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A pair of Chateauneuf du Pape

February 8, 2017 Leave a comment

The 2013 Jean-Luc Colombo, Les Bartavelles, Chateauneuf du Pape is available at a close-out price placing it just above that of Cotes du Rhone.  If you enjoy a modern style of wine this is an excellent value with grapey, black fruit flavors, texture, and salivating acidity.  It will drink well for a number of years.  It is available at MacArthur Beverages.

Domaine Pierre Andre is regarded as a “very traditional producer” by John Livingstone-Learmonth.  Pierre Andre did not use pesticides or herbicides in his vineyards which contain vines over 100 years of age.  He produced organic wines since 1980 and Demeter certified since 1992.  Today his daughter Jacqueline Andre runs the estate who continues the use of cement vats and old wood.  Her father had a preference for late harvesting which comes through in the 1998 Domaine Pierre Andre, Chateauneuf du Pape.  The nose is complex with fruit and in the mouth I am reminded of dry Port flavors.  This is a substantial wine but it tastes good with a good sense of minerals, cedar, and pleasing texture.

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2013 Jean-Luc Colombo, Les Bartavelles, Chateauneuf du Pape – $22
Imported by Palm Bay International.  This wine is a blend of 45% Syrah, 35% Grenache, and 20% Mourvedre.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This is a modern style of wine with concentrated flavors of grapey, black fruit delivered with some grainy texture, density, and weight.  It is bright in a sense with citric, puckering tannins, and a salivating black flavored finish with a hint of bitterness.  *** Now – 2022.

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1998 Domaine Pierre Andre, Chateauneuf du Pape
Imported by Lauver Imports LTD.  Alcohol 15%.  The nose reveals blackberry and bramble fruitiness overlaying compote.  In the mouth there are clean, grainy flavors of black fruit followed by a mineral middle and finish.  The flavors are ripe, bordering on raisined, perhaps better described as a dry Port flavor.  It is a bit heady but the wood box and cedar note, sense of density, and ripe tannins left on the gums are attractive.  ***(*) Now – 2022.

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A Californian quartet

February 7, 2017 Leave a comment

Between work, family, wine research, and the new turntable I am short on free time.  Thus over the past month I have generally drunk inexpensive French and Italian wine for I need not take down any notes.  I have peppered these same weeks with a handful of younger bottles from California.  One recent release is the 2013 Coquerel Family Wines, Le Terroir, Chardonnay, Oakville Block A, Napa Valley.  This bottle showed very well after a few hours of air as well as on the second night.  It is a style of wine that has not swung too far in either direction, providing balanced white fruit flavors with both lovely mouthfeel and tautness.

I have never tasted the 2009 Ridge, Lytton Springs, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County since release.  I was surprised by the amount of flavor packed in and the lack of evolution.  It is quite tasty but should be cellared further to open up.  I suppose, in retrospect, I can understand why Lou and I enjoy decades old bottles of Ridge.  The 2005 Karl Lawrence, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley is a solid wine full of black fruit and graphite.  It is supple and tasty, just not as exciting as I hoped at this stage.  Finally, there is the gigantic 1997 Williams Selyem, Pinot Noir, Olivet Lane Vineyard, Russian River Valley which caught me off guard.  Ripe, dark, and alcoholic it is simply not my type of wine.

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2013 Coquerel Family Wines, Le Terroir, Chardonnay, Oakville Block A, Napa Valley – $30
This was fermented in 25% oak barrels with the remaining in stainless steel after which is was aged 7 months sue lie.  Alcohol 14%. With a bit of warmth and air this is an attractive wine of white fruit with a pleasing body of glycerin and nut flavors.  The tautness of the wine builds as the acidity becomes more noticeable, simultaneously evolving a finely textured, ripe grip.  ***(*) Now – 2020.

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2009 Ridge, Lytton Springs, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County
This wine is a blend of 71% Zinfandel, 23% Petite Sirah, and 6% Carignane.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This is both surprisingly unevolved and packing a tremendous level of flavor.  It is a richly textured, dense wine of dark fruit that may not have any hard edges but does have structure for significant aging.  Given the level of stuffing I would wait another five years to try again.  **** Now – 2027.

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2005 Karl Lawrence, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Alcohol 14.2%.  The nose remained subtle and the flavors of graphite-infused black fruit remained gentle.  This is a low-lying, almost laid back wine.  It remains very black in terms of flavor with inky hints and eventually develops some additional complexity from a wood box flavor.  There is some texture but it is generally supple with low-acidity.  Solid.  *** Now.

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1997 Williams Selyem, Pinot Noir, Olivet Lane Vineyard, Russian River Valley
Alcohol 14.9%.  This is a thick, dark flavored, very ripe wine of body and scope which seems to defy the varietal.  It was heady with noticeable heat in the finish that I found too distracting. Not my style.  Not Rated.

A deep flavored 2003 Castello Monsanto, Nemo

February 5, 2017 Leave a comment

I was looking around for older bottles of Chianti wine when I was sidetracked by a few vintages of Castello Monsanto’s Super Tuscan wine Nemo.  I randomly decided to open a bottle Friday night so I opted for the 2003 Castello Monsanto, Nemo Il Mulino, Tuscany which is the youngest I have.  There is a lovely nose of blue and black fruit which is matched by deep, balanced flavor in the mouth.  It is more flavorful than complex with the sensation that bottle age has made it the wine accessible.  As such, it is a very satisfying Cabernet Sauvignon from Tuscany.

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2003 Castello Monsanto, Nemo Il Mulino, Tuscany
Imported by MW Imports.  This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon fermented in stainless steel then aged for 18 months in oak.  Alcohol 14%.  This is a deep, earthy wine of blue and black fruit.  At this age the wine is still has some fresh structure and grip which provides a pleasing amount of texture.  More importantly the good, deep flavor is hard to resist.  ***(*) Now – 2027.

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A balanced bottle of 1983 Gould Campbell

February 1, 2017 2 comments

Just a quick post for today.  The 1983 Gould Campbell, Vintage Port is in fine shape.  It has shed any aggressiveness of youth and is now in that middle age of smoothness.  The primary blue fruit is surrounded by bottle aged flavor which last through the respectably long finish.   The sweetness is in balance making this an easy Vintage Port to drink.

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1983 Gould Campbell, Vintage Port
Imported by Premium Port Wines.  Alcohol 20%.  This is an attractive wine which tastes best after several hours of air.  It has dense flavors of blue fruit, ripe spices, fine wood, and moderate sweetness.  It is smooth and balanced throughout with a sense of elegance.  ***(*) Now – 2037.

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