Liquid research: tasting recent arrivals at MacArthur Beverages.
This past week I joined Phil at MacArthur Beverages to sample several new wine selections. With the clear bottle, the color of the 2013 Spook Light, Skin Fermented Pinot Gris, Hawke’s Bay might look odd at first. However, this is a skin fermented wine so the orange-rust color is correct. It is a generous and rounded wine that has attractive minerals. I found the 2010 M & S Ogier, l’Ame Soeur, Syrah de Seyssuel, VdP Collines Rhodaniennes to be a subtle example of northern Rhone Syrah. Though well-made and enjoyable, it did not knock my socks off. The 2012 Domaine Gramenon, La Sagesse, Cotes du Rhone is a very interesting wine that continued to change and evolve while I was at the store. Initially it was quite earthy and young then shortly before I left it was more generous with very clean fruit and a beautiful rosemary flavor. This deserves to be tasted again! The bottle of 2012 Domaine Leon Barral, Faugeres reminded me of earlier vintages where I fell in love with the fruit and delivery of flavors unique to Barral. There was nothing but pleasure from this wine which I recommend you drink within the next two years. The guys had trolled the Californian dump-bin from which came the 2004 Pax, Red Wine, Sonoma Hillsides, Sonoma County. Let us just say it was massive. Tim then returned with a bottle of the 2011 Le Paine, Piane, Colline Novaresi. I neglected to take a picture but my initial taste of this mostly Croatina based wine was very promising. There is certainly a different flavor profile to the rather floral, black fruited flavors. This long, textured wine deserves another visit as well. Thanks to everyone for letting me join in!
2013 Spook Light, Skin Fermented Pinot Gris, Hawke’s Bay – $35
This wine is 100% skin-fermented Pinot Gris that was rested on the lees in stainless steel until bottled. Alcohol 13.1%. This rounded and weighty wine, had red fruit that mixed with a hint of skin/stems, juicy acidity, and a linear mineral streak.
2010 M & S Ogier, l’Ame Soeur, Syrah de Seyssuel, VdP Collines Rhodaniennes – $60
Imported by Robert Kacher. This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from 13 year old vines that was completely destemmed then aged 18 months in 20% new oak barrels. Alcohol 12.5%. The nose bore hints of meat, pepper, and some smoke. In the mouth were purple black fruit with an initially very modest structure. The wine was harmonious and mouthfilling with some earth-like complexity. The structure eventually built as did blacker fruit. A bit shy at this point.
2012 Domaine Gramenon, La Sagesse, Cotes du Rhone – $37
Imported by Kermit Lynch. This wine is 100% Grenache sourced from 60 year old vines that was fermented in cement cuve before aging 12 months in barriques. The animale nose made way to ripe, quickly expanding flavors of dark red fruit. This wine continued to change, initially possessing floral flavors that poked through before a hint of tea, then took on complexity from a strong rosemary flavor that mixed with fresh, clean fruit. There was certainly a very fine, drying tannic structure. Very interesting.
2012 Domaine Leon Barral, Faugeres – $26
Imported by Kermit Lynch. Alcohol 13.5%. This opened up noticeably to offer ripe, red, grippy fruit that had a subtle citric note. It continued to be a vibrant wine with dark, floral potpourri notes, ripe tannins, a grippy nature, and fruit that almost became sweet. I like the animale flavors. This bottle drank very well with consistent stability.
2004 Pax, Red Wine, Sonoma Hillsides, Sonoma County – $20
This wine is a blend of 52% Syrah, 47% Grenache, and 1% Roussanne. This big red wine was evocative of big Australian wine that had a stemmy, mineral side.