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A few cheapies with Lou

February 27, 2018 Leave a comment

With jam-packed work and personal calendars it is hard for Lou and I to meet up.  We carved out a few hours the other day to sit at the peninsula and drink several inexpensive wines.  The 2007 Carmelo Patti, Cabernet Sauvignon, Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza was expectedly my favorite of the red wines.  After drinking a bottle in Seattle I brought one back to share with Lou and Jenn.  This bottle was more youthful than the first with a good balance between texture, fruit, green pepper, and minerals.  It is a good, old-school drink.  The 1990 Colle Bereto, Il Tocco, Tuscany is an inexpensive wine from a great vintage.  The vintage expresses itself through the ripe black fruit with the age coming in through leather and wood notes.  It is fully mature with some roast earth marking it as on the down slope.  Finally, the bottle of 1996 Moulin des Sablons, Chinon was surprisingly marked on the back label as “Mevushal 89 °C” meaning it is a Kosher wine.  Unfortunately, it was exposed to 192 °F  in being made Kosher which meant it was doomed in the glass.

2007 Carmelo Patti, Cabernet Sauvignon, Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza – $26
Imported by SWG Imports.  This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon that was fermented then aged in concrete for 12 months then aged a further 12 months in French oak.  Alcohol 14%.  A gentle ripeness of black fruit mixes with an appropriate amount of an herbal/green pepper component.  The texture is slightly grainy with mid palate weight and a round, mineral-like finish.  ***(*) Now – 2023.

1990 Colle Bereto, Il Tocco, Tuscany
Imported by Olinger Distributing Co. This wine is 100% Sangiovese. Alcohol 12.5%.  A woodsy wine that is fresh and crisp, beginning with up-front ripeness but finishing dry.  There are hard cherry flavors, focused weight, wood, and dried leather in the finish.  It is fully developed with a little roast end in the end from age.  It does not fall apart in the glass.  *** Now.

1996 Moulin des Sablons, Chinon
Imported by the Royal Wine Corp.  Alcohol 12.5%.  Mevushal 89 °C.  Brown, cooked, gross! Not Rated.

“Spilled not a drop”: Vintage After Vintage of Moët & Chandon and Krug Champagne

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This past Wednesday I was fortunate to attend a spectacular tasting hosted by Seth Box, the Director of Education for Moët-Hennessy USA.  He was accompanied by Michelle Desrosiers of Moët-Hennessy USA and by Maria Denton, the Moët-Hennessey Portfolio Manager at Washington Wholesale Liquor Company.  The tasting was held in The Graham Georgetown which has been open a mere three weeks.

Maria, Michelle, and Seth

Maria, Michelle, and Seth

Seth Box is not only the Director of Education but he is also studying towards the Master of Wine.  His knowledge and passion for wine combined with his energy clearly matched the outstanding array of wines he had chosen to open.  Seth’s position requires him to travel around the country but his time is not spent simply educating those in the business, he tries to get wine lovers to drink Champagne.  Moët-Hennessey has a strong Champagne portfolio so after people start drinking Champagne then an appreciation for mature vintages may be developed.

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Seth chose to highlight different cuvées and vintages from Moët & Chandon and Krug.  These are two very different houses with Moët& Chandon avoiding any intrusion of oxygen and Krug embracing oxygen through barrel fermentation.  He was quick to point out that the use of barrels is for oxygenation purposes and not to impart wood flavors.  When asked what type of vessels Krug stores their reserve wines in, Seth recalled the answer he received when he once asked the very same question. Do you ask a chef what type of spoon or pot they use?  It turns out they use stainless steel tanks of various sizes.  For more about Krug please see my post An Evening of Krug.  Because Krug see oxygen at a young age it has a very different aging profile and robustness compared to Moët & Chandon.  This was particularly evident in tasting the 1992 Moët & Chandon, Grand Vintage Brut whose color was yellow with youthful flavors.  The 1989 Krug, Brut Collection had a golden, nutty color with mature, earthy flavors.

Tim and Sarah

Tim and Sarah

One treat was the 1996 Moët & Chandon, Cuvée Dom Pérignon Oenothèque.  The Dom Pérignon bottles are released across three plenitudes which reflect their ideal drinking window.  The first plenitude is eight years after the vintage and is named Cuvée Dom Pérignon.  The second plenitude occurs 12-15 years after the vintage and is the first Cuvée Dom Pérignon Oenothèque.  The third plenitude occurs some 30-40 years after the vintage and is the second Cuvée Dom Pérignon Oenothèque release. Thus our 1996 was a second plenitude release.  A third plenitude release would be from the 1960s or 1970s.  The dosage changes with the release.  At first it may be as high as 7-8 g/L but after year seven or eight it may drop down to 4-5 g/L.

Isaac, Lily, Scott, and David

Isaac, Lily, Scott, and David

For me the Champagne was the focus of the evening.  Seth had also brought 1997 Chateau d’Yquem, old Glenmorangie, and Hennessy as well but such a quantity of excellent Champagne had been opened that there was no need for more.  Earlier this year I became hooked on Krug.  Now I am hooked on mature Champagne thanks to the generosity of Seth, Maria, and Michelle.

“I have descended, like a second Aeneas, to the lowest deep of the Tartarean grottoes possessed by Messrs. Moet and Chandon, of Epernay; I have gone down the steps beside which a black marble tablet, with letters of gold, informs the visitor that Napoleon the Grand did exactly the same thing”

Dickens, Charles.  Household Words, Volume XI.  Dix & Edwards, New York, 1855.

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2004 Moët & Chandon, Grand Vintage Brut, Champagne
There was a firm touch with firm bubbles, flavors of apple, spice then a textured mousse.  There was acidity on the sides of the tongue with a darker aftertaste.

2002 Moët & Chandon, Cuvée Dom Pérignon, Rosé, Champagne
There were dried rose flavors with textured, large bubbles which expand in the mouth with a gentle weight.  This was very fresh with textured acidity on the ti of the tongue.  This was a lovely, minerally wine with a drier finish and subtle lees note.  Very special.

1996 Moët & Chandon, Cuvée Dom Pérignon Oenothèque, Champagne – $399
The nose was intent with more piercing and precise aromas, finely articulated, and improved with warmth.  In the mouth the flavors were richer with mature nose, spices, and a white wine-like nature.  Undeniably beautiful with balance, long aftertaste and haunting flavors.  Still youthful.  Outstanding.

1992 Moët & Chandon, Grand Vintage Brut, Champagne – $299
The color was surprisingly youthful.  There was a spiced texture to the flavors, almost gravelly.  There was dry flavors, some ripe spices, yellow fruit, and fresh acidity.  Young with potential for continued development.

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“You may depend upon it, we all did justice to the good things, and as we washed them down with bumpers of sparkling Krug, whilst we sped along at the rate of thirty miles an hour, agreed it was the fastest living we had ever experienced.  (We beat that, however, two days afterwards when we made twenty-seven miles in twenty-seven minutes, while our Champagne glasses filled to the brim spilled not a drop!)”

Twain, Mark.  Roughing It.  American Publishing Company, Hartford, Connecticut. 1872.

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2000 Krug, Brut, Champagne – $359
The nose was interesting with aromatic pungent and floral aromas.  The mouth followed the nose with a vibrant quality on the lips and tongue which matched the textured bubbles.  They readily burst into a very soft mousse with the lees persisting into the aftertaste.  The acidity was on the sides of the tongue with a chalky finish and a hint of tartness.  The aftertaste was very long.  Outstanding.

NV Krug, Brut Rosé, Champagne – $299
This had a lees start with softer bubbles and gentle mousse which faded quickly.  The acidity hit the tip of the tongue with a riper start and drier, textured finish.  So easy to drink.

1989 Krug, Brut Collection, Champagne – $659
This was a nutty, golden color in the glass.  The nose was complex with mature aromas, lees, and mushrooms. In the mouth there were earthy, mature flavors mixing with a tickle of bubbles and mousse.  It picked up liveliness in the finish which was followed by a soft, gentle aftertaste.  A very beautiful, nutty old wine which first captivates you with its nose.  Outstanding.

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2009 Terrazes de los Andes, Malbec, Las Compuertas, Lujan de Cuyo – $59
The nose was subtle and a little pungent with red fruit aromas.  There was a savory start in the mouth then racy, rich, grapey flavors came out and felt textured in the lips.  This youthful wine mixed with ripe spices.

2007 Cheval des Andes, Vistalba, Lujan de Cuyo – $59
The nose was darker and more pungent, with dark, weighty berry aromas.  The flavors were thicker in the mouth with surprisingly foggy expansion.  There was plenty of flavor with a subtle structure made from ripe tannins.  The red and black flavors became tart with a little racy aspect in the finish.  The structure came out in the aftertaste along with salty, black fruit.

2009 Bodega Numanthia, Termanthia, Toro – $260
This was more complex with focus to the dark fruit, vanilla and smoke notes.  There were fine tannins, dark roast notes, a hint of lipstick, and some spices in the dry finish.  It did manage to keep some focus, making for a fine, seductive drink.  I should know for I went back to finish the last bit of the bottle!

2008 Bodega Numanthia, Numanthia, Toro – $55
This was salty with obvious structure and very fine tannins.  Though very focused and a bit young at this point, it maintained attraction.

David, Frank, and the author

David, Frank, and the author

Two Budget Friendly Wines

These two wines are not only tasty but are affordably priced.  The Domaine de Cambis is $13 and the Bodega Luigi Bosca is only $10 at MacArthur’s!!!  I recommend both of these wines.  They fit the bill whether you need an affordable daily drinker or several cases for a summer party.

2010 Domaine de Cambis, La Vie en Rose, Saint-Chinian
This wine is a blend of 70-80% Cinsault and 20-30% Syrah from old vines.  This rose wine has a color of salmon.  This wine needs time to open up and should be served warmer than refrigerator temperature.  After an hour of air the red berries and minerality really develops leaving a lovely, sweet minerally flavor that coats the lips.  There is nice weight to the fruit, lots of enlivening acidity, and tart/sour red berries that makes you want to drink more.

2009 Bodega Luigi Bosca, Finca La Linda, Tempranillo, Mendoza
This wine is 100% Tempranillo sourced from the Finca Don Leoncio vineyard at 780 meters.  The vines average 20 years of age.  The wine was aged for six months in American oak casks.  This wine has a nose of ripe black fruits and black plum. In the mouth the plum flavors continue with a powdery ripeness and some up-front grip.  The flavors turn softer in the finish as some roast earth notes mix with medium strength tannins on the tongue.  There is a lot of flavor in this modern wine!  While it could use a bit more acidity this is a pleasing wine and a strong value.