now?  The 2006 Castello di Cacchiano, Chianti Classico is a proper wine for aging.  I suspect it also reflects the strength of the vintage and the then newly banned inclusion of white fruit.  Stick this in your cellar and do not even bother broaching a bottle for a few years.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.


2012 Zyme, From Black to White, Il Biano, Veneto – $23
Imported by Banville & Jones.  This wine is a blend of 60% Rondinella white, 15% Kerner, 15% Gold Traminer, and 10% Cross Manzoni.  Alcohol 13%. The color was a light straw.  The nose was rich with aromas of white fruit, sweet nuts, and eventually a waxy note.  In the mouth were rounded flavors of nuts, pastille-like flavors, and there was even a tingling sensation on the tongue.  This wine was creamy with floral notes, and lively acidity but picked up weight and some grip.  It had a long aftertaste with lots of texture.  It had hints of orange-wine character and with one’s eye closed, that of red wine.  *** Now-2015.


2011 Tenuta Ghiaccio Forte, Morellino di Scansano – $20
Imported by Cantiniere Imports.  This wine is 100% Sangiovese aged for 10 months in Slavonian oak.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose revealed a good depth of black and red fruit.  In the mouth the flavors were more black with long, textured tannins, good depth, and some polished wood in the finish.  This will be a good wine and while air certainly helped, I would definitely cellar this a few years.  **(*) 2016-2026.


2011 Azienda Agricola San Salvatore, Aglianico Jungano, Paestum – $28
Imported by Banville & Jones.  This wine is 100% Aglianico which was fermented in stainless steel then aged in a combination of tonneau, barriques, and stainless steel tanks.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This was surprisingly ripe and forward with blue fruit and ripe, sweet tannins.  The tannins turned dry with minerals before the earthy aftertaste.  There was lots of flavor, not huge depth, but strong appeal.  *** Now-2020.


2006 Castello di Cacchiano, Chianti Classico – $26
Imported by Masciarelli Wine.  This wine is 100% Sangiovese which was fermented in stainless steel then aged for 30 months in French oak.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose revealed pleasing aromas of cherry and strawberry candy.  In the mouth were wood box notes and cherry fruit.  Though the flavors were light and dry it managed to expand through the mouth with good acidity, leaving a minerally finish.  The wine remained firm over a few nights and clearly needs further age. **(*) 2016-2024.


Penfold & Co’s Wine Label (ca. 1881-ca. 1900)

An old Penfold’s wine label!


[1] Troedel & Co (1881). Penfold & Co’s Adelaide Wines. Dr. Penfold’s Grange Vineyard near Adelaide S.A.  State Library of Victoria. URL:

Australian Wine in Egypt

July 30, 2014 1 comment


The Australian Army Medical Service reorganized in response to the declaration of war in 1914 to establish hospitals in Egypt.  The Australian Red Cross was simultaneously founded to assist the sick and wounded during the war.  The Red Cross immediately gathered supplies to assist and accompany the First Australian General Hospital aboard the coastal steamer Kyarra.  Due to space constraints they were only able to store the supplies as the last minute. With these and other supplies, the Red Cross established a depot from which to supply the hospital with additional goods.  These supplies played an important role for there were disastrous consequences from the Gallipoli Campaign.  For example, one 520 bed hospital had to expand to 10,500 beds.   The Red Cross depot received goods directly and had a telephone line to the hospital from which to take requests.  Fortunately, a very detailed list of supplies dispersed was published.  Within this list, among the cholera belts and air cushions are 8 cases of wine.

Cholera Belts 7, 400
Pneumonia jackets 341
Air cushions 17
Envelopes 28,470 pkts
Wine 8 cases
Mittens 675

Excerpt From the List of Red Cross Goods Supplied From Store Apart From Other Goods Purchased and Supplied [2]


Unfortunately, we do not know the type of wine that was in those eight cases.  What we do know is that on August 25, 1914, Penfold & Co. responded to a request by The Register for wine to be donated to the Red Cross Society.[4]  Incredibly, we know that not only did they donate five hogsheads of Australian port but there is also a surviving photograph of them!

Messrs. Penfold & Co. write:— ‘In a recent issue of your paper we, noticed an appeal for good Australian –wine for the Red Cross Society, and. we’ have pleasure in informing you that we would like to present the cause with five hogsheads (300 gallons)of the best Australian port wine.’

Five barrels of wine being sent to the Red Cross, a gift from Penfold & Co. of South Australia during World War I.

Five barrels of wine being sent to the Red Cross, a gift from Penfold & Co. of South Australia during World War I. c. 1914 [3]

Perhaps this partially explains why a subsequent list of articles to be requisitioned includes Port wine.


Allenbury’s Diet Food
Port Wine
Robinson’s Barley
Tinned Rabbits

Excerpt List of Articles in Red Cross Stores Which Must Be Requisitioned For By Commanding Officers of Units For The Care of The Sick and Wounded and Where There Is No Red Cross Store. 1916. [2]


[1] Oppenheimer, Melanie. Shaping the Legend: The Role of the Australian Red Cross and Anzac. Labour History, No. 106 (May 2014), pp. 123-142. URL:
[2] Deane, Lieut. D. E.The Australian Army Medical Corps in Egypt an illustrated and detailed account of the early organisation and work of the Australian medical units in Egypt in 1914-1915. 1918. URL:
[3] Penfold’s wine for the Red Cross. c. 1914. National Library of Australia. URL:
[4] Australian Wine. (1914, August 25). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 – 1929), p. 8. Retrieved July 30, 2014, from

Categories: History of Wine

The Pure Aromas of 2013 Louis-Antoine Luyt, Caquenes Cinsault

July 30, 2014 2 comments

It was almost two years ago that I first tasted The Wines of Louis-Antoine Luyt.  While I have drunk several bottles since then, I must admit I have not tried any new vintages in the meantime.  The 2013 Louis-Antoine Luyt, Caquenes Cinsault, Coelemu revealed beautiful aromas that were more generous than the flavors in the mouth.  The aromas of delicate red berries and flowers will crush any conception of what Chilean wine smells like.  I recommend you grab a few bottles to surprise your friends.  Just make sure to hold on to let several develop through the winter. This wine is available at Weygandt Wines.


2013 Louis-Antoine Luyt, Caquenes Cinsault, Coelemu – $25
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  Alcohol 14%.  There were pure aromas of delicate red berries that became floral with air.  Lovely.  In the mouth the delicate red berries continued with a strawberry note, watering acidity, and a little structure.  The nose opened more compared to the flavors.  These developed a combination of strawberry and vintage perfume.  *** Now-2019.


French soldiers removing the wines from the cellars in Amiens into lorries. (1918)

July 29, 2014 1 comment

This photograph by Tom Aitken shows French troops loading wooden cases of wine into a lorry for transportation to a safe location.  This photograph is believed to have been taken during the German Spring Offensive of 1918 when the town of Amiens feared German occupation.  The Allied counterattack of August 1918 eliminated the threat.


Aitken, Tom.  French soldiers removing the wines from the cellars in Amiens into lorries. 1918. National Library of Scotland. URL:

Tasting Virginia Wine At True To Our Roots

July 29, 2014 2 comments

Over ten years ago my wife took a welcome break from her law school studies for us to spend a weekend visiting wineries in Virginia. The wines of Linden Vineyards stood out to us then as they do now. We still do not drink much wine from Virginia but through my friendship with Frank Morgan (Drink What YOU Like) I have tried and become aware of more wines.   As a result it was not with complete ignorance that I walked into Virginia Wine True To Our Roots tasting.  I could only attend the last hour so after conversing with Dave McIntyre (DM Wine Line) I set out to taste what I could.  What is more important than reading my short notes is to try some of these wines.

If you could try only one from each winery I would suggest 2012 Ankida Ridge Vineyards, Pinot Noir.  I was unaware there was Pinot Noir based wines in Virginia and this was very good.  There is, of course, the famous 2010 Barboursville Vineyards, Octagon.  There was good depth of flavor and it is poised to develop in the cellar.  The iconic 2010 Linden, Hardscrabble Red showed very well out of decanter.  It is hard to believe this wine is 15.3% alcohol but it was balanced with meaty flavors, herbaceous notes, and the ruggedness of youth.  It should develop really well.  Waves of flavor come out of the 2010 RdV Vineyards, Rendevous so much so that you’ll be amazed at the amount of flavor but also feel the urge to drink more.  The 2013 Michael Shaps, Viognier 2013 Michael Shaps, Viognier offers both ample floral aromas with weighty mouth feel but also good acidity and mineral notes.  I should note that the tasting was held in Washington, DC at Range, a proud supporter of Virginia wine.

Ankida Ridge Vineyards

Nathan Vrooman, Ankida Ridge Vineyards

Nathan Vrooman, Ankida Ridge Vineyards

2013 Ankida Ridge Vineyards, Rockgarden Vert
This wine is a blend of 85% Vidal Blanc and 15% Pinot Noir which was fermented and aged in stainless steel.  Alcohol 10.3%.  There was highly lively acidity on the tongue. This tangy wine still had CO2 with drying tannins and dry chalk notes.

2013 Ankida Ridge Vineyards, Rockgarden Rouge
This wine is a blend of 40% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 30% Cabernet Franc that was aged in 20% new French oak.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This had more greenhouse aromas that mixed with vintage floral perfume. The vintage flavor continued in the mouth with a persistent old-school aspect.

2013 Ankida Ridge Vineyards, Chardonnay
This wine is 100% Chardonnay which was aged in 12% new French oak.  Alcohol 12%.  The flavors had a ripe hint before a yeast note came out and the structure firmed up. It became creamy with supportive oak in the middle and stone notes in the finish.

2012 Ankida Ridge Vineyards, Pinot Noir
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir which was aged in 25% new French oak.  Alcohol 13%.  The red and black fruit had that Virginia hint. The fuzzy/fluffy flavors filled the mouth with structure underneath and fine tannins evident in the aftertaste.

Barboursville Vineyards

Jason Tesauro, Barboursville Vineyards

Jason Tesauro, Barboursville Vineyards

2010 Barboursville Vineyards, Octagon – $55
This wine is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot.  Alcohol 13.8%. This was a balanced blend in the mouth showing good depth, black fruit, floral notes, and a little cocoa. It had a racy finish and some grip.

Linden Vineyards

2013 Linden, Avenius Sauvignon Blanc 
There was a textured, aromatic nose of grassy and ripe aromas. The texture repeated itself in the mouth complementing the good flavor.

2011 Linden, Hardscrabble Chardonnay – $35
There was a tight nose with very subtle toast aromas. There was a lot of acidity on the tongue, flavors of baking spice, and firmer acidity in the finish. It developed brighter fruit.

2011 Linden, Claret – $25
This wine is a blend of 44% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Cabernet Franc declassified fruit sourced from the three vineyards.  It was aged for 20 months in older French barrels.  There was good, clean fruit in the mouth. The wine tasted young with moderate structure, acidity, and some spice flavor adding to the black and red fruit.

2010 Linden, Hardscrabble Red – $50
This wine is a blend of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, and 3% Petit Verdot that was aged for 21 months in 60% new French oak barrels. Alcohol 15.3%.  There were slightly meaty flavors with racy fruit. It was black and almost inky with a slight herbaciousness and dry spices. It bears the attractive roughness of youth.

RdV Vineyards

Jarad Slipp, RdV Vineyards

Jarad Slipp, RdV Vineyards

2010 RdV Vineyards, Rendevous – $75
This wine is a blend of 44% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Petit Verdot, and 12% Cabernet Franc which was aged for 18 months in 100% new French oak.  Alcohol 14.9%.  There were dense, youthful aromas that came out of the glass. The flavors were concentrated and racy with black fruit, ripe texture, and a spicy hint. The wine was big but so tasty. There was a long, black fruit aftertaste with just a hint of cocoa powder.

2010 RdV Vineyards, Lost Mountain – $95
This wine is a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon and 36% Merlot which was aged for 18 months in 100% new French oak. Alcohol 14.7%.  The nose was dark with low-lying aromas. In the mouth dense, red and black fruit mixed before red notes poked out. The wine was drier with spicy tannins that continued into the finish. There was some minerality, baking spice, and a chewy aftertaste.

Michael Shaps

Michael Shaps

Michael Shaps

2013 Michael Shaps, Viognier – $26
This wine is 100% Viognier which was fermented with native yeasts then aged in stainless steel.  Alcohohol 13.7%. The aromatic nose brought right, floral aromas. The ripe start continued to build in flavor with an almost honied feel. Minerals came out in the finish before the wine left a lip-smacking sensation.

2013 Michael Shaps, Petit Manseng
This wine is 100% Petit Manseng sourced from a single vineyard.  It was barrel fermented then aged in 30% new French oak.  Alcohol 14.6%.  The tight nose made way to good, focused fruit in the mouth. There was a hint of almonds, almost tart fruit, and a little spicy, dry finish. A youthful wine.

2010 Michael Shaps, Cabernet Franc – $28
This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc which was fermented with native yeast then aged for 24 months in 100% French oak of which 50% was new.  Alcohol 13.7%. There was focused bright fruit that has that Virginia taste. The wine had a tart side with dense, red and black fruit, and ripe, gum-coating tannins.

2010 Michael Shaps, Petit Verdot – $35
This wine is 100% Petit Verdot which was fermented with native yeast then aged for 24 months in 100% French oak of which 75% was new.  Alcohol 13.7%.  There were bright black and red fruit, a racy nature, and a citric finish. The flavors stood out.

Uncorking Old Sherry

July 28, 2014 1 comment

James Gillray’s Uncorking Old Sherry (1805) is a particularly memorable image even at a visual level.  This political satire was published just days after a debate between Prime Minister William Pitt and Richard Brinsley Sheridan.  In this image Richard Brinsley Sheridan is caricatured as a bottle of Sherry that William Pitt has just uncorked.  Instead of producing a lovely bottle of wine, out spews a collection of “Old Puns”, “Lame Puns”, and “Fibs, Fibs, Fibs”.


Uncorking Old Sherry. Gillray, James. March 10, 1805. Museum Number 1851,0901.1165.  The British Museum.

Two From Collioure

The wines of Collioure pop-up in the area from time to time.  Those from Domaine La Tour Vieille have appeared in my posts before but never those of Tramontane.  The 2011 Domaine La Tour Vieille, La Pinede, Collioure while clearly young, showed high-toned red fruit that was more structured.  The 2009 Tramontane, Collioure perhaps benefitted from the bottle age to be rather aromatic and sport some complexity.  It was the more generous of the two but maintained an attractive integration of the aromas and flavors.   I like to drink good wines from Collioure for they live on the edge, representing the wild terrain and the warmth of the sun.  These wines were purchased at The Wine Source in Baltimore.


2011 Domaine La Tour Vieille, La Pinede, Collioure – $22.50
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 15% Carignan, and 15% Mourvedre sourced from 35-70 year old vines on soils of schist.  It was aged for 12 months in vats.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose revealed firmer red aromas.    In the mouth were high-toned flavors of red fruit and minerals.  The wine was initially rounded with some toast notes and a little heat on the back of the throat.  With air the wine balanced out to show hard, red fruit, tart berries, some roast, and cinnamon-like spices.  There was a tangy finish and aftertaste.  **(*) 2016-2024.


2009 Tramontane, Collioure – $22.50
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is 100% Grenache sources from old vines on soils of schist.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This was more aromatic with dried floral aromas, pastilles, and spices.  In the mouth were richer flavors of red fruit followed by lots of flavor from fine, powdery and ripe red blue fruit.  There was a  little bit of tannins and a touch of lively acidity on the tongue tip.  With air there were some cinnamon notes, wood box, and more tannins.  It developed flavors of raspberry supported by good acidity and followed by a floral finish.  *** Now-2024.


A Pair from Mas de Gourgonnier

The Cartier family have been producing wine and olive oil on their Mas de Gourgonnier estate for decades.  The vineyards have been certified organic for just as long and is proudly detailed on the labels.  Most people are familiar with the Rouge that is presented in the traditional squat wine bottle.  Less commonly seen is the Reserve de Mas.  This wine is a blend of equal parts Grenache, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon that is aged in large oak casks.  My one previous experience with the Reserve de Mas came in the form of the 2007 vintage.   I had never this wine before so I paid dearly for one bottle as described in my post The Spices and Herbs of Mas de Gourgonnier.

The estate is located south of Avignon where it is hot, dry, and windy.  This region produces wines distinct from the familiar flavors of the Southern Rhone.  The wines of Mas de Gourgonnier always exhibit dried herbs but the Reserve de Mas adds complexity from its earthy notes.   The dry flavors are intertwined with acidity, lower alcohol, and incredibly fine tannins.  The structure becomes evident in the aftertaste suggesting this wine will develop for several years to come.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.


2011 Mas de Gourgonnier, Les Baux de Provence – $16
Imported by Dionysos Imports.  This wine is a blend of 35% Grenache, 18% Syrah, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 24% Carignan.   Alcohol 13%.  The nose bore lighter aromas of dried herbs.  There was a gentle introduction of flavor with black and red fruit.  The flavors were lighter in body but there was some weight and ripeness.  The wine became drier towards the finish where it mixed with herbs and black fruit.  There was a very fine structure.  With air the wine took on an orange- lift.  **(*) 2014-2020.


2010 Mas de Gourgonnier, Reserve du Mas, Les Baux de Provence – $22
Imported by Dionysos Imports.  This wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Alcohol 13%.  There were earthy, dry red fruit flavors that were dry in a sense and made lively by salivating acidity.  The structure existed as incredibly fine tannins that dried the mouth.   There were dried herbs and a little vintage perfume.  Black fruit flavors developed with air that were entwined with acidity before the tannins returned in the aftertaste.  *** 2015-2024.