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Notes From the Dump Bin

January 21, 2013 Leave a comment

On a recent visit to MacArthur Beverages I picked up more dump bin materials.  There are a number of reasons why a bottle might be dumped.  In this case the Clos de los Siete had an incredibly stained label and the two other bottles showed signs of leakage.  I do not normally buy leakers but after having recent success with the 2007 Coudoulet de Beaucastel, I thought, why not?  Under the foil the La Bastide Saint Dominique had a purple and white stained neck but the top of the cork looked normal.  The fill was high and in breaking the cork in half it looked like some wine might have made its way through it.  The wine itself was in outstanding condition and thoroughly enjoyable.  The Domaine de la Mordoree showed a very thick, jam like vein of leakage alongside the bottle and slightly lower fill.  I quickly identified the culprit as a thin fold on the side of the cork.  Now I am not advocating you start purchasing bottles with signs of leakage, certainly not fresh leakage.  But the right bottle at the right price might yield a pleasant surprise.

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2008 Clos de los Siete, Mendoza –
Imported by Dourthe USA.  Alcohol 14.6%.  This wine is a blend of 56% Malbec, 21% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Syrah, and 2% Petit Verdot.  The light nose revealed dark aromas, roast earth, and became a little pungent with air.  In the mouth there were dark, robust fruit flavors, roast earth, and a touch of salt.  There was soft weight to the wine a little vanilla note, and fine textured, ripe tannins in both the finish and aftertaste.  With air it showed good integration of acidity, good grip, and blackness.  *** Now-2023.

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2010 La Bastide Saint Dominique, Chateauneuf du Pape –
Imported by Simon N Cellars.  This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre, and 5% Cinsault sourced from 25-80 year old vines.  It was aged for 18 months.  Alcohol 15%.  The color was a medium cherry garnet.  The light nose revealed deep dark fruit and brambly red berries.  In the mouth there was dense, almost grainy blue and red fruit along with notes of wood box.  The finish was full of black fruit with some fruit liquor, grainy ripeness, and a minerally black fruit aftertaste.  This wine has power and a rounded personality.  There were some very fine tannins in the aftertaste.  ***(*) Now-2028.

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2009 Domaine de la Mordoree, La Reine des Bois, Lirac –
Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils.  This wine is a blend of 33% Grenache, 33% Mourvedre, and 33% Syrah sourced from 40-year-old vines.  It is aged in a combination of enameled steel tanks, oak barrels, and oak tuns.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There was a light to medium strength nose of Kirsch and black fruit.  In the mouth there was a bit of roast earth, black and red fruit, fine structure, and closely held ripeness.  There was a powerful fine tannic structure on both nights, almost too powerful.  If this resolves with time it might merit a higher score.  *** 2018-2023.

A Tasty and Affordable Wine From Argentina

October 17, 2012 Leave a comment

With the 75th running of the International Gold Cup this Saturday I am in complete planning and execution mode for our tailgate party.  For those curious you may follow my Tweets @TimberAndBrush.  But I am still tasting new wines and hope to share them with you.  During the evenings I am focusing on vintage race results so right now I am preferring inexpensive wines.  This random selection pleasantly pleased us yesterday night.  I would drink more at this price point.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

2010 Bodegas Diamandes, Perlita, Mendoza – $11
Imported by Dourthe USA.  This wine is a blend of 80% Malbec and 20% Syrah.  It was fermented in stainless steel then aged for eight months in 80% used and 20% new French oak barrels.  Alcohol 14.5%  The nose is light, young, and full of violets. In the mouth there is cool blue and black fruit, lifted and youthful.  It slowly develops a little juiciness, some ripeness, and the acidity comes out in the finish.  There is a little weight, textured tannins, and stoney structure.  Completely satisfying for the short-term.  ** Now-2016.

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.

Tasting the Wines of Bodegas y Cavas Weinert at MacArthur Beverages

MacArthur Beverages

I was fortunate to join Phil in tasting through a selection of wines from Bodegas y Cavas Weinert at MacArthur Beverages.  Back in my Seattle days Jenn and I drank through cases of these wines as they were both affordable and mature.  Having only tasted one wine in the last decade, the 2006 Carrascal at Lou’s house last year, I happily looked forward to stoping by the store.  Bodegas y Cavas Weinert was founded in 1975 on a winery originally built in 1890. The winery was rebuilt starting in 1976 with the first harvest in 1977.  Today the vineyards contain vines aged 25-100 years old grown mostly on sandy and rocky soils which are high in minerals and located at 900-1,200 meters.  All fruit is fermented in either concrete tank or large oak casks then aged in large, used casks in the 19th century cellars.

Old Casks of Malbec, Bodegas Weinert, Image from _mgp_ (flickr)

These are traditional styled wines showing complexity from the extended aging.  This makes them quite different from the Argentine wines you typically see on the shelves in Washington, DC.   The 2007 Carrascal is reminiscent of a Bordeaux with an Argentine-Malbec note shinning through.  I particularly liked the 2006 Merlot and 2005 Malbec.  The Merlot shows a more mature nature and will probably drink well early on because it started to open up after 15 minutes of air.  The Malbec easily absorbed its third year in oak casks showing harmonious integration of tannins yet was still approachable and youthful.  This wine might reveal more after an hour or two of air but will certainly age for some time.  My recommendation is to seek out the Merlot and Malbec.  The wines were popped and poured so my brief notes are from revisiting the wine over the first 15 minutes or so.

2007 Bodegas Weinert, Carrascal, Mendoza
Imported by Broadbent Selections.  This wine is a blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot which was aged for 1.5-2.5 years in French oak casks.  A medium color of ruby with some garnet.  There was a younger, berry nose with black red fruit.  In the mouth the fruit was controlled at first before some ripeness came out, followed by black berries, a touch of raciness, leaving the impression of a balanced and lithe wine.  The fine, drying tannins were a touch spicy.  ** Now-2015.

2006 Bodegas Weinert, Merlot, Mendoza
Imported by Broadbent Selections.  This wine is 100% Merlot sourced from Lujan de Cuyo.  It was aged for two years in French oak casks.  A medium color of ruby with more garnet hints.  There was an interesting, mature-ish nose of old-school aromas.  In the mouth the flavors began with savory fruit before a youthful core of black fruit development.  This medium bodied wine some ripe red fruit with a dose of drying, fine to medium tannins.  An engaging mineral and “iron” note came out.  *** Now-2019.

2005 Bodegas Weinert, Malbec, Mendoza
Imported by Broadbent Selections.  This wine is 100% Malbec sourced from 70-110 year old vineyards in Maipu.  The wine was aged for three years in French oak casks.  This was a medium+ color of ruby.  The nose was the most youthful with medium strength, assertive, and pungent red aromas.  In the mouth the fruit showed controlled fatness then concentrated black fruit.  There were chewy tart red fruit flavors and an inky black vein. The tannins are fine and well-integrated.  *** Now-2022.

The 2012 Country Vintner Portfolio Tasting

March 31, 2012 1 comment

This past week I attended the 2012 Country Vintner Portfolio tasting in Washington, DC.  The tasting was held in the Hamilton Live which is a music venue located underneath The Hamilton restaurant owned by the Clyde’s Restaurant Group.  The building itself was completed in 1929 and for 60 years operated as the flagship department store for Garfinckel’s.  The space itself, being a music venue, featured very dark ceilings, walls, and floors along with spot lights.  I must admit after descending through the Audubon inspired restaurant above the cavernous venue felt a bit strange for a tasting.  But despite the slightly distracting background music I was able to taste through a variety of wines simply by closing my eyes and concentrating.  Unfortunately my pictures did not turn out as well as I had hoped.  I tried to rely on the spotlights but in some cases the positioning was not good and I neglected to use a fill flash.  I spend most of my time tasting the wines and writing my notes so I am still developing my ability to ask questions and take pictures.  Despite the darkness I think personalities still come through.

The Hamilton

What was fun about this tasting is that there was a high percentage of international and national winery owners and representatives that flew out for the tasting.  So I focused on individual wineries but also stopped by the tables of Paul Hobbs Imports and Trireme Imports.  Though Bartholomew Broadbent of Broadbent Selections was present, the individual wineries in his portfolio represented themselves.  Having a bit more time than my last tasting I managed to take notes on 62 wines.

The Hamilton Live

Table 6 – The Donum Estate

Anne Moller-Racke, The Donum Estate

Of the Stemmler wines I particularly liked the Ferguson Block and of the Donum, the Russian River Valley was quite a standout.

2008 Stemmler, Pinot Noir, Estate, Sonoma County
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir which was aged in 40% new French oak.  The nose was brambly with black and red fruit.  In the mouth the red fruit was creamy yet tart with spices.  The flavors were concentrated with lots of mouthfeel and some heft.

2008 Stemmler, Pinot Noir, Ferguson Block, Carneros
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from vines planted in 1974 on gravelly, loamy clay soils. The fruit was fermented with indigenous yeasts, the wine aged for 16 months in 40% new French oak, with only the best barrels used.  The nose was a mixture of red fruit, roast earth, vanilla cake, and extinguished matches.  In the mouth there was good depth to the creamy black and blue fruit.  The flavors remained dense.  Needs time to open up.

2009 Stemmler, Pinot Noir, Nugent Vineyard, Russian River Valley
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from an 11 acre site planted in 1997. The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation and was aged for 18 months in 20% new French oak.  The nose contained brighter red fruit.  In the mouth there was some concentration, tilting towards tart fruit with appropriate acidity.  There was a good dense mouthfeel in the middle and notes of earth.

2008 Donum, Pinot Noir, Estate, Carneros
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir aged for 11 months in 70% new French oak. Only the best barrels are used.  The nose was of roasted red fruit.  In the mouth the flavors were sweeter and softer than the Stemmler wines with an underlying licorice flavor.  It turned a bit inky and dense in the aftertaste.

2008 Donum, Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir aged for 16 months in 70% new French oak. Only the best barrels are used.  The nose was a touch more brambly than the Carneros Estate with a piercing, black fruit note and some cookie dough.  In the mouth the good fruit had impressive presence.  Really quite nice.

Table 9 – Paul Hobbs

Matt Hobbs, Paul Hobbs

Having last seen Matt Hobbs at the California Barrel Tasting I was excited to see that he was pouring a range of Paul Hobbs wines.  While I liked the more expensive Chardonnay, Ulises Valdez Vineyard the less expensive Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley continues to be a strong offering.  The 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, To Kalon is very enjoyable while still promising a great future.

2009 Paul Hobbs, Chardonnay, Russian River Valley
This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from various properties on soils derived from weathered sandstone. The fruit was barrel fermented with indigenous yeasts, underwent malolactic fermentation and aged for 12 months in 52% new French oak barrels.  There was a Chardonnay nose with a touch of hard barrel toast.  In the mouth were white tropical fruits with good restraint and some barrel notes.

2009 Paul Hobbs, Chardonnay, Ulises Valdez, Russian River Valley
This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from the Ulisez Valdez Vineyard planted in 2002 on well-drained, brown sandy loam soils. The fruit was barrel-fermented with indigenous yeasts, underwent malolactic fermentation, and was aged 13 months in 67% new French oak barrels.  With good aromatic lift the nose reveals ripe white fruit.  In the mouth the fruit is delicate, flavorful, floral, and ample in scope.  The flavors become pastille with baking spices and creamy toast.

2009 Cross Barn, Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir, fermented with indigenous and inoculated yeasts, and aged for 12 months in 23% new French oak barrels.    The nose is very fruit driven with brighter red aromas.  In the mouth the ripe fruit has a licorice note with tart/tangy cherries, and a sweet spiced finish.  Nice.

2009 Paul Hobbs, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
This wine is 98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petite Verdot sourced from Beckstoffer Dr. Crane, Beckstoffer Las Piedras, Beckstoffer To Kalon, and Stagecoach vineyards. The fruit was fermented in stainless steel, underwent malolactic fermentation in barrels, and was aged for 20 months in 74% new French oak barrels.  There was brambly fruit on the nose.  In the mouth the flavors are rich and expansive with gritty fruit, leather notes, good grapey tannins, and a chewy finish.  Very good.

2005 Paul Hobbs, Cabernet Sauvignon, To-Kalon, Napa Valley
This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from the Beckstoffer To Kalon vineyard. The fruit was fermented in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts, underwent malolactic fermentation in barrel, and was aged for 20 months in 100% new French oak barrels.  In the mouth there are flavors of baking spices and creme caramel in this seductive wine.  Well stored and still tight, nevertheless the racy red and blue fruit is lifted in the mouth with a pervasive inky quality and chewy aftertaste.  A treat to try.

2007 Paul Hobbs, Syrah, Kick Ranch, Sonoma County
This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from the Kick Ranch Vineyard planted in 2001. The fruit was fermented in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts, underwent malolactic fermentation in barrel, and was aged for 18 months in 67% new French oak barrels.  There is a familial nose with powdery, ripe fruit, and sweet spice. In the mouth the flavors are focused with black and red fruit which is tight with a linear inkiness in the finish.  Minerals and spice come out in the aftertaste.

Table 10 – Paul Hobbs Imports

Laura Corrigan, Paul Hobbs Imports

The Pulenta Estate wines show good value with  Bramare, Malbec, Machiori showing serious quality.

2011 La Flor de Pulenta Wines, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza
This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from vines at 3,215 feet. It underwent malolactic fermentation with 50% aged in used French oak barrels.  The nose of fruit mixed with a touch of greenhouse florals with delicate texture.  In the mouth the ripe red and blue fruit was a little racy.

2008 Pulenta Estate, Malbec, Mendoza
This wine is 100% Malbec sourced from vines at 3,215 to 3,445 feet. The wine was aged for 12 months in 100% new French oak barrels.  The nose was a little more aromatic and brambly.  In the mouth the black fruit had a cool aspect, plenty of acidity and showed firm structure.

2009 Bramare, Cabernet Sauvignon, Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza
This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from vines at 3,018 to 3,537 feet. . The fruit was fermented in stainless steel, underwent malolactic fermentation in barrel, and aged for 18 months in 70% new French and American oak barrels.  The nose was concentrated.  In the mouth the riper flavors had a powdery texture, a bit of spice, became chewy and had good ripe tannins.

2008 Bramare, Malbec, Machiori, Mendoza
This wine is 100% Malbec sourced from 50-year-old vines in the Machiori Vineyard. The fruit was fermented in stainless steel, underwent malolactic fermentation in barrel, and aged for 18 months in 37% new French and American oak barrels.  This showed cool strength and powder, the spicy tannins were well-integrated with the slightly tart red fruit.  The wine software enters the mouth then effortlessly expands to coat everything.  Nice.

Table 11 – Gouguenheim Winery

Patricio Gougenheim, Gouguenheim Winery

From this selection of value priced wines I would recommend the Malbec, Reserva.

2009 Gouguenheim, Merlot, Mendoza
This wine is 100% Merlot sourced from vines at 3,600 feet. It was aged for four months in American and French oak. There was a leafy, flora nose with some texture. In the mouth the fruit had a rounder mouth feel, with powdery greenhouse notes, drying stones, and black fruit on the teeth.

2010 Gouguenheim, Syrah, Mendoza
This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from vines at 3,600 feet. It was aged for four months in American and French oak. There was a young nose of fruity berries. In the mouth the fruit was fresh and controlled with some powdery sweetness.

2009 Gouguenheim, Malbec, Mendoza
This wine is 100% Malbec sourced from vines at 3,600 feet. It was aged for four months in American and French oak. There was a tight nose with floral red and black fruit and drying tannins.

2010 Gouguenheim, Malbec, Reserva, Mendoza
This wine is 100% Malbec sourced from vines at 3,600 feet. It was aged for eight months in American and French oak. There was a tight, spicy red fruit nose. In the mouth the tart red fruit had fine texture, spicy tannins, a creamy mouth feel and tilted towards brighter fruit.

Table 15 – A. A. Badenhorst Family Wines

Adi Badenhorst, A. A. Badenhorst Family Wine

Adi was great fun to taste with.  I particularly liked the Family White Blend, Red Secateurs, and Family Red Blend.  These are fun and tasty wines from South Africa with a strong personality.

2011 Badenhorst , Chenin Blanc Secateurs, Coastal Region
This wine is 100% Chenin Blanc sourced from vines mainly planted in the 1960s. The fruit was picked over 12 days and added each day to what was already fermenting. It was aged on the lees for seven months. There was a nose of nutty white fruit. In the mouth there was a big mouthfeel with creamy, nutty white fruit, delicate white peach and apricot flavors.

2009 Badenhorst, Family White Blend, Coastal Region
This wine is a blend of 29% Chenin Blanc, 23% Roussane, 10% Grenache Blanc, 11% Viognier, 11% Chardonnay, 5% Colombard, 5% Grenache Gris, 2% Verdehlo, 2% Semillon, and 2% Clairette Blanche. The fruit was fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged for 13 months in 500 and 600 liter old oak casks before blending and a further 6-8 months aging on the lees in a single concrete tank. This revealed ripe fruit, slightly nutty with good integration of fruit and acidity, along with texture, some depth, and sweet spice.

2011 Badenhorst, Rose Secateurs, South Africa
This wine is a blend of Cinsault, Shiraz, and Grenache. The Cinsault was sourced from vines planted in 1963 with the Grenache sourced from vines planted in 1951. This seemed old-school with a hint of cheese.

2010 Badenhorst, Red Secateurs, Coastal Region
This wine is a blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Cinsault, and Grenache sourced from granite soils. The fruit is fermented in cement tanks then aged for 14 months on the lees in casks, foudres, and cement tanks. There was a nice Rhone nose with some roasted earth. In the mouth the bright red fruit took on weight with air along with old-style perfume, a racy aspect, along with spicy, very fine drying tannins. There was black fruit in the finish. Very easy to drink.

2007 Badenhorst, Family Red Blend, Coastal Region
This wine is a blend of 80% Shiraz, 10% Mourvedre, 7% Cinsault or Cape Hermitage, and 3% Grenache. The fruit is stomped by food and fermented with indigenous yeasts. It was then age for 16 months in 500 liter used casks. There was a delicate, fruity nose with a hint of bramble. In the mouth the minerally red fruit was fresh and mixed with ripe tannins and a hint of white citrus peel flesh. Very young and in need of age.

Table 16 – Glenelly Estate

Nicolas Bureau, Glenelly

From May de Lencquesaing the previous owner of Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande in Bordeaux these, are serious, classically made wines.  I particularly liked the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2008 Lady May.  I would be curious to try the Lady May in several years.

2009 Glenelly, Cabernet Sauvignon, Stellenbosch
This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon which was fermented with natural yeasts in stainless steel tanks. It underwent malolactic fermentation in French oak barrels then was aged for 12 months in 33% new oak.  There was a nose of greenhouse florals and a bit of roast.  In the mouth the approachable flavors were of dark red fruit, violets, racy, and a little spicy.  Definitely enjoyable.

2010 Glenelly, Cabernet Sauvignon, Stellenbosch
This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon which was fermented with natural yeasts in stainless steel tanks. It underwent malolactic fermentation in French oak barrels then was aged for 12 months in 33% new oak.  This nose was young with similar with greenhouse florals and roast.  In the mouth the flavors were more delicate than the 2009 with spunti notes.  The wine was delicate with spicy, very fine tannins.

2007 Glenelly, Grand Vin de Glenelly, Stellenbosch
This wine is a blend of 44% Shiraz, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, and 1% Petit Verdot which was fermented with natural yeasts in stainless steel tanks. It underwent malolactic fermentation in French oak barrels then was aged for 18 months in 33% new oak.  The tight nose was slightly mature.  There were lean, delicate dark purple fruit to this restrained wine.  Seem classical for aging.

2008 Glenelly, Lady May, Stellenbosch
This wine is a blend of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Petit Verdot which was fermented with natural yeasts in stainless steel tanks. It underwent malolactic fermentation in French oak barrels then was aged for 24 months in 33% new oak.  The nose was finely textured and enjoyable.  In the mouth there was good concentration and leafy floral flavors which were still tight.  There were fine, expensive tasting tannins in this wine with a finish which was racy, nice, and supported by good acidity.  Very good.

Table 17 – Warwick Wine Estate and Vilafonte

Mike Ratcliffe, Warwick Estate and Vilafonte

After drinking Warwick Wines for a decade it was a treat to meet Mike Ratcliff.  The Three Cape Ladies is in need of age but the Vilafonte, Series C reveals hints of development and is downright attractive.  Be sure to check out the upcoming James Bond movie where 007 enjoys a glass of the Three Cape Ladies.

2008 Warwick, Pinotage, Old Vines, Stellenbosch
This wine is 100% Pinotage which was aged for 18 months in second and third use 225 liter barrels. There was a nose of ripe red fruit. In the mouth the flavors were red with linear acidity then a racy black fruit with a fine texture.

2009 Warwick, Three Cape Ladies, Stellenbosch
This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, and Pinotage which was fermented in stainless steel tanks. It underwent malolactic fermentation then aged for 28 months in 33% new 225 liter French oak barrels. The ripe red and black fruit was structured and tight, will greatly benefit from age.

2007 Vilafonte, Series M
This wine is a blend of 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Malbec. There was good fruit on the nose which was expressive and articulate. In the mouth there was black and red fruit which was juicy. Needs a few years to express itself.

2006 Vilafonte, Series C
This wine is a blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and 6% Cabernet Franc. Though more structured there was a really nice mouthfeel with black fruit flavors, minerals, cedar, expansive flavors, and long aftertaste. Quite nice.

Table 18 – Semeli Estate Winery and Dalamaras

Leonidas, Semeli Estate Winery and Kostis, Dalamaras

The Semeli wines were of lighter personality.  The 2005 Dalamaras had an interesting nose and showed drier and lighter in the mouth than I expected.  The oldest Greek wine I have had yet and it has plenty of life ahead.

2010 Semeli, Feast, Agiorgitiko, Peloponnese
There was a good floral nose of red and blue fruits. In the mouth the red and black fruit mixed with plenty of acidity, stones, was light in the mouth and a touch soft.

2010 Semeli, Agiorgitiko, Peloponnese
This had a floral nose, a bit darker and riper, with some structure and hints of raciness.

2005 Dalamaras, Paliokalias, Xinomavro, Naoussa
This wine is 100% Xinomavro. There was a light to medium-strength maturing nose. There were drier, mature flavors in the mouth with lots of salivating acidity. It took on some dark red fruit and became a little racy.

Table 19 – Trireme Imports

Josh Lavis, Trireme Imports

I knew I had to taste the wines of Trireme Imports since I am on a bit of a Greek wine kick.  Of the white wines I enjoyed the Hatzidakis, Assyrtiko and for the reds the Nikiforou Cellars, Red Blend.

2010 Petros Honas, Phelonoe, Muscat, Limnos
This wine is 100% Muscat. The nose was very aromatic with floral and ripe fruit aromas. In the mouth it was very dry with a nutty flavor.

2010 Hatzidakis, Assyrtiko, Santorini
This wine is mostly Assyrtiko with some Athiri and Aidini. There was a very light, delicate nose. In the mouth it was a little richer with a focused core throughout and something akin to flor. There was a good mouth feel and some spice along with a saline quality.

2010 G. Lafazanis, Epicus, Agiorgitiko, Peloponnese
This wine is 100% Agiorgitiko. There was a light nose of floral fruit and a touch of caramel. In the mouth the br red fruit turned grapey, was light in flavor, a little soft, with a bit of a citric finish.

2009 Nikiforou Cellars, Red Blend, Peloponnese
This wine is a blend of 80% Agiorgitiko and 20% Grenache. There was a nice nose, showing more mature aromas including wood box. The mouth was fresher and younger thought it still followed the nose a bit but more bright and grapey.

Table 20 – Quinta das Arcas

Antonio Montiero, Quinta das Arcas

The Tinto will make for a good spring wine and still reasonably, priced the Tapada de Villa, Reserva was my favorite of these three wines.

2010 Conde Villar, Tinto, Regional, Alentejo
This wine is a blend of Aragonez, Trincadeira, Allicante Bouschet, and Touriga Nacional.  Aromas of bright red fruit with a touch of floral on the nose.  In the mouth the fruit was quite ripe with black and red fruit, floral component, and grapey character.

2009 Conde Villar, Tapada de Villa, Alentejo
This wine is a blend of Allicante Bouschet, Touriga Nacional, Aragonez, and Trincadeira.  The nose was more lifted than the Tinto with piercing red fruit and chocolate aromas.  In the mouth the tart red fruit mixed with old perfume then softened up with light acidity as the flavors followed the nose.  It wrapped up with strong and spicy fine tannins.

2009 Conde Villa, Tapada de Villa, Reserva, Alentejo
This wine is a blend of Allicante Bouschet, Aragonez, and Alfrocheiro.  Produced in only the best years the nose was of blacker fruit, a touch floral with sweet aromas.  In the mouth the flavors were more lifted with lanolin, a good delicate strength, black fruit in the finish, and powerful grapey fine tannins in the aftertaste.

Table 21 – Quinta do Crasto

Miguel Roquette, Quinta do Crasto

I have enjoyed the well-priced Tinto before so was pleased to see the Superior show well and would definitely recommend trying the Old Vines, Reserva in five or more years.

2009 Quinta do Crasto, Flor De Crasto, Douro
This wine is a blend of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, and Touriga Nacional sourced from 8-10 year old vines on soils of schist. It was fermented and aged in stainless steel. The nose was expressive with fruity, grapey aromas. In the mouth the slightly ripe fruit was fresh, perfumed with simpler flavors. This was a nose driven wine.

2009 Quinta do Crasto, Tinto, Douro
This wine is a blend of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, and Touriga Nacional sourced from 20+ year old vines on soils of schist. It was fermented and aged in stainless steel. The nose revealed darker fruits along with red grapey aromas. In the mouth the chewy red and blue fruit had some perfumed, a nice finish, and the right amount of drying tannins.

2009 Quinta do Crasto, Superior, Douro
This wine is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, and Souzao sourced from old vines on soils of Schist. It was fermented in stainless steel and aged for 12 months in 225 liter French oak barrels. There was more depth to the fruit in the nose. In the mouth the medium bodied wine had hints of sweet spice, perfume, and a longer finish. There was red fruit and perfumed lavender in the aftertaste. Will age well.

2009 Qiunta do Crasto, Old Vines, Reserva, Douro
This is a field blend of 35+ varietals averaging over 70 years of age. The food trodden fruit is then aged for 16 months in 85% French and 15% American oak barrels. Though double-decanted one hour prior the dark brambly nose did not give up much. There was a good mouthfeel, depth to the fruit, ripe tannins, and overall pleasure.

Table 23 – Grupo Pesquera

Miguel Angel Bocos, Grupo Pesquera

All of these wines are 100% Tempranillo so this was an interesting selection to taste through.  The El Vinculo was the largest of all of them, the two Pesquera are young and in need of age to reveal themselves.  I still think the Dehsa La Granja is quite attractive and strongly priced for the quality.
2005 El Vinculo, Crianza, La Mancha
This wine is 100% Tempranillo which was aged for 18 months in new American oak barrels. There was a nose of maturing red fruit. In the mouth this wine was riper and bigger with flavors of dried Asian noodles, some black fruit, supporting acidity, and a pervasive aftertaste.

2008 Condado de Haza, Ribera del Duero
This wine is 100% Tempranillo which underwent malolactic fermentation and was aged for 15 months in mostly American oak. There was stinky red fruit with sweaty leather on the nose. In the mouth there were red grapefruit flavors at first followed by young, light, and simpler bright red fruit.

2005 Dehesa La Granja, Zamora
This wine is 100% Tempranillo which underwent malolactic fermentation in new oak barriques followed by aging for two years in barrel. There was a slightly brambly red fruit nose with a hint of balsam. In the mouth there was good mouthfeel to the young and focused fruit. The good acidity mixed with drying tannins. This is at a young stage and needs age. Tasty.

2000 Dehesa La Granja, Seleccion, Zamora
This wine is 100% Tempranillo which was aged for 30 months in new French barriques. The nose was mature with a little cedar but remained tight. In the mouth there was good minerality, racy flavors with easily expanded in the mouth. There were old oak notes and black fruit in the finish.

2008 Pesquera, Reserva, Ribera del Duero
This wine is 100% Tempranillo which was aged for 24 months in American oak barrels. The nose revealed hard black and floral aromas supported by some red grapefruit. In the mouth the delicate red fruit had red citrus back it then drying tannins.

2008 Pesquera, Tinto, Ribera del Duero
This wine is 100% Tempranillo which was aged for 18 months in American oak barrels. There was a young, tight nose. In the mouth the red and blue fruit was a bit chewy followed by a grapey finish and drying tannins. Needs age.

Table 28 – Dr. Fischer

Karin Fischer, Dr. Fischer

Karin Fischer aims to make mineral-driven wines that are food friendly.  Both of these wines show good characteristics.

2010 Dr. Fischer, Riesling, Estate
There was a light nose of white fruit and apricots. In the mouth the wine showed focus with nice, crisp perfumed white fruit which turned towards grapefruit.

2010 Dr. Fischer, Riesling, Ockfener Bockstein Kabinett, Mosel
There was a ripe and fresh nose. In the mouth the flavors were very precise, with lots of minerals, orange-like citrus notes, and a dry finish.

Table 28 – Weingut Fitz-Ritter

Achim Eberle, Weingut Fitz-Ritter

The Sekt was an easy-going drink but since I do not drink much Gewurtztraminer these days I was curious to try the Spatlese.  Though I would prefer a bit more acidity for this sweeter wine, it is nonetheless quite interesting with its melons, rose, and old-perfume.

NV Weingut Fitz-Ritter, Riesling Sekt, Pfalz
This wine is 100% Riesling. There was light, yeasty, delicate fruit on the nose. In the mouth it was apple-like with very crisp entrance into the mouth, very fine bubble, along with a good mouthfeel and acidity.

2010 Weingut Fitz-Ritter, Gewurtztraminer Spatlese, Pfalz
There was a medium strength nose of melons and ripe, floral fruit. In the mouth there were floral, rose notes, a touch of sweetness and perhaps lychee through. There was a long finish with old-perfume flavors.

Table 29 – Weingut Georg Albrecht Schneider

Ursula Muller, Weingut Georg Albrecht Schneider and Weingut Muller

I must admit I particularly liked the red Dornfelder Trocken.

2009 Schneider, Dornfelder Trocken, Rheinhessen  
The nose was very fresh with bright red cherry aromas. In the mouth the fruit was very focused, floral, and with a mineral vein before taking on black red fruit and good acidity.

2009 Schneider, Riesling, Niersteiner Paterberg Kabinett, Rheinhessen
The nose was light with medium to dark yellow fruit. In the mouth there was ripe, yellow and white fruit, underlying acidity and minerals. There was some residual sweetness.

2010 Schneider, Riesling, Niersteiner Hipping Spatlese, Rheinhessen
There was a delicate yet lively nose. In the mouth the floral yellow fruit was ripe with plenty of acidity and a long, textured finish.

Table 29 – Biohof Pratsch

Jan Kux, Naturally Organic Agriculture, Biohof Pratsch

Of these three wines I enjoyed the Gruner Veltliner Rotenpullen for its balance of minerals and acidity.  One could drink this wine without food, which is typically what I do.

2011 Biohof Pratsch, Gruner Veltliner, Weinviertel
This had a nose of apples and yellow fruit. In the mouth there was almost piercing acidity, calcium like minerals, and a dry aftertaste.

2010 Biohof Pratsch, Zweigelt, Weinviertel
There was a light red nose. In the mouth the young, grapey flavors mixed with good acidity, some texture, and purple flavors in the finish.

2010 Biohof Pratsch, Gruner Veltliner Rotenpullen, Weinviertel
This revealed stones on the nose. It was richer in the mouth with stones, and more focus.

Two from the Southern Hemisphere

While Yalumba has been around for some time Bodega Chacra is relatively new.  Bodega Chacra originated when Piero Incisa dell Rocchetta purchased an old estate in the Rio Negro Valley of Patagonia.  Piero is the grandson of Mario Incisa who created Tenuta San Guido which produces the legendary Sassicaia wines.  These are both interesting wines in terms of their aromas and flavors.  The Yalumba is different with its orange-citrus and rosemary notes.  It is meant for current consumption and is appealing for those who do not want a large-scale wine.  The Chacra has a unique mixture of red fruit and apricot.  Well-made this will hopefully develop some more complexity.  While I prefer to drink something else on a daily basis, I would not hesitate to open these bottles for friends or order them at a restaurant.  Both of these wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2010 Yalumba, The Strapper, Barossa – $17
Imported by Negocients USA.  This wine is a blend of 38% Grenache, 32% Shiraz, and 30% Mataro.  The fruit was fermented in small batches, a mixed of oak vats and stainless steel, followed by aging for two months in used American, French, and Hungarian Hogsheads(!).  Bright red fruit makes way to tart flavors, citric acidity, and an incense note.  Then the flavors become ripe, with orange citrus undertones, a hint of rosemary, and a mixture of fruits in the finish.  ** Now-2015.

2010 Bodega Chacra, Barda, Pinot Noir, Patagonia – $27
Imported by Kobrand Corporation.  This second wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from the old vineyards planted in 1955 and 1967 along with new vines from a ten-acre vineyard located on the original estate.  The fruit is fermented with indigenous yeasts with malolactic fermentation in Burgundian oak barrels.  The wine was aged for 11 months in French oak barrels.  There was an interesting nose of red fruit and apricot.  In the mouth the red fruit mixed with apricot notes, some spice, and acidity that drives the wine with freshness.  There is not much complexity as this point but there is a good, lightly salivating aftertaste.  ** Now-2017.

2009 Bodega Noemia, A Lisa

January 30, 2012 Leave a comment

I had a chance to sample this wine when I last stopped by MacArthurs.  This wine is well made and pleasing enough to drink.  At the $24 average price on Wine-Searcher I would rather drink something more exciting.

2009 Bodega Noemia, A Lisa, Rio Negro Valley, Patagonia
Imported by Vias Imports.  This wine is 90% Malbec, 9% Merlot, and 1% Petit Verdot.  One-third of the fruit is sourced from estate vineyards planted in 2004 with the rest sourced from the Agricultural Research Center and a contract grower.  The fruit was fermented with indigenous yeasts then the wine was aged for 9 months with 100% second-use oak barrels.  There is a nose of black fruit mixed with orange citrus.  In the mouth the clean fruit turns salty with hard Malbec flavors and black fruited acidity.  The tannins are present throughout the wine give a good texture and a nice fuzziness in the aftertaste.  There are sweet spices in the aftertaste.  Now-2017.  Sampled at MacArthurs.

Another Argentine Wine the 2004 Tikal, Patriota

January 20, 2012 Leave a comment

This particular bottle was purchased quite a while ago.  In looking through my old Leighton House Selection notes it was back in the fall of 2006.  For several years we frequently drank the current vintage of Tikal, Patriota finding comfort in its vigorous blend.  Earlier this winter I came across this bottle buried towards the bottom of my wine boxes.  In my original tasting note I remarked, “Drink now for the vigor of youth (decanting recommended) or over the next year.”  I should have heeded my original drinking estimate.  While this bottle has plenty of life left, the fruit is receding with the structure and barrel influences gaining ground.

2004 Tikal, Patriota, Mendoza – $23
Imported by Vine Connections.  This is a blend of 60% Bonarda and 40% Malbec sourced from vineyards in Rivadavia, La Consulta, and Vista Flores.  The vines average 40 years of age and are located at 960 meters.  The wine is aged in 70% French oak (of which 40% is new) and 30% two-year old American oak.  This is salty with dark, flavors of roast.  It is still quite strapping with flavors that expand in the mouth.  Though it is strong there is not much complexity and the pleasing texture cannot make up for the current, heavy flavor profile.  On the second night it was a bit gritty, with cooler, blue fruit, and stoney notes.  Though this will live for many years to come, I would drink this now.

Two Recent Releases From Argentina

January 20, 2012 Leave a comment

It has been some time since we drank wines from Argentina.  I must admit that I drink my Argentine Malbec in small doses as it does not always excited me.  I typically prefer other varietals and blends.  So I was pleasantly surprised when I first tasted the Pulenta Estate wine.  It is quite enjoyable, should have broad appeal, and is strongly priced.  The Renacer, Enamore is a joint effort between the winemakers at Allegrini (in Italy) and Renacer.  Enamore is an anagram of Amarone, giving reference to the Italian appassimento method of air-drying the grapes.  The reduced water content in the shriveled grapes increase the fermentation time.  In fact the Enamore was fermented with indigenous yeasts for 90 days in stainless steel!  It is an interesting wine to try, the price is certainly reasonable for the style, but I would resist the temptation to open the bottle now and instead cellar it for 2-3 years.  These two wines were purchased at MacArthurs.

2010 Bodega Pulenta Estate, La Flora, Malbec, Mendoza – $13
Imported by Paul Hobbs Imports.  The fruit is sourced from a 135 hectare vineyard in Lujan de Cuyo.  The vineyard is located at 980 meters.  The introductory La Flor selections are made from the young vines.  This wine is 100% Malbec which underwent malolactic fermentation and was aged for 6 months in French oak barrels.  The nose is inviting with aromas of black currant jam.  The fruit is ripe but not overly done in this contemporary wine.  There is good texture, not quite brambly, with a mixture of red and blue fruit that are balanced by the acidity and tannins.  This is a very approachable Malbec that may be drunk over the short-term.

2009 Bodega y Vinedos Renacer, Enamore, Mendoza – $24
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is a blend of 62% Malbec, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc, 9% Bonarda, and 4% Syrah sourced form vines more than 50 years old.  The vineyards are located in Lujan de Cuyo, Medrano, and Rivadavia at altitudes of 600 to 980 meters.  The grapes are dries by winds until they have lost one-third of their weight.  They undergo malolactic fermentation before aging 12 months in new French oak barriques.  The rich flavors start with blue fruits then turn towards raisin notes with a bit of spirit.  There is a lovely flowing texture through out.  The sweet, confected fruit and dusty notes stand up to the moderate tannins providing a long, good finish.  This is not your usual glass of wine (obviously, being Amarone-like).  I would cellar this for a few years so that it may come together.

Bubbles For Jenn

January 11, 2012 Leave a comment

You will not find many sparkling wine posts on this blog.  Since the blog was started last Spring the sparkling roses from Bugey-Cerdon have been our constant companions.  However Jenn has become interested in drinking drier, white sparkling wines. I asked Phil at MacArthurs for three diverse selections so we could begin searching for our next house bubbly.

Jenn does not care as much for German Rieslings so I poured her a glass of the Dr. Loosen without revealing the bottle.  She smelled the Sekt and upon drinking it, looked at me suspiciously.  “It is Riesling,” I commented. “Ah, ha! I can taste that,” she replied.  After finishing the glass she noted, “Not bad, it is different, but there are too many Riesling flavors for me.”  She is correct but I really enjoy Riesling and found this bottle quite flavorsome for the money.  Jenn immediately liked the Lonko for the “more classically dry” style.  I did not like it at first but after two or three days, I found it had become quite good with its subtle balance of yeast, fruit, bubbles, and dryness.  We wrapped it up with the Catherine & Pierre Breton wine.  A good wine, tilting towards apple and chalk flavors, that really shines after two or three days.

All three of these bottles were quite different so if you know the style you prefer then my notes should help you pick a bottle.  If you do not know then try all three.  The Dr. Loosen is a strong value in a quenching style.  Both Lonko and Breton reveal themselves after two or three days.

NV Dr. Loosen, Riesling Sekt, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer – $12
This bottle was imported by Loosen Bros.  This Trocken wine is 100% Riesling that was produced using the Charmat method.  There is a good nose of yeasty, stones.  In the mouth the ripe bubbles deliver fine flavors which are initially fruity then turn to stones.  The flavors become mouthfilling with notes of yellow stone fruit.  There is a stoney aftertaste.

2007 Lonko, Extra Brut, Patagonia – $12
This wine is imported by Kysela Pere et Fils.  This wine is a blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir that was produced using the traditional Champagne method.  It is a light yellow stone color in the glass.  In the mouth the flavors start off yeasty before a little burst of fruit then the wine dries out with fine, sweet bubbles.  The flavors then return in the aftertaste with yeasty, toast, and dark notes.  On the third night it developed sweet citrus flavors with the finish stepping out with ripe fruit flavors.  This is young and needs air.

NV Catherine and Pierre Breton, La Dilettante, Brut, Vouvray – $20
This wine is imported by Kermit Lynch.  The fruit for this Vouvray Petillant  is produced from 40-year-old Chenin Blanc vines.  It is produced using the traditional Champagne method and is typically a blend of two vintages.  It is a light yellow color in the glass.  The nose is light and yeasty with apple aromas.  In the mouth there are ample bubbles which easily bursting bubbles and a pronounced apple flavor.  The flavors morph into cider before taking on a minerally and chalky aftertaste.  On the second day the apple aromas subdue as spices come to the forefront.  The bubbles themselves become lush in this delicately balanced wine.

The Extra-Long Lonko Cork Compared with that from Breton