Archive for April, 2018

Pinot Noir from Irancy and Nahe

April 30, 2018 2 comments

The 2011 William Charriat, Irancy surprised me.  A bit herbal and firm upon opening, this wine really came into its own on the second night.  Initially released at five years of age, the Irancy wines of William Charriat are regarded for their ability to develop over a long time.  Traditionally made, the 2011 vintage shows best on the second night.  It is an interesting, highly drinkable wine.  The 2014 Weingut Sinss, Spatburgunder Trocken, Nahe is also good.  Aromatic, fresh, and while perfect for the warmer temperatures, it is also capable of aging for several years.  Grab these two wines if you want unique expressions of Pinot Noir.  They are available at Weygandt Wines.

2011 William Charriat, Irancy
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is 100% Pinot Noir that sees no new oak.  Alcohol 13%.  Initially, a rather herbal and vintage perfume infused nose.  With air the herbal quality recedes some.  On the second night there is some thickness to the flavors and structure intertwined with minerality.  Subtle flavors of black fruit come out becoming more interesting due to texture and fat.  It all wraps up with fresh lift.  *** Now – 2028.

2014 Weingut Sinss, Spatburgunder Trocken, Nahe
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is 100% Pinot Noir fermented with indigenous yeasts.  Alcohol 12.5%.  The light, cranberry-red color speaks of the lifted, varietal nose.  In the mouth are tart cranberry, citrus, and red fruit flavors with an acidity driven start and a bit of a mineral finish.  There is an edge or tension from the acidity that when coupled with the modest tannins, will see this wine through several years of age.  With further air the wine takes on more mineral flavors.  A pleasing wine for the summer.  *** Now – 2022.

A Spanish pair of Tempranillo

April 20, 2018 1 comment

Both of the wines in this post are made from Tempranillo yet one is from Ribera del Duero and the other from Rioja.  The 2015 Alfredo Maestro, Almate, Ribera del Duero is new wine for me and I am pleased to write it is well made and quite tasty.  The 2010 Sierra Cantabria, Rioja Reserva is the more serious of the two yet it is beautiful.  It is clear that 2010 is an excellent vintage  capable of developing for the next several years. These two wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2015 Alfredo Maestro, Almate, Ribera del Duero – $15
Imported by Llaurador Wines.  This wine is 100% Tempranillo sourced from vines at 700 and 1,000 meters of elevation that was fermented in stainless steel then aged for four months in neutral French oak.  Alcohol 14%.  Flavors of cool, juicy fruit are carried by watering acidity over a fine structure.  Quite tasty with a dry, graphite finish.  *** Now – 2023.

2010 Sierra Cantabria, Rioja Reserva – $24
Imported by The Country Vintner.  This wine is 100% Tempranillo aged 18 months in French and American oak barrels.  Alcohol 14%.  After a few hours of air this beautiful wine fills the mouth with powdery red and black fruit.  There is some cocoa and only a hint of sweetness to the flavors.  There is fresh acidity, but not out of balance for the flavor, spices, and dry baking spices in the gentle finish.  ***(*) Now – 2028.

Flavorful and elegant: 2015 Faury, Saint-Joseph

April 18, 2018 1 comment

The 2015 Lionel Faury, Saint Joseph captures the exuberance of the vintage but does so with finely scented aromas and elegant flavors.  While it shows good complexity now, it will be even better in a year or two.  Grab a bottle from MacArthur Beverages.

2015 Lionel Faury, Saint Joseph – $32
Imported by Kermit Lynch. Alcohol 13%. Finely scented with aromas of pure pepper and fat. Red and mineral with perfumed fruit in the middle this is an elegant wine yet conveys body and some fat. The elegance continues but so do the flavor which takes on evergreen, black pepper, and orange citrus by the finish. ***(*) Now – 2025.

A trio of Cotes du Rhone

Cotes du Rhone upon release is fun but it  also is with a few years of age.  The 2012 Domaine Alary, L’Estevenas, Cairanne  is still bright and lively but there are pleasingly mature flavors to be enjoyed right now.  Pure, grapey, and deep-fruited the 2015 Domaine Charvin, Le Poutet, Cotes du Rhone offers a good level of intensity.   The 2015 Saint-Damien, Vieilles Vignes, Plan de Dieu is another must-try wine.  I have recommended the wines of Plan de Dieu before.  If you still haven’t tried one then grab this bottle!  The Charvin was purchased at MacArthur Beverages.  The Alary and Saint-Damien were purchased at Weygandt-Wines.

2012 Domaine Alary, L’Estevenas, Cairanne – $20
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler. This wine is a blend of Grenache and Syrah.  Alcohol 14%. Black fruit on the nose. This is a bright wine of mulberry flavors which still sports grip. There is watering acidity, a mixture of grip and garrigue, and hints of structure in the end. Notes of maturity do come out but the wine is still lively at the start. *** Now – 2023.

2015 Domaine Charvin, Le Poutet, Cotes du Rhone – $20
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler. This wine is a blend of 81% Grenache, 7% Mourvedre, 7% Syrah, and 5% Carignan.  Alcohol 14%. This is a pure, grapey and deep fruited wine very much in the Charvin style. The middle is perfumed and mineral, eventually take on floral notes. There is just a touch of heat giving away the vintage. *** Now – 2023.


2015 Saint-Damien, Vieilles Vignes, Plan de Dieu – $17
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler. This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvedre.  Alcohol 14.5%. Kirsch on the nose. There is a bright, clean start which soon builds midpalate depth to the red fruit. There are additional flavors of dense black fruit and minerals by the end. There are tons of flavor to which bramble and red meat add complexity. This enjoyable in this youthful, modestly structured state. *** Now – 2025.

A trio of Vacqueyras

April 16, 2018 1 comment

When I cannot drink Chateauneuf du Pape I will drank Vacqueyras which is the focus of this post. Of the three wines tasted, the 2015 Domaine La Garrigue, Vacqueyras and the 2014 Domaine le Sang des Cailloux, Cuvee Doucinello, Vacqueyras are in need of some age. The La Garrigue is the more closed of the two but some earthy complexity is present. The Cailloux adds garrigue to the earth for good effect.  The 2015 Vignoble Alain Ignace, Sumbiosis, Vacqueyras is a new wine for me.  It has the flavors I have come to love which are delivered in a lively manner making it drink well right now.   The Garrigue and Cailloux are available at MacArthur Beverages.  The Ignace is available at Weygandt Wines.

2015 Domaine La Garrigue, Vacqueyras – $22
An Eric Solomon/European Cellars Selection. This wine is a blend of mostly  Grenache with Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cinsault.  Alcohol 14.5%. A pure wine with focused flavors that only take on a subtle earth note near the end. The structure is not noticeable until the finish where there infinitely fine tannins serve to dry the gums. It does develop bright red berries. Overall a bit closed so sit on it for a year or two. *** 2019-2025.

2015 Vignoble Alain Ignace, Sumbiosis, Vacqueyras – $21
Imported by Wygandt – Metzler. This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 40% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah, and 10% Cinsault.  Alcohol 14%. Aromas of bramble fruit and garrigue entice. In the mouth, delicate red berries match a citrus flavor in this medium bodied wine. There is a little rusticity to the start, moderate density, and watering acidity which moves the flavors to the drier finish of baking spices. Lively and light on its feet. *** Now – 2024.

2014 Domaine le Sang des Cailloux, Cuvee Doucinello, Vacqueyras – $25
Imported by Kermit Lynch. This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre & Cinsault.  Alcohol 14%. Slightly pungent on the nose. A round yet bright entry of red fruit is soon a touch earthy with water acidity and modest, supporting structure. There is garrigue and baking spice notes in the finish which matches the texture. Good now but need some age to open up. ***(*) 2019 – 2028.

A blind tasting of 2014 Bordeaux

Several weeks ago I was a guest of Phil’s tasting group for a blind event featuring featuring seven wines.  I will admit to being confused.  I thought some wines from Bolgheri, others certainly from Bordeaux, and I was sure one was Barbera! Six of the wines were Bordeaux and what I thought was Barbera turned out to be from California.  All wines were from the 2014 vintage which I did not guess.

When we sat down to taste the wines they had the corks removed just one hour prior.  The naturally forward wines showed the best but the subsequently decanted Pichon Baron improved greatly.  In all fairness, I heard that the Clinet improved greatly after three days.  If in doubt hold on to your 2014s!

My favorites include the 2014 Chateau Les Carmes de Haut-Brion, Pessac-Leognan, undoubtedly the best value of all wines tasted but also my type of wine, and even the forward 2014 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, Pessac-Leognan.  The best wine for long-term development is the 2014 Chateau Pichon Baron, Pauillac.  There are interesting flavors here but the balance and stuffing will see it evolve into something quite engaging.

Please find my notes below in the order the wines were tasted.  If my ratings seem conservative just remember these wines are young!  Many thanks to Phil for including me.

2014 Chateau La Gaffeliere, Saint- Emillion – $55
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. This wine is a blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc. Alcohol 14.5%. Still young in color with dark aromas of mulberries. In the mouth black fruit, cherries, and good acidity are still structured. The fresh finish brings powerful tannins. With air the fruit takes on a cool aspect but is sappy and chewy with a graphite note. Will certainly improve with age.  ***(*) 2020-2035.

2014 Chateau Pichon Baron, Pauillac – $99
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.   This wine is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot.  Alcohol 13.5%. The nose remained tighter. An almost puckering start with wood flavors and a tart finish on the tongue. The tannins are fairly unresolved grabbing the gums but there is an interesting blend of fruit and flavors. After decanting the fruit balanced out the structure revealing good harmony and flavor.  **** 2023-2038.

2014 Chateau Giscours, Margaux – $59
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. This wine is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon. 32% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Petit Verdot. Alcohol 13.5%. Tight, somewhat aromatic but unevolved. In the mouth are focused and tight flavors of black fruit. The wine is fresh but also very young with structure and acidity reminiscent of Bordeaux. It takes on hints of fat in the finish, some greenhouse, and is clearly built to age. ***(*) 2023-2035.

2014 Chateau Les Carmes de Haut-Brion, Pessac-Leognan – $65
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. This is a blend of 54 % Cabernet Franc, 32 % Merlot, and 14 % Cabernet Sauvignon.  Alcohol 13.5%. A little more on the nose perhaps some meat. There is more immediate fruit weight compared to structure. This is a dense wine with gum coating, rather than drying, tannins. The watering acidity is integrated with the structure. This wine is young but in balance with a hint of fruit in the end along with baking spices. **** Now – 2028.

2014 Ridge, Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate – $54
This wine is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvingon, 14% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, and 5% Cabernet Franc sourced from the Monte Bello Vineyard. Alcohol 13.7%. A good nose of black fruit and violets but the aromas are almost raisinated. There is a riper core of dark and ripe fruit, quite the structure but the brambly fruit perseveres. It has a soft edge and notes of sweet oak. Reminded me of Barbera!  *** Now – 2026.

2014 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, Pessac-Leognan – $75
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. This wine is a blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot.  Alcohol 14%. There is depth to the nose. In the mouth, ripe fruit, black and violet, exists in a structure but there is more good fruit to the balance. It is a good modern wine, will be ready sooner, with nice weight that marks the structure as supportive. It opens up well, is the most forward, and even offers a mineral finish. **** Now – 2030.

2014 Chateau Clinet, Pomerol – $69
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  This wine is a blend of 90% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 1% Cabernet Franc.  Alcohol 13.5%. This is a finely flavored wine, cool in flavor, structured, and focused. It did not give up much. *** 2021- 2031.

New arrivals from Domaine La Boussiere

You will be well-served if you stock up on the latest released from Domaine La Boussiere. They are classically robust wines yet there is plenty of deep fruit and lively acidity which makes them attractive right now. For current and future drinking grab the 2015 Domaine La Boussiere, Vacqueyras. This is a fine value which should drink well throughout its life. The 2015 Domaine La Boussiere, Gigondas is properly the more structured of the two and will benefit the most from age. It is best revisited a few years down the road. You may find both at MacArthur Beverages.

2015 Domaine La Boussiere, Vacqueyras – $27
Imported by Dionysos Imports. This wine is a blend of 50% Syrah, 42% Grenache, and 8% Mourvedre.  Alcohol 14.5%. Quite aromatic with fruit and floral notes. There is youthfully robust fruit which comes across as clean in flavor. The wine is mineral with ripe texture and a fat infused finish which eventually reveals the structure. Plenty of attractive, hard to resist flavor. ***(*) Now – 2028.

2015 Domaine La Boussiere, Gigondas – $30
Imported by Dionysos Imports. This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, and 30% Syrah sourced from 51 year old vines.  Alcohol 14.5%. A robust wine with blue and red fruit, lively acidity, and a mixture of minerals and baking spices before the finish. The structure is briefly noticeable before returning as it dries the gums throughout the long aftertaste. With air the wine rounds out becoming savory with blue and black fruits. Will reward a few years of age. ***(*) 2020 – 2030.

Busy with research

Madeira. Funchal from the East. c. 1860. ONB [1]

I apologize for the long silence but I have spent the last few weeks deep in Madeira research.  I hope to return to my regular posting within a week.  Until this enjoy this image of Funchal, Madeira from the east.

[1] Madeira. Funchal from the east. c 1860. ÖNB Map Collection and Globe Museum. URL: