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Excellent Trousseau from Puffeney and Gahier

December 29, 2014 Leave a comment

Jacques Puffeney and Michel Gahier are neighbors in Montigny-les-Arsures which is a regarded as the “prime site” for Trousseau in Jura.  Their two wines which are featured in today’s post were imported by Rosenthal Wine Merchant.  That is where the similarity ends. While the 2011 Jacques Puffeney, Trousseau, Cuvee Les Betangeres, Arbois  reflects the two additional years of age, it is a darker wine with complexity increased by earth and bacon fat. In contrast the 2013 Michel Gahier, Trousseau, Les Grans Vergers, Arbois is brighter with red fruit, citric notes, and minerality. While I do not have any experience with mature Trousseau, I think it is fairly obvious that both of these bottles will continue to develop and last for many years.  I recommend that you grab some friends to try both bottles together.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2011 Jacques Puffeney, Trousseau, Cuvee Les Betangeres, Arbois – $34
Imported by Rosenthal Wine Merchants.  This wine is 100% Trousseau that was fermented in cuve then aged for 20 months in used foudre.  Alcohol 13%.  There were more fruity flavors with a touch of roundness that became racy towards the finish.  Drier tannins supported the wine from underneath.  There was a depth to the flavor that was forward in a way but still young.  With air the complex dark flavors became a little earthy with cherry flavors and bacon fat.  So drinkable.  ***(*) Now-2022.

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2013 Michel Gahier, Trousseau, Les Grans Vergers, Arbois – $34
Imported by Rosenthal Wine Merchants.  This wine is 100% Trousseau sourced from 60-70 year old vines that was aged in old foudre and barrel.  Alcohol 12.5%.   The nose bore darker red fruits that mixed with fresh floral aromas from a green house.  In the mouth were lively red fruit and black minerals before racy, citric red fruit came out.  There were good ripe, citric pithe tannins in the structure.  There was a dry, black finish with a perfumed aftertaste.  With air the wine took on more acidic, greenhouse, and black pepper notes.  *** 2016-2022.

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Diverse wines from Baudry, Matthiasson, Perrin, Rolet, and Ch des Tours

December 10, 2014 Leave a comment

We recently tasted through a diverse selection of wines.  The 2013 Bernard Baudry, Chinon Blanc  was all about the acidity driven tension and mouthfeel.  I do not care for purely high acidity wines, rather I like acidity that gives a sense of nervous energy like the wine is alive.  The Baudry has that.  The 2013 Matthiasson, Chardonnay, Linda Vista Vineyard, Napa Valley grew on me.  With similar weight to the Baudry it too has a lot of acidity but not of the tense kind and in comparison, the Baudry shows more ripe fruit.  The Matthiasson actually grew on me but I would wait several months before trying again.  I was surprised by the 2012 Famille Perrin, Coudoulet de Beaucastel, Cotes du Rhone in that it was full of clean, modern flavors.  A solid wine for the short term but without the intrigue I expected.  The 2010 Chateau des Tours, Reserve, Cotes du Rhone is the best wine I have drunk in the past week.  The nose was beautiful right from the very first pour and so were the flavors.  This is quite a contrast to the 2009 vintage, which you may read about here, which I found “full-bodied” and with a “force of mind” requiring years in the cellar.   You might balk at paying $40 for a Cotes du Rhone but you will stop once you taste it.  Finally, my first experience with Vin Jaune is the 2005 Rolet Pere et Fils, Arbois Vin Jaune.  It reminded me of nuts and Sherry so if that is appealing to you then cellar a few bottles for a few decades.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2013 Bernard Baudry, Chinon Blanc – $25
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  This wine is 100% Chenin Blanc sourced from young vines on soils of clay and limestone.  The fruit was fermented with indigenous yeast then aged in oak barrels. Alcohol 12%.  The color was a rather light gold.  In the mouth were tense flavors of white fruit, chalk notes, and eventually apples with other fruit.  There was a great mouthfeel before the tangy, clean citrus of the finish and the citrus pith textured aftertaste.  *** Now-2016.

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2013 Matthiasson, Chardonnay, Linda Vista Vineyard, Napa Valley – $26
This wine is 100% Chardonnay that was fermented then aged in neutral oak barrels.  The barrels underwent a mixture of stirring and malolactic fermentation.  Alcohol 12.9%.  The color was a very light gold with green tinges.  The nose was delicate with ripe green apple aromas.  In the mouth was bright fruit that had a rounded start.  There was plenty of acidity but not overdone.  There was just enough weight to the wine and a tart finish.  **(*) 2015-2016.

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2012 Famille Perrin, Coudoulet de Beaucastel, Cotes du Rhone – $25
Imported by Vineyard Brands.  This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, 20% Syrah, and 10% Cinsault that was aged for six months in oak foudres.  Alcohol 14%.  There was a fresh, spiced filled nose.  In the mouth were fresh, bright flavors of herbed and floral fruit.  The wine tastes balanced but there is less structure than I expected giving it more levity.  This is best drunk young.  **(*) Now-2020.

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2010 Chateau des Tours, Reserve, Cotes du Rhone – $40
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.    This wine is a blend of 65% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 15% Cinsault.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose was aromatic with Kirsch, light and bright red fruit…simply beautiful.  In the mouth the red fruit flavors had gentle ripeness, ripe cherry, lipstick, and raspberry.  The wine was in perfect balance.  Though drinking well right now it should continue to develop.  **** Now-2020.

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2005 Rolet Pere et Fils, Arbois Vin Jaune – $35 (375 mL)
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is 100% Savagnin that spent six years in barrel under flor.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The aromas and flavors were evocative of nuts and Sherry.  Very nutty in the mouth, dry, strong yet balance acidity, and apple orchard hints.  *** Now-20??.

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Trousseau Gris and Noir from Jura and Russian River Valley

I find it hard to believe that the summer is ending.  A quick review of my files, both digital and paper, confirm what I already know, I am once again behind in posting my tasting notes.  As such I have not written about my recent enjoyment of Trousseau Gris and Trousseau Noir.  There is not much Trousseau Gris in California, what I have tasted is all from the Fanuchi-Wood Road Vineyard, so it is interesting to see the variation in style.  The 2012 Wind Gap, Trousseau Gris, Fanuchi-Wood Road Vineyard, Russian River Valley appears on the cusp of settling down.  There are rich offerings on the nose and in the mouth with enough crisp acidity to move it along.  Part of the fun is tasting the different flavors as the wine warms up.   For me the 2012 Benedicte & Stephane Tissot, Trousseau, Arbois is all about the nose.  Simply beautiful!  The flavors were not as developed but did show a minerality that must be due to the limestone soils.  Until I can catch up on my tasting notes I simply recommend you try all the Trousseau based wines that you can!  The change in style will be refreshing.  The Wind Gap was purchased at Flatiron Wines and the Tissot at MacArthur Beverages.

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2012 Wind Gap, Trousseau Gris, Fanuchi-Wood Road Vineyard, Russian River Valley – $26
This wine is 100% Trousseau Gris sourced from primarily sandy soils.  The fruit was foot crushed before whole cluster fermentation in concrete eggs.  It was raised in a combination of stainless steel and neutral oak.  Alcohol 12.3%.  The color was a light yellow straw.  There were rich aromas on the nose, almost petrol like, developing into the tropical spectrum, all the while remaining crisp.  In the mouth were rich, white fruit flavors, and a nice body in the middle.  The crisp acidity was present at the start and middle, supporting the strong flavors which were reminiscent of red wine when warm.  The structure was mild before the somewhat rough flavors in the finish and long aftertaste.  **(*) Now-2015.

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2012 Benedicte & Stephane Tissot, Trousseau, Arbois – $25
Imported by Potomac Selections.  This wine is 100% Trousseau Noir sourced from biodynamic vines averaging 40 years of age located on limestone soils.  It was raised in a combination of oak barrel and tank.  Alcohol 13%.  There was a good fragrance that I found hard to describe but my mom noted as incense.  In the mouth was a gentle start with flavors following the aromas.  There was some ripe blue, tart flavors on the tongue, and ripe texture.  Though the wine was lighter in profile it had some cat’s tongue tannins.  With air it showed good graphite notes that mixed with blue and black fruit.  A very solid wine.  ** Now-2015.

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Tasting Old Wines with Darryl and Nancy at Blue Grass Tavern

February 11, 2014 2 comments
Baltimore, Maryland, skyline and waterfront. Detroit Publishing Co. 1910-1915. Image from Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Baltimore, Maryland, skyline and waterfront. Detroit Publishing Co. 1910-1915. Image from Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

On a snowy evening Phil and I drove up to Baltimore to taste several flights of wine.  Darryl and Nancy were hosting an evening of old wine at the Blue Grass Tavern.  Their contributions and those of the other attendees were beckoning.  There were both familiar faces, including Jeffrey Snow, and several new ones.  We sat in the intimate back room which glowed  inside and allowed views of the coating of snow which was still falling as we sat down.  The dinner was a satisfying meat fest which was punctuated at the end by plates of cheese and an incredible amount of dessert.

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To start with 1990 Moet et Chandon, Dom Perignon was great not only because the bottle was in top form but also because it was the second youngest wine of the evening.  We tasted through a number of wines at a reasonable pace and I never felt rushed nor short on my own pours.  The most physically satisfying flight was that of the 1990 Chateauneuf du Pape.  There great wines came from excellent cellars so the provenance showed.  If you have not yet drunk mature Chateauneuf du Pape then make every effort to do so.  I also really enjoyed the old Barolo flight.  There was nothing dried out or difficult about these wines, they really do develop for an incredible amount of time.  They were subtle in a way that when I tasted through the mixed French flight I kept wishing I was drinking the Barolo instead.

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1990 Moet et Chandon, Cuvee Dom Perignon, Champagne
Alcohol 12.9%.  This was opened right before serving.  There was a light toasty nose which was initially subtle before it blossomed with air to reveal mature white wine aromas and riper fruit.  In the mouth there was a fresh and crisp start carried by very fine bubbles that turned into a soft, lovely mousse of mature yellow fruit.  There was a chewy finish and long textured aftertaste which haunted my mouth.  This wine was in great shape and really was evocative of mature white Burgundy.

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1983 Staatsweingut, Rauenthaler, Baiken, Riesling Spatlese, Rheingau
Imported by Atlanta Wholesale Wine.  Alcohol 10%.  There was a killer nose with a little petrol.  The wine opened up quickly in the mouth bringing on petrol and riper fruit.  There was seamless acidity, drier flavors towards the finish and a hint of tartness.  The palate was not quite up to the  nose but still a very fine wine.

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1983 Kirchmayr, Solist, Traminer Spatlese, Neusiedlersee 
Imported by Domaine Select Wines.  Alcohol 12%.  This was very aromatic, rather Gewurztraminer like.  It provided a ripe, round mouthfeel with a woodsy mineral note.  It still had some sweetness, a racy hint,  and with air, a mellow personality.

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The Barolo flight had been decanted such that they had about four hours or so of air before dinner.  The 1962 Cappellano was bottled by Giovanni Troglia who was a wine merchant in Turin.  Darryl reported the oddly shaped bottle was sealed with a glass top fused with metal to the bottle.  So he had to delicately pry away before gaining access to the cork.

1962 Cappellano label scanned by Darryl Priest.

1962 Cappellano label scanned by Darryl Priest.

1962 Cappellana label scanned by Darryl Priest.

1962 Cappellano label scanned by Darryl Priest.

I thought the 1967 Francesco Rinaldi the darkest and freshest of the three.  This impression was not only due to it being the youngest of the trio rather, as Mannie Berk (Rare Wine Co.) pointed out to me, it was aged in demijohn.  Indeed in Sheldon and Pauline Wasserman’s Italy’s Noble Red Wines (1991) they write that Luciano Rinaldi “keeps some of his Barolo in these 9- and 14-gallon (34- and 54-liter) jugs for ten years or more.  The wine is decanted off its sediment into bottles or magnums before being put on sale.”  At the time of their visit there was still 1967 in demijohn.  This was practice was common in the old days of Barolo so perhaps this younger vintage was the most traditional of the three.  Michael Garner and Paul Merritt note in Barolo: Tar and Roses (1990) that it was the old practice to transfer wine from botte to damigiana for maturation.  However, the deep frost of 1929 wiped out vast stocks of these glass demijohns providing incentive to shift aging methods.  The 1958 Giacomo Borgogno showed more mature with earthy and ethereal flavors.  I thought an interesting contrast.  The 1962 Cappellano with its funky bottle quickly took on a nose of pure cumin with funky flavors in the mouth.  It reacted a bit to the air, putting on more flesh, and provided a third unique Barolo experience.  In the end a very satisfying flight.

1958 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli, Red Capsule, Barolo Riserva
Imported by T. Elenteny Imports.  Acquired from a Private Collection and auctioned by Acker Merrall & Conduit, November 2013.  There was a strong, earthy nose with a hint of band-aid.  In the mouth were fresh, earthy flavors of black and red fruit.  The acidity was there, perhaps a hint of banana, followed by more piercing flavors in the finish and a haunting aftertaste.

1962 Cappellano, Barolo
Giovanni Troglia bottling.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There was a funky nose which cleaned up to be a pure aroma of cumin.  The funk followed in the mouth where the wine was dry.  It reacted well with air, became a touch savory and fleshed out.  An interesting wine.

1967 Francesco Rinaldi & Figli, Barolo
Imported by T. Elenteny Imports.  Acquired from a private collection by Chambers Street Wines.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This was very dark and the darkest of all three in the flight.  The nose was initially subtle then became more aromatic.  There was tangy red fruit in the mouth, lots of pleasing grip, and acidity which was very present.  It still had tannins, was a little dry, and puckering towards the end.  It remained very fresh and engaging.

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This was a mixed flight and a little underwhelming given the old Barolo and 1990 Chateauneuf du Pape flights it was sandwiched between.  There was a connection in that the Ausone and the Francesco Rinaldi were of the same vintage.  This vintage of Ausone came from the period when the vines were becoming increasingly older as there had been no replanting since 1950.  Both the Ausone and Montrose were fermented in old wooden vats.  I preferred the Montrose which was fresher.  To have mature Trousseau from Arbois was probably a first for many.  This particular bottle of 1988 Camille Loye came from a small parcel imported by Crush.  While it was not a wine I would want to drink an entire bottle of, it was enjoyable, and not near decline.  Finally, the Nicolas Potel was young with an interesting flavor but the powerful tannins were still too obvious.

1967 Chateau Ausone, Saint-Emilion
Imported by DKDJ Imports.  Acquired from a private collection.  There was a nose of beef stock and perhaps a hint of a sweet note.  There were flavors of black and red fruit in the focused start.  It had watering acidity, ripe spices, minerals, and a structure that still had tannic grip in the finish.  Ultimately, it was on its decline in life.  It did not seem to get better with air.

1970 Chateau Montrose, Saint-Estephe
Imported by Alexis Lichine & Co.  There was a curious nose which was both fresh and animale.  There was levity in the mouth, a greenhouse hint, and a young core.  It was a good wine that did not show the level of evolution that the Ausone did.

1988 Camille Loye, Cuvee St Paul, Arbois Rouge
Imported by Vineyard Road.  There were flavors of red cranberry, citrus pith, and fresh acidity.  It was an interesting wine, in fine shape, and I can see why one person said  an “orange red wine” and another “curious”.

1999 Nicolas Potel, Latricieres-Chambertin, Grand Cru
A Becky Wasserman Selection imported by C’est Vin.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose was very fresh.  There was a little earth to the flavors, a ripe note and an interesting flavor profile.  There was a lot of unevolved oak which showed in the powerful and very fine tannins in the finish.  This wine packed a punch at the end.  Clearly the youngest tasting bottle of the even.

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We almost had a quartet of 1990 Chateauneuf du Pape but the Rayas, Pignan was badly corked.  Still, the remaining three bottles were excellent.  The Charvin had been double-decanted ahead of time so it probably had two hours of air before it was poured. The other wines were opened just minutes before and not decanted.  While this difference should be noted there is no denying the Charvin was a great wine.  This vintage represents the first produced by Laurent Charvin for all of the wines had been previously sold off.  It remained excellent to the end.  I also really liked the Pegau which can be so satisfying to smell and to drink.  This bottle came from a good cellar and even with some air kept a youthful nature.  The Beaucastel may have been more polarizing and not with the same depth of flavor but I very much enjoyed it.  That three different wines could be so satisfying was evidenced by how quiet the table became.

1990 Domaine Charvin, Chateauneuf du Pape
Imported by Luke’s Distributing Co.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There were aromas of tobacco and red fruit that stood out of the glass.  In the mouth were lovely flavors that were a little savory and sappy with cherry and Kirsch notes.  The wine had weight and purity.  Despite the maturity the flavors had a ripe, dense core.  A real treat.

1990 Rayas, Pignan, Chateauneuf du Pape
Acquired from a private collection by Acker Merrall & Conduit Internet.  An off bottle.

1990 Domaine du Pegau, Cuvee Reservee, Chateauneuf du Pape
Imported by Hand Picked Selections.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There was great complexity in the familial nose but the flavors were young.  There was a good mixture of spices and fruit which was black red.  The chewy tannins made way to youthful weight, sweet fruit and sweet spices.  It had a spicy structure in the finish and a long aftertaste that took on ripe notes.

1990 Chateau de Beaucastel, Chateauneuf du Pape
Imported by Luke’s Distributing Co.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This was very aromatic.  The flavors were expansive in the mouth but did not develop the weight or presence as the Charvin.  Some ripe fruit developed, an animale flavor, and the structure was more present.

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Unfortunately, the 1991 QBA was not worth drinking.  The 1995 Beerenauslese had an explosive entry into the mouth with an engaging mixture of black tea flavors.

1991 Carl von Schubert, Maximin Grunhauser, Herrenberg QBA, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer – (375 mL)
Alcohol 10.9%.  The nose was oxidative with a hint of apples and apricots followed by beef stock.  There were apple flavors, tart-like fruit but in the end dried out.  No.

1995 Carl von Schubert, Maximin Grunhauser, Riesling Beerenauslese, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer – (375 mL)
Imported by Robert Chadderdon Selections.  Alcohol 6.5%.  There was a ripe nose of apples and apricots.  The wine had a lively burst into the mouth with not-quite bracing acidity.  The complex flavors blended in tea notes and maintained texture on the tongue followed by a tartness in the aftertaste.

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The Baumard was curious in that it was rather clean and almost primary.  Perhaps it needed more air or years in the cellar.  I believe some people continued to work this wine in their glass so perhaps they have a better opinion.  There is not much Terrantez any more on Madeira so the Cossart Gordon bottle was a treat to taste.  It was opened right before tasting and had great aromatics and powerful flavors.  It was a bottle I would be curious to track for a few weeks.

1989 Domaine des Baumard, Quarts de Chaume
Imported by Classic Wine Imports.  Acquired from a private collection by Acker Merrall & Conduit Internet.  The nose was sweet and sweaty but remained youthful and tight.  In the mouth the sweetness over powered the acidity at first, it was in there but bound tight.  Remarkably unevolved.

1977 Cossart Gordon, Terrantez, Madeira
Imported by Premium Ports & Madeiras.  Alcohol 20%.  There was a very aromatic and gorgeous nose.  In the mouth were powerful flavors of salty and rich orange-red fruit.  It had subtle weight.

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I Drink an Excellent Red Wine from Jura

I taste and drink wine every day.  There is such a bountiful selection of well-priced wines in Washington, DC that I take notes on at least one new bottle every day.  I must work during the day despite my inclinations to constantly write about these wines.  This results in a periodically growing pool of unpublished tasting notes.  Last week I picked up many new wines including several from Jura.  John is expanding the Jura selection to include many non or minimally oxidative wines.  We tasted a pair of Chardonnay from Michel Gahier and Domaine Rolet Pere et Fils (I shall write about the Rolet in the near future) then I asked for some red wine recommendations.  One of the wines is this bottle by Domaine Tissot.  I drank it over the weekend and being both surprised and impressed I decided it should be featured in my first post this week.

Andre and Mireille, Image from Domaine Tissot

The Jura mountains run through France, Switzerland, and Germany.  In France most of the wines of Jura are produced in the region between Bresse and the mountains themselves.  It has been over a decade since Jenn and I visited Julie and Aaron but we still have vivid memories of hiking in the Jura mountains and eating the amazing Bresse chicken.  Domaine Tissot is located in Jura where they produce wine from 35 hectrares of biodynamic vineyards located in Arbois, Cotes du Jura, and Chateau Chalon. From these vineyards some 28 different wines are bottled.  There are three permitted varietals for red wine: Poulsard, Trousseau, and Pinot Noir.  This selection is made from Trousseau grown in the Arbois appellation.  The appellation is named after the city of Arbois, which happens to be where Louis Pastour grew up.  I was thoroughly pleased with the quality of the fruit in the wine and surprised by the level of ripeness.  There is good balanced structure here which suggests this wine will improve over the short-term.  I do not know what it will be like but it is certainly worth laying down a few bottles to find out.  This wine is currently available at MacArthur Beverages.

2009 Domaine Andre et Mireille Tissot, Trousseau, Arbois – $24
Imported by Potomac Selections Ltd.  This wine is 100% Trousseu fermented with indigenous yeasts.  The color is a light to medium ruby and garnet.  The nose reveals floral fruit, a pepper note with a hint of the exotic.  In the mouth there are focused and ripe red and black fruit, a fine, grippy texture with sweet tannins and salivating acidity in the aftertaste.  With air a gentle pepper note develops along with stoney fruit, perfume, and an increased level of tannins.  Drinkable now but should be cellared a few years.   *** Now-2019.