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Posts Tagged ‘Crozes-Hermitage’

Old-vine Crozes-Hermitage from Etienne Becheras

Crozes-Hermitage can offer a grapey, more approachable, and more affordable example of Northern Rhone Syrah.  The 2013 Etienne Becheras, Le Prieuré d’Arras, Crozes-Hermitage is an exception for it steps up the level of fruit without losing typicity of the region.  It drinks well over two nights providing an attractive balance of fruit, acidity, and structure that you will not mistake for any other area.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2013 Etienne Becheras, Le Prieuré d’Arras, Crozes-Hermitage – $25
Imported by Neal Rosenthal.  This wine is mostly Syrah from very old vines aged for 18 months in demi-muids.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There is a fine nose of grapey floral fruit with notes of white pepper.  In the mouth is surprisingly ripe black, grapey, floral fruit which is immediately accessible.  The watering acidity is perfectly integrated moving the wine towards the more linear, drier, appropriately tannic finish and grapey aftertaste.  *** Now – 2021.

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Loose, solid, and crumbling corks from a trio of red wines from the 1970s

September 8, 2015 Leave a comment

This holiday weekend I found myself in Lou’s tasting room.  The cellar itself might seem like the place to be with the crunch of the pea gravel and the smell of maturing bottles but the tasting room is the practical choice.  It has the leather chairs and side board.  Out of necessity the first bottle opened was the 1979 Paul Jaboulet Aine, Hermitage La Chapelle.  Unfortunately, when I grabbed the bottle earlier, my thumb broke through the top of the capsule revealing some space below.  The cork had shifted, which is never a good sign, and despite the combined efforts of my Durand and worm of the Screwpull it was of no surprise that the cork dropped down into the bottle.

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The 1979 Jaobulet Aine initially smelled of roast and dirtiness but the mouth brought a surprising burst of sweet, ripe fruit.  The nose eventually cleaned up but never hid its weak-cork origins.  The mouth oscillated in quality and at best was lively, bright, and sported good grip.  Proper bottles, no doubt, will please much but this still gave impressions of underlying quality. The 1979 Robert Mondavi Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, Napa Valley was sealed by a firm yet easy to extract cork.  The wine was still dark which was matched by a mouthful of flavorful dark fruit.  This was the best of the trio of wines, developing savory hints of thyme and cedar before leaving a pleasing amount of tannins and extract.  For a great explanation about the eucalyptus notes in this wine please read Richard Jennings’ post Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Retrospective: 1978-1987.  I had higher hopes for the 1985 William Hill Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, Napa Valley which is from a strong vintage.  The cork crumbled away, which is not a good thing for a relatively young wine.  This was a brighter wine with a short finish followed by astringent flavors and fine grained tannins.  Lou found it a bit hollow but still with personality.

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In the end it was a solid experience with some old wine.  The 1979 Jaboulet Aine was quite interesting to track its change but the 1979 Robert Mondavi gave plenty of satisfaction.  There was no need to open the backup bottles.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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1979 Paul Jaboulet Aine, Hermitage La Chapelle
Imported by Frederick Wildman and Sons.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose revealed roast earth and a bit of dirtiness.  While it cleaned up to show red fruit, the roast never fully disappeared.  In the mouth was a ripe burst of sweet fruit right at the start.  The wine had redder fruit all around that became redder and tart with air.  The acidity driven flavors were clean in the mouth, with good grip, and a fresh aftertaste.  The quality oscillated and at best there was a slightly earthy hint towards the finish, some animale with a lively, textured, and bright nature.  In the mouth *** but overall ** Now -2020.

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1979 Robert Mondavi Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, Napa Valley
Alcohol 13%.  The wine conjured up darkness with eucalyptus like accents to the core of black and dark fruits.  For some time there was quite a mouthful of flavor when first drunk with obvious ripe fruit followed by a pleasing coating of tannins and extract on the gums.  The fruit turned tart with extended air but the wine took on savory flavors of thyme and a creamy edge.  *** Now – 2020.

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1985 William Hill Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, Napa Valley
Alcohol 12.9%.  The acidity was prominent on the front of the tongue which matched the bright red fruit and menthol flavors.  The short finish brought an astringent flavors and fine-grained tannins.  Interesting enough but not the best drink.  * Now.

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Excellent Crozes-Hermitage from Natacha Chave

I am excited to report that we finished updating and staging our current house.  Photographs were taken yesterday and it will be listed for sale tomorrow.  Last week we closed on our new house which we will take possession of within one month.  That should mean I can return to my regular research and writing until we must move.

Natacha Chave is the younger sister of Yann Chave whose 2012 Crozes-Hermitage was featured in an earlier post.  Natacha Chave released her first vintage in 2006.  Today, she produces wine both from St. Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage.  In the later, she purchased a 5.5 hectare vineyard of old vines to which she has added new plantings.  The vineyard is steep so it is worked entirely by hand.  At times, the wines of Crozes-Hermitage comes across as weak introduction to the Northern Rhone.  There is no confusion with the 2012 Domaine Aléofane, Crozes-Hermitage.  This is a serious, attractive Northern Rhone Syrah at an affordable price.  With a bit of that hallmark fat this balanced wine should develop of the next couple of years.  It makes for great drinking now so save several bottles for the future.   This wine was purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2012 Domaine Aléofane, Crozes-Hermitage – $20
Imported by Exclusive Wine Imports.  This wine is 100% Syrah.  The fruit is destemmed then fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged for 12 months in demi-muid.  Alcohol 13%.  There was young, tart fruit that turned darker towards the middle.  The wine had some attractive fat as well as a seamless blend of juicy acidity and riper tannins.  Clearly a Northern Rhone Syrah this wine eventually developed prune and black fruit flavors.  *** Now-2022.

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Tasting wines from Bourgogne to Priorat with Lou

Lou came over last week for another casual tasting.  I had opened up the 2012 Domaine Belle, Les Terres Blanches, Crozes Hermitage Blanc as Jenn and I prepared the table.  White Rhone wines are new territory for me.  There was nothing but pleasure when we each tried our first taste.  On the first night it was more vibrant and textured whereas on the second night it was smooth and mature.  If you are looking for a new white wine then you must pick up a bottle.

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2012 Domaine Belle, Les Terres Blanches, Crozes Hermitage Blanc – $26
Imported by DS Trading Co. This wine is a blend of 70% Marsanne and 30% Roussanne sourced from vines on soils of clay and limestone.  The fruit was fermented in 20% new oak barrels, 50% one-year old oak barrels and 30% in stainless steel vats then aged for 11 months in the same vessels.  Alcohol 13%. There was textured, slightly lively white fruit at the start. The smooth flavors matched the nut aspect that was balanced by noticeable acidity on the tongue. There was a gentle finish of stones followed by a persistent aftertaste. The wine seemed young on the first night but was perfectly mature on the following night.  ***(*) Now-2020.

Blind Flight

Lou supplied this flight in brown bags with his only revealing clue that they were all pre-2005.  Blind tasting is fun since I am not embarrassed by my guesses.  That the first wine was Riesling was fairly obvious but my conclusion of it being an old New York state wine was off the mark and continent.  The 1997 Albert Mann, Riesling, Schlossberg Grand Cru showed a bit of a split personality with its youthful start and finish of beyond-mature flavors.  It is a solid wine that is best drunk up.  The fresh, articulate nose of the 2000 Chateau du Going de Saint-Fiacre, Comte de Saint-Hubert, Vieilles Vignes, Muscadet Sevre et Maine did not prepare me for smooth, nutty flavors in the mouth.  On the first night I thought this a great wine to smell and taste with some evocations of the sea.  On the second night the nose became too funky for me.  This current release is only $20 so I will grab another bottle to try again.  Worst case, drink this wild wine on the very first night!  I guessed everything wrong about the 2001 Claude Dugat, Bourgogne.  For a basic Bourgogne it is rather serious stuff.  It responded well to air on the first night where it showed a bit of everything.

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1997 Albert Mann, Riesling, Schlossberg Grand Cru, Alsace –
Imported by Weygandt/Metzler.  This wine is 100% Riesling sourced from vines on soils of granite.  Alcohol 12.5%. The color was a light to medium golden amber. It smelled of mature Riesling with a hint of stones. It had a more crisp start that carried young flavors. These morphed into mature flavors with some old wood and still some ripe, tannic grip in the short finish. On the second evening it had a good mouthfeel with more prominent old flavors, dried herbs, and a tart finish.  ** Now.

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2000 Chateau du Going de Saint-Fiacre, Comte de Saint-Hubert, Vieilles Vignes, Muscadet Sevre et Maine – $20
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is 100% Melon de Bourgogne sourced from 100+ year old vines.  The wine was aged sur lie.  Alcohol 12%. There was a fresh, articulate nose of white fruit that on the second night was funky, dusty, and smelled of the sea. In the mouth, the almond flavors were smooth, engagingly floral, and mixed with white fruit. The wine was cool in nature with integrated acidity and a shorter, watery finish. With air the flavors became cheesy. *** Now.

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2001 Claude Dugat, Bourgogne –
Imported by Robert Kacher Selections.  This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from parcels on Gevrey.  It was fermented in concrete vats then aged for 14 months in used neutral French oak barrels.  Alcohol 12.5%. The color was a medium garnet. The initial aromas were high-pitched before revealing some deep fruit. In the mouth the hint of Morello cherries were tart yet had ripeness before building racy mineral notes. The wine was lighter in the finish with flavors of tart berries, some structure, old perfume, and dry black flavors. The tannins remained on the gums.  *** Now-2018.

Priorat and Montsant Flight

This flight was organized around two new arrivals of Mas del Camperol.  Produced by Celler Mas Garrian this is the same winery that produced the excellent 2005 Clos Severj, Priorat that I reviewed in my post Two Great Spanish Wines.  Priorat and Montsant are neighboring regions so I added the 2004 Celler Laurona, Montsant to the mix.  All three of these wines benefited from air and I thought tasted better on the second night.  The 2004 Celler Mas Garrian, Mas del Camperol, Priorat was the most interesting of the bunch.  It exhibited consistently greater complexity, poise, and will continue to develop for years.  The Priorat sun comes through at first but it does balance out.  The 2003 Celler Mas Garrian, Mas del Camperol, Priorat  exhibited brighter, cleaner flavors with notes of dried herbs.   Tasted alongside the 2004 the reduced complexity is noticeable so I would drink this alone.  I agree with Lou that the 2004 Celler Laurona, Montsant was the more coarse wine of the three.  It did come together on the second night where it had some complexity as well as old wood notes.  I do not think it will make old bones like the 2004 Mas del Camperol so why not drink it on a crisp spring night!

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2003 Celler Mas Garrian, Mas del Camperol, Priorat – $37
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.   This wine is a blend of blend of 30% Garnacha, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Carinena, and 15% Syrah from the estate’s older vineyards that was aged for 13 months in a mixture of new and used French and American oak.  Alcohol 15%. The nose revealed Kirsch and dried herbs. In the mouth this flavorful wine was grippy with building power and brighter acidity. With air, the racy cherry flavors continues. The aromas and flavors were consistent throughout, leaning towards the clean side. The structure was noticeable on the gums as the aftertaste had good length. *** Now-2025.

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2004 Celler Mas Garrian, Mas del Camperol, Priorat – $39
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is a blend of blend of Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carinena, and Syrah from the estate’s older vineyards that was aged for 13 months in a mixture of new and used French and American oak.  Alcohol 15%. The initially ripe, rasinated fruit became more attractive with aromas of ripe, musky, generous fruit. There were deep fruit flavors, some maturity, and greater complexity with air. There was good structure for development. **** Now-2025+.

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2004 Celler Laurona, Montsant –
Imported by Europvin.  This wine is a blend of of 50% Grenache, 25% Merlot, 15% Syrah, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Alcohol 14%. The nose was a little plummy with some funk. It did not have as much depth and came across as coarse but with air it became less forward with better balance. There was decent complexity, some old wood but it still seemed fresh. It maintained a coarse nature with less strength. ***(*) Now-2025.

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A trio of recent French wines

December 12, 2014 Leave a comment

The wines of Marcel Lapierre need no introduction for any fan of Beaujolais.  For those who do not know his wines, simply put the 2013 Marcel Lapierre, Morgon  is a wine that you will want to drink glass after glass right away.  This is a great wine to drink on all of the upcoming holiday afternoons grab a few bottles.  Michel Chapoutier recently teamed up with Michelin starred chef Yannick Alléno to produce wine from two vineyards in the northern Rhone.  The bottle of 2012 Yannick Alléno & Michel Chapoutier, Crozes Hermitage represents their second released vintage.  The nose is gorgeous right now with its meaty red fruit.  The flavors in the mouth are setup to benefit from short-term aging.  You cannot do any harm by trying a bottle right now but be sure to leave a few more in the cellar or fridge.  The 2010 Domaine de Magalanne, Cuvee Lou Biou, Cotes du Rhone Villages Signargues left me somewhat confused.  There seemed to be a disjoint between the maturity of the aromas and flavors with the toast aromas and obvious structure.  Maybe wait until next year for the structure to calm down?  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2013 Marcel Lapierre, Morgon – $32
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from 60% year old vines on granitic soils that was fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged in old Burgundy barrels.  Alcohol 12%.  There were flavors of cranberry and tart cherry in one seamless, slightly dense wine.  The flavors became somewhat tart by the finish with citrus notes and low-lying ripe tannins in the aftertaste.  This wine was so easy to drink.  *** Now-2019.

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2012 Yannick Alléno & Michel Chapoutier, Crozes Hermitage – $25
Imported by Classic Wines.  This wine is 100% Syrah that was aged 12-15 months in vats. Alcohol 13%.  The nose echoed the meaty red fruit in the mouth.   With air the fruit brightened up taking on floral notes and a more stand-up nature.  There was plenty of acidity in the middle along with a more mineral quality towards the finish.  The wine had a rounded edge and was a touch juicy.  Tastes like it is made from the younger vines.  **(*) Now-2020.

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2010 Domaine de Magalanne, Cuvee Lou Biou, Cotes du Rhone Villages Signargues – $20
Imported by Classic Wines.  This wine is an approximate blend of 60% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre, and 10% Grenache.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose revealed two personalities with both mature aromas and toast.  In the mouth were slightly tart flavors of black fruit and dry, giving a not quite hollow effect.  The structure was spiced and left drying tannins on the gums.  The wine needs a little air to show a mature, refreshing aftertaste.  ** Now-2018.

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Galuval and Yann Chave from the North and the South

September 18, 2014 Leave a comment

I always love trying wines from the Rhone.  My first experience with the 2012 Domaine de Galuval, Cairanne, Cotes du Rhone Villages was very enjoyable. This combined effort with advisor Philippe Cambie has resulted in a wine full of outstanding components.   It is not a rippling wine rather one that is coiled and should fully reveal itself next year.  The 2012 Yann Chave, Classic, Crozes Hermitage clearly moves to the north with its meaty aromas and clean flavors.  It is drinkable now but I would give resist opening a bottle it until the winter.  The Yann Chave was purchased at Weygandt Wines and the Galuval at MacArthur Beverages.

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2012 Domaine de Galuval, Cairanne, Cotes du Rhone Villages – $18
Imported by OSLO Enterprise.  This wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, and Cinsault.  Alcohol 14%.  The nice nose was followed by mouth filling flavors of cherries and red fruit.  The ripe tannins left a drying texture on the gums followed by an inky aftertaste.  This wine is still young for it maintained coiled flavors and a certain firmness.  **(*) 2015-2020.

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2012 Yann Chave, Classic, Crozes Hermitage – $27
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is 100% Syrah.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose bore slightly meaty aromas of fresh fruit.  In the mouth were clean flavors of black fruit with noticeable acidity on the tongue.  With air this wine showed young fruit flavors of meaty, purple fruit, that was attractively perfumed and incensed.  It left a gentle ripeness in the aftertaste.  Drinking well now but should improve over the short term.  **(*) Now-2018.

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Exciting Crozes-Hermitage and Moulin-a-Vent from 2011

It is fun to try new wines and even more fun to enjoy them.  As always, when I spied the unfamiliar bottles from Domaine Belle  I grabbed one to try.    Phil even asked later to make sure I had seen them.  The 2011 Domaine Belle, Les Pierrelles, Crozes-Hermitage opened up over two nights to reveal balanced, meaty black fruit that took on a racy quality.  This is a strong example of Crozes-Hermitage that you should not miss.   If you try a bottle be sure to give it a few hours in a decanter.   I cannot find much on the 2011 Roger Lassarat, Vieilles Vignes, Moulin-A-Vent.  The Roger Lassarat website appears to be a few years out of date for the vineyards are detailed as being 100% Chardonnay.  Regardless this is an amazing example of Gamay that will develop with age.  I tasted our bottle over three days and despite giving it plenty of air, the wine remained coiled tight even at the end.  That said, I really enjoyed the dark earthy overtones.  I highly recommend you try these two completely different wines.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2011 Domaine Belle, Les Pierrelles, Crozes-Hermitage – $22
Imported by DS Trading Company.  This wine is 100% Syrah from sourced from vines planted in the early 1980s on soils of galets which was fermented in stainless steel then aged for 14 months in used oak barrels.  .Alcohol 13%.  The nose was of Northern Rhone black fruit.  In the mouth were meaty, black fruit flavors mixed with smoke notes.  The cool fruit was matched by graphite notes and some ripe and spicy tannins.  The wine maintained a good balance of youthful flavors of black fruit, acidity, and tannins.  *** Now-2022.

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2011 Domaine Roger Lassarat, Vieilles Vignes, Moulin-A-Vent – $22
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose bore fresh aromas of raspberry candy and black soil.  In the mouth were flavors of dark red fruit with even darker overtones.  The tart flavors were noticeable on the sides of the tongue before the citric hint at the end.  The aftertaste bore an attractive dark, slightly earthy flavor.  Needs age!  **(*) 2015-2024+.

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A Trio From the Rhone

May 28, 2014 1 comment

Some of my latest research involves a wine produced over the last century.  This research is somewhat maddening for my massive effort has yielded a very low rate of return.  Still I have come up with a few rather interesting threads of information.  I have also expanded my correspondence which, of course, progresses at its own pace.  You might realize at this point that more research results in less posts.  With that in mind I jump straight to three lovely red wines.  The 2009 Chateau des Tours, Reserve, Cotes du Rhone is intense, unique, and best left in the cellar.  If you have not drunk Rayas then drink des Tours.   The 2012 Jamet, Syrah, Collines Rhodaniennes is downright drinkable.  Its a complex wine from young fruit a chunk of which came from Cote-Rotie and Condrieu.  Yes, Condrieu, there are red grapes grown there.  Finally, the 2012 Saint Cosme, Crozes-Hermitage is accessible now but took until the end of the second night to show its true complexity.  Its best to let the oak integrate some more so leave in the cellar.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2009 Chateau des Tours, Reserve, Cotes du Rhone – $35
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  This wine is a blend of 65% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 15% Cinsault.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose was rich with ripe, Kirsch aromas.  In the mouth were weighty, pure ripe flavors.  The acidity is present but the fruit dominates right now.  This complex wine has texture which turns powdery and reveals some structure.  It is through force of will that this wine will age.  It is full-bodied with a raspberry middle.  ***(*) 2019-2029.

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2012 Jamet, Syrah, Collines Rhodaniennes – $22
Imported by Robert Kacher Selections.  This wine is 100% Syrah mostly sourced from vines planted between 1993-1998 next to the cellar, some from young Cote-Rotie, along with 25% from Condrieu.  The fruit was destemmed and aged for 8-9 months in old casks.  Alcohol 12.5%.  The nose was engaging with aromas of clove spiced oranges and red fruit.  There were similar flavors in the mouth with some tang.  The flavors taste of young fruit.  They are fresh, pure, and sport good depth and satisfying red fruit flavor.  There was a little prickle and acidity on the tongue tip.  The flavors were blacker with graphite hints in the finish.  The wine becomes more mineral and tart with air.  *** Now-2016.

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2012 Saint Cosme, Crozes-Hermitage – $29
Imported by The Country Vintner.  This wine is 100% Syrah which was whole cluster fermented then aged in 12-15 months in a mixture of new and used oak casks.Alcohol 13%.  At first the nose reveals black fruit mixed with some smoke and perhaps vanilla then with extended air hints of complexity come out.  In the mouth were cool black fruit flavors that were clean and accessible.  The flavors pick up hints of sweetness.  The acidity and integrated tannins are not noticeable until the finish where there is texture on the gums.  Subtle notes of minerals and tank come out in the aftertaste.  Cellar further.  ***(*) 2016-2024.

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Four French Wines From the 2010 Vintage

Despite the portfolio tastings and various events I am still tasting wines at home.  Of the four wines featured below I would recommend the first three.  The 2010 J.L. Chave, Silene is enjoyable and approachable now but I have a sneaking s suspicion it might become even better in one or two years.  The 2010 Rouge-Bleu, Dentelle is fun to drink immediately after opening but its structure does come out leading me to believe it will be best early next year.  It is amusing to recently purchase both the 2006 and 2010 vintages of the Santa Duc, Les Vieilles Vignes.  Drink the 2006 while the 2010 opens up over the short-term.  Lastly, the 2010 Marjolet, Cuvee Tradition had some good fruit but could never shake the very firm structure nor the bits of heat, both of which I found distracting.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2010 J.L. Chave Selections, Silene, Crozes-Hermitage – $20
Imported by Erin Cannon Imports.  This wine is 100% Syrah from hillside parcels on granite with 50% sourced from a young parcel planted in 2003.  It wasf fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged for 18 months in oak casks.  Alcohol 13%.  The scented nose is of good, clean Northern Rhone fruit.  In the mouth there were orange and red fruit, graphite, and tangy red fruit.  There were some very fine, strong tannins in this younger but still approachable wine.  With air the midpalate becomes lush and citric mineral flavors come out.  *** Now-2017.

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2010 Domaine Rouge-Bleu, Dentelle, VdP de Mediterranee – $16
Imported by Williams Corner Wines.  This wine is a blend of 65% Carignan sourced from 57-year-old vines and 45% Grenache sourced from 35-year-old vines.  It was whole-cluster fermented in small concrete tanks.  Alcohol 13%.  The color was a light to medium grapey ruby.  The youthful nose is of young berries and purple fruit.  The wine was fruitier on the first night with violets mixing with black and purple fruit.  There was a firm, grapey blackness, grapey tannins, and good acidity.  Dried herbs came out in the finish where there was firm structure followed by some perfume in the aftertaste.  It throws a lot of sediment.  *** 2014-2019.

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2010 Domaine Santa Duc, Les Vieilles Vignes, Cotes du Rhone – $13
Imported by Robert Kacher Selections.  This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre, and 10% Cinsault, Counoise, and Carignan from vines averaging 50 years of age.  The fruit was destemmed then aged on the lees in vats.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose was light with pungent berries underlaid by ripe, grainy blue fruit aromas.  The mouth follows the nose with dense fruit, ripe tannins and an almost chewy nature.  The flavors are expansive in the mouth with ripe tannins and spices coating the lips and tongue.  With air red fruit and a darker core come out.  **(*) 2014-2018.

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2010 Chateau de Marjolet, Cuvee Tradition, Cotes du Rhone Villages Laudun – $13
Imported by Bacchus Importers.  This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah which was aged for 12 months in thermo-regulated tanks.  Alcohol 14.5%.  Tasted over several nights this wine offers firm, black, minerally fruit followed by focused ripeness.  It remained coiled tight and young with some heat and firm tannins coming out with air.  There are very fine, spicy, drying tannins in the aftertaste.  ** 2016-2021.

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Fran Kysela Visits MacArthur Beverages

Fran Kysela

This past Saturday Fran Kysela was at MacArthur Beverages pouring a selection of his wines.  Fran Kysela is the owner of Kysela Pere et Fils which is an importer and wholesaler of wine, beer, sake, and spirits.  I tasted the wines out of little plastic Dixie cups so forgive my compressed notes.  There were good values in the lower price range including the Weingut Bastgen and the easy drinking Rubus which shows, as Fran described, spicy Lodi fruit.  Don’t forget the Bodegas Valsacro as well. Considering my small tasting cup I was amazed by the aromatic nose of the Domaine du Colombier.  I got the impression it is tightening up a bit so make sure you stick a few bottles in the cellar.  You should also include a few bottles of the Domaine Grand Veneur, Lirac.  For my impressions from his last visit please read this post.  All of the wines tasted are currently available at MacArthur Beverages.

2011 Domaine Grand Veneur, Blanc de Viognier, Cotes du Rhone – $18
Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils.  this wine is 100% Viognier.  The nose reveals light to medium aromas of ripe, yellow fruit.  In the mouth the flavors are clean and focused with some ripe flavors at first.  There is a strength in delivery as the flavors pick up some minerals and a bit of spice.

2011 Weingut Basten, Kestener Paulinshofberg, Riesling Kabinett, Mosel – $15
Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils.  This wine is 100% Riesling.  There is a lighter nose followed by riper, sweeter fruit in the mouth.  The flavors start with energy on the tongue than soften and broaden in the mouth.  There is a little gritty flavor and integrated acidity.

2009 Rubus, Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi – $13
This wine is a blend of 98% Zinfandel and 2% Petit Sirah which was aged for nine months in French and American oak.  The color was garnet.  The flavors are of black cherry with a racy vein, balanced with some focus, plenty of acidity, and wraps up with a spicy note.  Drink over the next several years.

2005 Bodegas Valsacro, Cosecha, Rioja – $15
Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils.  This wine is a blend of 50% Tempranillo, 40% Garnacha, and 10% Mazuelo aged in French and American oak.  The color is a medium-dark black cherry with garnet.  There were riper, dark cherry flavors with black fruit and minerals in the finish.  This still seems youthful.

2009 Cave de Tain, Les Haut du Fief, Crozes-Hermitage – $20
Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils.  This wine is 100% Syrah.  The nose is darker with a big of roast earth.  In the mouth there are black fruits and roast with a dense personality.  There are powdery, drying tannins which leave a raspy tongue along with a minerally, racy bit.

2010 Domaine du Colombier, Cuvee Gaby, Crozes Hermitage – $30
Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils.  This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from older plots.  The aromatic nose is inviting with fresh and floral aromas.  In the mouth there was red fruit, a racy aspect, plenty of structure which shows tannins in the mouthfeel.  The flavors were a little spicy.  While beautiful to smell this really needs several years in the cellar.

2010 Domaine Grand Veneur, Clos de Sixte, Lirac – $22
Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils.  This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 35% Syrah, and 15% Mourvedre.  There was richer, ripe red fruit that was focused and framed by plenty of structure.  The flavors are a bit tart, a little spicy, and show some minerals and graphite in the finish.  I would cellar this for several years before drinking.

Fran Kysela and the author