I am pleased that Michael Teer introduced me to the wines of Domaine des Amphores. Founded by Veronique and Philippe Grenier in 1992, this estate has expanded over the years to produce a variety of wines from a variety of grapes. Of the four wines from Saint-Joseph three are red including my bottle of 2013 Domaine des Amphores, Cuvee 2013, Saint-Joseph. This is a finely made, grapey Saint-Joseph which should be cellared until next year. This wine is available at Pike and Western Wine Shop.
2013 Domaine des Amphores, Cuvee 2013, Saint-Joseph – $27
Imported by Barrique Imports. This wine is 100% Syrah fermented with indigenous yeasts in tank then aged for 12 months in neutral oak. Alcohol 12.5%. This is a grapey, tangy wine with a fine texture to the ripe berry flavor. The wine is still a bit firm from youth with very fine tannins and watering acidity. With air it takes on a white pepper note. *** 2017-2020.
If there is one wine store in Seattle that I make sure to visit then it is Pike & Western Wine Shop. During my most recent trip I asked Michael Teer for several recommendations. Of the Northwest quartet of wines, the 2015 Savage Grace, Cabernet Franc, Copeland Vineyard, Rattlesnake Hills is my favorite. This is a lively wine with bright red fruit and no sense of greenness. It is a fun wine to drink now but I suggest you let this age through the winter so that it will open up. Combining both character and value is the 2013 Southard Winery, Syrah, Columbia Valley. With air the grapey flavors become more floral and take on hints of smoke. The final two wines will benefit from some age. Drunk over a week, the 2015 ORR, Old Vine Chenin Blanc, Columbia Valley shows a respectable amount of tropical, floral, and nut flavors to be an elegant wine leaning towards the ripe side. The 2014 Leah Jørgensen Cellars, Malbec, Crater Lake Vineyard, Rogue Valley is from Oregon. It is a tense and focused wine best left in the cellar.
2015 ORR, Old Vine Chenin Blanc, Columbia Valley – $25
This wine is 100% Chenin Blanc fermented with indigenous yeasts. Alcohol 12.9%. Though very pale in the color, the nose is rounded with aromas of slightly tropical white flowers. The offers a taut start with vibrant acidity moving through similar flavors. There are hints of nuts matching the tropical, floral, white fruit. It shows some lifted and controlled ripeness. It will benefit from a year in the cellar. **(*) 2017 – 2020.
2014 Leah Jørgensen Cellars, Malbec, Crater Lake Vineyard, Rogue Valley – $32
Alcohol 14.34%. The nose is slightly black and floral. The flavors begin with tart red fruit moving into a citric and black middle and a tangy finish. The structure eventually comes out with a moderate amount of focused tannins. There is more of an acidity driven wine that comes out as tension. It certainly has a future potential. **(*) Now – 2020.
2015 Savage Grace, Cabernet Franc, Copeland Vineyard, Rattlesnake Hills – $27
This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc that was aged for 5 months in neutral oak barrels. Alcohol 12.5%. This lively wine has a slightly electric start of brighter, red fruit. A fuzzy ripeness builds as an underlying inky spine becomes apparent. There are no green nor black pepper flavors. It is all bright red fruit, with subtle, bright red berry ripeness in the finish. With good acidity and fine texture, this is a fine wine. I would only age to let it open up. *** Now – 2018.
2013 Southard Winery, Syrah, Columbia Valley – $18
Alcohol 14%. There are some flavors of dark, red fruit, a touch of tang, and a ripe haze. There is plenty of watering acidity which matches the grapey hints. With extended air the wine develops a smokey start and becomes more floral. **(*) Now – 2020.
With the 2015 Enkidu, Shamhat Rosé, Russian River Valley, Phillip Staehle has produced a pleasing rosé on the fruitier side of the spectrum. With the rainier weather of the Washington, DC, area this more substantial offering hits the spot. It also has enough stuffing to be drunk over several nights. This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.
2015 Enkidu, Shamhat Rose, Russian River Valley – $18
This wine is a blend of 50% Syrah, 35% Grenache, and 25% Mouvedre. Alcohol 14.1%. With a fruity start this wine has good grip and a racy, mineral finish. The fruit is sweeter than other rose but it is not out of balance in the wine. It will please many. ** Now – 2017.
The 2015 Bevan Cellars, Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Stack Vineyard, Sonoma County could only come from California. It is a rich, ripe, and textured wine that will appeal to those who love a more substantial Sauvignon Blanc such as those which are traditionally blended with Semillon. With this richness comes the grassy elements you expect and plenty of acidity. This wine reveals additional complexity with air such that you can enjoy a glass a day over the course of a week. This wine was purchased at MacArthur Beverages.
2015 Bevan Cellars, Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Stack Vineyard, Sonoma County – $32
Alcohol ? The nose is aromatic with ripe fruit and grassy notes. In the mouth this racy, vibrant wine has a textured start of rich, white fruit. It is slightly nutty with seashell notes and plenty of mid palate presence before the very long aftertaste. There is a glycerin infused body supported by spot-on acidity. With extended air the wine develops additional nut flavors, lemon, and waxy fruit. **** Now – 2019.
Michele Moschioni makes only red wine in a part of Friuli where more than twice as much white wine is produced. He typically uses such varieties as Pignolo, Schioppettino, and Refosco. However, his 1999 Moschioni, Celtico Rosso, Collie Orientali del Friuli is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It is a blend that works to great effect for this magnum showed an attractive level of maturity, delivered in a mouth filling, racy, full-flavored style. At 15.5% alcohol it is a big wine but there is no heat at all. While it drinks fine over two nights, the first is the best so grab some friends then pull the cork! This wine was purchased at MacArthur Beverages.
1999 Moschioni, Celtico Rosso, Collie Orientali del Friuli –
Imported by Vinifera Imports. This wine is a blend of 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon that was aged for several years in both new and used barriques, large barrels, and stainless steel. Alcohol 15.5%. The nose is mature but there is plenty of strength in the mouth. The mouth filling start brings black, floral fruit, and plum flavors all delivered in a racy manner. An underlying cedar note comes out, accenting the wine through the expansive finish. The flavor continues into the aftertaste where the wine gains more levity. The wine continues to deliver weighty, spice infused ripe blue and black fruit, never losing density yet there is watering acidity balancing it out. **** Now – 2020.
The 2011 Maxime Magnon, Rozeta, Corbieres is an exciting wine which you must try. When I wrote about the 2010 vintage in my post Maxime Magnon from Haut Corbieres I suggested trying future vintages. I am glad I did. This bottle reminds me of Rayas and des Tours styled wine which I particularly love. Specifically, this wine offers rich, mouth filling flavors that are ethereal, capable of development, and absent of any yeasty character. What a treat! This wine was purchased at MacArthur Beverages.
2011 Maxime Magnon, Rozeta, Corbieres – $20
Imported by Kermit Lynch. The fruit is sourced from a field blend of mostly Carignan along with Grenache, Syrah, Grenache Gris, Mcabou, and Terret sourced from 50-60 year old vines from two parcels on soils of limestone and schist. All of the varietals are whole clustered fermented together then aged in used barrels from Chassagne-Montrachet. Alcohol 13.5%. The lighter nose of red fruit and cranberries entices you. The deep red fruit offers surprising richness yet never loses an ethereal quality. The flavors mix with bluer fruit and minerals with impeccably balanced acidity and minimal tannic structure. The ethereal quality continues with extended air as notes of old wood come out. ***(*) Now – 2021.
The trio of Rhone wines featured in today’s post will please many. For a wine that you can and will want to drink throughout the week, look no further than the 2012 Frederick Arnaud, CDR, Cotes du Rhone. This is a youthful, grapey wine that offers a level of complexity not usually found in the $11 price point. It is a wine to drink this year and you can be assured that I will pick up more when I return to the store. I have now drunk through several bottles of 2012 Andre Brunel, Cuvee Sabrine, Cotes du Rhone Villages. This is a step up in seriousness and longevity. If the Arnaud is a grapey wine then the Brunel is a more mature wine. This is another wine you can drink throughout the week but also age it for a few more years. The 2014 Chateau Unang, Ventoux provides a third fantastic choice for a daily drinker. It moves back to the youthful, grapey side of things but the aromatic nose and supple flavors clearly reflect the effort put into this wine. I recommend you try them all! These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.
2012 Frederick Arnaud, CDR, Cotes du Rhone – $11
Imported by Domaine Select Wine Estates. Alcohol 14%. This is an attractive, grapey wine with good grip. It opens up well with air revealing slightly racy strawberry flavors, youthful grapey complexity which will hold your interest. I would not cellar this for development, instead just for a few months so the wine opens up some more. ** Now.
2012 Andre Brunel, Cuvee Sabrine, Cotes du Rhone Villages – $14
Imported by Robert Kacher. This wine is a blend of mostly Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre. Alcohol 14%. The nose is scented with stony, black fruit. The red and black fruit flavors sport some rough and tumble qualities of the Cotes du Rhone. This wine has a bit of everything, some density, some grip, water acidity, and a mineral hint in the finish. The dry black flavors are framed by fine, dry tannins before hints of stone come out again in the aftertaste. It tastes drier with air. **(*) Now – 2019.
2014 Chateau Unang, Ventoux – $14
Imported by Vintage ’59 Imports. This wine is a blend of 65% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 5% Cinsault. Alcohol 13.5%. The aromatic nose of youthful fruit is reflected in the supple, weighty grapey fruit flavors in the mouth. The flavors lean towards black fruit, with fine tannins that make for a little bitter and dry finish. This should develop over the short term. ** Now – 2018.