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Though the cork dropped in our bottle of 1970 Cheval Blanc, the NV Peter Lauer, Riesling Brut rocked!

February 8, 2016 1 comment

Lou and I managed to squeeze in a quick tasting last week at his house.  As I had never tried the NV Peter Lauer, Riesling Brut, Saar Lou opened up a bottle. Wow! Wow! Wow!  This was such a lovely bottle so much so I saved none for the next day.  It is a particularly satisfying sparkling wine which already tastes quite complex and mature.  I see no reason to cellar this further.  It is a stunning wine for the price.  As Lou pointed out, you would not mistake it for Champagne but it is far more satisfying than many bottles available in our area at that price.  Also tasting fully mature and still from Germany was a bottle of 2001 Weingut Kurt Darting, Rieslaner Auslese, Durkheimer Nonnengarten, Pfalz.  With a botrytis note, dried apricot flavors, and just enough acidity this is a fully mature Riesling to be drunk now.  I should add that the Peter Lauer overshadowed everything this evening.

When rummaging around for wines to drink I thought of the 1970 Chateau Cheval Blanc, St. Emilion.  With very top shoulder fill it seemed like a good candidate.  Unfortunately, when I looked at the bottle a good length of the cork was visible in the neck, beneath the end of the capsule.  Originally, only a tiny bit of cork was visible.  Every time I looked at the bottle the cork seemed to be lower and lower.  Once I realized this was not an illusion I decided it had to be drunk.  I cut the capsule, gently pushed the cork in then sealed it up.  Though it cleaned up on by the second evening, this was just a robust relic of a curiosity.  Not sure of what to drink next we tried an unknown bottle of 2013 Stephane Montez, Cuvee du Papy, Saint-Joseph.  The wine was completely underwhelming so I saved my part of the bottle and returned to drinking the Peter Lauer.  On the second night the Montez was very attractive on the nose and in the mouth.  It was a complete surprise.  In the end this is a beautiful wine which I think could stand some cellar time so that there is more access to the flavors.  It is not a wine you want to mature into a different spectrum of flavors,  it just needs to open up.

WithLou1

NV Peter Lauer, Riesling Brut, Saar
Imported by T. Elenteny Imports for vom Boden.  Alcohol 12%.  This aromatic wine was very flavorful with floral fruit and a sense of maturity.  The soft bubbles popped immediately leaving a creamy mousse with a firm underlying foundation.  This ripe, flavor wine had some animale flavors before the soft, chalky finish.  **** Now.

WithLou2

2001 Weingut Kurt Darting, Rieslaner Auslese, Durkheimer Nonnengarten, Pfalz
A Terry Theise Selection imported by Michael Skurnik Wines.  Alcohol 10.5%.  The amber color matched the sweet and weighty flavors in the mouth.  As Lou pointed out there were notes of botrytis which mixed with dried apricot flavors.  It took on some apple orchard notes with extended air.  There is enough acidity right now but no need for holding on any longer.  *** Now.

WithLou3

1970 Chateau Cheval Blanc, St. Emilion
Shipped by Compass Wine Ltd.  Imported by Direct Import Wine Co.  There were aromas of blood, meat, and medicine that were slightly off putting.  Though the nose eventually cleaned up, it was better in the mouth.  It was only a shell of what it should be with leather, roast, and dust.  Not Rated.

WithLou4

2013 Stephane Montez, Cuvee du Papy, Saint-Joseph
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from old vines.  Alcohol 13%.  On the second day the strong, floral nose revealed pure, purple aromas.  In the mouth were very clean, with a finely ripe and textured core of dense flavor.  The acidity was very tightly bound in along with the very fine tannins.  The wine developed a sense of grapiness and graphite by the finish.  There is a good mouthfeel right now with some ink.  However, this deserves to be cellared so that it opens up not necessarily for the flavors to develop.  ***(*) 2017-2022.

WithLou5

1999 California, Washington, and Bordeaux wine dinner

February 5, 2009 1 comment

Our usual group gathered this past weekend for a tasting of 1999 wines from California, Bordeaux, and Washington. It was hosted at Lou and Adrienne’s house. They were joined by Dave, Deniz, Todd, Marissa, Adam, Jenn, and myself.

We started off with the 2002 Argyle Brut then moved on to the 2006 Peay Chardonnay before working our way through the red wines.

All wines were tasted blind. They were also decanted for sediment at 4:30pm. Lou threw in the 2000 Merlust Merlot ringer, purchased for 117 Rand. At the time he didn’t reveal anything about the ringer. The Canon La Gaffeliere was a group favorite followed by the Meerlust. The Meerlust is a best buy.

Here are the groups rankings:
Wine #1 – 35 points – 1999 Ch. Canon La Gaffeliere
Wine #2 – 27 points – 2000 Meerlust Merlot
Wine #3 – 19 points – 1999 Andrew Will, Sorella
Wine #4 – 14 points – 1999 Ch. Gracia
Wine #5 – 12 points – 1999 Ridge, Monte Bello

These three tight for 6th with 8 points each:
Wine #6 – 1999 Andrew Will, Merlot, Ciel du Cheval
Wine #6 – 1999 Ch. Pontet Canet
Wine #6 – 1999 Ch. La Tour Haut Brion

2002 Argyle, Brut
Apples on the nose with mild fizz that feels like a slightly older bottle. Yeasty with medium length and perhaps a touch of cinnamon.

2006 Peay, Estate Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast
Very light straw color and cloudy. A light nose of crisp, lemon zest and citrus. Slightly creamy in the mouth with some minerals. A nice wine that some found slightly detracting by some warmth and overtly toasted oak in the finish.

Flight #1
1 – 1999 Ch. Pavie-Macquin, St. Emillion
The nose on this wine disappeared rapidly leaving the fruit behind and impressions of oak, cedar, and some soy sauce. In the mouth there were lean blue/red fruits that got leaner towards the finish where a moderate amount of stout tannins took hold.

2 – 1999 Andrew Will, Merlot, Ciel du Cheval, Red Mountain, Columbia Valley
There was initially some sulphur that blew off to reveal a strong nose of old-world smells: stink, barnyard, and some smokiness. In the mouth there were roundish red fruits that were underripe and overpowered by the tart acidity.

3 – 1999 Ch. Pontet Canet, Pauillac
A medium nose of high-toned, lifted smoke and tobacco. In the mouth the palate really follows the nose with cool blue fruits developing/expanding in the middle. Powerful, fine+ tannins come across in the finish. Almost austere compared to the Meerlust.

4 – 2000 Meerlust, Merlot, Stellenbosch
A muted nose compared to the first three. In the mouth ripe red berries, dark olives, make way to very fine tannins that coat the front of the mouth. There is a fair amount of power and the tannins are quite nice. It gave the impression of needing more time but in the glass it faded with time and became more vegetal compared to the Canon La Gaffeliere.

Flight #2
5 – 1999 La Sirena, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Volatile acidity on the nose followed by red cranberries. In the mouth there are soft red-liquor and raspberry flavors that make way to a weak somewhat stinky finish. Eh.

6 – 1999 Ch. La Tour Haut Brion, Pessac-Leognan
Very light nose. There are cool blue fruits, cassis, pencil lead, and tobacco with a thread of minerals the last through the finish. A strong wine that some found hard to drink. When revisited the core of dark blue fruit was still growing but stayed simple in flavor, not getting more complex.

7 – 1999 Ridge Montebello
Chunky red/blue fruit on the nose. Big in the mouth with nice fruit, leaving impressions of power and reminding you with the assertive tannins. I preferred this over #6. When revisisted I found aromas of lipstick and flavors of dusty, herbs, and green fruit. A decent wine that probably will not get better.

8 – 1999 Cornerstone, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
A strong almost singular nose of green pepper with some black pepper spiciness. This immediately turned off half of the group. In the mouth, good weight, not heavy but powerful green pepper flavors supported by watering acidity, and some sweetness/liquorice in the finish. Eh.

Flight #3
9 – 1999 Ch. Gracia, St. Emilion
A light+ earthy nose with good aromatics right away. Some found brett and cooked meat. Good weight to the fruit but there was some heat mixed in with the moderate tannins and toast. Revisited later it became more out of balance and developed a very light nose of candied popcorn.

10 – 1999 Andrew Will, Sorella
Red cherries on the nose with some finding too much green. In the mouth more red fruits with citrus like acidity, high-toned, sweet blue fruit with some dustiness. There was a good amount of fruit to this wine that some liked and other thought this was a liquid vegetable cart. Revisisted later it was fading and didn’t last long.

11 – 1999 Ch. Canon La Gaffeliere, St. Emilion
A light, delicate nose with chocolate, meat, and coffee. Lovely in the mouth with cool blue fruits in a undoubtedly rich and full bodied package, that develop into a dark fruit aftertase. Revisited later the wine was still developing with grainy fruit, darker flavors, and some spice coming out. Well done, some thought this must be the ringer and a 2000 Bordeaux.

12 – 1999 Behrens & Hitchcock, Cuvee Lola
Very severe volatile acidity with cherry flavors. Some, like myself, decided to try it and immediately launched it into the spitton. Synthetic cork I believe.

Flight #4 – Let’s drink some more!
1999 Clos du Papes, Chateauneuf du Pape
Focused fresh, bright red berries but not to the purity of Charvin. More red berries in the mouth, this wine is slow to develop and puts on weight with air. Definitely stands out compared to the previous 12 wines. Nice, give it more time or more air.

1982 Ch. Potensac, Medoc
A medium nose of sweaty cedar and some sweetness. A bit sour in the mouth, slightly fading fruit, but the core flavors are there. There are still some unresolved tannins. Better than the 1982 Rouget and in no state of dropping off the cliff but it is best to drink up.

Enjoy!