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Posts Tagged ‘Chianti Classico’

Excellent wines, both familiar and unfamiliar, from Italy

October 22, 2014 1 comment

I remember the San Felice, Il Grigio, Chianti Classico Riserva from my high school days when we would periodically dine at an Italian restaurant in the Seven Corners.   I remember the wine more than the food , which surely was decant, but I would not be surprised if we went there to drink the wine.  The latest vintage is a good effort that needs further aging then should drink well for some time.  A new wine to me is the 2011 Casa del Bosco, Nebbiolo, Coste della Sesia.  This is a fantastic wine with flavors that match the images on the Louis/Dressner website.  The village of Casa del Bosco was originally built as a hunting resort a long time ago so they obviously needed vineyards to supply wine.  There are only 20 producers of Coste della Sesia so this is a unique opportunity to taste these wines.  This particular wine is made in old cellars dating to the late 1700s and fermented in concrete vats built in 1910.  This old-school wine even has its labels glued on by hand.  While I do not think this is a wine for the long-haul, I would cellar it for half a year so that it may open up further.  For those with less patience and the eternally curious you must try the 2012 Benito Ferrara, Quattro Confini, Aglianico, Irpinia.  This is an expressive version of Aglianico that has grip and tension.  Not all wines have tension but when they do you want to taste more to see how the flavors play out.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2010 San Felice, Il Grigio, Chianti Classico Riserva – $23
Imported by  San Felice USA.  This wine is 100% Sangiovese which was aged for 24 months in a combination of large Slavonian casks and French barrqiues.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose of herbed potatoes made way to very gentle flavors in the mouth.  There was black fruit in the middle, some ripe texture and gum coating tannins from the structure.  This is good, clean, solid Chianti that will age.  It needs a few hours of air right now but will reveal gently, sweet fruit.  **(*) 2015-2020.

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2011 Casa del Bosco, Nebbiolo, Coste della Sesia – $23
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  This wine is a blend of 90% Nebbiolo and 10% Croatina that was fermented in vats built in 1910 then aged for 18 months in used barrels.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose was engaging with slightly stinky, earthy, Nebbiolo aromas.  In the mouth were ripe black and strawberry fruit that showed up front acidity.  This rustic wine had good flavors of black and red fruit along with extract.  **(*) Now-2017.

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2012 Benito Ferrara, Quattro Confini, Aglianico, Irpinia – $18
Imported by deGrazia Imports.  This wine is 100% Aglianico sourced from vines at 600 meters.  It was aged in 30% barrqiues and 70% stainless steel.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose revealed cherries and other tart, pungent aromas.  The wine was quite open from the start with pungent, rounded flavors that showed mid palate grip.  The black mineral flavors had tar-like notes, salivating acidity, and long ripe tannins on the gums.  There was lovely tension in this wine making it a grab choice to drink now.  *** Now-2017.

From Rondinella White to Sangiovese, Four Good Wines

There has been no shortage of good Italian wines lately.  First up, the 2012 Zyme, From Black to White, Il Biano, Veneto has a significant proportion of Rondinella White in it, something not possible before 1999.  Rondinella is typically a red variety used in Amarone.  When a branch of a vine mutated to provide white grapes it was carefully cultivated for eight year until there was a parcel of vines.  This wine was really well done and reminiscent of an attractive orange-wine or very light red wine.  If you can only afford to purchase one of the wines featured in today’s post, this is the one.   The 2011 Tenuta Ghiaccio Forte, Morellino di Scansano clearly has depth but also needs a few years in the cellar.  Its quite good.  I do not think (and I reviewed my notes) that I have had Aglianico as forward drinking as the 2011 Azienda Agricola San Salvatore, Aglianico Jungano, Paestum.  There is a nice touch from the minerals and earth so why not enjoy this now?  The 2006 Castello di Cacchiano, Chianti Classico is a proper wine for aging.  I suspect it also reflects the strength of the vintage and the then newly banned inclusion of white fruit.  Stick this in your cellar and do not even bother broaching a bottle for a few years.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2012 Zyme, From Black to White, Il Biano, Veneto – $23
Imported by Banville & Jones.  This wine is a blend of 60% Rondinella white, 15% Kerner, 15% Gold Traminer, and 10% Cross Manzoni.  Alcohol 13%. The color was a light straw.  The nose was rich with aromas of white fruit, sweet nuts, and eventually a waxy note.  In the mouth were rounded flavors of nuts, pastille-like flavors, and there was even a tingling sensation on the tongue.  This wine was creamy with floral notes, and lively acidity but picked up weight and some grip.  It had a long aftertaste with lots of texture.  It had hints of orange-wine character and with one’s eye closed, that of red wine.  *** Now-2015.

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2011 Tenuta Ghiaccio Forte, Morellino di Scansano – $20
Imported by Cantiniere Imports.  This wine is 100% Sangiovese aged for 10 months in Slavonian oak.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose revealed a good depth of black and red fruit.  In the mouth the flavors were more black with long, textured tannins, good depth, and some polished wood in the finish.  This will be a good wine and while air certainly helped, I would definitely cellar this a few years.  **(*) 2016-2026.

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2011 Azienda Agricola San Salvatore, Aglianico Jungano, Paestum – $28
Imported by Banville & Jones.  This wine is 100% Aglianico which was fermented in stainless steel then aged in a combination of tonneau, barriques, and stainless steel tanks.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This was surprisingly ripe and forward with blue fruit and ripe, sweet tannins.  The tannins turned dry with minerals before the earthy aftertaste.  There was lots of flavor, not huge depth, but strong appeal.  *** Now-2020.

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2006 Castello di Cacchiano, Chianti Classico – $26
Imported by Masciarelli Wine.  This wine is 100% Sangiovese which was fermented in stainless steel then aged for 30 months in French oak.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose revealed pleasing aromas of cherry and strawberry candy.  In the mouth were wood box notes and cherry fruit.  Though the flavors were light and dry it managed to expand through the mouth with good acidity, leaving a minerally finish.  The wine remained firm over a few nights and clearly needs further age. **(*) 2016-2024.

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A Case of Italian Invasion

September 16, 2013 Leave a comment

There is only so much time in a day, so in order to research early 19th century vineyards in Washington, D.C., I must occasionally resort to a post of tasting notes. Over the weekend  I have found some really interesting information which I hope to relay within a week.  Of the ten wines listed below the 2012 Lamoresca, Nerocapitano was my favorite.  This was an awesome wine that I would love to see for sale in Washington, D.C.    I continued to enjoy the wines of Matteo Correggia in the form of 2009 Matteo Correggia, Roero.  This could stand a little more bottle age.  Also do not miss out on the well-priced 2007 Podere il Palazzino, Argenina, Chianti Classico.  A wine imported by Williams Corner Wine is typically interesting and so was the 2009 Bocchino, Blincin, Barbera d’Asti Superiore.  I often pick up bottles solely based on their name.  On a side note the 2011 Occhipinti, Alea Viva was a complete wreck when we first opened it.  Jenn refused to drink it at first and I quickly agreed.  I forgot about it for a few days until I found it in the Eurocave.  It was completely different and so much better.  Strange.  The Occhipinti and Lamoresca were purchased at Chambers Street Wines.  All of the others were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2011 Occhipinti, Alea Viva, Lazio Rosso – $21
Imported by Jan D’Amore Wines Ltd.  Alcohol 14%.  The color was a light cherry with a hint of garnet.  The nose was floral with berries and ripe, rich white floral aromas.  The first night there were light flavors of orange-peel and fruit, which were a bit firm with acidity that put the black fruit on edge.  Actually, quite rough and not attractive.  On the third night the wine was much better with rounding, cherry flavors and enlivening acidity which hit the back of the throat in the aftertaste.  There were good flavors, intensity, and cinnamon like spices in the finish.  Should age beyond one year.  ** 2014-2018?.

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2012 Lamoresca, Nerocapitano, Frappato, Sicilia – $28
Imported by SelecitoNaturel.  This wine is 100% Frappato which was fermented with indigenous yeasts in open barrels then aged in old wooden barrels and cement.  Alcohol 12.5%.  There were lovely, ripe plum and white peach aromas on the nose.  Rather Sicilian.  The mouth follows the nose with a very different set of flavors, a hint of glycerin, and fruit which was seamlessly integrated with the acidity.  There was a little liveliness on the tongue tip and were sweet, ripe tannins on the fums in the finish.  Really nice.  *** Now-2015.

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2010 Planeta, Dorilli, Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico – $23
Imported by Palm Bay International.  This wine is a blend of 70% Nero d’Avola and 30% Frappato.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose bore small red berries with a certain blackness.  In the mouth this wine was serious with focus.  It was light and round at first with almost orange acidity and gentle, orange peel flavors.  There was some texture in the finish.  It had a little black tang on the sides of the tongue then acidity which picked up a little in the finish.  It was expansive then drying and minerally.  On the second night there was bacon smoke in the finish and a little red candy.  Very approachable but needs a year or so.   **(*) 2014-2019.

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2005 Cantina Sociale Cooperative, Copertino, Riserva, Puglia – $14
Imported by Banville and Jones Wine Merchants.  This wine is a blend of 95% Negoamaro and 5% Malvasia.  Alcohol 13%.  Gentle, mature with some wood box notes, very approachable, and overall balance.  A pleasant wine to drink now.  ** Now.

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2010 Frecciarossa, Uva Rara, Provincia Di Pavia – $14
Imported by J.W. Sieg & Co.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There was a light but decnet nose with some fine scent.  In the mouth red fruit and red grapefruit mixed with lively acidity.  The firm but good fruit carried on with drying, grapey tannins.  ** Now-2015.

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2011 Tenute Chiaccio Forte, Vigne del Passero, Morellino di Scansano – $
Imported by Cantiniere Imports & Distributing.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose was of black red fruit and green herbs.  There was a touch of acidity driven black fruit in the mouth followed by a touch of riper, black and red fruit.  It became drier with herbs in the finish, some dry tannins in the structure, and more dried herbs in the aftertaste.  ** Now-2015.

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2011 Antica Masseria del Sigillo, Antico Sigillo, Primitivo di Manduria – $15
Imported by Enotec Imports.  Alcohol 15%.  There were ripe flavors of rasins, red and black fruit that made for a almost dried, roundish start.  There were very fine, grainy flavors and a ripe grainy texture which builds with red fruit acidity.  There were powdery tannins in the finish.  Drink while young but should last a few years.  ** Now-2016.

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2007 Podere il Palazzino, Argenina, Chianti Classico – $17
Imported by de Grazia Imports LLC.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose had underlying ripe, red fruit.  The wine was more complex in the mouth with red fruit, a little wood note, some bitters, and hints of ripeness at the beginning.  The wine was mouthfilling before taking on drier flavors and texture.  There was some spiced mulberry and dry, woodsy tannins.  *** Now-2020.

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2009 Bocchino, Blincin, Barbera d’Asti Superiore – $16
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose was of red fruit, strawberry, which was made interesting by some herbs and earth.  The wine was more forward in the mouth with ripe, black and red fruit, a little wood box, and good tartness.  The flavors became redder with air, remained fruit driven, and had a minerally structure.  It was a little spicy and balanced out well with air.  *** Now-2016.

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2009 Matteo Correggia, Roero – $18
Imported by The Country Vintner.  Alcohol 14%.  The color was a light to medium ruby center with a garnet, exterior ring.  The light nose had red fruit with some orange peel.  In the mouth were light flavors that immediately gained weight, expanding in the mouth with wood box and some herbs.  The acidity was present on the back of the throat.  Black minerals came out and the drying tannins left texture on the gums and inside of the lips.  **(*) 2014-2017.

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Several Italian Wines Opened While Researching

July 8, 2013 1 comment

Here are several different Italian wines I have opened while researching and writing about the history of wine.  At the affordable end of things the 2011 Elena Walch, Lagrein is appealing for contemporary drinking.  My favorite of the lot were the 2005 Rocca di Frassinello, Poggio alla Guardia and the 2008 Ricci Curbastro, Vigna Santella del Grom.  Both of these are blends with Merlot and Cabernet.  The former is attractively mature right now.   The later is more youthful and surprisingly contains Carmenere! These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2011 Elena Walch, Lagrein, Alto Adige – $14
Imported by The Country Vintner.  This wine is 100% Lagrein which was fermented in stainless steel then underwent malolactic fermentation and aging in large French oak barrels.  Alcohol 12.5%.  The nose was black and grapey.  In the mouth the wine had lighter and cooler flavors of red and black fruit.  It tasted like a cool-climate wine.  It was a touch tart but moved forward with structure, some pepper, licorice, and a delicate core.  Attractive.  ** Now-2014.

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2005 Rocca di Frassinello, Poggio alla Guardia, Maremma Tuscany – $16
Imported by Vias Imports.  This wine is a blend of 45% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Sangioveto sourced from seven-year old vines which was fermented in stainless steel, underwent malolactic fermentation, then aged for four months in stainless steel and cement.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The color was a medium garnet mixed with brick.  The flavors were ripe and focused with black cherry that was lively on the center of the tongue.  There was gentle weight as the fruit coats the tongue then takes on texture with ripe, drying tannins on the tongue and lips.  there were some wood box flavors and structure with air.  There was a little coarse texture but the wine filled out with air and was supported by the structure.  *** Now-2018.

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2004 Agricoltori del Geografico, Contessa di Radda, Chianti Classico – $16
Imported by Monarchia Matt International.  This wine is a blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo Nero grape sourced from member vineyards total 480 acres.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose revealed a little roast and a hinted of stewed fruit.  In the mouth there was firm cherry fruit, a little roast, and firm acidity on the tongue tip.  With air there were some tea flavors, expansion in the mouth but not a lot of depth.  It was a little stemmy with a touch of salivating acidity.  It seems to be drying with its age.  ** Now.

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2008 Corbera Vini, Nero d’Avola, ar Cera, Sicily – $13
Imported by Red Ink Imports.  Alcohol 14%.  In the mouth the flavors were very smooth with silky and smokey black/red fruit.  There were some strong tannins in the underlying structure which continues to emerge with air.  There was some acidity followed by a smoky, pervasive aftertaste.  ** Now-2017.

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2008 Velenosi, Brecciarolo, Rosso Piceno- $11
Imported by Domaine Select Wine Estates.  This wine is a blend of Montepulciano and Sangiovese which was destemmed, fermented in stainless steel then aged in used barriques.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This had flavors of black cherry and black fruit with some ripeness.  There were cinnamon-like spices to this softer but textured black fruited wine.  It was tart with integrated acidity, and a small amount of tannins. The finish was shorter.  No need to hold on to this.  ** Now-2014.

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2009 Fattoria di Fubbiano, San Gennaro, Colline Lucchesi – $20
Imported by David Vincent Selection.  This wine is a blend of 70% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo, and 15% Ciliegiolo.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose was light with a  little perfume, greenhouse, and stems.  The mouth followed the nose with a core of focused, ripe vintage perfume and black fruit.  There were flavors of tart red and black fruit then a textured middle, and acidity in the aftertaste.  The wine is a little rough at this point but has good, yet firmer black and red fruit flavors in the aftertaste. Needs a little age. **(*) 2014-2017.

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2008 Ricci Curbastro, Vigna Santella del Grom, Curtefranca – $23
Imported by Grappoli Imports.  This wine is a blend of 30% Cabernet Franc, 28% Merlot, 12% Carmenere, and 10% Barbera sourced from the Santella del Grom vineyard planted in 1992.  It was fermented in stainless steel vats then aged for 18 months in oak barrels.  Alcohol 12%.  The nose bore some fresh, red berry fruit.  In the mouth there were focused raspberry flavors, a little ripe core, and acidity which moves things along like a wave.  The wine was red and tangy in the back of the mouth with a touch of weight behind the fruit.  Good quality.  This is a good youthful wine with cherry berry notes.  *** Now-2016.

A Slew of Italian Wines

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Apparently we tasted a lot of Italian wines lately.  Priced between $9 and $19 there is something here for everyone.  My favorite of the lot are the 2009 Piaggia di Silvia Bannucci, Pietranera and the 2006 Poedere il Palazzino, Argenina.  Quite frankly I like most of the Piaggia wines I have tasted and this entry-level wine is no exception.  The Palazzino is quite nice too, in speaking with Tim, he prefers this 2006 vintage over the 2007.  The 2007 Tenuta Cocevola, Rosso Cocevola will alter your normal drinking habits because it is pure Nero di Troia.  It is worth a try but best to cellar for a year or so.  The 2010 Brigaldara, Valpolicella offers good pleasure for a low price along with the more expensive 2008 Fuedi di San Gregorio, Ognissole and the 2010 Argiolas, Costera.  Amazingly the least expensive wine, the  2011 Giribaldi, Winemaker’s Selection Red Blend at $9 per bottle, had my favorite nose.  My glass provided continuous aromas of floral perfume and fresh berries.  The flavors in the mouth did not live up to the nose but it is still worth the price to simply smell.  Please find my tasting notes in general order of preference.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2009 Piaggia di Silvia Bannucci, Pietranera- Tuscany – $19
Imported by Bacchus Importers. This wine is mostly Sangiovese with a little Canaiolo which was fermented with indigenous yeast then aged for 10 months in French oak.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The light nose was slightly pungent with red and black fruit.  In the mouth there was lovely fruit, red, black, and cherry which had depth.  There was a good vein of fruit caressed by a wood box note.  The acidity is supportive as focused, cool flavors of blue and black fruit come out in the finish.  Tasty.  *** Now – 2020.

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2006 Poedere il Palazzino, Argenina, Chianti Classico – $17
Imported by De Grazia Imports. This wine is mostly Sangiovese sourced from the Argenina Vineyard which was aged in small oak casks.  Alcohol 14%.  The color is a light to medium garnet.  The light nose is tight but some cherry aromas escape.  There is richer fruit in the mouth with powdery blue flavors then focused blue and black fruit which is drier.  There are also drying tannins and minerals.  With air there is a controlled, mouthfilling nature but it is not expansive.  There are smooth tannins, seemingly redder fruit in the finish, and a minerally aftertaste.  Tasty.  *** Now – 2018.

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2007 Tenuta Cocevola, Rosso Cocevola, Castel del Monte – $17
Imported byIl Pioppo.  This wine is 100% Nero di Troia which was aged 6-9 months in French oak barriques.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The color is a medium garnet with a cherry core.  the light nose is of low-lying darker, red fruit.  The dark red and blue flavors have some compactness before black minerals mix with nice fruit.  The acidiyt is on the front of the tongue. Fine, strong tannins build from the beginning resulting in a firm finish but salivating aftertaste from the acidity.   I could use several months in the cellar. **(*) 2014-2018.

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2010 Brigaldara, Valpolicella – $12
Imported by Vinifera Imports.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The color is a light ruby with a touch of garnet at the edge.  The light nose is raspberry candy.  In the mouth there is pretty, little black and red fruit along with some dried herbs and acidity.  It has some weight and a little ripeness in the finish.  Flavors of cranberry mixes with acidity that hits the back of the throat.  The finish has a dark hint, some structure, and a  hint of grapefruit.  ** Now.

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2008 Fuedi di San Gregorio, Ognissole, Primitivo di Manduria – $16
Imported by Palm Bay Imports.  This wine is 100% Primitivo sourced from 25-year-old vines which were destemmed and aged for 14 months in new French oak.  Alcohol 14.5%. The nose was light with lots of mixed berries.  The mouth brought blackberry and blueberry fruit which became a little round and ripe in the middle.  There was acidity before the very fine tannins lurked in the aftertaste.  With air the flavors turned towards macerated red berries up front and blacker fruit in the finish.  Well done.  ** Now-2018.

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2010 Argiolas, Costera, Cannonau di Sardegna – $14
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is a blend of 90% Cannonau, 5% Carignano, and 5% Bovale Sardo which was aged for six to eight months in used barriques.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose was light with strawberries and cherry.  The cherry and strawberry flavors continue in the mouth with juicy acidity and even more strawberry fruit.  The acidity is balanced by ripe texture, some weight, and a hint of minerals.  This youthful, grapey wine becomes athletic in the end.  It maintains good flavor but not great depth.  ** Now-2018.

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2012 Giribaldi, Winemaker’s Selection Red Blend, – $9
Imported by William-Harrison.  This wine is a blend of 70% Dolcetto, 25% Barbera, and 5% Nebbiolo.  Alcohol 12%.  The color is a light to medium grapey ruby.  The medium strength nose is attractive with floral perfume and fresh berries.  It is a beautiful nose that takes on spices.  In the mouth there is tart red and black fruit with an initial hint of salt before black minerals come out.  The wine is tart on the sides of the tongue with citric tannins on the lips.  The flavors do fade by the finish.  It is a more forward wine that takes on a wee bit of weight.  ** Now-2014.

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2009 Villa Santera, Leon de Castris, Primitivo di Manduria – $15
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is 100% Primitivo sourced from 40-year-old vines.  It was fermented in stainless steel tanks then aged six months in used French oak barrels.Alcohol 15%. The light nose was ripe, pungent, and plummy.  There were fresh, almost eucalyptus, flavors in the mouth, spiced herbs, and ripe red fruit.  This was a supple wine with integrated acidity but it was a little too sweet for me.  There were grainy, ripe tannins.  ** Now-2016.

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A Casual Italian Wine Dinner at Dino

November 23, 2012 1 comment

Fresh after the Best of Virginia tasting  I met up with a small group for a pre-Thanksgiving Italian wine dinner at Dino.  There I joined Alyssa, her husband Brett, Sarah, Alex, and two other wine enthusiasts for a casual evening.  With no coordination on our selections we ended up with an interesting array of wines.  We tasted the wines as the conversation ranged from ones current relationship to wine, familial introduction to wine, all the way to Hallmark Hall of Fame and horror films.  Alex has a particularly interesting background in wine having grown up immersed in wine, so to speak, by his parents.  His mother Ellen Kirsch has long-standing ties with the wine world and is currently studying towards her Master of Wine.  Alex himself is in the middle of his WSET Diploma and our dinner marked the evening before his launch of Grape Crate.

It was a cozy evening and one I hope that is repeated soon.  I constantly select wines at the store then again at home on a daily basis so I derive great pleasure in drinking wine that someone else has picked.  Random or loosely-theme tastings are some of the best fun for at some point the wine a person brings becomes a strong reflection of their personality, which makes the gathering all the more intimate.

We started with the 2010 Tenuta Olim Baudia, Gavi di Gavi which offered up a pleasing combination of lemon and woodsy herbs.  More interesting was the Vittorio Graziano, Ripa del Bucamante which Sarah had just purchased from Chamber Street Wines a few weeks ago.  It proved to be an interesting combination of earth, ripe berries, and citrus.  Sarah has spent time in Emilia-Romagna focused on wine so it was a fitting choice.  It was only natural that she has visited Drei Dona thus immediately recognized the label.  The 2000 Drei Dona, Graf Noir with its local Uva Longanesi and the 2007 Montrevertine were my two favorite wines for current drinking.  The Drei Dona is showing complexity from age but also has structure for a long life.  The Montrevertine had a beautiful nose and continued to develop over dinner, I suspect with a few hours of air this would be even better.  For those with patience keep your 2004 Vietti, Rocche, Barolo in the cellar.  This bottle was more expressive on the nose but the mouth was young with very good components.  This should easily develop over the next few decades.

Alyssa and Brett are big fans of Northwest wines so it was cool to try their 2006 Cameron, Nebbiolo from Oregon.  In a blind tasting it would have stood our for its riper, open fruit.  I would continue cellaring this wine if you are fortunate to have some of this small production.  The 2008 Fattoria di Felsina Berardenga, Chianti Classico Riserva was tight and simple, showing more barrel influences than fruit.  Perhaps this will be better with age.  Lastly, the 2008 Ca’Marcanda (Gaja), Promis offered up a simple, buttery nose followed by a very lush, smooth mouthfeel.  It seemed a bit disjointed in personality and no where as nice as the 2009 I tasted earlier in this Spring.

2010 Tenuta Olim Baudia, Gavi di Gavi, Gavi
Imported by Weygandt Metzler.  Th light to medium nose was of woodsy citrus aromas along with rosemary.  The mouth follows the nose with rosemary, white citrus fruit, a little oily nature, and increasing concentration towards the finish.  There was lemony acidity.  Interesting.  ** Now-2014.

NZ Vittorio Graziano, Ripa del Bucamante, Emilia Bianco
This wine is a blend of Trebbiano and Sauvignon Blanc which begins fermentation in stainless steel tanks then is finished in bottle.  The nose bore vintage perfume, sweet berry aromatics, and with air an aroma of grapefruit.  The wine was earthy with distinct, sparse bubbles which firmly popped.  There was a substantial finish with drier flavors then the return of the berry fruit. The aftertaste was lifted with some ripeness.  *** Now-2015.

2007 Azienda Agricola Montevertine, Montevertine
This wine is a blend of Sangioveto, Canaiolo, and Colorino which was aged for 24 months in Slavonian oak barrels.  The nose was light to medium strength and opened up over the evening to reveal textured aromas with a bit of bottle age.  In the mouth there was bright black cherry fruit, a fair amount of bottle age, tart cherry then fine grapey tannins.  The acidity was integrated and there was a scented aftertaste.  Nice wine, it kept opening up over the course of dinner.  **** Now-2017.

2008 Fattoria di Felsina Berardenga, Chianti Classico Riserva
Imported by Bacchus Importers.  This wine is 100% Sangiovese which was aged for 12-16 months in small and medium capacity oak barrels.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The almost light nose was very tight only revealing vanilla and some roast.  In the mouth the vanilla note returned with red cherry, berry fruit, a simple and modern midpalate then a more expansive finish.  Firm, stick in the cellar.  ** 2016-2022.

2000 Tenuta La Palazza, Drei Dona, Graf Noir, Forli
Imported by Vintner Estates Direct.  This wine is a blend of 55% Sangiovese, 30% Uva Longanesi, and 15% Cabernet Franc which underwent malolactic fermentation in stainless steel then was aged 24-28 months in 70% new French oak barriques.  The light to medium nose was lifted with black red fruit, giving the impression of concentration and weight.  In the mouth this medium bodied wine had a lightness from maturity and expansive flavors in the mouth.  The initial strawberry flavors turned towards firm black fruit in the end where maturing, cedar box, and coffee flavors came out.  There were drying, wood box tannins, and some noticeable acidity.  The dark fruit and ample, integrated structure will allow for long age.   **** Now-2027.

2008 Ca’Marcanda (Gaja), Promis, Tuscany
Imported by.  This wine is a blend of 55% Merlot, 35% Syrah, and 10% Sangiovese which were fermented separately then aged for 18 months in new and slightly used barriques.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The light to medium strength nose revealed butter and a little red fruit. In the mouth this medium bodied wine was bigger than the nose suggested.  Ripe fruit with a structure from spicy integrated tannins then mixed with red and black fruit.  There was a smooth mouthfeel, soft fruit, and a darker aftertaste where some very fine tannins came out.  Very modern but disjointed between nose and mouth.  ** Now-2019.

2006 Cameron, Nebbiolo, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley
Alcohol 13.4%.  The light to medium strength nose showed interest with fine notes of riper fruit.  In the mouth the flavors were firmer in the mouth with brighter, hard red candy fruit, fine+ tannic structure then black fruit. It was a bit lifted in the aftertaste.  Keep in the cellar.  **(*) 2017-2025.

2004 Vietti, Rocche, Barolo
Imported by Remy Cointreau USA.  This wine is 100% Nebbiolo sourced from 45-year-old vines.  It was fermented in stainless steel, underwent malolactic fermentation then was aged for 28 months in Slavonian oak casks then six month in stainless steel tanks.  Alcohol 14%.  More complex and expressive in the nose.  In the mouth this wine is still young with ripe, red fruit, blue fruit with an initially light and fruit driven nature.  The fruit was tart and berry like, which mixed with an enjoyable older wood note.  There were fine powdery, tannins throughout.  Though the fruitier aspects tasted good this developed a strong, fine, tannic structure with air.  **(**) 2019-2032.

The Best of Virginia (and Maryland Too)

November 21, 2012 3 comments

Weygandt Wines

This past weekend Lou and I attended a Best of Virginia tasting organized by Robert Ford and hosted by Weygandt Wines.  I came in late to the organization so I thought it best to let Rob describe the origins of the tasting.

Inspiration for the Tasting

About three years ago my Fiancee Megan and I were eating breakfast on a lazy sunday morning, wondering what to do with our day. At this point we were surprisingly novice wine geeks, early in the stages of tasting anything and everything to develop context for our palates. We did however, through our tasting, seem know what we enjoyed and were respectable in judging quality. We had heard about Virginia wine country and had nothing better to do, so after a bit of internet research we hopped on I-66W and headed west. It seemed that in Northern Virginia (if not Virginia as a whole) Linden had been the forerunner in quality and vision when it came to virginia wine. I still remember arriving on our first visit. The GPS had taken us on wild ride, traversing several miles of unpaved roads to reach the Linden sign. From our first sip of the day, it was clear the wines were special. They had balance, authentic fruit, direction, freshness, and evolution on the palate. The care used to craft the wine was palpable. They embodied the qualities we had come to look for in a wine.

We are now full on wine geeks, but as any other wine geek knows, the more you learn and taste, the more there is to learn and taste. And while virginia has settled into a limited role in our wine drinking, it remains an important one. When we open a Linden wine we find ourselves comparing it to chardonnays and bordeaux blends from around the world, remarking how well they would likely compete in a global context. Therefore we always had the idea of a blind tasting, pitting the Linden and other best of Virginia, against equal competition from more established wine regions. And after a long period of idle contemplation, seemingly like usual, everything simply fell into place. It started with a thread on Wineberserkers regarding RdV Vineyards, and morphed into a “what if” tasting idea. As I was going to be in DC over the weekend, inspiration struck, and I began to organize the Best of VA vs World tasting. Interest was a bit slow over the first day, but quickly it appeared the tasting would be rather large and comprehensive. It was one of those events that was meant to happen, as everything simply fell into place. Many participants were available on the proposed date, we were easily able to use Weygandt Wines as a fantastic tasting space, and everyone seemingly had excess wine to contribute. By Friday morning we had more interest than we could accommodate, and had put together a surprisingly large and complete line up of wines. The stage was set … how would Virginia fare?

-Robert Ford

Bagged and Numbered

The Virginian wines were known ahead of time to the participants with the ringers only known to Rob and those who brought them.  The wines were brown-bagged and served in four flights: Whites, Mature Reds, Young Cabernet Franc or Merlot dominated reds, and Young Cabernet Sauvignon dominated reds.  All of the wines were opened just prior to tasting except for #17 RdV, Rondevous which was decanted one hour ahead and the #25 Yannick Amirault which was opened one hour ahead.  Tasting sheets were provided and we were asked to rate the wines so that group results could be tallied.  After tasting through all of the wines they were revealed.

Many thanks to Jim Law of Linden Vineyards who opened his cellar so that Rob could purchase the 1997 Reserve Red, to Jon Gonzales of RdV Vineyards who brought the 2009 Rendesvous and Lost Mountain, to Ed Boyce of Black Ankle Vineyards who provided the 2007 Crumbling Rock, and Michelle Gueydan of Early Mountain Vineyards who brought the 2011 Ankida Ridge, Chardonnay along with a few ringers.  Also to everyone’s generosity for bringing so many wines and to Warren, Sarah, and Weygandt Wines for allowing us to take over part of the store.

Rob In Action

RESULTS

Rob tallied up the results from eight participants.  In some cases a wine received only seven scores but in most cases it was eight.  Of the 33 wines tasted 16 were from Virginia, 8 from France, 2 from California, 2 from Maryland, 1 from Washington, 1 from Italy, 1 from Malta, 1 from New Zealand, and 1 from South Africa.  In this section I have listed the top three wines from each flight.  For the remaining average scores you will find them in my tasting notes.

One cannot draw serious conclusions from such a tasting but I can point out the generally strong breadth of the Linden wines, the seriousness of RdV, and the strengths of Black Ankle.  When I hear about local wine it seems to be in the context of Virginia but hopefully after this tasting a few more people will cross the Potomac River to Maryland.  I am also curious to try other selections from King Family Vineyards and Pearmund.

Flight 1 – Whites
1. 2008 Linden, Chardonnay, Avenius Vineyard (86.88)
2. 2009 Ataraxia, Chardonnay, South Africa (86.38)
3. 2011 Ankita Ridge, Chardonnay (85.13)

Flight 2 – Mature Reds
1. 1997 Linden, Reserve Red (89.13)
2. 1995 Chateau Troplong Mondot (87.13)
3. 1993 Robert Craig, Affinity (86.25)

Flight 3 – Young Reds (Cabernet Franc or Merlot Dominant Blends)
1. 2005 Chateau Joanin Becot (89.00)
2. Tied: 2009 RdV, Rendezvous and 2006 Black Ankle, Crumbling Rock (87.38)

Flight 4 – Young Reds (Cabernet Sauvignon Dominant Blends)
1. 2007 Gramercy Cellars, Cabernet Sauvignon (87.29)
2. 2009 Cliff Lede, Cabernet Sauvignon (86.86)
3. 2009 Barboursville, Octagon (85.43)

TASTING NOTES

It took steady effort to taste through all of the wines in the time alloted.  As the time advanced past the normal closing time there was a bit of a dash to finish off the tasting.  My notes capture the wines during a brief few minutes so bear that in mind.  Normally I would not rate wines during such a tasting but as part of the group exercise and general fun of it, I did.  At the end of each note you will find the average group score in parenthesis.

FLIGHT 1 – WHITE WINES

David and Rob

I thought the white wines from Virginia showed very well.  While several of the wines had obvious barrel notes, my two favorites the 2010 Pearmund showed good integration along with fruit, weight, and acidity and the 2008 Linden showed lively fruit with an attractive gravelly quality.  Wines like these make me think a Virginia white wine tasting should be in order.

1 – 2011 Ankida Ridge, Chardonnay
This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from a two acre vineyard at 1,800 feet. It was fermented in 100% neutral French oak barrels of which 50% underwent malolactic fermentation. It was then aged for nine months on the lees.  The light to medium nose was textured with barrel roast notes.  The barrel note continues in the mouth with rich, slightly perfumed fruit,a bit of weight in the finish.  There were some tart apple flavors and acidity. (85.13)  ** Now.

2 – 2009 Linden, Chardonnay Hardscrabble
This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from 15-25 year old vines in the Hardscrabble Vineyard. The free run juice was fermented with both cultured and indigenous yeasts, some barrels underwent maolactic fermentation, followed by 10 months of aging on the lees in new and used French oak barrels. Alcohol 13.8%.  The color was a very light straw yellow.  The light fruit nose had some barrel notes along with heavier, yellow fruit aromas.  In the mouth there was crisper fruit to start  then tropical fruit which mixed with barrel flavors, some apple, and Christmas spice.  The aftertaste was a little coarse and shorter compared to #1.  (84.57) ** Now-2013.

3 – 2010 Pearmund, Old Vine Chardonnay, Meriwether Vineyard
This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from 25+ year old vines. It under went 100% malolactic fermentation then was aged for eight months in French oak. Alcohol 13.5%.  The color was light yellow.  The light+ nose revealed heavier yellow fruit, better integration of the barrels notes, and fine texture.  In the mouth there was sweet tropical fruit which was delivered with an initial burst of acidity.  Then old perfume, good weight, and a core of ripe fruit.  There was ripe fruit and spices in the finish and a good aftertaste. (84.50)  **(*) Now-2017.

4 – 2008 Linden, Chardonnay Avenius
This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from the Avenius Vineyard planted in 1996 at 1,300 feet. It was barrel fermented in older French oak, did not undergo malolactic fermentation, and was aged on the less for 10 months. Alcohol 13.7%.  The color was a very light yellow.  The nose bore ripe, concentrated yellow fruit.  In the mouth the flavors were lively on the tongue with integrated acidity, followed by gravelly white, ripe fruit.  There was an ethereal quality to the aftertaste.  (86.88) **(*) Now-2015.

5 – 2009 Domaine Bernard Defaix, Vaillons, Chablis 1er Cru
Imported by Winebow. This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from both young and old vines.  The color was light yellow.  The light to medium nose offered up perfumed, white and yellow fruit with a hint of something.  In the mouth there were flavors of bread at first followed by a hollow, citric finish, and a barely detectable hint of foxy flavors in the aftertaste. (83.00)  * Now.

6 – 2009 Ataraxia, Chardonnay, Western Cape
Imported by Worthwhile Wine Company. This wine is 100% Chardonnay which was barrel fermented then aged for ten months in Burgundian oak barrels. 13.5% Alcohol.  The color was light yellow.  There was a light+ ripe, yellow nose. In them mouth there were lively white, heavy fruit which was acidity driven.  There was a good mouthfeel, fine stoney, texture, and a drying finish with tart citrus flavors. (86.38) ** Now-2015.

FLIGHT 2 – MATURE RED WINES

The Author and Lou

This was a somewhat disjointed flight in terms of the wines tasted but it did reveal a complete 1997 Linden, Reserve Red.  I am glad that Rob was able to work with Jim Law on this selection.  It is drinking very well right now.  I did not guess it was from Virginia for I thought the 1999 Chateau Barde-Haut was!

7 – 1994 Roccadoro, Chianti Classico
Imported by Winebow. This. Alcohol 12%.  The color was light-medium tawny, showing extreme age.  The nose was over the hill with thin, delicate berry fruit in the mouth. (Flawed)  Flawed.

8 – 1999 Chateau Barde-Haut, St. Emillion Grand Cru
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. This wine is a blend of mostly Merlot and Cabernet Franc sourced from 30+ year old vines. It was fermented with indigenous yeasts, underwent malolactic fermentation then was aged for 18 months in new oak barrels. Alcohol 13.5%.  The color was a light to medium garnet-cherry.  In the mouth there were cedar box flavors, a touch of menthol, then cherry and raspberry.  There was a core of racy red fruit then blue flavors but then it completely thinned out. (82.00)  * Now.

9 – 1997 Linden, Reserve Red
This wine is a blend of 44% Cabernet Franc, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Petit Verdot, and 11% Merlot. Alcohol 13.9%.  The color was a light to medium ruby.  The light nose was followed by focused, black and red fruit in the mouth.  There was black fruit acidity,with mature flavors in the finish.  A complete little wine. (89.13)  ** Now.

10 – 1993 Robert Craig, Affinity, Napa Valley
This wine is a blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Franc.  The nose was light with mature red fruit.  In the mouth there were brighter red fruit, texture, plenty of acidity, and a little powdery red candy. (86.25)  * Now.

11 – 1995 Chateau Troplong Mondot, St Emillion Grand Cru
Imported by Luke’s Distributing Co. This wine is a blend of mostly Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from 50 year old vines. It was fermented in stainless steel tanks, underwent malolactic fermentation then was aged 12-24 months in new oak barrels.  The color was a medium ruby.  The nose offered up cedar and vanilla.  In the mouth there was finely textured black cherry fruit, a little menthol, spicy finish, and a lifted, incensed aftertaste. (87.13) ** Now-2015.

FLIGHT 3 – YOUNG REDS (Cabernet Franc or Merlot Dominated Blends)

The King Family Vineyard and Chateau Joanin Becot were the standouts for me in this flight.  I do not if it is a pure varietal or blend but it was attractive all around without a hint of underripe fruit.  The 2006 Black Ankle, Crumbling Rocks had pebbly texture and the 2008 RdV, Rendezvous while tight, had an interesting earthy flavor which was new to me in my Virginian wine experience.  Both of these wines deserve revisiting.

12 – 2009 RdV, Rendezvous
This wine is a blend of 35% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Cabernet Franc, and 12% Petit Verdot. Alcohol 14.5%.  The color was medium purple ruby.  The medium strength nose was of black fruit and low-lying vanilla aromas.  In the mouth this finely textured wine had black and red fruit, expansive flavors as the wine progressed, and a touch of greenhouse towards the finish.  The tart red fruit had plenty of tannins which coated the lips and teeth along with a certain perfumed flavor.  Upon revisiting it was a bit loose. (87.38)  ** Now-2017.

13 – 2006 Black Ankle, Crumbling Rock, Frederick County
This wine is a blend of 38% Cabernet Franc, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot which was aged for 16 months in 75% new French oak barrels. Alcohol 13.5%.  The color was a medium garnet-ruby.  The light to medium strength nose was initially mature with a bit of wood box. In the mouth there were tangy red fruit, acidity, then fine, pebbly texture.  The fruit became tart, citric red and drier towards the finish.  There was textured aftertaste to this complete wine.  A touch up from #12.  Upon revisiting this showed good weight. (87.38) ** Now-2015.

14 – Linden, Boisseau Red
This wine is a blend of 44% Cabernet Franc, 34% Merlot, and 22% Petit Verdot sourced from the Boisseau Vineyard planted in 2000 at 600 feet. It was fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged for 20 months in French, American, and Hungarian oak. Alcohol 14.4%.  The color was a medium ruby with hints of grape.  The medium strength nose was fruit driven.  The wine tasted young and confident with bright, tart red and blue fruit, citric tannins, and acidity on the tip and sides of the tongue.  It was a bit expansive in the aftertaste but was less integrated than #13. (85.29) ** Now-2015.

15 – 2006 Clos L’Eglise, Pomerol
Imported by R&R Marketing LLC. This wine is a blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc sourced from 35 year old vines. It was aged for 18 months in 100% new French oak barrels. Alcohol 14%.  The color was medium ruby.  The light nose was a touch mature with almost gravelly red fruit.  In the mouth there was more concentrated, attractive black and red fruit with acidity.  Then plenty of fine wood tannins, which were a touch spicy, came out.  Actually there were lots of powerful tannins. (85.86) ** 2015-2019.

16 – 2005 Chateau Joanin Becot, Cotes de Castillon
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. This wine is a blend of 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc. Alcohol 14%.  The color was medium garnet-ruby.  The light nose was of high-toned red and some black fruit.  In the mouth there were tangy, citric red fruit, very fine, drying tannins, and better integration.  Quite young but nice. (89.00)  **(*) 2017-2022.

17 – 2008 RdV, Rendezvous
This wine is a blend of 62% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Petit Verdot. Alcohol 14.5%.  The color was a medium+ grapey ruby.  The light nose revealed nice fruit, red and black berries.  In the mouth the fruit was slightly earthy, which was interesting, but was not giving up much.  This young wine had drying, ripe tannins.  Upon revisiting it showed better concentration, along with tannins, than the 2009. (84.14) ** 2014-2018.

18 – 2010 King Family Vineyards, Cabernet Franc, Monticello
The color was a light, grapey ruby.  The light nose was interesting and concentrated.  In the mouth there was lots of flavor and  delicacy to the riper red fruit.  It was perfumed and showed attractive integration. (85.14)  *** Now-2014.

19 – 2011 Clos Roche Blanche, Cuvee Pif, Touraine
Imported by Louis/Dressner. This wine is a blend of Cabernet Franc and Cot. Alcohol 12%.  It was a light to medium purple ruby color.  The light to medium nose smell like a European Cabernet Franc dominated wine.  The mouth followed the nose with powdery, red candy fruit, drier flavors, and a little orange citrus.  It firmed up a touch in the finish as tannins were left on the lips. (83.00) ** Now-2015.

20 – 2007 Pearmund, Ameritage
This wine is a blend of 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 17% Malbec, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Petit Verdot.  The color was light to medium garnet.  The light nose revealed raspberry candy and greenhouse aromas.  In the mouth there were ripe and sweeter red fruit which turned into black fruit.  There was a little weight, candy notes, along with minimal, spicy tannins which were integrated. (82.57)  * Now.

21 – 2009 Barboursville, Cabernet Franc, Reserve
This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc, from five different clones, which was fermented in stainless steel then aged up to 14 months in new and used French oak barriques. Alcohol 13%.  The color was a light to medium garnet.  The light to medium strength nose was scented with greenhouse aromas.  In the mouth there were ripe, sweet, black and red fruit.  It was rather sweet, the ripe tannins, some head in the finish, and less integration than #20. (82.14) * Now.

22 – 2009 Chateau de la Bonneliere, Les Cornelles, Chinon
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler. This Alcohol 12.5%.  The color was light to medium grapey ruby.  The light nose smelled thinner, like wet Cabernet Franc, and salt water.  In the mouth the light fruit sat in a structure with flavors of old vintage perfume, and tangy red citrus in the finish.  There were fine+ tannins, a touch spicy, as flavors thinned out. Better than #21 and #22. (83.00) * Now.

23 – 2007 Black Ankle, Crumbling Rock, Frederick County
This wine is a blend of 34% Cabernet Franc, 30% Cabernet Sauvingon, 22% Merlot, 11% Petit Verdot, and 3% Syrah which was aged for 18 months in 100% new French oak. Alcohol 14.9%.  The light to medium strength nose was of higher-toned, mixed berries.  In the mouth the mixed fruit was concentrated with some sweetness, good integrated then a touch of heat in the finish, and a lifted aftertaste.  Upon revisiting this showed enjoyable ripe fruit.  (84.43)  ** Now-2016.

24 – 2008 Puriri Hills, Pope, Clevedon
Imported by Nice Legs LLC. This wine is a blend of 52% Cabernet Franc, 32% Merlot, and 16% Carmenere. Alcohol 14.2%.  The color was a light to medium garnet.  The light+ nose revealed finely scented berries along with a greenhouse/pine aromas.  In the mouth the black and red fruit initially mixed with acidity then remained lively throughout.  There were almost juicy black fruit with a tannins structure for aging. (85.43)  * Now-2015.

25 – 2009 Yannick Amirault, Les Quartiers, Bourgueil
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler. This is 100% Cabernet Franc fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged for 12 months in tonneaux. Alcohol 13%.  The color was a medium ruby-garnet.  The light nose revealed overly ripe fruit and some stink.  In the mouth the black and red fruit felt clumsy and flavor with a line of very drying, fine wood tannins.  Below #24 by a touch.  (80.67) * Now.

FLIGHT 4 – YOUNG REDS ( Cabernet Sauvignon Dominated Blends)

Brett and Alyssa

The tasting speeded up during this last flight.  The Cliff Ledge was my favorite followed by the Gramercy Cellars, which in this case, suffered from lack of decanting.  Of the Virginian wines the Linden, Hardscrabble was the most interesting followed by the Glen Manor.

26 – 2007 Gramercy Cellars, Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot.  The color was a medium garnet.  The light nose was finely textured but played it close.  In the mouth there was focused, tangy black fruit which was integrated with acidity and ripe tannins.  The flavors became riper towards the finish where there was a little warmth.  Upon revisiting this showed fine, dense flavors. (87.29) ** Now-2015.

27 – 2009 RdV, Lost Mountain
This wine is a blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, and 9% Petit Verdot. Alcohol 14.5%.  The light nose was of ripe, sweet dark fruit.  In the mouth there was riper black fruit and watering acidity before it thinned out a bit.  The finish firmed up with dry tannins. (83.29) ** Now-2015.

28 – 2008 Glen Manor, Hodder Hill
This wine is a blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 15% Petit Verdot, and 7% Cabernet Franc. Alcohol 13.8%.  The color was a medium ruby garnet.  The light nose had a bit of roasted red fruit.  In the mouth there was very tart, acidic red fruit, with a tannic structure.  There was watering acidity and a little rough finish.  Upon revisiting this showed citric, red fruit. (84.67) ** Now-2016.

29 – 2009 Barboursville, Octagon
This wine is a blend of mostly Merlot with some Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot which was fermented in stainless steel then aged 12-14 months in new French oak Gamba barriques. Alcohol 13.5%.  The color was a light to medium purple ruby.  The light nose revealed tamales and red fruit.  In the mouth the wine was tighter with balanced black and red fruit, firm structure, and very fine tannins.  It is hard and needs time to unfold. (85.43)  *(*) 2015-2018.

30 – 2007 Linden, Hardscrabble
This wine is a blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc, 8% Petit Verdot, and 4% Carmenere sourced from vines planted between 1985 and 2006 at the Hardscrabble Vineyard at 1,300-1,400 feet. It was fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged for 18 months in used French and Hungarian oak barrels and puncheons. Alcohol 14.2%.  The color was a medium grapey ruby.  The light nose was interesting.  In the mouth the tangy fruit initially mixed with acidity then drier black and red fruit flavors developed.  It was a little gravelly with powdery, redder fruit towards the finish. (85.29) ** Now-2017.

31 – 2005 Melqart, Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot, Malta
Imported by First Vine. This wine is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot which was aged for five months in barrels. Alcohol 12.5%.  The nose was light with seaside aromas.  In the mouth, oh cr*p, no! (75.23)  Poor.

32 – 2009 Boxwood, Topiary
This wine is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Malbec which was fermented in stainless steel then aged up to 12 months in French oak barrels. Alcohol 13.5%.  The color was a medium garnet.  The light to medium strength nose was lifted with old perfume aromas.  In the mouth there was a little CO2 with interesting, stinky fruit.  It was a bit racy with lipstick, drier flavors in the finish, and a long greenhouse aftertaste. (82.00) * Now-2015.

33 – 2009 Cliff Lede, Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District
This wine is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec, 1% Merlot, and 1% Cabernet Franc which was aged for 17 months in 60% new French oak. Alcohol 14.9%.  The color was a medium+ garnet..  The light now was of good, pure red fruit.  In the mouth there was good mouthfeel, controlled ripeness, a little spice, and some firmness.  There was citric acidity. I would see what happens with age. (86.86) **(*) Now-2018.

A Pair of Italian Wines for Dinner

It would be fun to pour both of these wines at dinner this weekend.  For I was quite pleased by both which were recommend by Tim. The Bisceglia, Dry Muscat was quite intriguing with its pure notes of thyme and rosemary.  I became rather hung up on just smelling the wine!  The Casaloste has more vigor as the good fruit stands up to the oak.  Both Jenn and I found it a satisfying wine right now but I would personally cellar it a few years.  Both of these wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2011 Bisceglia, Dry Muscat, Terra di Vulcano, Basilicata  – $12
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is 100% Muscat.  The medium-strength nose reveals beautiful Muscat aromas which developed on the second night into delicately floral and fresh, thyme with rosemary.  In the mouth the flavors followed the nose with a dry quality, stones, some ripeness, and drying tannins on the cheeks.  *** Now-2014.

2007 Casaloste, Riserva, Chianti Classico,  – $22
Imported by Massanos Imports.  This wine is 100% Sangiovese which was fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel with indigenous yeasts.  It underwent malolactic fermentation then aged up to 14 months in 50% new French oak barriques.  The wine begins with tight, stoney  blue and red fruit before notes of subtle, tight, ripe black fruit comes up.  There is a touch of obvious wood to this medium bodied, well-framed, yet generous wine which wraps up with ripe, drying tannins.  This was slow to open up so either decant for several hours or cellar for the short-term.  *** Now-2019.

Tasting Notes from the 1999 Dinner

 

Here are my tasting notes from our 1999 dinner.  I was running around a bit so my notes are a bit casual.  However, Lou will eventually be posting his notes.  He was able to taste the Trimbach and Meulenhof on the second night.

The Whites


1999 Jean Noel Gagnard , Clos de la Maltroye 1er Cru, Chassagne-Montrachet, Burgundy
This wine had a light nose of yeast, toasted, and reduction.  It was rounder in the mouth, a bit coarse with tannins and some heat.  There was apple-like acidity and some lavender/perfume with air.  This was drinkable but not in the best shape.  Good thing it was a bin-end.  * Now.

1999 Trimbach, Gewurztraminer, Cuvee des Seigneurs Ribeaupierre, Alsace
This showed a light-medium color of straw with touches of gold.  A light to medium nose of tropical fruit.  In the mouth there were steely flavors of mango in this medium bodied wine.  The flavors leaned towards floral highlights.  It was a little flabby towards the finish.  ** Now.

The Reds


1999 Torbreck, The Steading, Barossa (Group 1st, My 1st)
The nose revealed waves of rich fruit and spices galore.  The rich fruit continued into the mouth with a youthful core of black fruits and lovely spices in the aftertaste.  A very well made wine with good complexity.  **** Now-2017.


1999 R.H. Phillips, EXP Viaje, Syrah (Group 2nd)
This had the sweetest nose of the reds.  It came across as a rather young wine with ample red fruit, pepper, and spices in the finish.  There were darker fruit flavors in the aftertaste.  On the second night it was just a softer version as there were gobs of fruit and spice and a dark fruit aftertaste.  ***(*) Now-2019.


1999 Bruno Clair, Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St. Jacques, 1er Cru (Group 3rd, My 3rd)
This showed softer, more fruit driven flavors.  It had a strong, pure Pinot Noir like profile.  It was a very enjoyable and easy wine to drink.  It is still young and only just starting to show hints of complexity.  My only complaint is that the flavors thinned out a bit in the finish.  **(*) 2015-2022.


1999 Fattoria de Felsina Berardanga, Rancia, Chianti Classico (Group 4th, My 2nd)
This sported a light, lithe nose of blackcurrant.  There were fine tannins that coated the mouth.  Good aftertaste, good wine.  On the second night it had a light, scented nose followed by calm, complex flavors in the mouth.  It was still going strong.  **** Now-2017.


1999 Chateau Musar, Bekaa Valley (Group tied 5th)
A little bit of nail polish on the night.  Then sweet, round fruit in the mouth, lean finish and flavors turning towards bright blue fruit.  A seriously underperforming bottle and nothing like the one I had last year. * Now.


1999 Tardieu-Laurent, Vieilles Vignes, Saint-Joseph (Group tied 5th, My 4th)
This had flavors of red fruit with an underlying layer of supportive dark fruit.  It turned towards red fruit in the finish, somewhat tart, but with a nice woodsy character.  ** Now-2015.


1999 Hardys, Shiraz, Eileen Hardy, South Australia (Group 7th)
This had one of the darkest core of color.  It strutted New World Syrah aromas with Eucalyptus notes that reminded me if Jim Barry’s Cover Drive.  The flavors followed the nose.  The long aftertaste persisted with red fruits and herbs.  On the second night it continued to sport Eucalyptus that was very fresh and pure.  ** Now-2017.


1999 Paitin di Pasquero-Elia, Barbaresco (Group 8th)
Very old-looking with a lot of bricking and some garnet.  This had a restrained nose, volatile acidity, and just hints of complex, light fruit.  But in the mouth the fruit was also very learn and overwhelmed by a heavy amount of harsh tannins and coarse aftertaste.  On the second night it still had a wooded nose, lean fruit, and overwhelming tannins. * Now.


1999 E. Pira and Figli, Via Nuova, Barolo (Group 9th)
A light color in the glass.  There was a lifted nose of cedar.  In the mouth there were woodsy flavors of roses, light+ acidity, and coarse but ripe tannins that coated the lips.  It came across as totally shut down.  On the second night it showed more scented roses on the nose.  In the mouth the fruit was gritty and red, with dark red fruit in the aftertaste.  More lip coating tannins. *(**) 2017-2022.


1999 Font de Michelle, Cuvee Etienne Gonnet,Chateauneuf du Pape (Corked)
This wine was corked.  Not Rated.

Dessert

1999 Meulenhof, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Auslese, Mosel
I was running around at this point so I did not take a note.  But I remember a lovely golden color, good lush flavors there were perfectly supported by the acidity.  There is plenty of life left but so easy to drink.  A bargain at $25 per 500 mL.  *** Now-2022.

Extra Wines


1999 Domaine Les Paillieres, Gigondas
In the glass there is a medium ruby/garnet core.  This wine is still young, shows good dark fruit, minerals, and some inky/glycerine qualities.  The flavors turn towards pepper in the finish followed by good, coarse tannins that coat the mouth.  A very drinkable wine.  *** Now-2015.


1999 Gourt du Mautens, Cotes du Rhone Villages, Rasteau
A very youthful wine with grippy, gritty fruit flavors.  A little bit of freshness, nice mouthfeel, and plenty of fine tannins from wood.  Even less advanced than the Paillieres.  I preferred the Paillieres.  **(*) 2015-2019.


1999 Domaine du Caillou, Chateauneuf du Pape
A lighter, more acidic style of Chateauneuf.  There were medium round blue fruit flavors.  ** Now.


1999 Domaine de la Pinede, Chateauneuf du Pape (Corked)
This wine was corked.  Not Rated.

A 1999 Tasting and Dinner

On Saturday a small group crammed in to our small dinning room for a 1999 themed evening. All of the wines were of the 1999 vintage and all of the dishes were inspired by Gourmet and Bon Appetit recipes from 1999. It was an eclectic group in terms of wine experience.  Many of the bottles still contain leftover wine.  I will retaste the wines tonight then post my notes tomorrow.

White Wines
1999 Jean Noel Gagnard , Clos de la Maltroye 1er Cru, Chassagne-Montrachet, Burgundy
1999 Trimbach, Gewurztraminer, Cuvee des Seigneurs Ribeaupierre, Alsace

The ten red wines were double-decanted two hours ahead of time then brown bagged.  I have listed the red wines in order of group preference.  The Torbreck is a lovely wine and appeared to be universally liked.  The R.H. Phillips demonstrated its new world style and remains youthful.  The Bruno Clair was easy to drink and is just starting to gain complexity.  The Felsina is a really good wine and is consistently pleasing across vintages.  I personally thought the Musar was underperforming and has issues.  The Tardieu-Laurent pleased with its modern style charms.  The Hardy’s had an Aussie eucalyptus quality to it.  I thought the Paitin was coarse and showing some VA.  the Pira and Figli is quite young and shutdown but will be lovely in the future.

Red Wines
1999 Torbreck, The Steading, Barossa
1999 R.H. Phillips, EXP Viaje, Syrah
1999 Bruno Clair, Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St. Jacques, 1er Cru
1999 Fattoria de Felsina Berardanga, Rancia, Chianti Classico
1999 Chateau Musar, Bekka Valley
1999 Tardieu-Laurent, Vieilles Vignes, Saint-Joseph
1999 Hardys, Shiraz, Eileen Hardy, South Australia
1999 Paitin di Pasquero-Elia, Barbaresco
1999 E. Pira and Figli, Via Nuova, Barolo
1999 Font de Michelle, Cuvee Etienne Gonnet,Chateauneuf du Pape (Corked)

Sweet Wine
1999 Meulenhof, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Auslese, Mosel

Bonus Wines
1999 Domaine Les Paillieres, Gigondas
1999 Gourt du Mautens, Cotes du Rhone Villages, Rasteau
1999 Domaine du Caillou, Chateauneuf du Pape
1999 Domaine de la Pinede, Chateauneuf du Pape (Corked)