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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.

You may age the aromatic 2016 Jean-Marc Burgaud, Morgon Cote du Py

The 2016 Jean-Marc Burgaud, Morgon Cote du Py is a fine wine to drink into the next decade.  This crisp wine is young and structured but the nose is wonderfully aromatic.  A must try for fans of Morgon.  I recommend you lay down a few bottles which you may find at MacArthur Beverages.

2016 Jean-Marc Burgaud, Morgon Cote du Py – low $20s
Imported by Roanoke Valley Wine Co.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from 50 year old vines on blue stone soils matured in concrete vats.  Alcohol 13%.  Tasted over two nights this remains a very aromatic and enticing wine with aromas of pepper, wet tobacco, and herbs.  The flavors are crisp and focused but the cranberry red fruit is weighty.  There is firm acidity, a dry structure, and almost tart finish which suggest this will be long-lived.  *** Now – 2025.

A pair of interesting whites made from Garganega and Arrufiac

March 8, 2018 1 comment

The grape variety Garganega may not make you think of Soave, but this blend of early and late picked fruit shows to good effect in the 2014 Bertani, Vintage Edition Soave.  The dark gold color matches the aromas of wild flower and apricot followed by weighty flavors.  This wine even has staying power for it drank well over several nights.  It is a good contender for a weekday bottle.  Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh Sec is the  white wine appellation for Madiran and is often made with the Arrufiac variety.  I had heard of neither before Lou brought the bottle over to my house.  The color leans towards the amber and gold spectrum but the wine is lively with flavors of lemon citrus matched by a cut of acidity.  I have no experience with this wine before but I would be tempted to try a bottle in the fall.  Until then treat this as an aperitif or food wine.

2014 Bertani, Vintage Edition Soave – $26
Imported by Palm Bay International.  This wine is 100% 100% Garganega which was harvest first in September then in later October for more hang time then aged in concrete tanks.  Alcohol 12.5%.  A dark, straw gold.  The exotic nose reminds me of wild flowers, apricot fruit, and baked apples.  As conveyed by the nose, there is a weighty start in the mouth with ripe yellow fruit, white flowers, white nuts, and a mineral/flint finish.  The bottle drank well over a few nights.  *** Now – 2020.

2015 Chateau Viella, Pacherenc, Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh Sec – $19
Imported by Petit Pois Corp.  This wine is a blend of Gros Manseng, Petit Manseng, and Arrufiac.  Alcohol 13.5%. An amber tinged gold color.  In the mouth are focused flavors of ripe, lemon citrus cut by a smokey and sharp acidity line through the finish.  It might be worth waiting until the fall for it to open up more.  **(*) Now – 2020.

Well done 2015 J.L. Chave Selection, Mon Coeur, Cotes du Rhone

March 7, 2018 1 comment

The 2015 J.L. Chave Selection, Mon Coeur, Cotes du Rhone is good wine to drink throughout the week.  This vintage comes across in the concentration of flavors but everything is in balance.  Think dark fruit, juicy acidity, texture, and a bit of luxurious fat.  I recommend you grab some bottles from MacArthur Liquors to drink over the next few years!

2015 J.L. Chave Selection, Mon Coeur, Cotes du Rhone – $19
Imported by Erin Cannon Imports. This is a blend of Syrah and Grenache sourced from parcels in Cotes du Rhone Villages.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This is a young, concentrated wine with flavors of blue and red fruit carried by salivating, almost juicy, acidity.  There is texture from fine extract.  With air the flavors become blacker with a bit of licorice and fat. *** Now – 2023.

A few cheapies with Lou

February 27, 2018 Leave a comment

With jam-packed work and personal calendars it is hard for Lou and I to meet up.  We carved out a few hours the other day to sit at the peninsula and drink several inexpensive wines.  The 2007 Carmelo Patti, Cabernet Sauvignon, Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza was expectedly my favorite of the red wines.  After drinking a bottle in Seattle I brought one back to share with Lou and Jenn.  This bottle was more youthful than the first with a good balance between texture, fruit, green pepper, and minerals.  It is a good, old-school drink.  The 1990 Colle Bereto, Il Tocco, Tuscany is an inexpensive wine from a great vintage.  The vintage expresses itself through the ripe black fruit with the age coming in through leather and wood notes.  It is fully mature with some roast earth marking it as on the down slope.  Finally, the bottle of 1996 Moulin des Sablons, Chinon was surprisingly marked on the back label as “Mevushal 89 °C” meaning it is a Kosher wine.  Unfortunately, it was exposed to 192 °F  in being made Kosher which meant it was doomed in the glass.

2007 Carmelo Patti, Cabernet Sauvignon, Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza – $26
Imported by SWG Imports.  This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon that was fermented then aged in concrete for 12 months then aged a further 12 months in French oak.  Alcohol 14%.  A gentle ripeness of black fruit mixes with an appropriate amount of an herbal/green pepper component.  The texture is slightly grainy with mid palate weight and a round, mineral-like finish.  ***(*) Now – 2023.

1990 Colle Bereto, Il Tocco, Tuscany
Imported by Olinger Distributing Co. This wine is 100% Sangiovese. Alcohol 12.5%.  A woodsy wine that is fresh and crisp, beginning with up-front ripeness but finishing dry.  There are hard cherry flavors, focused weight, wood, and dried leather in the finish.  It is fully developed with a little roast end in the end from age.  It does not fall apart in the glass.  *** Now.

1996 Moulin des Sablons, Chinon
Imported by the Royal Wine Corp.  Alcohol 12.5%.  Mevushal 89 °C.  Brown, cooked, gross! Not Rated.

A pair of youthful Italians

February 26, 2018 1 comment

This pair of Italian wines has helped see me through the evenings of this particularly busy period at work.  Both wines are from the 2015.  The 2015 Fattoria dei Barbi, Rosso di Montalcino is young and in need of short-term aging.  It is attractive in flavor profile but not the most complex.  The 2015 Tua Rita, Rosso dei Notri  is good fun being an effective blend which comes across as both youthful and expressive.  This wine is placed on the front rack at MacArthur Beverages with good reason.  I recommend you grab a few bottles as soon as you enter the store!

2015 Fattoria dei Barbi, Rosso di Montalcino – $23
Imported by Frederick Wildman.  This wine is 100% Sangiovese.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The flavors of cherry and leather show some focus rather than be framed by structure.  This is dark in flavor with menthol hints, tangy acidity, and very fine tannins in the end.  In need of air and ultimately a solid wine.  **(*) Now -2023.

2015 Tua Rita, Rosso dei Notri – $18
Imported by Winebow. This wine is a blend of 50% Sangiovese and 50% Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah.  Alcohol 14%.  The finely textured fruit becomes mineral and black in the middle with a youthful mix of fruit and cocoa by the end.  It is rounded with structure and acidity integrated together, yielding a mouth filling and tasty wine.  *** Now – 2023.