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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.

2016 Julienas and Morgon from Lapierre

In 2016, hail damaged more than 7 acres of Lapierre family vines, prompting the purchase of fruit from nearby Julienas.  I tasted this one-off cuvee with its brother from Morgon over two nights.  That the same hand made the wine is evident so the comparison between the two wines is fun.  The Morgon has a bit more stuffing being meatier with more tannins.  The Julienas is higher-toned, more floral and elegant.  In this context I found the Morgon to be a touch more satisfying.  But then I first drank the Julienas with an old friend at Buvette, it was exactly what I craved after a day of travel.   These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2016 Lapierre, Morgon – $30
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from 60 year old vines on granitic gravel soils.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose is articulate with ripe aromas.  There is a ripe, bright core of red fruit and minerals with a drier finish.  Both citric acidity and pithe-like tannins come out in the aftertaste.  Enjoyably meaty with good acidity.  ***(*) Now – 2023.

2016 Lapierre, Julienas – $35
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from 60 year old vines on volcanic and schist soils.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose is relatively brighter and higher-toned.  The high-tone echoes on the start with citric red fruit and zippy acidity yet the wine has attractive fat.  It is floral and fruitier with spices in the watering finish.  With air a floral, sweet black tea note comes out.  ***(*) Now – 2022.

Cellar your 2014 Domaine Raspail-Ay, Gigondas

December 7, 2017 Leave a comment

I am a big fan of Domaine Raspail-Ay, Gigondas so I’ll admit that the 2014 vintage is missing some of the depth of earlier vintages such as 2010 and 2009.  The 2014 Domaine Raspail-Ay, Gigondas is deceptively approachable but the roundness belies the fact that this wine is best left in the cellar for several more years.  You can grab your bottles at MacArthur Beverages.

2014 Domaine Raspail-Ay, Gigondas – $30
Imported by Michael Corso Selections.  This wine is a blend of mostly Grenache with a good portion of Syrah and a touch of Mourvedre.  It is aged for nearly two years in casks and vats.  Alcohol 14.5%.  Tasted over two days it remains dense and smooth yet slightly textured.  There are still very focused kirsch flavors and a mineral finish.  It sports an attractive chewiness.  Despite the round, approachability this really needs more time.  *** 2019-2029.

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.

Two wines from Faro, not Fara

October 30, 2017 Leave a comment

Faro is a wine region in the extreme eastern portion of Sicily featuring the variety Nerello Mascalese and not to be confused with the Nebbiolo based wines of Fara in upper Piedmont.  The vineyards of Faro sit on a mountainous ridge overlooking the Strait of Messina.  It is here that wine has been made since the time of the Greeks.  Despite this long history, the vineyards largely disappeared after World War II.  In 1991 there were but a few people producing wine and despite a turn around, there are only 15 hectares of vines as of 2014.

Of the two wines that I tasted I prefer the 2014 Le Casematte, Faro for I found the aromas of flowers, oranges, and fruit interesting.  In the mouth, the flavors of bright tart cherry are delivered with just the right amount of wine.  It is a wine for the curious to try over the next several years.  The 2012 Cuppari, San Placido, Faro is produced from a vineyard completely replanted in 2005 and 2006.  The wine itself looks mature in color and this is indeed the case with the flavor.  I do like that it has taken on a wood box component but the finish is bitter and the structure likely to outlive the rest of the wine.  These two wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

 

2014 Le Casematte, Faro – $34
Imported by Empson USA.  This wine is a blend of 55% Nerello Mascalese, 25% Nerello Cappuccio, 10% Nocera, and 10% Nero d’Avola sourced from vines 15-30 years old which was then aged in French oak for 6-9 months.  Alcohol 13.5%.  A difficult to describe, unique nose of floral, orange, and tart fruit aromas.  In the mouth is a slightly tart start with puckering acidity on the tongue tip.  There are tart cherry, brighter red and black fruit flavors with added minerals by the middle.  The wine has gentle weight and a subtle, fine texture.  *** Now – 2022.

 

2012 Cuppari, San Placido, Faro – $23
Alcohol 14%. This wine is a blend of 60% Nerello Mascalese, 20% Nerello Cappuccio,
10% Nocera, 5% Nero d’Avola, and 5% Sangiovese sourced from vines planted in 2005 and 2006.  The wine was aged for 12 months in French oak and chestnut.  Imported by deGrazia Imports.  The wine looks mature with its garnet and brick color.  In the mouth are maturing flavors, wood box notes, dry middle, and an interesting, almost bitter floral finish.  The structure of very fine tannins is very much evident from the middle.  ** Now but will last.

 

2015 Jamet: Cotes du Rhone blanc and Syrah

September 18, 2017 Leave a comment

The pair of 2015 Domaine Jamet wines featured in this post are very different.  Not just in terms of color but nature.  Over the course of three days, the 2015 Domaine Jamet, Cotes du Rhone Blanc remains very focused on only revealing its primary components which are flinty flavors of lemon and other white fruit.  It is, in short, a wine with good future potential that you should just leave buried in your cellar.  The 2015 Domaine Jamet, Syrah, Collines Rhodaniennes IGP is a wine to drink now.  The rounded flavors and infusion of fat enable this to be a wine for drinking now.  However, the generosity of the 2015 vintage does not take away from the Jamet subtlety.   This subtlety of fruit coupled with graphite and fat place this wine unmistakably in the north.  I recommend you drink this delicious wine as soon as you return with a bottle. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2015 Domaine Jamet, Cotes du Rhone Blanc – $30
Imported by Domaine Select. This wine is a blend of 55% Marianne, 30% Viognier, 10% Roussanne, 5% Grenache Blanc sourced from vines averaging 10 years of age.  It was vinified in both stainless steel and oak barriques.  Alcohol 13%.  This is a pale straw color.  There is a flinty, fruited started with a hint of wood by the middle.  The wine is almost tart with lemon and white fruit flavors.  With extended air it remains very focused, eventually taking on some fine texture through the aftertaste. ***(*) 2019 – 2029.

2015 Domaine Jamet, Syrah, Collines Rhodaniennes IGP – $25
Imported by Domaine Select. This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from 12 year old vines fermented in stainless steel then aged for one year in oak barrels. Alcohol 12%.  The fat on the nose makes way to rounded flavors of minerals, graphite, and red fruit. There is also a subtle fat vein that works is way through the wine.  The flavors become finely perfumed as the wine becomes dry towards the finish.  For the near term.  *** 2017-2020.

Vacqueyras white and red

Lou, David Aaron, Jenn, and I gathered in our kitchen for a blind tasting.  As it was my turn to host I opened six bottles from Vacqueyras believing all would enjoy them.  I find this region produces riper and less tannic wine than Gigondas yet is still capable of a touch of age.  It is moderate age that I hoped to explore.

We kicked things off with Lou’s bottle of 2006 Pierre Andre, Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Les Blanchots.  The attractive interplay between fruit, yeast, and stones coupled with near-maturity meant it drank well and was finished off before I could revisit the bottle.  The second wine tasted, being the first bottle of Vacqueyras, is also a white wine.  The 2013 Sang de Cailloux, Un Sang Blanc, Vacqueyras Blanc is a tropical, complex wine with a luxurious mouth feel.  Phil still stocks this wine at MacArthur Beverages so if you have yet to try Vacqueyras blanc then you owe it to try a bottle with your friends.  Also available is the first red wine we tasted 2012 Domaine le Clos des Cazaux, Cuvee des Templiers, Vacqueyras.  This is a mature, affordable Vacqueyras which transitioned us from white to red.

The 2006, 2005, and 2003 trio of Domaine de la Charbonniere remained true to the vintage.  The 2006 is a balanced almost elegant wine.  The 2005 is more aromatic and offers additional complexity from garrigue and wood box elements.  The 2003 is the most powerful, borders on rugged and leans towards plum flavors.  All of these wines drank well over two nights but the 2006 and 2005 are my favorite.  Right now they offer a good mix of maturity and fruit.

Finally, the 2000 Domaine de la Garrigue, Vacqueyras is completely mature.  The fruit is fading, instead replaced by deep ethereal flavors of garrigue and earth.  It is still satisfying but is starting to dry up.

2006 Pierre Andre, Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Les Blanchots
Imported by William Harrison Imports.  Alcohol 13%.  It is a fresh, light yellow straw color.  The nose mixes fruit and yeast while the mouth brings round, white fruit with a good level of weight and stones.  Tasty.  ***(*) Now – 2022.

2013 Sang de Cailloux, Un Sang Blanc, Vacqueyras Blanc – $50
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 20% Clairette, 20% Grenache Blanc, 15% Bourboulenc, 15% Roussanne, 15% Marsanne, and 15% Viognier sourced from young vines.  It was fermented and raised in oak.  There are complex, sweet tropical aromas.  In the mouth is a round flavorful version of the nose. This racy wine is still young with nearly crisp acidity and a seductive rich mouth feel that borders on melted fat.  The white, exotics fruits move through the richness leaving the impression of a brighter finish.  **** Now – 2022.

2012 Domaine le Clos des Cazaux, Cuvee des Templiers, Vacqueyras – $18
Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils. This wine is a blend of 50% Syrah and 50% Grenache sourced from vines at least 30-50 years of age. The fruit was completely destemmed then aged in both stainless steel tanks followed by enamel coated concrete tanks. Alcohol 14%.  The subtle nose is mature with dark aromas.  In the mouth are dark berries that mix with a mineral and black middle.  This morphs in to a black graphite finish.  The tannins are largely resolved and coupled with a certain sense of relaxation, I suspect this is drinking at its peak.  *** Now.

2006 Domaine de la Charbonniere, Vacqueyras
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre  with Cinsault.  Alcohol 14.5%. There is a good dose of garrigue thrown in the mix.  The wine is juicy in a way but the fine structure dries and tightens by the finish leaving the impression of backbone.  With air more fruit becomes apparent balancing the structure against the bright, red and black dense core.  The balance becomes notable as does a certain elegance.  ***(*) Now – 2022.

2005 Domaine de la Charbonniere, Vacqueyras
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre  with Cinsault.  Alcohol 15%.  The dark nose made complex by floral incense is more intense than the 2006 vintage.  At first dark fruit mixes with wood box notes carried by lively acidity into the dry finish.  With extended air there is absolutely no decline to the black fruit, garrigue, and slight spiciness.  The black cherry fruit is dance and balanced.  ***(*) Now – 2022.

2003 Domaine de la Charbonniere, Vacqueyras
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah that was aged for 6-8 months in big oak tanks.  Alcohol 15%.  There are rounded, drying flavors due to structure from the start with mature flavors in the middle, and a slightly green/fresh finish that leaves tannins on the gums.  With air the structure, tang, and grip at the end is noticeably more rugged than the 2005 vintage.  This vintage is about plum flavors and power rather than balance.  A bit of black fruit and polished wood are left in the aftertaste.   ***  Now – 2020.

2000 Domaine de la Garrigue, Vacqueyras
Imported by European Cellars.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This most mature in color and on the nose.  In the mouth intensity of the fruit is replaced by deep ethereal flavors of garrigue and earth.  There is still a dry and powdered structure supporting the firm, red cherry notes.  *** Now but will last.