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A Spanish pair of Tempranillo

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

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 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.

Three fine values from Gigondas

March 21, 2018 1 comment

All three 2015 Gigondas in this post are of fine value.  The 2015 Domaine  Le Clos des Cazaux, La Tour Sarrasine, Gigondas is well balanced all around with depth to the powdery fruit, notes of stone, and requisite structure for development.  And the price is low!  The 2015 Domaine Brusset, Tradition Le Grand Montmirail, Gigondas is classically firm and certainly requires age.  I particularly like the savory aspect and licorice note.  Finally, the 2015 Saint-Damien, Vieilles Vignes, Gigondas is impossible to resist for the earthy note already adds complexity to the blue fruit.  It even gets better with air!  You may grab these bottles from MacArthur Beverages.

2015 Domaine  Le Clos des Cazaux, La Tour Sarrasine, Gigondas – $24
Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils.  This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre sourced from vines averaging 50 years of age.  Alcohol 14.5%.  A brighter wine of powdery blue fruit that forms a rounded and dense core of flavor.  The wine moves on towards black fruit and stones with the structure and astringency coming out by the finish.  With air the powdery flavors persist and a slight chocolate note comes out in the finish.  Good value.  ***(*) Now – 2028.

2015 Domaine Brusset, Tradition Le Grand Montmirail, Gigondas – $
Imported by Simon N Cellars.  This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre, and 10% Cinsault fermented in vats and demi-muids.  Alcohol 13.5%.  With dry Christmas spices on the nose the flavors are cool and dense with black fruit and licorice.  It is a touch savory  with very fine, drying tannins.  It will benefit from a few years of age.  *** Now – 2025.

2015 Saint-Damien, Vieilles Vignes, Gigondas – $30
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvedre sourced from vines averaging 40 years of age which was fermented in concrete vats then aged in foudres.  Alcohol 15%.  A floral nose.  The firm start immediately offers some very fine structure as well as a good earthy flavor and blue, creamy fruit.  The finish sports dry baking spices.  The earth pervades underneath with clean yet firm fruit overlaying it.  With air this mouth filling and generous wine adds in potpourri and a little fat.  **** Now – 2028.

The 2015 Foradori, Dolomiti is a must try

March 14, 2018 1 comment

The 2015 Foradori, Teroldego, Dolomiti is a wine you must try if you are a fan of Foradori or curious about other varieties.  I have tried other vintages, though not written about, since I was first exposed to the 2009.  I can write that the 2015 is one of my favorites so go grab a bottle from MacArthur Beverages.

2015 Foradori, Teroldego, Dolomiti – $26
Imported by Louis/Dressner Imports.  This wine is 100% Teroldego sourced from 10 different parcels averaging 20-25 years of age which were fermented with indigenous yeasts in cement then aged in cement and old oak casks.  Alcohol 12.5%.  A menthol note on the nose.  There is a tart, bright start right before minerals come out and deeper flavors of red fruit and citrus in the middle.  Savory undertones carry through the ripe, textured finish, and slowly expanding aftertaste.  The wine is lively from acidity, clean in flavor, and quite fine with air.  It even develops more fruit weight.  ***(*) Now – 2021.