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Archive for July, 2018

A diverse wine selection at The Locke Store in Millwood, VA

The wines of Agrina from Croatia, Burlotto from Italy, and Historic Series Madeira from Portugal may all be found at The Locke Store in Millwood, Virginia.  I found myself in the small community of Millwood as we returned with our daughter from sleepaway camp the other week.  After eating fried chicken for lunch and ice cream for dessert, she was of course, in need of a snack.  The Locke Store was the closest store I could find so through the country road we drove.  What good luck for me as the wine selection is more akin to what I find in Washington, DC, some 60 miles away.

The Locke Store was built in 1836 but it is since 1844 that it has continuously operated as a store until this day.  In 2002, Juliet Mackay-Smith became proprietor, and under her eye a surprisingly diverse wine selection occupies a good portion of the store.  I grabbed several bottles from vintages I had yet to taste.  If you find yourself in the area, perhaps visiting the Burwell-Morgan Mill or Carter Hall, then be sure to store by the store to pick up some wine as well.

2016 Badenhorst Family Wines, Secateurs Vintage Red Wine – $19
Imported by Broadbent Selections.  This wine is a blend of 56% Shiraz, 27% Cinsault, 21% Grenache, and 1% Tinta Barocca.  Alcohol 13%.  The tart berries in the rounded start soon take on flavors of black tea and black fruit.  This is a drier wine but with a good vein of flavor.  Medium bodied with some supportive structure in the middle, this is a solid wine for drinking now.  ** Now – 2019.

2015 Frederick Brouca, Champs Pentus, Faugeres – $20
Imported by Elite Wines.  This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 30% Carignan.  Alcohol 13%.  Needs some air to come together and shake off a bit of yeast.  It is lively on the tongue, almost with spritz, which moves the wine into a vein of dry, mineral, black flavors.  There is a structure of very fine tannins, almost too powerful when first opened, which eventually balance out due to a developing core of round, cherry flavors upfront.  This should improve once the structure resolves. **(*) Now – 2023.

2015 Chateau Puech-Haut, Le Prestige, Saint-Drezery – $23
Imported by Eric Solomon/European Cellars.  A cuvee for Philipe Cambie and Eric Solomon.  Alcohol 15%.  A touch earthy with creamy blue fruit that drapes over the tongue due to the lower acidity start.  It transits to a mineral, black finish with a touch more acidity.  Notes of some sweet oak are at the end. This is satisfyingly flavorful wine with minimal tannins that is easy to drink now.  *** Now.

Famille Brunier’s (of Vieux Telegraphe) other flavorful wines

The Brunier family are famous for their wines of Vieux-Telegraphe in Chateauneuf du Pape and their project with Kermit Lynch, Les Pallieres in Gigondas.  They also produce other wines of which I recently tasted one from Ventoux and one from Vaucluse.  Both wines are made from hand-harvested fruit which was destemmed then raised in a combination of cement tanks and foudres.  Though both are largely Grenache based, they are distinct.  The 2016 Famille Brunier, le pigeuolet, Vaucluse is a wine to drink young with the tannins and acidity playing a supportive role to the red fruit and garrigue.  The 2016 Famille Brunier, Megaphone, Ventoux is to be drunk now and over the next several years.  The fruit is clearly more complex with a crispness and tension that brings you back.  I simply relish the flavor profile!  My recommendation is to spend the extra $4 to load up on the Megaphone.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2016 Famille Brunier, Megaphone, Ventoux – $22
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah.  Alcohol 14.5%.  Aromas of mulberry, red cranberry, and raspberry attract.  In the mouth are lively black cherry and tart red fruit flavors with drying tannins providing grip through the aftertaste.  There is good tension from the acidity.  With extended air there is another vein of crisp, red fruit and chalk at the end.  This is a young wine that, though open, will develop for a few years.  ***(*) Now – 2025.

2016 Famille Brunier, le pigeuolet, Vaucluse – $18
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Cinsault, and 5% Carignan.  Alcohol 14%.  Rounded red fruit, garrigue, some tartness, and just the right amount of acidity with minimal tannins.  The flavors always have a round edge before the tart structure and crunch acidity.  With air ripeness builds in the finish.  **(*) Now – 2021.

A fine value for the cellar: 2016 Maison la Berthaude, Tradition, CdP

Since Domaine Roger Perrin was founded in 1969, three generations have been involved in fashioning wines to this day.  The 2016 Maison la Berthaude, Cuvee Tradition, Chateauneuf du Pape was produced under second-generation Veronique Perrin-Rolin with help from her son Xavier Rolin.  This particular wine is a custom cuvee made for importer Craig Baker of Misa Imports.  For now, it is best drunk after spending a few hours in a decanter for this is a wine which will develop over the next several years.  The flavors of black fruit, minerals, and graphite are tasty but it is the quality of the crunchy acidity that I particularly like.  The 2016 vintage was stellar in Chateauneuf du Pape, priced at $30 per bottle this is surely a great value for the region.  You can pick up your bottles from MacArthur Beverages.

2016 Maison la Berthaude, Cuvee Tradition, Chateauneuf du Pape – $30
Imported by Misa Imports.  This wine is a blend of mostly Grenache with Syrah.  Alcohol 14.5%.  Black tinged and mineral fruit moves forward on crunchy acidity.  The flavors are bound with textured tannins that leave a pleasing presence on the gums.  This mid-weight wine is dry, becoming black fruited with graphite in the powerful finish.  It will reward cellaring.  **** Now – 2033.

Tenerife and Ribeira Sacra from Envinate

July 2, 2018 1 comment

There are some rather interesting wines produced by Envinte and of the most recent vintage I particularly like the 2016 Envinate, Lousas, Vinas de aldea, Ribeira Sacra.  It needs air to come into balance but then there is a tension between the high-toned, acidic flavors and the oily, ripe citrus fruit.  Cool stuff.  I could not coax the same complexity out of the 2016 Envinate, Taganan, Parcela Margalagua, Tenerife.  I often feel these Tenerife wines need short-term aging and that is my impression of this wine.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2016 Envinate, Taganan, Parcela Margalagua, Tenerife – $28
Imported by Llaurador Wines.  A field-blend of Listan Negro, Listan Prieto, Baboso, Negramoll, Malvasia Negra, and more from 100+ year old vines.  Alcohol 12.5%.  Brighter, lighter, tarter, with dry tangy middle and watering acidity.  Finishes with fresh tannic service.  Needs time.  ** 2020-2025.

2016 Envinate, Lousas, Vinas de aldea, Ribeira Sacra – $32
Imported by Llaurador Wines.  This wine is 100% Mencia sourced from 60 year old vines.  Alcohol 12.5%.  High-toned and yeasty flavors to start but by the middle a gentle ripeness spreads through the mouth with an old leather note by the finish.  The acidity is almost sharp but with air the oily, ripeness contains it, bringing balance to the orange citrus and dry floral flavors.  Needs some air to show best.  *** Now – 2020.