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Posts Tagged ‘Chinon’

A few cheapies with Lou

February 27, 2018 Leave a comment

With jam-packed work and personal calendars it is hard for Lou and I to meet up.  We carved out a few hours the other day to sit at the peninsula and drink several inexpensive wines.  The 2007 Carmelo Patti, Cabernet Sauvignon, Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza was expectedly my favorite of the red wines.  After drinking a bottle in Seattle I brought one back to share with Lou and Jenn.  This bottle was more youthful than the first with a good balance between texture, fruit, green pepper, and minerals.  It is a good, old-school drink.  The 1990 Colle Bereto, Il Tocco, Tuscany is an inexpensive wine from a great vintage.  The vintage expresses itself through the ripe black fruit with the age coming in through leather and wood notes.  It is fully mature with some roast earth marking it as on the down slope.  Finally, the bottle of 1996 Moulin des Sablons, Chinon was surprisingly marked on the back label as “Mevushal 89 °C” meaning it is a Kosher wine.  Unfortunately, it was exposed to 192 °F  in being made Kosher which meant it was doomed in the glass.

2007 Carmelo Patti, Cabernet Sauvignon, Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza – $26
Imported by SWG Imports.  This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon that was fermented then aged in concrete for 12 months then aged a further 12 months in French oak.  Alcohol 14%.  A gentle ripeness of black fruit mixes with an appropriate amount of an herbal/green pepper component.  The texture is slightly grainy with mid palate weight and a round, mineral-like finish.  ***(*) Now – 2023.

1990 Colle Bereto, Il Tocco, Tuscany
Imported by Olinger Distributing Co. This wine is 100% Sangiovese. Alcohol 12.5%.  A woodsy wine that is fresh and crisp, beginning with up-front ripeness but finishing dry.  There are hard cherry flavors, focused weight, wood, and dried leather in the finish.  It is fully developed with a little roast end in the end from age.  It does not fall apart in the glass.  *** Now.

1996 Moulin des Sablons, Chinon
Imported by the Royal Wine Corp.  Alcohol 12.5%.  Mevushal 89 °C.  Brown, cooked, gross! Not Rated.

A thorough introduction to Loire wines: 2011-1979

December 8, 2017 Leave a comment

Bill is passionate about Loire wines, top quality producers none the less, which was evident at a tasting he hosted at his house.  The wines largely came from his cellar making a parade of heavy hitters, cult favorites, and new discoveries.  As an introduction there were bottles of sparkling wine, white wine, red wine, and dessert wine.

There were sadly a number of off bottles but with a vast array to try (I missed at least one bottle) there were still some top-notch bottles.  This includes the 2009 Domaine Guiberteau, Saumur Blanc Clos des Carmes Monopole as my favorite white wine.  This is a tense, engaging wine which combines stone and fruit.  For the reds, individual favorites include the mature 2010 Clos Rougeard, Saumur Champigny and youthful 2010 Plouzeau, Ante Phylloxera, Touraine Clos de Maulevrier Franc de Pied.  I can see why Rougeard is a cult favorite, the mature flavors are infused with fat and drape over the tongue.  The Plouzeau is electric and young, it should be fully open in three to five years.

My favorite flight of all is a quartet of Olga Raffault, Chinon Les Picasses: 1990, 1989, 1985, and 1979.  What a unique opportunity!  What I like is the consistent theme of fruit, without any green pepper notes, and complexity from earthy flavors.  The 1989 offers so much more than the 1990.  The original release 1985 is a treat with more color and texture.  It is easy to connect with this bottle because it is not so squeaky clean.  The 1979 is elegant and autumnal.  It is the sort of wine to drink at lunch or by oneself reading a book next to a fire.

A trio of Huet Vouvray dessert wines includes a maturing 1985 Domaine Huet, Vouvray Clos du Bourg Moelleux.  The nose is an interesting mix of apples and seaside with a heavily textured mouth.  Our bottle of 1989 Domaine Huet,Vouvray Cuvee Constance also has a killer nose but it is dialed down tight in the mouth.  The drier 1989 Domaine Huet, Vouvray Clos du Bourg Moelleux Premiere Trie is also young.  Perhaps it is the state of the 1989 vintage.  All three wines smell great so who knows!?

Thanks again to Bill for hosting.  Without his generosity I would still be the rare soul who had never tasted the Loire greats of Dagueneau, Clos Rougeard, and others.

Flight #1 – Sparkling

2010 Domaine Huet, Vouvray Petillant Brut
Imported by The Rare Wine Co. Alcohol 12.5%. There is a fine bubble grip with slightly round flavors of light yellow fruit and chalk. It is minerally and a touch earthy.  *** Now – 2020.

NV Francois Chidaine, Montluis sur Loire Méthode Traditionelle Brut
Imported by Dionysos Imports. Alcohol 12%. A little gamey on the nose. In the mouth are finer, more aggressive bubbles. The flavors are oxidative and the finish is sour.  Underperforming? * Drink up.

Flight #2 – White Wines

2000 Nicolas Joly, Clos de la Coulee de Serrant
Imported by Paterno Imports. Alcohol 13.5%. A darker gold-copper color. The heavier nose makes way to a focus start then short and weird flavors. Bad bottle.  Not Rated.

2007 Didier Dagueneau, Pouilly-Fume Silex
Imported by Connoisseur Wines. Alcohol 12.5%. There are fine, ripe chalky flavors, texture, and a weighty middle which builds towards the finish. It wraps up with a vintage perfume finish.  ***(*) Now – 2023.

2009 Domaine Guiberteau, Saumur Blanc Clos des Carmes Monopole
A Becky Wasserman Selection imported by Frederick Wildman. Alcohol 12%. A flinty wine with tart yellow fruit and a vein of acidity which makes for attractive tension. My favorite.  **** Now – 2027.

2011 Clos Rougeard, Saumur Blanc Breze
An aromatic nose with a touch of apricot and cheese. Different. It is simpler in the mouth, tight with a vein of acidity. It remains tight when warm. Drinkable but not the best bottle.  ** Now.

Flight #3 – 2010 Reds

2010 Catherine & Pierre Breton, Bourgueil Franc de Pied
Imported by Kermit Lynch. Alcohol 12%. The color is a little purple. A finely scented nose of clean green pepper. In the mouth this is a fine, focused wine with dry and tight flavors. With air it remains a lighter weighted wine but becomes a touch creamy. Good citric grip.  ***(*) Now – 2027.

2010 Chateau de Fosse-Seche, Saumur Eolithe
Alcohol 12.5%. There is a deeper core of color with hints of brick. Initial aromas are of old-school perfume but then nail polish comes out.  Not right.  Not Rated.

2010 Bernard Baudry, Chinon Les Croix Boisee
Bad bottle! Not Rated.

2010 Clos Rougeard, Saumur Champigny Les Poyeux
Alcohol 12.5%. There are darker berries on the perfumed somewhat alcoholic nose. The mouth filling wine is luxurious with a creamy edge and zippy acidity. Certainly a big wine but ultimately simple compared to the basic Saumur Champigny.  *** Now – 2020.

2010 Clos Rougeard, Saumur Champigny
Alcohol 12.5%. A good, mature nose. The flavors drape on the tongue with a cranberry-grape grip. The core of berry flavors remains focus but takes on a coating of fat. My favorite of the flight. **** Now – 2023.

2010 Domaine Guion, Bourgueil Cuvee des Deux Monts
Imported by Fruits of the Vines. Alcohol 12.5%. A grapey color. The nose is tight with berried perfume. In the mouth the wine keeps right focus with fine, tannic, and young flavors. There is a green pepper note and salivating acidity. Needs time.  *** 2020 – 2027.

2010 Plouzeau, Ante Phylloxera, Touraine Clos de Maulevrier Franc de Pied
Imported by Weygant-Metzler. Alcohol 13%. The nose tilts towards the richer side. There is good flavor, a bit citric, and electric acidity. It sports good weight, an attractive sweaty note, and will clearly age. **** Now – 2030.

Flight #4 – 1996 Bourdeaux versus Loire Guessing Game

1996 Joguet, Les Varennes du Grand Clos
Slightly stinky on the nose yet good. More engaging in the mouth but overall a bad bottle! Not Rated.

1996 Chateau Sociando-Mallet, Haut-Medoc
Much darker in color. An harmonious wine. It is brighter in the mouth than the nose indicates. With air, ripe hints of flavor come out yet the wine maintains focus. Clearly Bordeaux.  *** Now – 2023.

Flight #5 – Olga Raffault

1990 Olga Raffault, Chinon Les Picasses
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections. Library release. This is tart with red and black fruit flavors. It ultimately reveals less fruit intensity. It sports a touch of animale and a hint of earth which adds interest. Overall this is a tangy wine. ** Now – 2023.

1989 Olga Raffault, Chinon Les Picasses
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections. Library release. There is more dense fruit compared to the 1990. It is clean, dense, and slightly earthy with cinnamon spices in the aftertaste. Watering acidity. This will clearly go on for ages. **** Now – 2032.

1985 Olga Raffault, Chinon Les Picasses
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections. Original release. Alcohol 12.5%. This is good and much different than the 1989 and 1990. There are impressions of more texture making the wine feel substantive. The wine is earthy with a wood stem note, and vintage perfume.  Drinking well. **** Now – 2025.

1979 Olga Raffault, Chinon Les Picasses
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections. Library release. In fine form. This is tangy, lighter than the others with a clean cut. There is a fair amount of acidity.  Elegant and autumnal.  ***(*) Now – 2022.

Flight #6 – Respect the Legend

1985 Domaine Huet, Vouvray Clos du Bourg Moelleux
Imported by Robert Chadderdon Selections. A dark, apricot amber. The nose smells of tart apples and the sea side, quite nice. In the mouth there is up front texture back the apple orchard flavors. The citric acidity is prominent but the wine is weighty. A fair amount of mouth feel.  **** Now – 2037.

1989 Domaine Huet,Vouvray Cuvee Constance
Imported by Envoyer Imports. A golden amber color. The nose offers up electric aromas. In the mouth there is clearly more residual sugar in this dense wine with flavors of dried fruit. It remains tight so cellar it.  **** 2023 – 2043.

1989 Domaine Huet, Vouvray Clos du Bourg Moelleux Premiere Trie
Imported by Elenteny Imports. Alcohol 13%. A golden amber color. Apple orchard on the nose with acidity driven, drier flavors in the mouth. It is weighty, clean, and sports acidity.  A baby!  ***(*) 2023 – 2043.

2015 Cabernet Franc from Baudry and Germain

February 28, 2017 Leave a comment

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.

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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.

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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.

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Recent French Wines

November 7, 2016 Leave a comment

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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.

A wide variety of French wines.

February 9, 2016 Leave a comment

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.

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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.

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Olga Raffault and G. Descombes from Louis/Dressner

February 25, 2015 Leave a comment

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.

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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.

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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.

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Diverse wines from Baudry, Matthiasson, Perrin, Rolet, and Ch des Tours

December 10, 2014 Leave a comment

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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??.

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