Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Lirac’

The Eric Solomon Selections Portfolio Tasting – Part 1

ESS1

I have purchased many Eric Solomon wines during my trips to Seattle but over the last year I have been able to purchase a growing selection in Washington, DC.  When I heard about the Eric Solomon Selections Portfolio Tasting organized by The Country Vintner I just knew I had to attend.  I immediately emailed Mark Longsworth of The Country Vintner and marked the tasting on my calendar.  On Tuesday I found myself walking up 9th street past a huge grouping of 21st century construction, across Massachusetts Avenue, to a block of 19th century buildings opposite the massive Convention Center.  It is here that the Long View Gallery played host to the tasting.  The gallery itself features a smaller front room where I picked up my wine glass and tasting booklet by the front door.  The booklet documents the 38 tables of wine, running over 100 pages in length.  There were a number of tables in this room but with the coat rack in the back room I headed up the sloped hallway to settle myself in.

ESS2

The back room featured tables arrayed around the perimeter of the room along with a smaller, central array of tables.  The space was lit primarily by natural light but spot lights illuminated the wines towards the middle of the building.

ESS9

There was a tremendous selection of producers and wines to taste making this an excellent opportunity to become familiar with the Eric Solomon portfolio. There were also wines from Jon-David Headrick Selections but there was simply not enough time for me to get to them.  In the four hours alloted I could not even taste through all of the Eric Solomon wines.  That is a good predicament to be in.  I spent my first half tasting wines with Phil from MacArthur Beverages and the second half on my own.  It seemed that every winery was represented by an owner or winemaker which makes for a great expression of commitment.  The tasting did get crowded so at time it was difficult to carry on a conversation due to the noise or the logistics of having to pour wine in everyone’s glasses.  I would have loved for there to be a second day with smaller group tastings with each winery. I do appreciate the travel schedule involved in a national portfolio tasting but I do crave the balance between a big trade tasting and smaller sessions.

ESS10

In the span of four hours I managed to taste some 80 wines.  Due to this large number my notes will be presented over two posts.  The pours were all of decent size with the wines at the correct temperature.  There were actually a number of Barrel Samples being poured, some of which I have noted and others I did not.  Of the wines presented in this post I must point out those of Domaine de la Janasse, Domaine de Marcoux, and Hacienda Monasterio. Though I tasted many other good wines at various price points, those of these three domaines stood out and I encourage you to seek them out.  You will find my tasting notes below in the order I tasted them.

Table 20 – Vignobles Michel Gassier

Michel Gassier

Michel Gassier

I have been drinking the wines of Michel Gassier since the end of the past summer.  The Cercius wines are a collaboration between Michel Gassier, Philippe Cambie, and Eric Solomon.  They are named after the mistral wind that visits the vineyards.  These wines are aged in concrete tanks.  The Nostre Pais wines are terroir driven wines, with the varietals vinified and aged separately  then blended before bottling.  Lastly the Lou Coucardie wines are intended to be aged.  I thought the Cercius Blanc a good start and it is affordable too.  I actually prefer the 2011 Cercius Rouge over the 2010 version, which Michel described as a big hug.  The Nostre Pais Blanc and Rouge are serious but affordable wines which deserve age.  Interestingly enough, I found both of the Lou Coucardie chewy, give them a few years in your cellar.

2012 Cercius Blanc, Vin de France – $14
This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache Blanc and 30% Sauvignon Blanc, aged on the lees in concrete tank.  There was a good, textured and aromatic nose of yellow fruit.  In the mouth there was white, honeysuckle-like fruit, good acidity, some lemon, perhaps stone, and controlled ripeness.  A good start to the lineup.

2012 Notre Pais Blanc, Costeieres de Nimes – $21 (Barrel Sample)
This wine is a blend of 90% Grenache Blanc, 5% Roussanne, and 5% Viognier aged six months in neutral French oak.  There was a light, tighter nose with underlying dark yellow fruit.  In the mouth there was good acidity to the driven white fruit, some citrus, and a more serious attitude.  There was good length in the aftertaste.

2012 Lou Coucardie Blanc, Costieres de Nimes – $30 (Barrel Sample)
This wine is a blend of 70% Roussanne, 20% Grenache Blanc, and 10% Viognier aged 10 months in French oak.  There was a light, tight nose followed by good initial weight in the mouth.  The flavors show focus and are a bit chewy.  It builds body in the mouth along with a bright citrus note guiding along in the wine.  This will age.

2011 Cercius Rouge, Cotes du Rhone – $17
This wine is a blend of 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah aged six months in concrete tanks.  There was focused, young grapey fruit with a nice mix between the tannins, acidity, and fruit.  I liked that this showed more restraint with the fruit than the 2010 vintage.

2010 Nostre Pais Rouge, Costieres de Nimes – $20
This wine is a blend of 35% Grenache, 25% Carignan, 20% Mourvedre, 15% Cinsault, and 5% Syrah aged six months in French oak with 50% on the lees.    There was black red fruit with a touch of a powdery note.  Fine strong tannins were evident along with good, cool acidity.  It revealed a little old-school perfume along with a mineral note in the finish.  I would cellar this.

2010 Lou Coucardie Rouge, Costieres de Nimes – $32
This wine is a blend of 60% Mourvedre, 30% Grenache, and 10% Syrah aged 12-18 months in French oak on the lees.  There was a light nose which was the most aromatic of the reds, it was almost brambly.  In the mouth the compact flavors were a mix of black and red fruit that went well with the perfume.  There were fine, drying grapey tannins in the finish and black stones in the aftertaste.  This young wine was also a bit chewy.  This will age.

Table #30 – Domaine de la Janasse

Isabelle and Christophe Sabon

Isabelle and Christophe Sabon

The 2012 Cotes du Rhone Blanc was an incredible start with lovely texture and crisp personality.  There is not much of this wine produced so it is hard to get but certainly worth the effort.  The Terre d’Argile is good but the Les Garrigues is a standout for Cotes du Rhone.  I liked all three Chateauneuf du Pape but was amazed at how well the Vieilles Vignes showed with its depth, lively nature, and fresh acidity.  A strong showing all around.  More wine was produced with the 2011 vintage as compared to 2010 and 2012.

2012 Cotes du Rhone Blanc, Cotes du Rhone – $22
This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 15% Clairette, 15% Bourboulenc, 10% Viognier, and 10% Roussane aged six months in tank on the lees.  The light nose was floral with yellow fruit.  The wine was crisp in the mouth with good grippy fruit, lots of texture, and some ripe fruit in the finish.  Nice!

2012 VdP d’Orange Rose, VdP d’Orange  – $12
This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Cinsault, and 20% Syrah aged in tank.  The nose was more focused with some cherry fruit.  The flavors were very acidity driven on the tongue then teases with soft red notes.

2012 Cotes du Rhone Rose, Cotes du Rhone – $16
This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Cinsault, and 20% Syrah aged in tank.  There was a good nose of berries and pastilles.  The mouth follows the nose with a little more weight, a little creamy nature, and a fine texture.  A step up from the previous rose.

2010 Terre de Bussiere, VdP d’Orange – $17
This wine is a blend of  55% Merlot, 25% Syrah, 10% Grenache, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon which was aged for 12 months in 2/3 used oak barrels.  There was a light, tight nose followed by bright fruit in the mouth.  There was some weight, some seriousness, and citric tannins.

2011 Reserve, Cotes du Rhone – $17
This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre, 10% Carignan, and 10% Cinsault aged 12 months in foudre.  There was not much on the nose. In the mouth the flavors were tight with red fruit, and citric tannins.

2011 Terre d’Argile, Cotes du Rhone Villages – $26
This wine is a blend of 25% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 25% Mourvedre, and 25% Carignan aged for 12 months in foudre.  The nose revealed a touch more darkness.  The fruit has more dark red notes, ripeness, and riper tannins.  There was some weight and a spicy aftertaste.

2011 Les Garrigues, Cotes du Rhone – $46
This wine is 100% Grenache with 80% aged in concrete vats and 20% in barrel.  The nose was interesting with berries and other red and blue fruits.  The entry was the weightiest with mouthfilling flavors.  The fruit was old-school and fleshed out nicely with fine, good length.  There was a sweet, ripe touch in the finish along with fine, powerful tannins and spice.  Nice.

2011 Rouge, Chateauneuf du Pape – $65
This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre, and 10% Syrah with 80% aged in concrete vats and 20% in 2/3 used oak barrels.  The nose is more elegant.  In the mouth there was bright red and black fruit which starts off lively on the tongue before showing density in the middle.  There was black minerally weight in the finish.

2011 Chaupin, Chateauneuf du Pape – $90
This wine is a blend of 100% Grenache aged in used foudre and demi-muids.  There was a low-lying dense, dark red nose.  The flavors were focused in the mouth with gently coating with mineral and animale notes.  There was an inky aspect to the dense finish.  Tight but interesting.

2011 Vieilles Vignes, Chateauneuf du Pape – $120
This wine is a blend of 90% Grenache, 4% Mourvedre, 4% Syrah, and 2% other varietals which was aged 80% in foudre and 20% in barrel.  There was a light nose of dark, ripe, sweet, and seductive aromas.  In the mouth there was good depth to the flavors which were lively and beautiful.  There was fresh acidity throughout, a long aftertaste, and an overall great showing.  Lovely.

Table 16 – Domaine de Marcoux

Sophie Armenier

Sophie Armenier

These were also lovely wines but I want to skip to the Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge for it is a lovely example of an old-school wine, full of personality, and amazingly approachable.  From very old vines the Vieilles Vignes was simply beautiful.  The vines are located on soils of sandy and clay making them a bit unique compared to the stony soils found throughout Chateauneuf du Pape.  I thought the 2011 were showing well!

2012 Blanc, Chateauneuf du Pape – $68
This wine is a blend of 70% Roussanne and 30% Bourboulenc aged in stainless steel.  The floral white nose developed in the glass.  There was a crisp start in the mouth before the flavors picked up weight and tropical notes.

2011 Rouge, Cotes du Rhone – $23
This wine is a blend of 90% Grenache and 10% Mourvedre aged in tank.  There was a light and focused nose with a little bramble berry.  In the mouth there was a little tang, plenty of weight, and sexy aspect.

2011 La Lorentine, Lirac – $27
This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, and 30% Syrah aged 16-18 months in concrete tank.  It is organic.  This was more focused and structured with texture.  The black red fruit clearly needs age.  There are plenty of tannins as it turns brighter in the end.

2011 Rouge, Chateauneuf du Pape – $80
This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre, 7% Syrah, and 3% Cinsault aged 18 months in concrete tank and barrique.  There seemed to be some lovely Mourvedre funk on the nose.  The mouth follows with old-school flavors, density, Kirsch, and generally lovely flavors.  There was a gentle aftertaste.  Nice.

2011 Vieilles Vignes, Chateauneuf du Pape – $180
This wine is 100% Grenache from 70-110 year old vines on sand and clay soils without stones.  It was aged 18 months in foudre.  There was a tight, concentrate notes of Kirsch, and old-school aromas.  There was good ripe fruit in the mouth, a sweet, fresh, concentrated nature.  Beautiful.

Table 24 – Clos Saint Jean

Vincent Maurel

Vincent Maurel

These wines were more modern with the Blanc a big wine revealing a lot of flavor.  The three Rouge feature Grenache sourced from vines planted in 1905. They are modern wines with a lot of interest and power which fill the mouth.  Philippe Cambie is the consulting oenologist.

2012 Blanc, Chateauneuf du Pape – $50 (Barrel Sample)
This wine is a blend of 25% Grenache Blanc, 25% Clairette, 25% Mourvedre, and 25% Bourbuolenc aged in concrete tanks and barriques.  There were weighty aromas of tropical and yellow fruits.  The wine was big in the mouth, rich, and oily with flavors of yellow fruit and sweet spices.

2011 Vieilles Vignes, Chateauneuf du Pape – $50 (Barrel Sample)
This wine is a blend of 75% Grenache , 15% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre, Cinsault, Vaccareze, and Muscardin.  The Grenache was aged in concrete tank with the other varietals aged 12 months in new and used French oak.  There was a tight nose followed by a core of ripe, sweet fruit.  It fleshed out some, showing a modern personality with tight, lasting flavors.  Well done.

2011 La Combe des Fous, Chateauneuf du Pape – $105 (Barrel Sample)
This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Cinsault, and 10% Vaccareze.  The Grenache was aged in concrete tank with the other varietals aged 12 months in new and used French oak.  This had a more expressive nose which was perfumed with powerful berries that stepped out of the glass.  There was sweet, ripe red fruit in the mouth then blue flavors which coated the tongue.  There were sweet spices in the aftertaste.

2011 Deux ex Machina, Chateauneuf du Pape – $100 (Barrel Sample)
This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Mourvedre.  The Grenache was aged in concrete tank with the other varietals aged 12 months in new and used French oak.  This dialed things up with lots of fruit, vanilla, and dense flavors in this huge, modern wine.  Though tight, there was a lot going on.

Table 24 – Bodegas Mas Alta

Bixente Ocafrain

Bixente Ocafrain

This is a joint project between Michel Tardieu and Philippe Cambie.  I have drunk the Black Slate before in my hotel room in Seattle.  I thought all of the wines had interesting aromas with the 2011 Artigas my favorite of the lot.

2011 Black Slate La Vilella Alta, Priorat – $22
This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache, 35% Carignan, and 5% Cabernet aged 12 months in French oak barrels.  The nose was focused and tight.  The mouth surprised with lots of ripe fruit, black and red flavors, and some softness.

2010 Artigas, Priorat – $31
This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 25% Carignan, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon aged 16 months in French oak barrels.  There was interesting fruit on the nose being black and red.  In the mouth there was ripe, powdery fruit which was controlled and became blacker towards the finish. There were fine, citric tannins, spicy, and good aftertaste. I preferred this over the Black Slate.

2011 Artigas, Priorat – $31
This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 25% Carignan, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon aged 16 months in French oak barrels.  The light nose stepped out of the glass, it was not earthy but interesting.  Lots of forward fruit in the mouth followed the nose with a haunting perfume.

2010 La Creu Alta, Priorat – $125
This wine is a blend of 60% Carignan and 40% Grenache aged 18 months in French oak barrels.  The Carignan is 100 years old.  The nose was interesting.  The mouth follows with power to the drier fruit.  There was a weighty feel but the acidity kept things lively.  The tannins were well-integrated with the dark, earthy finish.

Table 26 – Hacienda Altes

Nuria Altes

Nuria Altes

I have drunk the 2011 Garnatxa Negra before so was happy to find the 2012 vintage my favorite of the three I tasted.  It is also the least expensive!

2011 Benufet, Terra Alta – $15
This wine is 100% Garnatxa Negra aged in concrete tanks.  The fruit was tangy on the sides of the tongue then steely with a touch of yeast in the tart finish.

2012 Garnatxa Negra, Terra Alta – $11
This wine is 100% Garnatxa Negra aged in concrete tanks.  There was good red berry fruit, texture, acidity, and a fresh finish.  Nice.

2010 l’Estel, Terra Alta – $15
This wine is 100% Garnatxa Negra aged in concrete tanks.  There was a light, pungent nose.  In the mouth the bright red fruit first stands on the tongue then it takes on some levity and tartness.

Table 26 – Creta

This wine is the result of a partnership between Eric Solomon and Isaac Fernandez Montana.  Isaac is on the team of wine makers who work with Mariano Garcia’s Bodega Mauro.

2011 Creta Roble, Ribera del Duero – $15
This wine is 100% Tempranillo aged four months in 70% French and 30% American oak barrels.  The nose was tight with red fruit. In the mouth the flavors were tight, young and mixed with fine, drying, citric tannins.

Table 27 – Hacienda Monasterio

Carlos de la Fuente

Carlos de la Fuente

Simply put, the 2009 Crianza immediately stood out for its nose alone but this was reinforced by tasting the wine.  This is a traditional Ribera del Duero wine which you must try, it is moving.  The 2009 Reserva is very good too but as Phil commented, it is like a young Bordeaux.  It is a superb wine for the cellar.  Drink the Crianza while the Reserva ages.

2009 Crianza, Ribera del Duero – $53
This wine is a blend of 80% Tempranillo, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot which was aged 17 months in French Allier oak barriques.  There was a light, pungent nose with good depth.  In the mouth there was good weight to the cool red and black fruit which had a grapey finish.  Simply put, this is a beautiful wine that will age.  Captivating.  Well-done.

2010 Crianza, Ribera del Duero – $53
This wine is a blend of 80% Tempranillo, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot which was aged 17 months in French Allier oak barriques.  There was a similar nose but tighter.  There were berries in the mouth, more drying tannins, and drier flavors in the finish.  Needs age.

2009 Reserva, Ribera del Duero – $120
This wine is a blend of 80% Tempranillo and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Malbec which was aged 18 months in French Allier oak barriques.  There was a good nose followed by very young, concentrated flavors in the mouth.  There was lots of structure and acidity for aging, all of which was balanced.  There was a wood note followed by a dark red aftertaste.  This needs at least five years of age but will be lovely.

Table 27 – Celler del Roure

This winery features some interesting varietals including the experimental Mando.  The Cullerot Blanco is aged in buried clay jugs but it is a white wine not an orange wine.  It was interesting.

2011 Cullerot Blanco, Valencia – $15
This wine is a blend of 30% Verdil, 30% Pedro Ximenez, 20% Macabeo, and 20% Chardonnay aged for five months in buried tinaja clay jugs.  This had a different nose with a little cherry aromas.  In the mouth the flavors were white and drier with a salty finish.

2011 Setze Gallets, Valencia – $11
This wine is a blend of 30% Garnacha Tintorera, 30% Monastrell, 25% Merlot, and 15% Mando which was aged five months in steel tanks.  There was a light, tight nose fo berries.  In the mouth it was young with simple flavors of black and red fruit.  There were very fine, drying tannins with light flavors for the structure.

2009 Maduresa, Valencia – $35
This wine is a blend of 25% Mando, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Monastrell, 15% Syrah, 10% Merlot, and 10% Petit Verdot which was aged for 10-12 months in French oak barrels.  There was a good nose.  In the mouth the black and red fruit existed with a drying, powerful structure with drying tannins.

Fran Kysela’s Mondovino 2013: Red Wines

February 22, 2013 Leave a comment

Kysela1

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.

Kysela3

#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.

Notes From the Dump Bin

January 21, 2013 Leave a comment

On a recent visit to MacArthur Beverages I picked up more dump bin materials.  There are a number of reasons why a bottle might be dumped.  In this case the Clos de los Siete had an incredibly stained label and the two other bottles showed signs of leakage.  I do not normally buy leakers but after having recent success with the 2007 Coudoulet de Beaucastel, I thought, why not?  Under the foil the La Bastide Saint Dominique had a purple and white stained neck but the top of the cork looked normal.  The fill was high and in breaking the cork in half it looked like some wine might have made its way through it.  The wine itself was in outstanding condition and thoroughly enjoyable.  The Domaine de la Mordoree showed a very thick, jam like vein of leakage alongside the bottle and slightly lower fill.  I quickly identified the culprit as a thin fold on the side of the cork.  Now I am not advocating you start purchasing bottles with signs of leakage, certainly not fresh leakage.  But the right bottle at the right price might yield a pleasant surprise.

IMG_5148

2008 Clos de los Siete, Mendoza –
Imported by Dourthe USA.  Alcohol 14.6%.  This wine is a blend of 56% Malbec, 21% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Syrah, and 2% Petit Verdot.  The light nose revealed dark aromas, roast earth, and became a little pungent with air.  In the mouth there were dark, robust fruit flavors, roast earth, and a touch of salt.  There was soft weight to the wine a little vanilla note, and fine textured, ripe tannins in both the finish and aftertaste.  With air it showed good integration of acidity, good grip, and blackness.  *** Now-2023.

IMG_5149

2010 La Bastide Saint Dominique, Chateauneuf du Pape –
Imported by Simon N Cellars.  This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre, and 5% Cinsault sourced from 25-80 year old vines.  It was aged for 18 months.  Alcohol 15%.  The color was a medium cherry garnet.  The light nose revealed deep dark fruit and brambly red berries.  In the mouth there was dense, almost grainy blue and red fruit along with notes of wood box.  The finish was full of black fruit with some fruit liquor, grainy ripeness, and a minerally black fruit aftertaste.  This wine has power and a rounded personality.  There were some very fine tannins in the aftertaste.  ***(*) Now-2028.

IMG_5150

2009 Domaine de la Mordoree, La Reine des Bois, Lirac –
Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils.  This wine is a blend of 33% Grenache, 33% Mourvedre, and 33% Syrah sourced from 40-year-old vines.  It is aged in a combination of enameled steel tanks, oak barrels, and oak tuns.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There was a light to medium strength nose of Kirsch and black fruit.  In the mouth there was a bit of roast earth, black and red fruit, fine structure, and closely held ripeness.  There was a powerful fine tannic structure on both nights, almost too powerful.  If this resolves with time it might merit a higher score.  *** 2018-2023.

A Trio of 2007 Rhones Make Us Happy

I like to drink diversely but I cannot help but enjoy drinking wines from the Southern Rhone.  Indeed they reinvigorated my wine drinking back in 2007.  The Domaine de la Mordoree and Domaine de Beaucastel were dump-bin purchases, the first being the final bottle and the second showing signs of leakage.  I gambled of the leaker because the fill was very high and the capsule was dry.  The gamble paid off!  The Mordoree had a nose which interested Jenn but in the mouth it was a firm, tightly muscled wine which should be cellared more.  Both the Beaucastel and Font de Michelle are forward, luscious wines for drinking right now.  The Beaucastel has old school, earthy aromas and flavors enjoyed by all.  This bottle drank really well and has a lushness which makes you want to open more.  The Font de Michelle is immediately obvious as a special wine.  Again hard to resist now but there is an internal structure to carry it forward. These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.  Click here for previous Notes from the Dump Bin.

IMG_4965

2007 Domaine de la Mordoree, La Dame Rousse, Lirac –
Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils.  This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache and 50% Syrah sourced from ~40 year old vines.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose starts of light and tight with brooding dark fruit and roast earth, taking on some raspberry on the second night.  In the mouth the focused blacker fruit mixes with cool acidity, black minerality, and carries muscular weight.  It give the impression that it will slowly age.  On the second night the purplish fruit takes on berry qualities with juicy acidity.  It is firmer but has focused ripeness, still young. **(*) 2015-2023.

IMG_4966

2007 Domaine de Beaucastel, Coudoulet de Beaucastel, Cotes du Rhone –
Imported by Vineyard Brands.  This wine is a blend of 30% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, 20% Syrah, and 20% Cinsault which were all fermented separately in enamel tiled vats.  It underwent malolactic fermentation, was aged for six to eight months in large oak barrels, and bottled after fining with egg whites.   Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose is interesting with earthy, ripe fruit.  The flavors follow the nose with a soft approach which still has good acidity.  There is nice weight to the wine.  Old-school flavors, wood box, and sweet spices fill the mouth.  There are some ripe tannins in the finish which is followed by an expansive aftertaste.  At the top of its rating.  *** Now-2018.

IMG_4967

2007 Font de Michelle, Cuvee Etienne Gonnet, Chateauneuf du Pape – $35
Imported by Robert Kacher Selections.  This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache (sourced from 100 year old vines), 10% Syrah, 10 % Mourvedre, and the rest Counoise, Muscardin, and Terret Noir.  The Grenache is aged in tank with the rest in demi-muid for 18 months.  Alcohol 14.5%.  After a four hour double-decant the light to medium strength nose reveals blue fruit and exotic berries.  In the mouth there are weighty blue fruit, dense flavors, and vintage flower perfume.  It is accessible with forward flavors, a wild note, and lots of fruit which expands in the mouth.  There are fine+ tannins in the finish and a long aftertaste.  With more air it reveals strength in personality, cinnamon spices, and an inky middle.  **** Now-2023.

IMG_4968

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

Good Values from France

July 10, 2012 1 comment

I now include the Rhone when I am interested in tasty and affordable white wine. One such example is the 2011 La Bastide Saint Dominique, CdR Blanc. At $13 you could buy a case for summer time drinking. It should drink well for a few years so there is no rush to consume it. Looking further south the 2010 Viognier is quite good too, particularly for its stone flavors. I really liked the 2010 Chateau de Saint Cosme, CdR Blanc (reviewed here) but the 2011 was not as exciting.

Although this started as a white Rhone post I just picked up the enjoyable 2010 Mordoree, La Dame Rousse, Lirac. I decided to sneak this in as it is a strong and powerful wine which follows the tight 2009 vintage (reviewed here). This wine has good potential but it requires time in the cellar. As Jenn put it, on the second night it drank the way you would want a young wine on the first night. My recommendation is to stock up on the 2011 La Bastide Saint Dominique, CdR Blanc and the 2010 Mordoree, La Damse Rousse, Lirac. These wines are currently available at MacArthur Beverages.

2011 La Bastide Saint Dominique, Blanc, Cotes du Rhone – $13
Imported by Simon N Cellars. This wine is a blend of 50% Viognier, 25% Grenache, and 25% Clairette sourced from 25-year-old vines. The fruit is fermented the aged for six months in stainless steel tanks. The color is a light golden straw. In the mouth there is concentrated ripe yellow fruit with crisp white-apple flavors. There is a really nice mouthfeel with plenty of acidity. The finish is focused with yeast and stone notes. *** Now-2015.

2010 La Bastide Saint Dominique, Viognier, VdP Mediterranee – $11
Imported by Simon N Cellars. There is a burst of bright fruit followed by the textured flavors and pebbly stone notes. The ripeness appears on the sides of the tongue before an apple crispness and a flinty note develops. There is an underlying supple mouthfeel. ** Now-2014.

2011 Chateau de Saint Cosme, Blanc, Cotes du Rhone – $18
Imported by The Country Vintner. This wine is a blend of 30% Roussanne, 30% Picpoul de Pinet, 20% Viognier, and 20% Marsanne. The fruit was fermented in old oak casks then aged on the lees. There color is a light yellow. The light nose makes way to lively white fruit on the tongue, tangy citrus in the middle, and salivating acidity in the finish. ** Now-2015.

2010 Domaine de la Mordoree, La Dame Rousse, Lirac – $18
Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils. This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache and 50% Syrah sourced from 40 year old vines. The color is a medium+ ruby with purple. There is a light and lifted nose of raspberry, black fruit, and a dark note. In the mouth this starts off a touch savory with concentrated fruit which has a floral dimension. With air the beginning becomes mildly creamy. The depth of the fruit is then revealed along with meaty flavors. The finish is perfumed with powdery, drying tannins which are chewy. Be forewarned, this powerful wine that should be aged. **(**) 2017-2025.

Three Selections From the Rhone

January 14, 2012 Leave a comment

These three wines were originally drunk a month or so ago.  I forgot we had tasted Reserve Saint Dominique and Domaine Pelaquie  so I recently purchased them again. Though I try to drink as diversely as possible, I certainly do drink additional bottles which are particularly enjoyable.  My tasting notes are typically revised over two nights so trying another bottle helps account for bottle variations.  I am a big fan of La Bastide Saint Dominique with a particular soft spot for the Cuvee Jules Rochebonne and Les Argiles Rouge but we did not enjoy this 2010 Vacqueyras.  In searching this blog I realize I have not yet posted on the 2007 vintages of Cuvee Jules Rochebonne and Les Argiles Rouge, I will do so this week, I have loved each and every bottle we have drunk.  The 2010 Domaine Pelaquie is a solid buy, there is good vigor for a cold winter’s night but also the ability to develop for a few years.    Having now drunk three selections from Hecht & Bannier from the 2007 vintage, I find that the 2007 Hecht & Bannier, Minervois hits a sweet spot in terms of aroma, flavor, and price.  While the this Languedoc will remind you of sunny southern-France it is best to spend the extra $5 on the Minervois.

2010 Reserve Saint Dominique, Vacqueyras – $18
Imported by Simon “N” Cellars. There is a subtle, youthful nose with underlying hints of blackberries and some sweet, blackcurrant. There are black and red fruit flavors, some creamy character, and  a large amount of fine, very drying tannins.  Lots of acidity. There were some berry and floral flavors in the aftertaste.   Plain and boring on the second night with tart fruit.  In the end, this remained restrained in flavors and heavily tannic.  It certainly needs several years of age.

2010 Domaine Pelaquie, Lirac – $15
Imported by Oslo Enterprise.  This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache and 50% Mourvedre sourced from 25-year-old vines.  There is a light grapey nose with delicate berries.  In the mouth the hard red fruit mixes with herbs and gravelly fruits.  There are cranberry notes as acidity comes ou in the back of the mouth.  It wraps up with dusty tannins.  On the second night Jenn found flavors of “black licorice”.  It certainly starts off with riper fruit before taking a wild character with a wee bit of heat in the finish.  Drink now for vigor or cellar for the short-term.

2007 Hecht & Bannier, Languedoc – $12
Imported by Frederick Wildman and Sons.  This wine is 80% Syrah, 10% Grenache, and 10% Carignan.  This was a fresh and sunny wine with grapier red fruit and some minerals.  The flavors turned bluer midpalate as plenty of acidity came out.  This is an easy-going wine.