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Even more recent drinks

January 11, 2018 Leave a comment

I cannot seem to shake a consistently busy work schedule which eliminates any free time I have.  Hence my sporadic posting.  Of the lot of wines featured in today’s post the 2007 Domaine de la Mordoree, La Reine des Bois, Lirac is my favorite.  I was a bit underwhelmed until several hours in when it completely transformed for the better.  Of the wines which are currently available the 2012 J. M. Rimbert, Carignator is a good value.  It is Carignan so it is a bit firm in a way but the flavors have taken on good bottle age.  The 2016  Viticultores Emilio Ramirez y Envinate, Benje, Ycoden-Daute-Isora, Tenerife does not offer up the excitement I experienced with the 2015 vintage.  The profile is still there but this vintage is not as expressive.  I will try another bottle in case there is bottle shock.  Finally, I was underwhelmed by the 2016 Domaine A. Clape, Le Vin des Amis.  A strange evergreen incense marked the wine for days.  Coupled with bitter black fruit it did not become enjoyable until several days in.  I will broach my second bottle several years down the road.

2006 Domaine du Clos des Fees, Vieilles Vignes, Cotes du Roussillon Villages
Imported by Simon n’ Cellars.  This is a gravelly wine with maturing blue fruit, watering acidity then flavors of garrigue and strawberry liquor candied near the finish.  it develops a spiced berry cote becoming drier towards the end where the strength of the wine shows.  It wraps up dry.  *** Now – 2023.

2007 Domaine de la Mordoree, La Reine des Bois, Lirac
Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils. This wine is a blend of 34% Grenache, 33% Syrah, and 33% Mourvedre. Alcohol 14.5%.  There is a maturing core of fruit but there is still plenty of spicy structure surrounding it.  The wine is thick with black fruit and a bit of bitterness towards the end.  After 2-3 hours in the decanter it rounds out and the components come into balance quite well.  There are racy blue flavors, watering acidity, wood box, baking spices, and a luxurious marshmallow body.  **** Now – 2028.

2012 J. M. Rimbert, Carignator – $15
Imported by Dionysos Imports.  This is 100% Carignan largely sourced from 70+ year old vines.  It was aged for six months in old neutral barrels.  Alcohol 13%.  A medium opaque, bricking cherry color.  This is a dry, textured wine that is maturing in the bottle.  There are wood notes, a little balsam, and textured tannins left on the gums.  **(*) Now – 2023.

2015 Tenuta Delle Terre Nere, Etna Rosso – $17
Imported by deGrazia Imports. Alcohol 13.5%.  There are lifted aromas of tar.  In the mouth are somewhat black and red fruit, mineral on the sides of the tongue, and minimal fine tannins which give it some grip.  The wine tasted polished, focused, and modern.  With it it becomes more mineral, which is attractive, and takes on a touch of cocoa.  Solid but not moving.  **(*) 2018-2020.

2016  Viticultores Emilio Ramirez y Envinate, Benje, Ycoden-Daute-Isora, Tenerife – $22
A Jose Pastor Selections imported by Llaurador Wines.  This is a blend of high-altitude 70-120 year-old Listan Prieto with some Tintilla that was foot trodden, fermented in concrete and tubs with indigenous yeasts then aged 8 months in neutral oak barrels.  Alcohol 12%.  This is a high-toned, bright wine which mixes white pepper and potpourri incense right from the start.  The focused red fruit matched the polished wood note.  There is a very gentle ripeness. **(*) Now – 2021.

2016 Domaine A. Clape, Le Vin des Amis – $32
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a mix of Syrah from near the Rhone and young Cornas.  It was aged for six months in cement and 6 months in foudres. This is a completely opaque, grapey purple color.  Followed over many nights the nose is incensed with primarily evergreen aromas and floral notes.  For the first few days there is a similarly incensed, evergreen flavor to this wine.  It is bitter with very fine structure through the firm, polished, bitter black finish.  The evergreen aspect eventually reduces with the wine showing focused, floral black fruit in the finish.  ** 2021-2026.

Merry Christmas Eve with old Louis M. Martini

December 24, 2017 2 comments

Merry Christmas Eve!

Comparisons are fun so at the start of my Christmas vacation I opened a pair of Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon from the 1977 vintage.  These wines would have been fermented in cement tanks then aged for two years in neutral wood.  At the end of the aging period all of the barrels were tasted.  The majority were bottled as the regular selection with the top 3-5% as the Special Selection.

In essence the 1977 Louis M. Martini, Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Selection is like the 1977 Louis M. Martini, Cabernet Sauvignon but turned up several notches.  You can literally smell and taste the similarities. There was quite a bit of sediment so I double-decanted both bottles.  The regular selection is a bit light weight and short at first such that I expected it to soon fall apart.  I was wrong!  It developed weight and the Special Selection developed savory flavors.   These old Martini wines are mellow rather than athletic.  They have the green pepper notes of modestly ripe fruit and hallmarks of longer aging in wood.  If you still own a bottle then I recommend you drink them with dinner or to prepare your palate for a more complex old wine.

1977 Louis M. Martini, Cabernet Sauvignon
Alcohol 12.5%.  Green pepper on the nose.  The bright red fruit is carried throughout with fresh acidity.  The wine improves with air, putting on some weight and increasing in length.  It takes on a rounded edge with generally clean greenhouse accented red fruit.  It is not terribly complex with only an additional note of leather.  However, it never fades and in the end is a solid quaffer!  ** Now but will last.

1977 Louis M. Martini, Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Selection
Alcohol 12.5%.  A similar nose to the basic bottling but more intense.  This is a savory wine with more fruit and weight.  The greenhouse accent is there but so is a more prominent leather note.  It responds very well to air.  The bottle is in fine shape with plenty of grip into the durable aftertaste.  **(*) Now but will last.

A trio of Cinsault from Itata in Chile

November 30, 2017 Leave a comment

If you are looking for interesting and tasty wines then I suggest you grab the three bottles of Cinsault featured in this post.  All three wines are made from old vines grown in the Itata Valley of Chile yet they are radically different wines.

The most exciting wine is the 2015 Rogue Vine, Grand Itata Tinto, Itata Valley.  There is a deep, earthy note which immediately confers complexity to the bright, lifted red fruit.  I find it downright tasty but the wine requires a few more months of age to reach maximum flavor.  The 2014 Viñateros Bravos, Canto a lo Divino Cinsault, Itata Valley is the lightest of the trio.  It smells like the pine trees of New Mexico and is clearly a lighter wine yet has roundness in the mouth.  You will find a mouthful of berries with the 2015 Pedro Parra y Familia, Imaginador Cinsault, Itata Valley.  The fruit is very forward making this a wine to drink now yet there is a supporting spine of lively acidity.  My only gripe is that there is a bit too much fruit for my preference.

Each one of these wines is full of character which is a treat given the reasonable prices.  You may find all three selections at MacArthur Beverages.

2015 Rogue Vine, Grand Itata Tinto, Itata Valley – $20
Imported by Brazos Wine Imports.  This wine is a blend of 95% Cinsault and 5% Pais from vines planted in 1960.  Alcohol 13%. There is a touch of deep earth to the bright red fruit aromas.  In the mouth this is an acidity driven, dry wine with watering acidity.  There is a core of ripe cranberry fruit, some black fruit, and baking spices.  There is good flavor and even a luxurious element of fat.  The with is focused  yet ethereal with lifted earth notes in the finish where it wraps up dry.  ***(*) 2018 – 2022.

2014 Viñateros Bravos, Canto a lo Divino Cinsault, Itata Valley – $20
Imported by Ripe Wine Imports. This wine is 100% Cinsault sourced from 60 year old vines on basalt soils.  It was fermented with indigenous yeasts in concrete tanks.  Alcohol 12.8%.  A light cranberry color.  The wine smells like fresh pine trees.  It is finely textured in the mouth with dry, red fruit.  The body is quite round with a touch of fat though it remains lithe through the mouth.  *** Now – 2019.

2015 Pedro Parra y Familia, Imaginador Cinsault, Itata Valley – $20
Imported by Ripe Wine Imports.  This wine is a field blend of 80% Cinsault with some Muscat, Semillon, and Pais and 20% Carignan  sourced from 71-110 year old vines on red quartzic granite soils.  It was raised on both cement and stainless steel.  Alcohol 14%.  A medium purple ruby.  This is a ripe, fruity wine with a lively underpinning.  It is for up-front drinking, packed with mouth filling flavors, spices, and a weighty, puckering finish.  It becomes drier with gum coating tannins in the aftertaste.  **(*) Now – 2018.

Gamay for Thanksgiving

November 24, 2017 Leave a comment

For Thanksgiving this year I served six different bottles of Gamay all of which are currently available for purchase.  The 2015 La Dernière Goutte, Sang Neuf is the first wine I had everyone taste.  I must admit I was very curious to try this wine because it is imported by Jeffrey Snow of Glou Glou Wines.  Some of you may know Jeff from his days as a wine distributor in the Washington, DC, area.  A few years ago he moved to France for university which precipitated, based on the stream of vineyard and open bottle pictures I saw, some serious research.  Jeff is back in the area importing the wines he loves to drink in France. This first bottle I have tried of his is produced by Cyrille Vuillod who farms vines in St-Etienne la Varenne.  Vuillod does not add anything to his wine including sulphur dioxide.  They are bottled with the natural carbon dioxide as a preservative so there is spritz even after double-decanting.  Jeff writes of freshness and now I understand!  The 2015 vintage was very warm in Beaujolais but Vuillod’s wines, which normally achieve 11%-12% alcohol, came in at 13%.  The wine is surprisingly deep at first but with air the flavors become tart carried by some killer, crunchy acidity.  The wine is stable too.  Grab a bottle if you want to learn what freshness is all about!

As for the other bottles I served, the 2015 Guillaume Gilles, Les Massardieres confirms once again that it is an awesome bottle of wine.  The 2015 Jean-Paul Brun, Moulin a Vent Terres Dorees remained rather focused and tight all day.  It did develop an attractive, creamy finish but this wine is best cellared for a few years.  The 2015 Jean Foillard, Morgon Cote du Py certainly has strong potential.  Buy a few bottles for your cellar.  Of the 2016 and 2015 Lapierre, Morgon I preferred the 2016.  I really enjoy the sweaty, earthy components of the 2015 but it felt, in comparison, weighed down as the 2016 is crisp and vigorous.  All of these wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2015 La Dernière Goutte, Sang Neuf – $26
Imported by Glou Glou Wines.  Alcohol 13%.  A slight spritz hangs around.  The wine is unmistakably, very fresh with almost crunch acidity supported the spiced red fruit.  The wine is deep at first but with air the fruit brightens up.  This is a textured wine with an ethereal expansion of flavor.  It is rounder near the end when it takes on tartness and weight. ***(*) Now – 2018.

2015 Guillaume Gilles, Les Massardieres – $25
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  This wine is 100% Gamay.  Alcohol 13%.  Slightly textured with deep flavor of cranberries, red fruit, and a notion of minerals.  It becomes drier towards the finish with additional complexity from spices that last through the aftertaste.  Lovely.  **** Now – 2022.

2015 Jean-Paul Brun, Moulin a Vent Terres Dorees – $25
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections. Alcohol 13%.  The wine remains focused with a perfumed start, red fruit, and minerals.  There are grapey hints in the tart, watering acidity driven finish.  It is lighter and drier in nature but with a surprisingly creamy finish.  It does not give up much right so is in need of age.  **(*) 2019-2030.

2015 Jean Foillard, Morgon Cote du Py – $40
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  Alcohol 14%.  This wine first reveals tart red fruit, grippy cranberry, and watering acidity.   After several hours the middle rounds out, the baking spices and acidity become integrated, and it develops weight.  It even takes a honied texture in the middle.  I think there is good potential here.  ***(*) 2019-2027.

2015 Lapierre, Morgon en magnum – $55
Imported by Kermit Lynch. Alcohol 13.5%.  There is mineral driven red fruit with some black hints.  The flavors are dense, somewhat low-lying, with a sweaty and earthy finish.  *** Now – 2018.

2016 Lapierre, Morgon – $22
Imported by Kermit Lynch. Alcohol 13%.  A good nose is followed by fresh and perfumed flavors in the mouth. The clean red fruit has grapey weight and a ripe, lifted finish.  Crisp compared to the 2015 vintage.  ***(*) Now – 2019.

An epic Panos Bordeaux tasting: 16 vintages of Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 2016 – 1975

November 3, 2017 Leave a comment

 

On October 18, 2017, Panos Kakaviatos (wine-chronicles) hosted a tasting of 16 vintages of Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande from 2016 to 1975.  This tasting is the latest in a series of definitive events that Panos arranges for Washington, DC wine lovers.  Not only were all of the bottles direct from the chateau but Nicolas Glumineau, the director of Ch. Pichon Lalande, was guest of honor for our dinner.

Nicolas Glumineau, Director of Chateau Pichon Lalande.

The tasting took place at Taberna del Alarbardero with the help of sommelier Maria Ortiz.  The bottles were flown in by Mark Wessels of MacArthur Beverages except for the 2002 pair which were graciously donated by Randy McFarlane.  The evening took place in the large red private dining room where we first mingled with many different bottles of Champagne from Prevost, Pierre Peters, Cedric Bouchard, Pol Roger, and others.

The main tasting and dinner were seated.  Of all the vintages, I was particularly excited by the 1996, 2010, and 2014.  To me these three vintages stood out for their precision, balance, and purity of expression.  Of the older vintages the 1980s and 1970s drank well with the 1982 as the most complete experience.  I would also point out the 1978 vintage as an attractive, older style of wine.

Now I spent quite a bit of time talking, so think of my notes as general impressions.  They are presented in the order they were served.

FIRST COURSE
Lomo De Caballa Sobre Arroz Meloso De Pimientos Morrones
Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 2010-2009-2005-2003

2010 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
The scented nose soon offers floral and licorice-like aromas, eventually closing up. In the mouth is a tart start, close-grip at first with evident structure. There is a vein of black fruit and violets that moves through the wine. It is ultimately young and grapey at the core. Drier in the end with very fine structure and a good aftertaste. It has the balance to age. ****(*)

2009 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
It is assertive from the start with black fruit, structure and grip. There is less fruit compared to structure that emerges in the middle. I prefer the 2010. ***(*)

2005 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
It is similar to the 2010 with a young, lifted core of flavor. It is lighter in flavor yet mouth filling with grip and strength in the good, tart finish. ***(*)

2003 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
There is a rounded start of berry flavors, soon taking on powerful dark, red fruit. A fine, lifted aftertaste. **(*)

SECOND COURSE
Magret De Pato Con Toques De Naranja Con Pastel De Butternut Squash
Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 2002-2000-1996-1995

2002 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
This is better than expected with surprising fine texture. The dry black flavors are even racy in the middle. Drinking well right now. ***

2000 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
The nose offers lifted, greenhouse aromas but with a more mature profile. The mouth follows the nose with maturing fruit, a pleasing level of green pepper, and very fine grip. Elegant. ****

1996 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
Markedly different with fine, clean fruit aromas. Tangy red fruit greets the palate. It remains a core of focused fruit, very pure and controlled. The ripe, textured structure is still present for development yet it is resolving. Additional notes of greenhouse and pencil shavings add some complexity. ****

1995 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
Greenness and lightness on the nose. Ample texture in the mouth with almost chewy, dense black fruit. This is broader throughout but a very fine, drying structure supports the flavor. A bit of a smoke hint in the end. ***

THIRD COURSE
Kobe Beef Con Patatas, Zanahorias Y Chalotas Al Estilo Hasselback
Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 1989-1985-1982-1978-1975

1989 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
There is a fine focus and certain tang to the flavors which have a very fine texture. The wine is moved by watering acidity through a drier, lighter middle into a linear finish. Quite enjoyable. Less fruit weight than other vintages. ****

1985 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
A touch of plum combine with more advanced flavors that become tart towards the finish. An earthy aftertaste. A second bottle showed young with floral flavors and grip. So at best ****

1982 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
Cooler in profile with red fruit, graphite, and a citric grip that lean towards elegant. The wine grows with air developing attractive earth and maturity. ****(*)

1978 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
Greener, drier, and lighter with graphite and again that familiar texture. Has hints of being from an older period of winemaking. There is a green streak followed by cedar and old wood in the finish. It is chunkier than the 1975 yet still retains tension. ***(*)

1975 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
The wine still has grip. The watering acidity brings forward more red fruit and a citric structure that coats the gums. The core of fruit mixes with notes of old leather, greenhouse, and mature flavors. Drinking well. ***

CHEESE PLATE (CHEESES)
Puig Pedros (Vaca), Retorta Pascuales (Oveja), Manchego (1 Ano)
Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 2014-2016-2016

2014 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
There is fine, grapey depth coupled with both weight and density. Clearly balanced. Pencil shavings and floral perfume already add to the complexity. ****(*)

2015 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
Intense, grapey flavors are a bit rough with some heat. There are assert baking spices and some perfume.  Just bottled.

2016 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
Grapey blueberry fruit with fine texture and lip smacking tannins. Baking spices and spicy tannins.  Strong potential.  Barrel Sample.

DESSERT
Flan De Pistacho Sobre Flan De Caramelo Y Helado De Vanilla Beans
Sauternes

1997 Chateau Climens, Barsac
Very dark. Flawed.

2003 Chateau Suduiraut, Sauternes
A nose of grassy petrol then concentrated grapey flavors delivered in a grippy, textured manner.  A good combination of fruit, weight, and mouth feel.  ***(*)

2005 Chateau Climens, Barsac
There is lovely flavor, mouth filling, yet fresh and light with gentle ripeness.  ****

 

Recent Drinks

November 2, 2017 Leave a comment

After first trying a glass one year ago, I finally had the opportunity to visit the 2002 Robert Hunter, Brut de Noirs, Sonoma Valley over two nights.  With bits of yeast, toast, fruit, and baking spices this is a mature Californian sparkler  with plenty of life.  I might even venture that I preferred it on the second night.  My overall impression is that the 2010 Poggio all Guardia, Maremma Toscana is not yet ready to drink.  The meaty aromas, mature edge to the flavors, and old wood reveal bottle age but the wine is still firm and structured. Perhaps it is best drunk with food.  Finally,the 2015 Domaine La Manarine, Cotes du Rhone is another wine based on vineyards in Le Plan de Dieu.  There are attractive bright, grapey flavors but there is some distraction from bitterness in the black fruited finish.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2002 Robert Hunter, Brut de Noirs, Sonoma Valley
There is a light straw color and a nose of apples. In the mouth there is a strong start of bubbles and acidity on the tongue, the former of which soon dissipate into a froth. The wine has the slightest hint of attractive yeast and toast. There are structured flavors of white fruit and baking spices with a vein of acidity that cuts through. This is a robust, mature wine which still has moderate amounts of fruit making for an attractive drink right now. *** Now – 2022.

2010 Poggio all Guardia, Maremma Toscana
Imported by Vias Imports.  This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sangiovese.  Alcohol 14%.  A meaty nose! There is a mature edge to this robust wine.  Black fruit mixes with minerals and old wood and even some plum. There is a fine+ textured structure that will see this wine through many more years.  Good texture in the aftertaste.  A solid wine but will it come around?  **(*) Now – 2025.

2015 Domaine La Manarine, Cotes du Rhone – $15
Imported by Neal Rosenthal.  This wine is 100% Grenache sourced from vines averaging 35 years of age. The fruit was destemmed with elevage taking 20-24 months.  Alcohol 14%.  A spiced cinnamon nose.  Higher-toned in the mouth with grapey flavors, prominent acidity noticeable on the tongue.  There is fine grapey texture which lasts through the finish which is blacker and almost bitter.  **(*) Now – 2021.

Barbera d’Alba from Burlotto

September 27, 2017 Leave a comment

I admit I am relatively new to the wines of G. B. Burlotto despite the winery having been founded in the mid 19th century.  My experience is limited to a few vintages of the ancient variety Pelaverga and one Barolo from 1961.  Today the wines are made by Fabio Alessandria, great-great-grandson of the founder G. B. Burlotto.  Alessandria is said to have reinvigorated the winery through the use of traditional techniques.

He typically produces two Barbera but in 2014 the fruit for his top cuvee Aves was combined to make a single bottling of the 2014 G. B. Burlotto, Barbera d’Alba.  It is a tangy, bright wine with a mouth feel that is even better than the flavor for the suppleness seemingly comes from fat.  The 2015 G. B. Burlotto, Barbera d’Alba Aves  is deeper in flavor with more obvious structure and a stronger mineral presence.  A floral component adds to the complexity.  It will improve with age but is hard to resist right now and yes, the fat impression helps.  Both of these wines are still available at MacArthur Beverages.

2014 G. B. Burlotto, Barbera d’Alba – $20
Imported by Elite Wines.  Alcohol 13.5%.  A light to medium ruby with a hint of garnet.  A fine nose.  The tangy and bright start becomes tangier with air. With air the wine mores from a red start to a black finish with pencil lead.  There is moderate suppleness coupled with some surprising fat.  The fat is attractive.  **(*) Now – 2020.

2015 G. B. Burlotto, Barbera d’Alba Aves – $26
Imported by Elite Wines.  Alcohol 15%.  Dark purple-tinged ruby.  A scented nose.  The tangy red fruit is of fine quality and in perfect balance with acidity and structure.  With air the wine becomes mineral, amost black towards the finish where it picks up floral flavors.  It shows a polished wood note, a mineral structure, and fat in the aftertaste.  *** Now – 2023.