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Tasting Wine At MacArthur Beverages with Charles of Williams Corner Wine

June 7, 2013 1 comment

Yesterday I took some time off from work to meet Charles Gendrot of Williams Corner Wine at MacArthur Beverages.  He had arranged with Phil to pour a number of samples.  I knew we would taste the 2010 Domaine du Banneret, Chateauneuf du Pape but I did not realize he had almost a case of wine stashed in his black bag.  Williams Corner Wine not only distributes a subset from Louis/Dressner Selections but they also import an interesting variety of wines from France, Italy, and Spain.  A quick search of this blog gives an insight into this diversity (results of search for “Williams Corner”).  The four white wines were fun to taste with the Chateau du Coing de Saint-Fiacre showing good texture, the Eric Texier very bright and fresh, the Tami showing well with persistent flavors, and the Zidarich unique.  If you want an introduction to a different type of white wine than try the Tami and Zidarich.  Of the red wines the recently bottled Fatalone is a great choice when served chilled on a humid Washington, DC evening.  The recently arrived 2011 Bernard Baudry was showing quite well but the 2010 Domaine des Banneret stole the show.  It is a young wine which will develop.  Right now it has finesse and invites you to keep returning to the glass.  Once the 2010 hits the shelves I shall taste it alongside the 2009.  Please find my brief notes below.

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2007 Chateau du Coing de Saint-Fiacre, L’Ancestrale, Muscadet Sevre et Maine –
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This fruit for this wine is sourced from 60-80 year old vines, is fermented in concrete without temperature control then spends four to five years on the lees without stirring.  Alcohol 12.5%.  There was a fruity, textured nose.  The flavors were a little ripe in the mouth showing more focus.  The flavors became drier with some tannins coming out and integrating with the acidity.  There were apple-like tart white fruit flavors, a hint of lees in the finish, and good texture.

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2012 Eric Texier, Blanc, Cotes du Rhone –
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  This wine is mostly Grenache Blanc.  Alcohol 12%.  The nose was aromatic with berries then tropical and floral fruit.  In the mouth there was bright, focused floral white fruit, drier flavors, and a fresh personality.  It was stone-like in nature.

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2011 Tami, Grillo, Sicily –
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  Alcohol 12.5%.  There was a waxy, almost nutty note which was clearly different.  In the mouth there was fresh, bright, waxy white fruit which followed the nose.  There was some density to the flavors, acidity, and a good persistent aftertaste.  Enjoyable.

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2010 Zidarich, Vitovska, Venezia Giulia –
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is 100% Vitovska sourced from vines 6-30 years of age.  The fruit was destemmed then fermented in open vats without temperature control using indigenous yeasts.  It was then aged for two years in medium and large Slavonian oak barrels.  Alcohol 12%.  This orange wine had a different aromatic nose of potpourri.  The mouth followed the nose with clean and dry fruit, dried floral flavors, stones, perfume, and lots of texture.  Not extreme in any manner.

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2012 Fatalone, Teres, Primitivo, Puglia –
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  Alcohol 13%.  The color was a very light cranberry.  The nose bore bright berries.  In the mouth the wine was much light with crisp flavors of cranberry and raspberry with an earthy touch.  It maintained crispness leaving a very fine, grapey impression on the lips and in the mouth.  Quite young in nature.  Works well when cool.

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2011 Klein, Pinot Noir, St-Hippolyte, Alsace –
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  The nose was finely textured with red fruit. In the mouth there were firm flavors of red and earthy fruit presented in a more austere manner.  Might need a little time to open up.

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2012 Jean-Paul Brun, Domaine des Terres Dorees, L’Ancien, Vieilles Vignes, Beaujolais –
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  Alcohol 12%.  The light nose bore pepper aromas along with firm red and blue fruit.  In the mouth there was almost tart flavors of grapey red fruit followed by some firm black fruit.  It was a little juicy, tart, and had acidity.  The finish was puckering with a citric personality which matched the emerging structure.  Give it a few months in the cellar.

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2011 Domaine Bernard Baudry, “Domaine”, Chinon –
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  There was a good nose of old perfume.  The flavors were both fruity and ethereal with old perfume mixing with red and black fruit.  It had a lighter personality but maintained a chewy concentration.  Showing quite well even compared to 2010.

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2010 Domaine du Banneret, Chateauneuf du Pape –
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre with some vines 80+ years old.  It  fermented in small tanks then aged for 16 months in barrels and oak ovals.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose was interesting, expressive, light but engaging.  In the mouth there was finesse with slowly building flavors, black fruit, fresh acidity, and mild ripeness.  I agree with the old-school comment.  This is a young, different wine which I will clearly taste again once it is at the store.

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2010 La Stoppa, Trebbiolo Rosso, Emilia Rosso –
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  Alcohol 13%.  There was a bretty nose of red and black fruit.  In the mouth there was a ripe hit of flavors then spritz on the tongue.  The ripe, grippy flavors creep up.

The 2013 Robert Kacher Selections Spring Portfolio Tasting: The Winemakers

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Earlier this week Lou and I attended the 2013 Robert Kacher Selections Spring Portfolio Tasting in Washington, DC.  The tasting was held at the historic Patterson Mansion on Dupont Circle which is the clubhouse for the 19th century Washington Club.  There was a large number of wines available to taste representing that of several dozen domains mostly from all over France.  Between the two of us we tasted many wines and wrote down many notes.  For the first post I have decided to concentrate on three domains whose winemakers were present at the tasting.  I first met Diane de Puymorin of Château d’Or et de Gueules and Corinne and Philippe Ehrhart of Domaine Ehrhart at last year’s portfolio tasting.  You may read about last year’s event in my series of posts The Robert Kacher Spring 2012 Portfolio Tasting.  This year I met Jean-Hubert Lebreton of Domaine des Rochelles.  I spent extra time with each of them learning more about the wines I was tasting and the domains they came from.

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Château d’Or et de Gueules

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Château d’Or et de Gueules is an older estate which was purchased by Diane de Puymorin in 1998.  Originally named Domaine de la Petite Cassagne she carved out a new estate named after her family crest.  She planted an additional 30 acres of vines made up of some Syrah and all of the white varietals.  She kept the ten hectares of 80 year old Carignan and nine hectares of 90 year old Mourvedre.  She has also planted some more Mourvedre.  The vineyards are located in the far south-east of Costières de Nîmes so they are influenced by a maritime climate.  Diane feels this gives her wines a certain freshness.  The old-vines are goblet trained and all of the vines are on soils of round pebbles.  She planted grass between the vines for competition but this was not really necessary for her vineyards.  She is two years into the organic certification process so she does not use any chemicals.  She uses fruit from her old-vine Mourvedre and Carignan in all of her wines.  She employs carbonic maceration for the Carignan because it is naturally too tannic so she wants to make it more elegant and avoid over extraction.

2010 Château d’Or et de Gueules, Les Cimels, Costières de Nîmes –
This wine is a blend of 60% Syrah, 30% old-vine Carignan, and 10% Grenache.  The varietals were fermented separately, the Carignan underwent carbonic maceration.  It was aged in tank.  There was a light, expressive nose.  In the mouth there was some initial vigor before citric, red fruit mixed with plenty of tannins.  There was some gentle acidity.

2011 Château d’Or et de Gueules, Trassegum, Costières de Nîmes –
This wine is a blend of 50% Syrah, 25% old-vine Carignan, and 25% old-vine Mourvedre.  The Carignan undergoes carbonic maceration.  The wine was aged one year in barrel and some time in tank.  The nose bore higher-toned aromas and berries.  In the mouth there were old-school flavors of red fruit.  The tannins eventually smoothed out as red raspberry flavors came out along with some textured, ripe tannins.

2011 Château d’Or et de Gueules, Qu’es Aquo, Costières de Nîmes –
This wine is 100% Carignan of which 80% underwent Carbonic maceration and 20% by pigeage.  It was then aged for six months in used oak barrels.  The flavors were perfumed with grip and a little red candy.  There was a graphite structure with drying tannins in the aftertaste.

2009 Château d’Or et de Gueules, Cuvee La Bolida, Costières de Nîmes –
This wine is a blend of 90% old-vine Mourvedre and 10% Grenache which was aged for 18 months in French oak.  There was a subtle but interesting nose.  In the mouth the flavors were dense, smooth and approachable.  The structure slowly came out and mixed with somewhat juicy acidity.  There was a little berry perfume in the finish along with good tannins.  Clearly, my favorite of the quartet.

Domaine Ehrhart (Domaine Saint-Rémy in Europe)

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Corinne and Philippe Ehrhart were present at the tasting.  Domaine Ehrhart first started producing Chardonnay in 1981.  It is not allowed in the other wines so all of the production is use in their Crément d’Alsace.  The first white wine I tasted, the Pinot Auxerrois is sourced from a vineyard near the Chardonnay vineyard.  Pinot Auxerrois produces smaller berries than Pinot Blanc.  This fact combined with the granite soils provides a wine of good complexity.  This wine spends 6-8 weeks on the lees.  The 2011 vintages was completely sold out so to meet demand the 2012 vintage was bottled earlier, just two weeks ago.  It is not possible to bottle the 2012 Rieslings because they started fermenting in October, shutdown in December due to the cold, and have only just started fermenting again.  All of the fruit is picked by hand and slowly pressed in one of two pneumatic presses.  Each cycle takes five to eight hours.  The fruit is fermented with indigenous yeast and remains in stainless steel.  Philippe likes to preserve freshness in his wine hence his use of stainless steel.  He does, however, use oak with his Pinot Noir.  Because they have vineyards in 11 different villages they employ some 47 or 48 different sized stainless steel tanks to keep everything separate   The wines are filtered about three weeks before bottling.

Corinne is constantly replanting parcels in the vineyards.  For example, she just replanted two in Herrenberg.  The replanting is done in small groups because it takes four years before the parcel will produce suitable fruit again.  They grow grass between the rows of vines.  Typically they have plowed one side and let the grass on the other side grow.  This year Philippe is going to try a new method.  When it is rainy he is going to cut the grass to encourage it to grow and absorb the moisture.  When it is dry he is going to let the grass flower.  Then he will come out with his lawn roller and roll all of the grass down.  There has been a lot of rain lately so the ground is saturated and soft.  So soft that he cannot yet get into the vineyards with his tractor for fear of damage.

The tasting finished with the 2005, Gewurztraminer, Sélection de Grains Nobles.  This is a wine produced from grapes affected by botrytis or noble rot.  The conditions for this wine occur approximate once every ten years at Domaine Ehrhart.  They are incredibly labor intensive wines because the fruit is harvested berry by berry.  2012 was not a vintage for any late harvesting because there were too many fall rains.

NV Domaine Ehrhart, Crément d’Alsace –
This wine is 100% Chardonnay produced by Methode Traditionnelle.  There was an apple, yeasty nose.  In the mouth there was a vibrant start with apple flavors making way to berries.  The acidity was noticeable on the lips as the bubbles burst in to a very soft mousse.

2012 Domaine Ehrhart, Pinot Auxerrois, Val St Gregoire –
This  There was a light, focused nose.  In the mouth there was richer fruit with nice weight.  The flavors took on ripe tea and herbs as it became creamy with integrated acidity.

2011 Domaine Ehrhart, Riesling, Vieilles Vignes –
This wine is 100% Riesling sourced from 28 year old vines sourced from different parcels, most in Rosenberg.  There was a tight, yellow nose.  In the mouth were concentrated berry, fruity flavors before drying out with stone notes.  There was acidity from the start along with good texture.  This should develop well.

2011 Domaine Ehrhart, Riesling, Herrenweg –
This is 100% Riesling sourced from 35 year old vines sourced from two parcels  located on alluvial soils mixed with stones.  There was a pretty, floral, berry nose.  It had a richness but showed good vigor to the berry fruit.  This was highly textured and almost chewy.  There were long, ripe tannins in the aftertaste.

2011 Domaine Ehrhart, Riesling, Grand Cru Schlossberg –
This is 100% Riesling sourced from soils with more granite.  There was a light nose of articulate white and yellow aromas.  The mouth bore weight to the yellow, flora, and dried herb fruit flavors.  The acidity was more noticeable at first then the flavors expanded in the mouth with ripe texture and lots of mouthfeel.

2011 Domaine Ehrhart, Pinot Gris, Im Berg –
This is 100% Pinot Gris sourced from parcels on soils of granite west of Val St. Gregoire, though it is more of a hill than a mountain.  There was weighty with rich white and yellow fruit, the biggest wine yet.  The was texture and underlying acidity.

2011 Domaine Ehrhart, Pinot Noir –
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from Rosenberg raised in 90% stainless steel and 10% oak barrels.  The nose bore Pinot Noir aromas with black, red, and mineral notes.  The flavors had some density and were very focused.  It was a touch saline with an interesting mineral finish.

2011 Domaine Ehrhart, Gewurztraminer, Herrenweg –
This was full-bore Gewurztraminer being the weightiest and richest yet.  The flavors followed the nose with the addition of residual sugar and fresh, black tea.

2005 Domaine Ehrhart, Gewurztraminer, Sélection de Grains Nobles –
This wine had some lovely, botrytis fragrance and remained articulate   In the mouth the flavors were racy and honied with baking spices, glycerin to the mouthfeel, and a fresh, long aftertaste.  There was a little cider flavor.  It was certainly special.

Domaine des Rochelles

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Domaine des Rochelles was founded in the 1890s.  Today it is run by 4th generation Jean-Hubert Lebreton who is named after both of his grandfathers.  The domaine is located near the town of St Jean des Mauvrets and is comprised of 60 hectares of vines.  It was Jean-Hubert’s great-grandfather who started the estate and specialized as a negocient for rosé wine.  Anjou use to export a large volume of rosé so this was a traditional focus at the time.  It was his grandfather who first started selling wine directly.  Cabernet Sauvignon was often used for rosé production.  Around 1960 Jean-Hubert’s father tried Cabernet Sauvignon from a small producer and liked what he tasted.  In 1962 his grandfather brought back Cabernet Sauvignon massal selections from Bordeaux and planted a vineyard.  In Anjou Cabernet Sauvignon was typically planted at the bottom of the hills below the Cabernet Franc.  Cabernet Franc would bud while there were still morning frosts on the bottom of the hill.  Since Cabernet Sauvignon buds later than Cabernet Franc it was not affected by the frost.  However, these lower sites had deep soils which produced low-quality fruit which was destined for rosé production.

The domaine has several types of soils so Jean-Hubert’s grandfather and father were careful where they planted the vines.  They also opened the Caveau at the same time.  This is a small tasting room, lined with bottles on the wall, where people may come to taste the wines for free. In the 1970s they brought a consulting oenologist form the Libournne, Didier Coutenceau.  By 1975 they received their first medal for a Cabernet Sauvignon based wine.  To this day Didier Coutenceau still works with the domaine.  There are now 28 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon, 20 hectares of Cabernet Franc, 6 hectares of Grolleau, and 6 hectares of white varietals.  They are working towards an organic conversion.    The vineyards have been expanded and replanted with Cabernet Sauvignon since then.  All of these vines are massal selections from the original 1962 vineyard.  Since they have some of the oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vines in Anjou many research scientists have come to take massal selections.  The vine rows are spaced two meters apart with one meter of grass in between.

The domaine ferments in epoxy lined concrete vats.  They do not use pump-overs instead they have been employing submerged cap fermentation since the 1970s.  Basically, a perforated layer is placed half-way down the vat which keeps the cap in constant contact.  This slow process prevents too many tannins from being extracted.  The La Croix de Mission is a cuvee which was started by Jean-Hubert’s grandfather and father.  Jean-Hubert started the cuvée Les Mellerits.  The fruit from this parcel is a brute so Jean-Hubert employs barriques to tame the wine.

2012 Domaine des Rochelles, L’Ardoise, Anjou –
This wine is a blend of 90% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from slate soils.  The wine was aged  There was a very fresh nose of purple fruit.  The flavors were sappy in the mouth with tannins in the structure.  The wine takes on tart red flavors, a little weight came out followed by young and attractive tannins.  This was easy to drink.  Jean-Hubert recommends drinking this within five years.

2011 Domaine des Rochelles, La Croix de Mission, Anjou Villages Brissac –
This wine is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc sourced from an average of 25 year old vines on white quartz and decomposed schist soils.  The wine was aged for one year in stainless steel tanks.  The expressive nose smells like rocks.  There were youthful flavors, a floral midpalate, and structure for age.  Jean-Hubert recommends decanting now for four hours and drinking within ten years.

2009 Domaine des Rochelles, Les Mellerits, Anjou Villages Brissac –
This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from an average of 30 year old vines on soils of decomposed yellow schist with less water.  This was aged for one year in 33% new, 33% one year old, and 33% two year old oak barrels.  The fruit was different than before with licorice notes.  The flavors were purple and black with confidence and a serious, core of fruit.  I would cellar this a few years before drinking.  Jean-Hubert recommends decanting now for four hours and drinking within ten years.

Fran Kysela’s Mondovino 2013: Sparkling Wine, Champagne, and White Wine

February 21, 2013 Leave a comment

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After tasting through the sake selection Lou and I took a little break by eating some food. Like last year there was an impressive selection of constantly replenished food. There was plenty of game meat including partridge, pheasant, venison, ostrich, and squirrel. Though the meats were diverse the cheeses alone numbered in the dozens and merited a seven page descriptive handout. The oysters of last year were replaced by a sushi station. There were salads and other sides but I could not help but eat my weight in venison. Fortified, we cleaned up our glasses, drank some water, then set to work on the Champagne and white wines. In addition to the perimeter of tables heavily laden with wine bottles there were a few more tables in the middle of the floor. I think the additional tasting space and reduced number of people made it much easier to taste the wines. Last year there were so many people at the first session that we had to taste several wines in a row then retreat to jot down notes from memory. This year we were always able to get a spot in front of a table, though we did have to wait at times. This meant we were able to taste a single wine, spit, and write down notes without moving.

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Of the sparkling wines I thought #370 Charles Duret a good value but it was the #377 Chateau Gaudrelle from Vouvray which was really well done. A big surprise was the lovely #378 Colmant from South Africa. It tasted French and indeed the winemaker Joel Follet has a family winery in Champagne. Moving on to actual Champagne I thought the best of the available selections from Roland Champion was the #382 2007 Special Club. The biggest treat was the 1959 Brut. I was a bit skeptical when I first saw the bottle so I double-checked with both Carole Champion and Jeremy Sutton. This is the 1959 vintage and not a Cuvee 1959? Yes, it was the real thing. A few bottles from the cellar were recently disgorged and brought over as a treat. It was like drinking a fresh, mature white wine with a little bubbly lift. It was a fitting way to end the Champagne tasting and move on to the white wines.

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The selections from Grand Veneur/Alaine Jaume are so numerous as to require two tables. Therefore we only tasted a small portion. Of the whites I enjoyed the Chateauneuf du Pape Blancs namely #157 2012 Grand Veneur, Blanc and the #158 2011 Grand Veneur, La Fontaine….just like last year. The #118 2010 Perchaud, Fourchaume was very good and a contrast to the #119 2010 Perchaud, Vaucoupin. Similarly priced I really liked #123 2011 Guillemont-Michel, Quintaine. Now a Vire-Cleese I also enjoyed last years offering of 2009 when it was a Macon-Villages. The #124 2010 Saumaize Michelin showed strongly being the first glass from a just opened bottle. It was good to taste #326 2010 Pearmund, Old Vines Chardonnay again. I should like to try it again in a year. We had meant to return for the Pearmund red wines but ran out of time. The #332 2011 Buty, Chardonnay was interesting with good grip.

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Below you you will find 34 notes split sparkling wines, Champagne, and white wines. I think the notes are best read in order and not individually. Or at the very least a note should be compared amongst its neighbors. I should note that Fran Kysela provides proper wine glasses and the wines were poured at good temperatures. I tried to note color this year. Again read individually the description will lead you astray as the industrial lighting appeared to add green to the lighter wines. Please find my notes in tasting order.

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#370 – NV Charles Duret, Crement de Bourgogne – $20
This wine is a blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. The color was a very light yellow. The light nose was of ripe apple. In the mouth the flavors were firm with floral and pastille flavors mixing with the bubbles. There was bright acidity and a firm mousse. Good value.

#367 – NV Caveau du Mont July, Methode Ancestrale, Bugey Cerdon – $24
This wine is a blend of 95% Gamay and 5% Poulsard. The color was a very light salmon rose. The subtle nose had aromas of apple cider. In the mouth there were fine, firmly popping bubbles, sweet apple cider fruit, ripe flavors, and a spiced finish.

#368 – NV Charles Duret, Rose, Crement de Bourgogne – $20
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir. The color was a light rose. The nose was tight and subtle. There were rather fine, firm bubbles which popped into a big mousse in the mouth. There was some sweet spiced fruit and a sweeter finish.

#369 – NV Wolfberger, Brut Rose, Crement d’Alsace – $22
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir. The color was a light rose. The nose bore very fine vintage perfume. In the mouth there was an acidity driven start, finely popping bubbles, and subtle vintage floral fruit.

#377 – NV Chateau Gaudrelle, Sparkling Brut, Vouvrey – $19
This wine is 100% Chenin Blanc. The color was a light yellow green. There was a light and tight nose. In the mouth there were rather fine, firm bubbles which popped into a nice mousse which ended by the middle. This was a balanced, easy to drink wine with integrated fruit.

#378 – NV Colmant, Brut Reserve, Cap Classique – $26
This wine is a blend of 52% Pinot Noir and 48% Chardonnay. 10% is of reserve wine and 12% is barrel fermented. The color was a very light yellow green. The very light nose bore floral apples. In the mouth the fine, firm bubbles persisted. There was a subtle yeast note to the fruit, mouthfilling mousse, and drying tannins. Tastes French.

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#381 – NV Roland Champion, Brut, Cuvee d’Aramis, Chouilly, Champagne – $50
This wine is a blend of 70% Pinot Meunier, 20% Pinot Noir, and 10% Chardonnay. The color was a light yellow. The light nose made way to gently firm bubbles which quietly popped in the mouth. The white fruit flavors were gentle in the mouth. There was a touch of yeast note.

#380 – NV Roland Champion, Brut, Blanc de Blancs, Chouilly Grand Cru, Champagne – $54
This wine is 100% Chardonnay aged for at least 30 months. The nose was tight. There was a firm start in the mouth with very fine bubbles, good acidity, and good presence.

#382 – 2007 Roland Champion, Special Club, Chouilly Grand Cru, Champagne – $80
This was a light golden yellow. There was good up-front power to the fruit which mixed with the bubbles. The good fruit was of spiced apple and white fruit. There were drying tannins which coated the inside of the lips. Nice. Young.

#379 – NV Roland Champion, Brut, Rose, Chouilly Grand Cru, Champagne – $58
This wine is a blend of 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier, and 20% Chardonnay of which 70% is from 2007 and 30% 2006. The final wine is 15% red wine from Verneuil aged at least four years.  There was a light rose color.  The light nose showed some funk and lactic aromas.  In the mouth there were very fine, firm bubbles which quietly pop.  There was tart red fruit, apple acidity, and drying aspect towards the finish.

Nicola Champion with the 1959

Carole Champion with the 1959

1959 Roland Champion, Brut, Chouilly, Champagne –
This was disgorged at the end of 2012. There was a light yellow color. The light nose was of a mature white wine, complex with wood box aromas. In the mouth there were very subtle bubbles and mature flavors in this fresh and very complex wine. There was some toast and wood box notes in the finish. A real treat.

#155 – 2012 Grand Veneur, Blanc Reserve, Cotes du Rhone – $15
This wine is a blend of 50% Roussanne, 40% Viognier, and 10% Clairette. The color was a very light yellow. The nose was floral with honeysuckle like aromas and good fruit. In the mouth the flavors were fruit driven, gentle, and a touch soft.

#156 – 2012 Grand Veneur, Blanc de Viognier, Cotes du Rhone – $25
This wine is 100% Viognier. The light nose had finer, floral aromas. In the mouth the fruit was initially soft but then honeysuckle and structure came out. It was still a bit soft compared to the acidity. There was a drying, citric finish.

#157 – 2012 Grand Veneur, Blanc, Chateauneuf du Pape – $47
This wine is a blend of 60% Clairette and 40% Roussane. The color was a very light yellow. There was a light, refined nose with a touch of sweet florals. The mouth follows the nose but adds vintage perfume, some roundness, and good length.

#158 – 2011 Grand Veneur, La Fontaine, Blanc, Chateauneuf du Pape – $70
This wine is 100% Roussanne. There was good mouthfeel to this oily, easy to drink and almost brambly wine. The fruit was yellower with spices. Served cool but not cold.

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#117 – 2010 Perchaud, Chablis – $15
This wine is 100% Chardonnay from 25 year old vines. The color was a very light straw yellow. The light nose had yellow fruit with some fat to it. There were flavors of toasty apple which became drier towards the finish where there were dry tannins.

#118 – 2010 Perchaud, Fourchaume, Chablis 1er Cru – $35
This wine is 100% Chardonnay from 35 year old vines. The light nose was of fine, yellow fruit in a structure. In the mouth the acidity driven flavors were lively, almost masculine. The yellow and white fruit had good presence and mouth feel. Young with good potential.

#119 – 2010 Perchaud, Vaucoupin, Chablis 1er Cru – $35
This wine is 100% Chardonnay from 35 year old vines. The color was a very light yellow green. The nose was more austere. The fruit had tang with good acidity, stones, and plenty of focus. There were some tannins and more structure than the Fourchaume. There was an apple-like finish.

#120 – 2011 Courtault, Petit Chablis – $16
The nose was fresh with good, green veggies and white fruit. The flavors were simpler in the mouth with a yeasty, earthy note. Good acidity.

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#121 – 2010 Domaine de la Croix Senaillet, St. Veran – $23
This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from 40 parcels averaging 45 years of age. Vinified in stainless steel and underwent malolactic fermentation. The color was a light yellow. The light nose had low-lying, darker fruit. There was a soft and gentle introduction followed by shorter flavors.

#122 – 2010 Domaine Delorme et Fils, Sur la Roche, Puilly-Fuisse – $29
This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from 40 year old vines. This was acidity driven with brighter, fresh fruit that showed both weight and tang. The flavors were lighter.

#123 – 2011 Pierrette et Marc Guillemot-Michel, Quintaine, Vire-Clesse – $33
This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from 45 year old vines, vinified in stainless steel, and underwent malolactic fermentation. The very light nose was apple-like. In the mouth there was white and yellow fruit which was lively with good grip. Nice wine.

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#124 – 2010 Domaine Saumaize Michelin, Vignes Blanches, Pouilly-Fuisse – $39
The color was a very light yellow green. The flavors were fat in the mouth with a wood note and old-school taste. There was a core of fruit. Good weight, apple grip, and tangy flavors in the finish. The first pour from a freshly opened bottle.

#125 – 2010 Domaine Saumaize Michelin, Vieilles Vignes, St. Veran – $37
The color was a very light straw yellow. The nose was rather light and tight. The soft fruit made way to white fruit but there was not enough acidity. There were some spices in the finish.

#126 – 2009 Domaine Saumaize Michelin, Pentacrine, Pouilly-Fuisse – $43
This The color was a very light yellow straw green (wow!). There was a very light but good nose. In the mouth the grippy yellow fruit had some soft edges but was certainly structured. There were dry, ripe tannins.

#331 – 2011 Buty, Semillon-Sauvignon, Columbia Valley – $26
This wine is a blend of 60% Semillon, 21% Muscadelle, and 19% Sauvignon. The color was a light yellow. The light nose was of ripe, white fruit. There was good mouthfeel then the flavors dried up. This was a bigger wine with structure and tannins. Not quite sure what it was.

#332 – 2011 Buty, Chardonnay, Conner Lee Vineyard, Columbia Valley – $36
This wine is 100% Chardonnay. The color was a light yellow. The light nose was almost earthy with yellow fruit. There was fresh, grippy, driven yellow fruit which had some spices to it. The grip continued into the finish. Well done.

#327 – 2011 Pearmund, Viognier, Vinecroft Vineyards, Fauqier County – $23
This had a light nose of drier yellow fruit and hot dogs. The mouth followed the nose with sweeter fruit, acidity, and some spice.

#326 – 2010 Pearmund, Old Vines Chardonnay, Fauqier County – $20
The color was a light, to medium golden yellow. The nose was of yellow fruit and yeast. In the mouth there was tropical fruit, a creamy mouthfeel, and a subtle toast note. It took on a soft edge towards the finish where there were spices. Young.

#325 – 2011 Pearmund, Riesling, Fauqier County – $20
This was a very light yellow straw color. The light+ nose was of tropical fruit. The mouth followed the fruity nose with grip and spices. Off-dry.

#254 – 2011 Leopard’s Leap, Chenin Blanc – $14
This wine is 100% Chenin Blanc. The color was a light yellow. The very light nose revealed some fruit. There was light fruit in the mouth, old wood?, lively acidity, and some grip.

#252 – 2011 Leopard’s Leap, Chardonnay-Viognier – $14
This wine is a blend of 95% Chardonnay and 5% Viognier. The color was a very light straw yellow. The light nose was very pure with grassy and ripe fruit. In the mouth the flavors were acidity driven with a powdery, chalky note, and a clean, drying finish.

#264 – 2011 Mullineux, White Blend, Swartland – $28
This wine is a blend of 65% Chenin Blanc, 26% Clairette Blanche, and 9% Viognier which was aged for 11 months in older French oak barrels and one foudre. The color was a very light yellow. The nose was very tight with a yeast note. In the mouth the wine was shutdown with yeast, old wood, vintage perfume, and fruit. There was very bright acidity and a chunky nature. I imagine this needs some age.

#261 – 2012 Kloof Street, Chenin Blanc, Swartland – $20
This wine is 100% Chenin Blanc which was aged for 11 months in used French oak barrels. The color was a very light yellow. The very light nose was of yellow and tropical fruits. There were smokey, minerally white fruit then yellow fruit with a bacon note.

Tasting Wines with Potomac Selections at MacArthur Beverages

September 7, 2012 Leave a comment

This week I stopped by MacArthur Beverages to pick up some recently arrived wines.  To my excitement John Spina of Potomac Selections was pouring six of his wines.  It is bound to be fun when half of the wines are at least six years old!  My favorite wine was the Lopez de Heredia, Cubillo for its interesting aromas and combination of maturity and youthfulness.  The Buil & Gine is a fun, vigorous wine which is evocative of Montsant.  The wines of Domaine de Monpertuis seem to be popping up lately with this Cotes du Rhone showing well.  The Hacienda del Plata is a fresh, strong value in Argentine wines.  Of the whites the White Rock balanced ripe fruit and oak with acidity and structure.  The richly aromatic nose of the Charles Schleret was good fun to smell.  Below you will find my brief impressions of these wines.  Note, I used a glass which my nose barely fit in.

2009 White Rock, Chardonnay, Napa Valley – $28
This wine is 100% Chardonnay which was fermented in barrel with 15% undergoing malolactic fermentation with indigenous yeasts.  It was aged on the lees for 10 months in 5% new French oak. Alcohol 13.9%.  The color is a light yellow.  The medium strength nose revealed some ripe, textured fruit and sweet oak.  In the mouth the flavors were a bit tropical showing more restraint than the nose.  The yellow fruit had a moderate richness which was framed in some structure containing some acidity and light wood notes.  Drink over the short-term.

2005 Charles Schleret, Riesling Herrenweg, Alsace – $26
Imported by Neal Rosenthal. This wine is 100% Riesling which was fermented in stainless steel tanks.  The color was a light+ vibrant yellow-green.  The nose was rich with finely textured aromas of yellow fruit and underlying tropical notes.  In the mouth it was very focused with soft flavors, a little dry in delivery, floral notes, a nice mouth feel, and some tannins and spice in the aftertaste.  For drinking now.

2005 Bodegas R. Lopez de Heredia, Cubillo, Crianza, Rioja – $25
Imported by Think Global Wines.  This wine is a blend of 65% Tempranillo, 25% Garnacho, 5% Graciano, and 5% Mazuelo which was fermented in large oak vats and aged for three years in barrel. TA 6 g/l, Alcohol 13%.  The color was a medium garnet.  The medium strength nose revealed maturing aromas of red fruit.  In the mouth there was fresh cherry fruit with very lively sour acidity, a little grip, fresh fruit, and some mature wood notes.  Drinkable now but will be fine over the next five years or so.

2010 Domaine de Monpertuis, Cotes du Rhone – $18
Imported by Neal Rosenthal.  This wine is a blend of 90% Grenache and 10% Syrah. The fruit was fermented and aged in cement vats.  I thought this bottle was softer and more approachable that what I have previous tried.  The fruit was lively with flavors of violets and pepper.  Well done and drinkable now.

2006 Buil & Gine, Baboix, Montsant – $26
Imported by Think Global Wines.  This wine is a blend of Grenache, Carignan, Merlot, Tempranillo, and Cabernet Sauvignon which underwent malolactic fermentation then was aged for 12 months in French and American oak.  Alcohol 14%.  The color was a very dark and grapey ruby/garnet.  The light nose was a little herbaceous with floral purple fruits and violets.  In the mouth the flavors were generous with grip, ripe drying tannins, brambly fruit.  The wine is youthful with a satisfying inky finish.  Drink now for vigor or over the next five to ten years.

2010 Hacienda del Plata, Malbec, Zagal, Mendoza – $14
Imported by Cana Selections.  This wine is 100% Malbec sourced from the Las Marias Vineyard located at 921 meters on soils of clay loam with alluvial deposits.  It was aged for eight months with 60% in stainless steel tanks and 40% in French and American oak.  RS 2.25 g/L, TA 5.0 g/L, RS 2.25 g/L, Alcohol 13.4%.  This too was dark with a purple ruby color.  The nose was fresh with grapey, purple aromas.  In the mouth the flavors were round with a finely textured, youthful purple fruit, coffee notes, and concentration.  It was a little spicy in the finish along with the ripe fruit.  Drink now for freshness or over the short-term.

Three Solid Values

With the rather hot weather of the last month I have found myself drinking the less expensive wines I have recently reviewed. This has given me the opportunity to catch up on notes from earlier this summer.  The three wines featured in today’s post are all solid values which are reasonably priced.  If I had to pick one of these wines for today’s hot and humid 100 F weather then I would grab the Iby.  Decant it for one hour and give it a slight chill.  You will find it refreshing. These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

2010 Domaine Mader, Riesling, Alsace – $16
Imported by Elite Wines Imports.  This wine is 100% Riesling.  Tasted over three nights the nose started off fresh and tart before developing a honeyed low-lying aroma.  In the mouth there were fresh flavors of white and green fruits.  The flinty acidity started to overwhelm the fruit midpalate but then things balanced out as some sweet spices came out in the finish.  Best drunk with food.  ** Now-2015.

2010 Iby, Classic, Blaufrankisch, Burgenland- $16
Imported by Domaine Select Wine Estates.  This wine is 100% Blaufrankisch sourced from 3-30 year old vines.  It was aged for seven months in large Austrian casks.  Tasted over two nights there were brighter black cherry fruit with a good core of fruit running through.  The flavors were a touch tart at first with mild notes of pomegranate and citrus.  With air a hint of blue fruit came out and the wine became chewy.  ** Now-2015.

2007 Conti Leone de Castris, 50th Vendemmia Riserva, Salice Salentino, – $13
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is a blend of 90% Negroamaro and 10% Malvasia Nera sourced from vines planted in 1952.  It was fermented in stainless steel followed by aging 12 months in 5-year-old French oak barrels.  The nose revealed subtle black berry fruit and floral notes.  In the mouth the wine starts off soft but tights up with flavors of cherry along with dark red and black fruit.  This takes an hour or so to open up.  There is a soft nature but it still has focus.  There is puckering acidity followed by tart tannins in the finish.  A solid drink.  ** Now-2016.

Lou and I Pull Some Corks

Lou and I gathered this past week to taste an uncoordinated selection of wines.  Surprisingly we both opened up 2005 Pinot Noirs and were separately convinced we knew which bottle was ours!  Except for our Alsatian wine, this was a satisfying group of wines to taste and drink.

The Chateau d’Orschwihr was interesting to taste from a tactile perspective but was otherwise not worth drinking. The Stepping Stone rose strikes the balance of being rich and refreshing at the same time.  I found myself drinking a few small pours before we sat down to our tasting.  Make sure your bottle is not too cold and that you consume it on the first night.  Many thanks to Craig Camp for providing the sample.  The Carlo Hauner has good components but is in a simpler, primary state right now.  I would cellar it for another year or two.  The Tenuta Mazzolino is entering maturity with the nose in a more advanced state than the mouth.  While it is easily drinkable now I suspect it will be even better after several years.  It is attractively priced.  My first ever Sea Smoke was a treat.  It needed an hour or so of air to take shape and deliver its lovely goods.  While it tastes young compared to the Mazzolino I would not hesitate to drink a bottle.

2005 Chateau d’Orschwihr, Pinot Blanc, Bollenberg, Alsace – $12
Imported by Langdon Shiverick.  This wine is 100% Pinot Blanc sourced from 50 year old vines.  The color was light to medium auburn yellow.  The light to medium nose revealed ripe, fallen apples, and some oxidized notes.  In the mouth there was a good mouthfeel with noticeable residual sugar.  The flavors were simple with nuts and mushroom juice.  There was still good acidity, pebbly texture, and filling aftertaste.  * Past.

2011 Cornerstone, Stepping Stone, Corallina,  Syrah Rose, Napa Valley – $20
This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from the Oak Knoll District.  The fruit was whole cluster pressed, fermented in stainless steel, then aged for five months in French oak.  This was a medium copper-rose color.  The light to medium ripe nose revealed strawberries and good red fruit.  In the mouth there was higher-toned red fruit followed by sweet spices.  It starts with some body at first then develops a good mouthfeel and borders on the richer side of roses.  The finish is dry and a little spicy.  This was satisfying and quenching to drink on the first night.  Sample provided by winery.  *** Now-2013.

2009 Carlo Hauner, Hiera, Sicily – $20
Imported by Bacchanal Wine Imports.  This wine is a blend of Calabrese, Alicante, and Nocera sourced from volcanic soils.  The varietals are separately fermented in stainless steel then blended and aged for three months in oak barriques.  The nose revealed higher-toned, focused, and simpler aromas.  In the mouth the tart but good red fruit leaned towards an orange citrus sweetness.  There is some ripeness and with time flavors of dried cranberry and black cherry comes out.  There are sweet, lip-coating spices, finely grained, drying tannins, and a touch of candied flavors in the finish.  *** 2014-2017.

2005 Tenuta Mazzolino, Noir Folon, Oltrepo Pavese – $30
Imported by Michael R. Downey Selections.  This wine is 100% Piont Noir which was aged for 12 months in barrique.  There was a medium strength, aromatic nose of ripe fruit, minerals, and wood box which smelled of maturity.  With air there was sweet, dried craisins which were lovely to smell.  In the mouth the flavors were more concentrated than the nose with red fruit which was slow to expand but still a lovely follow on.  With time there were black fruit flavors which left a delicate, ethereal coating on the lips.  There was a low-lying aftertaste of black fruit, tang, and a touch of earth.  ***(*) Now-2020.

2005 Sea Smoke, Pinot Noir, Southing, Santa Rita Hills
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir which was destemmed then aged for 16 months in 65% new and 35% used French oak.  The color was a light+ ruby with a hint of garnet.  The nose revealed dried herbs along with cool blue and black fruit.  At first the wine almost let loose with ripe blue and black fruit.  Clearly a Pinot Noir this was the most mouthfilling wine of the evening.  There was lots of body and good pebbly texture.  With time it became focused with beautifully layered fruit underpinned by lively spices on the tongue.  There was a spicy note in the finish and an incensed aftertaste.  **** Now-2017.

The 2012 Robert Kacher Spring Portfolio Tasting: Alsace

From the Alsatian part of the portfolio we tasted through the wines of Domaine Mure and Domaine Ehrhart.  Between these two estates fifteen wines were poured representing sparkling Crement d’Alsace, still wines made from Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Auxerrois, Gewurztraminer, and Riesling, and two late-harvest offerings of Gewurztraminer Vendange Tardive and Selection de Grains Nobles.  That is quite a variety!

Domaine Mure

Of these wines I particularly enjoyed the two Rieslings along with the Gewurztraminer Vendange Tardive.  For those who want a big Gewurztraminer experience give the Selection a try.

NV Mure, Crement d’Alsace, Brut
There was a bit of rich botrytis to the nose.  In the mouth the interesting fruit came forward on explosive bubbles that popped into softness.

2010 Mure, Pinot Blanc, Signature
There was a good textured nose of floral white fruit.  In the mouth there were ripe apples with a touch of sweet spice before the tart finish.  There was a round quality in the cheeks.

2009 Mure, Riesling, Grand Cru Vorbourg
The nose was subtle with grainy aromas.  In the mouth there was laser-beam precise fruit powered by acidity.  The particular flavors were supported by ample acidity before the good aftertaste of tart and textured apples.  Nice.

2009 Mure, Riesling, Clos St Landelin
This had a subtle though more lifted nose of crunchy aromas.  In the mouth the flavors were spritely on the tongue with a touch of petrol then apple with plenty of focus and power.  There were even some drying tannins.  Nice.

2010 Mure, Pinot Gris, Signature
This was smoother in the mouth with less acidity than the Rieslings.  There was good perfumed fruit in the finish and aftertaste.

2010 Mure, Gewurztraminer, Signature
There was a lovely floral and fruity nose, very Gewurztraminer.  In the mouth the flavors were textured and combined with more residual sugar.  Showing more acidity than the previous Pinot Gris there was ample floral, sweet fruit, and a long aftertaste.

2007 Mure, Gewurztraminer, Clos St Landelin, Vendange Tardive
This was light-yellow in the glass.  In the mouth it was succulent with lightly racy, yellow fruit and a sweet, oily (nut-oil) texture.

Domaine Ehrhart (Domaine St Remy in Europe)

Of these wines I enjoyed the last five offerings (though the Crement d’Alsace was a strong start).  The two wines from Herrenweg showed good texture, the Pinot Gris Im Berg had a nice oily feel, and Selection de Grains Nobles was all around lovely.  If I generalized a description of these wines I would say they had an approachfulness which makes them very easy to taste (or drink for those at home).

NV Ehrhart, Crement d’Alsace
This wine is 100% Chardonnay produced by Methode Traditionnelle.  The nose was a little yeasty.  In the mouth there was ripe fruit with good explosive, lively bubbles, and a touch of racy flavor.

2010 Ehrhart, Pinot Auxerrois, Val St Gregoire
There was a focused, textured nose.  This wine was easy gong in terms of fruit and acidity, with a cool chewy quality, and some sweet spice.

2010 Ehrhart, Riesling, Vieilles Vignes
The nose bore tropical fruit.  In the mouth it was laid back, easy to drink, with dry sweet tannins, and a touch of watering acidity in the aftertaste.

2010 Ehrhart, Riesling, Herrenweg
There was a nose of stones. In the mouth the flavors were fine and textured, a bit sweet, with a touch of petrol-like fruit.  The yellow fruit was racy and good to swish around the mouth.

2010 Ehrhart, Riesling, Grand Cru Hengst
This wine is 100% Riesling sourced from higher and deep soils at 250-280 meters.  There was good depth in the mouth, complex flavors, good acidity, balance, and a racy personality.  Nice, should age well.

2010 Ehrhart, Pinot Gris, Im Berg
This had restrainted ripe fruit tilting towards tart-white.  The acidity was supporting with a nice mouthfeel, oily, and lovely.

2010 Ehrhart, Gewurztraminer, Herrenweg
The fruit in the nose steps out with stone aromas.  In the mouth there was sweet residual sugar with perfumed, oily fruit, good balance between mouthfeel and acidity, along with lots of texture.

2005 Ehrhart, Gewurztraminer, Selection de Grains Nobles
This is produced only ever 5-10 years from the lieu-dit “Markon.” (sp?)  This was tropical, racy and lithe with a familiar perfume, beautiful texture, dense, complex and ripe.  The long finish left flavors of orange and rose blossom.  Lovely and a special treat to taste.

The Author and Corinne Ehrhart