Archive for April, 2016

Modern Rioja Personified

David Bloch pulls the cork on a bottle of Rioja.


2001 Artadi, Pagos Viejos, Rioja
This wine is 100% Tempranillo sourced from 75 year old vines that was aged 18 months in 100% new French oak.  A totally locked down nose when opened.  Needs two hours in the decanter to open up.  Quite dark in color – ruby/violet.  Mildly tannic which makes this an ideal pairing with beef or lamb, or any game.  A modern-styled Rioja that shows plenty of meaty and espresso notes, framed by near perfect acidity.  A nice mineral streak too.  Sweet, ripe fruit.  Still young;  but accessible.  Many years of good drinking ahead, with the possibility of more development.

English bubbly!

The first time I heard about the 2013 Ridgeview, Bloomsbury Brut from England, all of the bottles had already been snagged up from MacArthur Beverages.  It was upon revisiting the store that I was able to secure a bottle.  There was no better excuse to open this bottle than when our English friend came over for dinner this weekend.  It is a pleasing enough wine, particularly for the quality of the bubbles.  This is a young, single vintage wine, so there is not much depth nor yeast flavors before things quickly wrap up. It is fun enough to try one glass if you have never drunk an English wine before.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.


2013 Ridgeview, Bloomsbury Brut – $34
Imported by Siema Wines.  This wine is a blend of 59% Chardonnay, 27% Pinot Noir, and 14% Pinot Meunier.  Alcohol 12%. The wine is a light yellow color with a gold hint. In the mouth the very fine, firm bubbles dissipate into a soft mousse which reveals white and yellow fruit. There is a citrus aspect with a little chalk to the dry flavors. The finish is short. ** Now.


The place in Florida with a name once kept secret

Today I am flying back from Florida after having dined last night at a restaurant with a wine list so incredible that until recently no one spoke of it. Stay tuned!


Categories: Image

Tasting my first 2015 Rhone

The first 2015 red Rhone wines are hitting the shelves in Washington, DC.  If the 2015 Domaine Brusset, Laurent B., Cotes du Rhone is any indication then there will be some lovely wines to follow.  In my glass I found plenty of berry fruit which has both focus and vibrancy.  There is no reason to hold back on this juicy wine which will hold your interest glass after glass.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.


2015 Domaine Brusset, Laurent B., Cotes du Rhone – $15
Imported by Simon N Cellars.  This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Carignan and 10% Mourvedre of which 20% was aged in foudres for 6 months.  Alcohol 13%.  This is a focused, juicy wine with a core of fruit that exhibits gentle vibrancy.  The fruit tasted young and grapey, blending red and purple flavors.  With plenty of forward berry fruit this is a wine to enjoy over the short term.  ** Now – 2018.

An aromatic Gamay from Vincent Ricard in Touraine

Vincent Ricard received his enology degree 20 years ago and eventually returned to the family vineyard.  The Ricard family had tended vines for generations as part of a cooperative. In 1998, Vincent and his father Alain, left the cooperative to form Domaine Ricard.  The majority of the production is white wine but there are also red wines made from Gamay, Cabernet Franc, and Cot.  Just yesterday, Phil shared a new sample of the 2014 Domaine Ricard, Le Clos de Vauriou, Touraine.  This wine uses fruit primarily from 35 year old Gamay vines which was fermented in cement tanks then aged in old oak barrels.  The wine is aromatically expressive from the very first glass.  It is also balanced all around, leaving a refreshing sensation.  It is not just a wine to drink now, with extended air the flavors develop weight and a rounded quality suggesting you may drink this over the next several years.  My suggestion is to cellar it for half a year then double-decant it for a few hours before drinking.  Thanks for sharing Phil!


2014 Domaine Ricard, Le Clos de Vauriou, Touraine
Imported by Simon N Cellars.  This wine is a blend of 70% Gamay and 30% Cabernet Franc.  Alcohol 12.5%.  The nose is immediately aromatic with attractive herbaceous underpinned by some buttery luxury.  In the mouth the tart red fruit is infused with greenhouse notes.  There is some weight to the flavors before the refreshing finish.  The wine fills the mouth and with air, the flavors become rounder and envelop the perfectly integrated structure.  *** Now – 2019.

“So dark that it looks almost black”: David Bloch tastes the 2001 Clos de Sarpe

David Bloch transitions from the end of Spring Break with a great bottle of Bordeaux.


2001 Chateau Clos de Sarpe, Saint-Emilion
Immediately upon opening the aromas seemed to pour out of the bottle.  Sweet flowers and ripe plums.  The wine is so dark that it looks almost black.  A big wine for sure, and once again, another 2001 Right Banker that transcends its status as a “lesser vintage” wine.  As I have found with the three Pavies (Pavie, Pavie Macquin and Pavie Decesse), this is another terrific St. Emilion in this vintage.  Showing plenty of ripe and rich fruit, but never heavy.  Notes of dark plums, some black licorice and café latte.  Strong from start to finish in the mouth.  Tannins are quite mellow and the wine has developed some lovely secondary notes.  Really long finish.  I love the acidity that balances everything out.  Wine has a long life ahead but is so good at the moment that owners who have been waiting to pop a cork will not be disappointed.