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Wines from a birthday celebration

October 17, 2018 Leave a comment

A small group of us gathered for a birthday celebration where we all contributed bottles around significant years.  While the name and age of the celebrant are withheld the wines we tasted are not!  Many fine wines were tasted both young and old with only a few off bottles.  Please find my notes below.

1996 Deutz, Cuvee William Deutz, Champagne Brut Rose
Imported by Joshua Tree Imports. Alcohol 12%. A mature color with aromas of apricot and apple orchard. Very fine and firm bubbles from the start. The orchard note follows through in the mouth where there are flavors of tart apple, a hint of lees, and general maturity. It is drier through the middle. What is just a racy bit in the finish develops into an oily body. This bottle is drinking at its peak.  **** Now.

1996 Tattinger, Comte de Champagne, Champagne Brut
Imported by Premier Cru. Alcohol 12%. green, almost bright yellow color. The nose offers fine, ripe aromas of yeast and articulated fruit. Very gentle bubbles carry tart apple with tons of texture on the tongue and a weightier middle. It becomes a bit creamier after the start. **** Now – 2025.

2010 Jean Noel Gagnard, Chassagne Montrachet Blanchot Dessus Premier Cru
A Becky Wasserman Selection imported by The Source. Alcohol 13.5%. More gold in color. Aromatic of dark, yellow fruit. Nut oil density from the start with more sweet fruit than the 2010 Jobard. This wine is mature but still has a vein of acidity that carries the weight and oily body. It takes on a hint of lees, certainly stones in the end with an oily aftertaste.  Drink soon.  ***(*) Now – 2020.

2010 Antoine Jobard, Meursault Les Tillets
Imported by Kermit Lynch. Alcohol 13%. Gold and yellow in color. Crisp and closely played with gunflint and almost tart acidity. With air assuredly tart on the tongue, with attractive salinity, and verve from the acidity. Very focused. **** Now – 2023.

1978 Francesco Rinaldi, Barbaresco
Imported by Grape Expectations. Alcohol 13.5%. A nose of umami, Asian sauce, and veggies. Maderised a touch, more advanced than I would expect, with watering acidity, a dry middle, and grip on the tongue.  Not Rated.

1978 Cortese Giacomo, Barbaresco
Imported by The Rare Wine Co. Alcohol 13.5%. Perfumed. A lovely, sweet nose which remains aromatic. The ripest of the 1978 trio with earthy notes, sweaty middle, and firmer finish. It still possesses structure. There is good presence which persists with air. **** Now – 2023.

1978 Scarpa, Barolo Cascina Roncaglia
Imported by The Rare Wine Co. Alcohol 13%. Fresh, slowly evolving nose with articulated aromas of eucalyptus. More acidity in the mouth with tartness in the gently firm, still structured first half. With air it becomes silky and more ethereal in nature. It is driven by acidity which almost provides verve. ***(*) Now – 2028.

2000 Bruno Giacosa, Falletto, Barbaresco Riserva Asili
Imported by Chelsea Ventures. Alcohol 14%.  A nose of raspberries.  In the mouth freshness with hints of pruned fruit, a roasted element, and very ripe bits.  Still quite primary.  With air it retains fine focused on brambly red fruit and fine, wood notes.  Not offering much, try again in several years.  *** 2023-2033.

1967 Domaine Jean Gros, Richebourg Grand Cru
Shipped by Remoissenet Pere et Fils and imported by Great Lakes Wine Company. Alcohol 13%. A fruity, weighty wine with flavors of orange-citrus and red fruit. An old-school wine of substance and life. It could stand more acidity to lend tension but I would happily drink this all afternoon.  **** Now but will last.

1966 Chateau Haut-Brion, Graves
Shipped by Mestrezat-Preller and imported by Great Lakes Wine Company. 12%. Sadly a bad bottle. Not Rated.

1989 Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe, Chateauneuf du Pape
Imported by Kermit Lynch. Ripe aromas of strawberry and briar bramble. Fresh and youthful in the mouth with a certain lifted quality. The ripe fruit lie over a focused core, revealing this bottle is in great shape and has yet to hit mid-life. It remains focused with supple red fruit and develops structure.  **** Now – 2033.

1989 Chateau de Beaucastel, Chateauneuf du Pape
Imported by Vineyard Brands. Redder, more focused flavors stay towards tart red in profile. It is a lovely drink, taking on more ripeness and strawberries with air. **** Now – 2028.

2005 Clos Mogador, Priorat
Maturing with blue and mixed fruits on the nose. An impressive wine with a trifecta of fruit ripeness, acidity, and structure all of which is well balanced. It is slowly evolving, still young, but willing to reveal its components. Pastilles eventually come out.  ****(*) Now – 2033.

1988 Chateau d’Yquem, Sauternes
Imported by T. Elenteny. Apricots and oranges on the nose. Rounded, sappy, with improving definition as it breathes. There is a ripe and dense core of flavor that is all about the mouth feel. This is a racy and inky wine intertwined with glycerin and spice. ****(*) Now – 2038+.

1989 Chateau d’Yquem, Sauternes
Alcohol 13.5%. Slightly lighter in color than the 1988. Good acidity makes this a tense wine, a tough bright with focus and grip. **** Now – 2038 .

2005 Markus Molitor, Riesling Beerenauslese * Zeltinger Himmelreich, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Imported by Schmitt Sohne. Alcohol 7%. Very aromatic. Brighter yellow fruit, eventually pure apricot, with sweetness that almost oversteps the fruit flavor. A slight spritz before the wine becomes dense and seductive with enough acidity to make it zippy. ****(*) Now – 2038+.

The 2012 Trosso del Priorat, Lo Petit de la Casa is a strong value from Priorat

The latest vintage of 2012 Trosso del Priorat, Lo Petit de la Casa, Priorat bears a slightly different label compared to last year’s.  This is a fruitier vintage that does not lose the sense of stones.  This juicy wine is best on the first night so grab a few to share with your friends.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2012 Trosso del Priorat, Lo Petit de la Casa, Priorat – $16
Imported by the Spanish Wine Importers.  This wine is 100% Grenache.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose reveals deep, fruity aromas.  In the mouth this fruity and flavorful wine offers blue fruit, extract, some thickness, and stones in the finish.  This is best drunk on the first night for the juicy fruit which is enlivened by the acidity.  *** Now – 2018.

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Five different Spanish wines from five different vintages

February 26, 2016 3 comments

The parade of interesting wines I have tasted continue with five selections from Spain.  It is interesting enough that each one is from a different vintages.  Having drunk a modest share of mature red Rioja I suggest you try the 2010 Bodegas Olarra, Cerro Anon, Rioja Reserva if you want a similar experience at an affordable cost. The nose smells great with blood and meat, offering a counterpoint to the somewhat short finish.  The 2011 Trosso del Priorat, Lo Petit de Casa, Priorat  is no amped up Grenache based wine.  Made from the youngest vines on the property, it is an elegant wine that will make you think of stones.  The 2012 Barahonda, Barrica, Yecla offers strong value for only $12.  Whereas the 2011 vintage had more complex, mature flavors, this latest vintage tastes younger and cleaner.  The 2013 Finca Villacreces, Pruno, Ribera del Duero  is a generous wine offering up strong aromas and a cloud of flavors in the mouth.  It is a little on the young side but if you don’t want to wait a year then double-decant it several hours ahead.  If you only try one wine from this list then the 2014 La Zorra, Teso Rufete, Sierra de Salamanca is the one.  Not only is it produced from old vines of the rare variety Rufete, it smells and tastes like nothing else.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2010 Bodegas Olarra, Cerro Anon, Rioja Reserva – $17
Imported by Classic Wines.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose is great with bloody and meaty aromas which smell like a musky, mature Rioja.  There are similar black fruit flavors in the mouth with slight grip, integrated tannins, chocolate powder, and some cherry notes.  The finish is a little short with ripe and polished wood tannins.  Neat!  *** Now – 2020.

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2011 Trosso del Priorat, Lo Petit de Casa, Priorat – $16
Imported by the Spanish Wine Importers.  This wine is 100% Grenache.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This is a different sort of wine with framed suppleness around very fine tannins.  There is a great note of dark stones, not to be confused with minerals.  *** Now – 2018.

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2012 Barahonda, Barrica, Yecla – $12
Imported by OLE Imports.  This wine is a blend of 75% Monastrell and 25% Syrah that was aged for 6 months in French oak.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There is a black, mineral start then focused flavors of slightly bitter black fruit, camphor, and a minerally aftertaste.  ** Now – 2017.

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2013 Finca Villacreces, Pruno, Ribera del Duero – $19
Imported by Eric Solomon/European Cellars.  This wine is a blend of 90% Tinto Fino and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The strong nose delivered aromas of tar and some oak.  In the mouth is a cloud of flavor which exists around black stones, lipstick, and some very fine tannins.  The wine is certainly black fruited but has a citric aspect.  This dry wine reveals more power with air, taking a few hours to open up.  It eventually reveals dried herbs in the finish which is only when the tannins are noticeable.  *** Now – 2020.

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2014 La Zorra, Teso Rufete, Sierra de Salamanca – $19
Imported by De Maison Selections.  This wine is 100% Rufete sourced from 60+ year old vines on granite and sand soils.  It was fermented in stainless steel tanks then aged for 4 months in French oak.  Alcohol 12.5%.  After a wee bit of stink blows off this aromatic wine smells distinct.  There are moderately ripe flavors of minerals and red fruit with an ethereal sweetness.  The wine becomes dry towards the finish where herb flavors come out. It leaves a satisfying tang in the end.  *** Now.

Killer Priorat from Clos Figueras

For staging purposes, all of my empty bottles from recently tasted wines were stored in the closet of our basement wine room.  So I must admit I drank this lovely bottle of 2013 Clos Figueras, Serras del Priorat, Priorat a couple of weeks ago.  This winery is another joint project between Christopher Cannan and Rene Barbier.  Rene Barbier traditionally handled both the vineyard management as well as the vinification of the wines.  Six years ago Alain Graillot, whose Crozes-Hermitage wines I have featured in the past, began to consult on the winemaking.  The result is a beautiful wine that blends fruit, earth, control, acidity, and tannins in an engaging manner.  The wine is spot-on right now but should improve through the fall.  Back up the truck.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2013 Clos Figueras, Serras del Priorat, Priorat – $27
Imported by Europvin.  Based on the back label, this wine is a blend of 51% Grenache, 31% Carignan, 12% Syrah, and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon that was fermented in large vats then aged for eight months in large French oak casks.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There was a ripe, blue start with earthy notes, weighty flavors, and good control.  The middle brought a citric aspect.  With air, the flavors showed a savory touch, notes of polished wood, and lovely young fruit tannins.  ***(*) Now-2018.

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Tasting wines from Bourgogne to Priorat with Lou

Lou came over last week for another casual tasting.  I had opened up the 2012 Domaine Belle, Les Terres Blanches, Crozes Hermitage Blanc as Jenn and I prepared the table.  White Rhone wines are new territory for me.  There was nothing but pleasure when we each tried our first taste.  On the first night it was more vibrant and textured whereas on the second night it was smooth and mature.  If you are looking for a new white wine then you must pick up a bottle.

WithLou8

2012 Domaine Belle, Les Terres Blanches, Crozes Hermitage Blanc – $26
Imported by DS Trading Co. This wine is a blend of 70% Marsanne and 30% Roussanne sourced from vines on soils of clay and limestone.  The fruit was fermented in 20% new oak barrels, 50% one-year old oak barrels and 30% in stainless steel vats then aged for 11 months in the same vessels.  Alcohol 13%. There was textured, slightly lively white fruit at the start. The smooth flavors matched the nut aspect that was balanced by noticeable acidity on the tongue. There was a gentle finish of stones followed by a persistent aftertaste. The wine seemed young on the first night but was perfectly mature on the following night.  ***(*) Now-2020.

Blind Flight

Lou supplied this flight in brown bags with his only revealing clue that they were all pre-2005.  Blind tasting is fun since I am not embarrassed by my guesses.  That the first wine was Riesling was fairly obvious but my conclusion of it being an old New York state wine was off the mark and continent.  The 1997 Albert Mann, Riesling, Schlossberg Grand Cru showed a bit of a split personality with its youthful start and finish of beyond-mature flavors.  It is a solid wine that is best drunk up.  The fresh, articulate nose of the 2000 Chateau du Going de Saint-Fiacre, Comte de Saint-Hubert, Vieilles Vignes, Muscadet Sevre et Maine did not prepare me for smooth, nutty flavors in the mouth.  On the first night I thought this a great wine to smell and taste with some evocations of the sea.  On the second night the nose became too funky for me.  This current release is only $20 so I will grab another bottle to try again.  Worst case, drink this wild wine on the very first night!  I guessed everything wrong about the 2001 Claude Dugat, Bourgogne.  For a basic Bourgogne it is rather serious stuff.  It responded well to air on the first night where it showed a bit of everything.

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1997 Albert Mann, Riesling, Schlossberg Grand Cru, Alsace –
Imported by Weygandt/Metzler.  This wine is 100% Riesling sourced from vines on soils of granite.  Alcohol 12.5%. The color was a light to medium golden amber. It smelled of mature Riesling with a hint of stones. It had a more crisp start that carried young flavors. These morphed into mature flavors with some old wood and still some ripe, tannic grip in the short finish. On the second evening it had a good mouthfeel with more prominent old flavors, dried herbs, and a tart finish.  ** Now.

WithLou5

2000 Chateau du Going de Saint-Fiacre, Comte de Saint-Hubert, Vieilles Vignes, Muscadet Sevre et Maine – $20
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is 100% Melon de Bourgogne sourced from 100+ year old vines.  The wine was aged sur lie.  Alcohol 12%. There was a fresh, articulate nose of white fruit that on the second night was funky, dusty, and smelled of the sea. In the mouth, the almond flavors were smooth, engagingly floral, and mixed with white fruit. The wine was cool in nature with integrated acidity and a shorter, watery finish. With air the flavors became cheesy. *** Now.

WithLou1

2001 Claude Dugat, Bourgogne –
Imported by Robert Kacher Selections.  This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from parcels on Gevrey.  It was fermented in concrete vats then aged for 14 months in used neutral French oak barrels.  Alcohol 12.5%. The color was a medium garnet. The initial aromas were high-pitched before revealing some deep fruit. In the mouth the hint of Morello cherries were tart yet had ripeness before building racy mineral notes. The wine was lighter in the finish with flavors of tart berries, some structure, old perfume, and dry black flavors. The tannins remained on the gums.  *** Now-2018.

Priorat and Montsant Flight

This flight was organized around two new arrivals of Mas del Camperol.  Produced by Celler Mas Garrian this is the same winery that produced the excellent 2005 Clos Severj, Priorat that I reviewed in my post Two Great Spanish Wines.  Priorat and Montsant are neighboring regions so I added the 2004 Celler Laurona, Montsant to the mix.  All three of these wines benefited from air and I thought tasted better on the second night.  The 2004 Celler Mas Garrian, Mas del Camperol, Priorat was the most interesting of the bunch.  It exhibited consistently greater complexity, poise, and will continue to develop for years.  The Priorat sun comes through at first but it does balance out.  The 2003 Celler Mas Garrian, Mas del Camperol, Priorat  exhibited brighter, cleaner flavors with notes of dried herbs.   Tasted alongside the 2004 the reduced complexity is noticeable so I would drink this alone.  I agree with Lou that the 2004 Celler Laurona, Montsant was the more coarse wine of the three.  It did come together on the second night where it had some complexity as well as old wood notes.  I do not think it will make old bones like the 2004 Mas del Camperol so why not drink it on a crisp spring night!

WithLou3

2003 Celler Mas Garrian, Mas del Camperol, Priorat – $37
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.   This wine is a blend of blend of 30% Garnacha, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Carinena, and 15% Syrah from the estate’s older vineyards that was aged for 13 months in a mixture of new and used French and American oak.  Alcohol 15%. The nose revealed Kirsch and dried herbs. In the mouth this flavorful wine was grippy with building power and brighter acidity. With air, the racy cherry flavors continues. The aromas and flavors were consistent throughout, leaning towards the clean side. The structure was noticeable on the gums as the aftertaste had good length. *** Now-2025.

WithLou4

2004 Celler Mas Garrian, Mas del Camperol, Priorat – $39
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is a blend of blend of Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carinena, and Syrah from the estate’s older vineyards that was aged for 13 months in a mixture of new and used French and American oak.  Alcohol 15%. The initially ripe, rasinated fruit became more attractive with aromas of ripe, musky, generous fruit. There were deep fruit flavors, some maturity, and greater complexity with air. There was good structure for development. **** Now-2025+.

WithLou2

2004 Celler Laurona, Montsant –
Imported by Europvin.  This wine is a blend of of 50% Grenache, 25% Merlot, 15% Syrah, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Alcohol 14%. The nose was a little plummy with some funk. It did not have as much depth and came across as coarse but with air it became less forward with better balance. There was decent complexity, some old wood but it still seemed fresh. It maintained a coarse nature with less strength. ***(*) Now-2025.

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A Spanish pair from Montsant and Priorat

November 10, 2014 Leave a comment

Today’s post features a pair of wines purchased from Despana Vinos y Mas during my last trip to New York.  These wines are from Priorat and the surrounding region of Montsant.  Though they are mountainous areas the different varieties and soils have produced wines of different effect.  That written, they both have good acidity and are not full of big fruit.   Casa Rojo is an old Spanish negocient firm that produces wine from vineyards located throughout the country.  The 2013 Casa Rojo, Macquinon, Priorat is meant to highlight the slate soils of the region.  That goal is achieved through mineral rich flavors of cooler fruit.  I realize there is debate as to what minerality is but in this case just think liquid stone.  There is even a bit of structure that suggests this might improve through the winter. Ediciones I-Limitadas is a project that seeks to produce unique wines with each vintage.  The 2011 Ediciones I-Limitadas, Luno, Montsant is produced using vineyards located between 250-450m in altitude.  These mountainous vineyards have provided the spiced, dark fruit with great acidity that can only be described as crunchy.  It is a tasty wine that drinks well after a few hours in the decanter.  Be sure to try both!

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2013 Casa Rojo, Maquinon, Priorat – $23
Imported by Luneau USA Inc.  This wine is 100% Garnatxa Negre sourced from 10 year old vines.  The wine was aged for four months in French oak barrels.  Alcohol 14%.  There were mineral rich flavors of hard black fruit and stone.  The wine took on some tart and broad flavors of red fruit and some herbs before the puckering finish that left drying tannins on the gums.  **(*) Now – 2017.

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2011 Ediciones I-Limitadas, Luno, Montsant – $19
Imported by  Martin Scott Wines.  This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 15% Carignan, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon that was aged for 8 months in American and French oak barrels.  Alcohol 14%.  The subtle nose revealed herbs, olives, dark fruit.  In the mouth were slightly dense flavors of fresh ripe black and blue fruit that had a enjoyable ripe, spice hint.  The acidity was present on the tongue tip and help provide almost crunchy flavors.  The wine became firmer towards the herbal finish.  With extended air flavors of red fruit and Christmas spiced fruit came out.  *** Now-2018.

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Exciting Priorat From An Historic Family

There are but few wineries which can claim the long tradition of tending vines back to the 18th century.  Cellers Costers del Ros is amongst this small group.  Even the original cellar which was built between 1750-1775 is still in existence!  We may not know what these early vintages tasted like but I can attest that the 2010 Cellers Costers del Ros, Aubagues, Priorat is excellent.  This wine possess the earthy flavor which I find irresistible right now, despite having the ability for further development.  I recommend you pick up a few bottles to drink now and for your cellar. For background information about Cellers Costers del Ros and the 2009 vintage please read my post Tasting a Wine With Howard Friedman of South River Imports.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2010 Cellers Costers del Ros, Aubagues, Priorat – $32
Imported by South River Imports.  This wine is a blend of 70% Carignan, 20% Grenache, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The aromas of ripe blue and red fruit stood out from the glass.  In the mouth were immediate flavors of ripe, dense fruit and minerals.  Though still in a youthful state there were good, expansive flavors that mixed with an ethereal earthiness that persisted through the long aftertaste.  ***(*) Now-2024.

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