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A trio of recent French wines

December 12, 2014 Leave a comment

The wines of Marcel Lapierre need no introduction for any fan of Beaujolais.  For those who do not know his wines, simply put the 2013 Marcel Lapierre, Morgon  is a wine that you will want to drink glass after glass right away.  This is a great wine to drink on all of the upcoming holiday afternoons grab a few bottles.  Michel Chapoutier recently teamed up with Michelin starred chef Yannick Alléno to produce wine from two vineyards in the northern Rhone.  The bottle of 2012 Yannick Alléno & Michel Chapoutier, Crozes Hermitage represents their second released vintage.  The nose is gorgeous right now with its meaty red fruit.  The flavors in the mouth are setup to benefit from short-term aging.  You cannot do any harm by trying a bottle right now but be sure to leave a few more in the cellar or fridge.  The 2010 Domaine de Magalanne, Cuvee Lou Biou, Cotes du Rhone Villages Signargues left me somewhat confused.  There seemed to be a disjoint between the maturity of the aromas and flavors with the toast aromas and obvious structure.  Maybe wait until next year for the structure to calm down?  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2013 Marcel Lapierre, Morgon – $32
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from 60% year old vines on granitic soils that was fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged in old Burgundy barrels.  Alcohol 12%.  There were flavors of cranberry and tart cherry in one seamless, slightly dense wine.  The flavors became somewhat tart by the finish with citrus notes and low-lying ripe tannins in the aftertaste.  This wine was so easy to drink.  *** Now-2019.

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2012 Yannick Alléno & Michel Chapoutier, Crozes Hermitage – $25
Imported by Classic Wines.  This wine is 100% Syrah that was aged 12-15 months in vats. Alcohol 13%.  The nose echoed the meaty red fruit in the mouth.   With air the fruit brightened up taking on floral notes and a more stand-up nature.  There was plenty of acidity in the middle along with a more mineral quality towards the finish.  The wine had a rounded edge and was a touch juicy.  Tastes like it is made from the younger vines.  **(*) Now-2020.

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2010 Domaine de Magalanne, Cuvee Lou Biou, Cotes du Rhone Villages Signargues – $20
Imported by Classic Wines.  This wine is an approximate blend of 60% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre, and 10% Grenache.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose revealed two personalities with both mature aromas and toast.  In the mouth were slightly tart flavors of black fruit and dry, giving a not quite hollow effect.  The structure was spiced and left drying tannins on the gums.  The wine needs a little air to show a mature, refreshing aftertaste.  ** Now-2018.

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A Bounty of Great Beaujolais

February 12, 2014 Leave a comment

Vines of the Beaujolais. Image from John Louis William Thudichum, “A Treatise on the Origin, Nature, and Varieties of Wine”.

Jenn and I have been fortunate to have drunk some top-notch Beaujolais this month.  My attitude is shifting from curiosity about what is in the bottle to anticipation of drinking the wine.  I must also admit I enjoy the lower alcohol levels.  The selection of five wines featured in this post begins with the outstanding 2012 Damien Coquelet, Chiroubles.  It was so expressive on the nose and in the mouth that I recommend you pick up all you can.  Just be sure to open one as soon as you get home.  The 2011 Daniel Bouland, Vieilles Vignes Corcelette is more of a dark horse in comparison.  There were no hard edges to this wine but its best to cellar this for a few years before trying again.  It should develop quite well.  Another distinct wine is the 2011 Pierre-Marie Chermette, Domaine du Vissoux, Coeur de Vendanges, Vignes Centenaires which maintained attractive, meaty aromas and flavors.  The 2010 Domaine Calot, Vieilles Vignes, Morgon shows dark red bramble fruit and in a subtle manner assures that it will slumber in the cellar.  Finally, the 2010 Bruno Debize, Morgon was drinking well with an engaging, exotic nose and earthy flavors in the mouth.  It is drinking well right now but may be cellared. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2012 Damien Coquelet, Chiroubles – $20
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  Alcohol 12%.  The aromatic nose was fresh and floral, revealing depth until finish.  There was good ripeness in the mouth with a core of red-cranberry fruit.  This expressive wine had lovely acidity, citric red fruit, and took on some chewy fruit weight.  There was a hint of an evergreen note as the juicy finish of black and ripe red fruit made way to an aftertaste of good length.  **** Now-2019.

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2011 Daniel Bouland, Vieilles Vignes Corcelette, Morgon – $22
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from the vines of Corcelette which were planted in 1925 on soils of sandy granite.  Alcohol 13%.  The light nose revealed dense blue fruit with hints of earth.  In the mouth were tighter flavors of red-black fruit, tightly woven with stones.  There was an appropriate level of structure with some tannins poking through the seamless not-quite-round flavors.  There was lurking depth and black fruit in the aftertaste.  Will be long-lived.  ***(*) Now-2024.

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2011 Pierre-Marie Chermette, Domaine du Vissoux, Coeur de Vendanges, Vignes Centenaires, Beaujolais – $18
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from two 100-year old parcels of vines on granite soils.  Alcohol 12.5%.  There was a subtle, meaty nose.  In the mouth there was a touch of bright red fruit at first then ripe and meaty flavors came out.  The acidity was present but integrated.  After one to two hours the wine opened to turn red and black in fruit with a firm stone note.  Good personality.  *** Now-2020.

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2010 Domaine Calot, Vieilles Vignes, Morgon – $18
Imported by Dionysos Imports.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from four plots that are 60-100 years of age.  Alcohol 13%.  There was a nose of macerated raspberries with darker red fruit hints.  In the mouth there was some bramble with good fruit leaning towards the dark red spectrum.  This was firmer with a present structure that is moderate.  The finish left an old wood hint.  *** Now-2020+.

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2010 Bruno Debize, Morgon – $25
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  Alcohol 12.2%.  The nose was engaging with vintage perfume and exotic incense.  In the mouth were light, ripe red fruit flavors that a citrus hint and earthy bit.  The acidity stood out more but not over done as there was some concentration to the fruit.  There were graphite like minerals in the finish.  There is enough structure for short-term development.  *** Now – 2020.

Tasting a Diverse Mixture of Wines with Lou

February 7, 2014 Leave a comment

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I met up with Lou and his friend a few days ago to taste an eclectic group of wines.  We started with the 2011 Domaine des Malandes, Chablis which came from a half-bottle Lou had filled three days earlier.  This was a crisp and tart start to the evening, proving to be well done for what it was.  The 2010 Bodega Aguila Real, B de Basilio Blanco, Rioja was a twist with its oxidized style that does not match the Spanish Wine Exclusives description.  I thought the mouthfeel incredible but not matched by a depth of flavor.  On the first night I thought this would not develop in the bottle but on the second night the wine seemed shutdown and in need of age.  There was no confusion with the 2001 Domaine Christian Moreau Pere et Fils, Chablis 1er Cru, Vaillon which came from a recent BPW offering.  This wine has evolved slowly with its age revealed more on the nose than in the youthful mouth.  It was still fresh and balanced clearly capable of many years of life.  It was a delight all evening and as such, there wasn’t much left in the bottle.  Another great treat was the 1998 Domaine J. Chamonard, Les Clos de Lys, Morgon.  It was due to Lou’s stories of drinking mature Cru Beaujolais at Bern’s that I did not hesitate to purchase this bottle in New York last year.  Apparently the family kept back some 2,000 which they released 14 years after bottling.  The provenance clearly explains the quality of the wine.  Though the iodine and raw meat could be off-putting for some I kept returning to the wine because I enjoyed the intrigue.  The glass-worth that I saved in my sample bottle drank just as well the second night.  Lou fed the Charbono intrigue with the 2001 Turley, Charbono, Tofanelli Vineyard.  This must have been a brute in youth and would be a better wine if not for the stewed fruit.  We ended with the 2011 Domaine Guirardel, Bi de Casau, Jurancon of which I recommend you grab a few bottles for the eventual spring weather.  It is a little sweet but the spot-on acidity should match an increase in temperature.

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2011 Domaine des Malandes, Chablis
Imported by Milton Road Trading Co.  This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from vines that average 35 years of age.  It underwent malolactic fermentation in stainless steel where it was then aged for 6 to 10 months.  Alcohol 12.5%.  From a half-bottle filled three days prior.  There was a delicate, textured nose of lemon.  In the mouth was crisp acidity with a little tart then textured white fruit.  The acidity was on the front of the tongue.  There was a good finish and aftertaste with texture, citric notes, and stones.  The aftertaste was surprisingly long.  ** Now-2016.

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2010 Bodega Aguila Real, B de Basilio Blanco, Rioja
Imported by Fruit of the Vines.  This wine is a blend of 65% Garnacha Blanca and 35% Viura sourced from 100+ year old vines at Pago Gallocanta in Rioja Alta.  It was barrel fermented in new French oak where it spent six months.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose was a touch nutty with an oxidized component.  In the mouth were flavors of focused ripe, white fruit that was delivered with weight and glycerine.  It took on spices and the oxidized note with warmth.  The aftertaste was very expansive. *** Now-2024.

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2001 Domaine Christian Moreau Pere et Fils, Chablis 1er Cru, Vaillon
Imported by Frederic Wildman.  This wine is 100% Chardonnay with 30% seeing barrique.  Alcohol 12.5%.  The wine was a rich yellow color.  It bore a lovely nose with yellow fruit, berries, floral aromas, and with air mature aromas.  The wine was youthful in the mouth with the acidity seamlessly  mixed in with the fruit.  There was a toast note, lemon notes, and weight towards the finish.  It had some spices in the good and long aftertaste.  **** Now-2020.

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1998 Domaine J. Chamonard, Les Clos de Lys, Morgon
Imported by Savio Soares Selections.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from vines averaging 60+ years of age.  The wine is a combination of carbonic maceration and traditional fermentation with indigenous yeasts.  It is then aged 8 to 12 months in foudres.  Alcohol 12.5%.  The nose initially had some VA band-aid aromas but they dissipated with time.  It remained very earthy with cran-cherry aromas.  In the mouth were flavors of iodine and raw meat mixed with minerals and tart, red cranberry flavors.  There were hints of ripe tart red fruit.  It had a slight pepper note that developed with air.  *** Now-2019.

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2001 Turley, Charbono, Tofanelli Vineyard, Napa Valley
This wine is 100% Charbono.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose was earthy and meaty with stewed fruit.  It did not take much air for it to smell exactly like beef bouillon.    In the mouth the wine built intensity become rounder and savory with a fair amount of tannins.  There were stewed fruit flavors at the start and eventually, beef bouillon.  Will last but I would drink now.  ** Now.

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2011 Domaine Guirardel, Bi de Casau, Jurancon
Imported by Wetgandt-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of 50% Gros Manseng and 50% Petit Manseng sourced from vines averaging 15 years of age.  The wine was fermented then aged in oak barrels for one year then after assembly another year is spent in stainless steel tanks.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose was floral with sweet honeysuckle aromas.  In the mouth there was a round, focused start, a little honey and apricot with good tension from the acidity.  Lou noted Marmalade and I must agree.  There was a little residual sugar and some glycerine.  It showed good integration with air.  *** Now-2019.lou7

Drinks With Frank at Range

December 6, 2013 Leave a comment

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Frank (Drink What YOU Like) was in town again.  I typically meet up with Frank at one of the innumerable wine events which take place in Washington, DC.  We decided to shake things up and actually pay for our wine.  Actually, I do not get invited to many events so I typically pay for my wine both at home and at restaurants.  Range is a great place to go for wine, the list is diverse and prices per bottle start in the $20 range.  Surprisingly, there are no half-bottles.

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Frank wanted to have a lighter red wine with dinner, perhaps not Beaujolais and not Loire Cabernet Franc due to his upcoming Cabernet Franc tasting on Sunday.  Going off of these restrictions we let sommelier Elli Benchimol pick a wine for us.  She suggested Sicily which worked for us so she returned with a bottle of the 2010 Tenuta Delle Terre Nere, Caldera Sottana, Etna Rosso.  This wine is a blend of Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio source from a single vineyard at 600-700 meters of elevations.  The vines here range from 50 to 100 years of age.  Though the wine was light in a sense, it packed some deceptive structure and really needs several more years in the cellar.  We even had Elli pick our main courses of Octopus and Pork.  The wine did start to open up during the course of our dinner so I would recommend dumping it into a decanter.

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As were deeply engaged in discussing the wine blog-o-sphere Frank was up for another drink.  Again, there were no half-bottles so I figured we could order a full bottle then take the leftovers. I suggested the well priced 2008 Finca Sandoval, Salia, Manchuela at $26 but when I mentioned the 2010 Jean-Paul Thevent, Vieilles Vignes, Morgon Frank lit up.  “That’s a Kermit Lynch wine,” he said.  That worked for me.  Unfortunately, the supply of the 2010 vintage was exhausted and the next case held only the 2011.  We decided to try it and idiotically, keep trying it.  It wasn’t the best.  Frank did not much care for it and Elli even made a face or two.  She decanted it and swirled it for quite some time.  It eventually opened up, just a little bit to reveal some delicate berries and citrus.  Too bad, this wine is made from fruit sourced from a parcel of vines 45 years old and a parcel which is 110 years old.

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To allay our feelings Elli returned with a bottle of 2010 Aurelien Verdet, Le Prieure, Hautes-Cotes de Nuits and two fresh glasses.  She gave us generous pours which she refreshed later on as we enjoyed the wine.  This was much more interesting, a little earthy, good concentration, and weight.  The fruit is apparently sourced from a 4 hectare vineyard planted in 1970.  I do not think we concluded anything that night but I had a good time talking a lot over a rather long period.

Drinks in Seattle with Lou

November 15, 2013 1 comment

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I received a text message from Lou three days before my flight to Seattle stating he would be in Seattle the same time I would be.  Not only were we on the same flight out but we were seated in the same row.  I typically spend my free time in Seattle researching or writing posts for this blog.  But with Lou around, I shifted my research from online archives to wine bars and restaurants.

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I returned to my hotel mid-afternoon on the first day.  Most places were not yet open so we walked from downtown, underneath the convention center to bar ferd’nand.  We weren’t quite sure what to drink so in entertaining discrete glasses of wine we sampled the 2011 Weingut Schellmann, Gumpoldskirchen.  This was an interesting blend of Zierfandler and Rotgipfler, certainly more weight and fruit than I expected, but perhaps from being near the end of the bottle it lacked verve from acidity.  I suspect it is worth trying from a complete bottle. We then tried a tasted from a fresh bottle of some French Chenin Blanc, but it was all apples and acidity.  Clearly if the wines by the glass selection was not satisfying, choosing from the Bottle Shop would be.  We walked in circles a few times, eventually focusing in on a bottle of Bordeaux.

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2006 Chateau La Confession, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru
Imported by Bordeaux Wine Locators.  This wine is a blend of 51% Cabernet Franc, 46% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The first glass revealed not-quite rich weight of blue fruit, young in profile but softening.  After an hour of air there was black fruit flavors which were dense but not inky.  The dense mouthfeel continued into the really nice finish and aftertaste with flavors of stones.  The Cabernet Franc really shown through.  This bottle was entering its second phase with the acidity playing the lead over some ripe tannins.  This could be better with additional decanting or aging.  ***/***(*) Now-2025.

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We met up with Julia and Clark on our second night for dinner at The Whale Wins.  The wines of Kermit Lynch and Louis/Dressner are heavily featured here.  That is a good thing.  While we waited for our table we consumed a bottle of the 2011 Punta Crena, Vigneto Reine, Mataossu, Colline Savonesi which is imported by Kermit Lynch.  Apparently Mataossu was quite popular in the 19th century but today only three producers make wine from it.  It is claimed that only Punta Crena has true Mataossu with the other vines actually Lumassina.

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Our first red wine of the evening was the 2011 Louis Claude Desvignes, La Voute Saint-Vincent, Morgon imported by Louis/Dressner.   It was young but lovely with good young fruit, minerals, and nice structure for short-term aging.  This fruit for this wine is sourced from vines averaging 60 years of age.  It showed!

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We wrapped up the evening with the 2012 Occhipinti, SP68 Rosso, Sicily.  This Nero d’Avola and Frappato blend had a rocking nose from the start.  The nose was a little more generous than the mouth so perhaps half a year in the cellar will be a benefit.  Still, it was seamless and approachable.

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I have always found the architecture of Seattle interesting for its old decrepit houses, renovated historic buildings, and constant new construction.  I like the old moss spotted houses with their paint peeling off.  This result of weathering and neglect exhibits the age of the house beyond its design alone.  I remember how the houses pictured above were still occupied not too long ago.  The wine stores of Seattle do not have the depth of vintages found in Washington, DC, New York, or San Francisco.  However, a few restaurants do, so for our final night, we dined at The Wild Ginger where could drink from the reserve wine list.  I believe we tacitly agreed to start with a German Riesling though Alsace was a possibility.  Our first choice from Kerpen could not be located.  Apparently the previous two weekends had been spent shifting cases from the storage facility to the working cellar at the restaurant.  Our sommelier instead returned with a wine from Schlossgut Diel.  Implications must have been in the air for he proceeded to open the wine without discussing alternatives.  We could have sent it back but it was a really good wine.  For the red wine, in my mind, it was a toss up between drinking from the Rhone or the west coast.  The Rhone wines can be fabulously priced but there is a draw to drinking older, local vintages.  Our second sommelier had recently come from working at an Italian restaurant.  Being comfortable with the Italian portion of the list (and perhaps not wanting to leave it) he suggested 2001 Barolo.  Lou recently read an article in Decanter about the forward nature of the vintage.  These reasons led us to drink a Manzone Barolo, certainly one of the last regions we expected to explore that evening.

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1997 Schlossgut Diel, Dorsheimer Goldloch Riesling, Nahe
A Terry Theise Selection.  Alcohol 10%.  There was an aromatic nose from the start with dusty notes, underlying apple aromas with hints of petrol and complexity.  In the mouth there was ripe fruit at first, with richer flavors expanding with grippy, crisp acidity.  The finish was drier with a little ripe spices.  There was a core of youthful flavor and body but this was so easy to drink now.  A lovely wine.  **** Now-2023.

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2001 Manzone, Perno, Santo Stefano, Barolo
A Marc deGrazia Selection imported by Elliot Bay Distributors.  Alcohol 14.5%  The nose was almost minty fresh at first with roses and tobacco.  The flavors were firm but good with red and black fruit followed by lots of acidity towards the finish.  The finish had tangy, citric tannins followed by a little darker flavor where it became a touch rough.  A modern wine.  The attractive nose remained more advanced than in the mouth so I would cellar this further.   *** Now-2028.

My final taste of the week was the COR Cellars Malbec.  COR has some good wines but this Malbec from a warm vintage was outright intense! This is a one glass per night type of wine.

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2009 COR Cellars, Malbec, Columbia Valley – $23
Alcohol 15.1%.  This remained a dense, almost viscous wine with extract, black fruit, and a savory tilt.  There was a meaty finish followed by a little heat and roughness in the aftertaste.  This was an intense, concentrated wine with a wall of flavor persisting through the spicy finish.  ** Now-2018.

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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.

Hanging Out at Lou’s Tasting Room

October 12, 2012 Leave a comment

This past weekend Lou and I took advantage of a quiet afternoon to hang out at his house.  We typically spend out time in the kitchen and dinning room but this time Lou suggested we bring the wine, cheese, and charcuterie downstairs.  As I descended the cellar stairway I saw the finished and furnished tasting room for the first time.  It is now complete with leather chairs, a side tables, shelves, desk, and a computer.  There we sat leisurely drinking the wines and catching up on our recent experiences.  I thought the Lapierre could use another year of age to open up.  The Calcinaia was quite satisfying and robust enough for cold evenings.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

Lou has worked on a post detailing the construction of his cellar.  Keep an eye out for it will be published later today.

2011 Marcel Lapierre, Morgon – $26
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from 60-year-old vines on granitic gravel soils.  The whole-cluster fruit is fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged for at least nine months on the fine lees in used Burgundy foudres and futs.  The color was a medium red ruby with purple hints on the rim.  The light nose was scented with red fruit and a hint of fresh pepper.  In the mouth the red fruit is light to medium in strength and integrated with citrus-like tannins and pepper notes.  There is delicate texture, a little lifted ripe strawberry in the finish, and eventually moderately spiced, macerated strawberries.  *** 2013-2016.

1998 San Fabiano Calcinaia, Cerviolo, Tuscany – $26
This wine is a blend of 50% Sangiovese, 25% Merlot, and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from vineyards at 260 meters.  It was aged for 12 months in used barriques.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The color is a medium+ garnet ruby.  The light to medium nose is Italian with lifted wood box aromas.  In the mouth this medium bodied wine has ripe, fosucsed red fruit, wood box notes, and a gritty touch to the fruit.  There are still some pleasing ripe, drying tannins.  The flavors are drying in the finish with darker fruit in the aftertaste.  Still tastes on the youthful side of maturity.  *** Now-2020.

Champagne Day at Weygandt Wines

October 31, 2011 7 comments

This past Friday I was invited to spend #ChampagneDay at Weygandt Wines. Tim O’Rourke reached out to the local community of wine and food bloggers by offering a Champagne tasting with some appetizers from Ripple.  There was also a bottle of Chermette, Cramant de Bourgogne for those willing to taste non-Champagne bubbles.  By 7:30pm a decent crowd had showed up.  Of the Champagnes I really enjoyed the Nathalie Fermet, La Val Cornet followed by the Nicolas Maillart, Platine.  I thought these two bottles were a notch up from the others.

I enjoyed meeting Derek Swanson (The Weekly Wine Pick),  Jessica Orquina and her husband (Jessica In Search Of), Rachel and Brett (DMV Dining), and Joon (Vinicultured).    There were enjoyable wines, new people to meet, and good energy.  Hopefully Weygandt Wines and other merchants will continue to actively reach out to the local bloggers. Thanks again to Tim for hosting all of us.  I will certainly return soon to pick up some Champagne and other French wines.

NV J.L. Vergnon, Conversation Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Champagne
A light yellow straw color with a yeasty, apple like nose.  An initial burst of green fruit/citrus flavor with great bubbles and a strong yeast component.  Not Rated.

NV Philippe Prie, Brut Tradition, Champagne
Richer than the Vergnon, the bubbles were more aggressive with a stronger yeast component.  Not Rated.

NV Nathalie Falmet, Brut Nature, Champagne
A yellowish color.  A strong nose followed by an aggressive start in the mouth.  There was a lovely, continual stream of bubbles with minerals in the midpalate and a long, yeasty aftertaste.  Not Rated.

NV Nathalie Falmet, Cuvee Le Val Cornet, Champagne
This was really quite nice.  The soft, rich Champagne had an awesome, racy, minerally, rich finish.  Drinking perfectly!  My favorite of the Champagnes.  Not Rated.

NV Nicolas Maillart, 1er Cru Brut, Platine, Champagne
This wine is a blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay.  This was almost as good as the Falmet, Le Val Cornet but softer overall and a little less fruit.  Not Rated.

The five Champagnes clearly wetted appetites as bottles of red wine started appearing at the tasting area.  Tim offered up a bottle of Jann Chave, Le Rouvre, Crozes-Hermitage that I neglected to take a note on though I certainly enjoyed a taste.  Of the red wines I enjoyed the 2010 Boulard, 2009 Font Sarade, and the 2010 Domaine des Soulanes.

1983 Domaine des Lambrays, Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru
This was a recent $20 bin-end wine that Dereck bought from MacArthurs.  The cloudy, brown color did not bode well but the nose and mouth were better than expected.  Soft, gravelly, and clearly a flawed bottle but drinkable.  Not Rated.

2007 Domaine Savoye, Cuvee Vieilles Vignes, Cote du Py, Morgon, Beaujolais
This was minerally, more mature, a decent finish, and reasonably interesting.  Not Rated.

2010 Daniel Bouland, Chiroubles, Beaujolais
This wine is 100% Gamay.  Restrained fruit, good fresh acidity, stones, and fine tannins.  Easy to drink and my favorite of the two Beaujolais.  Not Rated.

2009 Alfredo Maestro, Tejero Vina Almate, Tierres de Leon
This wine is 100% Tempranillo sourced from a 10-year-old vineyard.  The wine was aged for four months in barrique.  Fresh, nuts, lots of acidity driven flavors.  Not the most interesting to me.  Not Rated.

2009 Domaine Font Sarade, Les Hauts de La Ponche, Vacqueyras
This wine is 50% Grenache, 25% Mourvedre, and 25% Syrah.  This was the richest of all the wines tasted with ripe fruit, minerality, an intense midpalate, and integrated tannins.  Vacqueyras on steroids!  Not Rated.

2010 Domaine des Soulanes, Kaya, Vin de Pays des Cotes Catalanes
This wine is 100% Carignan.  There was a pretty perfumed nose.  In the mouth, flavors of sweet raspberry with dark notes and roast coming out midpalate.  Not Rated.