The 2015 Thierry Germain, Saumur Champigny and 2015 Bernard Baudry, Les Granges, Chinon are fun to taste together for they are different expressions of the Cabernet Franc grape. Since I last tasted the Germain in the fall, it has opened up in flavor as well as shed weight and roundness. This is a light, ethereal wine that manages to move in flavor from red to black fruit. The wine reminded Jenn of a rose which I think is the best, single word description of this wine. The Baudry offers a bit more strength as well as lively zip from acidity and attractive texture as if extract were floating about. It is a bit dry and structured making me think it will drink better in the fall. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.
2015 Thierry Germain, Saumur Champigny – $20
Imported by Elite Wines Imports. This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc sourced from 25+ year old vines, fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged for seven months in tank. Alcohol 13%. There are herbaceous aromas supported by bright red fruit. In the mouth this wine is lighter in body with cranberry and strawberry flavors, and watering acidity. The light body conveys delicate flavors, which are ethereal and gently ripe, as they move from red to black fruit flavors. It picks up floral notes with air. **(*) Now – 2019.
2015 Bernard Baudry, Les Granges, Chinon – $18
Imported by Louis/Dressner. This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc sourced from young vines that is both fermented and aged for 7-10 months in cement tanks. Alcohol 12%. The nose reveals finely textured herbaceous aromas. The dry, linear entry of black fruit has strength picking up good zip in the mid palate. With air this becomes an inky and herbaceous wine with a cool ripeness and texture from extract in the end. **(*) Now – 2019.
The time I spend on research continues unabated but I am still tasting wine every day. Here is a group of tasting notes from the most recently consumed French wines. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.
2014 La Bastide Saint Dominique, Cuvee Jules Rochebonne, Cotes du Rhone – $18
Imported by Simon N’ Cellars. This wine is a blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache. The former was aged for 18 months in stainless steel tanks and the later for 18 months in oak barrels. Alcohol 14.5%. There is a complex, meaty, black fruited nose which takes on a tobacco and smoke hint. In the mouth are some bitter black fruit, coarser, spaced-out tannins, and that ethereal flavor consistent with this cuvee. There is the meaty Syrah component but the wine tightens up with air. Might rate higher with age. *** 2018-2023.
2015 Camille Cayran, L’Elegante, Cairanne – $15
Imported by G & B Importers. This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 20% Carignan, and 20% Mourvedre. Alcohol 14.5%. The nose sports good perfume, violets, and pepper hints. In the mouth it is still a bit tight with focused blue and black fruit. There is a dense, citrus, and powdery flavored middle. It softens a touch with an inky finish and some fine pencil notes. This still needs a year to relax the drying tannins. *** 2017-2020.
2014 Olga Raffault, Les Barnabes, Chinon – $18
Imported by Louis/Dressner. Alcohol 13%. The floral, leaning towards vegetal nose makes way to black fruit flavors in the mouth. Saline flavors give a sense of weight but tart, vegetal black fruit comes out. This salty wine has edge acidity and is more for short term drinking. ** Now – 2018.
2015 Herve Souhaut, Syrah, Vin de France -$27
Imported by Williams Corner Wine. Alcohol 13%. There are gentle, attractive flavors of violets and orange flavored fruit. The dry structure is apparent from the start as is the moderately watery and juicy acidity which carries through the dry flavors of graphite in the finish. The wine does come across with some vibrancy and with air shows that it needs time to develop. ***(*) 2018-2023.
2015 Domaine de la Voute des Crozes, Cotes de Brouilly – $17
Imported by Kermit Lynch. Alcohol 13.5%. The nose is subtle yet bright. The tart red fruited entry does build weight into the linear, citric acidity infused middle. There is a touch of ethereal, ripe powdery flavors but that tart start never leaves one’s mind. It finishes with salivating acidity and a ripe hint of citric fruit and tannins left on the gum. **(*) 2017-2020.
This post features a number of French wines which we have recently drunk. My favorite pair are the 2013 Ola Raffault, Les Barnabes, Chinon and the 2011 Domaine Cheveau, Or Rouge, Beaujolais Villages. The Raffault is a finely scented, fresh, satisfying herbaceous wine from Chinon. I kept finding myself returning to my glass. The Cheveau has benefited from a few years of age but still retains lovely cool, dense flavors. The 2013 Alleno & Chapoutier, Cotes du Rhone is also good with its minerally, black flavors but it will greatly benefit from short-term aging. Of the wines for drinking now the 2014 Chateau Coupe Roses, La Bastide, Minervois offers a tart, red grapefruit profile whereas the 2011 Abbaye Sylva Plana, Les Novices, Faugeres offers forward drinking flavors of raspberry candy. These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.
2014 Chateau Coupe Roses, La Bastide, Minervois – $13
Imported by Vintage 59. This wine is a blend of old-vine Carignan and Grenache. Alcohol 13%. The nose was of raspberry candy. In the mouth the tart red and black fruit had a slight hint of red grapefruit. In general there was a beam of tart and ripe fruit, minimal structure which was integrated, and spices in the end. The tart aspects matched with the developing bitters flavor. ** Now – 2017.
2014 Damien Coquelet, Cote du Py, Morgon – $22
Imported by Louis/Dressner. This wine is 100% Gamay. Alcohol. Tasted over a few days the lovely nose eventually took on graphite notes. This light, bright wine was pure in nature with a lively start, building dry weight, and an ethereal aftertaste. It had slightly watering acidity and a dry, structured middle. The dry flavors existed over a layer of stone and mineral. I suspect this might open up in a year. It is best to cellar it instead of giving it extended decant time because it developed a Pilsner beer note. **(*) 2017-2019.
2013 Alleno & Chapoutier, Cotes du Rhone – $15
Imported by Classic Wines. This wine is mostly Syrah that was fermented and aged on concrete tanks. Alcohol 14.5%. The minerally, black fruit flavors left some texture on the gums and juicy acidity on the tongue. With controlled flavors the gentle ripe spices took on some wood notes and persisted through the aftertaste. This needs short-term aging. *** 2017-2020.
2013 Ermitage du Pic Saint Loup, Tour de Pierres, Pic St Loup – $17
Imported by Kermit Lynch. This wine is a blend of 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache, and 10% Mourvedre. Alcohol 13.5%. The nose is attractive with delicate floral and graphite aromas. In the mouth the wine has very high-toned, citric red fruit. With extended air it seemed to deepen up a bit and not fall into Pilsner yeast land. ** Now – 2017.
2013 Ola Raffault, Les Barnabes, Chinon – $17
Imported by Louis/Dressner. This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc. Alcohol 12.5%. This fresh, scented wine is attractively herbaceous. The flavors continue with herbaceous red and black fruit flavors which are dry. This flavorful wine is mouthfilling yet medium-bodied with an almost gentle finish. With air sweet dried herbs come out along with very, very fine tannins. The acidity is indistinguishably integrated. *** Now – 2018.
2011 Abbaye Sylva Plana, Les Novices, Faugeres – $18
A Franck’s Signature Wines imported by Promex Wines. This wine is a blend of 55% Cinsault, 30% Grenache, 10% Syrah, and 5% Mourvedre. Alcohol 14%. The forward flavors of raspberry candy are rounded with mouthfilling weight. With air it takes on some darker notes. Very much a wine to drink right now. ** Now – 2017.
2011 Domaine Cheveau, Or Rouge, Beaujolais Villages – $18
Imported by Rosenthal. This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from vines averaging 50 years of age. Alcohol 13%. The nose remained subtle but in the mouth were cool, dense fruit with watery acidity, a fresh middle, and tannins noticeable in the aftertaste. With air the firm red fruits took on additional flavors of ripe black fruit. The wine remained a little puckering on the sides of the tongue. *** Now – 2020.
Both the 2010 Olga Raffault, Les Picasses, Chinon and 2013 G. Descombes, Régnié engage you with their aromas then draw you in with contemplative flavors. The Raffault showed the most complexity but it also barely budged over two nights. There is a clear record that this wine ages very well so I suggest you simply bury a few bottles in your basement. The Descombes is an impeccably made wine that will not tire you out as you drink glass after glass. You should try them both. These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.
2010 Olga Raffault, Les Picasses, Chinon – $25
Imported by Louis/Dressner. This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc sourced from roughly 50 year old vines on a riverbank slope with soils of limestone and clay. It was fermented then aged for 12 to 16 months in large casks. Alcohol 12.5%. It had the sort of earthy, complex nose that always makes me wonder how it came to be. There were firm flavors of black and red fruit before the wine became drier with a seamlessly integrated, drying tannic structure and prominent graphite notes. There was a lipsticky middle before a rather delicate, perfumed finish, and earthy aftertaste. There is a sense of lightness but this is a young wine that has some weight and will age very well. ***(*) 2018-2025.
2013 G. Descombes, Régnié – $25
Imported by Louis/Dressner. This wine is 100% Gamay. Alcohol 12.5%. There was a nose of wet tea and scented spices. In the mouth were tart and lean red fruit flavors that took on fresh pepper in the finish. The wine was gently rounded with some weight. The acidity was perfectly integrated as was the moderate, drying structure. It took on some wood notes. *** Now-2020.
We recently tasted through a diverse selection of wines. The 2013 Bernard Baudry, Chinon Blanc was all about the acidity driven tension and mouthfeel. I do not care for purely high acidity wines, rather I like acidity that gives a sense of nervous energy like the wine is alive. The Baudry has that. The 2013 Matthiasson, Chardonnay, Linda Vista Vineyard, Napa Valley grew on me. With similar weight to the Baudry it too has a lot of acidity but not of the tense kind and in comparison, the Baudry shows more ripe fruit. The Matthiasson actually grew on me but I would wait several months before trying again. I was surprised by the 2012 Famille Perrin, Coudoulet de Beaucastel, Cotes du Rhone in that it was full of clean, modern flavors. A solid wine for the short term but without the intrigue I expected. The 2010 Chateau des Tours, Reserve, Cotes du Rhone is the best wine I have drunk in the past week. The nose was beautiful right from the very first pour and so were the flavors. This is quite a contrast to the 2009 vintage, which you may read about here, which I found “full-bodied” and with a “force of mind” requiring years in the cellar. You might balk at paying $40 for a Cotes du Rhone but you will stop once you taste it. Finally, my first experience with Vin Jaune is the 2005 Rolet Pere et Fils, Arbois Vin Jaune. It reminded me of nuts and Sherry so if that is appealing to you then cellar a few bottles for a few decades. These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.
2013 Bernard Baudry, Chinon Blanc – $25
Imported by Louis/Dressner. This wine is 100% Chenin Blanc sourced from young vines on soils of clay and limestone. The fruit was fermented with indigenous yeast then aged in oak barrels. Alcohol 12%. The color was a rather light gold. In the mouth were tense flavors of white fruit, chalk notes, and eventually apples with other fruit. There was a great mouthfeel before the tangy, clean citrus of the finish and the citrus pith textured aftertaste. *** Now-2016.
2013 Matthiasson, Chardonnay, Linda Vista Vineyard, Napa Valley – $26
This wine is 100% Chardonnay that was fermented then aged in neutral oak barrels. The barrels underwent a mixture of stirring and malolactic fermentation. Alcohol 12.9%. The color was a very light gold with green tinges. The nose was delicate with ripe green apple aromas. In the mouth was bright fruit that had a rounded start. There was plenty of acidity but not overdone. There was just enough weight to the wine and a tart finish. **(*) 2015-2016.
2012 Famille Perrin, Coudoulet de Beaucastel, Cotes du Rhone – $25
Imported by Vineyard Brands. This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, 20% Syrah, and 10% Cinsault that was aged for six months in oak foudres. Alcohol 14%. There was a fresh, spiced filled nose. In the mouth were fresh, bright flavors of herbed and floral fruit. The wine tastes balanced but there is less structure than I expected giving it more levity. This is best drunk young. **(*) Now-2020.
2010 Chateau des Tours, Reserve, Cotes du Rhone – $40
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. This wine is a blend of 65% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 15% Cinsault. Alcohol 14%. The nose was aromatic with Kirsch, light and bright red fruit…simply beautiful. In the mouth the red fruit flavors had gentle ripeness, ripe cherry, lipstick, and raspberry. The wine was in perfect balance. Though drinking well right now it should continue to develop. **** Now-2020.
2005 Rolet Pere et Fils, Arbois Vin Jaune – $35 (375 mL)
Imported by Williams Corner Wine. This wine is 100% Savagnin that spent six years in barrel under flor. Alcohol 14.5%. The aromas and flavors were evocative of nuts and Sherry. Very nutty in the mouth, dry, strong yet balance acidity, and apple orchard hints. *** Now-20??.
The last several days have been busy with travel, work, and wine related correspondence. The later of which can take a fair amount of time so just a quick post for today. Both of the wines featured in this post are from the 2011 vintage in Chinon. At half the cost the 2011 Marc Plouzeau, Clos de la Bonneliere, Le Clos, Chinon is an excellent buy combining the greenhouse nature of Cabernet Franc with black fruit and minerals. The 2011 Bernard Baudry, La Croix Boissee, Chinon certainly steps it up with racy flavors and graphite mixed tannins. Both of these wines will benefit from short-term cellaring. These wines are purchased at Weygant Wines.
2011 Marc Plouzeau, Clos de la Bonneliere, Le Clos, Chinon – $20
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler. This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc. Alcohol 13.5%. The nose revealed black fruit mixed with a little greenhouse aroma. There was a little bit of tart and tangy fruit to start before subtle flavors of ripe black and red fruit came out. With air the wine developed more black fruit, minerals, and pepper before the greenhouse note returned in the finish. It also showed a touch of smoke and ripe citrus. This needs a little age. **(*) 2015-20202.
2011 Bernard Baudry, La Croix Boissee, Chinon – $38
Imported by Louis/Dressner. This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc sourced from 30 year old vines on soils of clay and white limestone. It was aged for 18 months in barrel. Alcohol 13%. There were dense flavors and a good balance of ripe ripe-ish fruit and structure. With air the wine showed racy flavors of minerals, a hint of greenhouse, and wood. There was very good structure and an attractive coating of graphite laced tannins in the finish. This should improve with age. *** 2016-2014.
I clearly love drinking red wine so when the weather warms up I have an affinity for rosé over white wine. I prefer an inexpensive wine with red fruit, crispness, and some juicy acidity. In this vein you cannot go wrong with the 2013 Mas Des Bressades, Cuvee Tradition Rosé, Costeries de Nimes or the 2013 Domaine de Mourchon, Loubié Rosé, Cotes du Rhone Villages Seguret. I prefer to begin my evening with a glass while I prepare dinner or clean some dishes. So I was shocked by the intense acidity of the 2013 Bernard Baudry, Chinon Rosé. In fact it was so powerful I literally could not take more than one sip. Far more preferable was the 2013 Domaine Breton, La Ritounelle, Bourgueil Rosé Sec which was more thought provoking than thirst-quenching. Priced at the highest-end of the range is the 2013 Robert Sinsky Vineyards, Vin Gris of Pinot Noir, Carneros. The color was matched by delicate floral aromas and flavors. It is an attractive rosé but bear in mind you may purchase both the Brassdes and Mourchon for the cost of one bottle. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.
2013 Mas Des Bressades, Cuvee Tradition Rosé, Costeries de Nimes – $12
Imported by Robert Kacher Selections. This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 20% Cinsault. Alcohol 13.5%. A vibrant cran-cherry color. There were cherries and fruity raspberry candy on the nose. In the mouth were firm, hard cherry fruit which had a touch of ripeness. This ripeness was delicate, mixing with perfumed flavors, and fresh texture in the finish. With air the wine became slightly rounder with supporting acidity and pastille flavors in the aftertaste. Satisfying. ** Now-2015.
2013 Domaine de Mourchon, Loubié Rosé, Cotes du Rhone Villages Seguret – $13
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah sourced from 40 year old vines. Alcohol 12.5%. The flavors of firm cherry and strawberry mix with good acidity. ** Now-2015.
2013 Bernard Baudry, Chinon Rosé – $19
Imported by Louis/Dressner. This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc. Alcohol 12.5%. The citric red fruit is immediately followed by a tremendous amount of quality acidity. Literally impossible to drink on its own until the fifth night. This clearly needs food and is not my style. * Now.
2013 Domaine Breton, La Ritounelle, Bourgueil Rosé Sec – $23
Imported by Kermit Lynch. This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc. Alcohol 12%. There were tart red fruit flavors that were drier. Combined with the juicy acidity this wine had a lot of presence. Though the flavors were lighter there was a sense of strength before the stone notes in the firm finish. ** Now-2016.
2013 Robert Sinskey Vineyards, Vin Gris of Pinot Noir, Carneros – $27
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir. Alcohol 13.1%. The color was of pale dried roses. The nose revealed delicate floral aromas. In the mouth were floral fruit flavors and acidity at the back of the throat. There was a little grip to these delicate flavors followed by a firm finish. Drank well over several nights. ** Now-2016.