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Archive for May, 2018

A most impressive Crozes-Hermitage, 2015 Jaboulet Thalabert

The 2015 Domaine Paul Jaboulet Aine, Domaine de Thalabert, Crozes-Hermitage  raises the bar for serious, age-worthy Crozes-Hermitage.  While it is full-bodied, smooth, and inky, it is also balanced, savory, and long in flavor.  It is quite drinkable now but I would wait a few years for it to open up and improve.  It is still available by the magnum at MacArthur Beverages.

2015 Domaine Paul Jaboulet Aine, Domaine de Thalabert, Crozes-Hermitage – $35
Alcohol 13.5%.  Full-bodied, smooth, inky, and savory are what first come to mind when tasting this perfectly balanced Crozes.  One of the most substantive I have yet to taste from this appellation, there are ripe flavors of blue and black fruit, salivating acidity, and some supportive oak tannins.  It wraps up with a long spiced aftertaste. The grapey notes speak to the appellation and primary state of the wine.  It will slowly develop for many years.   **** Now – 2035.

A pair of Cotes du Rhone

In retrospect, I can see how the 2016 Raymond Usseglio, Les Claux, Cotes du Rhone uses fruit from a site next to Lirac.  There is that firm structure yet there is enough fruit to support development over the next few years.  There is no need to hold back on the 2015 Domaine Alary, La Brunote, Cairanne.  This dark fruited, creamy wine has much to offer now but still manages to develop in the glass.  While it is a forward wine, it should be even better in a year or two.  You may find these wines at Weygandt-Wines.

 

2016 Raymond Usseglio, Les Claux, Cotes du Rhone – $20
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is an equal blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre sourced from a lieu dit next to Lirac.  Alcohol 14%.  Mixed berries, brambly fruit, fresh acidity, and citric tannins all merge together in this young wine.  There is brightness to the blue and black fruit with the flavors becoming even blacker with air.  The structure also comes out providing enough dry, framework for the fairly exuberant flavors.  *** Now – 2027.

2015 Domaine Alary, La Brunote, Cairanne – $20
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, and 10% Carignan raised in concrete.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There are creamy and rounded flavors of blue fruit in this modest bodied wine.  It soon reacts to air with the blue fruit complemented by stones, a smoke hint, and a supportive structure of promising tannins for development.  There is savory weight through the very mineral and black/graphite aftertaste.  ***(*) Now – 2024.

Four from Roussillion and Languedoc

Of the four wines featured in this post, I quite enjoyed the first three listed below.  My particular favorites are the 2015 Clos Marie, Cuvee L’Olivette, Languedoc and 2014 Jean-Louis Tribouley, Cuvee Mani, Cotes du Roussillon.  The Clos Marie is a fairly complex wine and the Tribuoley is surprising deep in flavor yet light and lithe at the same time.  The 2015 Domaine des Soulanes, Cuvee Jean Pull is flavorful and robust, for easy drinking.  You may pick them up at Weygandt Wines.

2015 Clos Marie, Cuvee L’Olivette, Languedoc – $20
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 10% Cinsault sourced from an average of 25 year old vines.  It was fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged in demi-muid and oak tanks.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There are brighter scents with a hint of yeast.  In the mouth this is a medium bodied, rounded and ripe wine with some luxurious fat.  It takes on an earthy incense, plums, and rosemary then finally wraps up with fine texture.  *** Now – 2022.

2015 Domaine des Soulanes, Cuvee Jean Pull – $17
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 25% Carignan, 20% Syrah, and 5% Mourvedre sourced from vines averaging 25 years of age.  It was fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged in used oak barrels.  Alcohol 14.5%.  A mouth filling wine with slightly textured black fruit and notes of Kirsch in the finish.  Perhaps a touch of brett matched by grapey tannins, and spices on the finish.  A lively, young and robust wine.  *** Now – 2023.

2014 Jean-Louis Tribouley, Cuvee Mani, Cotes du Roussillon – $20
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of two-thirds Grenache and one-third Syrah that was raised in concrete tanks.  Alcohol 13.5%.  An elegant wine, fresh and almost lifted in nature.  There are lithe, dark blue fruit convey deep flavor complemented by an earthy hint.  Minerals in the finish.  Good flavor.  *** Now – 2021.

2014 Le Bout du Monde, Cuvee L’echappee belle – $20
A Jenny & Francois Selection imported by USA Wine Imports.  This wine is a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Carignan which was fermented in fibreglass tanks then aged for 7  months in used barrels.  Alcohol 11%.  Light, bright, with pure acidity-driven fruit flavors.  A natural wine style which is not to my liking.  On the second day this smells exactly like buttered popcorn with flavors reminiscent of beer.  Not Rated.

Ethiopia and Mexico

My neighbor and his coworkers constantly travel all over the world.  They bring back wine from the countries they visit and from time to time they get together to share them.  This past weekend I met up them where I was surprised by the quality of the 2016 Castel Winery, Chardonnay, Cuvee Prestige, Rift Valley, Ethiopia.  Castel Winery was founded in 2007 by French billionaire Pierre Castel with 2012 first vintage produced from these Ethiopian vines.  Though the winemaking is still young at the winery, there is clearly expertise and investment behind this effort.  Tasted blind, I would have never thought this Ethiopian.  Whether there is a particularly terroir to be found in the glass, I do not know, but the curious will be tickled.  Across the globe to Mexico hailed the bottle of 2013 Vinicola Mundano, Syrah, Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico.  The savory nature and racy quality certainly impress but I was ultimately distracted by the overripe fruit flavors. An interesting evening!

2016 Castel Winery, Chardonnay, Cuvee Prestige, Rift Valley, Ethiopia
Alcohol 13%.  White fruit, some grip, and a toast note throughout.  A drier style but all is in balance with fresh acidity.  Carefully made, no faults at all.  ** Now – 2021.

2013 Vinicola Mundano, Syrah, Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico
Alcohol 13.5%.  The ample body takes on savory, mineral notes through the finish.  Almost racy with attractive mouth feel.  It would be rather impressive but the fruit has crossed into overripe territory reminding me of raisins. *(*) Now but will last.

A pair from Brouilly

My daughter’s Monday evening soccer practice is conveniently located near Weygandt Wines.  It is here that I picked up the bright and pure 2016 Pierre-Marie Chermette, Pierreux, Brouilly.  It acts as a good foil for the 2016 Daniel Bouland, Cuvee Melanie, Cotes de Brouilly.  While the Bouland has a bit more heft it also offers more complexity in an understated way.

2016 Pierre-Marie Chermette, Pierreux, Brouilly – $25
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is 100% Gamay from 30 year old vinces on granitic scree.  Alcohol 13%.  There are tangy berries followed by an interesting cranberry and raspberry middle.  This wine is about pure fruit flavors.  It also has a bright tilt.  *** Now – 2020.

2016 Daniel Bouland, Cuvee Melanie, Cotes de Brouilly – $26
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from 70 year old vines on volcanic blue schist.  Alcohol 13%.  An herbal hint on the nose is not repeated in the mouth.  Flavors of focused fruit are supported by a fine structure from the start.  The cool and tangy red and black fruit has good, moderate weight which pairs with the juicy acidity.  The wine becomes a touch drier in the finish.  This has an understated complexity to it.  ***(*) Now – 2023.