Archive for March, 2018

Three fine values from Gigondas

All three 2015 Gigondas in this post are of fine value.  The 2015 Domaine  Le Clos des Cazaux, La Tour Sarrasine, Gigondas is well balanced all around with depth to the powdery fruit, notes of stone, and requisite structure for development.  And the price is low!  The 2015 Domaine Brusset, Tradition Le Grand Montmirail, Gigondas is classically firm and certainly requires age.  I particularly like the savory aspect and licorice note.  Finally, the 2015 Saint-Damien, Vieilles Vignes, Gigondas is impossible to resist for the earthy note already adds complexity to the blue fruit.  It even gets better with air!  You may grab these bottles from MacArthur Beverages.

2015 Domaine  Le Clos des Cazaux, La Tour Sarrasine, Gigondas – $24
Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils.  This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre sourced from vines averaging 50 years of age.  Alcohol 14.5%.  A brighter wine of powdery blue fruit that forms a rounded and dense core of flavor.  The wine moves on towards black fruit and stones with the structure and astringency coming out by the finish.  With air the powdery flavors persist and a slight chocolate note comes out in the finish.  Good value.  ***(*) Now – 2028.

2015 Domaine Brusset, Tradition Le Grand Montmirail, Gigondas – $
Imported by Simon N Cellars.  This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre, and 10% Cinsault fermented in vats and demi-muids.  Alcohol 13.5%.  With dry Christmas spices on the nose the flavors are cool and dense with black fruit and licorice.  It is a touch savory  with very fine, drying tannins.  It will benefit from a few years of age.  *** Now – 2025.

2015 Saint-Damien, Vieilles Vignes, Gigondas – $30
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvedre sourced from vines averaging 40 years of age which was fermented in concrete vats then aged in foudres.  Alcohol 15%.  A floral nose.  The firm start immediately offers some very fine structure as well as a good earthy flavor and blue, creamy fruit.  The finish sports dry baking spices.  The earth pervades underneath with clean yet firm fruit overlaying it.  With air this mouth filling and generous wine adds in potpourri and a little fat.  **** Now – 2028.

With good potential 2016 Domaine La Garrigue, Cuvee Romaine

In Washington, DC, we are about to transition from Spring back into Winter.  With cooler temperatures in mind I recommend the 2016 Domaine La Garrigue, Cuvee Romaine, Cotes du Rhone.  This vintage returns with the earthy, deep note which reveals itself after a good dose of air.  It is a bit tight right now, while you may enjoy it from a decanter it is best left until the fall.  I picked up this bottle at Pete’s of East Lake in Seattle.

2016 Domaine La Garrigue, Cuvee Romaine, Cotes du Rhone – ~$17
Imported by Eric Solomon. This wine is a blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah sourced from 60-90 year old vines. It was aged for 12 months in concrete tanks. Alcohol 14.5%.  Tasted over three nice this wine offers brambly fruit with fine yet ripe textured tannins that coat the gums from the start.  The acidity is fresh providing the life for this wine to develop over the next few years.  There is also that earthy, deep-note I enjoy in my favorite vintages of this wine.  *** Now – 2025.

The 2015 Foradori, Dolomiti is a must try

The 2015 Foradori, Teroldego, Dolomiti is a wine you must try if you are a fan of Foradori or curious about other varieties.  I have tried other vintages, though not written about, since I was first exposed to the 2009.  I can write that the 2015 is one of my favorites so go grab a bottle from MacArthur Beverages.

2015 Foradori, Teroldego, Dolomiti – $26
Imported by Louis/Dressner Imports.  This wine is 100% Teroldego sourced from 10 different parcels averaging 20-25 years of age which were fermented with indigenous yeasts in cement then aged in cement and old oak casks.  Alcohol 12.5%.  A menthol note on the nose.  There is a tart, bright start right before minerals come out and deeper flavors of red fruit and citrus in the middle.  Savory undertones carry through the ripe, textured finish, and slowly expanding aftertaste.  The wine is lively from acidity, clean in flavor, and quite fine with air.  It even develops more fruit weight.  ***(*) Now – 2021.

A pair of 2014 Blaufrankisch from Burgenland

The 2014 vintage in Austria was difficult and short but the robust and thick-skinned Blaufrankisch fared reasonably well.  This weekend Jenn and I tried a pair of Blaufrankisch from Burgenland.  The 2014 Prieler, Blaufrankisch, Johanneshohe, Burgenland is our favorite of the two.  An exuberant start brings dark fruit and with air, the wine shows good length.  This vintage resulted in the addition of declassified high-quality fruit for this wine and it makes this a good value.  The 2014 Steindorfer, Blaufrankisch Selection, Burgenland seems to be in an awkward phase.  The flavors are firm and austere but there is an attractive density and persistent coating of fat. I preferred it on the second night and suggest you hold off on drinking this until the next winter.  These two wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2014 Prieler, Blaufrankisch, Johanneshohe, Burgenland – $17
Imported by Skurnik Wines.  Alcohol 12%.  Very ripe and generous with fruit aromas.  In the mouth are dark, ripe red and black fruit flavors with a touch of lively acidity to keep it in balance.  In fact, the start is almost exuberant.  The dark fruit has a hint of wood/stem structure and with air the wine lengthens out.  *** Now – 2020.

2014 Steindorfer, Blaufrankisch Selection, Burgenland – $17
Imported by Select Wines.  This wine is 100% Blaufrankisch vinified in stainless steel then aged for 10 months in used barriques.  Alcohol 13%.  This is tart and clearly the more structured of the two wines.  The flavors lean towards the red spectrum but there is a surprising amount of density and fat.  With air the wine remains firm but takes on a roundness from the fat.  The flavors are of black fruit, graphite, and black pepper which I find appealing.  Though austere, it has a good finish.  In need of short-term aging.  **(*) 2019-2023.

A new mid-week wine: 2015 Altes, l’Estel

Various vintages of Herencia Altes, Garnatxa Negra have made for one of my mid-week drinking wines.  The 2015 Herencia Altes, l’Estel, Terra Alta can be added to this rotation.   Despite the warm vintage, this is a generally bright blend of grapes that will drink well over the next few years.  You may find it at MacArthur Beverages.

2015 Herencia Altes, l’Estel, Terra Alta – $16
Imported by Eric Solomon/European Cellars.  This wine is a blend of Carinyena, Garnatxa Negra, Garnatxa Peluda, and Syrah from 40-100 year old vines which was vinified and aged in a mixture of tanks, barrels, and foudres.   Alcohol 14.5%.  Flavors of bright red fruit and minerals bear ripe texture.  Focused citric acidity moved through the end where dry structure comes out.  With air flavors of sweet tarts develop as does cherry and a touch of cocoa.  *** Now – 2020.

The 2015 Durand, Les Coteaux, Saint-Joseph will develop well

Good values continue to be found from the 2015 vintage in Saint-Joseph.  The 2015 Domaine Durand, Les Coteaux, Saint-Joseph combines nothing but desirable elements: juicy fruit, fat, stones, and stuffing for development.  While appealing now it will be even better in a couple of years.  You should grab several of these bottles from MacArthur Beverages.

2015 Domaine Durand, Les Coteaux, Saint-Joseph – $25
Imported by Fruit of the Vine.  This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from 15-25 year old vines on granite hills which is matured for 12 months in both cement vats and barrels.  Alcohol 14%.  This is a focused yet round wine with baby fat, hints of smoke, and a juicy berry core.  Salivating acidity drives the flavors into the finish of minerals and stones which are matched by lifted flavors of black fruit.  Overall this is an appealing, slightly savory wine with the structure and stuffing for some development.  ***(*) Now – 2028.

Mature Rosso di Valtellina

But for the hints of fruit, you would be excused for thinking the 1999 Cantine Balgera, Rosso di Valtellina is an old, say 1960s, modest Nebbiolo from Alto Piemonte.  Priced at just over $1 per year, it could be fun to throw in as a ringer at a tasting of old wine.  You may find it at MacArthur Beverages.

1999 Cantine Balgera, Rosso di Valtellina – $24
Imported by Artisanal Cellars.  This wine is a blend of 80% Nebbiolo, 10% Pignola, and 10% Syrah. Alcohol 12%.  The nose smells of dusty books and old, dry leather.  In the mouth the leather returns with eucalyptus notes and vintage perfume delivered as a focused core of flavor.  There is weight up front with the wine dry from middle to finish.  After some air there is a hint of fruit indicating this is a “younger” wine.  ** Now but will last.