After a particularly unpleasing bottle of 2014 Louis-Antoine Luyt, Pais de Yumbel, a bit spritzy and high-toned as if it did not survive unsulphured transit, I was exceedingly pleased by a bottle of 2010 Clos Ouvert, Primavera, Secano, Valle de Maule. It was four years ago that Phil first introduced me to the wines of Louis-Antoine Luyt and indeed the first time I tried this vintage of Primavera. Those four years have transformed this into a complex, attractive, and engaging wine. My brother-in-law and I finished the bottle before we left the dinner table. Need I write more? This wine was available at MacArthur Beverages.
2010 Clos Ouvert, Primavera, Secano, Valle de Maule
Imported by Louis/Dressner. The nose is complex with aromas of leather and mulberry with bright berries breaking through. In the mouth the juicy acidity immediately carries cedar and leather notes. The wood box flavors complement the red and blue fruit evocative of a maturing Bordeaux. There are still very fine drying tannins in the finish which is also when the flavors become drier. It is like a hypothetical mash-up of a brighter, orange-citrus and red fruited claret. **** Now – 2020.
Revolver is the project of Leonardo Erazo who is the winemaker at Altos Los Hormigas. These wines were born from a series of microvinification experiments which took place in 2014. Both the 2014 Revolver, Chardonnay, Tupungato Valley and 2014 Revolver, Pinot Noir, Tupungato Valley are produced using vines located on limestone soils. They are made in small quantities with just over 50 cases of Chardonnay and nearly double that of Pinot Noir. The Chardonnay acts like a conjuring machine as the texture and flavor of the wine brought forth limestone in my mind. However, it is the Pinot Noir that captured my attention. You first notice the almost ethereal flavors of ripe cherry with the vineyard soil coming through as a sense of stones in the finish. This is my kind of “light” wine in that there is ripe fruit and weight without any sense of Pilsner beer or yeast. It also has just the right amount of salivating acidity. I recommend you try a bottle. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.
2014 Revolver, Chardonnay, Gualtallary Valley – $27
Imported by Brazos Wine Imports. Alcohol 13%. This is a zippy wine with a surprisingly round nature. The texture of the wine is quite apparent and matches the thoroughly infused flavor of stones. Clearly evocate of the limestone soil it also add in baking spice notes as well. This should be served cool not cold and allowed to breath. It still remains a bit tight. ** 2017-2019.
2014 Revolver, Pinot Noir, Gualtallary Valley – $27
Imported by Brazos Wine Imports. Alcohol 13.5%. There are delicate, yet filling flavors of cherries which become bright as salivating acidity carries the wine through the finish. There is a sense of ripeness but the wine has levity. I found the mineral finish and clear sense of stones in the aftertaste quite interesting. ***(*) Now – 2019.
Phil just scored a great deal on the 2013 M&S Ogier, La Rosine, Collines Rhodaniennes. I opened a bottle two nights ago and Lou did so last night. We both liked it. This is clearly a Northern Rhone syrah with floral and meat aromas that are echoed in a savory and fresh manner in the mouth. The wine drinks well right now but be sure to give it some air or double-decant it. I found it became more complex over the evening so I suspect it will be even better in a year or two. Priced at $20 you could make this Northern Rhone wine a daily drinker. That is usually an unthinkable proposition! This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.
2013 M&S Ogier, La Rosine, Collines Rhodaniennes – $20
Imported by Robert Kacher Selection. Alcohol 12.5%. With air the nose reminds me of violets and meat. In the mouth this clean, weighty wine first show floral and mineral infused fruit with almost zippy acidity. With air it starts to open up, revealing fat by the finish. In the end this wine offers a savory blend of herbs and floral infused flavors, good length, and black pepper notes in the gentle aftertaste. ***(*) Now – 2022.
The 2014 Domaine Frederic Brouca, Champs Pentus, Faugeres is not only a new wine for me but also for the market. Frederic and Elaine, his wife, only purchased their 25 acres of vines in 2012 with the first vintage in 2013. Press sheets state that the wines are produced using Burgundian philosophy with minimal use of sulphur. The fruit for this wine comes from vines planted on metamorphic and schist soils. The soils and winemaking seem to come through. What the wine clearly conveys is a sense of stone-laden soils. The low-sulphur lends some yeasty aromas and the early harvested fruit results in a fresher, less weighty wine. This is a tasty wine of personality at an attractive price. It opened up with air but I was left with the impression it was still tight. You might want to wait until the new year before drinking a bottle. This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.
2014 Domaine Frederic Brouca, Champs Pentus, Faugeres – $17
Imported by Elite Wines. This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 30% Mouvredge which was fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged for 10 months in stainless steel. It was raised with minimal sulphur. Alcohol 13%. This is a minerally wine with a little bit of yeasty perfume. In the mouth, the powdery flavors are driven by acidity with lifted, dry fruit, cinnamon spices, chocolate, and minerals. *** 2017-2020.
According to Mannie Berk, Duncan McBride’s General Instructions for the Choice of Wines and Spirituous Liquors (1793) is the first book in English to examine the wines of Côte-Rôtie. McBride writes that Côte-Rôtie “is a red wine, not so deep in colour as Claret. When it may happens to be of a good vintage, and that, by skilful treatment, it is brought to a proper maturity, it will be found a very wholesome wine.”
 (Carte de France levee par ordre du Roy). No. 88 (Saint-Etienne – Saint-Marcellin. 1767). Rumsey Collection. URL: http://www.davidrumsey.com/
 McBridge, Duncan. General Instructions for the Choice of Wines and Spirituous Liquors (1793). Fascimile edition reissued by The Rare Wine Co. 1993.
“[L]e vin a ete le sang de Montepellier; c’est de lui que la ville a vecu; c’est son cours qui donne sa temperature et qui reflete tres exactement sa sante” : Prices for the Wine of Montpellier 1636-1656
 “Cours du vin a Montpellier, per annuid.” Une Page De L’histoire du Vin de Montpellier. Album des vins de France. 1937. Bibliothèque nationale de France. URL: http://catalogue.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb33237022r
Lou and I gathered last night to taste through five different bottles of mature Bordeaux and California wine. Three of the wines turned out to be of interest. The 1974 Louis Martini, California Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon falls into that category of mature, yet very stable, classic California profile. It still has fruit, body, and some supporting structure. It will not knock you over but it is a good drink from a great vintage. The 1980 Beaulieu Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford, Napa Valley moves into the modern spectrum. This is also from a strong vintage which is reflected in the dark color and youthful robustness. If the Martini is mature, old-style Cali then the Beaulieu is clean, robust, and modern. Well-stored bottles will drink well for many years. The final bottle we opened turned out, as I hoped, to be the best. The first indicator of the potential for our bottle of 1979 Chateau l’Evangile, Pomerol was the long, legibly branded, clean cork. After tasting the wine I soon became fixated on the texture and the flavor. This round and weighty wine is infused with fat yet balanced by lively acidity. The mouthfeel is gorgeous. If you move beyond texture there is ripe fruit to be relished too. Lou likened this wine to old Burgundy which Robert Parker echoed years ago with a specific Chambolle-Musigny descriptor. It is a beautiful wine of which I made sure none of my share was left over by the time I went to bed.
1974 Louis Martini, California Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Alcohol 12.2%. Very top-shoulder, bottom neck fill. There is a sweet cedar/old wood nose that still retains that vintage Cali signature. The slightly round, red fruit has some body and modest grip. The middle is almost minty fresh followed by a slightly short finish. This gentle wine mixed old-style flavor with vintage perfume and modest aftertaste. The nose fades a bit with air but remains surprisingly stable in the mouth. *** Now but will last.
1980 Beaulieu Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford, Napa Valley
Alcohol 12.5%. Bottom-neck fill. This has a relatively deep garnet color. In the mouth are clean fruit, spices, and weighty citrus. The fruit becomes sweeter in the finish. This is a youthful, robust wine with good acidity, and ripe structure. A good, clean wine. *** Now – 2021.
1970 Chateau La Gay, Pomerol
Mid-shoulder fill. This is a simpler wine with tangy red fruit, livey acidity, and citric tannins on the gum. The finish is dry and mineral, leaving tannins on the gums. Definitely mature but still sports an ethereal sweet red and citric fruit in the aftertaste. Unfortunately, this is marred by a musky, dirty note. The cork smells musky too. Robert Parker writes that until 1982, the ancient barrels used to store the wine shared space with chickens and ducks. Hmmm. * Now.
1978 Chateau Gruaud Larose, Saint-Julien
Imported by Chateau & Estates Wine Company. Top-shoulder fill. It turns out the cork was floating in the wine. Lou took one sip, spit it out then dumped the bottle. Not Rated.
1979 Chateau l’Evangile, Pomerol
Shipped by Beylot & Co. Imported by Majestic Wine and Spirits Inc. Alcohol 12%. Very top shoulder fill. This is a round and weighty wine with subtle, dense hints of glycerin. The sweet and coating flavors quickly show good mineral structure. What is glycerin turns to be seductive fat which does not slow the wine down for there is lively acidity. It is quite lifted in the end. **** Now.