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Posts Tagged ‘Russian River Valley’

The 2016 Hartford Court, Chardonnay, Four Hearts Vnyd is very good!

The 2016 Hartford Court, Chardonnay, Four Hearts Vineyards, Russian River Valley had my attention from the very first sip due to the crisp, textured acidity.  The luxurious fat in the finish sealed the deal for none of this barrel-fermented Chardonnay was left at the end of dinner.  You may pick up this gem at MacArthur Beverages.

2016 Hartford Court, Chardonnay, Four Hearts Vineyards, Russian River Valley – $40
This wine is 100% Chardonnay which was barrel fermented then aged for 10 months in French oak.  Alcohol 14.5%.  Lively yellow fruit sports crisp textured acidity all of which overlays a toast note.  With air the yellow fruit takes on a floral component and becomes infused with fat which lasts through the long finish and aftertaste.  **** Now – 2020.

A Californian quartet

February 7, 2017 Leave a comment

Between work, family, wine research, and the new turntable I am short on free time.  Thus over the past month I have generally drunk inexpensive French and Italian wine for I need not take down any notes.  I have peppered these same weeks with a handful of younger bottles from California.  One recent release is the 2013 Coquerel Family Wines, Le Terroir, Chardonnay, Oakville Block A, Napa Valley.  This bottle showed very well after a few hours of air as well as on the second night.  It is a style of wine that has not swung too far in either direction, providing balanced white fruit flavors with both lovely mouthfeel and tautness.

I have never tasted the 2009 Ridge, Lytton Springs, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County since release.  I was surprised by the amount of flavor packed in and the lack of evolution.  It is quite tasty but should be cellared further to open up.  I suppose, in retrospect, I can understand why Lou and I enjoy decades old bottles of Ridge.  The 2005 Karl Lawrence, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley is a solid wine full of black fruit and graphite.  It is supple and tasty, just not as exciting as I hoped at this stage.  Finally, there is the gigantic 1997 Williams Selyem, Pinot Noir, Olivet Lane Vineyard, Russian River Valley which caught me off guard.  Ripe, dark, and alcoholic it is simply not my type of wine.

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2013 Coquerel Family Wines, Le Terroir, Chardonnay, Oakville Block A, Napa Valley – $30
This was fermented in 25% oak barrels with the remaining in stainless steel after which is was aged 7 months sue lie.  Alcohol 14%. With a bit of warmth and air this is an attractive wine of white fruit with a pleasing body of glycerin and nut flavors.  The tautness of the wine builds as the acidity becomes more noticeable, simultaneously evolving a finely textured, ripe grip.  ***(*) Now – 2020.

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2009 Ridge, Lytton Springs, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County
This wine is a blend of 71% Zinfandel, 23% Petite Sirah, and 6% Carignane.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This is both surprisingly unevolved and packing a tremendous level of flavor.  It is a richly textured, dense wine of dark fruit that may not have any hard edges but does have structure for significant aging.  Given the level of stuffing I would wait another five years to try again.  **** Now – 2027.

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2005 Karl Lawrence, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Alcohol 14.2%.  The nose remained subtle and the flavors of graphite-infused black fruit remained gentle.  This is a low-lying, almost laid back wine.  It remains very black in terms of flavor with inky hints and eventually develops some additional complexity from a wood box flavor.  There is some texture but it is generally supple with low-acidity.  Solid.  *** Now.

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1997 Williams Selyem, Pinot Noir, Olivet Lane Vineyard, Russian River Valley
Alcohol 14.9%.  This is a thick, dark flavored, very ripe wine of body and scope which seems to defy the varietal.  It was heady with noticeable heat in the finish that I found too distracting. Not my style.  Not Rated.

The Fruity 2015 Enkidu, Shamhat Rosé

With the 2015 Enkidu, Shamhat Rosé, Russian River Valley, Phillip Staehle has produced a pleasing rosé on the fruitier side of the spectrum.  With the rainier weather of the Washington, DC, area this more substantial offering hits the spot.  It also has enough stuffing to be drunk over several nights.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2015 Enkidu, Shamhat Rose, Russian River Valley – $18
This wine is a blend of 50% Syrah, 35% Grenache, and 25% Mouvedre.  Alcohol 14.1%.  With a fruity start this wine has good grip and a racy, mineral finish.  The fruit is sweeter than other rose but it is not out of balance in the wine.  It will please many. ** Now – 2017.

Four wines from California, Canada, and Texas

I am doing my best to catch up on my tasting notes from the holidays. The pair of wines from Carlisle are undeniably large and flavorful making them fun for a glass or two.  The 2006 Carlisle, Syrah, Sonoma County is in the best shape with its fuzzy dark flavors.  The 2006 Carlisle, Two Acres Red Wine, Russian River Valley has better focus but I suspect it will soon become unknit.  From Texas via Lou, the 2011 Duchman Family Winery, Aglianico, Oswald Vineyard also showed oak notes but this time with black fruited Aglianico flavors.  This was open for two days before I tried it but I still liked the bits of fat before the inky finish.  It is a good wine to drink.  The 2012 Chateau des Charmes, Gamay Noir ‘Droit’, St. David’s Bench is completely opposite in style which is what you should expect in a wine made using Gamay from the Niagara Peninsula.  The puckering black fruit and stone flavored finish make you revisit the glass time and time again.  Another interesting bottle from Lou!

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2006 Carlisle, Syrah, Sonoma County
Alcohol 15.1%.  This big wine sported savory flavors of blue and dark black fruit.  The initial notes of roast earth dissipated bringing on dense, fuzzy flavors of dark strawberries with a touch of heat in the finish.  This wine still has sweet fruit and ripe structure but the edges are now rounded.  *** Now but will last.

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2006 Carlisle, Two Acres Red Wine, Russian River Valley
This wine is a blend of Mourvedre, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Carignane, and Alicante Bouschet.  Alcohol 14.8%.  The nose was jammy like an Australian shiraz.  The round, smokey, leather start took on some weight before transitioning to a laser focused mineral and black fruited finish.  The mouth generally followed the nose with unabashed, jam fruit in the middle.  It did, however, balance out with a nice texture of fine grained wood.  *** Now but will last.

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2011 Duchman Family Winery, Aglianico, Oswald Vineyard
Alcohol 14.3%.  The sweet and round fruit mixed with sweet oak before it turned towards black fruited flavors.  It showed both some grip and a hint of fat along with textured tannins.  Things wrapped up with a sweet and inky finish.  ** Now – 2018.

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2012 Chateau des Charmes, Gamay Noir ‘Droit’, St. David’s Bench
Alcohol 13%.  The young nose made way towards flavors of black fruit that puckered on the sides of the tongue.  There was a hint of focused ripeness and weight in the middle.  The finish brought watering acidity and a stone-mineral profile.  *** Now – 2017.

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Chardonnay from Patrick Piuze and Porter Creek

December 16, 2014 Leave a comment

You might at first believe this post is a comparison of Chardonnay from Chablis and the Russian River Valley.  It is not, rather this post features wine from two producers whose wine I have never tasted before.  Patrick Piuze produces a wide variety of cuvees from Chablis using fruit that he purchases.  His Terroir series of wines are produced from village level fruit.  The 2012 Patrick  Piuze, Terroir de Fyé, Chablis proved very young over several days leaving the impression of tight precision.  It is a bit hard to enjoy right now so it might be one to enjoy next winter. Porter Creek focuses in on wines made from Burgundy and Rhone grape varieties.  The vines are all located on hillsides.  The wines are meant to express their origins through the use of natural fermentation and restrained oak.  Having no previous experience I certainly cannot identify the origins of the 2013 Porter Creek, Chardonnay Old Vine, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County but I can tell you that the balance of flavor, mouthfeel (both creamy and textured), and lively acidity is very attractive.  I might even suggest this wine needs several more months of age.  If you are a fan of the 2012 Neyers, Chardonnay 304, Sonoma County than be sure to grab a few bottles of the Porter Creek.  For me it hits the mark of enlivening acidity, green apple flavors, and mouthfeel.  Thanks to Andy for recommending this wine.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2012 Patrick  Piuze, Terroir de Fyé, Chablis – $25
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from the village of Fyé that was fermented with indigenous yeasts partially in barrel.  Alcohol 12%.  On the nose, smoke gently mixed with stones and some ripe fruit.  There were precise flavors in the mouth that remained young and tight.  The flavors bore apple hints, almost tart acidity, and apple-like texture.  It showed good mouth weight.  ** 2015-2019.

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2013 Porter Creek, Chardonnay Old Vine, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County – $34
This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from old vines.  Alcohol 13.9%.  The nose bore articulated aromas of ripe, green apple.  In the mouth was a lively start with flavors of green apple and white fruit.  A creamy mouth feel came out quickly before the wine became even livelier in the middle.  There was a stone like finish with a textured aftertaste that had some tannins.  Overall a light flavor style.  *** Now-2019.

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Tasting Wines from Edmunds St John, Fausse Piste, Linden, Sandlands, and Two Shepherds

Lou texted me that he tried one of the wines he received in the inaugural shipment from Sandlands Vineyards.  It was special.  Sandlands Vineyards is the project of Tegan and Olivia Passalacqua.  Tegan has been making wine at Turley Wine Cellars for some time.  These Sandlands wines are made with fruit from old, head-trained and dry-farmed vines in California.  Lou mentioned he had a bottle of the Trousseau Noir so I knew I had to acquire a bottle of William Allen’s Two Shepherds Trousseau Gris.  We then added in wines of  Fausse Piste from Washington, Linden Vineyards from Virginia, and Edmunds St John from California.  Our tasting was born.

I will keep this brief by just posting my thoughts.  The wines of Sandlands are indeed special and exciting.  You must get on the waiting list right away!  I am digging Trousseau Gris and Trousseau Noir from California.  Those in Washington, DC, are fortunate that you can buy the Two Shepherds wines at Weygandt Wines.  Ask Tim  or Warren if there is any Trousseau Gris left because William Allen has no more of the 2012 vintage.  While you are at the shop pick up the Edmunds St John, Rocks + Gravel.  You will be strongly satisfied drinking it now but be sure to cellar some as well.  Over the years I have felt there was a certain funk or lurking flavor that I did not like in the red wines of Virginia.  The Linden, Claret moves beyond that and lives up to the classic Claret name.  Thanks to Phil at MacArthur Beverages for putting this in my sights.

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2012 Two Shepherds, Trousseau Gris, Fanucchi Vineyard, Russian River Valley
This wine is 100% Trousseau Gris.  Alcohol 13.8%.  The color was of a bright copper kettle.  The nose was beautiful with ripe, floral aromas.  In the mouth the round flavors became racy in the middle then took on dry red flavors with integrated acidity.  The flavors were well supported becoming ripe and gentle in the finish.  On the second night there was a lovely, dense body to this unique wine.  ***(*) Now-2017.

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2013 Fausse Piste, Garde Mange, Columbia Valley
This wine is 100% Syrah. Alcohol 14.1%.  This began with raisin-like, savory flavors, integrated acidity, and structure in the finish.  It even had a little thickness.  On the second night this showed better balance with bramble, some herbs black fruit, and ruggedness. ** Now-2017.

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2012 Sandlands Vineyards, Trousseau, Sonoma County
This wine is 100% Trousseau Noir.  Alcohol 13.2%.  The color was a light garnet.  The nose was aromatic with vintage perfume and aromas familiar to the Trousseau Gris.  In the mouth were serious flavors.  The structure was there and matched the flavors in the finish.  It was a little salty, expansive, and beautiful.  It took on a little tart fruit.  The acidity was lovely, crisp and matched the eventually tangy flavors.  **** Now-2019.

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2012 Edmunds St John, Rocks + Gravel, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County
This wine is a blend of 55% Grenache, 27% Syrah, and 18% Mourvedre.  Alcohol ?  The nose had some enjoyable funk with red fruit but remained tight.  There were lively flavors of ripe, mixed berries that picked up intensity.  It continued to drink like a brighter Rhone-styled wine.  *** Now-2025.

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2011 Linden, Claret
This wine is a blend of 44% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Cabernet Franc.  Alcohol 13.2%.  The nose revealed dried herb and wood overlaying bright fruit and some meat.  The flavors followed the nose with bright acidity, ripe tannins, and some Big Red notes.  This was a youthful wine with young tasting fruit.  It became a little herbacious with black graphite, and spicy, drying tannins that coated the mouth.  With air this showed dry flavors of bright fruit.  **(*) 2015-2019.

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2010 Sandlands Vineyards, Mataro
This wine is 100% Mataro.  Alcohol 13.6%.  The nose remained right.  In the mouth there was more fruit than the Trousseau Noir along with an interesting note of polished old wood.  In a sense it was similar to the Trousseau Noir in profile.  There were enjoyable dense aromas, a little savory flavor, black fruit, attractive graphite, and old-wood notes.  Needs cellar time.  Lou reported this was great on the third night.  ***(*) 2016-2026.

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Trousseau Gris and Noir from Jura and Russian River Valley

I find it hard to believe that the summer is ending.  A quick review of my files, both digital and paper, confirm what I already know, I am once again behind in posting my tasting notes.  As such I have not written about my recent enjoyment of Trousseau Gris and Trousseau Noir.  There is not much Trousseau Gris in California, what I have tasted is all from the Fanuchi-Wood Road Vineyard, so it is interesting to see the variation in style.  The 2012 Wind Gap, Trousseau Gris, Fanuchi-Wood Road Vineyard, Russian River Valley appears on the cusp of settling down.  There are rich offerings on the nose and in the mouth with enough crisp acidity to move it along.  Part of the fun is tasting the different flavors as the wine warms up.   For me the 2012 Benedicte & Stephane Tissot, Trousseau, Arbois is all about the nose.  Simply beautiful!  The flavors were not as developed but did show a minerality that must be due to the limestone soils.  Until I can catch up on my tasting notes I simply recommend you try all the Trousseau based wines that you can!  The change in style will be refreshing.  The Wind Gap was purchased at Flatiron Wines and the Tissot at MacArthur Beverages.

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2012 Wind Gap, Trousseau Gris, Fanuchi-Wood Road Vineyard, Russian River Valley – $26
This wine is 100% Trousseau Gris sourced from primarily sandy soils.  The fruit was foot crushed before whole cluster fermentation in concrete eggs.  It was raised in a combination of stainless steel and neutral oak.  Alcohol 12.3%.  The color was a light yellow straw.  There were rich aromas on the nose, almost petrol like, developing into the tropical spectrum, all the while remaining crisp.  In the mouth were rich, white fruit flavors, and a nice body in the middle.  The crisp acidity was present at the start and middle, supporting the strong flavors which were reminiscent of red wine when warm.  The structure was mild before the somewhat rough flavors in the finish and long aftertaste.  **(*) Now-2015.

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2012 Benedicte & Stephane Tissot, Trousseau, Arbois – $25
Imported by Potomac Selections.  This wine is 100% Trousseau Noir sourced from biodynamic vines averaging 40 years of age located on limestone soils.  It was raised in a combination of oak barrel and tank.  Alcohol 13%.  There was a good fragrance that I found hard to describe but my mom noted as incense.  In the mouth was a gentle start with flavors following the aromas.  There was some ripe blue, tart flavors on the tongue, and ripe texture.  Though the wine was lighter in profile it had some cat’s tongue tannins.  With air it showed good graphite notes that mixed with blue and black fruit.  A very solid wine.  ** Now-2015.

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