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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.

Recent drinks or cheap stuff that tastes like Aubert and Sine Qua Non

We tried a number of value wines over the holiday break and I am happy to report there are certainly some fine values out there.  The 2016 Lafage, Novellum, Chardonnay is being compared to Aubert and the 2015 Lafage, Bastide Miraflors, Syrah & Vieilles Vignes de Grenache, Cotes du Roussillon to Sine Qua Non on a budget.  The former is ample in flavor and body, the later shows more focus.  At $15 each you cannot go wrong with either.  For a few bucks more I highly recommend you try the 2015 Antoine Touton & Fred Torres, Seleccion, Montsant.  Think mixed berries, fat, and juicy acidity!  The 2014 Mas Marer, Montsant is good too, just keep it in mind it is a structured wine from Monsant.  Finally, the 2016 Maitre-de-Chai, Carignan, Poor Ranch, Mendocino profess to fall in the middle camp of Californian wine making.  There are firm flavors of red fruit, bright acidity, and fine citric tannins.  There are hints of that Pilsner natural wine style which I find distracting but perhap you will not.

2016 Lafage, Novellum, Chardonnay – $15
Imported by Eric Solomon/European Cellars.  This wine is 100% Chardonnay.  Alcohol 13%.  A very light straw yellow color.  The nose is mineral with white, tropical flowers.  The tropical fruit continues in the mouth with floral notes and a nutty body that is supported by just enough acidity.  The wine takes on a mineral hint towards the end.  This wine has ample body with grip underneath and a baking spiced finish.  *** Now – 2019.

2015 Lafage, Bastide Miraflors, Syrah & Vieilles Vignes de Grenache, Cotes du Roussillon – $15
Imported by Eric Solomon/European Cellars. This wine is a blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache sourced from vines averaging 55 years of age which was raised in concrete tanks and demi-muids.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The flavors come across as ripe at first then they show more focus with cool red and black fruit.  This focus is good, carried by slightly juicy acidity into an almost chewy finish.  The wine becomes floral and citrus infused with air.  There is some textured structure to support drinking over a few years.  ***(*) Now – 2021.

2015 Antoine Touton & Fred Torres, Seleccion, Montsant – $19
Imported by Lawrence Boone Selections.  This wine is mostly Garnacha with some Carignan sourced from vines mostly on clay and calcareous soils.  It was raised in stainless steel.  Alcohol 14%.  Grapey on the nose.  A dense, almost glycerin start brings fresh floral berries, and pure fruit covered with fat.  There is a bit of texture as baking spiced flavors come out.  The red fruits morph to blackberries.  In the end the seductive mouthfeel and juicy, acidity supported brambleberries, are hard to resist.  ***(*) Now – 2021.

2014 Mas Marer, Montsant – $15
Imported by Weygant-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Merlot aged for 14 months in used French oak and concrete tanks.  Alcohol 14%.  A moderately structured wine of cherries and herbs with good acidity moving the wine along.  It has a bit of a stone/earth note to it.    It shows a touch of bottle age already but might develop further into the year.  **(*) Now – 2022.

2016 Maitre-de-Chai, Carignan, Poor Ranch, Mendocino – $27
This wine is is sourced from vines planted in the 1930s and 1940s on soils of mostly sand and granite.  Alcohol 13.2%.  Sampled over two nights the nose remains delicate with bright berry aromas.  In the mouth are tight, slightly focused red fruit and some very fine citric tannins.  The firmness of flavor matches the bright acidity making this wine more about texture than depth of flavor.  It is verging on a natural style.  ** Now – 2021.

A floral and textured 2016 Domaine des Braves, Regnie

December 13, 2017 Leave a comment

The 2016 Domaine des Braves, Regnie is a pleasant return to a wine that I have not tasted in four vintages.  In that span, it appears that wine making has shifted from fermentation in cement tank to stainless steel.  Fear not, for the wine is just as good now as it was in the past.  This particular bottle offers plenty of fruit and texture, effectively combining floral notes and weight.  It is a perfect wine to drink mid week.  I suggest you pick up a few bottles from MacArthur Beverages.

2016 Domaine des Braves, Regnie – $16
Imported by Dionysos Imports.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from 45+ year old vines on soils of sand, pink granite, and limestone. It is fermented in stainless steel then aged in a combination of stainless steel and tanks.  Alcohol 13%.  There is a dense start of tart red and black fruit flavors before a more floral middle of red currant. The wine is riper and sweeter in the finish as it becomes more ethereal in nature.  It has a fine ripe, dry texture and even develops more weight with air.  In the end this is a dense, round, mineral wine which picks up intensity towards the finish.  *** Now – 2021.

An approachable Rasteau

November 28, 2017 Leave a comment

Guillaume Gonnet has produced wine at his family estate since 2006.  His short duration in the Southern Rhone is most likely why this is a new wine for me.  I typically find young Rasteau a bit burly but not the 2015 Guillaume Gonnet, Le Maestro, Rasteau.   This is a gentle, savory wine that can be enjoyed now.  This approachability might be a bit atypical but it tastes good!  You can grab a few bottles from MacArthur Beverages.

2015 Guillaume Gonnet, Le Maestro, Rasteau – $17
Imported by Misa Imports.  This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah that was vinified and aged in concrete vats.  Alcohol 14%.  There is a little plum and prune on the nose.  In the mouth this is a gentle wine with cool, dark red fruit flavors that turn racy in the middle.  Here it becomes mineral with black and fine spicy, baking spices.  It is dry in the long finish.  Overall, a very approachable, savory wine.  *** Now – 2019.

You should try the 2016 Agrina, Portuguiser from Serbia

November 14, 2017 Leave a comment

The 2016 Agrina, Portuguiser, Fruska Gora is in fine form.  It reminds me of a traditionally made wine with its lifted strawberry flavors that are mouth filling yet not weighed down.  It has depth yet is not tiring to drink.  Now it is a bit prickly on the tongue, which distracted Jenn, but if that is acceptable then the flavors will transport you somewhere else. You may find this fun wine at MacArthur Beverages.

2016 Agrina, Portuguiser, Fruska Gora – $13
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is 100% Portuguiser.  Alcohol 13%.  The wine is very lively on the tongue, just on the side of prickly which provides ample feeling on the tongue.  There is bright red fruit that is quite deep in flavor that resolves into lifted, ripe strawberry over black fruit notes.  It is mineral by the finish with an ethereal, sweet aftertaste.  Very satisfying.  *** Now – 2018.

For drinking now: 2013 Planeta, Dorilli, Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico

November 8, 2017 Leave a comment

The 2013 Planeta, Dorilli, Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico has benefited from a little bottle age for it is in an accessible state right now.  The wine was raised in oak so think of it as a more robust version of its namesake.  You may grab this good value at MacArthur Beverages.

2013 Planeta, Dorilli, Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico – $16
Imported by Palm Bay International.  This wine is a blend of 70% Nero d’Avola and 30% Frappato fermented in stainless steel then aged for 12 months in oak.  Alcohol ?%.  Aromas of damp soil and smoke are inviting. In the mouth are tangy red and black fruit, juicy acidity, and gentle structure.  There is an ethereal strawberry and cranberry fruit finish with tar and a return touch of smoke.  *** Now – 2020.

Excellent 2016 Barale Dolcetto and Barbera

November 6, 2017 Leave a comment

Founded in 1870, the estate of Barale Fratelli is still run by the Barale family.  It is an interesting estate in that  traditional methods are still employed, as in the aging of the Barolo crus in glass demijohns, as well employing the new technique of fermenting with a starter of indigenous yeast selected from the oldest Nebbiolo vines.

The pair of wines that I tasted are meant to be expressive of the varieties without requiring long aging.  I also found that both of these wines offer plenty of texture for you to enjoy.  The 2016 Barale Fratelli, Castle, Barbera d’Alba drinks the most forward straight from the bottle.  It combines both orange and old-school red flavors that I particularly like.  The 2016 Barale Fratelli, Le Rose, Dolcetto d’Alba managed to surprise me.  After one hour of air it went from showing focus to revealing savory, mouth filling flavors.  It is Dolcetto as I have never tasted in my limited experience.  The wine did oscillate so I suspect it will improve over the course of next year.  I recommend you try both of these wines which you may find at MacArthur Beverages.

2016 Barale Fratelli, Le Rose, Dolcetto d’Alba – $18
Imported by Williams Corner Wines.  This wine is 100% Dolcetto sourced from vines located between Barolo and Monforte.  The fruit was fermented in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts from the oldest Nebbiolo vines on the estate.  It is briefly aged in oak barrels to allow malolactic fermentation.  Alcohol 12.5 %.  A focused wine, not to be confused with firm, with savory flavors of black fruit and minerals.  It takes one hour to open up developing grapey texture and a perfumed finish.  This tangy wine has a very fine tannic structure  and watering acidity that borders on juicy.  The savory aspects kept me returning to the glass.  ***(*) Now – 2022.

2016 Barale Fratelli, Castle, Barbera d’Alba – $18
Imported by Williams Corner Wines.  This wine is 100% Barbera sourced from the Castellero and Preda vineyards. The fruit was fermented in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts from the oldest Nebbiolo vines on the estate.  Alcohol 14.5%. There are riper flavors of orange and some old-school red fruit.  With ripe orange citrus and pleasing textured tannins on the gum this wine has ample presence in the mouth.  There is moderate density to the flavors which morph from deep black through red in spectrum.  *** Now – 2021.