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Posts Tagged ‘$30-$49’

Grenache Blanc from California

This past week we tried three bottles of California Grenache Blanc from three different regions.  The 2015 Priest Ranch, Grenache Blanc, Napa Valley  is a good value.  You first notice salinity and stone dust which is soon followed by fruit and  a mouth-coating aftertaste.  This wine responds well to air and some warmth which will make you pleased with the wine and $20 price.

Two of the wines have an interesting connection in that the vineyard which sources the Three Clicks fruit is planted with cuttings that came from Tablas Creek.  The 2015 Tablas Creek Vineyard, Grenache Blanc, Paso Robles is locked down.  I kept an open bottle in my refrigerator for a week and the wine barely changed.  Right now it is evocative of lemons but it needs to shake off its firmness before it should be drunk.  On the other hand the 2015 Three Clicks, Grenache Blanc, Branham Vineyard, Sonoma County is expressive.  I have enjoyed tasting the last several vintages of this wine at the annual MacArthur Beverages California Barrel Tasting and the current released vintages is just as good.  You taste the white fruit and the stones but it is crispness that captures my attention.  If you can only afford one bottle then grab the Three Clicks.  Add in the Priest Ranch if you want to compare wines.

 

2015 Priest Ranch, Grenache Blanc, Napa Valley – $20
Alcohol 14.8%.  This saline and stone dust infused wine has a dense start followed by ripe, white fruit flavors in the middle, and a pervasive, mouth-coating aftertaste.  It is well structured and balanced for further life.  *** Now – 2020.

2015 Tablas Creek Vineyard, Grenache Blanc, Paso Robles – $30
Alcohol 14.4%. Tasted over several nights this wine remained largely unevolved.  The flavors of white fruit, lemon, and baking spices are supported by lemon-like acidity, fine texture, and some density.  It adds a lifted, floral note in the finish.  This will last! **(*) Now – 2032.

2015 Three Clicks, Grenache Blanc, Branham Vineyard, Sonoma County – $28
Alcohol 14.3%.  There is a slightly weighty yet crisp start with good white fruit that overlays chalk.  The liveliness makes you return for another glass. *** Now – 2020.

An interesting trio of reds from Garage Wine Co

Upon returning from MacArthur Beverages with the latest selections brought in by Phil, I diligently packed my bottles into the wine fridge.  That same evening I pulled out the 2013 Garage Wine Co., Lot #45, Sauzal Vineyard, Maule Valley and 2013 Garage Wine Co., Lot #47, Truquilemu Vineyard, Maule Valley.  Unlike the 2011 vintage, this pair from 2013 is decidedly locked down.  I recorked the bottles for the next night.

Had I not tried these bottles a second time I never would have determined why my hands became covered with dark yellow marks as if attacked by a giant Crayon.  I had completely ignored the yellow waxes capsules as I was solely focused on coaxing flavors out of my glasses.  Of the two Lot wines #45 never gave up much, even after three nights.  Lot #47 reveals good potential.  It is a higher-toned, red fruited wine with almost puckering acidity.  Coupled with good body and weight this wine will certainly develop over the next several years.  It truly requires this time so you should bury these bottles.

It is the least expensive offering that I am most excited about.  The 2016 Garage Wine Co., Pais, Second Salvo Ferment, Secano Interior exudes grapey, young, mouth filling flavors.  Additional personality comes from the pastille and mineral notes.   These flavors are in contrast to Luyt’s extremely old-vine Pais which is a bit too spritzy and yeasty for my preferences.  The Second Salvo Ferment Pais is meant to be drunk right now with your friends.  It provides instantaneous satisfaction and if you can only purchase one of these wines then this is the one to get.

2016 Garage Wine Co., Pais, Second Salvo Ferment, Secano Interior – $20
Imported by Elixir Wine Group.  Alcohol 13%.  This is a young, fruity wine with very fine, grapey extract for texture.  It becomes more focused with air mixing pastilles and minerals with the black fruited finish.  It slides down the throat leaving lingering sensation of texture. ***(*) Now – 2018.

 

2013 Garage Wine Co., Lot #45, Sauzal Vineyard, Maule Valley – $34
Imported by Elixir Wine Group.  This wine is a field-blend of Carignan, Garnacha, and Mataro.  Alcohol 13.2%.  There is a good, Carignan driven nose.  In the mouth this is an impressively structured wine with watering acidity, dry fruit, and a certain amount of powdery dry tannins.  It is somewhat expansive yet ultimately tight such that the flavors come across shorter due to the structure.  *** 2020-2030.

 

2013 Garage Wine Co., Lot #47, Truquilemu Vineyard, Maule Valley – $34
Imported by Elixir Wine Group.  This wine is a field-blend of Carignan and Mataro.  Alcohol 14%.  The scented nose moves on to higher-toned flavors coming from a core of dense, powdery tart red fruit over black fruit.  There is just a hint of wood box already with almost puckering acidity.  It is clear that the good weight, good body, and perfumed fruit with bear out and benefit from a few years of age.  ***(*) 2019-2028.

A generous 17 year old Cotes du Rhone Villages

I was down to my last bottle of 2000 Domaine Les Aphillanthes, Cuvee du Cros, Cotes du Rhone Villages so when I saw it available on WineBid I grabbed a few bottles.  This is a dark, flavorful wine drinking at its peak which means it is very satisfying.  I love how Rhone wines can be pleasurable both in youth and maturity!

2000 Domaine Les Aphillanthes, Cuvee du Cros, Cotes du Rhone Villages –
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler. This is 100% Syrah aged in demi-muids. Alcohol 14.7%.  This is a generous wine with minerally black and red fruit accented by garrigue.  It still has power in reserve at this stage.  The fruit is plentiful and deep with the structure only noticeable towards the end.  Only bits of dry wood flavor peak through so the wine presents itself as a harmonious mouthful.  **** Now – 2019.

An approachable Saint-Joseph

April 18, 2017 1 comment

The 2014 J.L. Chave, Offerus, Saint-Joseph is a fine example from the Northern Rhone.  It is pure in feeling and combines meat and fruit with floral and stone notes. It is already quite expressive yet has the personality to develop over the next several years.  I recommend you grab a few to drink both now and later.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

2014 J.L. Chave, Offerus, Saint-Joseph – $30
Imported by Erin Cannon Imports.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose reveals aromas of meat coated with brighter red fruit.  This is a forward wine in the mouth with blue and black fruit mixed with floral hints.  It starts off with an open feeling partially due to minimal tannic structure and a hint of fat in the aftertaste.  With air this mineral infused wine is almost lip-smacking in flavor and reveals some tightness suggesting further development will take place.  ***(*) Now – 2025.

Cahors and Bandol from Kermit Lynch

The half-bottle format of 2011 Domaine Tempier, Bandol has entered a great drinking period which should continue for some time.  The deep flavors are attractively ripe and a few years of bottle age mix nicely with leather and meat.  If you are looking for a wine to buy this weekend then grab a few halves and pop one open as soon as you get home.  Also for current drinking, albeit at the budget end of things, the 2014 Clos La Coutale, Cahors is a wine to drink mid-week.  It is a lithe wine, think black tea and herbs, delivered in a fresh manner.  Whereas the Tempier will drink well for years to come the Coutale should be consumed over a year or so.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

 

2011 Domaine Tempier, Bandol – $22 (375mL)
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 75% Mourvedre, 14% Grenache, 9% Cinsault, and 2% Carignan sourced from 40+ year old vines, fermented in stainless steel then aged 18-20 months in oak foudres.  Alcohol 11%-14%.  There is a fine, engaging nose with hints of ripeness.  In the mouth is a lively start which soon builds depth, minerals, and grip before coating the gums with a lovely aftertaste.    The ripeness of the start dissipates in the middle only to return in the aftertaste.  It has already developed meat and leather flavors but the structure and acidity will see development for a few more years.  ***(*) Now – 2023.

2014 Clos La Coutale, Cahors – $14
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 80% Malbec and 20% Merlot sourced from 20+ year old vines fermented in stainless steel then aged in oak foudres and barrels.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This is an interest wine combining black tea notes with fresh black fruit and acidity.  The wine is of lithe profile bringing on drier black fruit, herbs, and a little bit of grip in the finish.  There is minimal structure making this a wine for the short-term.  ** Now – 2018.

Hanging on: 1985 Mount Eden Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon

February 21, 2017 Leave a comment

The history of Mount Eden Vineyards reaches back to the final years of World War II when Martin Ray purchased several hundred acres of mountaintop land for a vineyard.  Here he planted Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon vines.  Martin Ray eventually took on investors creating the Mount Eden Vineyard Corporation in 1960.  The next two decades were a turbulent time until operations steadied  in 1983 when Jeffrey Patterson became head winemaker.  According to the winery website the 1980s was a period of replanting in the vineyard and experimenting in the winery.

From this early modern period hails my bottle of 1985 Mount Eden Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains.  Despite the bin soiled label the fill was in the neck and cork perfectly firm.  As usual when I encounter a new mature wine, I do not decant it.  The nose cleans up to reveal aromas of sweet wood and berries.  At first the wine is billowy, loose and marked by some bell pepper in the mouth, making me think it remained in bottle too long.  With air, blue fruit develops and the whole becomes framed by structure which balances everything out.  Despite this improvement the finish remains quite short.  If you have any bottles lying about I suggest you drink them up.

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1985 Mount Eden Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains
Alcohol 13%.  After breathing there is a pleasing nose of some sweet wood and berries.  In the mouth is a billowy start accented by a touch of bell pepper.  The billowy red fruited flavors remain but wine does gain better focus with underlying blue fruit flavors and more noticeable acidity and structure towards the finish.  It definitely balances out but the finish ultimately remains short.  ** Now.

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A pair of recently arrived French wines

February 15, 2017 Leave a comment

Today’s pair of wines recently hit the shelves thanks to Phil Bernstein.  Always interested in expanding my Northern Rhone experience I excitedly popped open the 2011 Jean-Michel Gerin, Champin Le Seigneur, Cote-Rotie.  Jean-Michel Gerin first worked under the advisement of Jean-Luc Colombo whose modern 2013 Jean-Luc Colombo, Les Bartavelles, Chateauneuf du Pape I recently tasted.  From the onset Gerin employed “modern” ways including new oak some of which was American.  The Champin Le Seigneur is a blend of Syrah and Viognier sourced from all of his parcels.  Fortunately, this particular vintage is not evocative of oak.  Instead, it is a gentle, pure wine of mixed fruits, floral notes, and stones.  It is quite tasty right now but will develop with further age.

From Corsica comes the 2013 Domaine Comte Abbatucci, Cuvee Faustine.  This blend of Sciaccarellu and Niellucciu provide attractive flavors of tart red fruity and dry floral notes.  There are not many Corsican wines available in Washington, DC so this wine is worth a try.  The balance tilts towards the structure with air so I suspect now  might be the time to drink it.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2011 Jean-Michel Gerin, Champin Le Seigneur, Cote-Rotie -$45
Imported by Esprit du Vin.  This wine is a blend of 90% Syrah and 10% Viognier.  Alcohol 13%.  There are gentle clouds of ripe aroma.  In the mouth the smooth, dense entry combines red and black fruit with an inky, mineral, stone infused middle.  The interest continues as fat infused strawberry and floral flavors develop with air.  ***(*) Now – 2027.

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2013 Domaine Comte Abbatucci, Cuvee Faustine – $25
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 70% Sciaccarellu and 30% Niellucciu raised in stainless steel and cement.  Alcohol 14%.  The red fruited start defines itself with tart red fruit bound in a tangy structure.  There are dry floral and herb notes but the structure really blooms in size.  I Like the flavor profile with its very delicate and ethereal ripe berries on the gum and persistent herbs.  *** Now – 2022.

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