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Posts Tagged ‘Loire’

Three tasty white wines

September 17, 2015 Leave a comment

I am simultaneously researching several topics right now so to stay hydrated I have been drinking more white wine. One of the most screaming values out there is the 2013 Domaine Pierre Luneau-Papin, La Grange Vieilles Vignes, Muscadet Sevre & Maine.  Get some friends together so you may drink this vibrant and chalky wine in one go.  It is an honest wine at a great price.  Roger Lassarat’s wines from 2014 appear to be quite good. The 2014 Roger Lassarat, Cuvee des Murgers, Pouilly-Fuisse was put on sale last week making it a solid choice for a crisp and modestly intense wine that will develop over the short-term.  I should point out that the $15 Macon-Villages is a good buy as well.  The 2013 Domaine Remi Jobard, Bourgogne Blanc certainly comes across as a classic Bourgogne blanc.  I preferred it on the first night when there was more fruit intensity making this well-made wine complete. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2013 Domaine Pierre Luneau-Papin, La Grange Vieilles Vignes, Muscadet Sevre & Maine – $13
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  This wine is 100% Muscadet sourced from 45+  year old vines that were aged sur lie for 7 months. Alcohol 12%.  Best on the first night this wine is vibrant on the tongue with rounded flavors of white fruit and chalk before the dry finish.  The wine remains fully integrated from start to finish.  *** Now – 2016.

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2014 Roger Lassarat, Cuvee des Murgers, Pouilly-Fuisse – $20
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from vines on very chalky soils.  Alcohol 13%.  There was flinty white fruit on the nose. In the mouth was a rounded start with modest but good intensity.  There was some attractive weight and texture in this wine that developed riper flavors with time.  It ultimately delivered ripe, green fruit, chalk, and texture all the while maintaining crispness.  **(*) Now – 2017.

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2013 Domaine Remi Jobard, Bourgogne Blanc – $20
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  This wine is 100% Chardonnay.  Alcohol 13%.  There were slightly rounded yet tart white apple flavors, ripe texture, and spices on the gums.  This wine was crisp and clean showing more fruit on the first night and more toast towards the finish on the second.  Well made.  ** Now – 2017.

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

December 10, 2014 Leave a comment

We recently tasted through a diverse selection of wines.  The 2013 Bernard Baudry, Chinon Blanc  was all about the acidity driven tension and mouthfeel.  I do not care for purely high acidity wines, rather I like acidity that gives a sense of nervous energy like the wine is alive.  The Baudry has that.  The 2013 Matthiasson, Chardonnay, Linda Vista Vineyard, Napa Valley grew on me.  With similar weight to the Baudry it too has a lot of acidity but not of the tense kind and in comparison, the Baudry shows more ripe fruit.  The Matthiasson actually grew on me but I would wait several months before trying again.  I was surprised by the 2012 Famille Perrin, Coudoulet de Beaucastel, Cotes du Rhone in that it was full of clean, modern flavors.  A solid wine for the short term but without the intrigue I expected.  The 2010 Chateau des Tours, Reserve, Cotes du Rhone is the best wine I have drunk in the past week.  The nose was beautiful right from the very first pour and so were the flavors.  This is quite a contrast to the 2009 vintage, which you may read about here, which I found “full-bodied” and with a “force of mind” requiring years in the cellar.   You might balk at paying $40 for a Cotes du Rhone but you will stop once you taste it.  Finally, my first experience with Vin Jaune is the 2005 Rolet Pere et Fils, Arbois Vin Jaune.  It reminded me of nuts and Sherry so if that is appealing to you then cellar a few bottles for a few decades.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2013 Bernard Baudry, Chinon Blanc – $25
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  This wine is 100% Chenin Blanc sourced from young vines on soils of clay and limestone.  The fruit was fermented with indigenous yeast then aged in oak barrels. Alcohol 12%.  The color was a rather light gold.  In the mouth were tense flavors of white fruit, chalk notes, and eventually apples with other fruit.  There was a great mouthfeel before the tangy, clean citrus of the finish and the citrus pith textured aftertaste.  *** Now-2016.

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2013 Matthiasson, Chardonnay, Linda Vista Vineyard, Napa Valley – $26
This wine is 100% Chardonnay that was fermented then aged in neutral oak barrels.  The barrels underwent a mixture of stirring and malolactic fermentation.  Alcohol 12.9%.  The color was a very light gold with green tinges.  The nose was delicate with ripe green apple aromas.  In the mouth was bright fruit that had a rounded start.  There was plenty of acidity but not overdone.  There was just enough weight to the wine and a tart finish.  **(*) 2015-2016.

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2012 Famille Perrin, Coudoulet de Beaucastel, Cotes du Rhone – $25
Imported by Vineyard Brands.  This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, 20% Syrah, and 10% Cinsault that was aged for six months in oak foudres.  Alcohol 14%.  There was a fresh, spiced filled nose.  In the mouth were fresh, bright flavors of herbed and floral fruit.  The wine tastes balanced but there is less structure than I expected giving it more levity.  This is best drunk young.  **(*) Now-2020.

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2010 Chateau des Tours, Reserve, Cotes du Rhone – $40
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.    This wine is a blend of 65% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 15% Cinsault.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose was aromatic with Kirsch, light and bright red fruit…simply beautiful.  In the mouth the red fruit flavors had gentle ripeness, ripe cherry, lipstick, and raspberry.  The wine was in perfect balance.  Though drinking well right now it should continue to develop.  **** Now-2020.

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2005 Rolet Pere et Fils, Arbois Vin Jaune – $35 (375 mL)
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is 100% Savagnin that spent six years in barrel under flor.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The aromas and flavors were evocative of nuts and Sherry.  Very nutty in the mouth, dry, strong yet balance acidity, and apple orchard hints.  *** Now-20??.

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Red wines from the 2013 vintage of Marc Olivier’s Domaine de la Pépière

September 16, 2014 Leave a comment

Marc Olivier of Domaine de la Pépière produced his first wine in the 1980s.  His vineyards are located in the western part of the Loire in Muscadet.  Muscadet is known for its white wines with Marc Olivier’s Clos de Briords appearing in this blog several times.  Today’s post features his three red wines.  These wines are made with fruit from a single plot of 40+ year old Cabernet Franc as well as young plots of Côt, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.  According to the excellent Le Pépière (Loire) post on Wine Terroirs these plots are on soil of Granit de Clisson with south-western exposure to aid in ripening.

Old vines.  Image from Domaine de la Pépière.

Old vines. Image from Domaine de la Pépière.

We tasted these wines over a period of three days and they remained rock stable.  Marc Oliver does not add any sulphur at bottling because he aims to already have enough free sulphur in the wine left over from its addition during élevage in the winter.  There was no hint of the dreaded Pilsner note.  Instead these remained fresh, young, and aromatic wines.  The flavors lean towards the tart and dry with lively acidity so these may not be wines for everyone.  The 2013 Domaine de la Pépière, Le Pepie, Côt, VdP Loire was the simplest of the three.  The 2013 Domaine de la Pépière, Le Pepie, Cabernet Franc, VdP Loire – $13 offered more expression with an interesting tension from the ripe and dry flavors.  My favorite was the 2013 Domaine de la Pépière, Cuvee Granit, VdP Loire which had a more complex nose and impeccable balance.  It steps forward from the young and grapey Le Pepie wines to show more gravity.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2013 Domaine de la Pépière, Le Pepie, Côt, VdP Loire – $13
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  This wine is 100% Côt sourced from young vines around 10 years of age.  It was fermented in tanks.  Alcohol 12%.  The nose revealed orange hints mixed with red fruit.  It was a simpler nose with less of the white pepper and graphite.  In the mouth were light, lifted flavors that were tart and started with some spritz on the tongue.  It had good acidity, a light grapey nature, and reacted well to air.  ** Now-2019.

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2013 Domaine de la Pépière, Le Pepie, Cabernet Franc, VdP Loire – $13
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc that was fermented in tanks.  Alcohol 12%.  There was a very light nose of cranberry and tart, red fruit with hints of fresh white pepper.  In the mouth this wine had textured and lively acidity, tart dry red fruit, and a ripe, wood polish note.  Its hard to describe but there was a nice contrast to the ripe flavors and dryness of the wines.  ** Now-2019.

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2013 Domaine de la Pépière, Cuvee Granit, VdP Loire – $15
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  This is typically a blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, 20% Côt, 20% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Alcohol 12%.  This bore a nose of fine graphite, white pepper, and sweet floral potpourri.  In the mouth were tart, red fruit then black fruit.  The white pepper continues through the wine.  The lighter and dry flavors had watering acidity before turning tart black with very fine ripeness in the finish.  **(*) 2015-2020.

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Excellent Wines of the 2012 Vintage from Breton, Pelle, and Pepiere

January 10, 2014 Leave a comment

The trio of wines features in today’s post should be on everyone’s list of wines to drink.  All three on are top form and my recommendation to drink them transcends any score.  The 2012 Domaine Henri Pelle, Les Bornes Blanc drinks well right out of the bottle.  The floral, fruit, and grassy mixture engages while the texture and long finish draw you back for another sip.  The 2012 Domaine La Pepiere, Clos des Briords, Cuvee Vieilles Vignes took until the third night to fully open up.  Drunk warmer than cold it was if a switch had been flipped.  The tart flavors surround a core of ripe fruit which delivered texture and power.  I personally feel this should be cellared but if you must try it then double-decant it the day ahead.  Finally, the 2012 Catherine & Pierre Breton, Beaumont reminds me of the beauty of Cabernet Franc.  It was one year ago that I drank The Arresting 2010.  This current vintage may not have the flavor concentration but the combination of fruit, minerals, acidity, and tannins is so pleasing.  I would cellar it another six months before drinking.  These wines are at MacArthur Beverages.

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2012 Domaine Henri Pelle, Les Bornes Blanc, Menetou-Salon – $18
Imported by Potomac Selections.  This wine is 100% Sauvignon Blanc sourced from 25 year old vines on soils of Kimmeridgian marl.  It was fermented then aged for six months in stainless steel. Alcohol 13%.  The nose had a nice mixture of floral and yellow fruit aromas.  It became a little grassy and remained delineated.  The mouth began with minerally start before acidity came out on the sides of the tongue.  After more mineral notes the wine turned drier and gripper with a persistent texture and long aftertaste.  A little grassy flavor came out in the finish. Good personality.  *** Now-2017.

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2012 Domaine de La Pepiere, Clos des Briords, Cuvee Vieilles Vignes, Muscadet Sevre et Maine -$16
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  This wine is 100% Muscadet sourced from vines planted in 1930 on soils of clay and silica over granite.  Alcohol 12%.  The color was a very light straw.  There was a fresh nose of flinty white fruit.  This wine was best on the third night when it had a ripe and tart entry followed by a ripe core of fruit.  There was plenty of focused acidity through the aftertaste as well as ample flavors of stones.  There was a good finish and aftertaste with good ripe spices.  This tangy wine had lemon flavors and good power which left a tart texture on the gums.  ***(*) 2015-2019.

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2012 Catherine & Pierre Breton, Beaumont, Chinon – $22
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc sourced from 40 year old vines on soils of clay and limestone.  It was both fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged for one year in wooden vats and barriques.  Alcohol 12%.  The nose preceded the mouth where there were focused black and red fruit flavors which were a little tart.  There were nice, black and drying tannins, minerals, and acidity which hit the back sides of the tongue.  There was a powdery, vintage perfume note.  The wine took on a little weight and expansion in the aftertaste.  So drinkable.  *** 2014-2019.

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Tasting Unlabeled and Bagged Wines With Lou

October 11, 2013 Leave a comment

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I went over to Lou’s house earlier this week to taste some wine.  He had put together a small flight of wines to taste blind so I thought it would be amusing to bring over two bottles of white wine which were missing their labels.  I never wrote down what the first wine was so it shall remain an Unknown French White Wine of recent vintage.  It was actually quite nice on the nose, certainly Sauvignon Blanc with Lou guessing Sancerre.  Next up was the 2011 Domaine de la Pépière,  Clos des Briords which Lou immediately guess as Muscadet based on the bottle.  I had double-decanted this one hour prior.  This is made from the oldest vines of the estate, planted in 1930, and I think that it is best left in the cellar.  Lou then brought out the 2010 Domaine Rolet, Chardonnay, L’Etoile.  I loved the 2007 vintage which I tasted last summer and suspect the 2010 will also develop well with age.  The last wine I brought over was the 2006 Domaine du Coulet, Brise Cailloux.  I tasted the 2006 No Wine’s Land back in the summer of 2008 and the 2008 Brise Cailloux earlier this year (thanks again to Lou).  The 2006 had a gorgeous, engaging nose which is not quite/yet matched in the mouth.  There is plenty of life ahead so I would be curious to hold on to any bottles.

We then came to the blind wines.  Lou had double-decanted them so the probably had about one hour of air before we tasted them.  I started with the first two wines and was really happy.  Parlor games are fun so I guessed the first was either from Charvin or a Stolpman, Syrah.  Having recently drunk the 2010 Stolpman, Syrah Estate, there was something familiar in mind.  Lou commented there was no California Syrah in the lineup.  In all fairness, Lou had previously offered to open up the 2008 Domaine du Pegau, Reservee due to my current interest in Pegau.  I suspected he had not for this tasting.  The second wine was certainly funkier, showing more advanced aromas and flavors, and absolutely lovely.  Remembering the 2008 Clos des Papes Phil opened last year, I guessed it was a wine from 2008.  The third wine had a brick wall of tannins, I thought some cuvee which saw way too much new oak.

It turned out the first wine was the 2007 Stolpman Vineyards, Grenache Estate, the second was 2008 Domaine du Pegau, Reservee, and the third was 2007 Domaine Grand Veneur, Clos de Sixte.  The 2008 Pegau stole the show.  We typically split and gas up the leftovers to be tasted the next night.  I was so excited by the Pegau that Jenn and I finished it up that evening.  Lou purchased this bottle for $25 from Premier Cru, what a deal!  After that I really enjoyed the 2006 Coulet.  I think the 2007 Stolpman was more impressive the first night but the 2007 Grand Veneur certainly improved on the second night.

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Unknown French White Wine
This had ripe, grassy aromas of white candy with fine texture.  It was strong in the nose with its floral, white candy aromas.  The mouth was less impressive but had a nice chalky, dry aspect.  ** Now-2014.

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2011 Domaine de la Pépière,  Clos des Briords, Muscadet de Sevre-et-Maine
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  The color was a very light white straw.  The tight nose eventually revealed some heavy, underlying floral fruit.  In the mouth was white candy-like fruit, not-quite crisp acidity, then rounder flavors of delicate white peach with a little tart tang.  The wine was balanced with a little, fine ripe finish.  This young wine eventually developed white stones which mixed with some tannins.  **(*) 2014-2020.

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2010 Domaine Rolet, Chardonnay, L’Etoile, Jura
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  Alcohol 13%.  The subtle nose was apple-like.  In the mouth the white fruit had weight with good, drying stone texture.  There was fresh acidity in the start, lots of personality, and youth.  **(*) 2014-2024.

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2006 Domaine du Coulet (Matthieu Barret), Brise Cailloux, Cornas
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  Alcohol 13%.  There was a nice nose of floral aromas, pepper, and leaves of violets.  It was finely delineated with a hint of sweet, spiced orange peel at the end.  There was tart red fruit which was acidity driven from the start.  The flavors continue through the wine eventually showing a hint of maturity.  It was steely with minerals, and a black fruit with graphite finish.  The structure slowly came out, leaving some very fine tannins on the gums.  ***(*) Now-2025.

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2007 Stolpman Vineyards, Grenache Estate, Santa Ynez Valley
This  Alcohol 15%.  There was fresher, younger red fruit with an orange citrus aroma.  It was a fine wine in the mouth mixing red fruit with a darker core and ripe, fine, drying tannins.  It took on perfumed fruit, young but very attractive.  It dried out a bit with air but kept a sweet, ripe finish.  It took on some orange peel flavors with air, along with dry, very fine tannins.  Best on the first night.  *** Now-2018.

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2008 Domaine du Pegau, Reservee, Chateauneuf du Pape
Imported by Kirkcrest Imports.  Alcohol 14%.  A slighter darker core.  The nose was older with earthy, smoky aromas.  It was a little sweaty with some blood.  The mouth followed the nose with ripe fruit, tannins, and acidity which tickles the tongue tip.  It had a lipstick finish and a long, expansive, beautiful aftertaste.  With extended air a youthful core of fruit came out suggesting longevity.  **** Now-2023.

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2007 Domaine Grand Veneur, Clos de Sixte, Lirac
Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils.  This wine is blend of 50% Grenache, 35% Syrah, and 15% Mourvedre.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This was a medium-dark purple color.  It had nose of cassis-like, ripe fruit, and vanilla.  In the mouth was more linear fruit which quickly met an up-front wall of tannins.  These were very fine and drying.  An aspect of the nose came out in the finish.  On the second night this was more approachable with dense fruit, a simpler finish, and a structure that subsided. ** Now-2023.

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Wines to Drink While Researching

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

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

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

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

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

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Rosé and Rosado

June 28, 2013 1 comment

Of the trio of rosé bottles we have recently drunk I recommend the 2012 Bernard Baudry and the 2012 Chateau Miraval of Jolie-Pitt & Perrin.  At $20 and $23 per bottle they are approaching the expensive side of summer-time drinking but they both have merits.  The Bernard Baudry should not be drunk too cool.  If you store your bottle in the refrigerator then pour a glass and let it stand for 10-15 minutes before drinking.  What I found is a wine with compelling flavors which continued to expand and last in my mouth.  This drank well on the first two nights as every mouthful caught my attention.  The much publicized Chateau Miraval has a strong nose.  It smelled great throughout the entire bottle and was supported by the flavors.  The 2012 Ameztoi, Rubentis was interesting but the acidity was a bit too much for me so try it with food.  I typically drink rosé while I am grilling outside so a wine that can handle the warmth and be drunk alone is what works best for me.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2012 Bernard Baudry, Rosé, Chinon – $20
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc which was directly pressed.  Alcohol 13%.  The color was a light, dried rose and copper.  The fresh nose bore sharper aromas and lees.  In the mouth there were building flavors of red fruit like strawberry.  There was a grainy texture.  The flavors continued to build in the mouth and providing a long-lasting and expansive aftertaste.  The acidity started on the tongue tip then moved to the back of the throw as the texture built up.  *** Now.

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2012 Jolie-Pitt & Perrin, Chateau Miraval, Rosé, Cotes du Provence – $23
Imported by Vineyard Brands.  This wine is a blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, and Rolle of which the Syrah was vinified by saignee and the other directly pressed.  Alcohol 13%.  The color was a very light dried rose.  The nose was aromatic with floral and fruity notes.  In the mouth there were pastille flavors and acidity.  The wine became almost chalky with drier flavors and some weight to the small berry flavors.  There was a longish aftertaste with a little texture.  The nose always had an attractive bouquet.  *** Now.

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2012 Ameztoi, Rubentis, Rosado, Getariako Txakolina – $18
Imported by De Maison Selections.  This wine is a blend of 50% Hondaribi Zuri and 50% Hondarribi Beltza sourced from vines up to 150+ years of age.  It was fermented in stainless steel.  Alcohol 10.5%.  the color was a very light rose.  The delicate nose had aromas of dried fruit and dried flowers.  The wine was slightly spritzy on the tongue with bracing acidity.    After the bracing start there were flavors of dried red fruit and dried herbs.  The acidity returned in the finish along with some lees-like flavors.  Best with food.  ** Now-2014.

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Tasting Wine At MacArthur Beverages with Charles of Williams Corner Wine

June 7, 2013 1 comment

Yesterday I took some time off from work to meet Charles Gendrot of Williams Corner Wine at MacArthur Beverages.  He had arranged with Phil to pour a number of samples.  I knew we would taste the 2010 Domaine du Banneret, Chateauneuf du Pape but I did not realize he had almost a case of wine stashed in his black bag.  Williams Corner Wine not only distributes a subset from Louis/Dressner Selections but they also import an interesting variety of wines from France, Italy, and Spain.  A quick search of this blog gives an insight into this diversity (results of search for “Williams Corner”).  The four white wines were fun to taste with the Chateau du Coing de Saint-Fiacre showing good texture, the Eric Texier very bright and fresh, the Tami showing well with persistent flavors, and the Zidarich unique.  If you want an introduction to a different type of white wine than try the Tami and Zidarich.  Of the red wines the recently bottled Fatalone is a great choice when served chilled on a humid Washington, DC evening.  The recently arrived 2011 Bernard Baudry was showing quite well but the 2010 Domaine des Banneret stole the show.  It is a young wine which will develop.  Right now it has finesse and invites you to keep returning to the glass.  Once the 2010 hits the shelves I shall taste it alongside the 2009.  Please find my brief notes below.

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2007 Chateau du Coing de Saint-Fiacre, L’Ancestrale, Muscadet Sevre et Maine –
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This fruit for this wine is sourced from 60-80 year old vines, is fermented in concrete without temperature control then spends four to five years on the lees without stirring.  Alcohol 12.5%.  There was a fruity, textured nose.  The flavors were a little ripe in the mouth showing more focus.  The flavors became drier with some tannins coming out and integrating with the acidity.  There were apple-like tart white fruit flavors, a hint of lees in the finish, and good texture.

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2012 Eric Texier, Blanc, Cotes du Rhone –
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  This wine is mostly Grenache Blanc.  Alcohol 12%.  The nose was aromatic with berries then tropical and floral fruit.  In the mouth there was bright, focused floral white fruit, drier flavors, and a fresh personality.  It was stone-like in nature.

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2011 Tami, Grillo, Sicily –
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  Alcohol 12.5%.  There was a waxy, almost nutty note which was clearly different.  In the mouth there was fresh, bright, waxy white fruit which followed the nose.  There was some density to the flavors, acidity, and a good persistent aftertaste.  Enjoyable.

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2010 Zidarich, Vitovska, Venezia Giulia –
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is 100% Vitovska sourced from vines 6-30 years of age.  The fruit was destemmed then fermented in open vats without temperature control using indigenous yeasts.  It was then aged for two years in medium and large Slavonian oak barrels.  Alcohol 12%.  This orange wine had a different aromatic nose of potpourri.  The mouth followed the nose with clean and dry fruit, dried floral flavors, stones, perfume, and lots of texture.  Not extreme in any manner.

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2012 Fatalone, Teres, Primitivo, Puglia –
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  Alcohol 13%.  The color was a very light cranberry.  The nose bore bright berries.  In the mouth the wine was much light with crisp flavors of cranberry and raspberry with an earthy touch.  It maintained crispness leaving a very fine, grapey impression on the lips and in the mouth.  Quite young in nature.  Works well when cool.

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2011 Klein, Pinot Noir, St-Hippolyte, Alsace –
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  The nose was finely textured with red fruit. In the mouth there were firm flavors of red and earthy fruit presented in a more austere manner.  Might need a little time to open up.

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2012 Jean-Paul Brun, Domaine des Terres Dorees, L’Ancien, Vieilles Vignes, Beaujolais –
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  Alcohol 12%.  The light nose bore pepper aromas along with firm red and blue fruit.  In the mouth there was almost tart flavors of grapey red fruit followed by some firm black fruit.  It was a little juicy, tart, and had acidity.  The finish was puckering with a citric personality which matched the emerging structure.  Give it a few months in the cellar.

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2011 Domaine Bernard Baudry, “Domaine”, Chinon –
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  There was a good nose of old perfume.  The flavors were both fruity and ethereal with old perfume mixing with red and black fruit.  It had a lighter personality but maintained a chewy concentration.  Showing quite well even compared to 2010.

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2010 Domaine du Banneret, Chateauneuf du Pape –
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre with some vines 80+ years old.  It  fermented in small tanks then aged for 16 months in barrels and oak ovals.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose was interesting, expressive, light but engaging.  In the mouth there was finesse with slowly building flavors, black fruit, fresh acidity, and mild ripeness.  I agree with the old-school comment.  This is a young, different wine which I will clearly taste again once it is at the store.

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2010 La Stoppa, Trebbiolo Rosso, Emilia Rosso –
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  Alcohol 13%.  There was a bretty nose of red and black fruit.  In the mouth there was a ripe hit of flavors then spritz on the tongue.  The ripe, grippy flavors creep up.

Tasting Samples with Josefa Concannon of Louis/Dressner Selections

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 2013 Robert Kacher Selections Spring Portfolio Tasting: The Winemakers

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Earlier this week Lou and I attended the 2013 Robert Kacher Selections Spring Portfolio Tasting in Washington, DC.  The tasting was held at the historic Patterson Mansion on Dupont Circle which is the clubhouse for the 19th century Washington Club.  There was a large number of wines available to taste representing that of several dozen domains mostly from all over France.  Between the two of us we tasted many wines and wrote down many notes.  For the first post I have decided to concentrate on three domains whose winemakers were present at the tasting.  I first met Diane de Puymorin of Château d’Or et de Gueules and Corinne and Philippe Ehrhart of Domaine Ehrhart at last year’s portfolio tasting.  You may read about last year’s event in my series of posts The Robert Kacher Spring 2012 Portfolio Tasting.  This year I met Jean-Hubert Lebreton of Domaine des Rochelles.  I spent extra time with each of them learning more about the wines I was tasting and the domains they came from.

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Château d’Or et de Gueules

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Château d’Or et de Gueules is an older estate which was purchased by Diane de Puymorin in 1998.  Originally named Domaine de la Petite Cassagne she carved out a new estate named after her family crest.  She planted an additional 30 acres of vines made up of some Syrah and all of the white varietals.  She kept the ten hectares of 80 year old Carignan and nine hectares of 90 year old Mourvedre.  She has also planted some more Mourvedre.  The vineyards are located in the far south-east of Costières de Nîmes so they are influenced by a maritime climate.  Diane feels this gives her wines a certain freshness.  The old-vines are goblet trained and all of the vines are on soils of round pebbles.  She planted grass between the vines for competition but this was not really necessary for her vineyards.  She is two years into the organic certification process so she does not use any chemicals.  She uses fruit from her old-vine Mourvedre and Carignan in all of her wines.  She employs carbonic maceration for the Carignan because it is naturally too tannic so she wants to make it more elegant and avoid over extraction.

2010 Château d’Or et de Gueules, Les Cimels, Costières de Nîmes –
This wine is a blend of 60% Syrah, 30% old-vine Carignan, and 10% Grenache.  The varietals were fermented separately, the Carignan underwent carbonic maceration.  It was aged in tank.  There was a light, expressive nose.  In the mouth there was some initial vigor before citric, red fruit mixed with plenty of tannins.  There was some gentle acidity.

2011 Château d’Or et de Gueules, Trassegum, Costières de Nîmes –
This wine is a blend of 50% Syrah, 25% old-vine Carignan, and 25% old-vine Mourvedre.  The Carignan undergoes carbonic maceration.  The wine was aged one year in barrel and some time in tank.  The nose bore higher-toned aromas and berries.  In the mouth there were old-school flavors of red fruit.  The tannins eventually smoothed out as red raspberry flavors came out along with some textured, ripe tannins.

2011 Château d’Or et de Gueules, Qu’es Aquo, Costières de Nîmes –
This wine is 100% Carignan of which 80% underwent Carbonic maceration and 20% by pigeage.  It was then aged for six months in used oak barrels.  The flavors were perfumed with grip and a little red candy.  There was a graphite structure with drying tannins in the aftertaste.

2009 Château d’Or et de Gueules, Cuvee La Bolida, Costières de Nîmes –
This wine is a blend of 90% old-vine Mourvedre and 10% Grenache which was aged for 18 months in French oak.  There was a subtle but interesting nose.  In the mouth the flavors were dense, smooth and approachable.  The structure slowly came out and mixed with somewhat juicy acidity.  There was a little berry perfume in the finish along with good tannins.  Clearly, my favorite of the quartet.

Domaine Ehrhart (Domaine Saint-Rémy in Europe)

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Corinne and Philippe Ehrhart were present at the tasting.  Domaine Ehrhart first started producing Chardonnay in 1981.  It is not allowed in the other wines so all of the production is use in their Crément d’Alsace.  The first white wine I tasted, the Pinot Auxerrois is sourced from a vineyard near the Chardonnay vineyard.  Pinot Auxerrois produces smaller berries than Pinot Blanc.  This fact combined with the granite soils provides a wine of good complexity.  This wine spends 6-8 weeks on the lees.  The 2011 vintages was completely sold out so to meet demand the 2012 vintage was bottled earlier, just two weeks ago.  It is not possible to bottle the 2012 Rieslings because they started fermenting in October, shutdown in December due to the cold, and have only just started fermenting again.  All of the fruit is picked by hand and slowly pressed in one of two pneumatic presses.  Each cycle takes five to eight hours.  The fruit is fermented with indigenous yeast and remains in stainless steel.  Philippe likes to preserve freshness in his wine hence his use of stainless steel.  He does, however, use oak with his Pinot Noir.  Because they have vineyards in 11 different villages they employ some 47 or 48 different sized stainless steel tanks to keep everything separate   The wines are filtered about three weeks before bottling.

Corinne is constantly replanting parcels in the vineyards.  For example, she just replanted two in Herrenberg.  The replanting is done in small groups because it takes four years before the parcel will produce suitable fruit again.  They grow grass between the rows of vines.  Typically they have plowed one side and let the grass on the other side grow.  This year Philippe is going to try a new method.  When it is rainy he is going to cut the grass to encourage it to grow and absorb the moisture.  When it is dry he is going to let the grass flower.  Then he will come out with his lawn roller and roll all of the grass down.  There has been a lot of rain lately so the ground is saturated and soft.  So soft that he cannot yet get into the vineyards with his tractor for fear of damage.

The tasting finished with the 2005, Gewurztraminer, Sélection de Grains Nobles.  This is a wine produced from grapes affected by botrytis or noble rot.  The conditions for this wine occur approximate once every ten years at Domaine Ehrhart.  They are incredibly labor intensive wines because the fruit is harvested berry by berry.  2012 was not a vintage for any late harvesting because there were too many fall rains.

NV Domaine Ehrhart, Crément d’Alsace –
This wine is 100% Chardonnay produced by Methode Traditionnelle.  There was an apple, yeasty nose.  In the mouth there was a vibrant start with apple flavors making way to berries.  The acidity was noticeable on the lips as the bubbles burst in to a very soft mousse.

2012 Domaine Ehrhart, Pinot Auxerrois, Val St Gregoire –
This  There was a light, focused nose.  In the mouth there was richer fruit with nice weight.  The flavors took on ripe tea and herbs as it became creamy with integrated acidity.

2011 Domaine Ehrhart, Riesling, Vieilles Vignes –
This wine is 100% Riesling sourced from 28 year old vines sourced from different parcels, most in Rosenberg.  There was a tight, yellow nose.  In the mouth were concentrated berry, fruity flavors before drying out with stone notes.  There was acidity from the start along with good texture.  This should develop well.

2011 Domaine Ehrhart, Riesling, Herrenweg –
This is 100% Riesling sourced from 35 year old vines sourced from two parcels  located on alluvial soils mixed with stones.  There was a pretty, floral, berry nose.  It had a richness but showed good vigor to the berry fruit.  This was highly textured and almost chewy.  There were long, ripe tannins in the aftertaste.

2011 Domaine Ehrhart, Riesling, Grand Cru Schlossberg –
This is 100% Riesling sourced from soils with more granite.  There was a light nose of articulate white and yellow aromas.  The mouth bore weight to the yellow, flora, and dried herb fruit flavors.  The acidity was more noticeable at first then the flavors expanded in the mouth with ripe texture and lots of mouthfeel.

2011 Domaine Ehrhart, Pinot Gris, Im Berg –
This is 100% Pinot Gris sourced from parcels on soils of granite west of Val St. Gregoire, though it is more of a hill than a mountain.  There was weighty with rich white and yellow fruit, the biggest wine yet.  The was texture and underlying acidity.

2011 Domaine Ehrhart, Pinot Noir –
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from Rosenberg raised in 90% stainless steel and 10% oak barrels.  The nose bore Pinot Noir aromas with black, red, and mineral notes.  The flavors had some density and were very focused.  It was a touch saline with an interesting mineral finish.

2011 Domaine Ehrhart, Gewurztraminer, Herrenweg –
This was full-bore Gewurztraminer being the weightiest and richest yet.  The flavors followed the nose with the addition of residual sugar and fresh, black tea.

2005 Domaine Ehrhart, Gewurztraminer, Sélection de Grains Nobles –
This wine had some lovely, botrytis fragrance and remained articulate   In the mouth the flavors were racy and honied with baking spices, glycerin to the mouthfeel, and a fresh, long aftertaste.  There was a little cider flavor.  It was certainly special.

Domaine des Rochelles

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Domaine des Rochelles was founded in the 1890s.  Today it is run by 4th generation Jean-Hubert Lebreton who is named after both of his grandfathers.  The domaine is located near the town of St Jean des Mauvrets and is comprised of 60 hectares of vines.  It was Jean-Hubert’s great-grandfather who started the estate and specialized as a negocient for rosé wine.  Anjou use to export a large volume of rosé so this was a traditional focus at the time.  It was his grandfather who first started selling wine directly.  Cabernet Sauvignon was often used for rosé production.  Around 1960 Jean-Hubert’s father tried Cabernet Sauvignon from a small producer and liked what he tasted.  In 1962 his grandfather brought back Cabernet Sauvignon massal selections from Bordeaux and planted a vineyard.  In Anjou Cabernet Sauvignon was typically planted at the bottom of the hills below the Cabernet Franc.  Cabernet Franc would bud while there were still morning frosts on the bottom of the hill.  Since Cabernet Sauvignon buds later than Cabernet Franc it was not affected by the frost.  However, these lower sites had deep soils which produced low-quality fruit which was destined for rosé production.

The domaine has several types of soils so Jean-Hubert’s grandfather and father were careful where they planted the vines.  They also opened the Caveau at the same time.  This is a small tasting room, lined with bottles on the wall, where people may come to taste the wines for free. In the 1970s they brought a consulting oenologist form the Libournne, Didier Coutenceau.  By 1975 they received their first medal for a Cabernet Sauvignon based wine.  To this day Didier Coutenceau still works with the domaine.  There are now 28 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon, 20 hectares of Cabernet Franc, 6 hectares of Grolleau, and 6 hectares of white varietals.  They are working towards an organic conversion.    The vineyards have been expanded and replanted with Cabernet Sauvignon since then.  All of these vines are massal selections from the original 1962 vineyard.  Since they have some of the oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vines in Anjou many research scientists have come to take massal selections.  The vine rows are spaced two meters apart with one meter of grass in between.

The domaine ferments in epoxy lined concrete vats.  They do not use pump-overs instead they have been employing submerged cap fermentation since the 1970s.  Basically, a perforated layer is placed half-way down the vat which keeps the cap in constant contact.  This slow process prevents too many tannins from being extracted.  The La Croix de Mission is a cuvee which was started by Jean-Hubert’s grandfather and father.  Jean-Hubert started the cuvée Les Mellerits.  The fruit from this parcel is a brute so Jean-Hubert employs barriques to tame the wine.

2012 Domaine des Rochelles, L’Ardoise, Anjou –
This wine is a blend of 90% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from slate soils.  The wine was aged  There was a very fresh nose of purple fruit.  The flavors were sappy in the mouth with tannins in the structure.  The wine takes on tart red flavors, a little weight came out followed by young and attractive tannins.  This was easy to drink.  Jean-Hubert recommends drinking this within five years.

2011 Domaine des Rochelles, La Croix de Mission, Anjou Villages Brissac –
This wine is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc sourced from an average of 25 year old vines on white quartz and decomposed schist soils.  The wine was aged for one year in stainless steel tanks.  The expressive nose smells like rocks.  There were youthful flavors, a floral midpalate, and structure for age.  Jean-Hubert recommends decanting now for four hours and drinking within ten years.

2009 Domaine des Rochelles, Les Mellerits, Anjou Villages Brissac –
This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from an average of 30 year old vines on soils of decomposed yellow schist with less water.  This was aged for one year in 33% new, 33% one year old, and 33% two year old oak barrels.  The fruit was different than before with licorice notes.  The flavors were purple and black with confidence and a serious, core of fruit.  I would cellar this a few years before drinking.  Jean-Hubert recommends decanting now for four hours and drinking within ten years.