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A blind tasting featuring wines from Yvon Clerget and Duroche

February 12, 2019 Leave a comment

I was fortunate to be Phil’s guest at the lastest blind tasting he held for the group.  Phil had smoked some chuck for dinner, providing a savory reminder of what was to come after the blind tasting.  First up, we sampled the 2017 Chateau L’Ermitage, Auzan, Costieres de Nimes.  It is a good wine to drink this year and a reminder that I do not drink enough Rhone-style white wines.

I do not drink enough red Burgundy to have even remotely narrowed in on the six blind wines we tasted.  Beyond the particularly tasty bottles, Domaine Yvon Clerget and Domaine Duroche represent wines made by a young generation.  Thibaud Clerget produced his first wines in 2015 and Pierre Duroche took over his father’s estate in 2005. It is quite something then, that the 2015 Domaine Y. Clerget, Volnay 1er Cru Carelle sous la Chapelle is in the best spot for a wine to drink now or cellar for the future.  It is tasty from the first pour but develops over an evening.  I will admit the ripeness of the 2016 Domaine Duroche, Gevrey-Chambertin Champ had me guessing New Zealand Pinot Noir!  Despite that grave error, this is satisfying being the most fruited, forward wine we tasted.  The 2015 Domaine Duroche, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Champeaux  is another fine wine for drinking now.  There is maturity already reflected in palate with additional complexity from the earth.  It is the most expensive wine of the evening yet also the most attractive.  I found these three wines the most enjoyable that evening.  I guess that the others did as well for these bottles were completely finished.  For those with patience, do not overlook the 2015 Domaine Y. Clerget, Pommard 1er Cru Les Rugiens.  It has an impressive future ahead.

With dinner we drank a bottle of 2004 Produttori del Barbaresco, Barbaresco Riserva Rabaja.  While not the most impressive wine, it was consumed quickly and I suspect it would benefit from further decanting.  I typically like Rabaja very much.  The final wine of the night is a library release that was recorked in 2018. At 27 years of age the 1992 Weingut Wegeler, Vintage Collection, Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese, Mosel is a modest, fully mature wine.  It is quite lively on the tongue which keeps it refreshing.

Starter

2017 Chateau L’Ermitage, Auzan, Costieres de Nimes
Imported by Terrison Wines.  This wine is a blend of 60% Roussanne, 20% Grenache Blanc, and 20% Viognier.  Aromas of flowers and nuts.  Modest in body and light in weight.  Quite floral in flavor with tree fruits, stones, and a very floral finish.  A solid wine to drink once the spring weather arrives.  *** Now – 2021.

Burgundy

1 – 2015 Domaine Y. Clerget, Volnay – $59
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. Alcohol 13.5%.  A young color with a touch of VA on the nose.  The young flavors in the mouth are tart with ripe fruit soon developing.  Some concentration, slightly chewy, young structure, and tart acidity.  Becomes tighter with air.  **(*) Now – 2024.

2 – 2015 Domaine Y. Clerget, Volnay 1er Cru Carelle sous la Chapelle – $69
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. Alcohol 13.5%.  A young color with violet.  A touch more aromatic.  In the mouth are expansive flavors of blue and black fruit supported by fine and drying tannins.  It picks up more weight in the finish.  Clearly more serious than #1.  This remains the easiest drinking of the six blind wines, taking on hints of spice and some lifted, ripeness in the finish. ***(*) Now – 2029.

3 – 2015 Domaine Y. Clerget, Pommard 1er Cru Les Rugiens – $119
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. Alcohol 13%.  Tart, young, and dry structured yet clearly possess power for the flavors to develop.   Younger in profile than #2, it has a big future ahead.  Though primary and grapey with a mineral, black fruited finish, the fine almost bitter tannins make it trying to drink at this point.  It is best left in the cellar for several more years.  **(**) 2022-2037.

4 – 2016 Domaine Duroche, Gevrey-Chambertin – $59
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  Aromas of sulphur never blow off but there is some grapiness.  In the mouth it tastes like a natural wine with cranberry fruit, crunch acidity, and light finish.  In no way like the other wines so must be off.  Not Rated.

5 – 2016 Domaine Duroche, Gevrey-Chambertin Champ – $69
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  A lovely nose.  Very ripe and sweet fruit with just enough acidity and supportive structured.  Perhaps a hint of heat in the end.  It develops citrus notes.  Structured.  Tart acidity. *** Now – 2024.

6 – 2015 Domaine Duroche, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Champeaux – $129
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  Kirsch on the nose.  A hint of maturity in the mouth make this the most drinkable of the Duroche.  A ripe core of fruit, cherries, and a hint of earth make this a beautiful wine. **** Now – 2024.

Dinner Wines

2004 Produttori del Barbaresco, Barbaresco Riserva Rabaja
Imported by Vias Imports.  Alcohol 14%.  Starting to mellow, maturing but focused with ripeness and grip to support future life.  Balanced.  Served immediately from a decanter, it was consumed quickly.  ***(*) Now – 2034.

1992 Weingut Wegeler, Vintage Collection, Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese, Mosel
Imported by Comete Wines.  Alcohol 8%.  A little spritz on the tongue then fully mature flavors are evident.  Dense lemon with modest ripe yellow fruit are fresh but the finish is short.  A slightest hint of tea.  *** Now but will last.

The Sensational Sercial Dinner: 1875 through 2008

December 26, 2016 Leave a comment

I was careful to note I drank from a magnum of 1976 Lanson, Champagne and even took a picture of the bottle of 1996 Louis Roederer, Cristal Champagne and Jacque Selosse, V.O. Champagne Extra Brut. However, my tasting note for the 1998 Dom Perignon, Champagne “racy, yeasty, rich, mineral wine flavors” is unaccompanied by a picture. This might sound haphazard but Champagne is the first thing drunk after the all-day Sercial Madeira tasting. The need to refresh oneself with Champagne and talk to old friends leads to a sort of frenzy. Everyone jockeys for a pour of Champagne. It is not a time to take note.

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Dinner is seated, at a very long table. The pace of wine is measured by the sommeliers who impose a logical order on what is drunk. Every guest is encouraged to bring a magnum of mature wine or preferably two bottles of the same. This is not always possible so there is a large variety of red wines. I take pictures and jot down brief impressions so I may recall the evening later on. There were only two off bottles this night the 1959 Joh. Jos. Prum, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, feine Auslese, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer and 1978 Heitz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Martha’s Vineyard, Napa Valley. In Germany 1959 is a legendary vintage and in America both Joh. Jos Prum and Heitz Martha’s Vineyard are legendary wines. In some punishing coincidence a friend brought a bottle of 1975 Martha’s Vineyard to my house this year. It was off too. Damn and double damn.

Of the good wines, they fell into two camps. Those which are too young to follow a tasting of 19th century Madeira and those which are appropriately mature. In this latter category two particular bottles stand out: 1966 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou, Saint-Julien and 1875 Isaias W. Hellman, Angelica Wine, Cucamonga Vineyard, San Bernadino County. The 1966 Ducru sports a fantastic nose. I find some old wines have a sweaty aspect to their nose almost like aromatic umami and this bottle did as well. The flavors were equally attractive with that sweet concentration of flavor from age. It does not just taste mature, it tastes different.

My experience with Californian wine only includes vintages into the 1960s. I can assure you the last wine I would have expected at dinner was not just a pre-Prohibition Californian wine but one from the 19th century. In a particularly unforgiving act of arson in 2005, some 4.5 million bottles of wine were destroyed including 175 bottles of Hellman Angelica and Port wine, certainly most of the remaining stock. I can only imagine a handful of bottles survive to this day. Now scarcity alone does not make for a fine wine, what is in the glass does.  With a bit of volatile acidity and dust on the nose the 1875 Hellman may have given slight pause but in the mouth this is an unctuous, powerful, and mouth coating wine.  I managed to prolong the pleasure for a few more weeks because I was allowed to take the empty bottle home.  There was still damp sediment in the bottle so I stoppered it.  Every few days I would smell the bottle to swim once again in 19th century aromas.

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2002 Dauvissat, Chablis Grand Cru Le Clos
Imported by Vieux Vins. The yeasty nose makes way to minerally, white and yellow fruit flats. This seductive wine is rich with a hint of yeast, ripe tannins in the finish, and fat in the aftertaste.

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2008 Domaine Coche-Dury, Meursault
Alcohol 12.5%. This is a fresh, lean wine that tastes yeasty and older in the mouth. IT leans towards pure lemon flavors.

2007 Domaine Coche-Dury, Meursault
Alcohol 12.5%. This is a grippy, concentrated wine with fresh acidity. A little weight comes out with air but this is all about lemon tartness. To match the flavor is a fair amount of acidity.

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1959 Joh. Jos. Prum, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, feine Auslese, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
Imported by O. W. Loeb & Co. Corked! D*mn!

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1970 Domaine Dujac, Gevrey-Chambertin Aux Combottes
Imported by Frederick Wildman. Alcohol 13%. The dark, garnet color matches the rather mature nose. In the mouth this is a very dry wine with old perfume mixing with linear, red fruit, The structure is still there, out living the fruit, as this gentle, old wine dries up.

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1967 Odero, Barolo
A Chambers Street Selection imported by T. Elenteny. The nose is a little stinky, which I find attractive, before aromas of candied cherry come out. This is old-school lively, with structure from the ripe tannins. Perfect for what it is.

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1961 Burlotto, Castello di Verduno, Barolo
The foxy, earthy flavors come with initial concentration. It is a dry wine offering more flavor than the Oddero. Maturity has brought old-school flavors, a sweet aspect, and earth. It wraps up with drying, textured tannins.

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1967 Cordezuma, Barolo
A Chambers Street Selection imported by T. Elenteny. The color is young, almost cranberry-ruby in color. In the mouth this is a simpler wine which is tart, citric, and bears less fruit.

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1981 Lopez de Heredia, Vina Tondonia, Rioja
An odd wine with almost mushroom flavors, yeast, and floral pork (WTF!). The acidity is bound up with the modest bit of structure.

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1990 Prunotto, Barbaresco Montestefano
Alcohol 13.5%. Tobacco. Young!

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1995 Guigal, Cote-Rotie La Landonne
A Thomas Gruenig Selection imported by Torion Trading Ltd. Alcohol 13%. This is way too young. Structure, drying, and bracing at this point.

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1995 Guigal, Cote-Rotie La Mouline
A Thomas Gruenig Selection imported by Torion Trading Ltd. Alcohol 13%. This is aromatic with a fine nose just beginning to take on mature aromas. In the mouth the red fruit is starting to soften a touch. Overall this is a focused wine with powerful structure through the fresh finish. Young.

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1989 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou, Saint-Julien
Imported by Johnston. Alcohol 12.5%. The mature Bordeaux notes are starting to escape but this is still so young.

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1989 Chateau Lynch Bages, Pauillac
Shipped by SDVF. Imported by South Wine & Spirits. Alcohol 12.5%. This is more open with cassis, minerals, and fat. Nice.

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1966 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou, Saint-Julien
Shipped by Raoul Lucien & Co. Imported by Combeau-Collet & Cie. Alcohol 12%. The fantastic nose is aromatic and a touch sweaty with cranberries and red fruit. It develops some old-school perfume. In the mouth the flavors have some sweetness to them before the drying finish. A lovely wine at 50 years of age.

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1966 Chateau Pichon-Longueville Baron, Pauillac
Shipped by A. de Luze & Fils. This is less giving, more linear, soon shutting down to simple, cranberry, and red fruit flavors. It is firm and tight in the mouth with a shorter finish.

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1978 Heitz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Martha’s Vineyard, Napa Valley
An off bottle.

1992 Harlan Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Young and primary.

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1937 Niepoort, Colheita Port
Imported by W. J. Deutsch Co. Alcohol 19%. There is a sweet start with flavors of black tea and wood. There is a fair amount of noticeable acidity before the slightly harsh finish.

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1875 Isaias W. Hellman, Angelica Wine, Cucamonga Vineyard, San Bernadino County
Though there is some volatile acidity on the nose, it is fine and articulate, with a bit of dust matching its age. The fruit tastes so different. This is a powerful and lip coating wine which is still racy and sweet. The fruit persisted through the dark finish. With air this unctuous wine, with its plentiful residual sugar, builds glycerin and baking spices. In great shape!

Ricardo, the author, and Mannie

Ricardo, the author, and Mannie

The 2012 Burgundy blogger and industry night at MacArthur Beverages.

The 2012 vintage in Burgundy was troubled by destruction from hail, coulure, and millerandage.  While this ultimately resulted in a significant reduction in the amount of wine produced, what was made is regarded as very good.   That combination of small amounts of very good wine certainly drove up prices but as I recently learned, there is still good wine to be found in all ranges.  This experience came at the annual blogger and industry night at MacAthur Beverages.  Organized by Phil Bernstein, we were treated to six wines from generic red Burgundy at $22 per bottle all the way to Corton Grand Cru at $220 per bottle. I cannot draw any conclusions from such a tasting but let me just say that I was generally pleased by the fruit, acidity, and ability to age.  Last night, I even dreamed of drinking Burgundy.

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2012 Joseph Faiveley, Pinot Noir, Bourgogne – $22
Imported by Frederick Wildman & Sons.  Alcohol 13%.  There were spiced red fruit aromas followed by grapey,  young fruit in the mouth.  There was more red fruit with the structure immediately apparent with wood notes returning in the finish.  I would cellar this for a year or two.

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2012 Joseph Drouhin, Cotes de Nuits-Villages – $25
Imported by Dreyfus, Ashby & Co.  This wine is 100% Pinot Noir that was fermented with indigenous yeast then age for 12-15 months in French oak.  Alcohol 13%.  There was a pretty nose with some sweet aromas.  In the mouth was watering acidity, red and black fruit, and less obvious structure.  Though young, this wine was accessible, with developing raspberry candy flavors and eventually some structure.  I think it showed better definition with air.

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2012 Domaine Joblot, Clos du Cellier aux Moines, Givry 1er Cru – $45
Imported by Robert Kacher Selections.  This wine is 100% Pinot Noir that was fermented in barrel with indigenous yeast then aged for up to 16 months in 50% new oak.  Alcohol 13%.  In the mouth were blacker, dark floral flavors followed by a vein of fruit.  The black fruit remained focused, showing weight, a little more structure, and watering acidity.  Will age.

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2012 Louis Jadot, Domaine Gagey, Beaune 1er Cru Les Greves – $50
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There were smoky hints to the black, floral aromas.  In the mouth were black fruit flavors that were finely ripe and texture.  The acidity kept the wine moving along as tannins were left on the gums.  The wood flavor does come out.  Needs a few years to absorb the wood but should develop quite well.

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2012 Domaine Heresztyn-Mazzini, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Champonnets – $100
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from vines planted in 1972.  The fruit was fermented with indigenous yeast then aged for 16-18 months in 40-50% new oak.   Alcohol 13%.  There was a serious but tight nose.  In the mouth the acidity and structure were perfectly integrated with the raspberry and mineral, black fruit.  The fine grained tannins suggested several years of aging are required.

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2012 Domaine Faiveley, Corton Grand Cru Clos des Cortons Faiveley – $220
Imported by Frederick Wildman and Sons.  This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from vines planted between 1936 and 2002.  It was fermented in a combination of stainless steel and wooden vats then aged for 16 to 18 months in mostly new oak. Alcohol 13%.  The complex nose made way to concentrated, complex, and gently spiced flavors in the mouth.  There was broad ripeness, lipsticky raciness, and black graphite flavors.  Very attractive now this will unfurl with further time in the cellar.  Lovely.

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An Evening of Chambolle-Musigny, Vosne-Romanee, and one Gevrey-Chambertin

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I was very lucky to be Roland’s guest when he recently hosted his wine tasting group.  As always, the host picks the wines which are tasted blind, as well as cooks dinner.  We gathered around at first, eating charcuterie and cheese which was accompanied by an excellent 2012 Willi Schaefer, Himmelreich GG, Mosel Saar Ruwer.  It had textured, somewhat ripe flavors with excellent acidity.  I drained my glass before we sat down to the wines.  We eventually learned the wines were arranged in flights.  The first which clearly contained the ringer, showed more tart and tannic than the second excellent flight.    There were some guesses of Italy but the group quickly spiraled towards Pinot Noir from Burgundy.  Phil thought hard, swirling his glass, eventually announcing Chambolle-Musigny and Vosne-Romanée.  Roland confirmed the guess and added that they were all of the 2005 vintage.  Suitably impressed I rapidly smiled because I had never drunk a wine from Vosne-Romanée.

In the first flight I thought both the 2005 Domaine Jean-Jacques Confuron, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru and the 2005 Serafin Pere & Fils, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru Les Baudes were not giving up much.  The noses were tight, reduced, and the flavors came across as locked in structure.  They had breathed for almost three hours and though they did improve some with additional air, this pair should be left in the cellar for several more years.  The 2005 Louis Jadot, Domaine Gagey, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru Les Baudes showed the best of the three.  I was particularly attracted to the earthy component.  It came across as more mature with a touch of softness.  I would recommend the 2010 Cristom, Pinot Noir, Sommers Reserve, Willamette Valley for its nose alone.  Tasted blind it was “easy” to work out it was from Oregon.  Roland commented that other vintages of the Sommers Reserve has appeared in previous blind tasting and even come out on top.

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2005 Domaine Jean-Jacques Confuron, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru –
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  The nose had a touch of sulphur, eventually revealing smoky aromas of black-red fruit and toast.  In the mouth the black and red fruit was integrated with acidity and very fine tannins.  The flavors became a bit tart and red but the wine did not reveal much and remained tannic.  Cellar further.

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2005 Serafin Pere & Fils, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru Les Baudes –
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  The nose was a little earthy.  In the mouth were tart red fruit flavors, a little more complexity, some minerals, and touch more acidity.  The finish was attractive with grippy tannins.  Showing young.

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2005 Louis Jadot, Domaine Gagey, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru Les Baudes –
Imported by Kobrand Corp.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose was more open with an earthy touch, sweeter fruit, and meat.  In the mouth the slightly riper red fruit  morphed into black fruit.  The flavors came across as more mature.  The wine became rounder with air, had some density and a touch of softness in the finish.

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2010 Cristom, Pinot Noir, Sommers Reserve, Willamette Valley –
Alcohol 13.5%.  This was highly aromatic.  In the mouth were more clean Pinot Noir flavors, approachable red and black fruit and minerals.  The mouth clearly followed the nose.  There was a cinnamon note, ripe tannins, and some ripeness in the finish.

Chemical characteristics of 1870 Groffier, Chambertin and 1870 Vosne-Romanee. “Medical Use of Wine”, The Lancet, Vol. 2. 1880.

In the 19th century the wines of Vosne-Romanée were medically noted for their increased percentage of alcohol, almost complete absence of sugar, and low proportion of tannins.  As such they were recommended for “diabetic patients who can afford so expensive a luxury, these high-class red Burgundies appear to be especially well fitted.”   After tasting through he Vosne-Romanée flight I cannot help but wonder how much wine was leftover for drinking after The Lancet Commission on the Medical Use of Wine finished their laboratory work.  This was a great flight, the wines not only showed more open than the Chambolle-Musigny but they were more rounded and complex.  The 2005 Frederic Magnien, Vosne-Romanée Premier Cru Brulees has a lot going on right now but seems perfectly balanced with stuffing for continued development in the bottle.  I think the 2005 Domaine Gros Frère et Sœur, Vosne-Romanée Premier Cru Les Chaumes was the weakest of the flight despite its aromatic nose.  The 2005 Louis Jadot, Vosne-Romanée Premier Cru Les Beaux Monts had a great combination of vintage perfume and meaty fruit on the nose followed by attractive grip in the mouth.  It was the perfect prelude to the 2005 Domaine Francois Lamarche, Vosne-Romanée Grand Cru Monopole La Grande Rue.  It clearly had good depth and an attractive mix of maturity, wood notes, and fruit.  Not knowing anything about the monopole La Grande Rue I was instructed to look at the back label of the bottle.  It was surrounded by legendary names I have only read about.

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In 1793 Duncan M’Bride wrote in his General Instructions for the Choice of Wines and Spirituous Liquors (1793) that “of all the wines of Burgundy, that called Romanée is most valued.”  Our bottle of 2005 Domaine Francois Lamarche, Vosne-Romanée Grand Cru Monopole La Grande Rue  was made from fruit sourced at La Grande Rue.  This 1.65 ha strip of vineyard is sandwiched between La Tâche on the west and both Romanée and Romanée Conti on the east.  The land was a wedding gift given to Henri Lamarche in 1933.  When the area was classified in the 1930s, Henri Lamarche believed nothing was to be gained through the grand cru status but more taxes.  So this strip of premier cru vineyard was surrounded by grand cru vineyards until it was reclassified in 1992.  This reclassification was based on the geology and exposition.

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2005 Frederic Magnien, Vosne-Romanée Premier Cru Brulées –
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  The nose was a little stinky with perhaps some tobacco notes.  There were tart blue flavors, minerals, good acidity, and some attractive grip.  The flavors were drier and had a citric lift.  The flavors showed some maturity that mixed well with the wood and tobacco flavors.  This wine was good now but setup for strong development.

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2005 Domaine Gros Frère et Sœur, Vosne-Romanée Premier Cru Les Chaumes –
Imported by Wine Cellar LTD. Acquired from a private collection.  This was very aromatic with fresh, floral aromas stepping out of the glass.  The nose followed the mouth where there were red, citric flavors.  The acidity was there along with a very fine, gentle ripeness, a spicy hint in the finish, and a fresh aftertaste.  Overall this came across as riper.

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2005 Louis Jadot, Vosne-Romanée Premier Cru Les Beaux Monts –
Imported by Kobrand Corp.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The meaty nose was followed by ripe flavors of vintage perfume, meaty red fruit and some black fruit.  The wine was compact and became younger with air.  There was grip and attractive red cranberry flavors in the finish.

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2005 Domaine Francois Lamarche, Vosne-Romanée Grand Cru Monopole La Grande Rue –
This was young on the nose showing more grip on the aromas.  In the mouth the flavors mixed with nice cedar notes, some tart fruit, and good depth.  There was a subtleness roundness as well as lift.  Good flavors.

Clos Vougeot and Chambertin

With the blind tasting complete it was only natural to drink more wine.  Roland poured the 1997 Claude Dugat, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru Lavaux St Jacques into his giant wine glass shaped decanter.  Claude Dugat typically makes two premier cru wines from Gevrey-Chambertin.  Lavaux St Jacque is produced from a 0.3 ha parcel of vines planted in 1980.  After Roland swirled the wine for quite some time our bottle revealed itself to be aromatic with perfume.  In the mouth were excellent flavors of blood and minerals.  With the bottle finished the evening was complete.

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1997 Claude Dugat, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru Lavaux St Jacques –
Imported by Robert Kacher Selections.  This had an aromatic, attractive perfume to the blue fruit.  In the mouth the vintage perfume continued as lovely flavors of blood and minerals came out.  There was good grip to the tart, black graphite finish.  A lovely wine.

Fran Kysela’s Mondovino 2013: Red Wines

February 22, 2013 Leave a comment

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Mid-afternoon we switched from the white wines to the red wines.  We decided to taste wines from Burgundy, Rhone, South Africa, and Spain.  The Burgundy table was crowded but we managed to get a spot.  I thought the #114 2011 Ecard a good, affordable Burgundy for the cellar.  But it was the #115 Thierry Mortet that captivated with good depth and attractive flavors, this will reward cellaring.

When it comes to the Rhone the 2011 vintage brings forth plenty of ripe fruit with fine, powerful tannins.  The #178 Colline St. Jean presented the vintage well and right now is grapey, modern, and tight.  The previous vintage #179 2010 Colline St. Jean seemed young as well but a bottle I drank a few days earlier showed some openness with a good Mourvedre component.  We tasted one Northern Rhone wine the #180 2011 Joel Champet which again proves to be very good, old-school Cote-Rotie.  We recently drank the 2010 vintage and if you like that, you will like the 2011.  If you are going to actually drink anything at Mondovino, drink the Joel Champet.  I would love to see more Northern Rhone wines like this at Mondovino 2014!  In moving to the huge lineup of Alaine Jaume/Grand Veneur wines Christophe Jaume commented that the 2011 vintage was ripe, less masculine, with more alcohol, and fresher flavors.  Perhaps this is best characterized by #173 the 2011 Grand Veneur, Vieilles Vignes which dials in at 16.5% alcohol!  It certainly was a mouthful but has interesting flavors and managed some control.  At the more affordable end the #171 Grand Veneur showed well with the #169 2011 Grand Veneur, Clos de Sixte showing the best balance and approachfulness.  All of these wines will benefit from cellaring.

Leaving the French wines we moved over to South Africa.  I though the #265 2010 Mullineux, Syrah an interesting and tasty wine that I should like to revisit.  It is appropriately priced.  It was fun to taste #266 2010 Mullineux Granite and Schist.  Though the fruit for each wine is sourced from a different vineyard they are vinified exactly the same.  The Granite showed good freshness and perfume whereas the Schist was denser.  It would be fun to compare these wines after short-term cellaring.  The #269 Keermont is a savory, dense, masculine version of Syrah.

The #300 2009 Mas Sinen had an interesting nose with weight and roundness to the flavors but also lift.  The #304 2009 Pago de Carraovejas is seductive and as Lou put it, tastes expensive.  It certainly is.  Lastly the #241 2003 Romariz Vintage Port is approachable and rich for only ten years of age.

After four hours of tasting our palates were tired and teeth stained purple.  I think it took 24 hours for my tongue and teeth to feel normal.  My only bit advice for those attending next week is to taste the red Rhones last.  I should also comment that the pour sizes are generous.  There was always enough wine for two or three proper mouthfuls.  It only benefits everyone for you get a better sense of the wine.  It does produce a tremendous volume of wine.  This is handled not by spittoons but 40 gallon garbage cans.  I should like to thank Fran Kysela for his generosity with the wine and food,to Jeremy Sutton for all of his answers, and to both for being supportive of this blog.

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#113 – 2010 Ecard, Pinot Noir, Bourgogne – $20
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir which was fermented in stainless steel, underwent malolactic fermentation then was aged six months in used oak barrels.  The color was a light cherry garnet.  The very light nose was tight with red fruit.  In the mouth there was firm black cherry fruit which became blacker towards the finish where there was citric acidity and a firm finish.

#114 – 2011 Ecard, Savigny le Beaune – $25
This was a rather light cherry grape color.  The light nose was tight but serious.  In the mouth there was firm red cherry and black fruit.  The wine had a stone-like core with fine ripe tannins.  Tight in flavor, young, and in need of cellaring.

#115 – 2010 Domaine Thierry Mortet, Vigne Belle, Gevrey Chambertin – $85
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from vines 20-40 years old which was fermented and aged in oak.  The color was a light cherry garnet.  The light nose was good with aromas of red and black fruit which had depth.  The mouth followed the nose but was drier with rather fine, drying tannins, and black acidity.  Young.  Nice.

Kysela4

#176 – 2011 Chateau de Segries, Cuvee Reservee, Lirac – $23
This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Cinsault, 5% Mourvedre, and 5% Carignan sourced from 40 year old vines.  The color was a medium+ grapey garnet.  The nose was light and tight with firm berry fruit.  The flavors were riper in the mouth with black and red fruit expanding throughout.  The flavors are young with fine, powerful, spicy tannins, and a grapey finish.  The ripeness was controlled by the structure.

#177 – 2011 Henri de Lanzac, Clos de l’Hermitage, Cotes du Rhone – $31
This wine is a blend of 33% Grenache, 33% Syrah, and 33% Mourvedre sourced from 40 year old vines. It was fermented in concrete vats then aged for nine months in 95% used French oak barrels.  The color was a dark grapey, inky color.  The nose was very light and tight with aromas of macerated berries.  The mouth was similar but very ripe with powerful tannins drying everything in sight.  The finish seemed overripe with alcohol poking through.

#178 – 2011 Domaine Colline St. Jean, Vacqueyras – $28
This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 25% Syrah, and 5% Mourvedre aged mostly in cement tank and some barriques.  The color was a medium garnet cherry(?).  The light nose was tight with purple and grapey aromas.  There was good fruit in the mouth, again grapey, with a black graphite finish.  This modern styled wine had very fine, powerful tannins.

#179 – 2010 Domaine Colline St. Jean, Vacqueyras – $28
This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 25% Syrah, and 5% Mourvedre aged mostly in cement tank and some barriques.  The color was a medium garnet cherry.  In the mouth this bottle showed tight with herbs and pencil lead.

#180 – 2011 Domaine Joel Champet, La Vialliere, Cote-Rotie – $50
The color was a medium dark garnet.  The light nose had good fruit, olives, and other interesting aromas.  There was a soft entry to the fruit which had levity and depth.  There were flavors of smoke and bacon, a good mouthfeel, and black acidity.  There were drying, grapey tannins.  Old-school and lovely.

Christophe Jaume

Christophe Jaume

#164 – 2011 Grand Veneur, Les Champauvins, Cotes du Rhone – $25
This wine is ablend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre.  The color was a medium grapey garnet.  The nose was light, tight, and young.  In the mouth there was a savory start with a good mouthfeel, ripe fruit, spices, and acidity.  Nice fruit, firm drying tannins, and needs age.

#165 – 2011 Alain Jaume, Grande Garrique, Vacqueyras – $29
This wine is a blend of 60% grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre, and 10% Cinsault.  The color was a darker grapey, garnet.  The flavors were very concentrated with savory pencil lead, some subtly, and fine tannins.

#167 – 2010 Alain Jaume, Grande Garrique, Vacqeuyras – $29
This wine is a blend of 60% grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre, and 10% Cinsault.  The color was medium purple garnet.  There were black cherry and grapey flavors which were balanced but potent.  The structure kept it in control.

#168 – 2009 Alain Jaume, Terrasses de Montmirail, Gigondas – $33
This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah.  The nose was light, tight, and earthy.  The flavors were more approachable but lacking a bit of depth.  It left a mouthful of tannins.  Cellar.

Kysela5

2010 Grand Veneur, Roquedon, Lirac
This was a medium grapey garnet.  The flavors tasted a touch mature in this approachable wine.  There was a brambly nature to the purple, grapey fruit.  Decent wine.

#169 – 2011 Grand Veneur, Clos de Sixte, Lirac – $30
This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 35% Syrah, and 15% Mourvedre.  The nose revealed good purple, grapey fruit.  The flavors were savory then came grapey fruit, a savory middle, and slightly spicy tannins.  Good wine.

#170 – 2010 Alain Jaume, Vieux Terron, Chateauneuf du Pape – $45
This wine is a blend of 85% Grenache, 10% Syrah, and 5% Mourvedre.  The nose was light, tight, and somewhat haunting with more complexity.  In the mouth there was a tangy, citric element to the black fruit.  The flavors were expansive with very fine, powerful tannins, and a young black finish.

#171 – 2011 Grand Veneur, Chateauneuf du Pape – $53
This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre sourced from 70 year old vines.  The color was a medium to dark purple garnet.  The nose was light and grapey.  There was a seductive start, savory fruit, and low lying, good weight.  Vintage perfume came out in the in the finish.  Well done, nice wine.

#172 – 2011 Grand Veneur, Les Origines, Chateauneuf du Pape – $70
This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 20% Mourvedre sourced from 70 year old vines.  The color was a medium+ purple garnet.  The light nose was ripe and dense.  In the mouth there was very ripe, soft fruit, some heat, spicy tannins, and lots of power.

#173 – 2011 Grand Veneur, Vieilles Vignes, Chateauneuf du Pape – $121
This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Mourvedre, and 10% Syrah sourced from 50-100+ year old vines. It was aged for 18 months in oak barrels. Alcohol 16.5%.  the color was a medium+ dark garnet purple.  In the mouth the fine flavors were almost racy with vanilla, weight, a young aspect, minerals in the core.  It showed more control than Les Origines.   One to watch.

Nicola Tipping of Mullineux

Nicola Tipping of Mullineux

#265 – 2010 Mullineux, Syrah – $33
This wine is 100% Syrah fermented with indigenous yeasts. It underwent malolactic fermentation and was aged for 11 months in 15% new French oak barrels and foudres.  The color was a medium+ garnet.  In the mouth salty, savory, good fruit was dense with smokey notes.  The flavors became lighter and thinner in the middle but took up on glycerine.  The finish was fresh.  Interesting.

#266 – 2010 Mullineux, Granite, Syrah, Swartland – $95.50
This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from a 17 year old vineyard on soils of sandy granite with a thick layer of clay. The fruit was not destemmed and it was aged in 50% new oak.  Much better than the first bottle.  Though just opened the nose was lifted and perfume.  There was a lightness and savory character with a smoke note and lipstick/perfume.  Well done.

#266 – 2010 Mullineux, Schist, Syrah, Swartland – $95.50
This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from a 15 year old vineyard. The fruit was not destemmed and it was aged in 50% new oak.  A good nose with herbs.  Dense in the mouth, purple, and very balanced all around.

#269 – 2010 Keermont, Syrah, Stellenbosch – $40
This wine is 100% Syrah.  The color was very dark.  The nose was tight with grapey fruit.  In the mouth this wine was savory and dense with controlled ripeness.  There was good fruit to this masculine wine.  Nice wine.

#268 – 2009 Keermont, Red Blend, Stellenbosch – $40
This wine is a blend of 60% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah, and 5% Petit Verdot. It was aged for 24 months in used oak.  Just opened.  The color was a very dark grapey garnet.  The nose was light, tight, and Claret like.  The Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon came through with good expansion.  The fruit was light but powerful, perhaps a note of stems.  Young and should develop.

Kysela8

#300 – 2009 Mas Sinen, Petit Mas Sinen, Piorat – $39
This wine underwent malolactic fermentation in stainless steel then was aged for six months in oak barrels.  This was a very dark grapey purple garnet.  The light nose was of lavendar and dark fruit.  The flavors were roundish in the mouth but not heavy.  It took on flavors of Sweet Tarts with weight and lift before the fine, drying tannins in the finish.  Young.

Kysela9

#304 – 2009 Pago de Carraovejas, El Anejon de la Cuesta de las Liebres, Ribera del Duero – $136
This wine is a blend of 93% Tinto Fion, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 1% Merlot.  This was very dark.  The nose was of dark grapes, roast, and other interesting aromas.  In the mouth there was silky fruit, density, and a savory note but the acidity keeps it alive.  There was a little toast in the spicy finish.  Seductive.

#303 – 2010 Pago de Carraovejas, Crianza, Ribera del Duero – $58
This wine is a blend of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot which was aged for 12 months in new and used American and French oak barrels.  This was very dark as well.  The nose was a touch fruitier.  This was a lighter version with a good lifted middle, good flavors but a touch hotter.

Kysela10

#241 – 2003 Romariz, Vintage Port – $64
This was a very dark garnet cherry.  The nose was grapey with dried fruit and raisins.  In the mouth there was ripe fruit, spices, good residual sugar, and a wood box finish.  Though young for a Vintage Port it is quite approachable.

Kysela11

#250 – 2005 Riebeek, Cape Vintage – $48
This wine is a blend of Touriga National, Pontac, and Shiraz. Alcohol 18.5%.  The nose had a touch of overripe fruit.  There was a rather sweet start with raisins and ultimately too soft for the acidity.  Solid.

The author and Lou at the end of the tasting.

The author and Lou at the end of the tasting.

Brown Bags at Weygandt Wines

December 15, 2011 2 comments

Just Some of the Brown-Bagged Wines

Last night I stopped by at Weygandt Wines for the monthly Food and Wine Bloggers night.  Hosted by Tim O’Rourke with invitations sent out by Joon Song of Vinicultured, the event was attended by several bloggers, people in the business, and many wine lovers.  The theme was a blind tasting and in the end there were 14 bottles of wine sourced from both the store and other places.  I suspect two dozen people rotated through.  To some degree everyone attempted to guess what they were drinking but that did not distract from social, talkative, enjoyment.

I enjoyed the range of wines with the Jean Francois Ganevat, Poulsard being the most unusual experience.  Of the whites I enjoyed the 2010 Gerard & Pierre Morin, Sancerre along with the 2008 Heitz, Sauvignon Blanc.  In terms of the red wines the  2010 Domaine Collotte is of good value, the 2002 Olga Raffault interesting, the 2007 Domaine Dugat-Py, Gevrey Chambertin was very drinkable, the 2009 Domaine les Aphillanthes needs to be revisited, and the 1995 Thunder Mountain was surprisingly good.

I have included my casual tasting notes.  They are presented in the order in which the bottles were numbered but not necessarily tasted.

#1 – 2010 Gerard & Pierre Morin, Vieilles Vignes, Sancerre
This is imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This had a very light color.  There was a light nose, grassy, and textured.  In the mouth there were expansive flavors midpalate, note of stone, and acidity in the back of the mouth.  Attractive. Not Rated.

#2 – 2010 Domaine Collotte, Cuvee de Noble Souche, Burgundy
This is imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  A young color of ruby with purple tinge.  I thought this was Gamay!  The nose had notes of pepper and with time developed a good perfume.  There were some gravelly flavors and fine tannins. Not Rated.

#3 – Jean Francois Ganevat, Poulsard, Cuvee de l’enfant terrible, Cotes du Jura
This is a Jeffrey Alpert Selection.  This was a garnet-orange color.  Fizzy when poured it sported a foxy nose.  Quite unique with piercingly high acidity and citrus notes.  Interesting but not my preference, probably better with food. Not Rated.

#4 – 2002 Olga Raffault, Les Picasses, Chinon
This is imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  It is made from Cabernet Franc grown on soils of limestone and clay.  A garnet color showing some age.  A perfumed nose, good red fruit, some stemmy forest wood flavors. Not Rated.

#5 – 2010 Chateau de la Bonneliere, Rive Gauche, Chinon
This is imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  A grapey color.  Young Cabernet Franc flavors with plenty of supporting acidity. Not Rated.

#6 – 2007 Domaine Dugat-Py, Vieilles Vignes, Gevrey-Chambertin
This is imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  A garnet color.  The slightly earthy nose is richer.  But the body was slight with precise, elegant flavors, tannins, and lots of acidity. Not Rated.

#7 – 2009 Domaine les Aphillanthes, 1921, Cotes du Rhone Villages Rasteau
This is imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is mostly Grenache sourced from a parcel planted in 1921.  A nose of black fruit and some pencil lead.  Very ripe, powdery fruit, a little spice, grapey tannins in finish.  Quite different from the other reds, powerful, I found this overbearing at first but when I revisited it later the wine had shaken off the baby fat and showed structure. Not Rated.

#8 – 2003 Edmunds St. John, Rocks and Gravel
This blend is roughly 35% Grenache, 35% Syrah, and 30% Mourvedre.  The nose was quite sweet like a rich vanilla-cake with a dash of spice.  The nose was quite different from the body which was quite restrained. Not Rated.

#9 – 2008 Heitz Cellars, Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley
This was enjoyable and drinkable with citrus flavors, decent body, and some concentration. Not Rated.

#10 – 1995 Thunder Mountain, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bates Ranch, Santa Cruz Mountains
This was an aged garnet color.  A very pretty nose, lifted and complex with mature aromas but it ended with a vegetal note.  In the mouth it was crisp, precise, and had an enjoyable texture.  I thought it was Austrian! Not Rated.

#11 – 2004 Chateau de Valcombe, Prestige, Costieres de Nimes
This is imported by Robert Kacher.  The wine is a blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache.  I found a nose of old ladies perfume with flavors of wet cardboard and very fine tannins.  I did not like this. Not Rated.

#12 – 2010 Domaine Croix des Marchands, Fraicheur Perlee, Gaillac
This is imported by First Vine.  The wine is a blend of 34% Mauzac, 33% Muscadelle, and 33% Loin de l’Oeil sourced from 30-year-old vines.  Unfortunately, I did not taste this bottle. Not Rated.

#13 – 2004 James Judd & Sons Vineyards, Malbec Verdot, Paso Robles
This is a blend of 75% Malbec and 25% Petite Verdot.  The 2005 was aged for 22 months in American, French, and Hungarian oak barrels.  I found this overblown and hot, not my style. Not Rated.

#14 – 2008 Blenheim Vineyards, Blenheim Farm Petit Verdot, Monticello
This smelled like bleach in my glass.  After I dumped it the glass took on aromas of tobacco and dried herbs. Not Rated.

Joon and Aaron

Tasting Notes from the 1999 Dinner

 

Here are my tasting notes from our 1999 dinner.  I was running around a bit so my notes are a bit casual.  However, Lou will eventually be posting his notes.  He was able to taste the Trimbach and Meulenhof on the second night.

The Whites


1999 Jean Noel Gagnard , Clos de la Maltroye 1er Cru, Chassagne-Montrachet, Burgundy
This wine had a light nose of yeast, toasted, and reduction.  It was rounder in the mouth, a bit coarse with tannins and some heat.  There was apple-like acidity and some lavender/perfume with air.  This was drinkable but not in the best shape.  Good thing it was a bin-end.  * Now.

1999 Trimbach, Gewurztraminer, Cuvee des Seigneurs Ribeaupierre, Alsace
This showed a light-medium color of straw with touches of gold.  A light to medium nose of tropical fruit.  In the mouth there were steely flavors of mango in this medium bodied wine.  The flavors leaned towards floral highlights.  It was a little flabby towards the finish.  ** Now.

The Reds


1999 Torbreck, The Steading, Barossa (Group 1st, My 1st)
The nose revealed waves of rich fruit and spices galore.  The rich fruit continued into the mouth with a youthful core of black fruits and lovely spices in the aftertaste.  A very well made wine with good complexity.  **** Now-2017.


1999 R.H. Phillips, EXP Viaje, Syrah (Group 2nd)
This had the sweetest nose of the reds.  It came across as a rather young wine with ample red fruit, pepper, and spices in the finish.  There were darker fruit flavors in the aftertaste.  On the second night it was just a softer version as there were gobs of fruit and spice and a dark fruit aftertaste.  ***(*) Now-2019.


1999 Bruno Clair, Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St. Jacques, 1er Cru (Group 3rd, My 3rd)
This showed softer, more fruit driven flavors.  It had a strong, pure Pinot Noir like profile.  It was a very enjoyable and easy wine to drink.  It is still young and only just starting to show hints of complexity.  My only complaint is that the flavors thinned out a bit in the finish.  **(*) 2015-2022.


1999 Fattoria de Felsina Berardanga, Rancia, Chianti Classico (Group 4th, My 2nd)
This sported a light, lithe nose of blackcurrant.  There were fine tannins that coated the mouth.  Good aftertaste, good wine.  On the second night it had a light, scented nose followed by calm, complex flavors in the mouth.  It was still going strong.  **** Now-2017.


1999 Chateau Musar, Bekaa Valley (Group tied 5th)
A little bit of nail polish on the night.  Then sweet, round fruit in the mouth, lean finish and flavors turning towards bright blue fruit.  A seriously underperforming bottle and nothing like the one I had last year. * Now.


1999 Tardieu-Laurent, Vieilles Vignes, Saint-Joseph (Group tied 5th, My 4th)
This had flavors of red fruit with an underlying layer of supportive dark fruit.  It turned towards red fruit in the finish, somewhat tart, but with a nice woodsy character.  ** Now-2015.


1999 Hardys, Shiraz, Eileen Hardy, South Australia (Group 7th)
This had one of the darkest core of color.  It strutted New World Syrah aromas with Eucalyptus notes that reminded me if Jim Barry’s Cover Drive.  The flavors followed the nose.  The long aftertaste persisted with red fruits and herbs.  On the second night it continued to sport Eucalyptus that was very fresh and pure.  ** Now-2017.


1999 Paitin di Pasquero-Elia, Barbaresco (Group 8th)
Very old-looking with a lot of bricking and some garnet.  This had a restrained nose, volatile acidity, and just hints of complex, light fruit.  But in the mouth the fruit was also very learn and overwhelmed by a heavy amount of harsh tannins and coarse aftertaste.  On the second night it still had a wooded nose, lean fruit, and overwhelming tannins. * Now.


1999 E. Pira and Figli, Via Nuova, Barolo (Group 9th)
A light color in the glass.  There was a lifted nose of cedar.  In the mouth there were woodsy flavors of roses, light+ acidity, and coarse but ripe tannins that coated the lips.  It came across as totally shut down.  On the second night it showed more scented roses on the nose.  In the mouth the fruit was gritty and red, with dark red fruit in the aftertaste.  More lip coating tannins. *(**) 2017-2022.


1999 Font de Michelle, Cuvee Etienne Gonnet,Chateauneuf du Pape (Corked)
This wine was corked.  Not Rated.

Dessert

1999 Meulenhof, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Auslese, Mosel
I was running around at this point so I did not take a note.  But I remember a lovely golden color, good lush flavors there were perfectly supported by the acidity.  There is plenty of life left but so easy to drink.  A bargain at $25 per 500 mL.  *** Now-2022.

Extra Wines


1999 Domaine Les Paillieres, Gigondas
In the glass there is a medium ruby/garnet core.  This wine is still young, shows good dark fruit, minerals, and some inky/glycerine qualities.  The flavors turn towards pepper in the finish followed by good, coarse tannins that coat the mouth.  A very drinkable wine.  *** Now-2015.


1999 Gourt du Mautens, Cotes du Rhone Villages, Rasteau
A very youthful wine with grippy, gritty fruit flavors.  A little bit of freshness, nice mouthfeel, and plenty of fine tannins from wood.  Even less advanced than the Paillieres.  I preferred the Paillieres.  **(*) 2015-2019.


1999 Domaine du Caillou, Chateauneuf du Pape
A lighter, more acidic style of Chateauneuf.  There were medium round blue fruit flavors.  ** Now.


1999 Domaine de la Pinede, Chateauneuf du Pape (Corked)
This wine was corked.  Not Rated.