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A trio of 2017 Julien Sunier Beaujolais

January 16, 2019 1 comment

Back in October I expressed my excitement over the 2017 Julien Sunier, Regnie.  It was not until this snowy weekend that I tasted it in context with two other of Julien Sunier’s wines.  In short, I am even more excited and convinced that you must try this wine.  The balance is fantastic, yielding a crisp wine of unique floral, orange citrus flavors.  There was bad hail damage in Fleurie and Morgon during the summer of 2017 which shows up in the bottle.  The 2017 Julien Sunier, Fleurie is still mineral and tannic but lighter in body with subtle fruit.  The 2017 Julien Sunier, Morgon is fresh but missing the usual depth and verve.  They are good wines all around with Sunier’s hand evident but the Regnie clearly stands out.  Grab a few bottles from Phil at MacArthur Beverages.

2017 Julien Sunier, Fleurie – $32
Imported by Williams Corner Wines. This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from vines planted in the 1960s.  It was fermented in concrete vats with indigenous yeast then aged for 9 months in used Burgundy barrels.  Alcohol 12.5%. Bright red flavors greet but the wine is actually quite mineral.  It is lighter in body with watering acidity.  There are both ripe tannin texture and ripe baking spices in the finish.  This is a light to medium bodied wine with ripeness that is definitely subtle compared to the overall dry finish.  Could use a bit of time. *** 2020-2026.

2017 Julien Sunier, Morgon – $32
Imported by Williams Corner Wines. This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from vines planted in the 1960s.  It was fermented in concrete vats with indigenous yeast then aged for 9 months in used Burgundy barrels.   Alcohol 13%.  A grapey, purple cranberry color.  Scented ripe and bright, red berries on the nose.  In the mouth, fresh and cool red flavors immediately mix with fine to medium textured tannins.  There is watering acidity throughout with a lightly inky finish.  This has the most fruit of the three.  *** Now – 2023.

2017 Julien Sunier, Regnie – $32
Imported by Williams Corner Wines. This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from vines averaging 60 years of age. The fruit was fermented with indigenous yeast in concrete vats then aged 9 months in neutral French barrels. Alcohol 13.5 %.    Medium fruit weight exists with crisp acidity and floral orange citrus fruit.  Lovely from the first pour.  With air, the fruit rounds out bringing on more florals, violets, and incense through the long, complex finish.  Minimal structure.  Cracking acidity.  **** Now – 2026.

Five Bottles of Beaujolais: Chignard, Dutraive, and Pignard

It was Lou who first mentioned the wines of Jean-Louis Dutraive.  As soon as the bottles arrived in DC we planned to taste them along with a few other bottles. The 2017 Jean-Louis Dutraive, Le Pied de la Rue, Fleurie is excellent.  A unique nose followed by electric flavors of delicate fruit and minerals.  It is unique in my limited experience with Beaujolais.  Sadly, two bottles of 2017 Jean-Louis Dutraive, Carolon, Fleurie proved to be yeasty, undrinkable messes.  So avoid the Carolon but do buy Le Pied de la Rue.  There is a bit of a delicacy which makes me think it is best drunk within a few years.

The 2014 Roland Pignard, Cuvee Tradition, Morgon is my second favorite wine of our evening.  It is a balanced, elegant wine of beauty.  It even takes on a vintage perfume note that makes it stand apart.  The 2014 Roland Pignard, Regnie is bright and a touch herbaceous, evocative of a cooler site.  It is solid but I prefer a bit more fruit material in my wine.  We finished with a bottle of 2013 Domaine Chignard, Julienas Beauvernay that had been opened three days prior.  It still tasted of firm, dense black fruit with some wood.  I imagine this wine will easily reach ten years of age at which point it might open up.

In the end, our five bottles spanned a range of qualities but I am happy.  I now know to look out for more wines from Dutraive and Pignard.

2017 Jean-Louis Dutraive, Le Pied de la Rue, Fleurie – $40
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from 40-70 year old vines, fermented in concrete then aged seven months in neutral oak barrels. Alcohol 12.5%. Aromatic. Bright acidity, almost electric, with fine grained yet ripe structure on the gums supports mineral flavors that are almost blue and black in fruit. Beautiful, delicate fruit flavors from pure berries. With air the beauty remains but the berry notes take on density. The finish is lifted with just a touch of yeast followed by a long aftertaste. **** Now – 2021.

2017 Jean-Louis Dutraive, Carolon, Fleurie – $35
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. Alcohol 12.5%. A cloudy, pale cranberry color. At first ,spritz on the tongue with articulate flavors of berries and some roundness in the mouth. But within two hours an undrinkable yeasty, mess. A second bottle was clear in the glass but soon tasted of popcorn and Pilsner. Not Rated.

2014 Roland Pignard, Cuvee Tradition, Morgon
Imported by Fruit of the Vine. This wine is 100% Gamay that was aged in oak for one year. Alcohol 12.5%. Deeper fruit and olive aromas. In the mouth is a good balance between the fruit, structure, and acidity such that is comes across as an elegant, well-balanced wine. There is a beauty that I prefer over the Regnie. With air, vintage perfume develops on the nose. In the mouth it becomes chiseled with grapey flavor and some ripeness in the finish. ***(*) Now – 2024.

2014 Roland Pignard, Regnie
Imported by Fruit of the Vine. This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from 60 year old vines.  Alcohol 12%. The brighter red fruit aromas are more herbaceous and a touch dusty. In the mouth this is a bright wine, almost tart, with juicy acidity and fine pithe tannins in the finish. It tastes of cooler site. Attractive in a way but should be drunk soon. *** Now.

2013 Domaine Chignard, Julienas Beauvernay – $18
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from 60 year old vines which was fermented in stainless steel then raised for 13 months in old oak foudres.  Alcohol 12.5%. Firm in the mouth with focused black fruit and touch of juicy acidity. It comes across as a young wine, still structured, and does not offer up much until three days after opening. There is some dense, ripe fruit in there, and a firm wood note. I do not see it improving in flavor but imagine it will live a long time. **(*) 2021 – 2029.

Exciting 2015 Beaujolais from Julien Sunier

November 15, 2016 Leave a comment

It is possible that my introduction to the wines of Julien Sunier could not have been better given that they are from the 2015 vintage.  I really like all three of his offerings and strongly suggest you buy them all. The 2015 Julien Sunier, Regnie is the wine to drink right now.  It is dark and earthy in flavor with plenty of texture and even fat.  You will return for glass after glass of tasty goodness.  The 2015 Julien Sunier, Fleurie possess the most intensity with gobs of grip and structure which will see this wine through many years of development.  You can drink it now, as an interesting comparison, but it is best left to age for another two to three years.  The 2015 Julien Sunier, Morgon strikes a middle point, crisp yet textured with deep-red rather than dark fruit.  It is not as fruity as the 2015 Lapierre, Morgon.  It offers more structure for development but I do not think it will develop as long as the Fleurie will.  Try them all! These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2015 Julien Sunier, Regnie – $30
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  Alcohol 13.5%.  A bit earthy at first then raspberry candy and perfume.  In the mouth is a somewhat rounded start which builds to impressive flavor which slowly expands until the finish.  This is a supple wine, the weightiest of the trio, which matches the inky perfumed and dry aftertaste.  There is a balance of texture, fruit, and stuffing such that this wine will live for years but the the fat and dark, coating flavors are attractive right now.  ***(*) Now – 2021.

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2015 Julien Sunier, Fleurie – $30
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This is a more mineral wine with a dry start of dark red fruit which exhibits gobs of grip.  This is the most tannic and dry with a touch more yeasty flavor.  There are notes of stones before the citric, almost tangy finish.  It wraps up with a nice low, earthy tone (somewhat reminiscent of the Regnie) in the aftertaste.  **** 2017  – 2026.

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2015 Julien Sunier, Morgon – $30
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The brighter nose is perfumed.  In the mouth is deep red fruit, minerals, and good grip.  The tannins are there but so is a crisp acidity.  The wine is full of character with some density to the bright, crisp, and subtly spiced flavor.  **** Now – 2026.

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Age worthy Fleurie from Clos de la Roilette

November 1, 2016 Leave a comment

Patience will rewards those who purchase this pair of 2015 vintage wine from Clos de la Roilette.  I found them tight upon first opening so I waited another 48 hours before trying them again.  If you are considering laying down these wines you should just spend the extra $6 to buy the 2015 Coudert (Clos de la Roilette), Cuvée Tardive, Fleurie.  While it clearly needs age it already reveals more complexity on the nose and in the mouth.  Beyond flavor it offers weight and texture that feels good in the mouth.  It is more impressively put together so it will readily develop until the next decade.  At that point you should be able to drink it after pulling the cork and not days later.   These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2015 Coudert (Clos de la Roilette), Fleurie – $24
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from 30-40 year old vines that underwent semi-carbonic maceration then was aged in large oak foudres.  Alcohol 13%.  The tart red and black fruit is almost puckering and certainly brighter.  This is a the grapier of the pair but with the stuffing to age.  *** 2018- 2025.

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2015 Coudert (Clos de la Roilette), Cuvée Tardive, Fleurie – $30
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from 80 year old vines on clay soils that underwent semi-carbonic maceration then was aged in large oak foudres.  Alcohol 13%.  This is quite dark in the glass with a tangy nose of berries and complex potpourri.  In the mouth this is a dense, almost silky wine.  Perhaps raw silk is a better description for the flavors are textured and weighty.  Mulled berries take on blacker fruit in the finish as well as a licorice note.  There is a dose of fine, drying tannins in the end which will help see this wine through many years of age.  ***(*) 2019-2030.

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A Balanced Bottle of 2014 Chermette, Fleurie “Poncie”

From a slope so steep it can only be tended by hand the 2014 Domaine du Vissoux (Pierre-Marie Chermette), Poncie, Fleurie is perfectly balanced for immediate consumption.  The clean, grapey flavors are coated with some fat which makes this an easy wine to drink. This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2014 Domaine du Vissoux (Pierre-Marie Chermette), Poncie, Fleurie – $24
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from 35 year old vines on pink granite soils that was aged for 6 months in used oak tuns.  Alcohol 13%.  The fresh, greenhouse tinged nose prepares one for the slightly fruity, clean red flavored start.  Texture soon develops with watering acidity that moves things towards tangy flavors and fat-like body.  The wine exhibits great balance with no edges from the supportive structure.  The wine, if anything, becomes grapier with air.  *** Now – 2019.

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A Worthy Cru Beaujolais for Drinking Today

After opening five bottles, David Bloch finds success with the sixth.

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2009 Domaine du Vissoux / Pierre-Marie Chermette, Fleurie Les Garants
I bought six bottles of this wine from the local retail shop of the importer.   Four bottles went down the drain.  A fifth was drinkable, at best.  All five suffering from TCA.  With little hope, tonight I drank bottle #6.  Well, at least 16% of my purchases performed as expected from this highly regarded producer in a heralded vintage.  A very compact nose.  In the mouth, notes of blackberries, tree bark and salty beef broth.  A really long finish that has a lot of attractive bitterness and minerality.  I wish the other five bottles performed as well.   A fine Beaujolais that is drinking really well today.

Wines to Drink While Researching

I am having a great time conducting research for my History of Wine posts.  These posts engage most of my free time so I have been publishing less tasting notes.  Though I have been drinking more familiar wines I still have a big pile of wines to write about.  The four featured in today’s post are an interesting lot.  The 2010 Domaine des Huards, Cour-Cheverny is made from the very rare Romorantin varietal.  There is not much of it so I am surprised myself to have this follow up to the previously tasted  2009 Francois Cazin, Cour-Cheverny.  With air the attractively priced Huards took up a good balance of lemon flavors and stones.  The 2010 Le Rocher Des Violettes, Cabernet Franc has attractive flavors of vintage perfume along with red and black fruit.   I would cellar a few bottles to drink in a few years.  I have a sneaking suspicion that the 2010 Domaine Rene Rostaing, Vassal de Puech Nobles, Coteaux du Languedoc will be even better in several years.   With a good nose, Cardamom(!), good flavors, and minerals it is hard not to like it right now but it left a feeling of being tight and not yet revealing its full potential.  Lastly, the 2011 Domaine du Vissoux, Poncie, Fleurie is a young with good berry fruit lifted by citrus and acidity.  I would not open a bottle yet but even the youth did not stop Jenn from enjoying it.   These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2010 Domaine des Huards, Cour-Cheverny – $16
Imported by Jon-David Headrick Selections.  This wine is 100% Romorantin sourced from old vines on limestone soils.  It was fermented then aged for 12 months in tank.  Alcohol 12%.  The nose was soft and Riesling-like.  The mouth followed the nose with a bit of Riesling-like flavor. Then with air it took on tart white and yellow fruit with ripe, citrus tannins.  There were lemon flavors, dry stones, and acidity on the front-sides of the tongue which caused salivation.  *** Now-2018.

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2010 Le Rocher Des Violettes, Cabernet Franc, Touraine – $20
Imported by Vintage 59.  This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc sourced from vines planted in 1980 which was aged for 12 months in older barrels.  The nose was fresh with red fruit and greenhouse notes.  In the mouth there was vintage perfume which mixed with red and black fruit.  The flavors were dry with acidity that made itself known.  The flavors became drier through the finish where more vintage perfume and pepper came out.  **(*) 2014-2024.

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2010 Domaine Rene Rostaing, Vassal de Puech Nobles, Coteaux du Languedoc – $24
Imported by the Rare Wine Co.  This wine is mostly Syrah with some  Mourvedre, Grenache, and Rolle which were fermented with indigenous yeast then aged in a mixture of barrels.  Alcohol 13%.  The very fine but firm nose bore aromas of cardamom and pepper.  In the mouth there were initially red, citrus-like fruit with firm but good flavors.  With are a very floral vintage perfume developed with very integrated acidity.  There were flavors of raspberry candy, minerals, and a dry nature in the finish.  The aftertaste was expansive.  *** 2014-2023.

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2011 Domaine du Vissoux, Poncie, Fleurie – $22
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from 45 year old vines on steep soils of granite.  It was fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged six months in old oak tuns.  Alcohol 12.5%.  In the mouth there were tangy flavors of red fruit which had a citrus list.  There was a modest ripeness that came out as tangy flavors touched the sides of the tongue.  There were berries and strawberries in the aftertaste of young fruit.  There was plenty of acidity, the flavors remained tart on the sides of the tongue, and a purple and black note.  **(*) 2014-2020.

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Tasting Samples with Josefa Concannon of Louis/Dressner Selections

A few weeks ago I happened to be at MacArthur Beverages when Josefa Concannon of Louis/Dressner Selections was visiting the store.  She was pouring six different samples which I was fortunate to taste.  The Louis/Dressner portfolio is quite interesting and certainly has a strong following.  I am pleased to see an increased selection of their wines in Washington, DC so was more than happy to taste through Josefa’s samples.   Though it was fun to taste Francois Cazin’s Cour-Cheverny made from the Romorantin grape I preferred the 2011 Domaine du Closel, Jalouise, Savennieres and 2011 Chateau D’Oupia, Heretiques Rouge, Pays d’Herault.  The former has an average Wine-Searcher price of $20 and the later $11.  That makes for two very attractive wines at strong prices.  Please find my brief notes below.

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2009 Francois Cazin, Cour-Cheverny
This wine is 100% Romorantin sourced from 40-year-old vines and an 80-year-old parcel.  It was fermented in concrete tanks then aged on the lees for four months in barrel followed by 12 months in concrete tanks.  Alcohol 13.5%.  In the mouth there was white fruit which was slightly weighty, dry, and mildly ripe.  It had good texture.

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2011 Domaine du Closel, Jalouise, Savennieres
This wine is 100% Chenin Blanc sourced from 15-20 year old vines which were aged 12 months on the lees.  Alcohol 14.5%.   The nose had aromas of mildly ripe berries.  In the mouth there was a softer start followed by grippy flavors of white fruit and stones supported by good acidity.  The flavors build in the mouth showing nice weight.  I enjoyed this.

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2011 Chateau D’Oupia, Heretiques Rouge, Pays d’Herault
This wine is 100% Carignan sourced from 40+ year old vines with 50% barrel fermented and 50% carbonic maceration.  Alcohol 13%.  There was a good nose of expressive berries.  In the mouth the flavors were cooler and grapey before becoming racy.  The acidity and fruit were integrated providing a well-rounded wine with good energy.  I enjoyed this too.

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2010 Chateau D’Oupia, Tradition Rouge, Minervois
This wine is a blend of 50% Carignan, 40% Syrah, and 10% Grenache sourced from 50+ year old vines.  The nose was a little more serious.  In the mouth it was a touch more vibrant and assertive.  The the flavors were light the middle was expansive.  It showed a touch more tart acidity and presence of structure.

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2011 Clos de la Roilette, Fleurie
This wine is 100% Gamay.  The nose was grapey with greenhouse aromas.  In the mouth there were red and black fruit which were grapey on the tongue tip.  The grapey tannins mixed with pepper and graphite.

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2011 G. Descombes, Morgon
This wine is 100% Gamay which was fermented in cement tanks with underwent semi-carbonic maceration with indigenous yeasts.  There was a good nose of black berries.  In the mouth the flavors were a little tart with grapey fine tannins, Gamay like, and weight which lay on the tongue.  There was pepper and a dry structure.

A Surprising Number of Wines at Shane’s House

February 27, 2013 Leave a comment

This past weekend we attended a class fundraiser at our neighbor Shane’s house.  The goal was to raise funds for a French Immersion class trip to Montreal.  The event was hosted by Shane, Denise, Scott, and Jennifer.  Shane works for Bacchus Importers and Scott works for Monument Fine Wines so I knew it would be a fun evening.  Throughout the house were tables representing a particular region of French.  Each table had several wines and dishes from that region.  There was quite a diverse set of wine so I did my best to taste through a variety and jot down some simple notes.

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Providing enough sparkling wine for everybody is a tough job but the NV Charles de Fere, Reserve Rose Dry is always a great choice.  It is an interesting blend of Gamay, Cinsault, and Cabernet from the Loire and Sciacarellu from Corsica!  I thought this bottle showed an entry of ripe fruit and rather fine bubbles which softly dissipate into a short mousse.  There was citric acidity and drying flavors.  The 2010 Gratien & Meyer, Brut Rose Premium Millesime, Saumur is a blend of most Cabernet Franc and Grolleau.  I am not aware of drinking Grolleau before.  This bottle had firmer bubbles which made a nice mousse, drier fruit, then white citrus fruit, and a tangy finish.

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Next I skipped over to the white Burgundies by starting with the 2011 Bastion de L’Oratoire Chanson, Vire-Cleese. This wine imported by Terlato is 100% Chardonnay which is vinified in vat and undergoes malolactic fermentation. It had  a light nose of white and ripe floral fruit, honeysuckle like.  In the mouth the whiter fruit had some tropical ripeness and grip.

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The  2011 J. M. Boillot, Montagny 1er Cru, imported by Vineyard Brands, stepped things up.  There was a light nose of good fruit, nutmeg, with more depth.  The flavors followed the nose and were lithe, focused and young with lively acidity.

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Of the 2005 and 2007 Bordeaux I thought a La Grange de Clinet decent but the Tuscan 2006 Tenuta di Arceno, Prima Voce, Toscana IGT from magnum, the best Bordeaux blend.  This is a blend of 65% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Sangiovese, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Syrah which was aged for 12 months in French oak.  There were maturing Merlot and Cabernet notes on the nose. In the mouth the flavors were structured but with good balance.  It took on black fruit, black minerally depth, and will certainly age.  Tasted blind I might not pick it out at Tuscan but it was certainly a good drink and reasonably priced.

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The Rhone wines were decent but I thought the Languedoc-Roussillon selection better.  For old-vine Carignan the 2007 Domaine de la Bouysse, Mazerac, Corbieres Boutenanc, made from 105 year old Carignan along with Grenache and Mourvedre, is pretty and approachable but will benefit from age.  I thought the 2011 Borie la Vitarele, Les Terres Blanches, a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah, was lighter and simpler with its bright red fruit.  I am usually a fan of this wine.  The 2010 Abbaye Sylva Plana, Les Novices, Faugeres the best of the three.  It is a blend of Cinsault, Grenache, and Carignan from 15-60 year old vines on soils of schiste.  It had rich flavors, depth, and was not overbearing.

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The 2007 Domaine Maorou, Red Wine, VdP Hauterive is a blend of 36% Syrah, 34% Carignan, and 30% Grenache.  It showed more maturity than the previous three wines along with good fruit, dried herbs, and some ruggedness.  I did not get to revisit it.

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David McIntyre brought a selection of wines so of course I had to tuck into those as well.  The 2007 Potel-Aviron, Vieilles Vignes, Fleurie did not show much.  The tight nose was followed by tight red black fruit in the mouth, just a touch of weight, and fine, dusty tannins.  Perhaps it needed some air.

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More interesting was the 2006 Domaine Billard Pere et Fils, La Combe Basin, Saint-Romain Blanc.  This wine is 100% Chardonnay from the lieu dit La Combe Bazin. The wine is barrel fermented in 25% new French oak and aged sur lie for 12 months.  It had a light nose of mature aromas and gravelly yellow fruit.  It was tight in the mouth with gravelly, controlled flavors, fresh acidity in the finish, some tannins, and an orange peel note.  Nice.

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Back to the reds was the 2006 Chateau des Jacques, Clos de Rochegres, Moulin-A-Vent from Louis Jadot.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from granite soils and aged for 12 months in oak barrels.  What a lovely example of maturing Gamay.  It is still confident and has concentration for many more years of development.  A good surprise.

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Finally, a lovely treat was the 1988 Chateau Suduiraut, Sauternes that Shane found in his cabinet.  Maturing in a sense but not too complex yet with focus and acidity to last for a number of years to come.  Has drier flavors.