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Posts Tagged ‘Saint-Emilion’

A balanced and attractive young red Bordeaux

Phil recommended the 2010 Chateau Fombrauge, Saint-Emilion to go with the Creole food Sudip and I cooked a few weeks back.  There was plenty of open wine that night so it was not until there were leftovers that I opened this bottle.  It is what I consider a modern wine but the oak influences are gentle and while there is some sweetness to the fruit, the wine comes across as elegant yet flavorful.  It is pretty good with only an hour of air but should continue to develop for a few more years.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2010 Chateau Fombrauge, Saint-Emilion – $30
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  This wine is a blend of 80% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon that was aged for 18 months in oak.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The sweet cocoa aromas prepared one for the soft, round start of red and black fruit.  Salivating acidity moved the wine along with sweet fruit in the middle and a subtle, integrated structure evident by some dry tannins in the finish.  The wine becomes sexy with a little smoke and a certain sweetness.  ***(*) Now – 2025.

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A blind tasting of super Tuscans from the 2000 vintage

December 17, 2015 Leave a comment

Last week I also found maturity and pleasure in a recent vintage.  I was the guest of David for his turn of hosting his tasting group.  We gathered in his living room to first eat cheese and drink 2013 G de Guiraud, Bordeaux Blanc Sec while we waited for the others to arrive.  My familiarity with Guiraud was limited to the sweet side of things so it was a surprise to try this dry blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.  It was slightly grassy on the nose with citric flavors, some fat, good acidity, and a mineral finish.  Upon revisiting it I found attraction in the sappy flavors and grippy mild structure.

When we sat down at the dinning table we were greeted by five brown bagged wines.  David had opened the wines and drunk off the top bits over six hours prior.  Initial guesses at David’s theme were made difficult by the differences in maturity.  There appeared to be a general agreement that there were some Bordeaux grapes in the mix.  Whether they were from France or Italy was intended to be difficult to ascertain due to the ordering of the bottles.  The clues slowly came out, Italy which I could believe.  They were all from 2000, no way!  And they were all from Tuscany except for the Bordeaux ringer.  Until this tasting, I had not tried any mature super Tuscans.

Unfortunately the bottle of 2000 Antinori, Tignanello, Toscana was off.  Fortunately for us, the replacement bottle of 2000 Antinori, Solaia, Toscana was in top form.  It drank great from the very first pour, so much so that I spent more time drinking it than jotting down notes.  This bottle seemed at the peak of maturity.  The 2000 Argiano, Solengo, Toscana also drank well.  It was forward with more jammy and sexy flavors.  In slight contrast, the 2000 Tua Rita, Giusto di Notri, Toscana sported more concentration and potential for future development.  Though youthful, the savory and racy flavors were hard to resist.  The 2000 Antinori, Tenuta Guado al Tasso, Bolgheri Superiore showed depth with quite a bit of a structure; I would cellar this further.  The 2000 Clos de l’Oratoire, Saint Emilion proved the most elegant and youthful.  Granted, the super Tuscans were more opulent but I did not think this wine had as much complexity to give.  We wrapped the meal up with a very young and fine bottle of 2001 Chateau Coutet, Barsac.  I would cellar this further.  Many thanks to David for including me and hosting a fine evening.

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1 – 2000 Tua Rita, Giusto di Notri, Toscana
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Franc.  Alcohol 14%.  This wine exhibited a medium core of color with some garnet.  The nice nose was a touch fresh but in the mouth this maturing wine had a savory, racy vein of flavor leading to the mineral finish.  The concentrated flavors of black and red fruit was accented by a greenhouse note and a leather hint.  The structure existed as slightly spicy tannins.   ***(*) Now – 2025.

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2 – 2000 Clos de l’Oratoire, Saint Emilion
Imported by Calvert Woodley.  This wine is a blend of 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This wine was aromatic with plummy notes.  The wine tasted younger than the first with more structure and dry, very fine tannins.  The cherry core remained youthful with a little salivating acidity, and leather.  *** Now – 2025.

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3 – 2000 Antinori, Tignanello, Toscana
Imported by Remy Amerique.  Alcohol 13.5%.  Clearly older than the second wine the nose revealed candy cane aromas but the mouth revealed this wine was off.  It was tart and citric with red fruit, puckering acidity, and very fine strong tannins.  Not Rated.

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4 – 2000 Argiano, Solengo, Toscana
Imported by Vias Imports.  This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and a bit of Petit Verdot.  This was young and jammy on the nose with both sweet fruit and oak aromas.  In the mouth this deep and young wine had attractive, chewy flavors.   Drinking forward and sexy.  **** Now – 2020.

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5 – 2000 Antinori, Tenuta Guado al Tasso, Bolgheri Superiore
Imported by Remy Amerique.  This wine is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and 10% Syrah that was aged for 14 months in oak casks.  Alcohol 14%.  The good aromas bore a touch of greenhouse.  In the mouth there were some deep flavors, ink, power, and a racy finish.  There were some significant very fine tannins with a bitter finish.  ***(*) 2020 – 2030.

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Backup – 2000 Antinori, Solaia, Toscana
Imported by Remy Amerique.  This wine is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese, and 5% Cabernet Franc.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This drank great from the moment it was poured.  The sweet nose of dark fruit made  way to maturing, rounded flavors that mixed with spices and supportive, old wood.  Drinking at its peak.  **** Now – 2018.

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2001 Chateau Coutet, Barsac
Imported by Calvert Woodley.  Alcohol 14%.  A young tasting bottle with hints of goodness to come.  With warmth and air the residual sugar became noticeable in this textured wine.  It showed some roast character.  *** 2025-2045.

Five flavorful and affordable 2009 Bordeaux

I am still at the beach so I continue to catch up on tasting notes with today’s post.  I recently tasted through five Bordeaux wines from the excellent 2009 vintage that are priced between $15 and $20.  There is no shortage of flavor and alcohol here.  At the more affordable end, the 2009 Chateau Martinat, Epicurea, Cotes de Bourg offers up a mouthful of powerful black fruit.  It dials in at 15% ABV so perhaps it is best one or two glasses at a time.  My favorites wines showed more potential for development like the 2009 Le Cadran de Fombrauge, Saint Emilion Grand Cru and the 2009 Chateau La Prade, Francs Cotes de Bordeaux.  The former follows the deeply aromatic nose with integrated and focused black fruit that will age for some time.  The later offers redder fruit in a more obvious structure that has an appealing greenhouse quality.  I clearly do not drink much young Bordeaux for I was surprised at how forward and generous these wines are.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2009 Le Cadran de Fombrauge, Saint Emilion Grand Cru – $20
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. This wine is a blend of 77% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, and 9% Cabernet Sauvignon that was aged for 18 months.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose revealed deep aromas.  In the mouth there was a creamy edge to this focused wine.  The black fruit flavors had a hint of tartness, licorice, and camphor that were all integrated together.  It finished up with sexy black fruit, and a softer, creamy finish.  **(*) Now-2027.

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2009 Chateau Martinat, Epicurea, Cotes de Bourg – $15
Imported by Calvert Woodley.  This wine is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Alcohol 15%.  This powerful wine had black mineral notes and dark fruit.  The post lasted through to the end where there was some heat.  With air it showed focused clearly black fruit, black tannins, wood notes, extract, and a savory aspect.  There is good flavor in this wine but it is a mouthful!  **(*) Now – 2020.

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2009 Chateau Cote Montpezat, Cuvee Compostelle, Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux – $20
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  This wine is a blend of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There were some odd aromas on the nose followed by coarse flavors of raisins and hazy fruit.  With air, this thicker wine developed an extracted core, almost sweet fruit (perhaps from alcohol) mixed with a foxy note and a drying structure.  ** Now but will last.

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2009 Chateau du Moulin Rouge, Haut-Medoc Cru Bourgeois – $20
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  This wine is a blend of 50% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Cabernet Franc that was aged for 12 months in oak barrels.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The slightly savory black fruit had a cool, tannic grip and a greenhouse note.  While this savory wine took on a slightly round start it became drier with air taking on a cedar box note and firm finish.  ** Now – 2025.

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2009 Chateau La Prade, Francs Cotes de Bordeaux – $20
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  This wine is 100% Merlot.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This powerful wine has tart red and black fruit, a hint of greenhouse, and structure with watering acidity.  The fruit flavors float above the structure of stems and tannins with pleasing ripe texture.  Will age.  **(*) 2018-2025.

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Allemand, Dauvissat, Jamet, and more to welcome Jeffrey Snow

Jeffrey Snow previously worked for Bacchus Importers then moved to France to enroll in wine studies.  He was in town this past weekend for a brief visit so a group of his wine buddies got together.  As Jeffrey still lives overseas I offered to host the gathering.  Despite the heavy cloudiness the skies held back any rain so we gathered outside on the back deck.  There was a slew of good wine, some certainly better than others, that kept us busy all night.

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A bottle of 2006 Vazart-Coquart, Champagne Blanc de Blancs Special Club Brut accidentally received some 2000 E. Guigal, Côte-Rôtie La Mouline through a decanting mistake.  Thus turned into a rose, the bottle was found improved and quickly drained.  The 2005 Thierry Massin, Champagne Brut drank solidly for days thanks to it being a double-magnum.  We had mixed success with the white wines.  Fortunately, the 2005 Vincent Dauvissat (René & Vincent), Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses offered all one could hope with great potential.  This was my first time drinking Dauvissat and now I can see why it is a favorite of Roland.  In terms of the red wines, the 1999 Domaine Jamet, Côte-Rôtie was my favorite.  It was aromatic, unique in the mouth, and a generally lifting experience to drink.  What a treat!  Whereas the Jamet offered up bacon the 2000 E. Guigal, Côte-Rôtie La Mouline offered bloody meat.  This bottle drank at a good, mature spot.  The 2003 vintage provided our biggest wines.  The 2003 Thierry Allemand, Cornas offered way more fruit than I expected, but it was good in its  youth, reflecting both the vintage and its southernmost location in the Northern Rhone.  Moving south the 2003 Clos des Papes, Châteauneuf-du-Pape exuded power.  It took until the second night to show properly and with that time, great complexity came out in the middle.  I would cellar this wine another five years.  There were many other enjoyable wines so take a look at my notes below.  I do wish to comment on the 1995 Domaine du Pégaü, Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Maxim.  Darryl managed to score this unicorn of a wine.  This one-off cuvee was created to celebrate the birth of Laurence’s first child.  Just over 600 bottles were produced and apparently, given only to friends.  So good was this wine that it and 1997 cuvee Justine eventually became the precursors of De Capo.  Unfortunately, our bottle was off.

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2006 Vazart-Coquart, Champagne Blanc de Blancs Special Club Brut
A Becky Wasserman Selection imported by C’Est Vin.  Alcohol 12%.  Through a decanting accident, this contained a proportion of 2000 Guigal, Hermitage La Mouline.  So perhaps better as a rose with yeasty, ripeness!  Not Rated but good!

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2005 Thierry Massin, Champagne Brut (double magnum)
A Becky Wasserman selection imported by C’Est Vin.  Alcohol 12%.  There were fine, structured bubbles that integrated well with the grippy texture on the tongue tip.  There were lemon flavors and baking spices in the finish.  ***/**** Now-2025.

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2008 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Pucelles
Imported by Wilson Daniels.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There were maturing, lean flavors of tart lemon before a young impression came out.  There were tangy lemons in the short finish.  Something not quite right about this bottle.

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2005 Domaine des Malandes Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos
Imported by JAO Wine Imports.  Alcohol 13%.  The stinky nose made way to linear flavors in the mouth with a grippy finish.  With air an earthiness pervaded, taking over the lemon citrus note, then finishing tired with apple orchard notes. Note Rated.

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2001 Domaine and Select, Chateauneuf du Pape
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  There were plenty of berries in this robust wine.  The dense core of fruit made way to cherry and even took on glycerin.  A lovely wine.  **** Now-2020.

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2007 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier, Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Clos de la Maréchale (en magnum)
A Becky Wasserman selection imported by Veritas.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose was rather expressive.  In the mouth were ethereal flavors before the tighter finish.  With air it developed some midpalate ripeness with delicate spices and a good length for the soft, lipsticky finish.  *** Now.

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2004 Château du Cèdre, Cahors Le Cèdre
Imported by Elite Wines.  Alcohol 14%.  The fresh nose developed deep and dark aromas.  The wine was dense in the mouth with good intention from the structure and acidity.  The flavors had a cool aspect and when combined with the greenhouse notes, I imagine this will have a nice future.  ***(*) Now-2025.

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2005 Vincent Dauvissat (René & Vincent), Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses
Imported by Wine Brokers International.  Alcohol 13%.  There were rounded notes of white and yellow fruit in this beautiful wine.  It was almost spritely with a chalky middle, lovely integrated acidity, a good grip, and even more minerals in the finish.  Top notch!  ****(*) Now-2025.

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2004 Terredora di Paolo, Taurasi Pago Dei Fusi
Imported by Vias Imports.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose was very fresh with greenhouse aromas, small berries, and eventually a fine, wood aroma.  In the mouth the linear flavors took on licorice.  With air the gentle fruit existed within a resolved structure that made a return in the finish by drying the gums.

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1999 Domaine Jamet, Côte-Rôtie
Imported by Robert Kacher.  Alcohol 12.5%.  Very aromatic with bacon and stems.  In the mouth were good, controlled powerful flavors of violet fruit.  The wine became salty with air and maintained a sense of purity to the acidity driven red fruit.  Lovely.  ****(*) Now-2025.

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2000 E. Guigal, Côte-Rôtie La Mouline
Imported by Ex Cellar Wine Agency.  Alcohol 13%.  There was a lifted nose of bloody meat.  In the mouth were acidity driven flavors that were savory, dense, and glycerin infused.  There was still fruit and very fine, fresh structure.  **** Now – 2023.

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2003 Thierry Allemand, Cornas
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose was aromatic with fruit power, camphor, and a touch of raisins.  In the mouth was a load of tangy, red and pruned fruit with good acidity.  With air the wine remained quite fruity, building in flavor towards the middle where mineral and sweet spiced fruit came out.  ****(*) Now-2030.

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1999 Tardieu-Laurent, Côte-Rôtie Vieilles Vignes (en magnum)
Imported by Bacchus Importers.  Alcohol 13%.  This was aromatic with roast notes from the oak.  In the mouth were soft flavors and vintage perfume.  The structure was still there but there was low acidity and a generally limp impression.  Not Rated.

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2003 Clos des Papes, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Alcohol 14.5%.  This was beautiful, powerful, and earthy.  The wine really packed in the components, exuding power as well as grainy black then red and violet fruit.  On the second night it had expanded more to show very good midpalate complexity.  ****(*) Now-2030.

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1995 Domaine du Pégaü, Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Maxim
Imported by T. Elenteny.  Alcohol 14%.  Oddly morphing, seemed clearly corked at first then as if through sheer determination powerful fruit tried to come through. Not right so bummer.  Not Rated.

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1995 Château de Fonsalette, Reserve, Côtes du Rhône 
Imported by Le Vin.  Alcohol 14%.  This was aromatic with bloody and stinky notes.  Very firm and linear at first this developed a weighty start with midpalate ripeness, cedar, and sweet fruit.  In the end it came across as very mature.  Drink up.  ** Now.

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2003 Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve, Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT
Imported by Vinifera Imports.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This remained young over two nights but showed future potential.  Clearly powerful, with tart acidity, good components from wood, and a perfumed finish.  Should improve but needs time.  ***(*) 2020-2030.

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2000 Chateau Quinault L’Enclos, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru
Imported by Bacchus Importers.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This smelled increasingly mature and earthy with air.  In the mouth it was cooler tasting with very fine grained structure.  This bottle seemed very mature with the structure outliving the fruit.  ** Now.

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2008 Bodegas y Viñedos Paixar, Mencía Bierzo
Imported by Grapes of Spain.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose was very aromatic with floral and black fruits.  In the mouth was a perfumed, black fruited start with some cedar notes picking up in the middle.  The wine showed more acidity by the finish becoming lively.  The structure revealed wood that had fine texture which combined well with the mineral finish.  *** Now-2020.

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2001 Gelchw Albertz-Erben, Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Auslese, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
Imported by Michael Skurnik.  Alcohol 8.5%.  There were hints of petrol on the nose.  In the mouth were weighty flavors that fleshed out, filling the mouth with ripe fruit and residual sugar.  The wine turned youthful with weighty, lemon flavors, and structure in the end.  It left a fresh impression.  **** Now.

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A Great Achievement: 2001 Pavie

David Bloch tucks into his case of 2001 Chateau Pavie to find an amazing wine.

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2001 Chateau Pavie, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru
This was the fourth bottle I have opened from a case purchased on release. Not decanted – opened about 3 ½ hours before drinking with a few ounces poured off. The wine has a floral bouquet that could fool the most diehard Bordeaux drinker into thinking Burgundy. Maybe Chambolle. Incredible aromas of flowers and sweet spices. Very inviting. First sips were of ripe plums and blueberries. Beautifully textured. Layered. Unfolds to more dark fruits with a zip of acidity – almost like orange zest. The wine shows a hint of smoke and more exotic spice notes. While a rich and full bodied wine, it remains light on its feet – very well balanced. Tannins hide behind the rich fruit. Maybe a little chocolate milk too. The bottle had quite a bit of sediment (maybe seen if one looks closely at the photo). This is really a great Right Bank wine that needs to be tasted to be believed. A star from a lesser vintage that has proven itself over time to yield many a gem. Pavie naysayers take note – this is an amazingly classy wine with a long life ahead.

Tasting Old Wines with Darryl and Nancy at Blue Grass Tavern

February 11, 2014 2 comments
Baltimore, Maryland, skyline and waterfront. Detroit Publishing Co. 1910-1915. Image from Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Baltimore, Maryland, skyline and waterfront. Detroit Publishing Co. 1910-1915. Image from Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

On a snowy evening Phil and I drove up to Baltimore to taste several flights of wine.  Darryl and Nancy were hosting an evening of old wine at the Blue Grass Tavern.  Their contributions and those of the other attendees were beckoning.  There were both familiar faces, including Jeffrey Snow, and several new ones.  We sat in the intimate back room which glowed  inside and allowed views of the coating of snow which was still falling as we sat down.  The dinner was a satisfying meat fest which was punctuated at the end by plates of cheese and an incredible amount of dessert.

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To start with 1990 Moet et Chandon, Dom Perignon was great not only because the bottle was in top form but also because it was the second youngest wine of the evening.  We tasted through a number of wines at a reasonable pace and I never felt rushed nor short on my own pours.  The most physically satisfying flight was that of the 1990 Chateauneuf du Pape.  There great wines came from excellent cellars so the provenance showed.  If you have not yet drunk mature Chateauneuf du Pape then make every effort to do so.  I also really enjoyed the old Barolo flight.  There was nothing dried out or difficult about these wines, they really do develop for an incredible amount of time.  They were subtle in a way that when I tasted through the mixed French flight I kept wishing I was drinking the Barolo instead.

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1990 Moet et Chandon, Cuvee Dom Perignon, Champagne
Alcohol 12.9%.  This was opened right before serving.  There was a light toasty nose which was initially subtle before it blossomed with air to reveal mature white wine aromas and riper fruit.  In the mouth there was a fresh and crisp start carried by very fine bubbles that turned into a soft, lovely mousse of mature yellow fruit.  There was a chewy finish and long textured aftertaste which haunted my mouth.  This wine was in great shape and really was evocative of mature white Burgundy.

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1983 Staatsweingut, Rauenthaler, Baiken, Riesling Spatlese, Rheingau
Imported by Atlanta Wholesale Wine.  Alcohol 10%.  There was a killer nose with a little petrol.  The wine opened up quickly in the mouth bringing on petrol and riper fruit.  There was seamless acidity, drier flavors towards the finish and a hint of tartness.  The palate was not quite up to the  nose but still a very fine wine.

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1983 Kirchmayr, Solist, Traminer Spatlese, Neusiedlersee 
Imported by Domaine Select Wines.  Alcohol 12%.  This was very aromatic, rather Gewurztraminer like.  It provided a ripe, round mouthfeel with a woodsy mineral note.  It still had some sweetness, a racy hint,  and with air, a mellow personality.

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The Barolo flight had been decanted such that they had about four hours or so of air before dinner.  The 1962 Cappellano was bottled by Giovanni Troglia who was a wine merchant in Turin.  Darryl reported the oddly shaped bottle was sealed with a glass top fused with metal to the bottle.  So he had to delicately pry away before gaining access to the cork.

1962 Cappellano label scanned by Darryl Priest.

1962 Cappellano label scanned by Darryl Priest.

1962 Cappellana label scanned by Darryl Priest.

1962 Cappellano label scanned by Darryl Priest.

I thought the 1967 Francesco Rinaldi the darkest and freshest of the three.  This impression was not only due to it being the youngest of the trio rather, as Mannie Berk (Rare Wine Co.) pointed out to me, it was aged in demijohn.  Indeed in Sheldon and Pauline Wasserman’s Italy’s Noble Red Wines (1991) they write that Luciano Rinaldi “keeps some of his Barolo in these 9- and 14-gallon (34- and 54-liter) jugs for ten years or more.  The wine is decanted off its sediment into bottles or magnums before being put on sale.”  At the time of their visit there was still 1967 in demijohn.  This was practice was common in the old days of Barolo so perhaps this younger vintage was the most traditional of the three.  Michael Garner and Paul Merritt note in Barolo: Tar and Roses (1990) that it was the old practice to transfer wine from botte to damigiana for maturation.  However, the deep frost of 1929 wiped out vast stocks of these glass demijohns providing incentive to shift aging methods.  The 1958 Giacomo Borgogno showed more mature with earthy and ethereal flavors.  I thought an interesting contrast.  The 1962 Cappellano with its funky bottle quickly took on a nose of pure cumin with funky flavors in the mouth.  It reacted a bit to the air, putting on more flesh, and provided a third unique Barolo experience.  In the end a very satisfying flight.

1958 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli, Red Capsule, Barolo Riserva
Imported by T. Elenteny Imports.  Acquired from a Private Collection and auctioned by Acker Merrall & Conduit, November 2013.  There was a strong, earthy nose with a hint of band-aid.  In the mouth were fresh, earthy flavors of black and red fruit.  The acidity was there, perhaps a hint of banana, followed by more piercing flavors in the finish and a haunting aftertaste.

1962 Cappellano, Barolo
Giovanni Troglia bottling.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There was a funky nose which cleaned up to be a pure aroma of cumin.  The funk followed in the mouth where the wine was dry.  It reacted well with air, became a touch savory and fleshed out.  An interesting wine.

1967 Francesco Rinaldi & Figli, Barolo
Imported by T. Elenteny Imports.  Acquired from a private collection by Chambers Street Wines.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This was very dark and the darkest of all three in the flight.  The nose was initially subtle then became more aromatic.  There was tangy red fruit in the mouth, lots of pleasing grip, and acidity which was very present.  It still had tannins, was a little dry, and puckering towards the end.  It remained very fresh and engaging.

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This was a mixed flight and a little underwhelming given the old Barolo and 1990 Chateauneuf du Pape flights it was sandwiched between.  There was a connection in that the Ausone and the Francesco Rinaldi were of the same vintage.  This vintage of Ausone came from the period when the vines were becoming increasingly older as there had been no replanting since 1950.  Both the Ausone and Montrose were fermented in old wooden vats.  I preferred the Montrose which was fresher.  To have mature Trousseau from Arbois was probably a first for many.  This particular bottle of 1988 Camille Loye came from a small parcel imported by Crush.  While it was not a wine I would want to drink an entire bottle of, it was enjoyable, and not near decline.  Finally, the Nicolas Potel was young with an interesting flavor but the powerful tannins were still too obvious.

1967 Chateau Ausone, Saint-Emilion
Imported by DKDJ Imports.  Acquired from a private collection.  There was a nose of beef stock and perhaps a hint of a sweet note.  There were flavors of black and red fruit in the focused start.  It had watering acidity, ripe spices, minerals, and a structure that still had tannic grip in the finish.  Ultimately, it was on its decline in life.  It did not seem to get better with air.

1970 Chateau Montrose, Saint-Estephe
Imported by Alexis Lichine & Co.  There was a curious nose which was both fresh and animale.  There was levity in the mouth, a greenhouse hint, and a young core.  It was a good wine that did not show the level of evolution that the Ausone did.

1988 Camille Loye, Cuvee St Paul, Arbois Rouge
Imported by Vineyard Road.  There were flavors of red cranberry, citrus pith, and fresh acidity.  It was an interesting wine, in fine shape, and I can see why one person said  an “orange red wine” and another “curious”.

1999 Nicolas Potel, Latricieres-Chambertin, Grand Cru
A Becky Wasserman Selection imported by C’est Vin.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose was very fresh.  There was a little earth to the flavors, a ripe note and an interesting flavor profile.  There was a lot of unevolved oak which showed in the powerful and very fine tannins in the finish.  This wine packed a punch at the end.  Clearly the youngest tasting bottle of the even.

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We almost had a quartet of 1990 Chateauneuf du Pape but the Rayas, Pignan was badly corked.  Still, the remaining three bottles were excellent.  The Charvin had been double-decanted ahead of time so it probably had two hours of air before it was poured. The other wines were opened just minutes before and not decanted.  While this difference should be noted there is no denying the Charvin was a great wine.  This vintage represents the first produced by Laurent Charvin for all of the wines had been previously sold off.  It remained excellent to the end.  I also really liked the Pegau which can be so satisfying to smell and to drink.  This bottle came from a good cellar and even with some air kept a youthful nature.  The Beaucastel may have been more polarizing and not with the same depth of flavor but I very much enjoyed it.  That three different wines could be so satisfying was evidenced by how quiet the table became.

1990 Domaine Charvin, Chateauneuf du Pape
Imported by Luke’s Distributing Co.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There were aromas of tobacco and red fruit that stood out of the glass.  In the mouth were lovely flavors that were a little savory and sappy with cherry and Kirsch notes.  The wine had weight and purity.  Despite the maturity the flavors had a ripe, dense core.  A real treat.

1990 Rayas, Pignan, Chateauneuf du Pape
Acquired from a private collection by Acker Merrall & Conduit Internet.  An off bottle.

1990 Domaine du Pegau, Cuvee Reservee, Chateauneuf du Pape
Imported by Hand Picked Selections.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There was great complexity in the familial nose but the flavors were young.  There was a good mixture of spices and fruit which was black red.  The chewy tannins made way to youthful weight, sweet fruit and sweet spices.  It had a spicy structure in the finish and a long aftertaste that took on ripe notes.

1990 Chateau de Beaucastel, Chateauneuf du Pape
Imported by Luke’s Distributing Co.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This was very aromatic.  The flavors were expansive in the mouth but did not develop the weight or presence as the Charvin.  Some ripe fruit developed, an animale flavor, and the structure was more present.

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Unfortunately, the 1991 QBA was not worth drinking.  The 1995 Beerenauslese had an explosive entry into the mouth with an engaging mixture of black tea flavors.

1991 Carl von Schubert, Maximin Grunhauser, Herrenberg QBA, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer – (375 mL)
Alcohol 10.9%.  The nose was oxidative with a hint of apples and apricots followed by beef stock.  There were apple flavors, tart-like fruit but in the end dried out.  No.

1995 Carl von Schubert, Maximin Grunhauser, Riesling Beerenauslese, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer – (375 mL)
Imported by Robert Chadderdon Selections.  Alcohol 6.5%.  There was a ripe nose of apples and apricots.  The wine had a lively burst into the mouth with not-quite bracing acidity.  The complex flavors blended in tea notes and maintained texture on the tongue followed by a tartness in the aftertaste.

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The Baumard was curious in that it was rather clean and almost primary.  Perhaps it needed more air or years in the cellar.  I believe some people continued to work this wine in their glass so perhaps they have a better opinion.  There is not much Terrantez any more on Madeira so the Cossart Gordon bottle was a treat to taste.  It was opened right before tasting and had great aromatics and powerful flavors.  It was a bottle I would be curious to track for a few weeks.

1989 Domaine des Baumard, Quarts de Chaume
Imported by Classic Wine Imports.  Acquired from a private collection by Acker Merrall & Conduit Internet.  The nose was sweet and sweaty but remained youthful and tight.  In the mouth the sweetness over powered the acidity at first, it was in there but bound tight.  Remarkably unevolved.

1977 Cossart Gordon, Terrantez, Madeira
Imported by Premium Ports & Madeiras.  Alcohol 20%.  There was a very aromatic and gorgeous nose.  In the mouth were powerful flavors of salty and rich orange-red fruit.  It had subtle weight.

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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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The Best of Virginia (and Maryland Too)

November 21, 2012 3 comments

Weygandt Wines

This past weekend Lou and I attended a Best of Virginia tasting organized by Robert Ford and hosted by Weygandt Wines.  I came in late to the organization so I thought it best to let Rob describe the origins of the tasting.

Inspiration for the Tasting

About three years ago my Fiancee Megan and I were eating breakfast on a lazy sunday morning, wondering what to do with our day. At this point we were surprisingly novice wine geeks, early in the stages of tasting anything and everything to develop context for our palates. We did however, through our tasting, seem know what we enjoyed and were respectable in judging quality. We had heard about Virginia wine country and had nothing better to do, so after a bit of internet research we hopped on I-66W and headed west. It seemed that in Northern Virginia (if not Virginia as a whole) Linden had been the forerunner in quality and vision when it came to virginia wine. I still remember arriving on our first visit. The GPS had taken us on wild ride, traversing several miles of unpaved roads to reach the Linden sign. From our first sip of the day, it was clear the wines were special. They had balance, authentic fruit, direction, freshness, and evolution on the palate. The care used to craft the wine was palpable. They embodied the qualities we had come to look for in a wine.

We are now full on wine geeks, but as any other wine geek knows, the more you learn and taste, the more there is to learn and taste. And while virginia has settled into a limited role in our wine drinking, it remains an important one. When we open a Linden wine we find ourselves comparing it to chardonnays and bordeaux blends from around the world, remarking how well they would likely compete in a global context. Therefore we always had the idea of a blind tasting, pitting the Linden and other best of Virginia, against equal competition from more established wine regions. And after a long period of idle contemplation, seemingly like usual, everything simply fell into place. It started with a thread on Wineberserkers regarding RdV Vineyards, and morphed into a “what if” tasting idea. As I was going to be in DC over the weekend, inspiration struck, and I began to organize the Best of VA vs World tasting. Interest was a bit slow over the first day, but quickly it appeared the tasting would be rather large and comprehensive. It was one of those events that was meant to happen, as everything simply fell into place. Many participants were available on the proposed date, we were easily able to use Weygandt Wines as a fantastic tasting space, and everyone seemingly had excess wine to contribute. By Friday morning we had more interest than we could accommodate, and had put together a surprisingly large and complete line up of wines. The stage was set … how would Virginia fare?

-Robert Ford

Bagged and Numbered

The Virginian wines were known ahead of time to the participants with the ringers only known to Rob and those who brought them.  The wines were brown-bagged and served in four flights: Whites, Mature Reds, Young Cabernet Franc or Merlot dominated reds, and Young Cabernet Sauvignon dominated reds.  All of the wines were opened just prior to tasting except for #17 RdV, Rondevous which was decanted one hour ahead and the #25 Yannick Amirault which was opened one hour ahead.  Tasting sheets were provided and we were asked to rate the wines so that group results could be tallied.  After tasting through all of the wines they were revealed.

Many thanks to Jim Law of Linden Vineyards who opened his cellar so that Rob could purchase the 1997 Reserve Red, to Jon Gonzales of RdV Vineyards who brought the 2009 Rendesvous and Lost Mountain, to Ed Boyce of Black Ankle Vineyards who provided the 2007 Crumbling Rock, and Michelle Gueydan of Early Mountain Vineyards who brought the 2011 Ankida Ridge, Chardonnay along with a few ringers.  Also to everyone’s generosity for bringing so many wines and to Warren, Sarah, and Weygandt Wines for allowing us to take over part of the store.

Rob In Action

RESULTS

Rob tallied up the results from eight participants.  In some cases a wine received only seven scores but in most cases it was eight.  Of the 33 wines tasted 16 were from Virginia, 8 from France, 2 from California, 2 from Maryland, 1 from Washington, 1 from Italy, 1 from Malta, 1 from New Zealand, and 1 from South Africa.  In this section I have listed the top three wines from each flight.  For the remaining average scores you will find them in my tasting notes.

One cannot draw serious conclusions from such a tasting but I can point out the generally strong breadth of the Linden wines, the seriousness of RdV, and the strengths of Black Ankle.  When I hear about local wine it seems to be in the context of Virginia but hopefully after this tasting a few more people will cross the Potomac River to Maryland.  I am also curious to try other selections from King Family Vineyards and Pearmund.

Flight 1 – Whites
1. 2008 Linden, Chardonnay, Avenius Vineyard (86.88)
2. 2009 Ataraxia, Chardonnay, South Africa (86.38)
3. 2011 Ankita Ridge, Chardonnay (85.13)

Flight 2 – Mature Reds
1. 1997 Linden, Reserve Red (89.13)
2. 1995 Chateau Troplong Mondot (87.13)
3. 1993 Robert Craig, Affinity (86.25)

Flight 3 – Young Reds (Cabernet Franc or Merlot Dominant Blends)
1. 2005 Chateau Joanin Becot (89.00)
2. Tied: 2009 RdV, Rendezvous and 2006 Black Ankle, Crumbling Rock (87.38)

Flight 4 – Young Reds (Cabernet Sauvignon Dominant Blends)
1. 2007 Gramercy Cellars, Cabernet Sauvignon (87.29)
2. 2009 Cliff Lede, Cabernet Sauvignon (86.86)
3. 2009 Barboursville, Octagon (85.43)

TASTING NOTES

It took steady effort to taste through all of the wines in the time alloted.  As the time advanced past the normal closing time there was a bit of a dash to finish off the tasting.  My notes capture the wines during a brief few minutes so bear that in mind.  Normally I would not rate wines during such a tasting but as part of the group exercise and general fun of it, I did.  At the end of each note you will find the average group score in parenthesis.

FLIGHT 1 – WHITE WINES

David and Rob

I thought the white wines from Virginia showed very well.  While several of the wines had obvious barrel notes, my two favorites the 2010 Pearmund showed good integration along with fruit, weight, and acidity and the 2008 Linden showed lively fruit with an attractive gravelly quality.  Wines like these make me think a Virginia white wine tasting should be in order.

1 – 2011 Ankida Ridge, Chardonnay
This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from a two acre vineyard at 1,800 feet. It was fermented in 100% neutral French oak barrels of which 50% underwent malolactic fermentation. It was then aged for nine months on the lees.  The light to medium nose was textured with barrel roast notes.  The barrel note continues in the mouth with rich, slightly perfumed fruit,a bit of weight in the finish.  There were some tart apple flavors and acidity. (85.13)  ** Now.

2 – 2009 Linden, Chardonnay Hardscrabble
This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from 15-25 year old vines in the Hardscrabble Vineyard. The free run juice was fermented with both cultured and indigenous yeasts, some barrels underwent maolactic fermentation, followed by 10 months of aging on the lees in new and used French oak barrels. Alcohol 13.8%.  The color was a very light straw yellow.  The light fruit nose had some barrel notes along with heavier, yellow fruit aromas.  In the mouth there was crisper fruit to start  then tropical fruit which mixed with barrel flavors, some apple, and Christmas spice.  The aftertaste was a little coarse and shorter compared to #1.  (84.57) ** Now-2013.

3 – 2010 Pearmund, Old Vine Chardonnay, Meriwether Vineyard
This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from 25+ year old vines. It under went 100% malolactic fermentation then was aged for eight months in French oak. Alcohol 13.5%.  The color was light yellow.  The light+ nose revealed heavier yellow fruit, better integration of the barrels notes, and fine texture.  In the mouth there was sweet tropical fruit which was delivered with an initial burst of acidity.  Then old perfume, good weight, and a core of ripe fruit.  There was ripe fruit and spices in the finish and a good aftertaste. (84.50)  **(*) Now-2017.

4 – 2008 Linden, Chardonnay Avenius
This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from the Avenius Vineyard planted in 1996 at 1,300 feet. It was barrel fermented in older French oak, did not undergo malolactic fermentation, and was aged on the less for 10 months. Alcohol 13.7%.  The color was a very light yellow.  The nose bore ripe, concentrated yellow fruit.  In the mouth the flavors were lively on the tongue with integrated acidity, followed by gravelly white, ripe fruit.  There was an ethereal quality to the aftertaste.  (86.88) **(*) Now-2015.

5 – 2009 Domaine Bernard Defaix, Vaillons, Chablis 1er Cru
Imported by Winebow. This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from both young and old vines.  The color was light yellow.  The light to medium nose offered up perfumed, white and yellow fruit with a hint of something.  In the mouth there were flavors of bread at first followed by a hollow, citric finish, and a barely detectable hint of foxy flavors in the aftertaste. (83.00)  * Now.

6 – 2009 Ataraxia, Chardonnay, Western Cape
Imported by Worthwhile Wine Company. This wine is 100% Chardonnay which was barrel fermented then aged for ten months in Burgundian oak barrels. 13.5% Alcohol.  The color was light yellow.  There was a light+ ripe, yellow nose. In them mouth there were lively white, heavy fruit which was acidity driven.  There was a good mouthfeel, fine stoney, texture, and a drying finish with tart citrus flavors. (86.38) ** Now-2015.

FLIGHT 2 – MATURE RED WINES

The Author and Lou

This was a somewhat disjointed flight in terms of the wines tasted but it did reveal a complete 1997 Linden, Reserve Red.  I am glad that Rob was able to work with Jim Law on this selection.  It is drinking very well right now.  I did not guess it was from Virginia for I thought the 1999 Chateau Barde-Haut was!

7 – 1994 Roccadoro, Chianti Classico
Imported by Winebow. This. Alcohol 12%.  The color was light-medium tawny, showing extreme age.  The nose was over the hill with thin, delicate berry fruit in the mouth. (Flawed)  Flawed.

8 – 1999 Chateau Barde-Haut, St. Emillion Grand Cru
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. This wine is a blend of mostly Merlot and Cabernet Franc sourced from 30+ year old vines. It was fermented with indigenous yeasts, underwent malolactic fermentation then was aged for 18 months in new oak barrels. Alcohol 13.5%.  The color was a light to medium garnet-cherry.  In the mouth there were cedar box flavors, a touch of menthol, then cherry and raspberry.  There was a core of racy red fruit then blue flavors but then it completely thinned out. (82.00)  * Now.

9 – 1997 Linden, Reserve Red
This wine is a blend of 44% Cabernet Franc, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Petit Verdot, and 11% Merlot. Alcohol 13.9%.  The color was a light to medium ruby.  The light nose was followed by focused, black and red fruit in the mouth.  There was black fruit acidity,with mature flavors in the finish.  A complete little wine. (89.13)  ** Now.

10 – 1993 Robert Craig, Affinity, Napa Valley
This wine is a blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Franc.  The nose was light with mature red fruit.  In the mouth there were brighter red fruit, texture, plenty of acidity, and a little powdery red candy. (86.25)  * Now.

11 – 1995 Chateau Troplong Mondot, St Emillion Grand Cru
Imported by Luke’s Distributing Co. This wine is a blend of mostly Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from 50 year old vines. It was fermented in stainless steel tanks, underwent malolactic fermentation then was aged 12-24 months in new oak barrels.  The color was a medium ruby.  The nose offered up cedar and vanilla.  In the mouth there was finely textured black cherry fruit, a little menthol, spicy finish, and a lifted, incensed aftertaste. (87.13) ** Now-2015.

FLIGHT 3 – YOUNG REDS (Cabernet Franc or Merlot Dominated Blends)

The King Family Vineyard and Chateau Joanin Becot were the standouts for me in this flight.  I do not if it is a pure varietal or blend but it was attractive all around without a hint of underripe fruit.  The 2006 Black Ankle, Crumbling Rocks had pebbly texture and the 2008 RdV, Rendezvous while tight, had an interesting earthy flavor which was new to me in my Virginian wine experience.  Both of these wines deserve revisiting.

12 – 2009 RdV, Rendezvous
This wine is a blend of 35% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Cabernet Franc, and 12% Petit Verdot. Alcohol 14.5%.  The color was medium purple ruby.  The medium strength nose was of black fruit and low-lying vanilla aromas.  In the mouth this finely textured wine had black and red fruit, expansive flavors as the wine progressed, and a touch of greenhouse towards the finish.  The tart red fruit had plenty of tannins which coated the lips and teeth along with a certain perfumed flavor.  Upon revisiting it was a bit loose. (87.38)  ** Now-2017.

13 – 2006 Black Ankle, Crumbling Rock, Frederick County
This wine is a blend of 38% Cabernet Franc, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot which was aged for 16 months in 75% new French oak barrels. Alcohol 13.5%.  The color was a medium garnet-ruby.  The light to medium strength nose was initially mature with a bit of wood box. In the mouth there were tangy red fruit, acidity, then fine, pebbly texture.  The fruit became tart, citric red and drier towards the finish.  There was textured aftertaste to this complete wine.  A touch up from #12.  Upon revisiting this showed good weight. (87.38) ** Now-2015.

14 – Linden, Boisseau Red
This wine is a blend of 44% Cabernet Franc, 34% Merlot, and 22% Petit Verdot sourced from the Boisseau Vineyard planted in 2000 at 600 feet. It was fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged for 20 months in French, American, and Hungarian oak. Alcohol 14.4%.  The color was a medium ruby with hints of grape.  The medium strength nose was fruit driven.  The wine tasted young and confident with bright, tart red and blue fruit, citric tannins, and acidity on the tip and sides of the tongue.  It was a bit expansive in the aftertaste but was less integrated than #13. (85.29) ** Now-2015.

15 – 2006 Clos L’Eglise, Pomerol
Imported by R&R Marketing LLC. This wine is a blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc sourced from 35 year old vines. It was aged for 18 months in 100% new French oak barrels. Alcohol 14%.  The color was medium ruby.  The light nose was a touch mature with almost gravelly red fruit.  In the mouth there was more concentrated, attractive black and red fruit with acidity.  Then plenty of fine wood tannins, which were a touch spicy, came out.  Actually there were lots of powerful tannins. (85.86) ** 2015-2019.

16 – 2005 Chateau Joanin Becot, Cotes de Castillon
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. This wine is a blend of 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc. Alcohol 14%.  The color was medium garnet-ruby.  The light nose was of high-toned red and some black fruit.  In the mouth there were tangy, citric red fruit, very fine, drying tannins, and better integration.  Quite young but nice. (89.00)  **(*) 2017-2022.

17 – 2008 RdV, Rendezvous
This wine is a blend of 62% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Petit Verdot. Alcohol 14.5%.  The color was a medium+ grapey ruby.  The light nose revealed nice fruit, red and black berries.  In the mouth the fruit was slightly earthy, which was interesting, but was not giving up much.  This young wine had drying, ripe tannins.  Upon revisiting it showed better concentration, along with tannins, than the 2009. (84.14) ** 2014-2018.

18 – 2010 King Family Vineyards, Cabernet Franc, Monticello
The color was a light, grapey ruby.  The light nose was interesting and concentrated.  In the mouth there was lots of flavor and  delicacy to the riper red fruit.  It was perfumed and showed attractive integration. (85.14)  *** Now-2014.

19 – 2011 Clos Roche Blanche, Cuvee Pif, Touraine
Imported by Louis/Dressner. This wine is a blend of Cabernet Franc and Cot. Alcohol 12%.  It was a light to medium purple ruby color.  The light to medium nose smell like a European Cabernet Franc dominated wine.  The mouth followed the nose with powdery, red candy fruit, drier flavors, and a little orange citrus.  It firmed up a touch in the finish as tannins were left on the lips. (83.00) ** Now-2015.

20 – 2007 Pearmund, Ameritage
This wine is a blend of 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 17% Malbec, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Petit Verdot.  The color was light to medium garnet.  The light nose revealed raspberry candy and greenhouse aromas.  In the mouth there were ripe and sweeter red fruit which turned into black fruit.  There was a little weight, candy notes, along with minimal, spicy tannins which were integrated. (82.57)  * Now.

21 – 2009 Barboursville, Cabernet Franc, Reserve
This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc, from five different clones, which was fermented in stainless steel then aged up to 14 months in new and used French oak barriques. Alcohol 13%.  The color was a light to medium garnet.  The light to medium strength nose was scented with greenhouse aromas.  In the mouth there were ripe, sweet, black and red fruit.  It was rather sweet, the ripe tannins, some head in the finish, and less integration than #20. (82.14) * Now.

22 – 2009 Chateau de la Bonneliere, Les Cornelles, Chinon
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler. This Alcohol 12.5%.  The color was light to medium grapey ruby.  The light nose smelled thinner, like wet Cabernet Franc, and salt water.  In the mouth the light fruit sat in a structure with flavors of old vintage perfume, and tangy red citrus in the finish.  There were fine+ tannins, a touch spicy, as flavors thinned out. Better than #21 and #22. (83.00) * Now.

23 – 2007 Black Ankle, Crumbling Rock, Frederick County
This wine is a blend of 34% Cabernet Franc, 30% Cabernet Sauvingon, 22% Merlot, 11% Petit Verdot, and 3% Syrah which was aged for 18 months in 100% new French oak. Alcohol 14.9%.  The light to medium strength nose was of higher-toned, mixed berries.  In the mouth the mixed fruit was concentrated with some sweetness, good integrated then a touch of heat in the finish, and a lifted aftertaste.  Upon revisiting this showed enjoyable ripe fruit.  (84.43)  ** Now-2016.

24 – 2008 Puriri Hills, Pope, Clevedon
Imported by Nice Legs LLC. This wine is a blend of 52% Cabernet Franc, 32% Merlot, and 16% Carmenere. Alcohol 14.2%.  The color was a light to medium garnet.  The light+ nose revealed finely scented berries along with a greenhouse/pine aromas.  In the mouth the black and red fruit initially mixed with acidity then remained lively throughout.  There were almost juicy black fruit with a tannins structure for aging. (85.43)  * Now-2015.

25 – 2009 Yannick Amirault, Les Quartiers, Bourgueil
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler. This is 100% Cabernet Franc fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged for 12 months in tonneaux. Alcohol 13%.  The color was a medium ruby-garnet.  The light nose revealed overly ripe fruit and some stink.  In the mouth the black and red fruit felt clumsy and flavor with a line of very drying, fine wood tannins.  Below #24 by a touch.  (80.67) * Now.

FLIGHT 4 – YOUNG REDS ( Cabernet Sauvignon Dominated Blends)

Brett and Alyssa

The tasting speeded up during this last flight.  The Cliff Ledge was my favorite followed by the Gramercy Cellars, which in this case, suffered from lack of decanting.  Of the Virginian wines the Linden, Hardscrabble was the most interesting followed by the Glen Manor.

26 – 2007 Gramercy Cellars, Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot.  The color was a medium garnet.  The light nose was finely textured but played it close.  In the mouth there was focused, tangy black fruit which was integrated with acidity and ripe tannins.  The flavors became riper towards the finish where there was a little warmth.  Upon revisiting this showed fine, dense flavors. (87.29) ** Now-2015.

27 – 2009 RdV, Lost Mountain
This wine is a blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, and 9% Petit Verdot. Alcohol 14.5%.  The light nose was of ripe, sweet dark fruit.  In the mouth there was riper black fruit and watering acidity before it thinned out a bit.  The finish firmed up with dry tannins. (83.29) ** Now-2015.

28 – 2008 Glen Manor, Hodder Hill
This wine is a blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 15% Petit Verdot, and 7% Cabernet Franc. Alcohol 13.8%.  The color was a medium ruby garnet.  The light nose had a bit of roasted red fruit.  In the mouth there was very tart, acidic red fruit, with a tannic structure.  There was watering acidity and a little rough finish.  Upon revisiting this showed citric, red fruit. (84.67) ** Now-2016.

29 – 2009 Barboursville, Octagon
This wine is a blend of mostly Merlot with some Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot which was fermented in stainless steel then aged 12-14 months in new French oak Gamba barriques. Alcohol 13.5%.  The color was a light to medium purple ruby.  The light nose revealed tamales and red fruit.  In the mouth the wine was tighter with balanced black and red fruit, firm structure, and very fine tannins.  It is hard and needs time to unfold. (85.43)  *(*) 2015-2018.

30 – 2007 Linden, Hardscrabble
This wine is a blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc, 8% Petit Verdot, and 4% Carmenere sourced from vines planted between 1985 and 2006 at the Hardscrabble Vineyard at 1,300-1,400 feet. It was fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged for 18 months in used French and Hungarian oak barrels and puncheons. Alcohol 14.2%.  The color was a medium grapey ruby.  The light nose was interesting.  In the mouth the tangy fruit initially mixed with acidity then drier black and red fruit flavors developed.  It was a little gravelly with powdery, redder fruit towards the finish. (85.29) ** Now-2017.

31 – 2005 Melqart, Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot, Malta
Imported by First Vine. This wine is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot which was aged for five months in barrels. Alcohol 12.5%.  The nose was light with seaside aromas.  In the mouth, oh cr*p, no! (75.23)  Poor.

32 – 2009 Boxwood, Topiary
This wine is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Malbec which was fermented in stainless steel then aged up to 12 months in French oak barrels. Alcohol 13.5%.  The color was a medium garnet.  The light to medium strength nose was lifted with old perfume aromas.  In the mouth there was a little CO2 with interesting, stinky fruit.  It was a bit racy with lipstick, drier flavors in the finish, and a long greenhouse aftertaste. (82.00) * Now-2015.

33 – 2009 Cliff Lede, Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District
This wine is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec, 1% Merlot, and 1% Cabernet Franc which was aged for 17 months in 60% new French oak. Alcohol 14.9%.  The color was a medium+ garnet..  The light now was of good, pure red fruit.  In the mouth there was good mouthfeel, controlled ripeness, a little spice, and some firmness.  There was citric acidity. I would see what happens with age. (86.86) **(*) Now-2018.

I Join Phil for Bottles of 2000 Bordeaux

October 26, 2012 1 comment

I recently joined Phil and his tasting group for one of their periodic tastings. The theme was kept secret by Phil though he admitted there was a ringer. After we tasted through the wines people began to offer their guesses as to what we were tasting. I believe a consensus of Bordeaux or Bodeaux-blend was quickly achieved. Our attempts to narrow it down further resulted in a slew of vintages and other guesses. The ringer, however, was singled our for being something else. I was personally surprised and pleased to find out we had been drinking the 2000 vintage! As we were about to tuck into gigantic lamb-shanks with a white-bean puree Phil opened the Chateau Beau-Sejour Becot. Except for the Billecart-Salmon and Chateau Beau-Sejour Becot all of the wines were double-decanted one hour before tasting. The majority of the wines came from Phil’s wine cellar. The other wines, those with prices, were recently purchased from MacArthur Beverages. My notes are presented in the order the wines were tasted.

There were some fine wines this evening. The Billecart-Salmon was a great way to start the evening and was consumed as everyone settled down for the tasting. My favorite wine was the Chateau Giscours for its charisma and confidence. It is balanced and perfectly drinkable but will develop for some time. I suspect many others enjoyed this bottle as it kept “disappearing.” I rather liked the Chateau Monbousquet as well. It showed young with firmer flavors and structure in the finish. The Chateau La Louviere was quite nice as well and kept developing over the two hours I was there. If you try it now give it three hours of air before drinking. The Chateau Beau-Sejour Becot had primary fruit which was quite drinkable. My tasting note was taken within the first hour of being open so bear that in mind.

The Chateau Reignac was a good wine which continued to develop over the evening, perhaps a solid wine. I am curious to hear how this fared over the rest of the evening. The Chateau Potensac was awkward, at first giving the impression that it will develop with age then shutting down upon revisit. The Chateau Haut-Bergey was at its peak during my first glass so perhaps this is best to drink over the next several years. The Pine Ridge stood out when first tasted. Upon revisiting the wine I drank it while eating my lamb and it was completely satisfying. (In retrospect this is too strong of a statement. I meant that drunk with food it was not distracting.)

Many thanks to Phil for inviting me over to his house, as well as to the rest of the group who, for the second time, made me feel welcome.

NV Billecart-Salmon, Brut Rose, Champagne
This wine is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir vinified as a red wine. Alcohol 12%. This bottle had been in Phil’s cellar for 2-3 years. The color was a light, clear salmon rose. The light nose was yeasty and of delicate red fruit. In the mouth the flavors were very light with initial fruit then yeasty apple which mixed with dry, red fruit flavors. It became a bit grippy and racy in the finish. There was good acidity and a textured aftertaste with an earthy note. The bubbles were delicate and integrated. Very harmonious from age and quite satisfying to drink. **** Now.

2000 Chateau Potensac, Medoc – $50
Imported by Vignobles LVDH. This wine is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc sourced from 30-year-old vines. It was fermented 15-18 days then aged 12-16 months in 10-15% new oak barrels. Alcohol 13%. The color was medium garnet, showing some age. The medium nose was aromatic with a little green house note. In the mouth there were tight black fruit, wooden structure then a touch of red fruit. It was a little rough in the middle with a drying finish and fine tannins in the aftertaste. It could still use more than an hour of air. Upon revisiting it seemed tighter with a developing wood note. **(*) 2016-2022.

2000 Chateau Reignac, Bordeaux Superieur
Imported by W.J. Deutsch & Sons. This wine is a blend of 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon which was fermented in both stainless steel and oak tanks. It underwent malolactic fermentation and was aged for 12 months new oak barrels. Alcohol 13%. The color of medium garnet was lighter than the Potensac. The medium strength nose showed some roasted earth. In the mouth the dryer red fruit was supported by structure. The flavors become more tart in the middle where slightly riper, spicy tannins came up. The wine caused one to pucker a bit in the finish. Upon revisiting the nose was more aromatic and the flavors were expanding. *** Now-2022.

2000 Pine Ridge, Onyx, Napa Valley
This wine is a blend of 60% Malbec, 24% Tannat, and 16% Merlot which was aged for 17 months in French oak barrels.. Alcohol 14.1%. The color was light to medium garnet with a dark cherry core. The nose was light with sweet notes and butter. In the mouth there was cherry red fruit, which was tart and showed some focus. The flavors became overripe towards the finish as a little mineral and blue fruit flavors came out. There were a light amount of fine tannins. Upon revisiting there was still some sweet fruit. I do not see this developing further but then I suspect it will drink fine for some time. ** Now-2018.

2000 Chateau Haut-Bergey, Pessac-Leognan – $70
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot sourced from 30-year-old vines. It was fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel then aged 16-18 months in 50% new oak barrels. The color was a medium cherry garnet with a dark core. The light to medium strength nose was concentrated with dark aromas and a little eucalyptus. In the mouth there was tart fruit at first which expanded quickly then thinned out in the finish. There was a gentle vein of black fruit and minerals throughout. The flavors turned tart in the finish. There were still wood tannins. Upon revisiting there were more red and blue fruit but I preferred my first glass. *** Now-2020.

2000 Chateau La Louviere, Pessac-Leognan
Imported by USA Wine Import. This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot sourced from 20-year-old vines. It was fermented 21 days in stainless steel vats then aged for 12 months in 50-75% new oak barrels. Alcohol 13%. The color was a medium+ dark cherry garnet. The young nose revealed focused fruit and eucalyptus. This wine was youthful in the mouth with lift from the acidity and a fine tannic structure. The youngest thus far it left appealing dry, sticky tannins on the lips. Upon revisiting it revealed more concentrated fruit which was youthful. Good potential here. ***(*) Now-2025.

2000 Chateau Moulin Riche, Saint-Julien
Imported by A.H.D. Vintners. The second wine of Leoville Pyferre this is a bled of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc sourced from 20-year-old vines. Alcohol 13%. The color was light to medium. The nose was a little earthy. The flavors were of bright red fruit, a little wood note, and a general feeling of being old. Upon revisiting the red fruit showing citrus-backing with some juicy acidity. This is drinking at its best right now. ** Now.

2000 Chateau Giscours, Margaux – $100
Imported by The Stacole Co. This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc sourced from 30-year-old vines. It was fermented 15-20 days in stainless steel then aged for 18 months in 33% new oak barrels. Alcohol 13%. The medium strength nose revealed good concentration of fruit and a cedar note. In the mouth the flavors had fine concentration, good blue fruit, along with acidity and tannins that were perfectly balanced. Still youthful. Immediately charming. Upon revisiting the nose took on sweaty leather and the mouth showed more spices. A lovely bottle starting to hit its stride. **** Now-2027.

2000 Chateau Monbousquet, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – $60
Imported by Bacchus Importers. This wine is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from 40-year-old vines. It underwent fermentation for 28-35 days in stainless steel tanks then was aged for 18-22 months in new oak barrels. Alcohol 13.5%. The color was a medium+ roasted and garnet with a dark core. The fine nose was scented with cedar. In the mouth this fine wine had gentle, sweetly spiced fruit then filled the mouth with black fruit. It firmed up a bit in the finish where the flavors were drier. There were drying ripe tannins which were a little spicy. Upon revisiting the good nose revealed ripe fruit. There continued to be nice fruit in the mouth which left the impression of many years of developing ahead. Almost at the level of the Giscours. **** Now-2027.

2000 Chateau Beau-Sejour Becot, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru
Imported by Glazer’s. This wine is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from 35-year-old vines. It was fermented 28-30 days in stainless steel tanks then underwent malolactic fermentation and was aged for 18 months in new oak barrels. Alcohol 13%. The color was medium+. In the mouth there was finely texture blue fruit that morphed into primary black and red fruit. There was a gentle texture, cool spiced fruit, and a little bit of spicy tannins. A very drinkable, young wine that needs some age. ***(*) Now-2022.

A Pair of Recent Bordeaux

October 25, 2012 Leave a comment

I recently asked Mark for a pair of affordable Bordeaux recommendations because I was curious to drink pre-2009 vintages.  This post features two of the four wines he recommended.  I was familiar with Chateau Daugay as I had tasted the 2009 back in February.  You may read my tasting note here.  The 2006 is still fresh (it does not seem to have any mature notes yet) and provides for attractive drinking after a few hours of air.  The Chateau Tronquoy-Lalande has interesting components but remained decidedly tight over two nights.  I would cellar this wine several more years before trying again.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2006 Chateau Daugay, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – $28
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  This is a blend of approximately equal parts Merlot and Cabernet Franc with a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from 35-year-old vines.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The light nose reveals berries.  In the mouth it took some time but it eventually put on good weight and concentration.  The flavors are fresh, almost minty, with blue fruit and an attractive, approachable structure.  It remained fresh over two nights, was a little chewy, and had elegant concentration.  There were very fine tannins and acidity throughout which kept it on its feet.  *** Now-2019.

2008 Chateau Tronquoy-Lalande, Saint-Estephe – $34
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  This wine is a blend of 50% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 13% Petit Verdot sourced from 25-year-old vines.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The light and focused nose remained tight with a little black cherry aroma.  In the mouth the flavors remained tight with blue and red fruit, tight low-lying black fruit and a little spice.  The flavors were lifted in the finish where minerally black fruit came out.  There was wood box spice and ripe tannins which gently coated the teeth and lips.  A fine texture overall.  Needs a few years.  **(*) 2016-2024.