Posts Tagged ‘Chile’

The Pure Aromas of 2013 Louis-Antoine Luyt, Caquenes Cinsault

July 30, 2014 2 comments

It was almost two years ago that I first tasted The Wines of Louis-Antoine Luyt.  While I have drunk several bottles since then, I must admit I have not tried any new vintages in the meantime.  The 2013 Louis-Antoine Luyt, Caquenes Cinsault, Coelemu revealed beautiful aromas that were more generous than the flavors in the mouth.  The aromas of delicate red berries and flowers will crush any conception of what Chilean wine smells like.  I recommend you grab a few bottles to surprise your friends.  Just make sure to hold on to let several develop through the winter. This wine is available at Weygandt Wines.


2013 Louis-Antoine Luyt, Caquenes Cinsault, Coelemu – $25
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  Alcohol 14%.  There were pure aromas of delicate red berries that became floral with air.  Lovely.  In the mouth the delicate red berries continued with a strawberry note, watering acidity, and a little structure.  The nose opened more compared to the flavors.  These developed a combination of strawberry and vintage perfume.  *** Now-2019.


New Chilean Wines

November 19, 2013 Leave a comment

I spent yesterday working on a new historical project which is based on some of my recent research.  I am very excited and would love to stay submerged in research but I figure I should recommend some wines.  The 2010 Santa Laura, Laura Hartwig, Carmenere, Reserva is a good value, evocative of Carmenere with a robust nature.  The 2010 Garcia + Schwaderer, Facundo is a brighter wine which should integrate and relax with a little cellar age.  The 2010 Clos Des Fous, Cabernet Sauvignon is also a brighter wine with smoky flavors.  It was a little split in personality between the young fruit and intensity.  Perhaps it just needs a few months in the cellar.  Lastly, the 2011 Garcia + Schwaderer, Pinot Noir, Special Selection Sofia was just odd.  The acidity, tannins, and integration were all good but the raisin and dried fruit aromas and flavors continued to develop.  They were the last thing I expected in a Pinot Noir.  We did not finish the bottle.


2010 Clos Des Fous, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alto Cachapoal –
Imported by Vine Connections.  This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from 15 year old vines on soils of granite and volcanic round rocks at 2000 feet of elevation.  It was aged for 18 months in wood and cement vessels.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose was a little smoky with red fruit, eventually becoming pungent red and black fruit.  In the mouth were riper, rounder fruit with powdery ripe then tarter red fruit flavors.  It was generally brighter, leaving the impression of younger vines or cooler climate.  It then ramped up in intensity with gum coating spices, tart acidity, and an earthy hint in the finish.  ** Now-2018.


2010 Santa Laura, Laura Hartwig, Carmenere, Reserva, Colchagua Valley –
Imported by Oasis Wine.  This wine is 100% Carmenere.  Alcohol 14%.  There was black fruit in the mouth with a hint of the vegetal Carmenere flavor.  Then there were firm black fruit flavors which were a little spicy, powdery, controlled ripeness and a little structure in the finish.  It had a good aftertaste with some gentle spice flavors.  It has some youthful robustness which makes it a pleasure to drink now.  *** Now-2018.


2011 Garcia + Schwaderer, Pinot Noir, Special Selection Sofia, Casablanca –
Imported by Vine Connections.  This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from 14 year old vines at 1030 feet of elevation.  It was fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged for 18 months in used French oak. Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose was a mixture of dried raisins, raspberry candy, and some fresh fruit.  In the mouth was red fruit with ethereal flavors of dried fruit.  There was nice acidity with both black and red fruit near the finish and an aftertaste with some candy sweet.  With air the dried fruit and raisin aromas and flavors developed to become heavily distracting.  * Now.


2010 Garcia + Schwaderer, Facundo
Imported by Vine Connections.  This wine is a blend of 50% Carignan, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 8% Petit Verdot, and 7% Malbec sourced from 30 year old vines on granitic soils at 325 feet of elevation.  It was aged for 24 months in French oak.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose was slightly pungent with black fruit.  In the mouth were tart red fruit, slightly smoky black fruit, more acidity then some tar.  It became brighter with salivating acidity flavors.  It was a little dense with both the structure and acidity noticeable on top of the tongue.  It had some grip, drying tannins, and citric hint.  **(*) Now-2020.


Very Old Vines and Old Tinajas

September 23, 2013 Leave a comment

Just a quick, belated post for today.  The wines of Louis-Antoine Luyt continue to define a new style of Chilean wine for me, including the 2010 Luyt, Huasa de Pilen Alto featured below.  To this group I would add the 2012 De Martino, Viejas Tinajas which is minimally produced in rather old earthenware tinajas.  Whereas the Luyt was a little earthy and animale the De Martino was more clean and delicate with its red fruit.  Try them both! These wines were purchased at Chambers Street Wines.


2010 Louis-Antoine Luyt, Huasa de Pilen Alto, Maule – $23
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  This wine is 100% Pais sourced from 180 year old vines located on soils of clay and decomposed granite at 580 meters produced using carbonic maceration.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose was earthy with a little pepper note.  The mouth follows the noe with tart red fruit that mixes with citrus.  The flavors were dry with acidity on the tongue and a woodsy note in the finish.  With air there was a hint of raciness, a little ethereal flavor, and brighter red fruit.  It was a little animale with grapey tannins and a hint of yeast.  *** Now-2014.


2012 De Martino, Cinsault, Viejas Tinajas, Secano Interior – $24
Imported by Opici Wines.  This wine is 100% Cinsault from old bush vines on granite soils fermented with indigenous yeasts in 100-year old earthen ware amphora.  No pumps are used to remove the wine from the tinajas.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose was of red strawberries.  In the mouth the red fruit showed some hard candy and a good, ripe core.  There was watering acidity, inky notes, and a generally cool aspect.  There were moderate and ripe tannins in the structure, some levity, and it eventually developed approachable notes of baking spices.  This was best after one hour of air.  *** Now-2015.Chile3

The Wines of Louis-Antoine Luyt

October 8, 2012 2 comments

A week ago we drank four different Chilean wines by Louis-Antoine Luyt.  These were fun wines to taste.  I might have my preferences for current drinking but I want to start by suggesting you buy all four wines.  They are each unique, clearly exist with a purpose, and will surely change how you view Chilean wine.

Carignan for Primavera, the Comavida Parcel, Image from Clos Ouvert

The fruit for Louis-Antoine’s wines are literally rooted in over three centuries of history.  The grape vine is not indigenous to Chile and was first brought over in 1548 by Francisco de Carabantes.  Just three years later the first recorded vintage in Chile took place.  By the 1640s grapes were so abundant that they could not be disposed of.

Ovalle, in his History of Chili, says that grapes were so plentiful in 1646, that they could not be disposed of… White wines were made from that species of grape called Uba Torrontes and Albilla which were much valued; red wines were made from the ordinary grape and a species called Mollar.  The bunches of grapes, he says, were enormously large; and he mentions one that filled a basket, and served as a meal for a numerous convent of friars. The branches of the vine he describes as very large, and the trunks of the trees as thick as a man’s body.

Morewood, Samuel.  A Philosophical and Statistical History of the Inventions and Customs of Ancient and Modern Nations in the Manufacture and Use of Inebriating Liquors.  Dublin: William Curry, Jun. and Company, 1838. pp 307-308.

Louis-Antoine’s oldest vines have roots dating from 120 years back to 350 years or 1660.  These vines are of the Pais varietal, also known as Mollar, which is a clonal variation of Listan Negro.  Listan Negro is a Spanish varietal which was brought over from the Canary Islands by the Spanish missionaries.  The vineyards in Chile do not suffer downy mildew nor phylloxera.  As we have seen with the ancient Assyrtiko vines of Santorini, the old roots will live for centuries.  The vines are periodically cut off at the base and a new vine regenerates.  Perhaps the combination of abundant vines along with pest and disease free soils allowed such old vines to survive into the 21st century.

Argentina Cile Uruguay, Instituto Geographico di Agostini, 1952, Image from David Rumsey Map Collection

Louis-Antoine also produces wine from vines dating back 100 years.  These are of varietals such as Carmenere, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, and Syrah.  In the 1840s French varietals were first imported and specialists from Bordeaux and Rioja were brought over as well.  But it was the devastating European phylloxera of the 1870s which brought an influx of winemakers, viticulturalists, and coopers.  Thus over several decades the use of French varietals spread throughout the country.

The wines featured in this post are all made by Louis-Antoine Luyt.  He is a Frenchman who moved to Chile  some 14 years ago.  During his return trips to work French harvests and go to school he met Mathew Lapierre.  Matthew became his mentor and eventually visited Chile with Louis-Antoine.  Together, along with a third-partner, they began the Clos Ouvert project.  The Clos Ouvert wines are produced from parcel Louis-Antoine rents and tends.  In the devastating earthquake of 2010 the entire production of Clos Ouvert was lost and his partners pulled out.  Louis-Antoine decided to continue the label himself.  The Pais wines are made from purchased fruit which highlight specific parcels.  The Louis-Antoine Luyt wines represent “fun wines” which are made from purchased fruit.  For further information I recommend that you start by reading the interview on the Louis/Dressner website.  You may find it here.  For additional images please view the Clos Ouvert website.

In short, these are unique and engaging wine which I recommend you try.  Many thanks to Jules Dressner for answering my questions.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2010 Louis-Antoine Luyt, Carignan, Trequilemu, Secano – $22
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  Alcohol 12.9%.  The color is medium purple, cloud with bits.  The light to medium scented nose is of delicately ripe, red and blue fruit.  In the mouth there is fresh fruit with density, ripe textured flavors, and acidity from the beginning.  There is an earthy hint to dark red fruit with energy coming from the acidity.  There is a lipstick bit along with fresh orange-juice acidity which causes the mouth to water.  *** Now-2017.

2010 Louis-Antoine Luyt, El Pais de Quenehuao, Valle de Maule – $24
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  Alcohol 12.5%.  The color is light to medium purple with hints of black cherry.  The nose is of floral red fruit, a hint of grapefruit, and an overall brighter, finer scent.  In the mouth there is pure red fruit with more noticeable structure than the Carignan.  The flavors start with a modest prickle.  There are drying red grapefruit flavors and an overall dry nature by the finish and a drying quality on the cheeks.  This wine shows more tannins.  It develops a note similar to pepper.  *** Now-2015.

2009 Clos Ouvert, Carmenere, Cauquenes, Valle de Maule – $27
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose bears a little greenhouse, floral note.  In the mouth the flavors are lively on the tongue with earthy, bramble fruit.  This wine is minerally with sweet spices and very lifted in the finish and aftertaste.  There is lively acidity, balance throughout, and ripe tannins.  The long aftertaste is a bit racy and earthy.  *** Now-2019.

2010 Clos Ouvert, Primavera, Secano, Valle de Maule – $27
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose is of red fruit, citrus, and a yeast note.  In the mouth there is tight, red brambly fruit which is lively on the tongue.  There are chalky minerals, orange juice acidity, and red concentrated fruit which remained tight over two nights.  This is a structured wine with citric tannins and comes across as the youngest of all four.  *** 2015-2020.

Assorted Dessert Wines

I decided to step outside the comfortable selections of Sauternes to taste more affordable dessert wines.  Of the three featured in this post I would recommend the Chambers, Muscat.  The flavors are rather enjoyable and while unctuous and rich, it is not overwhelming.  I am now rather curious to try some of their older selections.  I picked up the Cave des Vignerons de Saint Jean de Minervois because I had enjoyed the 1996 Domaine Simon, Clos Bagatelle.  This wine is made by the cooperative which was established in 1955 and is the largest producer in the appellation.  Through modern vinification they have produced an affordable introduction to the region.  The Chambers Rosewood and Vignerons de Saint Jean de Minervois are available at Total Wine of Manassas.  The Tabali is available at MacArthur Beverages.

NV Chambers Rosewood Vineyards, Muscat, Rutherglen  – $12
Imported by Old Bridge Cellars.  This wine is 100% Muscat a Petit Grains which has been aged in a solera system using older oak casks for six to ten years.  TA 3.6 g/L, Alcohol 18%.  The color is a light to medium tawny and amber.  The nose is of sweet black tea and muscat.  In the mouth the flavors are unctuous and a little spicy at first.  There is a lot of residual sugar which has a honeyed texture, rich, dried fruit, black tea oils, and a spicy finish.  Actually, quite nice for the price with enough acidity to keep things going.  *** Now-2019.

NV Cave des Vignerons de Saint Jean de Minervois, Resplandy, Muscat de Saint Jean de Minervois – (375 mL) $12.
Imported by Clock Tower Imports.  This wine is 100% Muscat which undergoes mutage.  Alcohol 15%.  The nose reveals fresh white flowers along with thyme or some other herb.  The mouth follows the nose with a good level of residual sugar and mouth feel.  The wine is fresh in profile with good flavor but not too broad and a little short of depth.  The finish is a little oily with some spice in the aftertaste.  The residual sugar coats the lips.  With air a dried black tea note develops on the nose.  ** Now – 2015.

2009 Vina Tabali, Late Harvest Muscat, Reserva, Limari Valley – $11
Imported by SWG Imports.  This wine is 100% Pink Muscat which was aged in stainless steel.   RS 79.8 g/L, TA 4.55 g/L, pH 3.32, alcohol 12.5%.  A light yellow color.  The nose has aromas of low-level rich fruit and upon further inspection, something odd.  In the mouth the flavors start off promising with rich, ripe yellow fruit which is slightly racy with integrated acidity.  Then things turn odd with an earthy, musty flavor that comes out.  Perhaps some bad fruit made it in? * Now.

Three Random Notes

September 14, 2012 1 comment

Here are a trio of tasting notes from this summer.  The Olivier Leflaive is an affordable buy and makes an acceptable, inexpensive selection.  The Lovingston would work to both cook with and drink when making braised ribs.  The Veramonte is the most interesting of the lot.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

2009 Olivier Leflaive, Les Setilles, Bourgogne Blanc – $14
This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from Puligny-Montrachet and Meursault which was vinified for 8 months in both stainless steel and oak barrels.  The color is a light+ yellow.  The nose reveals yellow fruit with a little barrel toast.  In the mouth the flavors are apple-like at first then the wine rounds out becoming a bit vibrant and a little savory.  It becomes tart with a touch of tannins in the finish.  ** Now-2013.

2009 Lovingston, Rotunda Red, Monticello – $12
This wine is mostly Merlot with some Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.  Alcohol 13.7%.  The color is a light to medium purplish ruby.  The light to medium strength nose is followed by medium bodied flavors of somewhat ripe fruit and greenhouse flavors.  There is a touch of heat as chunky tannins dry things out in the finish.  The flavors drop off fast leaving a dark and stormy aftertaste.  Drinkable.  ** Now.

2007 Veramonte, Primus, Colchagua Valley- $15
Imported by Huneeus Vintners.  This wine is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah, 8% Merlot, and 7% Carmenere.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose and mouth are similar.  In the mouth it opens up well with tangy, a little chewy, grainy, red fruit.  There was some greenhouse note as the flavors filled up the mouth.  The drying, tannins coat the lips but have some enjoyable ripeness.  After an hour there is underlying black licorice, dry cinnamon baking spiced, black cherry, and some spicy tannins in the finish.  ** Now-2016.

Two Wines From South America

May 17, 2012 1 comment

I love variety in the wines I drink and these two wines certainly satisfied my curiosity.  Vinedos Emiliana was founded in Chile during the 1990s by Rafeal and Jose Guilisasti when they converted a traditional winery into one that was organic and biodynamic in order to produce the highest quality wines.  Their production process is now certified as Carbon Neutral.  But what captured my attention was the inclusion of Carmenere and Mourvedre.  Done right I find Carmenere imparts an ethereal set of earth, spices, and leather and Mourvedre provides an assertive earthy, fruit quality.  I do not see many wines from Uruguay so I grabbed the bottle from Bodega Bouza.  Surprisingly this bodega was founded in 1942.  It underwent a complete restoration in 2002 and now produces wine from 17 hectares of vineyards.

The Vinedos Emiliana, Coyam  was my favorite wine of these two.  Its complexity provides interest on the nose and in the mouth.  If you are looking for a red wine in the mid $20s then I certainly recommend you try this wine.  It is well priced and I am somewhat surprised this older vintage is still available.  The Bodega Bouza, Tannat is on the young side.  You must try it if you have never drunk a wine from Uruguay, just make sure to give it several hours of air.  These wines are currently available at MacArthur Beverages.

2006 Vinedos Emiliana, Coyam, Colchagua Valley – $26
Imported by Royal Imports.  This wine is a blend of 34% Syrah, 17% Carmenere, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Malbec, and 3% Mourvedre sourced from biodynamic vineyards in Colchagua Valley.  The wine was aged for one year in 80% French and 20% American oak.  There is an interesting nose with a mixture of fruit.  In the mouth the focused red fruit is supported by fresh acidity then mixed with earthy black fruit.  The flavors are a little chewy and wild, there is a touch of wood box, with black spiced fruit coming out with the ripe tannins.  The edge of the wine is softened by some maturity.  The mouthfilling finish has structured bramble fruit.  *** Now-2019.

2008 Bodega Bouza, Tannat, Las Violetes – $17
Imported by The Southern Wine Group.  This wine is 100% Tannat sourced from 16-30 year old vines.  It was fermented in 70% concrete and 30%  in tank, underwent malolactic fermentation, then was aged for 14 months in French and American barrels.  On the first night the wine was rather shutdown with a strong woodsy aroma.  On the second night there were gentle blueberries and straight-up hard black fruit with matched the acidity.  There were fine but ripe drying tannins.  The aftertaste left impression of old wood.  ** 2015-2019.

The 2012 Bacchus Importers Portfolio Tasting

March 23, 2012 1 comment


This week I took the time to drive up to Baltimore for the Bacchus Importers 2012 Portfolio Tasting held at the Hippodrome Theatre.  Built in 1914 the Hippodrome contains an intimate hall lit primarily by natural light from the large windows.  The tables were arranged around the walls of the hall and also in a rectangle at the center.  Together they held almost 400 different wines.  Just outside of the hall there were tables holding some 75+ different spirits.  Though only a fraction of the Bacchus portfolio there were more than enough selections for the afternoon at all price points.  I knew that could only stay for two and a half hours so I decided to visit both individual wineries and importers.  A large number of people attended this tasting and in looking at name tags it appeared that almost every restaurant, wine bar, and wine store in Maryland, DC, and Virginia were present.  There was quite a buzz and press of people mid-afternoon, clearly illustrating the importance of wine in this region.

The Hippodrome Theatre

Though a single pour at a portfolio tasting is no substitude for properly tasting through an entire bottle, with focus and note taking, I find that the broad exposure is particularly informative.  Equally important for me is to meet other people.  The majority of my posts are generated from wines tasted at home and as of yet, importers, distributors, and wineries do not appear at my doorstep.  So this Spring I am doing my best to head out to these portfolio tastings to expand my relationships.  I spent part of the tasting with Shane Verburg, who not only works at Bacchus Importers but is also my friend and neighbor.  I am particularly thankful for the introduction to wines I had never tried before.

Below you will find my tasting notes, again these are more impressions, but they should give some idea about the wines I tasted.  I managed to taste 49 wines from 12 tables.  The wines are organized alphabetically by the table they were located at and within a table, by the order in which they were tasted.


This was my first time tasting the wines of Breggo.  I thought the 2009 Pinot Noir was drinking quite well now and will develop over the  short-term.  Of the single vineyards I preferred the Savoy and think this will make a fine candidate for aging.

Lee Abraham, Breggo/Cliff Lede

2010 Breggo, Pinot Gris, Wiley Vineyard,  Anderson Valley
This wine is 100% Pinot Gris which was whole cluster pressed, fermented in neutral French oak.  It saw no malolactic fermentation and was aged for 10 months sur lie in barrel.  The nose was fruity with old perfume and did not reveal what was about to surface. In the mouth there was super ripe and sweet fruit with spice, almost tasted of residual sugar.

2009 Breggo, Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir which was fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged for 10 months in 44% new 60-gallon French oak barrels.  The restrained nose contained darker fruit. In the mouth there were ripe and dark, black fruit. The ripe flavors quickly focused to linear, fruity, and well delivered profile. Tasty.

2009 Breggo, Pinot Noir, Ferrington Vineyard, Anderson Valley
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir which was fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged for 15 months in 56% new 60-gallon French oak barrels. There was a nose of red fruit with some dark roast hints. In the mouth this was ripe and sweet at first but developed structure with a good racy finish.

2009 Breggo, Pinot Noir, Savoy Vineyard, Anderson Valley
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir which was fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged for 15 months in 63% new 60-gallon French oak barrels.  There was a dark nose, almost stinky. In the mouth the darker fruit bore some minerality with chewy dark fruit in the finish, fine+, spicy tannins, and ripe notes in the aftertaste. Young should develop quite well.


It was a treat to meet Greg Brewer and to taste his wines.  The Santa Rita Hills wines are produced from fruit sourced from multiple vineyard sites including Mount Carmel.  The Mount Carmel wines are specifically from that vineyard site with the soils featuring more clay and limestone.  Each varietal is handled the same regardless of vineyard site.  The simplicity of the tasting showcased the differences of the vineyard blend of the Santa Rita Hills wines against that of Mount Carmel.  The Chardonnays clearly need several years of age to loosen up.  I thought both of the Pinot Noirs were quite interesting and though young, were quite engaging.

Greg Brewer, Brewer-Clifton

2009 Brewer-Clifton, Chardonnay, Santa Rita Hills
There was a very subtle nose. In the mouth the precise fruit was almost tart with plenty of acidity that turned towards an apple-like profile. The finish was lifted with a touch of wood? along with good texture in the afteratse. Needs time.

2009 Brewer-Clifton, Chardonnay, Mount Carmel, Santa Rita Hills
This nose was a touch more aromatic with hints of ripe yellow fruit. The initial burst of fruit covered the mouth with acidity peaking in the ethereal finish.

2009 Brewer-Clifton, Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills
This was very aromatic with a lifted and finely textured nose of red and blue fruit along with some floral aromas. In the mouth the red fruit was floral with lavender flavors and a good aftertaste revealing ripeness and sweet spice. The sides of the tongue were coated with minerals and black fruit. Really, quite nice.

2009 Brewer-Clifton, Pinot Noir, Mount Carmel, Santa Rita Hills
This was darker with a low-lying nose. In the mouth the bright, tart red fruit moved to floral, minerally black fruit in the middle. It was quite lively as it stuck to the mouth and tongue. Good texture and flavorful tannins.

The Crowd at Full-Swing

Cliff Lede

These were also poured by Lee Abraham.  The regular Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District (SLD) showed strong immediate presence and while it will develop with age, was enjoyable for its youthful vigor.  The Poetry stepped this up and was particularly appealing for its quiet power.

2010 Cliff Lede, Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley
This wine is 99% Sauvignon blanc and 1% Semillon.  The fruit was fermented in 66% stainless steel tanks, 26% French oak barrels, 7% concrete eggs, and 1% stainless steel drums.  There was no malolactic fermentation.   The nose was leaner and grassier. In the mouth the flavors were greener with grassy notes and dried herbs. There is an approachable softness and notes of apricot in the finish.

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. The nose was interesting with red and blue fruit, a bit of herbs, with good aromas reminiscent of traditional Bordeaux. In the mouth the flavors were very forward, racy, and perfumed before dark blue and black fruits come out. The drying tannins are well integrated and there was a good aftertaste. Approachable but will age.

2009 Cliff Lede, Cabernet Sauvignon, Poetry, Stags Leap District
This wine is a blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc, 8% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot, and 1% Malbec which was aged for 18 months in new Frnech oak. The nose was restrained with blue fruit than tart red notes. In the mouth the focused fruit was racy with blue and black flavors, minerality, and a quiet power. There was black fruit in the aftertaste along with spicy, drying tannins.

Crew Wine

Shane wanted me to try this “grapefruit stick” and boy was it ever.  I could smell the wine as it was poured into my glass from a few feet away but in the mouth it showed good balance. Definitely fun.

2011 Chasing Venus, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand
This wine is 100% Sauvignon Blanc suorced from four different vineyard sites.  This certainly was a grapefruit stick! The grapefruit aromas leapt out of the glass. In the mouth it was more restrained, almost prickly, with grapefruit flavors and a tart citrus–peel aftertaste. A good fruit monster.

De Maison Selections

It was a pleasure to see Steven Alexander again after the Los Tres Mosqueteros tasting.  I only tried three wines which I did not taste previously. All three were different and good.  The Dominio de Bibei should be aged so the others make good short-term wines.

Steven Alexander, De Maison Selections

2010 Juan d’Angura, Garnatxa, Montsant, Spain
This wine is 100% Garnatxa sourced from 15 year old vines on chalky clay soils.  The fruit was fermented in stainless steel.  The good nose revealed focused red fruit and perfume. In the mouth there were ripe berries and strawberry candy. This clean wine had a haunting perfume in the aftertaste and perhaps some inky minerals.

2007 Dominio de Bibei, Lalama, Ribera Sacra, Spain
This wine is a blend of 91% Mencia, 6% Garnacha, and 3% Mouraton sourced from 15-100 year old vines located in slate and clay soils.  It was fermented with indigenous yeatss in 85% foudre and 15% open barrels.  It was then aged for 21 months in 65% used French oak barrels and 35% foudre.  The nose was scented with lifted red fruit. In the mouth the good flavors turned towards tart red fruit and stones, which was focused and clean.  This should be cellared.

2007 La Granja Nuestra Senora de Remelluri, Rioja, Spain
This wine is a blend of 90% Tempranillo, 5% Garnacha, and 5% Graciano sourced from 10-90+ year old vines on calcareous clay soils. It was fermented in stainless steel and wood vats then aged for 16 months in 6 year old French and American oak. There was a modern, dark complex nose of red fruit and florals. The well-done flavors were dark and restrained with spicess and a supple lightness that filled the mouth.  I find this quite approachable.

Louis Dressner

I only  sampled three wines and picked the Domaine Bernard Baudry because I seem to have drunk more Chinon this past year.  While both were good I particularly liked the Les Grezaux.

Josefa Concannon, Louis Dressner and Jean-Paul Brun, Domaine des Terres Dorées

2010 Domaine Bernard Baudry, Les Granges, Chinon
This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc sourced from a 6 hectare parcel  of vines planted between 1985 and 1988 on gravel and sand soils with clay-silica.  The fruit was fermented in vat then aged for seven months in barrel.  There was a light nose of delicate red fruit with some perfume. In the mouth there was tart red fruit which followed the nose, underlying perfume, and light but fine drying tannins.

2010 Domaine Bernard Baudry, Les Grezeaux, Chinon
This is 100% Cabernet Franc sourced from an old vines on limestone rich soils.  This had a nose of brambly fruit and lifted perfume. There was great presence as the mouth followed the nose before taking on light red fruit in the finish and a good aftertaste complete with drying tannins.

2010 Chateau d’Oupia, Minervois
This wine is a blend of 50% Carignan, 40% Syrah, and 10% Grenache sourced from 50+ year old vines on soils of rocky clay, clay, and limestone.The restrained nose had aromas of harder, black-red fruit. In the mouth there was controlled ripeness, red grapefruit, and some inkiness. This will age and eventually shine.


This was a fun tasting as I enjoy comparisons. The Clare, Chloe, and Isobel were a bit more delicate and nuanced than the Russian River Valley but the Chloe stood above all with the articulate depth of its flavors.

Tom Pillsbury, DuMOL

2009 DuMOL, Chardonnay, Russian River Valley
This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from Dutton Ranch, estate, Heintz, Ritchie, and Hyde vineyards.  The fruit was barrel fermented with indigenous yeasts, underwent malolactic fermentation then aged for 15 months in 40% new French oak.   The nose had richer, yellower fruit along with some barrel nose. The rich mouthfeel was lifted with good weight and the flavors approached that of tropical. It was racy with sweet baking spices and toast in the aftertaste. This should be broadly appealing.

2009 DuMOL, Chardonnay, Clare, Russian River Valley
This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from the Hyde Vineyard.  The fruit was barrel fermented with indigenous yeasts, underwent malolactic fermentation then aged for 16 months on the lees in 50% new French oak.  This had a more delicate nose of yellow fruit and ripeness. In the mouth the fruit was ripe but focused with a delicate midpalate and textured tannins. There was a long aftertaste. Very nice.

2009 DuMOL, Chardonnay, Chloe, Russian River Valley
This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from the Ritchie, Searby, and Lorenzo vineyards.  The fruit was barrel fermented with indigenous yeasts, underwent malolactic fermentation then aged for 16 months on the lees in 50% new French oak. This revealed yellow and green (think apple) fruit with a lighter balance than the Clare but was deep and more articulate. In the mouth the youthful fruity flavors were expansive with good mouthfeel and seamlessly integrated acidity. There is a lot of depth to this wine and good baking spices in the aftertaste.  Lovely.

2009 DuMOL, Chardonnay, Isobel, Russian River Valley
This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from the Heintz Vineyard.  The fruit was barrel fermented with indigenous yeasts, underwent malolactic fermentation then aged for 14 months on the lees in 50% new French oak. This revealed restrained yellow fruit on the nose. In the mouth the flavors burst in with bright, almost tart, yellow fruit. Good overall texture. This definitely needs time to settle down as compared to the others.

2009 DuMOL, Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from the seven vineyards.  The fruit was barrel fermented with indigenous yeasts, underwent malolactic fermentation then aged for 11 months in 40% new French oak.There was an aromatic Pinot Noir nose. In the mouth the racy blue fruit comes out at first then a good mouthfeel, followed spicy blue-black fruit. Very approachable.


I thought the CUNE showed a bit tight but Mauro was great in its youth and should easily benefit from several years worth of age.

Nic Bradley, Europvin

2007 CUNE, Reserva, Rioja, Spain
The nose was scented with dark, red fruit. In the mouth there was a quick burst of flavor before becoming restrained. Modern with some tannis, and a bit focused at this point it is a solid wine that should last for the mid term.

2008 Bodegas Mauro, Crianza, VdT de Castilla y Leon, Spain
This wine is a blend of 86% Tempranillo and 14% Syrah from the Tudela de Duero and Santibanez de Valcorba vineyards.  It was aged for 16 months in French and American oak.  This was nice with a lift nose containing notes of roast. In the mouth the wine was racy with some old-school flavors, a touch of perfume, and spicy tannins. I particularly liked the darker aspect. Give this a few years to develop.

Hanzell Vineyards

What a treat to taste the wines of Hanzell.  Like the Brewer-Clifton wines I felt the Chardonnays will clearly develop from several years worth of age whereas the Pinot Noir show good approachfulness right now.  And they will age as well.

John Buckley, Hanzell Vineyards

2010 Hanzell Vineyards, Sebella, Chardonnay, Sonoma Valley
This wine is 100% Chardonnay from younger vines which was fermented in stainless steel then aged in neutral oak.  The nose revealed fresh, young, yellow-green fruit that was ripe. In the mouth there was fresh fruit, youthful flavors with a good mouthfeel that moved towards crispness. This mouthfilling wine left the impression of slight tannins. Needs a few years to unwind.

2009 Hanzell Vineyards, Chardonnay, Sonoma Valley
This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from vines averaging 30 years of age.The nose was darker than the Sebella with floral, yeast, and barrel components. In the mouth there was restrained, fresh fruit with a bigger mouth feel, nice ripe yellow fruit, a citrus aspect, and an aftertaste with good ripeness. Needs age.

2009 Hanzell Vineyards, Pinot Noir, Sonoma Valley
This had a light nose of ripe cherries and Pinot Noir fruit, a hint of blue fruit, and overall good depth. In the mouth the red and blue fruit was structured with somewhat ethereal flavors of black fruit and minerals. In the finish there were fine but ripe tannins. This was quite enjoyable right now.

Marc de Grazia

I met Todd Ruby last November when he poured several wines at MacArthur Beverages, including selections from Chehalem.  Though I really liked the Chehalem wines I decided to skip them at this tasting since I had sampled a few before and had not had these Italian selections.  I particularly liked the Fattoria Le Terrazze and San Filippo.

Todd Ruby, Pouring Marc de Grazia

2010 De Angelis Gioacchino, Rosso, Lacrima Christi del Vesuvio, Italy
This wine is a blend of 60% Piedirosso and 40% Aglianico.The nose contained red fruit with a subdued floral perfume. In the mouth there was almost cool, sweet tuna-sushi fruit (for lack of a better description and not negative) and an earthy tone.

2009 Fattoria Le Terrazze, Rosso Conero, Italy
This wine is 100% Montepulciano sourced from vines planted in 1999 and 2001 on calcarous clay and sandy soils.  It was aged for 12 months in medium-sized oak casks.  The nose was enjoyable with good red and blue fruit. In the mouth the flavors were ripe, perfumed, and a bit spicy before its dark power expanded in the finish. Nice stuff.

2010 Giovanni Corino, Dolcetto d’Alba, Italy
There was youthful, purplish fruit on the nose. In the mouth there were flavors of red and purple fruit, puckering dry tannins, and a hint of perfume. Needs short term aging.

2006 San Filippo, Le Lucere, Brunello di Montalcino, Italy
This wine is 100% Sangiovese Rosso which was fermented in stainless steel, underwent malolactic fermentation in cement vats, stainless steel, and wood then aged for 24 months in barrels and barriques.  This had an inky, black fruited, perfumed nose. In the mouth there were good flavors of purple fruit and wood box in this mouthfilling, well-done wine. The tannins were ultra-fine.

Oasis Wines

Shane brought me over to Steve Ward’s table where I camped out at one end so that I could taste through the selections on his table.   Steve patiently walked me through all of the wines, which is fortunate because so many were tasty.  If I had to highlight a few: Bibbiano, Montornello, the Piaggia, Riserva, the Steltzner, Claret, the Vina von Siebenthal, Carmenere, and the Sean Thackery, Orion.

Steve Ward, Oasis Wines

2009 Bibbiano, Chianti Classico, Italy
This fruit is fermented in cement tanks then aged from 7-10 months in Slavonian oak.  The nose revealed interesting berries, raspberry and blue notes. In the mouth the flavors were earthy with more acidic red fruit, along with fine+ tannins in the aftertaste.

2009 Bibbiano, Montornello, Chianti Classico, Italy
This wine is 100% Sangiovese sourced from the Montornello parcel which was aged for 10-12 months in Slavonian oak casks.  The nose was more lifted with red fruit and a touch of floral aromas. With riper flavors in the mouth came dried spices and herbs, more drying tannins, and a bit of a racy character. Quite nice and definitely a lovely single parcel.

2008 Piaggia, Riserva, Carmignano, Italy
This wine is a blend of 70% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, and 10% Merlot.  The wine underwent malolactic fermentation and aging for 18 months in French oak barriques.  The nose revealed red cherry and ripe fruits. In the mouth there were neat racy flavors, a great aged component, wood box, and all around a great Italian wine.

2008 Piaggia, Il Sasso, Carmignano, Italy
This wine is a blend of 70% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, and 10% Merlot.  The wine underwent malolactic fermentation and aging for 18 months in French oak barriques.The nose was lifted and floral with ripe red fruit and tobacco. In the mouth the dark red fruit was more approachable, with perfume, lipstick, and a touch of earth.

2009 Steltzner Vineyards, Claret, Napa Valley
This wine is a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Cabernet Franc, and 13% Merlot which was aged for 22 months in French oak..  The nose was perfumed with licorice, blue fruits, and flowers. In the mouth the ripe black and blue fruit mixed with an old-perfume component before the fruit turned redder. The aftertaste carried perfumed tart red fruit, some sweetness, and fine tannins.

NV Sean Thackery, Pleiades XXII Old Vines, California
The nose showed bright, fruity-tooty aromas along with flowers. In the mouth there was a floral-soap component (for lack of a better description) with the perfume following the nose. The flavors become lifted and redder before taking on old perfume notes. Unique.

2009 Vina von Siebenthal, Carmenere, Valle de Aconcagua, Chile
This wine is a blend of approximately 90% Carmenere and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon which was fermented in stainless steel then aged for four months in French oak..  The aromatic and lovely nose had some good hints of barnyard stink. In the mout the flavors were red, with lipstick raciness, a little chewy then it expanded effortlessly in the mouth with a hint of minerals and a strong finish. Tasty.

2008 Vina von Siebenthal, Carabantes, Syrah, Valle de Aconcagua, Chile 
This wine is an approximate blend of 85% Syrah, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Petit Verdot which was fermented in stainless steel tanks then aged for 14 months in new barrels.  There was a more restrained nose of red candy. In the mouth cooler red fruit made was to young, inky flavors, and lots of fine drying tannins.

2009 Sean Thackery, Orion, Rossi Vineyard, St. Helena
There was a dark nose with aromas of lavender. In the mouth the low-lying dark fruit had power, seemed soft, but there was support along with perfume and acidity. With old school aromas and flavors this wrapped up with nice, sweet spices in the aftertaste. Needs age.

Shafer Winery

My Shafer Winery experience is limited to a few vintages of Chardonnay, Red Shoulder Ranch, Firebreak, and Relentless. Though the Hillside Select is sold out Shafer kindly sent over a few bottles so everyone could taste it.  What an absolute treat, it seemed boundless in its depth of flavors continually revealing more as I worked it in my mouth.  Fortunately the One Point Five is a very good selection instead and highly recommended.  Strong wines all around.

Dave Schroeder, Bacchus Importers pouring Shafer

2010 Shafer Winery, Chardonnay, Red Shoulder Ranch, Carneros
This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from Red Shoulder Ranch.  The fruit was whole cluster pressed and fermented with indigenous yeats in barrel.  There was no malolactic fermentation and it was aged for 14 months with 74% new French oak barrels and 25% stainless steel barrels.  The nose was very fruity with a touch of citrus before turning tropical in aroma. In the mouth there was ample acidity before turning creamy in the mouth with underlying floral flavors and lots of baking spices.

2009 Shafer Winery, Merlot, Napa Valley
This wine is a blend of 98% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 1% Malbec which was aged for 20 months in 60-gallon French oak barrels of wich 75% were new. The medium strength nose had a hint of butter at first then tight, mdark red and blue fruit. In the mouth there was a lot of brambly blue fruit with a racy aspect, underlying vanilla notes, lifted middle, and spicy finish. Well integrated tannins.

2009 Shafer Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, One Point Five, Stags Leap District
This wine is a blend of 98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petite Verdot which was aged for 20 months in 100% new French oak barrels.  The nose revealed purple and black fruit with a lifted core. In the mouth the tarter red fruit morphed into blue fruit with a lovely floral/licorice middle. There were drying tannins on the lips and a lipstick quality. Though young this is really quite nice.

2007 Shafer Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Hillside Select, Stags Leap District
This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon that was aged for 32 months in 100% new 60-gallon French oak barrels.  There was a calm, dark fruited, floral nose. In the mouth this calm, brooding wine slowly builds in the mouth. Though there are fine, drying tannins this wine has great depth, revealing more and more as you move it through your mouth. This is a long-lived, expansive aftertaste with that racy liptstick quality. Tremendous stuff.

2008 Shafer Winery, Relentless (Syrah), Napa Valley
This wine is a blend of 75% Syrah and 25% Petite Sirah which was aged for 30 monthsn in 100% new 60-gallon French oak barrels.  The tight nose was low-lying with dark fruit. In the mouth the ripe black fruit was fine, textured, and drying. There were spicy tannins and chewy fruit in this nice wine. Should last for some time.

Terlato Wines

I never would have guess the Ernies Els, The Big Easy was from South Africa and I suspect many others would not as well.  The Ca’Marcanda, Promis did taste Italian and was quite attractive.

Edward Melia, Terlato Wines

2010 Ernie Els, The Big Easy, Stellenbosch, South Africa
This wine is a blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvere, Cinsault, Viognier, and Grenache.  The tight nose contained red fruits, good wet fur, and flowers. In the mouth there were flavors of tart red fruit, some ripness, and a floral vein that made way to a black fruited finish. There were fine, drying tannins. I would never have guessed this to be South African.

2009 Ca’Marcanda (Gaja), Promis, Toscana IGT, Italy
This wine is a blend of Merlot, Syrah, and Sangiovese.  The nose was complex with dark red fruit. In the mouth there were leaner, delicate red fruit flavors, perfume, aged wood box, along with drying yet sweet fine tannins. Quite nice.

2010 Two Hands, Gnarly Dudes Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia
This wine is 100% Syrah that did not make it into Bella’s Garden.  It underwent malolactic fermentation then was aged for 12 months in hogsheads, 11% nrew French oak, and used oak.  There were ripe cherry flavors, big fruit, and sour red notes.

Shane Verburg and the Author

New World Versus France Tasting, 27th Oct 1992

October 27, 1992 1 comment

New World Versus France Tasting, 27th October 1992



It is wine that gently warms and opens.
Most promising business with the future.

1 Chardonnay
A) New World, Oakwood, Australia, 4.40 Pounds.  Much more sun.  Similar appearance.  Full bodied “buttery.”  Strong in front dies quickly.
B) French, South Bordeaux, 4.40 Pounds.  Similar appearance. Delicate bouquet, cleaner taste.  I prefer this one.

2 Sauvignon Blanc
A) New World, Jackson Estate, New Zealand, April 1991, 7.00 Pounds.  “Black currants”, “goose berries.”  Strong, fuller, sweeter.  Prefer this one.
B) French, Central Vineyards Noir, 1990, 6.85 Pounds.  Aftertaste lingers, creamier.

3 Cabernet Sauvignon
A) Southern France, French, 3.11 Pounds.  Purple, first color, quite young.  A far amount of tannin.  Spicey.
B) New World, Chile, 3.35 Pounds.  Darker than 1st.  I prefer this one.

4 Syrah
A) New World, Mexico, 1988, 4.70 Pounds.  Pepper, smooth.  Prefer.
B) French, 1989, 5.20 Pounds.  Too peppery.

5 Pinot Noir
A) New World, South Africa, 1988, 6.50 Pounds.
B) France, Burgundy, 1988, 6.50 Pounds.  Prefer color.  Delicate.  Prefer