Archive for July, 2016

A Maturing Chianti Colli Sensi at a Budget Price

I believe the 2008 Montepescini, Chianti Colli Sensi Riserva is a distributor close-out, hence the low price for the vintage.  This means you can drink a maturing Chianti as part of your daily routine.  The aromas and flavors are actually quite good but the wine does come across as firm and controlled.  Perhaps it will loosen up and improve with a bit of age.  At $14 per bottle why not find out?  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.


2008 Montepescini, Chianti Colli Sensi Riserva – $14
Imported by Artisans & Vines.  This wine is mostly Sangiovese with a bit of Canaiolo.  Alcohol 14%.  The proper nose add a little earthy and berry aromas.  In the mouth are fine, slightly tense flavors of red fruit and wood.  The flavors become blacker with progression until there is a controlled, ripe burst in the finish.  With firm acidity and a firm finish this wine will continue to drink.  ** Now – 2021.

Small year St.-Julien performs big


1999 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, St-Julien
Immediately upon opening notes of tobacco and leather.  Then blackberry competing with cedar.  Then more fruit.  A really solid mid-palate.  The wine is so “Bordeaux.”  Nice texture and quite stylish.  This is really a classic middle-aged Bordeaux that transcends the vintage.  I was impressed by the length.  This wine will hold for many more years in a cold cellar.  Will it further develop? DB.

A Daily Drinker for the Cellar from the Cotes du Roussillon

The 2013 Domaine Boudau, Clot de Pila, Les Cargolines, Cotes du Roussillon is a fine successor to the previous vintage.  These are affordable, honest wines that will make for excellent daily drinking in a few years.  It is true that you can drink the 2013 vintage right now but it could really stand some cellar time to reach its peak.  Give it a try!  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.


2013 Domaine Boudau, Clot de Pila, Les Cargolines, Cotes du Roussillon – $13
Imported by Zwine Gallery Imports.  This wine is a blend of 50% Syrah and 50% Grenache.  Alcohol 14%.  Tasted over two nights this wine develops aromas of strawberry candy and Kirsch.  There are similar flavors in the mouth that are bound with good, youthful structure that makes the wine a bit chewy.  There is an inky, slightly mineral finish with some persistent tannins on the gums.  This should peak in two years.  **(*) Now – 2020.

Impressive Northern Rhone

David Bloch is on a roll with the 2003 vintage in the Rhone.


2003 Domaine du Colombier, Hermitage
Alcohol 14%.  Big and meaty. Leather. Dark and deep Syrah. Sweet fruit at the same time. Licorice. Clumps of sediment. No heat present in spite of the vintage.  Wine is quite structured but has a nice, rich lushness across the mid palate and a really, really long finish. Drinking so well right now.

A Ribera del Duero for Short-Term Aging

July 15, 2016 1 comment

The 2013 Finca Torremilanos, Los Cantos, Ribera del Duero bears interesting flavors of black fruit and orange citrus.  It is, however, young.  The structure of very fine tannins needs time to soften and the cocoa needs to integrate.   So stick a bottle or two in your cellar and see what happens!  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.


2013 Finca Torremilanos, Los Cantos, Ribera del Duero – $18
Imported by Vine Pro Imports.  This wine is 95% Tempranillo and 5% Merlot that was aged for 12 months in oak.  Alcohol 14%.  In the mouth are flavors of black, perfumed and powdery fruit with a little orange citrus added in.  There are young, very fine tannins which contribute a cocoa flavored edge to slightly bitter, black fruited finish.  **(*) 2017 – 2021.

Super [Duper] Itata Tinto from Chile

Some fantastic, completely original wine comes out of Chile and are made available in Washington, DC from time to time.  This short list includes the wines of Louis-Antoine Luyt and Derek Mossman’s Garage Wine Co.  I must now include Leo Erazo’s Rogue Wine Co.  Leo Erazo is a winemaker and viticulturalist at Altos Las Hormigas in Argentina.  The Rogue Wine Co. is a young project with partner Justin Decker that focuses on making wine from the Itata Valley in Chile.

The Itata Valley has been home to vines since the 16th century.  Today there are still old dry-farmed, bush vines dating back over 60 years of age.  These vines are located on hillsides where the soils are primarily granitic.  At Rogue Wine Co., the wines are fermented with indigenous yeasts, only see old wood, a little sulphur, and are not acidity corrected.  What you get are complex aromas, black fruit, and crunchy acidity.  This is a fresh wine but I cannot help but suspect it will be more relaxed and open come winter time.  Be sure to try a bottle now but also squirrel away a few more for later.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.


2013 Rogue Vine, Super Itata Tinto, Itata Valley – $27
Imported by Brazos Wine Imports.  This wine is a blend of 33% Syrah, 33% Malbec, and 33% Carignan that was aged in old barriques.  Alcohol 13%.  There are complex aromas of smoke, tart black fruit, and vanilla.  In the mouth this fresh wine, bears similar black fruit with some wood notes and tangy grip.  The flavors are light yet expansive in the mouth.  The crunchy acidity is particularly attractive.  ***(*) Now – 2020.


Excellent 2008 Bründlmayer, 2008 Cayuse, and a few others

A few weeks ago I joined Lou for a game meat  (moose, rabbit, etc) dinner party at his house.  I took few pictures and even fewer notes but I did stop when I tasted the 2008 Weingut Bründlmayer, Kamptal Steinmassel Riesling.  Lou purchased this bottle a few years back when he was in Vienna.  Lucky me that he opened it. Bründlmayer produces this wine from a 4 hectare parcel in Steinmassel.  This area was originally a quarry and that stone nature clearly comes through in the wine.  This is really good stuff!


2008 Weingut Bründlmayer, Kamptal Steinmassel Riesling
This wine is 100% Riesling that was fermented in both stainless steel and large oak casks.  Alcohol 12%.  The nose is aromatic with fresh floral notes and a petrol hint.  In the mouth this vibrant wine begins with white fruit that morphs into petrol followed by a decidedly stoney finish.  There is richness to the wine but the flavors are dry with a citric, grippy finish.  This is on the upslope of maturity and will only get better.  **** Now – 2026.


There were other wines too.  A 2002 Robert Hunter, Brut Blanc de Noir, Sonoma Valley really hit the spot.  It is mature with the right amount of bubbles and brioche.  Others liked it as well for the bottle was rapidly drained.  The 2010 Palazzone, Orvieto Classico Superiore Campo del Guardiano is far more mature than the Bründlmayer.  The acidity is more piercing with flavors of orchard fruit, dried herbs, and lychees.  A solid wine in comparison.  We finally had a solid bottle of 1970 La Mission Haut Brion, Graves.  It was completely drinkable, not too far over the hill, but not worth writing any more about.

I really liked the 2009 Pascal Aufranc, Vieilles Vignes de 1939, Chenas.  It was four years ago that I last drank this and I now believe it is fully mature.  There is less strawberry and Kirsch flavor now.  It leans towards an autumnal spectrum with the tannins fully integrated.  We soon swung towards the modern spectrum with the 2011 Clos St Jean, Chateauneuf du Pape (16% ABV!) and 2008 Cayuse, God Only Knows, Walla Walla Valley.  Both wines were double-decanted for several hours.  The Clos St Jean showed rather well with plenty of grip and some complexity.  But it was the Cayuse which wowed me.  My best description is as if Chateau des Tours made wine in Walla Walla.  Ethereal yet backed by substance, complex with no assertive structure.  Great stuff.  There was a bottle of 2013 El Nido, Clio, Jumilla which I did not like at all.  Too modern, clean, and massive.  We wrapped the evening up with a bottle of 1986 Fetzer, Port, Mendocino County.  This actually bore a resemblance to a traditional Port.  It was a bit simple, short, and spirituous but the flavor profile was right.