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A Pair of Wines from the Gold Cup Weekend

November 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Vines at Sang des Cailloux, Image by drea.mers (flickr)

William came down for the Gold Cup last month.  In anticipation I opened up some wine I thought he would not normally drink at his restaurants.  For his first night I choose two recent releases as I wanted something tasty but not too intellectual.  This was a good decision because the horrendous traffic resulted in William showing up at midnight.  We all enjoyed the Sang des Cailloux very much.  This is not suprising as these wines are consistently amongst my favorites from Vacqueyras. The Bastide Saint Vincent is available for $22 and the Sang des Cailloux, which is imported by Kermit Lynch, is available for $30 at MacArthurs.  I would pass on the Bastide Saint Vincent and upgrade to the Sang des Cailloux.

2009 La Bastide St Vincent, Gigondas
This wine is a blend of 75% Grenache, 15% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre.  This is immediately recognizable as a modern style of Gigondas.  There was clean red fruit and integrated acidity in this approachable wine.    It was priced well but I really did not get excited as I missed the earthiness and rusticity I prefer in my Gigondas, which is reflected in this very short note. ** Now-2017.

2009 Domaine le Sang des Cailloux, Cuvee Azalais, Vacqueyras
This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre and Cinsault.  There are concentrated red berry flavors with a dark core running through the wine.  It is young but with air some herbs, earthiness, and Vacqueyras spice eventually come out in this medium+ bodied wine.  Remarkable easy to drink right now.  Evocative of past vintages of the Cuvee Azalais I would recommend cellaring this for at least five years though it will mature longer. **(**) 2017-2025.

Post Gold Cup Wines with William

October 17, 2011 Leave a comment

William is naturally curious when it comes to food and drink.  He is also equally excited to drink both young or mature wine.  The wine list at Public NYC is international in scope but has an Antipodean focus.  They carry the 2006 Torbreck, The Steading so decided it would be fun to open the 1999 and 2000 vintages along with the 1999 Domaine Pallieres, Gigondas as a foil.

2000 Torbreck, The Steading, Barossa
This was quite different from the 1999.  It showed tart red fruits mixed with cherry flavors.  The entire wine is driven by acidity and tartness.  Noticeably more mature than the 1999 there are little flavors of dried herbs.  There are small amounts of fine tannins.  I would drink this up soon.  While it is in no danger of cracking up I do not see it developing further.  ** Now.

1999 Torbreck, The Steading, Barossa
This wine took several hours to open up.  On the second night it started with primarily brighter red fruit before revealing a core of inky, blue, earthy, minerally flavors that developed into mouth filling flavors.  The aftertaste left gentle, perfumed, dark flavors with minimal tannins.  This is a tasty wine with many years left. **** Now-2017.

1999 Domaine Les Pallieres, Gigondas
This bottle took its time to open up.  On the second night the nose contained red fruit and dried herbs.  In the mouth the restrained red fruit mixed with gobs of dried herbs.  There are very fine tannins that coated the inside of the lips.  The overall impression is of solid, rustic wine with red fruit that is riper and sweeter than that of the Torbrecks. *** Now-2017.

I broke a cork on the second night

Two Recent Release from La Garrigue

October 12, 2011 2 comments

I am always excited to try the wine of Domaine La Garrigue because they are tasty, age-worthy, and affordable.  These wines are imported by Eric Solomon/European Cellars and available at MacArthurs.  The Cuvee Romaine costs $15 and the Vacqueyras $22. The first time we drank these wines I tweeted about the La Garrigue then subsequently forgot to take notes as we had too much fun tasting them.  MacArthurs still has the 2005 Cuvee Romaine available for $14.  So I would recommend buying the two vintages of Cuvee Romaine and the Vacqueyras.  Then you can drink the 2005 Cuvee Romaine while the 2010 ages.

2010 Domaine La Garrigue, Cuvee Romaine, Cotes du Rhone
This wine is 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah sourced from 60-90 year old vines.  It was aged for 10-12 months in concrete tank.  This wine has tasty fruit along with gobs of very fine grained tannins.  The red fruit flavors mixed with stoney black fruit, are delivered in a delineated fashion in this structured wine.  After one hour of air notes of sweet spice and dough come out.  The tannins are a little distracting at this point as they are mouthfilling and drying.  There is good potential here so leave it in your cellar for 3-5 years before trying again.  Up until the 2009 vintage the Cuvee Romaine contained roughly 25% Mourvedre.  I wonder if this change in the cuvee results in the ample fine tannins. ** 2015-2020.

2009 Domaine La Garrigue, Vacqueyras
This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre, and 5% Cinsault sourced from 70 year old vines.  It was aged in tank.  Thre is a strong, perfumed nose of blue fruits.  In the mouth the good pure red fruit has some notes of stones supported by acidity that pricks the tip of the tongue and very fine tannins towards the finish.  With air this becomes a round, earthy, textured wine with a lifted, gritty finish.  This is fun to drink now or may be easily cellared for 5-10 years. ***(*) Now-2022.

A Tasting at MacArthurs with Fran Kysela

September 16, 2011 2 comments

This past Saturday I managed to arrive at MacArthur’s in time for their afternoon tasting with Fran Kysela.  He was recently nominated by The Wine Enthusiast magazine for Wine Importer of the year.  Coupled with the fact that Jenn and I drink a lot of the wine he imports, I was particularly excited to attend.  Both Fran and Jeremy Sutton poured wine and chatted about the eclectic range of wine on offer from France, Germany, Australia, and South Africa.  The 11 wines ranged in prices from $11 to $32.  With such diversity there were surely favorites for all who attended.

The Lineup

I spent most of my time chatting with Jeremy, Phil, and eventually meeting Fran.  I was rather enjoying their company, myself, and the wine so I did not bother to take any formal notes.  I should hope that I get to taste wine with them again as they both amiable and there is much I could learn from Fran.  I have already posted notes on two of the selections, tasted at home from full bottles, and will eventually get notes up on some of the other selections.  My overall impression was one of good, fresh aromatics followed by clean, pure fruit flavors.  You may read about my individual impressions below.  I rather liked the Sancerre, went back for more of both Mordoree Liracs, felt the Thorn Clarke Quartage is a great bargain, and would like to restaste the Mullineux again in the near future.

2010 Jean Reverdy, La Reine Blanche, Sancerre
This was enjoyable with its aromatic floral nose and core of sweet fruit.  Not Rated.

2009 Gaudrelle, Clos de Vigneau, Vouvray
This is dry with hints of residual sugar with smooth flavors of stone fruits.  Not Rated.

2010 Bastgen, Riesling, Qba Blauschlefer, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
This was clean, fresh, leaning towards citrus flavors and some minerals.  I only had a tiny sip but this seemed like a solid wine for the price, if not exciting.  Not Rated.

2010 Mordoree, Rose, La Dame Rousse, Tavel
This sports ripe red fruit and has a lovely mouthing coating aftertaste.  Not Rated.

2009 Mordoree, La Dame Rousse, Lirac
This had been open for some time and was showing quite well.  You may read my impression of a bottle drunk in May hereNot Rated.

2009 Segries, Clos de l’Hermitage, Cotes du Rhone
This was consistent with an earlier impression of rich blue fruits, youthful tannins, and a contemporary profile.  Earlier this month we drank a bottle and I published a note hereNot Rated.

2009 Cave de Tain, Crozes-Hermitage
The weakest of the reds, reminded me of a light Crozes.  Available for $25 I would spend $3 to purchase the outstanding 2009 Colombier, Cuvee GabyNot Rated.

2009 Mordoree, La Reine des Bois, Lirac
This was lovely and quite approachable.  Richer than La Dame Rousse but with primary red fruit, a creamier texture, and balance.  This will age for some time.  Not Rated.

2008 Thorn Clarke, Shotfire, Quartage, Barossa Valley
This was soft, savory, subtle with dark fruits.  Strong value.  We recently drank a bottle and I will post a note soon.  Not Rated.

2009 Thorn Clarke, Shotfire, Shiraz, Barossa Valley
This showed black fruit, youthful flavors, richer than the Quartage but less evolved.  I preferred the Quartage.  Not Rated.

2008 Mullineux,  Syrah, Swartland
This showed dark fruit, some herbs, plenty of acidity, structure from oak but in a balanced manner.  I was rather surprised and pleased.  Tasted blind I would not have guessed South Africa.  Not Rated.

2004 Mourchon, Grande Reserve and 2005 Grand Veneur, Les Champauvins

September 16, 2011 2 comments

These two bottles were purchased this summer at MacArthur’s after they completed their annual inventory.  I always make sure to peruse their online inventory for bargains.  Having drunk other vintages there was no thought required to purchase the 2004 Mourchon, Grande Reserve for $17 and the 2005 Grand Veneur, Les Champauvins for $13.  The Mourchon was imported by MacArthurs and the Grand Veneur was imported by Kysela Pere & Fils.  We drank several bottles of the Grand Veneur that showed some bottle variation.  At best this is a wonderful drink and an absolute steal at the price.  The good wines of Cotes du Rhone and Cotes du Rhone Villages really do age for five to ten years.  Make sure you squirrel away the 2009s and 2010s that are currently available.

2004 Domaine de Mourchon, Grande Reserve, Seguret, Cotes du Rhone Villages
This bottle was interesting.  It was still youthful with light tannins throughout.  The fruit started out with puckering red flavors that changed to blue fruits with spicy notes before the finish.  The texture was gritty.  With air, incense developed along with buttered pumpkin notes.  Jenn noted a “Pilsner beer aftertaste” that mixed with the smoke flavor.  This does not have the power nor the tannins of the other vintages.   You may find my post on the 2005-2007 vintages here. *** Now-2015.

2005 Domaine Grand Veneur, Les Champauvins, Cotes du Rhone
This was drunk over two nights.  On the second night there were flavors of blue fruits, stones, some roasted earth, and a little wood.  This was not lush but structured in a pleasing manner.  The aftertaste left impressions of dusty herbs.  I would drink this over the next several years.  You may find my post on the 2009 here. *** Now-2015.

2009 Segries, Clos de l’Hermitage, Cotes du Rhone

September 8, 2011 2 comments

This is a recent release for the DC market.  Having received 93 points from Robert Parker, Paul’s Wine and Spirits sent out a few emails that caused them to sell out of their stock.  This wine is imported by Kysela Pere et Fils.  I purchased a bottle a few weeks ago from MacArthurs and we recently pulled the cork.  You may find background information in my review of the 2003 Segries, Clos de l’Hermitage .  This is a good wine that shows a modern flavor profile but retains the structure for aging and herbs which remind me of the 2003.  Priced at $25 it is a bit on the expensive side.  If you buy the 2009 I would feel free to try a bottle but it really requires cellaring for several years.

2009 Segries, Clos de l’Hermitage, Cotes du Rhone
In the glass the color is youthful with a medium intensity grapey color.  There is a light, sweet, delicate, powdery nose.  In the mouth there are rich blue fruits, a little spice, “something else”, and stone dust.  The fine, hard tannins delicately exist throughout the palate.  The aftertaste provides fine, coating tannins.  This is a fuller-bodied wine that has the components to develop for several years and last for some time.  It is a bit modern. ***(*) 2015-2020.

2003 Dme Santa Duc, Gigondas and 2004 Mas de Daumas Gassac

September 2, 2011 1 comment

These selections were recently purchased from MacArthur’s.  I grabbed the last four bottles of 2003 Santa Duc at $22 and the last bottle of Daumas Gassac for $34.  I had also purchased the last bottle of 2004 Santa Duc but that turned out to be corked. Bummer!  The Santa Duc is lovely.  I suspect will develop for a few more years and last many more.  The Daumas Gassac was good, I think Jenn enjoyed it more than I did, but at this price point it is not the best value.  The back label suggest the mature phase is between 7 to 25 years of age.  Perhaps I should have waited?

2003 Domaine Santa Duc, Gigondas
This wine has a lovely nose of incensed blue and red fruits.  In the mouth there is a ripe burst of fruit followed by garrigue.  It opened up over several hours and on the second night the blue fruit flavors mixed with a lovely minerality.  There are ample rugged grape tannins mixed with wood tannins but the blue fruits handle it well.  The tannins are persistant and stick to ones lips. ***(*) Now-2022.

2004 Mas de Daumas Gassac, VDP de l’Herault
This is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 4% Pinot Noir, and 3% Syrah.  The wine was aged in oak barrels for 18 months.  This wine has a gentle nose.  In the mouth there are flavors of tart, light, red fruit and tea leaves in this lighter bodied wine.  It is almost Burgundian.  With air bits of spicey alcohol and notes of tobacco come out.  This is a balanced and easy to drink wine.  I have no experience drinking older vintages so why not age it some more? **(*)? 2015-2020?