Archive

Archive for November, 2017

All about the mouthfeel: 1979 Produttori del Barbaresco, Barbaresco

November 10, 2017 Leave a comment

I continue my all Italian wine week with a mature bottle of 1979 Produttori del Barbaresco, Barbaresco.  This basic bottling of Produttori is made from fruit sourced from top vineyards.  It was traditionally fashioned with long maceration (up to two months!) and long aging in large botti.  The winemaking has ensured that this is a long-lived wine despite stemming from an uneven vintage.  The unevenness is reflected in the roasted, disappearing fruit nature, but the mouthfeel is almost amazing.  This is a round, weighty wine that builds weight with air, eventually exposing an attractive ripe texture. In the end a modest experience that makes me suspect the single-vineyard bottlings from this vintage are quite good. This bottle was purchased a few years ago from Chambers Street Wines.

1979 Produttori del Barbaresco, Barbaresco
Imported by T. Elenteny Imports.  A mature, tawny color with nose that never shook a roasted earth quality.  The wine built rounded body over the course of one hour in the decanter.  Ultimately, this is surprisingly round and weighty with cherry flavors, wood box notes, and a lovely ripe texture.  There is tangy citrus that morphs to ripe concentration still supported by structure.  The flavors are rather mature in this bottle with the roast note a distraction.  However, the body is entirely compelling.  Overall ** Now.

The all Cabernet Sauvigon 1990 Castello di Monsanto, Nemo

November 9, 2017 Leave a comment

I picked up the bottle of 1990 Castello di Monsanto, Nemo, Vino da Tavola di Toscana from WineBid as I was curious.  My interest lay in their Chianti but as I had never tasted a bottle of Nemo I gave it a go.  The 1990 Tuscan vintage is outstanding which is reflected in the fresh acidity and attractive grip of my bottle.  That said, the aging in wood is still noticeable and for my preference, the structure dominates the flavors in the finish so it might be best to drink this up.  Still, a solid experience.

1990 Castello di Monsanto, Nemo, Vino da Tavola di Toscana
Shipped by Allyn & Scott Wines.  Imported by Wine Cellars.  This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from the Il Mulino vineyard planted in 1976.  It was aged for 18 months in oak barrels.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The fleshes out with air revealing generally dry flavors of dark fruit, leather, some roast, and polished wood.  There is fresh acidity and dry tannins leading towards a bitter black finish.  There is still attractive grip.  *** Now – 2020.

For drinking now: 2013 Planeta, Dorilli, Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico

November 8, 2017 Leave a comment

The 2013 Planeta, Dorilli, Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico has benefited from a little bottle age for it is in an accessible state right now.  The wine was raised in oak so think of it as a more robust version of its namesake.  You may grab this good value at MacArthur Beverages.

2013 Planeta, Dorilli, Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico – $16
Imported by Palm Bay International.  This wine is a blend of 70% Nero d’Avola and 30% Frappato fermented in stainless steel then aged for 12 months in oak.  Alcohol ?%.  Aromas of damp soil and smoke are inviting. In the mouth are tangy red and black fruit, juicy acidity, and gentle structure.  There is an ethereal strawberry and cranberry fruit finish with tar and a return touch of smoke.  *** Now – 2020.

I try my first bottle of Fumin from Valle d’Aosta

November 7, 2017 Leave a comment

The 2014 Chateau Feuillet, Fumin, Valle d’Aosta is produced from relatively young vines grown in Valle d’Aosta located in the north-west corner of Italy.  As a point of reference Mont Blanc is on the French side of the border.  It appears there is not a large volume of Fumin based wines released.  I certainly had not tasted one before.  This bottle offers a nice balance between green pepper, tangy red fruit, and a mineral finish.  The later evoking the granite bedrock the vineyard is planted over.  For the curious types you can pick up a bottle at MacArthur Beverages.

2014 Chateau Feuillet, Fumin, Valle d’Aosta – $28
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 90% Fumin and 10% Syrah which was fermented in stainless steel then aged for 3-6 months in French oak barrels.  Alcohol 13%.  There are green pepper infused flavors of tangy red fruit which has both body and weight.  The fresh acidity moves the wine towards a slightly perfumed and mineral finish.  The wine is certainly fresh and salivating.  *** Now – 2020.

Excellent 2016 Barale Dolcetto and Barbera

November 6, 2017 Leave a comment

Founded in 1870, the estate of Barale Fratelli is still run by the Barale family.  It is an interesting estate in that  traditional methods are still employed, as in the aging of the Barolo crus in glass demijohns, as well employing the new technique of fermenting with a starter of indigenous yeast selected from the oldest Nebbiolo vines.

The pair of wines that I tasted are meant to be expressive of the varieties without requiring long aging.  I also found that both of these wines offer plenty of texture for you to enjoy.  The 2016 Barale Fratelli, Castle, Barbera d’Alba drinks the most forward straight from the bottle.  It combines both orange and old-school red flavors that I particularly like.  The 2016 Barale Fratelli, Le Rose, Dolcetto d’Alba managed to surprise me.  After one hour of air it went from showing focus to revealing savory, mouth filling flavors.  It is Dolcetto as I have never tasted in my limited experience.  The wine did oscillate so I suspect it will improve over the course of next year.  I recommend you try both of these wines which you may find at MacArthur Beverages.

2016 Barale Fratelli, Le Rose, Dolcetto d’Alba – $18
Imported by Williams Corner Wines.  This wine is 100% Dolcetto sourced from vines located between Barolo and Monforte.  The fruit was fermented in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts from the oldest Nebbiolo vines on the estate.  It is briefly aged in oak barrels to allow malolactic fermentation.  Alcohol 12.5 %.  A focused wine, not to be confused with firm, with savory flavors of black fruit and minerals.  It takes one hour to open up developing grapey texture and a perfumed finish.  This tangy wine has a very fine tannic structure  and watering acidity that borders on juicy.  The savory aspects kept me returning to the glass.  ***(*) Now – 2022.

2016 Barale Fratelli, Castle, Barbera d’Alba – $18
Imported by Williams Corner Wines.  This wine is 100% Barbera sourced from the Castellero and Preda vineyards. The fruit was fermented in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts from the oldest Nebbiolo vines on the estate.  Alcohol 14.5%. There are riper flavors of orange and some old-school red fruit.  With ripe orange citrus and pleasing textured tannins on the gum this wine has ample presence in the mouth.  There is moderate density to the flavors which morph from deep black through red in spectrum.  *** Now – 2021.

An epic Panos Bordeaux tasting: 16 vintages of Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 2016 – 1975

November 3, 2017 Leave a comment

 

On October 18, 2017, Panos Kakaviatos (wine-chronicles) hosted a tasting of 16 vintages of Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande from 2016 to 1975.  This tasting is the latest in a series of definitive events that Panos arranges for Washington, DC wine lovers.  Not only were all of the bottles direct from the chateau but Nicolas Glumineau, the director of Ch. Pichon Lalande, was guest of honor for our dinner.

Nicolas Glumineau, Director of Chateau Pichon Lalande.

The tasting took place at Taberna del Alarbardero with the help of sommelier Maria Ortiz.  The bottles were flown in by Mark Wessels of MacArthur Beverages except for the 2002 pair which were graciously donated by Randy McFarlane.  The evening took place in the large red private dining room where we first mingled with many different bottles of Champagne from Prevost, Pierre Peters, Cedric Bouchard, Pol Roger, and others.

The main tasting and dinner were seated.  Of all the vintages, I was particularly excited by the 1996, 2010, and 2014.  To me these three vintages stood out for their precision, balance, and purity of expression.  Of the older vintages the 1980s and 1970s drank well with the 1982 as the most complete experience.  I would also point out the 1978 vintage as an attractive, older style of wine.

Now I spent quite a bit of time talking, so think of my notes as general impressions.  They are presented in the order they were served.

FIRST COURSE
Lomo De Caballa Sobre Arroz Meloso De Pimientos Morrones
Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 2010-2009-2005-2003

2010 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
The scented nose soon offers floral and licorice-like aromas, eventually closing up. In the mouth is a tart start, close-grip at first with evident structure. There is a vein of black fruit and violets that moves through the wine. It is ultimately young and grapey at the core. Drier in the end with very fine structure and a good aftertaste. It has the balance to age. ****(*)

2009 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
It is assertive from the start with black fruit, structure and grip. There is less fruit compared to structure that emerges in the middle. I prefer the 2010. ***(*)

2005 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
It is similar to the 2010 with a young, lifted core of flavor. It is lighter in flavor yet mouth filling with grip and strength in the good, tart finish. ***(*)

2003 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
There is a rounded start of berry flavors, soon taking on powerful dark, red fruit. A fine, lifted aftertaste. **(*)

SECOND COURSE
Magret De Pato Con Toques De Naranja Con Pastel De Butternut Squash
Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 2002-2000-1996-1995

2002 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
This is better than expected with surprising fine texture. The dry black flavors are even racy in the middle. Drinking well right now. ***

2000 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
The nose offers lifted, greenhouse aromas but with a more mature profile. The mouth follows the nose with maturing fruit, a pleasing level of green pepper, and very fine grip. Elegant. ****

1996 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
Markedly different with fine, clean fruit aromas. Tangy red fruit greets the palate. It remains a core of focused fruit, very pure and controlled. The ripe, textured structure is still present for development yet it is resolving. Additional notes of greenhouse and pencil shavings add some complexity. ****

1995 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
Greenness and lightness on the nose. Ample texture in the mouth with almost chewy, dense black fruit. This is broader throughout but a very fine, drying structure supports the flavor. A bit of a smoke hint in the end. ***

THIRD COURSE
Kobe Beef Con Patatas, Zanahorias Y Chalotas Al Estilo Hasselback
Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 1989-1985-1982-1978-1975

1989 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
There is a fine focus and certain tang to the flavors which have a very fine texture. The wine is moved by watering acidity through a drier, lighter middle into a linear finish. Quite enjoyable. Less fruit weight than other vintages. ****

1985 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
A touch of plum combine with more advanced flavors that become tart towards the finish. An earthy aftertaste. A second bottle showed young with floral flavors and grip. So at best ****

1982 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
Cooler in profile with red fruit, graphite, and a citric grip that lean towards elegant. The wine grows with air developing attractive earth and maturity. ****(*)

1978 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
Greener, drier, and lighter with graphite and again that familiar texture. Has hints of being from an older period of winemaking. There is a green streak followed by cedar and old wood in the finish. It is chunkier than the 1975 yet still retains tension. ***(*)

1975 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
The wine still has grip. The watering acidity brings forward more red fruit and a citric structure that coats the gums. The core of fruit mixes with notes of old leather, greenhouse, and mature flavors. Drinking well. ***

CHEESE PLATE (CHEESES)
Puig Pedros (Vaca), Retorta Pascuales (Oveja), Manchego (1 Ano)
Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 2014-2016-2016

2014 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
There is fine, grapey depth coupled with both weight and density. Clearly balanced. Pencil shavings and floral perfume already add to the complexity. ****(*)

2015 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
Intense, grapey flavors are a bit rough with some heat. There are assert baking spices and some perfume.  Just bottled.

2016 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
Grapey blueberry fruit with fine texture and lip smacking tannins. Baking spices and spicy tannins.  Strong potential.  Barrel Sample.

DESSERT
Flan De Pistacho Sobre Flan De Caramelo Y Helado De Vanilla Beans
Sauternes

1997 Chateau Climens, Barsac
Very dark. Flawed.

2003 Chateau Suduiraut, Sauternes
A nose of grassy petrol then concentrated grapey flavors delivered in a grippy, textured manner.  A good combination of fruit, weight, and mouth feel.  ***(*)

2005 Chateau Climens, Barsac
There is lovely flavor, mouth filling, yet fresh and light with gentle ripeness.  ****

 

Recent Drinks

November 2, 2017 Leave a comment

After first trying a glass one year ago, I finally had the opportunity to visit the 2002 Robert Hunter, Brut de Noirs, Sonoma Valley over two nights.  With bits of yeast, toast, fruit, and baking spices this is a mature Californian sparkler  with plenty of life.  I might even venture that I preferred it on the second night.  My overall impression is that the 2010 Poggio all Guardia, Maremma Toscana is not yet ready to drink.  The meaty aromas, mature edge to the flavors, and old wood reveal bottle age but the wine is still firm and structured. Perhaps it is best drunk with food.  Finally,the 2015 Domaine La Manarine, Cotes du Rhone is another wine based on vineyards in Le Plan de Dieu.  There are attractive bright, grapey flavors but there is some distraction from bitterness in the black fruited finish.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2002 Robert Hunter, Brut de Noirs, Sonoma Valley
There is a light straw color and a nose of apples. In the mouth there is a strong start of bubbles and acidity on the tongue, the former of which soon dissipate into a froth. The wine has the slightest hint of attractive yeast and toast. There are structured flavors of white fruit and baking spices with a vein of acidity that cuts through. This is a robust, mature wine which still has moderate amounts of fruit making for an attractive drink right now. *** Now – 2022.

2010 Poggio all Guardia, Maremma Toscana
Imported by Vias Imports.  This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sangiovese.  Alcohol 14%.  A meaty nose! There is a mature edge to this robust wine.  Black fruit mixes with minerals and old wood and even some plum. There is a fine+ textured structure that will see this wine through many more years.  Good texture in the aftertaste.  A solid wine but will it come around?  **(*) Now – 2025.

2015 Domaine La Manarine, Cotes du Rhone – $15
Imported by Neal Rosenthal.  This wine is 100% Grenache sourced from vines averaging 35 years of age. The fruit was destemmed with elevage taking 20-24 months.  Alcohol 14%.  A spiced cinnamon nose.  Higher-toned in the mouth with grapey flavors, prominent acidity noticeable on the tongue.  There is fine grapey texture which lasts through the finish which is blacker and almost bitter.  **(*) Now – 2021.