Posts Tagged ‘Monticello’

American wines for an American meal

December 1, 2014 Leave a comment

Inspired by my Thanksgiving wine research I decided to serve American wines for our Thanksgiving meal.  I opened up a pair of bubbles, a pair of whites, and a pair of red wines.  While this allowed us to match the variety of dishes and account for personal preferences, my real motive was to allow comparison amongst the wines.  Judging by the amount of wine left in the bottles the NV Thibaut-Janisson Winery, Blanc de Chardonnay Brut, Monticello and 2010 Keswick Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Reserve, Monticello tied for favorite wines.  The Thibaut-Janisson was refreshing and so easy to drink while snacking on shrimp and cheese as we finished up the meal.  The 2007 Trump Winery, SP Reserve Brut, Monticello is not without its merits, the biggest one is that this is a mature sparkling wine.  It might be more of an acquired taste.  No one paid much heed to the white wines but I did.  For me there was too much of the sweet tropical notes to the 2013 The Vineyards at Dodon, Sauvignon Blanc, Anne Arundel County.  I preferred it several days later at room temperature.  I tasted the 2013 Linden, Chardonnay, Hardscrabble over four days.  It remained fairly tight, just losing its creamy start, so I would cellar this another year before trying again.  I had everyone taste the 2010 Keswick Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Reserve, Monticello first due to its younger flavors.  This was a big hit with people taking big pours.  It was easy to see why for the dense fruit overlay everything providing a seductive drink.  I would try this again next year so that it can shake off some baby fat. The 2009 Weese Family Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Rockpile, Sonoma County was too old-school for most people which meant there was more to me to drink.  This was my favorite wine of the night and the next night and even the next night.  The wine proved young on each night but the flavors were spot on for their complexity transcended fruit descriptors.  If you try a bottle this winter be sure to accompany it with some food, otherwise cellar it for a few years.  The Trump and Keswick wines were purchased at the estates, everything else came from MacArthur Beverages.


NV Thibaut-Janisson Winery, Blanc de Chardonnay Brut, Monticello – $25
This wine is 100% Chardonnay.  Alcohol 12.5%.  The color was a light white straw.  The nose had a delicate toast which eventually took on yeasty aromas of apple cider.  There was an immediately, bubbly mousse in the mouth followed by white fruit and a tangy finish.  The wine became rounder with air with a pleasing balance between apple flavors and some spices.  This solid wine had a lot of presence on the tongue and proved generally refreshing.  *** Now-2016.


2007 Trump Winery, SP Reserve Brut, Monticello – $45
This wine is 100% Chardonnay that was aged on the lees for four years in a combination of French oak and stainless steel.  Alcohol 12%.  The medium golden-yellow color was a prelude to the rich aromas of spices and yeast.  In the mouth were robust flavors with very fine, bursting bubbles.  The flavors were clearly mature with a biscuit note.  With air there were fallen orchard fruit and a smoky hint.  ** Now.


2013 The Vineyards at Dodon, Sauvignon Blanc, Anne Arundel County – $22
This wine is 100% Sauvignon Blanc aged for five months on the lees in stainless steel. Alcohol 12.6%.  The color was a very light, green straw.  The nose bore sweet, tropical flowers.  In the mouth the good, up front acidity made way to tropical fruit.  There was some ripe fruit, a rounded feel, some stones, and salivating acidity in the aftertaste.  Not really my style.  * Now.


2013 Linden, Chardonnay, Hardscrabble – $30
Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose revealed gently toasty white fruit.  The wine was round, almost creamy in the mouth with tart, green apple fruit and a good mouth feel.  The good acidity outlived the creamy mouthfeel.  With air a slight hint of oak came out.  **(*) 2016-2022.


2010 Keswick Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Reserve, Monticello – $75
This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon that was aged for 22 months in French and American oak.  Alcohol 14%.  There was a rather dark color of black cherry. There were fresh herbs on the nose that preceded the dense, fresh, young fruit in the mouth.  The wine was seamless with savory hints, cranberry and black fruit, and a tart, almost puckering finish.  This was a very fruity wine with lots of supporting oak, acidity on the sides of the tongue and a salivating finish.  **(*) Now-2020.


2009 Weese Family Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Rockpile, Sonoma County – $44
This wine is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot that was aged for 24 months in 50% new American and French oak. Alcohol 14.5%.  The color was a medium plus black cherry.  In the mouth were old-school flavors from the very first glass.  The red fruit had some riper flavor before black fruit and drying tannins came out.  There was a good balance of cocoa, some vanilla, and extract.  This should clearly develop well in the cellar but was quite enjoyable with food.  ***(*) Now-2022.


Anniversary drinks at Fleurie in Charlottesville

November 20, 2014 Leave a comment


Jenn and I celebrated our latest wedding anniversary by spending a family weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.  The one person I happen to know there is Erin Barbour Scala (Thinking-Drinking).  We previous met in New York City during her days as sommelier at Public NYC followed by The Musket Room.  Having had diverse and fantastic wines with her before I knew there was no other choice than to dine at Fleurie restaurant where both she and her husband are now based.  As Wine Director, Erin’s wine list focuses in on France and Virginia but she is far too curious to neglect the rest of the world as was evidenced by her selections that night.  We were greeted to glasses of NV Rolet, Crement de Jura for ourselves and locally made sparkling grape juice for our daughter.  The Rolet was great by itself, accessible with a nice balance of yeast and fruit.  It left me thirsty for more wine.


I select the wines we drink at home on a daily basis so it is nice to step away from making any choices.  We gave no direction to Erin as to what we felt like drinking or avoiding.  With Coravin in hand Erin proceeded to pour a utterly fun variety of wines.  To go with our shrimp risotto with carrots and shellfish sauce she poured the 2009 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot, Chassagne-Montrachet Les Chaumes.  It was utterly satisfying and drank spot-on with its balance of maturity, fruit, and supportive toast.  Jenn’s herb crusted halibut was joined by the 2010 Schäfer-Fröhlich, Bockenauer Felseneck, Riesling trocken Grosses Gewächs, Nahe.  The glass was incredibly and persistently aromatic with herbs, stones, and some petrol with great balance in the mouth.  Great stuff! For my venison Erin poured two different red wines.  The 2011 Avennia, Sestina, Columbia Valley is a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc blend with fruit sourced from the Bacchus and Red Willow vineyards.  It was forward and complex with darker, racy fruit that was hard to resist.  Avennia was only launched in 2010 so if this second vintage is an example of their other wines this is a new name to follow.  My second red wine was completely different being the 2010 Cambridge Road, Dovetail, Martinborough.  As Erin pointed out this field blend of mostly Pinot Noir with Syrah is not such an oddity given the affinity for these varieties to perform in cooler climates.  Its oscillation between Pinot Noir and Syrah aromas was rather intriguing.


With our trio of desserts and petit fours came the King Family Vineyards, Loreley, Monticello. This pure Petit Manseng wine was made in the vin de paille style.  She poured this wine because it shares the same name as our daughter.  It was a touching end to our meal.  If you are in the Charlottesville area or need a break from the city I strongly recommend you dine at Fleurie.  Due to the Coravin you can drink almost anything on the list by the glass.  With a large order of wines soon to be added there will be even more reasons to stop by.

Three Random Notes

September 14, 2012 1 comment

Here are a trio of tasting notes from this summer.  The Olivier Leflaive is an affordable buy and makes an acceptable, inexpensive selection.  The Lovingston would work to both cook with and drink when making braised ribs.  The Veramonte is the most interesting of the lot.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

2009 Olivier Leflaive, Les Setilles, Bourgogne Blanc – $14
This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from Puligny-Montrachet and Meursault which was vinified for 8 months in both stainless steel and oak barrels.  The color is a light+ yellow.  The nose reveals yellow fruit with a little barrel toast.  In the mouth the flavors are apple-like at first then the wine rounds out becoming a bit vibrant and a little savory.  It becomes tart with a touch of tannins in the finish.  ** Now-2013.

2009 Lovingston, Rotunda Red, Monticello – $12
This wine is mostly Merlot with some Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.  Alcohol 13.7%.  The color is a light to medium purplish ruby.  The light to medium strength nose is followed by medium bodied flavors of somewhat ripe fruit and greenhouse flavors.  There is a touch of heat as chunky tannins dry things out in the finish.  The flavors drop off fast leaving a dark and stormy aftertaste.  Drinkable.  ** Now.

2007 Veramonte, Primus, Colchagua Valley- $15
Imported by Huneeus Vintners.  This wine is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah, 8% Merlot, and 7% Carmenere.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose and mouth are similar.  In the mouth it opens up well with tangy, a little chewy, grainy, red fruit.  There was some greenhouse note as the flavors filled up the mouth.  The drying, tannins coat the lips but have some enjoyable ripeness.  After an hour there is underlying black licorice, dry cinnamon baking spiced, black cherry, and some spicy tannins in the finish.  ** Now-2016.

A Savory and Affordable Virginian Wine

It has been some time since I last drank a wine from Virginia.  This first experience with Veritas Winery was a pleasant surprise.  Veritas Winery was founded by Andrew and Patricia Hodson one decade ago in 2002.  When their daughter Emily completed her Masters in Enology from Virginia Tech she became the estates winemaker.  The selection featured in today’s post is primarily Cabernet Franc sourced from vineyards planted in 2001.  Yields are below four tons per acre.  The vineyards are located at 800 feet on Edneytown soils.  This soil series is located on the ridges and side slopes of the Blue Ridge mountains.  They are granitic soils which are very deep and well-drained.  The vines are old UC Davis Clone 1 planted in rows oriented North-South at a density of 740 plants per acre using cordons with spur pruning.  Andrew commented that in the last five years other vineyards have been planted or replanted with new clones using cane pruning thought to be better adapted.  For comparison they recently planted an acre with three new ENTAV-INRA clones at ~1500 plants per acre.  These clones should bring floral, pepper, and spice components to the wine.   Andrew remarked that 2010 was a great vintage for Cabernet Franc.  They experienced an entire month of above 90 F temperatures resulting in tannic maturity, classic flavors, and splendid color.

Vineyard with Saddleback Mountain, Image from Veritas Winery

This bottle certainly reflects the warmth of the vintage.  While the nose was aromatic from the beginning the mouth really expanded after a few hours of air.  If you are new to Virginian wine or are looking for a daily drinker you will find this wine satisfying.  It delivers pleasure for the nose and mouth at a very attractive price.  Many thanks to Andrew Hodson for enthusiastically answering all of my questions.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

2010 Veritas, Cabernet Franc, Monticello – $14
This wine is a blend of 80% Cabernet Franc and 20% Merlot which was fermented in tank then aged for nine months in 90% French and 10% American oak.  The wine was a medium ruby with garnet highlights in the glass.  The medium strength nose was followed by a mouth of young blue and red fruit.  It rode an initial wave of toast flavors with underlying tart fruit.  With air this wine became a bit savory, mouthfilling, and showed ripe tannins.  While it does not require age, I would decant this for one to two hours before drinking. ** Now-2016.

Brown Bags at Weygandt Wines

December 15, 2011 2 comments

Just Some of the Brown-Bagged Wines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joon and Aaron