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Revisiting the 2009 Baer, Ursa

December 11, 2015 Leave a comment

Several years ago I estimated that the 2009 Baer Winery, Ursa, Columbia Valley could be drunk with pleasure  this year.  While the wine has gained some suppleness it still plays it close.  It shows some bottle age with the floral aspects replaced by leather but the wine largely remains tight.  There is still a good core of fruit with balanced acidity and structure so why not cellar it a few more years!

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2009 Baer Winery, Ursa, Columbia Valley
This wine is a blend of 44% Cabernet Franc, 38% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 9% Malbec which was aged for 18 months in 70% new French oak.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose revealed sweaty leather aromas which made way to a tight but slowly loosening core of black fruit that is wrapped around a dose of fine, drying tannins.  Tasted over many hours this wine oscillates in openness.  At time it does show some suppleness with cola like spices, other times the structure is evident with cinnamon spices, coffee, and a spicy tannic finish.  ***(*) 2019-2026.

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A deadly glass of wine

December 10, 2015 1 comment

Today I continue my series of accounts which look at historic quotes involving “bottle of wine”, “pint of wine”, and “old wine”.  In this post I focus in on the phrase “glass of wine” found in the killing offences of The Proceedings of the Old Bailey.  These proceedings, involving both swords and fists, resulted in both guilty and not guilty verdicts.  At times death with immediate and other times it took another day.  One man, after receiving a cut above his wrist-bone, found his arm swelled the next day and subsequently died.

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Plate 12 of First Part on Chest Punches. Romeyn de Hooghe. 1674. The British Museum #

7th July 1675
“it appeared to be done in a kind of fray, for the prisoner being at a Tavern, drinking of a glass of wine with some company, one of them being the aforesaid Frenchman, would have this Gentleman to pledge it, which he refused to do, whereupon the other gave him a box on the Ear, and fell upon him in a rude and violent manner”[1]

10th December 1690
“but upon Long’s refusing to take a Glass of Wine a fresh quarrel happened in the Street, wherein Price gave Long a blow on his Face with his Fist, and soon after several Swords were drawn”[2]

12th October 1692
“Mr. Whitbey and Mr. Vesey, and another Gentleman, were at the Horn-Tavern in Fleet-street, drinking a Glass of Wine, and some Words hapned betwixt Mr. Whitbey and Mr. Vesey, concerning one Mrs. Gee”[3]

9th December 1696
“The Prisoner alleged. That the deceased threw a Glass of Wine in his Face, catcht him by the Perriwig and thrust his Fingers in his Eyes.”[4]

9th July 1718
“That then having drank each a Glass of Wine, he perceiving a Distortion in Mr. Bowen’s Countenance, and he rose and barricado’d the Door with two Chairs, told him that he had injured him past verbal Reparation, and nothing but fighting him should make him amends”[5]

12th July 1720
“but to shew that he had no Intention to quarrel with him, ask’d him to set down and drink a Glass of Wine as usual, which he did; but soon began to offer fresh Insults, calling him a ridiculons Fellow, and Several other scurrilous Names”[6]

3rd July 1751
“this gentleman came up to me and took me round the waist, and ask’d me, if I would go take a walk or a run, or drink a glass of wine. I refused him, he pull’d me, and I gave a stagger, which might make the other witness believe I was consenting.”[7]

16th January 1754
“they agreed to fight for a leg of mutton and turnips, and a little beer, to the value of a crown. The deceased drank half a quartern of brandy, and I believe the prisoner drank a glass of wine; then they went out and stript, shook hands, and fell to fighting, and fought about half an hour.”[8]


[1] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 10 December 2015), July 1675, trial of Dutch Gentlemen (t16750707-5).

[2] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 10 December 2015), December 1690, trial of Thomas Long Simon Rogers (t16901210-9).

[3] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 10 December 2015), October 1692, trial of Josias Whitbey (t16921012-37).

[4] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 10 December 2015), December 1696, trial of Robert Taylor (t16961209-7).

[5] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 10 December 2015), July 1718, trial of James Quinn (t17180709-1).

[6] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 10 December 2015), July 1720, trial of Roger Mansuer Mary Chapman Elizabeth Johnson (t17200712-40).

[7] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 10 December 2015), July 1751, trial of John Passinore (t17510703-24).

[8] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 10 December 2015), January 1754, trial of John Hudson (t17540116-40).

Categories: History of Wine Tags:

A serious bottle of Carmenere from Chile

December 9, 2015 Leave a comment

The 2006 Vina Errazuriz, Kai, Carmenere, Aconcagua Valley has an interesting history, not only because Vina Errazuriz chose to produce a top-tier “icon” wine from Carmenere but for how the wine was released.  It was in 2010 that Vina Errazuriz sponsored a series of tastings pitting the 2006 Kai against other wines in Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, London, New York, Stockholm, Tokyo, Toronto, and other cities.

These 2010 tastings were a recreation of “The Berlin Tasting” which Vina Errazuriz sponsored in 2004 with the help of Steven Spurrier.  You can of course guess that this was hoped to have the same effect on Chilean wine as the 1976 “Judgement of Paris” did for Californian wines.

The 2006 Kai was presented in blind tastings with other wines of the same vintage from California, France, and Italy.  At several tastings, when asked to pick their favorites, the critics chose the 2006 Kai over 2006 Haut Brion, 2006 Lafite-Rothschild, 2006 Opus One, and 2006 Sassicaia amongst others.  This makes for great press, as evidenced by all of the articles and posts out there, but the real interest is in how this wine tastes some five years later.

The 2006 Kai is a top-tier wine from Vina Errazuriz that still commands a healthy average price of $120 per bottle.  While you never lose the green streak of Carmenere and the hefty dose of new French oak, you cannot help but enjoy the mouthfilling flavors that are salty, dense, and inky.  It was a pleasurable wine to drink, it slowly evolved in the glass to offer up new flavors, and though a big wine, it never became fatiguing.  While I might not seek out this particular wine given the price, I certainly would not refuse a glass or three.  This wine was purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2006 Errazuriz, Kai, Carmenere, Aconcagua Valley
Imported by The Rare Wine Co.  This wine is a blend of 87% Carmenere with 9% Petit Verdot and  4% Syrah that was aged for 16 months in new French oak barrels.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose always revealed some greenhouse hints to its fruit aromas.  In the mouth the flavors were filling with a dry middle, and an inky, purple fruited finish.  This modern wine, with its new oak flavors, is a little tart on the sides of the tongue.  With air it develops hints of tobacco, minerals, and a lipsticky finish.  It is attractively salty with impressive density and ripeness in the end.  **** Now – 2025.

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Four bottles with a wee bit of age

December 8, 2015 Leave a comment

With the end of the year approaching I thought it appropriate to start drinking some of the lesser bottles that I have as well as those of which I have several.  The 1991 A. Rafanelli Winery, Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County came from the Earthquake Cellar.  Though in stellar condition it initially tasted of rather acidic, bright red fruit.  I thought it a goner so I switched to the double-decanted 2007 Chateau Pesquie, Quintessence, Ventoux.  This bottle of Pesquie delivered the goods both with aromas and in the saline accented flavors.  It is a large-framed, robust wine that does not fall victim to the high alcohol level.  Many hours later, the Rafanelli fleshed out with cherry flavors that balanced the acidity along with attractive wood notes from age.  It ultimately came across as reasonably youthful with only the menthol aspect confirming its age.

Also from the 1990s is the 1998 Viking Wines, Cabernet Sauvignon which we last tasted in 2008.  This soft, old wine still sported jammy berries with enough acidity to keep it together.  The two wines from the 1990s were enjoyable enough to finish and while worthy of the experience, I would not bother seeking them out.  Finally, the 2004 Domaine des Espiers, Cuvee Tradition, Gigonda remains a solid enough, modern wine as it did when last tasted in 2011.  Perhaps not the most exciting quartet of wines but I do not mind.  I just received a slew of wines from 1947 through 1985 which I will be opening up this winter.  These bottles should be tons of fun!

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1991 A. Rafanelli Winery, Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County
Alcohol 13.8%.  After a few hours of air the nose became attractive with sweet, old scents of leather and wood box.  Though acidic at first this wine fleshed out with cherry fruit, some weight, and watering acidity through the back of the toast.  It showed hints of ripe wood and a menthol finish.  ** Now.

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1998 Viking Wines, Cabernet Sauvignon
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  Alcohol 12.8%.  This licorice flavored wine was rounded and a little soft with jammy berries in the finish.  The flavors mixed with old wood, old perfume, and a finish of minimal tannins and menthol freshness.  The acidity was bound in the softness, giving it just enough liveliness.  ** Now.

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2004 Domaine des Espiers, Cuvee Tradition, Gigondas
Imported by the Country Vintner.  Alcohol 14.5%.  Though this developed some nuanced flavors, it largely remained firm.  It was quite tannic at first then firm black and red fruit came out.  The watering acidity transitioned to a modern finish with a good dose of fine, drying tannins on the tongue.  Not too interesting of a wine.  ** Now – 2022.

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2007 Chateau Pesquie, Quintessence, Ventoux
Imported by Eric Solomon/European Cellars.  This wine is a blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache.  Alcohol 15%.  Aromatic on the nose and rich in the mouth with saline infused black and red fruit.  Weighty but not overbearing, this wine is taking on bottle aged complexity but still has the vigor of youth. It has some attractive raciness right now but I think it will benefit from several more years of age.  ***(*) Now – 2025.

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From the stable to the earth, the 2012 La Vrille et le Papillon, Tous Cousins

December 7, 2015 Leave a comment

The 2012 La Vrille et le Papillon, Tous Cousins, Ardeche makes two surprising transformations.  First, the highly evocative aromas of barnyard manure eventually morph into attractive, earthy red fruit.  Second, though initially a lighter and ethereal wine, this bottle developed both concentration and a lovely structure.  It is one of those wines which makes me wonder how it delivers earthy, complex flavors instead of just pure fruit.  I strongly recommend you try wine.  It is available at Weygandt-Wines.

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2012 La Vrille et le Papillon, Tous Cousins, Ardeche – $18
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is 100% Syrah.  Alcohol 12.5%. The aromas of merde clean up to reveal, earthy bright red fruit.  In the mouth is an ethereal core of flavor.  Ripe tannins develop with air, matching the eventual concentration of the wine.  Quite a good drink.  *** Now – 2018.

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I drink old-vine wine while researching old wine

December 4, 2015 Leave a comment

I am a bit swamped this week between catching up on work and transcribing a few audio recordings for a future post.  One fun bottle of wine tried this week is the 2014 Birichino, Cinsault, Bechthold Vineyard, Lodi Mokelumne River.  The fruit for this wine comes from the Bechthold Vineyard which has the oldest vines in Lodi.  The wine itself is full of forward, round flavors that  drape the tongue with enough of a backbone to keep it from any sense of flabbiness.  It is a lovely wine for drinking on our occasionally crisp Fall evenings.  This wine is available at Weygandt Wines.

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2014 Birichino, Cinsault, Bechthold Vineyard, Lodi Mokelumne River – ~$25
This wine is 100% Cinsault sourced from vines planted in 1886.  Alcohol 13%.  This rounded, soft wine offers forward flavors of strawberry and raspberry fruit smoothie.  It is a gentle, tongue draping wine that is comforting but with enough low-key acidity to keep things going.  It even picks up some cherry flavors with air.  *** Now.

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The 2012 Stonestreet, Cabernet Sauvignon Estate, Alexander Valley is a great buy for the cellar

December 3, 2015 Leave a comment

The 2012 Stonestreet, Cabernet Sauvignon Estate, Alexander Valley offers both richness and strong focus which will allow this wine to develop for many years.  This Estate bottling was previously known as Monument Ridge in honor of the vineyards from which the fruit was sourced.  These blocks are located at 1,200 – 1,500 feet of elevation on the Mayacamas Mountain range.  Apparently this location yields savory, rich fruit, attractive minerality and graphite, all in one wine that begs to be cellared.  I recommend you stick a few bottle in your cellar to be tasted in 2020.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2012 Stonestreet, Cabernet Sauvignon Estate, Alexander Valley – $35
This wine is a blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot and Malbec that was aged for 17 months in 30% new French oak.  Aromas of scented berries make way to savory and rich flavors of dry black fruit and Big Red. This wine slowly develops over many hours to reveal a mix of cinnamon spices, minerals, and graphite.  ***(*) 2018-2028.

“I love old Wine old Cheese, old Tobacco and old Woman.” : Old wine in the correspondence of the Adams family

December 2, 2015 1 comment

References to “old wine” in the Founders Online archive typically regard transactions such as George Washington’s order “from the best House in Madeira a Pipe of the best old Wine“.[0]  Though John Adams once corresponded about the old wines of Bordeaux, in both his letters and those of his wife Abigail Smith Adams, old wine is referred to in adages.  There is a particularly funny series of exchanges between John Adams and the Dutch emigre Francois Adriaan van der Kemp which you will find near the end of this post.

US_Navy_031029-N-6236G-001_A_painting_of_President_John_Adams_(1735-1826),_2nd_president_of_the_United_States,_by_Asher_B._Durand_(1767-1845)-crop

US Navy 031029-N-6236G-001 A painting of President John Adams (1735-1826), 2nd president of the United States, by Asher B. Durand (1767-1845). Image from Wikipedia.

“Our Acquaintance and I hope I may say Friendship is almost forty years old, and I am more attached, than the Adage to Old Friendships even than to old Wine.”
From John Adams to Henry Marchant, 16 January 1795 [1]

” old Friends and old wine are always valuable. they both tend to exhilirate the Spirits; and to enliven the declining part of Life: tho I am not particuliarly attachd to the latter, the first Stand foremost in my estimation.”
From Abigail Smith Adams to Mary Smith Gray Otis, 15 December 1801 [2]

“you Shall oblige your friend to instruct him the full Sense of the Proverb, which I cannot penetrate
‘Old fish at table’ &c
It is intended a Blessing, if it was a curse—I would read
‘cold fish at table, and old flesh in bed’—

I Should thus presume, without I am more enlightened, that Pope, and the rest of Such fellows are in the wrong—because theÿ were all waterdrinkers, and that the true and genuine reading is / Old wine at table, and young flesh in bed. yes Madam!”
To John Adams from François Adriaan Van der Kemp, 5 May 1813 [3]

“if the fragant odour of earthen ware—well Soaked with old wine—is not Soon lost—it is yet more difficult to leave of old Sins—more So, when we delight in the continuance of Such a habit.”
To John Adams from François Adriaan Van der Kemp, 1 March 1814 [4]

“What is the meaning of a Proverb by Pope
‘old fish at table but young flesh &
a Dutchman would correct old wine &c I knew not that the English prefered old fish above fresh—I knew the French did So—”
To John Adams from François Adriaan Van der Kemp, 12 September 1814 [5]

“Old Saltfish is the best fish in nature… I love old Wine old Cheese, old Tobacco and old Woman. How is it with you?”
From John Adams to François Adriaan Van der Kemp, 23 September 1814 [6]


 

[0] “Enclosure: Invoice to Robert Cary & Company, 1 May 1759,” Founders Online, National Archives (http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/02-06-02-0166-0002 [last update: 2015-09-29]). Source: The Papers of George Washington, Colonial Series, vol. 6, 4 September 1758 – 26 December 1760, ed. W. W. Abbot. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1988, pp. 317–318.
[1] “From John Adams to Henry Marchant, 16 January 1795,” Founders Online, National Archives (http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/99-02-02-1624 [last update: 2015-09-29]). Source: this is an Early Access document from The Adams Papers. It is not an authoritative final version.
[2] “From Abigail Smith Adams to Mary Smith Gray Otis, 15 December 1801,” Founders Online, National Archives (http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/99-03-02-1034 [last update: 2015-09-29]). Source: this is an Early Access document from The Adams Papers. It is not an authoritative final version.
[3] “To John Adams from François Adriaan Van der Kemp, 5 May 1813,” Founders Online, National Archives (http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/99-02-02-6022 [last update: 2015-09-29]). Source: this is an Early Access document from The Adams Papers. It is not an authoritative final version.
[4] “To John Adams from François Adriaan Van der Kemp, 1 March 1814,” Founders Online, National Archives (http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/99-02-02-6259 [last update: 2015-09-29]). Source: this is an Early Access document from The Adams Papers. It is not an authoritative final version.
[5] “To John Adams from François Adriaan Van der Kemp, 12 September 1814,” Founders Online, National Archives (http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/99-02-02-6330 [last update: 2015-09-29]). Source: this is an Early Access document from The Adams Papers. It is not an authoritative final version.
[6] “From John Adams to François Adriaan Van der Kemp, 23 September 1814,” Founders Online, National Archives (http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/99-02-02-6332 [last update: 2015-09-29]). Source: this is an Early Access document from The Adams Papers. It is not an authoritative final version.

Categories: History of Wine

Soggy Fall weather requires flavorful wine

December 1, 2015 Leave a comment

We have countered the continual rain and gray clouds by drinking two flavorful bottles of wine.  The 2012 Domaine Le Clos du Serres, Le Clos, Languedoc offers surprisingly round flavors of red fruit and black minerals.  It is a clean, forward wine that will please many.  The 2012 Domaine Jean Baptiste Senat, La Nine, Minervois is darker, earthy, and meaty.  While capable of further development, it has a flavor profile I already find hard to resist.  While I recommend you try both of these wines, I suggest you start with a case of the later!  These wines are available at Weygandt Wines.

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2012 Domaine Le Clos du Serres, Le Clos, Languedoc – $18
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of 35% Grenache, 35% Syrah, and 30% Cinsault.  Alcohol 14%.  The high-toned aromas make way to a similar flavor profile in the mouth but with a surprising round mouthfeel.  The red fruit mixes with slightly watering acidity, and a very moderate structure that takes on some grip and black minerals.  This is a fine, clean wine with lots of forward flavor.  ** Now – 2017.

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2012 Domaine Jean Baptiste Senat, La Nine, Minervois – $20
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 25% Cinsault, and 25% Mourvedre.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The flavors are fresh, yet deep with earthy and other comfortable notes.  The slight prickle on the tongue eventually dissipates leaving a balance of acidity, creamy middle, and textured finish.  This meaty wine should develop over the next few years.  *** Now – 2020.

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