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Posts Tagged ‘Beaune’

I mistake Oregon Pinot Noir for Spatburgunder

Lou asked me to bring just one bottle to a blind Pinot Noir themed tasting.  The weather was temperate so we started off with 2009 Pichler-Krutzler, Gruner Veltliner, Frauengarten, Wachau while we moved our food, bottles, and glasses outside.  Made by the son-in-law and daughter of F. X. Pichler this bottle has killer aromas that alone warrant opening a bottle.  I guess Gruner can age!

All of the wines were brown bagged save the 1983 Prince Florent de Merode, Corton Clos du Roi.  The cork fell in when Lou stood it up so we tried it out of curiosity.  Proper bottles are probably good.

The first blind wine was certainly of an earlier generation.  Schug Winery was founded in 1980 by Walter Schug who was the founding winemaker at Phelps in the 1970s.  The 1981 Schug Cellars, Pinot Noir, Napa Valley is an early example of his efforts which will continue to last for many years thanks to the impressive structure.  It is a bit curious but still a respectable glass of wine.  Much younger and in complete contrast the 2002 Cameron, Clos Electrique offers impressive amounts of sweet, strawberry compote flavors.  This bottle is in peak shape and prime drinking.

In retrospect the 2007 Albert Morot, Beaune Toussaints 1er Cru is clearly French with its aromas.  There is a bit of everything but the linear personality restrains the pleasure.  The 2006 Antica Terra, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley is in taller bottle but I mistook it for Austrian Spatburgunder due to the plentiful, bright fruit.  It continued to evolve, gaining complexity even on the second night.  Also from Oregon, the 2005 St. Innocent, Pinot Noir, Shea Vineyard, Willamette Valley is the youngest of all the wines we tasted.  It reminds me of an Oregon Pinot Noir, in my limited experience, and suggest you wait a bit longer in case it relaxes.

Thanks again to Lou for such a fun evening!

2009 Pichler-Krutzler, Gruner Veltliner, Frauengarten, Wachau
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This is 100% Gruner Veltliner from 15-35 year old vines, fermented and aged on the lees in stainless steel.  Alcohol 12.5%.  The light golden color does not suggest the excellent nose full of textured aromas.  In the mouth there is a focused, almost crisp start with white fruit, chalk, and stones by the middle.  There is a nice amount of acidity in this mature wine.  With air it develops nutty flavors and sports a moderate amount of weight from nuts and fat.  ***(*) Now – 2020.

1983 Prince Florent de Merode, Corton Clos du Roi
Imported by Robert Haas.  The cork fell in when the bottle was stood up leaving a stinky nose but surprisingly round, sweet fruit in the mouth.  Not Rated.

A) 1981 Schug Cellars, Pinot Noir, Napa Valley
This smells mature with a hint of menthol.  In the mouth is up-front dense fruit flavors followed by a wintergreen freshness and perfumed aftertaste.  What is striking is the whopping structure of drying tannins which seems like a combination of stem inclusion and oak.  On the second night it remains firm with tangy red fruit and of course the structure.  ** Now-2027.

B) 2002 Cameron, Clos Electrique
Alcohol 13.3%.  The nose is quite mature.  In the mouth are quickly building flavors of sweet strawberry compote.  The quantity and quality of fruit is excellent and in great shape.  This is matched by juicy acidity and a little spicy hint in the softer finish.  Good bottle.  ***(*) Now – 2019.

2007 Albert Morot, Beaune Toussaints 1er Cru
Imported by Robert Kacher.  Alcohol 12%.  Some sweet aromas, oak, mushrooms, and a touch of earth.  With air there is a wood incense note.  The mouth reveals dark red fruit, watery acidity, and a tight core of black fruit leaving a linear impression.  It eventually sports some grip and a little cola and spice note.  It remains firm.  **(*) Now – 2023.

2) 2006 Antica Terra, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
Alcohol 14.4%.  The darker and younger looking in color.  The interesting, ample nose is very fresh and clean.  In the mouth are gobs of fruit flavors that slowly open to reveal ripe, complex flavors.  Substantial in a way but not heavy at all thanks to the brightness.  The acidity is perfectly balanced.  The flavors persist in the aftertaste.  **** Now – 2027.

3) 2005 St. Innocent, Pinot Noir, Shea Vineyard, Willamette Valley
Alcohol 14%.  This is a light grapey red color.  In the mouth are controlled flavors of ripe and perfumed black fruit.  Fine tannins develop by the finish as does a bitter, citrus note.  This tastes the youngest of all the wines and with extended air remains structured compared to the Antica Terra. *** Now – 2025.

A lovely 1964 Mommessin, Clos de Tart followed by other mature wines

June 14, 2016 1 comment

No one could remember where the bottle of 1964 J. Mommessin, Clos de Tart came from.  It had been in the store for at least several years.  The label was in perfect shape but the ullage was 5cm down and the color was wearily light in the bottle.  I bought it anyways.  The 1964 vintage is still quite strong and I do not see Burgundy from the 1960s that often.  I am glad that I bought the bottle for it turned out to be my favorite wine over seven other old selections.

David and I gathered at Lou’s house last week.  Having acquired a number of bottles from the moving remnants cellar, I thought it would be fun to serve six of the bottles blind.  After secretly cutting capsules, extracting corks, and brown bagging the wines we gathered everything up to taste outside by Lou’s pool.

The air was fresh, there were minimal clouds, and we were partially shaded by a maple tree.  I had sniffed the bottle of Mommessin and did not detect anything wrong.  The cork was very long, exceeding the length of my Durand.  Perhaps it was impossibly long for the top of the cork had mushroomed over the lip of the bottle as if it refused to be shoved in all of the way.  It was a little alarming to see but the bottle smelled proper.

I took a quick sniff and taste.  I was completely excited to find that not only was the wine sound, it was very good.  The color was very light but the wine was flavorful.  It reminded David of old Barolo, light in color yet mouthfilling in flavor.  Mommessin acquired the Clos de Tart vineyard in 1932 keeping on M. Cyrot as regisseur who was only succeeded by Alfred Seguin in 1965.  Thus our bottle was produced under Cyrot’s tenure during which excellent wines were made in the 1940s and 1950s.  According to Clive Coates, the wine was produced using the chapeau immerge technique.  In this technique a grill is placed two-thirds of the way up the vat to prevent the cap from rising.  Thus there are no punch-downs only pumping over.  This apparently produces a wine of more elegance with less color and tannin extraction.  It could also explain why our wine was so light in color.

I kept pouring additional wine in my glass so that I could continue to taste it.  It was a lovely bottle of old Burgundy with a sense of lightness, sweet fruit flavors, and no fragility.

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1964 J. Mommessin, Clos de Tart
Imported by Capitol City Liquors Co.  Alcohol 13%.  It is a very pale color in the glass.  The nose remained bloody and meaty through the end.  In the mouth were plenty of ripe cherry and strawberry fruit that had a sweetness to it.  This lively wine had a good mouthfeel, some texture, and some spice.  It did not fade over three to four hours.  **** Now.

After drinking a good share of the Mommessin, we not only moved on to the six blind wines but to a completely different style of red Burgundy.  The bottle of 1979 Domaines Jaboulet-Vercherre, Beaune Clos de l’Ecu threw everyone into a state of confusion as to what it was.  The Jaboulet-Vercherre firm has early 19th century origins in the Rhone with their expansion to Burgundy occurring a century later in the 1920s.  I agree with Robert Parker agreeing with Hubrecht Duijker that the Rhone origins of the estate resulted in colorful and full bodied wines.  Our bottle was certainly dark in color, dark in flavor, and remarkably well preserved.  It is not a wine of finesse like the Mommessin, rather a hypothetical blend of Pinot Noir and Syrah.  It is a sturdy wine that will easily make age 50.

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1979 Domaines Jaboulet-Vercherre, Beaune Clos de l’Ecu
Imported by Beitzell & Co.  This color is quite dark with some garnet hints.  The nose initially smelled of barnyard but cleaned up.  In the mouth this salty wine offered full flavors of darker fruit bound seamlessly with acidity.  The finish is simple and a bit short.  This solid wine is age-defying.  ** Now.

The first pair of Bordeaux were quite different.  The 1980 Chateau La Mission Haut Brion, Graves is an attractive greenhouse infused wine both on the nose and in the mouth.  It is quite lively with acidity driven flavors making it a solid wine from a very poor vintage.  In contrast, the 1979 Chateau Beychevelle, Saint-Julien is from a slightly better vintage.  The wine needed some air to blow of its stink.  It has an attractively taut, burst of flavor at the beginning with no hint of greenness.  There is no reason to cellar the La Mission Haut Brion any further but I suspect it will not change much in case you do.  The Beychevelle should be drunk up.  Perhaps double-decant off the sediment then drink with your friends.

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1980 Chateau La Mission Haut Brion, Graves
Shipped by Vignobles Internationaux.  Imported by Julius Wile Sons & Co.  Alcohol 12%.  The initial greenhouse aromas are followed by finely scented aromas and even an animale note.  The acidity driven red fruit takes on green pepper then red grapefruit flavors.  There are minimal tannins at this point but the wine is still very lively.  ** Now.

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1979 Chateau Beychevelle, Saint-Julien
Imported by Dreyfus, Ashby & Co.  Alcohol 12.2%.  The nose is a bit subtle with initial dirty aromas blowing off to reveal deep aromas of Old Bay seasoning and wood box.  There is a taut burst of flavor in this savory wine.  It is initially a touch thin in flavor with some fine, bitter tannins.  But with air the wine subtly expands through the moderate finish and old-school flavored aftertaste.  ** Now.

The pair of 1978s offered a marked improvement in quality.  The 1978 Chateau Trotte Vieille, Saint-Emilion has many attractive qualities from coffee aromas, racy, savory flavors, and a good reaction with air.  It is a good, mature wine.  The estate had changed hands in 1949 and David Peppercorn writes that the wines of the 1950s and 1960s were quite good but then they became largely disappointing.  So it appears we were fortunate.  There is clearly more vigor and strength in the 1978 Chateau Bahans Haut-Brion, Graves.  This is a second wine of Chateau Haut-Brion.  Originally a non-vintage wine, Bahans Haut-Brion was sold exclusively to the Bordeaux market.  In 1976 a vintage version was released as well.  The non-vintage production was discontinued in 1982.  So this wine was produced during a brief period when there were two second wines!  I liked this bottle too.  Both of these wines held up well to extended air.

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1978 Chateau Trotte Vieille, Saint-Emilion
Imported by Frederick Wildman and Sons.  Alcohol 12%.  The older smelling nose cleans up to reveal coffee and caramel aromas.  The wine starts with an animale hint.  This racy, savory wine is quite tasty and fully mature.  It responds well to air with a little ink, firmness, and good acidity. Nice wine.  *** Now.

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1978 Chateau Bahans Haut-Brion, Graves
Shipped by Nathaniel Johnston & Fils.  Imported by Forman Brothers.  Alcohol 11.5%.  This is an interesting old-school wine that is clearly quite vigorous with earthy flavors.  The blend of fruit, acidity, and tannins makes for a lively, good wine that coats the gums with bits of sweet fruit in the aftertaste.  *** Now.

I knew the 1974 Chateau Haut Brion, Graves. was doomed when I cut of the top of the perfect capsule to find a depressed cork covered by gobs of fluffy white mold.  As I pulled the cork out the sides appeared muddy, which is a sign of cork failure.  The final quarter-inch looked fine but was not enough of a bastion.  I was looking forward to this wine because 1974 is a miserable vintage.  However, Haut Brion harvested the grapes before the rains started and reportedly made an excellent wine.  Lou brought out a bottle of 1970 Chateau Canon la Gaffeliere, Saint-Emilion which coincided with the grilling of some lamb.  The bottle had some melted crayon or rubber on it but the insides turned out fine.  The wine was a touch smelly at first but started to clean up and become more expressive.  I meant to give it enough air before taking a note but alas I forgot to take a note!  I did not forget to have another glass of the 1964 J. Mommessin, Clos de Tart which was still just as good as when opened.

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1974 Chateau Haut Brion, Graves.
Shipped by Barton & Gustier. Imported by Chateau & Estate Wines Co.  Alcohol 12%.  Bad bottle. Not Rated.

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1970 Chateau Canon la Gaffeliere, Saint-Emilion
Shipped by Solter, Schneider & Co.  Imported by Consolidated Distilled Products.  Alcohol 11% to 14%.  Oops, no note!

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Tasting a trio of old wines with Lou

When sorting through old bottles of wine I first reject those with the lowest fill, sick color, depressed or extended corks, and signs of seepage.  I then gently check that the cork is firm by pushing on the top of the capsule.  Sometimes a bit of liquid comes out from old seepage and other times the cork shifts under the slightest pressure.  So it was to my surprise that this first bottle of 1969 Domaine Duchet, Beaune Bressandes revealed a thick crust of dried mold that shifted with any pressure from the worm of my Durand.  I think the top of the capsule was firm enough to trick me.  Needless to write the wine was a disgusting mess.  That is a shame as 1969 is considered the finest vintage of the period according to Michael Broadbent.  According to Robert Parker, the Duchet holdings were put together in the 1940s.  In the 1960s Monsieur Duchet was estate bottling half of his wine with the intention of selling it direct to client.  However, this one-time mayor of Beaune became busy with politics and never sold the wine.  Robert Haas discovered this cache of wine in the 1980s and imported it into America.  Thirty years later that labels are still in perfect shape.

As for the drinkable wines, the 1985 Domaine du Clos des Epeneaux, Pommard 1er Cru Clos Des Epeneaux Monopole showed great promise at first.  Though initially in clear need of air, it had good power, a youthful profile, and attractive minerals.  In my mind it was going to be better than the 1971 Chateau Haut-Bailly, Graves which was in very good shape.  The cork is the cleanest one to date.  The Clos des Epeneaux oscillated in behavior and never settled down.  The Haut-Bailly, on the other hand continued to develop with air.  The last glass was the best, worthy of three stars.  I am beginning to believe that the old Bordeaux from this cellar need to be decanted and aired out for 30 to 60 minutes.  They have thrown so much sediment that this will yield an extra glass of wine.  The wine will also drink better, albeit for a shorter window, so make sure your partner or a friend is around. These wines were purchased as MacArthur Beverages.

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1969 Domaine Duchet, Beaune Bressandes
Imported by Vineyard Brands.  A bad bottle!

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1985 Domaine du Clos des Epeneaux, Pommard 1er Cru Clos Des Epeneaux Monopole
Shipped by Cannan & Wasserman.  Imported by Luke’s Distributing Co.  Alcohol 11-14%.  The nose turned after one hour offering up strange aromas.  In the mouth there were still hints of ripeness, tart flavors, and eventually hints of wood.  The wine was generally nice in the mouth with supportive structure.  It oscillated between citric flavors and ripe fruit.  In summary, this was young at first, pretty at times, and showed depth at other times.  **(*) Now-2025.

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1971 Chateau Haut-Bailly, Graves
Imported by Dreyfus Ashby & Co.  Alcohol 12%.  There were fresh evergreen aromas at first then darker and dusty notes. The mouth was fresh in the front with some initial weight, grip, and juicy acidity.  With air the wine fleshed out, ultimately taking on dark red fruit, some Big Red flavors, and cherries.  The wine was expansive with juicy body, and an ethereal finish that left texture on the gums.  The aftertaste even brought a hint of vanilla.  **/*** Now.

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The 2012 Burgundy blogger and industry night at MacArthur Beverages.

The 2012 vintage in Burgundy was troubled by destruction from hail, coulure, and millerandage.  While this ultimately resulted in a significant reduction in the amount of wine produced, what was made is regarded as very good.   That combination of small amounts of very good wine certainly drove up prices but as I recently learned, there is still good wine to be found in all ranges.  This experience came at the annual blogger and industry night at MacAthur Beverages.  Organized by Phil Bernstein, we were treated to six wines from generic red Burgundy at $22 per bottle all the way to Corton Grand Cru at $220 per bottle. I cannot draw any conclusions from such a tasting but let me just say that I was generally pleased by the fruit, acidity, and ability to age.  Last night, I even dreamed of drinking Burgundy.

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2012 Joseph Faiveley, Pinot Noir, Bourgogne – $22
Imported by Frederick Wildman & Sons.  Alcohol 13%.  There were spiced red fruit aromas followed by grapey,  young fruit in the mouth.  There was more red fruit with the structure immediately apparent with wood notes returning in the finish.  I would cellar this for a year or two.

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2012 Joseph Drouhin, Cotes de Nuits-Villages – $25
Imported by Dreyfus, Ashby & Co.  This wine is 100% Pinot Noir that was fermented with indigenous yeast then age for 12-15 months in French oak.  Alcohol 13%.  There was a pretty nose with some sweet aromas.  In the mouth was watering acidity, red and black fruit, and less obvious structure.  Though young, this wine was accessible, with developing raspberry candy flavors and eventually some structure.  I think it showed better definition with air.

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2012 Domaine Joblot, Clos du Cellier aux Moines, Givry 1er Cru – $45
Imported by Robert Kacher Selections.  This wine is 100% Pinot Noir that was fermented in barrel with indigenous yeast then aged for up to 16 months in 50% new oak.  Alcohol 13%.  In the mouth were blacker, dark floral flavors followed by a vein of fruit.  The black fruit remained focused, showing weight, a little more structure, and watering acidity.  Will age.

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2012 Louis Jadot, Domaine Gagey, Beaune 1er Cru Les Greves – $50
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There were smoky hints to the black, floral aromas.  In the mouth were black fruit flavors that were finely ripe and texture.  The acidity kept the wine moving along as tannins were left on the gums.  The wood flavor does come out.  Needs a few years to absorb the wood but should develop quite well.

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2012 Domaine Heresztyn-Mazzini, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Champonnets – $100
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from vines planted in 1972.  The fruit was fermented with indigenous yeast then aged for 16-18 months in 40-50% new oak.   Alcohol 13%.  There was a serious but tight nose.  In the mouth the acidity and structure were perfectly integrated with the raspberry and mineral, black fruit.  The fine grained tannins suggested several years of aging are required.

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2012 Domaine Faiveley, Corton Grand Cru Clos des Cortons Faiveley – $220
Imported by Frederick Wildman and Sons.  This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from vines planted between 1936 and 2002.  It was fermented in a combination of stainless steel and wooden vats then aged for 16 to 18 months in mostly new oak. Alcohol 13%.  The complex nose made way to concentrated, complex, and gently spiced flavors in the mouth.  There was broad ripeness, lipsticky raciness, and black graphite flavors.  Very attractive now this will unfurl with further time in the cellar.  Lovely.

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California, Rhode Island, Macedonia, and More

December 17, 2012 1 comment

For the most part I take pictures of all of the wines I drink, be it by the glass or bottle.  I write down tasting notes for the vast majority of these wines but in social settings I find taking notes prevents me from joining the conversation.  I want to maintain a history of everything I drink, not to tout trophy bottles (which rarely cross my lips) but to provide material for a vinuous biography later in life.  The first two wines were brought by my Uncle to Thanksgiving dinner.  He served the 2009 Etude, Pinot Noir Estate in a decanter with the bottle squirreled away.  In a feat of sheer luck and brilliance I deduced 2009 Californian Pinot Noir.  I do not drink many Californian Pinot Noirs but this worked well in the general hub-bub of dinner which was punctuated by a few crackles from the fireplace.  I believe everyone enjoyed it for it was tasty to drink.  We then moved on to the 2007 Albert Morot, Beaune Cent-Vignes.  Still showing firmness this wine encouraged you to take small sips then reflect upon them.  I think it should be cellared a few more years but I did not mind its current state.

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2009 Etude, Pinot Noir Estate, Carneros
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from various vineyards and aged in French oak barrels.  Alcohol 14.4%.  There was a light to medium strength nose of dark red fruit.  In the mouth the flavors were spicy with brambly Pinot fruit then brambly bluer fruit.  The wine became racy towards the finish where a sweeter side and some spice came out.  This was forward, pleasing, and drinking well out of a decanter.

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2007 Albert Morot, Beaune Cent-Vignes, Beaune 1er Cru
Imported by Robert Kacher Selections.  This wine is 100% Pint Noir which was fermented in stainless steel and is raised in some new oak.  There was a light nose of wild, red fruit.  In the mouth the black cherry flavors were framed with blacker fruit in the finish.  It was still a touch firm with integrated acidity which kept the wine lively and matched by a sense of levity.  There was texture in the finish and orange juicy acidity.  Should drink for a decade but needs a few more years.

We recently popped over to Shane’s for a roasted chicken dinner.  I brought over the Cornelissen and the Tikves in brown bags for the fun of it.  I poured small tastes of the Frank Cornelissen, Susucaru 4 to which Shane wondered if it was something like a Movia wine.  It did not come across too well with exclamations, spitting, and dumping occurring all at once.  This sparked an idea in Shane’s head so he chilled down a Rhode Island Riesling.  The current release is 2010 so his bottle of 2008 Newport Vineyards, Vintner’s Select Riesling has a few years of age on it.  It was a perfectly acceptable wine, while a bit sterile and lacking flavor in the finish, it smelled and tasted like Riesling.  And it was from Rhode Island, how cool.  The 2010 Tikves, Barova, Red showed well reflecting the studious attention paid to the vineyards and winemaking.  Philippe Cambie is the consulting winemaker.  He has helped create a modern wine with fruit flavors that make you scratch your head and wonder what varietals the wine was made from.  Lastly, there was the 2007 Tablas Creek, Esprit de Beaucastel.  I thought the color and nose were a bit more advanced than its age.  Unsure of vintage I guessed it a French wine made from Syrah and Grenache perhaps from Gigondas.  I got 50% of the varietal composition correct!  And being Tablas Creek a guess of France was not too off base.  To Shane the fruit had a purity which reminded him of California.  I really like the wines of Tablas Creek but am remiss that the Cotes de Tablas Rouge became too expensive for a daily wine.

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Frank Cornelissen, Susucaru 4, Dry Rose, Etna
Imported by Fruit of the Vines.  Produced from the free-run juice of various indigenous varietals.  Alcohol 13.5%.  Rather cloudy in the glass which is not surprising given the clumps in the bottle.  Beautifully texture, aromatic nose is very enticing.  Then in the mouth it started with pure tart, thin, dry flavors.  Very tart at first but after an hour or two the flavors were of pure, dry, grapefruit juice followed by a yeasty Pilsner finish.  Strange disconnect between the nose and mouth.

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2010 Tikves, Barova, Red, Republic of Macedonia
Imported by Eric Solomon/European Cellars.  This wine is a blend of 85% Kratosija and 15% Vranec sourced from 35-year-old vines located on soils of Smolnik with humus and Povilna wyth fern and mountain flora biomass.  It was aged in stainless steel. Alcohol 14.5%.  There were well made flavors of lightly powdery black and red fruit, a little woodsy tannin, plenty of well done acidity.  Young, nice, and well made.  Should drink well over the short-term.  Contemporary but with a flavor profile I cannot put my finger on.

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2008 Newport Vineyards, Vintner’s Select Riesling, Rhode Island
This wine is 100% Riesling.  Alcohol 12%.  There was a light Riesling nose. In the mouth the white fruit was somewhat ripe at first with clean Riesling fruit.  There was a decent start with some acidity then the wine muted and faded off with no acidity and loss of flavor.  A pleasant enough drink which made a favorable introduction to the wines of Rhode Island.

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2007 Tablas Creek, Esprit de Beaucastel, Paso Robles
This wine is a blend of 44% Mourvedre, 29% Grenache, 21% Syrah, and 6% Counoise sourced from the 120 acre organic estate vineyard.  It was fermented in stainless steel using indigenous yeasts then aged in French oak foudres.  Alcohol 14.5%.  It smelled a bit older on the nose with rich, clean mixed fruit which reminded me of Gigondas.  In the mouth there was a dense mixture of black fruit, spices, and a long, lifted aftertaste that left dark flavors of wood box in the mouth.

Dinner and Wine at RN-74 in Seattle

Entrance to the Arctic Club Hotel

When I was tasting wine at Amavi/Pepper Bridge, Jennifer told me that I should really check out the new restaurant RN-74.  She was quite excited by the outstanding selection of Burgundies that the owner had brought over and were not available anywhere else in the state.  She said the prices were reasonable as well.  I did a double-take as there is an RN-74 in San Francisco designed by one of my friends.  This one was train themed too, it had to be an AvroKO designed restaurant.

AvroKO is an international firm run by the four long-time friends William, Kristina, Adam, and Greg.  I met William in the late 1990s when we lived in Seattle.  William was an interior designer and a local artist who was starting to gain a following.  Seattle could not contain his creativity so he left for New York City and helped start AvroKO in 2000.  Starting with Public NYC they now have designed a series of restaurants throughout the country and also Hong Kong.  Now that we have a young daughter the days of zipping up to New York to eat at William’s last opening are temporarily suspended.

I was feeling lazy after battling rush-hour traffic to get to my room at the Arctic Club Hotel.  I knew I had to eat but there were two wines I needed to taste in my room, making room service sound tempting.  The 2008 Rulo Winery, Syrah, Walla Wall was open and I liked it so I definitely wanted to take a note.  The 2009 Tried and True Tablewine would put me over my weight limit so it had to be tasted.  But Jenn reminded me that we rarely get the chance to visit one of William’s (AvroKO’s) restaurants so I should go and not worry about dumping leftover wine.

Self-Portrait Encompassing Two Parking Garages

The Arctic Club Hotel is decent but the immediate area is a bit barren and anchored by several parking garages.  I bucked up and headed over. The garages are actually interesting affairs and have a style that is quintessentially Seattle.

Revocable

A few of the buildings along 4th Ave. subtly remind you of their property boundaries and distracted my attention.

Entrance at 4th and Pike

But then I caught sight of RN-74 and immediately recalled that just over a month ago I had passed by and wondered about the then, almost complete, restaurant.  While there is a lot of foot traffic in the area, it is not a corner that I would expect this restaurant to open at.  The front door was open and there was quite a buzz from all of the people, I forgot about the location.

Wine Selections, Interesting Lamps, and Communal Table

RN-74 is named about the Route Nationale that runs through Burgundy.  The wine list primarily focuses on the wines of Burgundy but Bordeaux is close by with many wines from the 1950s and 1960s.  The Rhone and other regions are well represented but not at the expense of Washington and Oregon states which are deep in vintages.

I sat at the bar to eat the Painted Hills Burger and taste some Pinot Noir.

Pinot and Beef

The higher-end wines-by-the-glass are poured from a Enomatic machine and served in Spiegelau glasses.  In case you have multiple glasses in front of you they label a ticket which is slipped around the stem.

Filament Bulbs

Being an AVROKO restaurant you find the thorough attention to detail, including graphics, the communal table, filament bulbs, dress of the staff (check out the shirts), and attention to both food and drink.  A small selection of the wines are listed upon the wall, evoking train tickers, but others are listed on a moving ticker.  I was tempted by the 2009 Gremenon, Les Laurentides, but Jenn and I have drunk it before and it is currently available at MacArthur’s. And I could not forget the bottles in my hotel room.  The prices on the ticker do move and not randomly.

Wine Specials

2000 Domaine Drouhin, Laurene, Dundee Hills, Oregon
There were 1900 cases of this wine produced.  This wine has a garnet color and a subdued nose.  There are still concentrated flavors of red fruits, tart berries, cherries, and vigorous grip.  There are some citrus qualities to the mature flavors.  The minerals or crushed stones in the finish integrate with fine+ tannins then blue fruits.  This bottle was well stored and in no rush to be consumed, what a nice treat and surprise to find by the glass.  Definitely new world and probably won’t develop a complex nose but it is good fun to drink.  There are ample, affordable wines that should be drunk mature but do not find their way to restaurants, let alone, served by the glass.  ** Now-2015.

2007 Chandon de Brailles, Volney 1er Cru, “Caillerets”, Burgundy
There were 148 cases of this wine produced.  It is a lighter color than the Drouhin with purplish tinge.  It has an interesting, perfumed nose of ripe, blacker-stone fruits..  The flavors in the mouth are darker, with initial red fruit then underlying black fruit developing, with a structured stone-like personality.  **(*) Now-2019.

2008 Domaine de Montille, Beaune 1er Cru, “Les Sizes”, Burgundy
This wine had the lightest color of them all and it was a rose/ruby.  There is a nice nose of minerals, red fruit, and some earth.  In the mouth the tart, red fruit was complemented by some spiciness.  As it was a new bottle it eventually revealed delicate scents on the nose.  ** 2015-2019.