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Tasting Champagne and Beaujolais with Charles Gendrot of Williams Corner Wine

January 13, 2014 Leave a comment

A little over two months ago Charles Gendrot of Williams Corner Wine brought a selection of Champagne and Beaujolais to taste at MacArthur Beverages.  Charles always brings interesting wines to taste and through the years I have come to purchase any bottle with Williams Corner on the label.  I must admit the Champagne of Larmandier-Bernier were top-notch!   Last week I drank a bottle of the 2010 Bruno Debize, Morgon so I will follow up this post with a specific tasting note.

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NV Francois Diligent, Brut, Champagne
Imported by Williams Corner Wines.  This wine is 100% Pinot Noir.  There was riper white fruit on the nose with hints of fresh apple and a little spice.  In the mouth were ripe ripe yellow fruit, spices, and more fruit.  There were soft, fresh bubbles which became a nicely spiced mousse.  Good grip, nice.

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NV Charles Dufour, Bulles de Comptoir, Extra Brut #2, Champagne
Imported by Williams Corner Wines.  This wine is a blend of 55% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay, and 10% Pinot Blanc primarily from the 2007 and 2008 vintages.  Sulphur free and low-dosage.  The aromas of apple-like fruit stepped out of the glass.  In the mouth were fine, more aggressive bubbles.  The flavors were a little tangy, acidity driven, with some yeasty old-school notes.  It finishes with tangy apple flavors and was rather dry.

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NV Laherte Freres, Ultradition, Grand Brut, Champagne
Imported by Williams Corner Wines. Alcohol 12%.  This wine is a blend of 60% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay, and 10% Pinot Noir blended from two or three vintages  making it 40% reserve.  The nose was yeasty and meaty.  In the mouth were aggressively bursting soft bubbles which immediately turned into a nice mousse.  There was good acidity which mixed with the creamy mousse.  Easy to drink.

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NV Laherte Freres, Ultradition, Rose, Champagne
Imported by Williams Corner Wines. Alcohol 12%.  This wine is a blend of 50% Pinot Meunier, 30% Pinot Noir, and 10% Chardonnay added to 12-5% of red wine from Pinot Meunier.  The nose was a little yeasty with red fruit.  The flavors were forward with strength and moderate bubbles.  The good flavors were a little mature with an earthy component.

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NV Laherte Freres, Blanc de Blancs Brut, Le Pierre de la Justice, Premier Cru, Champagne
Imported by Williams Corner Wines.  This wine is 100% Chardonnay.  Alcohol 12%.  The nose mixed aromas of yeast and apples.  In the mouth was an intense mouthful of mousse and fruit.  The bubbles dissipated immediately to reveal fresh and haunting flavors of yeast balanced by acidity in the end.

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2005 Laherte Freres, Millesime, Extra Brut, Champagne
Imported by Williams Corner Wine. Alcohol 12%.  This wine is 85% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Meunier.  The nose was winey and scented at first with honey.  In the mouth were ripe, concentrated fruit, followed by apples in the drying finish.  This was more like a wine with its very fine mousse.  It was amongst the driest.

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NV Larmandier-Bernier, Longitude, Premier Cru, Champagne
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is 100% Chardonnay which is a blend of the 2007 and 2008 vintages.  There were serious flavors of ripe fruit and a perfumed middle.  There was a firm mousse and a firmer finish with spices.  The aftertaste was tangy.  A serious wine, young, but very good.

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2008 Larmandier-Bernier, Terre de Vertus, Premier Cru, Champagne
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is 100% Chardonnay from the parcels Les Barilles and Les Faucherets.   was disgorged in June 2013.   There was serious grip from the start with drying fruit and acidity on the lips.  The acidity became piercing with chalky texture on the gums.

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2006 Larmandier-Bernier, Vieille Vigne de Cramant, Grand Cru, Champagne
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from vines 48-75+ years of age.  The apple-like nose made wine to a fine balance all around.  There were good bubbles and mousse, good texture, and an attractive personality.  Nice wine.

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2010 Bruno Debize, Au Bal Jean-Paul, Beaujolais
Imported by Williams Corner Wines.  There was earthy, cherry fruit revealed by the attractive nose.  There was a juicy start with some old-school perfume.  There light fruit was matched by watering acidity then cool, black fruit in the finish.  It was a little tart.

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2011 Bruno Debize, L’Homme a la Veste, Beaujolais
Imported by Williams Corner Wines.  There were dark cherries, grandma perfume, and earthy aromas.  In the mouth were perfumed flavors of cherry which were outgoing.  Everything was integrated.  The finish was drier.

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2010 Bruno Debize, Les Combertiers, Beaujolais
Imported by Williams Corner Wines.  This nose was more berry-licious.  There was good fruit in the mouth, red, black, and cherry.  There was some dryness, slight weight, firm stones, and acidity.  Needs a few months of age.

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2010 Bruno Debize, Morgon
Imported by Williams Corner Wines.  The nose was subtle with mixed berries.  In the mouth were perfumed fruit flavors which were serious and darker.  This will clearly age with its moderate drying structure.  Nice.

Tasting Wine At MacArthur Beverages with Charles of Williams Corner Wine

June 7, 2013 1 comment

Yesterday I took some time off from work to meet Charles Gendrot of Williams Corner Wine at MacArthur Beverages.  He had arranged with Phil to pour a number of samples.  I knew we would taste the 2010 Domaine du Banneret, Chateauneuf du Pape but I did not realize he had almost a case of wine stashed in his black bag.  Williams Corner Wine not only distributes a subset from Louis/Dressner Selections but they also import an interesting variety of wines from France, Italy, and Spain.  A quick search of this blog gives an insight into this diversity (results of search for “Williams Corner”).  The four white wines were fun to taste with the Chateau du Coing de Saint-Fiacre showing good texture, the Eric Texier very bright and fresh, the Tami showing well with persistent flavors, and the Zidarich unique.  If you want an introduction to a different type of white wine than try the Tami and Zidarich.  Of the red wines the recently bottled Fatalone is a great choice when served chilled on a humid Washington, DC evening.  The recently arrived 2011 Bernard Baudry was showing quite well but the 2010 Domaine des Banneret stole the show.  It is a young wine which will develop.  Right now it has finesse and invites you to keep returning to the glass.  Once the 2010 hits the shelves I shall taste it alongside the 2009.  Please find my brief notes below.

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2007 Chateau du Coing de Saint-Fiacre, L’Ancestrale, Muscadet Sevre et Maine –
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This fruit for this wine is sourced from 60-80 year old vines, is fermented in concrete without temperature control then spends four to five years on the lees without stirring.  Alcohol 12.5%.  There was a fruity, textured nose.  The flavors were a little ripe in the mouth showing more focus.  The flavors became drier with some tannins coming out and integrating with the acidity.  There were apple-like tart white fruit flavors, a hint of lees in the finish, and good texture.

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2012 Eric Texier, Blanc, Cotes du Rhone –
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  This wine is mostly Grenache Blanc.  Alcohol 12%.  The nose was aromatic with berries then tropical and floral fruit.  In the mouth there was bright, focused floral white fruit, drier flavors, and a fresh personality.  It was stone-like in nature.

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2011 Tami, Grillo, Sicily –
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  Alcohol 12.5%.  There was a waxy, almost nutty note which was clearly different.  In the mouth there was fresh, bright, waxy white fruit which followed the nose.  There was some density to the flavors, acidity, and a good persistent aftertaste.  Enjoyable.

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2010 Zidarich, Vitovska, Venezia Giulia –
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is 100% Vitovska sourced from vines 6-30 years of age.  The fruit was destemmed then fermented in open vats without temperature control using indigenous yeasts.  It was then aged for two years in medium and large Slavonian oak barrels.  Alcohol 12%.  This orange wine had a different aromatic nose of potpourri.  The mouth followed the nose with clean and dry fruit, dried floral flavors, stones, perfume, and lots of texture.  Not extreme in any manner.

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2012 Fatalone, Teres, Primitivo, Puglia –
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  Alcohol 13%.  The color was a very light cranberry.  The nose bore bright berries.  In the mouth the wine was much light with crisp flavors of cranberry and raspberry with an earthy touch.  It maintained crispness leaving a very fine, grapey impression on the lips and in the mouth.  Quite young in nature.  Works well when cool.

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2011 Klein, Pinot Noir, St-Hippolyte, Alsace –
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  The nose was finely textured with red fruit. In the mouth there were firm flavors of red and earthy fruit presented in a more austere manner.  Might need a little time to open up.

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2012 Jean-Paul Brun, Domaine des Terres Dorees, L’Ancien, Vieilles Vignes, Beaujolais –
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  Alcohol 12%.  The light nose bore pepper aromas along with firm red and blue fruit.  In the mouth there was almost tart flavors of grapey red fruit followed by some firm black fruit.  It was a little juicy, tart, and had acidity.  The finish was puckering with a citric personality which matched the emerging structure.  Give it a few months in the cellar.

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2011 Domaine Bernard Baudry, “Domaine”, Chinon –
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  There was a good nose of old perfume.  The flavors were both fruity and ethereal with old perfume mixing with red and black fruit.  It had a lighter personality but maintained a chewy concentration.  Showing quite well even compared to 2010.

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2010 Domaine du Banneret, Chateauneuf du Pape –
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre with some vines 80+ years old.  It  fermented in small tanks then aged for 16 months in barrels and oak ovals.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose was interesting, expressive, light but engaging.  In the mouth there was finesse with slowly building flavors, black fruit, fresh acidity, and mild ripeness.  I agree with the old-school comment.  This is a young, different wine which I will clearly taste again once it is at the store.

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2010 La Stoppa, Trebbiolo Rosso, Emilia Rosso –
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  Alcohol 13%.  There was a bretty nose of red and black fruit.  In the mouth there was a ripe hit of flavors then spritz on the tongue.  The ripe, grippy flavors creep up.

Kakfrankos from Peter Wetzer

February 27, 2019 Leave a comment

I find it hard to believe I last tasted the wines of Peter Wetzer of Hungary nearly seven years ago.  At the time, I tasted the 2009 Kekfrankos or Blaufrankisch.  John (MacArthur Beverages) just brought in two newer vintages of Kekfrankos.  The 2012 Peter Wetzer, Kekfrankos Spern Steiner Sopron is from the top Spern Steiner area.  It reveals a bit more age in color but in the mouth the core of fruit is still developing complexity while maintaining a fresh, citric grip.  There is fine density to it.  Even more fresh and crisp is the 2015 Peter Wetzer, Kekfrankos Beldes Sopron.  This reveals more fruit weight yet keeps a zippy edge throughout.  While I have a slight preference for the 2012, I it is more interesting to taste the two vintages side by side.

2012 Peter Wetzer, Kekfrankos Spern Steiner Sopron – $25
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is 100% Kekfrankos fermented in open vats then aged on the lees in used barrels.  Alcohol 13%.  The cherry, garnet color reflects the bottle age.  A fine nose of black pepper and herbaceous hints.  In the mouth are rounded flavors with some density to them.  There is some complexity surrounding the core of berry fruit which is carried by watering acidity.  With air, this dry wine develops hard flavors of cherry and strawberry.  The structure leaves citric grip on the gums.  *** Now – 2024.

2015 Peter Wetzer, Kekfrankos Beldes Sopron – $25
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.Alcohol 13.5%.  A cranberry, grapey color.  In the mouth this is a lively wine, almost with spritz on the tongue, which matches the tart, red flavors and fine grapey tannins.  It has youthful heft.  With air the zippy edge remains, perhaps more of a citric edge, red and black fruits come into focus along with ground stones.  Fresh.  **(*) Now – 2023.

A hearty 2007 Calabretta, Nerello Mascalese Vigne Vecchie

January 18, 2019 Leave a comment

The 2007 Calabretta, Nerello Mascalese Vigne Vecchie, IGT (Etna Rosso)  is a surprisingly robust example of a red wine from Etna.  It is made from old vines located in a single vineyard that is bottled as IGT instead of Etna Rosso.  This done because various vintage of this wine were found to be atypical.  I find that it will stand up to the cold weather as well as any hearty meal.  Priced at only $26, it a strong value for a wine already showing maturity.  You may find it at  MacArthur Beverage.

2007 Calabretta, Nerello Mascalese Vigne Vecchie, IGT (Etna Rosso) – $26
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is a blend of Nerello Mascalese & Nerello Cappuccio sourced from vines primarily 60-80 years old with some more than 100 years old and ungrafted.  It was fermented in stainless steel then aged  36-42 months in large Slavonian oak casks.  Alcohol 15%.  A flavorful, maturing wine that is deep with notes of leather.  The watering acidity carries the flavor through the very good middle and into the slightly coarse tannins of the finish.  This is a medium bodied wine, full of flavor, that develops additional notes of vintage perfume and berries.  ***(*) Now – 2025.

A trio of 2017 Julien Sunier Beaujolais

January 16, 2019 1 comment

Back in October I expressed my excitement over the 2017 Julien Sunier, Regnie.  It was not until this snowy weekend that I tasted it in context with two other of Julien Sunier’s wines.  In short, I am even more excited and convinced that you must try this wine.  The balance is fantastic, yielding a crisp wine of unique floral, orange citrus flavors.  There was bad hail damage in Fleurie and Morgon during the summer of 2017 which shows up in the bottle.  The 2017 Julien Sunier, Fleurie is still mineral and tannic but lighter in body with subtle fruit.  The 2017 Julien Sunier, Morgon is fresh but missing the usual depth and verve.  They are good wines all around with Sunier’s hand evident but the Regnie clearly stands out.  Grab a few bottles from Phil at MacArthur Beverages.

2017 Julien Sunier, Fleurie – $32
Imported by Williams Corner Wines. This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from vines planted in the 1960s.  It was fermented in concrete vats with indigenous yeast then aged for 9 months in used Burgundy barrels.  Alcohol 12.5%. Bright red flavors greet but the wine is actually quite mineral.  It is lighter in body with watering acidity.  There are both ripe tannin texture and ripe baking spices in the finish.  This is a light to medium bodied wine with ripeness that is definitely subtle compared to the overall dry finish.  Could use a bit of time. *** 2020-2026.

2017 Julien Sunier, Morgon – $32
Imported by Williams Corner Wines. This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from vines planted in the 1960s.  It was fermented in concrete vats with indigenous yeast then aged for 9 months in used Burgundy barrels.   Alcohol 13%.  A grapey, purple cranberry color.  Scented ripe and bright, red berries on the nose.  In the mouth, fresh and cool red flavors immediately mix with fine to medium textured tannins.  There is watering acidity throughout with a lightly inky finish.  This has the most fruit of the three.  *** Now – 2023.

2017 Julien Sunier, Regnie – $32
Imported by Williams Corner Wines. This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from vines averaging 60 years of age. The fruit was fermented with indigenous yeast in concrete vats then aged 9 months in neutral French barrels. Alcohol 13.5 %.    Medium fruit weight exists with crisp acidity and floral orange citrus fruit.  Lovely from the first pour.  With air, the fruit rounds out bringing on more florals, violets, and incense through the long, complex finish.  Minimal structure.  Cracking acidity.  **** Now – 2026.

An Array of German Wines

December 12, 2018 Leave a comment

My two plans for childcare did not materialize so I had less than the duration of a birthday party to taste through an untold number of German Rieslings. There was naturally Champagne and as we met up at Q by Peter Chang, a constantly refreshed supply of Sezchuan dishes. There were bags packed with bottles and even one guest brought an entire cooler of wine. I knew I would not taste through everything but I also knew I made the right decision to try.

Of the Riesling I managed to taste, there were many solid bottles with just a few duds.  Standouts include the 1934 Hermannshof (Weingut Hermann Franz Schmitt), Niersteiner Kehr Riesling Auslese, Rheinhessen which is the oldest wine of the evening.  It is in fine shape.  Lighter in weight, more floral and a fresher spectrum of flavors than the 1915 Hermannshof, Niersteiner Flaschenhahl Riesling Auslese, Rheinhessen tasted a year ago.  An interesting comparison.  Both the 2009 A. J. Adam, Dhron Hofberg, Riesling Spätlese, Mosel Saar Ruwer and 2009 Willi Schaefer, Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spätlese #5, Mosel are spot on.  Both have energy from the acidity with the Adam richer and the Schaefer chalkier.  You might develop a preference but I love the difference.  Exciting wines to taste.  Finally, the 2001 Robert Weil, Kiedrich Gräfenberg Riesling Auslese, Rheingau is unctuous, mature, and racy.  I tasted this straight from the bottle right before I left and wished I could have drunk more.

Thanks to everyone for their generosity.  I know I missed several other wines but it was purely by accident.

Champagne

NV Bourgeois-Diaz, ‘RS, Champagne Rose de Saignee
Imported by Selection Massale. Batch RS14, Disgorged 21/11/17. A cranberry color. Fresh on the nose as if smelling from the vat. The cranberry juice aroma has hints of apple mulling spice. It eventually smells more like apple pie. In the mouth is piercing acidity, spiced flavors, and a very dry personality. Killer nose so the dryness is a bit of a surprise.  Of strong personality but not for everyone.  Drink now while the aromas are preserved.  ***(*) Now.

2008 Henriot, Champagne Brut Millésimé Rosé
Imported by Wine Cellars. Alcohol 12%. A fine vein of bubbles, yet strong acidity and toast, with watering acidity. This is pleasantly chalky with a clean finish. A youthful vintage but is building ripe, bottle-aged flavors with good body. ***(*) Now – 2023.

1996 Dom Perignon, Champagne P2
Finely scented. Strong acidity carries a mature, dry note. Very dry, clean, and light in fruit so opting more towards mineral.  Fresh, capable of long life, and for my taste, in need of further age. ***(*) 2023-2038.

1996 Philipponnat, Champagne Brut Clos des Goisses
Fine stuff! Biscuit on the nose with fresh, crisp mouthfeel, with bottle-age flavors.  In mid-life. **** Now – 2028.

Riesling

1934 Hermannshof (Weingut Hermann Franz Schmitt), Niersteiner Kehr Riesling Auslese, Rheinhessen
Shipped by Allyn & Scott Wines. Imported by Wine Cellars. Alcohol 13%. The Don Stott Cellar. A light golden straw. Rounded body with flavors of green floral and tea convey the freshness of the bottle. A light to mid-weight wine it is supple with an old-school flavor and not quite leather finish. There is a gentle edge from nearly eight decades of age but in no way is this a challenge to drink.  Holds up well in the glass. **** Now but will last.

1961 Langenbach & Co, Zeller Schwarze Katz, Riesling, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Imported by Milton S. Kronheim. Toast! Not Rated.

2008 Trimbach, Riesling, Cuvée Frédéric Emile, Alsace
Imported by Atherton Wine Imports. Alcohol 13%. A light straw color. Floral, greenhouse notes with some maturity. Very dry, tart and light with white fruit flavors on a razor edge. Elegant. *** Now – Whenever?

1981 Karthäuserhof Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg Sang Riesling Auslese, Mosel Saar Ruwer
A Rudi Wiest selection imported by Cellars International. Alcohol 8%. A maturing edge with sour white berries, focus, and a bit of lively acidity. Not too interesting.  * Drink Up.

2012 Willi Schaefer, Himmelreich GG, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. Alcohol 12%. Zip in the start with textured, white fruit, lemons, and a tooty-fruity flavored finish.  Not my favorite style.  *** Now – 2028.

2012 Thomas Haag, Schloss Lieser, Jufer Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese, Mosel
A Rudi Wiest selection imported by Cellars International. Alcohol 7%. A medium straw color. Mid-weight with ripe yellow flavors that drape over the tongue. The lower acidity seemingly adds more weight to the yellow fruit.  Good intensity of flavor but not the most verve.  *** Now – 2028. 

2009 A. J. Adam, Dhron Hofberg, Riesling Spätlese, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Shipped by J & H Selbach. A Terry Theise Selection imported by Michael Skurnik Wines. Alcohol 7.5%. A medium yellow gold color. Lovely. Textured acidity exists with ripe fruit in energetic balance. There is supple, seductive weight. Richer than the subsequent bottle of Willi Schaefer.  **** Now – 2038.

2009 Willi Schaefer, Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spätlese #5, Mosel
Imported by Wine Cellars. Lovely with even finer texture to the zippy acidity driven flavor. An attractive start becomes drier through the finish. A lovely wine, beautiful acidity, with chalky finish .**** Now – 2038

2006 Dönnhoff, Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Spätlese, Nahe
Imported by Julienne Importing. Unctuous, not as lively as it is honied with hints of tea spice and suggestions of ripe tannins on the gum. It is flavorful with a developing tart, citrus note. ***(*) Now – 2032.

2001 Dönnhoff, Norheimer Kirschkeck Riesling Spätlese, Nahe
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. Turning amber. Rounder and drier in the mouth with herbs, minerals, and honey. A long finish. ***(*) Now – 2032.

2005 Weingut Max Ferd. Richeter, Veldenzer Elisenberg Riesling Spätlese, Mosel Saar Ruwer
A David Shiverick Selection. Imported by Langdon-Shiverick. Black tea mixes with weighty flavors and moderate acidity. There is a mineral vein.  *** Now – 2023.

2007 Fritz Haag, Braunenberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Finely articulated acidity, sweet and soft, with just enough texture. The ripe fruit even takes on some stones. A good sweet wine.  ***(*) Now – 2028.

2004 Weingut Max Ferd. Richter, Braunberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese, Mosel Saar Ruwer
A David Shiverick Selection. Imported by Langdon-Shiverick. A similar flavor profile and density as the Fritz Haag. It is almost oily and racy which I like very much. ***(*) Now – 2028.

2017 Hofgut Falkenstein, Krettnacher Euchariusberg Riesling Auslese, Mosel
Lars Carlberg Selection. Imported by Williams Corner Wine. Alcohol 7%. Very pale in color. An elegant, floral nose, delicate and fine. In the mouth delicate floral flavors. This is a clean wine with a fine acidic edge though slightly short in the finish. ***(*) Now – 2023.

2001 Robert Weil, Kiedrich Gräfenberg Riesling Auslese, Rheingau
Imported by Premier Cru. Alcohol 8%. Unctuous and mature with a sweet tea note, racy vein, and quickly building complexity.  Lovely.  **** Now – 2038.

Red

2005 La Pousse d’Or, Pommard 1er Cru Les Jarollieres
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  Decanted into a metal jug which seems to have afflicted the wine.  Not Rated.

The must-try 2017 Julien Sunier, Regnie

October 15, 2018 Leave a comment

You must try the 2017 Julien Sunier, Regnie.  It is a lovely blend of exotic florals, black fruit with minerals, and ethereal ripeness, all of which is capable of additional development over the next several years.  If you try a bottle today you can observe it unfold over several hours.  Pick it up at MacArthur Beverages.

 

2017 Julien Sunier, Regnie – $32
Imported by Williams Corner Wines.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from vines averaging 60 years of age.  The fruit was fermented with indigenous yeast in concrete vats then aged for 9 months in French barrels.  Alcohol 13%.  This wine slowly opens up, requiring a few hours of air to reveal itself.  There is fresh acidity with modest fruit, modest acidity, and a graphite middle.  With air the very focused flavors of exotic florals and perfume take on a cool density with crisp acidity.  Watering flavors of cranberry and black fruit remain focused but an oily and ethereal ripeness develop.  It wraps up black-fruited and mineral.  ***(*) Now – 2028.

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.

Exciting 2015 Beaujolais from Julien Sunier

November 15, 2016 Leave a comment

It is possible that my introduction to the wines of Julien Sunier could not have been better given that they are from the 2015 vintage.  I really like all three of his offerings and strongly suggest you buy them all. The 2015 Julien Sunier, Regnie is the wine to drink right now.  It is dark and earthy in flavor with plenty of texture and even fat.  You will return for glass after glass of tasty goodness.  The 2015 Julien Sunier, Fleurie possess the most intensity with gobs of grip and structure which will see this wine through many years of development.  You can drink it now, as an interesting comparison, but it is best left to age for another two to three years.  The 2015 Julien Sunier, Morgon strikes a middle point, crisp yet textured with deep-red rather than dark fruit.  It is not as fruity as the 2015 Lapierre, Morgon.  It offers more structure for development but I do not think it will develop as long as the Fleurie will.  Try them all! These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2015 Julien Sunier, Regnie – $30
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  Alcohol 13.5%.  A bit earthy at first then raspberry candy and perfume.  In the mouth is a somewhat rounded start which builds to impressive flavor which slowly expands until the finish.  This is a supple wine, the weightiest of the trio, which matches the inky perfumed and dry aftertaste.  There is a balance of texture, fruit, and stuffing such that this wine will live for years but the the fat and dark, coating flavors are attractive right now.  ***(*) Now – 2021.

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2015 Julien Sunier, Fleurie – $30
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This is a more mineral wine with a dry start of dark red fruit which exhibits gobs of grip.  This is the most tannic and dry with a touch more yeasty flavor.  There are notes of stones before the citric, almost tangy finish.  It wraps up with a nice low, earthy tone (somewhat reminiscent of the Regnie) in the aftertaste.  **** 2017  – 2026.

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2015 Julien Sunier, Morgon – $30
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The brighter nose is perfumed.  In the mouth is deep red fruit, minerals, and good grip.  The tannins are there but so is a crisp acidity.  The wine is full of character with some density to the bright, crisp, and subtly spiced flavor.  **** Now – 2026.

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Recent French Wines

November 7, 2016 Leave a comment

french

The time I spend on research continues unabated but I am still tasting wine every day. Here is a group of tasting notes from the most recently consumed French wines.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2014 La Bastide Saint Dominique, Cuvee Jules Rochebonne, Cotes du Rhone – $18
Imported by Simon N’ Cellars. This wine is a blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache.  The former was aged for 18 months in stainless steel tanks and the later for 18 months in oak barrels. Alcohol 14.5%.  There is a complex, meaty, black fruited nose which takes on a tobacco and smoke hint.  In the mouth are some bitter black fruit, coarser, spaced-out tannins, and that ethereal flavor consistent with this cuvee.  There is the meaty Syrah component but the wine tightens up with air.  Might rate higher with age.  *** 2018-2023.

2015 Camille Cayran, L’Elegante, Cairanne – $15
Imported by G & B Importers.  This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 20% Carignan, and 20% Mourvedre.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose sports good perfume, violets, and pepper hints.  In the mouth it is still a bit tight with focused blue and black fruit.  There is a dense, citrus, and powdery flavored middle.  It softens a touch with an inky finish and some fine pencil notes.  This still needs a year to relax the drying tannins.  *** 2017-2020.

2014 Olga Raffault, Les Barnabes, Chinon – $18
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  Alcohol 13%.  The floral, leaning towards vegetal nose makes way to black fruit flavors in the mouth.  Saline flavors give a sense of weight but tart, vegetal black fruit comes out.  This salty wine has edge acidity and is more for short term drinking.  ** Now – 2018.

2015 Herve Souhaut, Syrah, Vin de France -$27
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  Alcohol 13%.  There are gentle, attractive flavors of violets and orange flavored fruit.  The dry structure is apparent from the start as is the moderately watery and juicy acidity which carries through the dry flavors of graphite in the finish.  The wine does come across with some vibrancy and with air shows that it needs time to develop.  ***(*) 2018-2023.

2015 Domaine de la Voute des Crozes, Cotes de Brouilly – $17
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose is subtle yet bright.  The tart red fruited entry does build weight into the linear, citric acidity infused middle.  There is a touch of ethereal, ripe powdery flavors but that tart start never leaves one’s mind.  It finishes with salivating acidity and a ripe hint of citric fruit and tannins left on the gum. **(*) 2017-2020.