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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 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.

I try Italian wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Negroamaro, Susumaniello, Refosco, and more

Just a quick post on several Italian wines I tried over the last week.  Nothing particularly moving at this point.  I do not think I’ve drunk a Taurino wine since my Michigan days.  I can report that the 2010 Cosimo Taurino, Notarpanaro, Salento is still low priced and a solid value.   The 2011 Carpineto, Farnito, Tuscany and 2014 Antonutti, Ros di Muri, Venezie  have the best potential for development.  I suspect the Carpineto will have broad appeal next winter.  I found the 2015 Cantine Menhir Pietra, Salento so ripe I could only tolerate a small glass.

2010 Cosimo Taurino, Notarpanaro, Salento – $18
This wine is 100% Negroamaro. Alcohol 14.5%.  An interesting nose of tar and spruce while note piercing is certainly aromatic.  The controlled, rounded flavors are primarily of red fruit yet there is a sweet floral and herbal infusion evocative of Northwest evergreen forests.  This gentle wine wraps up with almost puckering acidity.  **(*) Now – 2020.

2011 Carpineto, Farnito, Tuscany – $22
Imported by Opici Wines. This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Alcohol 13.5%.  There is a firm, dry middle followed by a steely structure near the end.  The flavors of licorice and menthol have a slight wrapping of fat.  With air the wine fleshes out and develops more blue fruit.  **(*) Now – 2023.

2014 Antonutti, Ros di Muri, Venezie – $16
Imported by Casa Vinicola. This wine is a blend of 40% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 30% Refosco fermented in stainless steel then aged for 18 months in barrique. Alcohol 14%.  A solid blend with flavors of red and black fruits, noticeable leather, and a spine of structure.  This could open up by the end of the year.  **(*) Now-2023.

2015 Cantine Menhir Pietra, Salento – $17
Imported by Tenth Harvest. This wine is a blend of Primitivo and Susumaniello. Alcohol 14%.  There are ripe, almost sweet flavors of blue fruits that mix with some attractive wet tobacco smoke.  Dark flavored and ultimately too ripe for my preference. * Now.

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.

Value Cabernet Franc from Languedoc

February 15, 2018 1 comment

The 2015 The Way of Wine, Puydeval, Pays d’Oc is a Cabernet Franc dominated blend from the Languedoc which makes it somewhat unique.  Winemaker Jeff Carrel made this negociant wine using fruit from Minervois and Limoux.  Priced at only $13 there is a lot to like: juicy fruit, minerals, a hint of earth, and structure for development.  A great daily wine right now, it will be even better once the oak integrates.  You may find this bargain at MacArthur Beverages.

2015 The Way of Wine, Puydeval, Pays d’Oc – $13
Imported by Hand Picked Selections.  This wine is a blend of 56% Cabernet Franc, 30% Syrah, and 14% Merlot sourced from vines 15 – 20 years of age.  It was vinified in a mixture of cement and stainless steel then aged in a mixture of cement and oak barrels.  Alcohol 14%.  A focused start of black and red fruit moves on to a juicy middle and mineral finish supported by firm structure.  With air this dry wine reveals blue fruits, savory bits of oak, and a hint of earth in the expansive end.  It should develop over the next year.  **(*) Now – 2023.

Interesting Cahors from Château Combel-la-Serre

February 14, 2018 1 comment

The wines from Château Combel-la-Serre are like no other I have tried from Cahors.  These are bright and fresh versions of Malbec.  You should try both wines for they are quite different from each other.  The 2016 Château Combel-la-Serre, “Le Pur Fruit du Causse”, Cahors is youthful and grapey yet backed by density.  On the other hand the 2015 Château Combel-la-Serre, Cahors is floral and herbal in flavor rather than fruity.  The 2016 is the wine to drink this year whereas I suggest you cellar the 2015 until the next year.  This pair of wines offers good value for the money.  Pick them up at MacArthur Beverages.

2016 Château Combel-la-Serre, “Le Pur Fruit du Causse”, Cahors – $15
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  This wine is 100% Malbec sourced from 35 year old vines aged one year in cement tanks.  Alcohol 12.5%.  The bright red flavors reveal density and minerality.  The wine is a touch citric with fresh acidity and youthful, grapey flavor.  This is a fun, almost quenching wine.  **(*) Now – 2019.

2015 Château Combel-la-Serre, Cahors – $20
Imported by Louis/Dressner. This wine is 100% Malbec sourced from 40 year old vines aged one year in stainless steel then a second year in used French oak barrels.  Alcohol 13%.  This is more herbal that fruity with exotic tea, floral notes, and polished wood.  There is juicy acidity and a fine vein of structure throughout.  Fresh and approachable but with some potential to further open up with age. **(*) 2019 – 2023.

A pair of 2014 wines from Ribera del Duero

February 13, 2018 1 comment

The first time I had a wine from Bodegas Protos was back during my undergraduate days in the early 1990s.  I was a bit tickled then when I saw one of their wines in DC.  The 2014 Bodegas Protos, Protos ’27, Ribera del Duero has an interesting nose of dark fruit and tar yet in the mouth it is thoroughly modern.  The oak flavors come through at this point which I find a bit distracting.  However, nothing could distract me from the 2014 Hacienda Monasterio, Ribera del Duero.  I have managed to drink previous vintages of this wine but appear to have not written about them.  This vintage offers a dark fruited wine, deep in flavor with the acidity making the flavors fresh.  It is a bit rugged from youth right now which only adds to the charm.  A must try worth the additional expense!  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2014 Bodegas Protos, Protos ’27, Ribera del Duero – $26
Imported by Monsieur Touton.  This wine is 100% Tempranillo sourced from 50+ year old vines.  It was fermented in stainless steel then aged for 16 months in new French oak barriques.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose offers dark fruit and tar.  In the mouth this is a completely balanced wine with young oaky flavors and tannins.  This modern flavored wine reveals integrated structure and water acidity becoming sappy or almost chewy.  The fruit remains firm with fine+ extract, dark tar notes, and a very light, lifted aftertaste.  **(*) Now – 2025.

2014 Hacienda Monasterio, Ribera del Duero – $37
Imported by Eric Solomon/European Cellars.  This wine is a blend of 80% Tempranillo, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Merlot.  Alcohol 15%.  There are dark red and dark blue flavors almost giving the impression of crispness overlaying mineral, soil undertones.  This is a deeply satisfying wine.  The flavors become blacker towards the end with very fine, integrated structure.  There is youthful attraction between the structure and ripe blueberry flavors. I imagine this will develop and improve over the next several years.  ***(*) Now – 2028.