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Four wines from California, Canada, and Texas

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

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

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

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

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

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Albania, New Mexico (by way of Arizona), and Texas

I am naturally curious about many things and as this blog is chronicle of my daily interest in wine, rather than a focused critique, I found myself purchasing three wines from Albania, New Mexico, and Texas. I do know that I might be better off at times purchasing my favorite $13 Cotes du Rhone but my curiosity is driving.  Of the three wines in this post the 2011 Kantina Arbëri, Kallmet, Mirdite, Albania has the most potential. I liked the dark fruit, tar, and minerals.  The 2012 Caduceus Cellars, Merkin Vineyards, Chupacabra, New Mexico is another effort from Maynard James Keenan’s Arizona based Caduceus Cellar.  The firm fruit, acidity, and structure all go hand in hand but it needs some short-term aging to open up.   I do not know how it will develop but it tastes like it was intended too.  Finally, the 2013  McPherson, Tre Colore, Texas keeps with previous vintages by being a soft wine to drink right away. The Kantina Arbëri was purchased at MacArthur Beverages and the other wines at Sherry’s Wine and Spirits.

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2011 Kantina Arbëri, Kallmet, Mirdite, Albania – $16
Imported by  Winebow.  This wine is 100% Kallmet. Alcohol 13.9%. The nose bore dark fruit and tar. The flavors in the mouth were black, fresh and dry with both a leather note and earthy hint. The wine became lively towards the finish with noticeable drying structure. With air the wine develop black minerals, texture, and a little tart flavor that went with the salivating acidity. An enjoyable wine but in the end the structure might soon overpower the fresh, black fruit. ** Now-2017.

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2013  McPherson, Tre Colore, Texas – $18
This wine is a blend of 49% Carignan, 40% Mourvedre, and 11% Viognier that was fermented and aged in stainless steel.   Alcohol 13.9%.  The wine had a rounder mouthfeel with initial flavors of tart red and black fruit. The flavors became sweeter with integrated acidity and minimal structure. What structure there was became noticeable in the back end. * Now.

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2012 Caduceus Cellars, Merkin Vineyards, Chupacabra, New Mexico –
This wine is a blend of 60% Syrah, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc, and 14% Petit Sirah that was aged in neutral French oak.  Alcohol 13.7%.  This carried firm fruit, good acidity and length. The cranberry red fruit had an integrated structure of spiced tannins. The oak is still noticeable with its barrels notes and tannins on the gums. There was a bit of an aftertaste. ** Now-2018

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Wines From France, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Serbia, and More!

February 26, 2014 Leave a comment

This post features a diverse selections of wines presented in order of preference.  The 2012 G.B. Burlotto, Verduno Pelaverga is interesting not just for its use of the ancient Verduno Pelaverga grape but also its lovely nose of white pepper and intriguing cinnamon note.  I can attest that I never had a wine from the Somontano DOC until I opened the 2011 Lamarca, Ojo de Liebre, Somontano.  It offers blue and black fruit with good structure and minerals at a very attractive price point.  The 2010 Domaine Faillenc Sainte Marie, Corbieres should have broader appeal than the admittedly funky 2009 vintage that I recommended.  The recently arrived 2012 Famille Lancon a Solitude, Cotes du Rhone is a strong value with its red fruit and hints of earth.  You may drink it now but it would be interesting to see what it tastes like next year.

The 2012 Agrina, Portuguiser, Fruska Gora is still a good wine at its price point but lacks the control of the previous vintage.  The 2010 Massaya, Classic, Bekaa Valley is another solid value but I still wait for another 2007 equivalent. The 2010 McPherson, Tre Colore, Texas was the second wine I have tasted from this estate.  If you have not drunk a Texan wine then this is worth the experience.    Finally, the 2007 Manousakis Winery, Nostos, Crete was strange and despite the attention, it was dumped.  The McPherson was purchased at Cordial Fine Wine and Spirits, I believe the Massaya was purchased at Total Wine and the remaining bottles from MacArthur Beverages.

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2012 G.B. Burlotto, Verduno Pelaverga – $19
Imported by Elite Wines Imports.  This wine is 100% Verduno Pelaverga.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There were fresh aromas of white pepper and general evocations of Cabernet Franc.  In the mouth were tart red flavors, pepper, and a drying nature.  The black and red fruit had very moderate grip, some lift, and a hint of dried green herbs.  The finish was minerally followed by an intriguing note of cinnamon and ripe fruit in the expansive aftertaste.  The flavors turned blacker with air.  *** Now-2019.

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2011 Lamarca, Ojo de Liebre, Somontano – $13
Imported by The Spanish Wine Importers. This wine is a blend of 80% Trempranillo and 20% Garnacha aged for 12 months in oak.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose was of sweet, macerated berries and mulberry.  The wine developed structure with some extract which counterbalanced the slightly billowy flavors of blue and black fruit.  It had very fine tannins, black stones in the finish, and hints of graphite.  It became a little savory.  Nice wine.  *** Now-2019.

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2010 Domaine Faillenc Sainte Marie, Corbieres – $16
Imported by Rosenthal Wine Merchants.  This wine is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Cinsault which were partially destemmed then co-fermented.  It was aged in tank.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose was woodsy with Kirsch and raspberry aromas.  The mouth followed the nose and was quite approachable.  There was some funky ripe fruit, black minerals, and satisfying round tannins.  It became a softer wine with air, blacker with low-lying violets.  There was a good finish with firm tannins.  *** Now-2017.

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2012 Famille Lancon a Solitude, Cotes du Rhone – $13
Imported by Langdon Shiverick.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose bore delicate ripe aromas of fresh strawberry and cherry.  In the mouth were fresh red fruit and cherry that was roundish but had some solidity.  The fruit seamlessly mixed with  the acidity making way to a ripe and fresh strawberry finish.  There was a hint of citrus and a little earth with air.  Strong value.  ** Now-2017.

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2012 Agrina, Portuguiser, Fruska Gora – $13
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is 100% Portuguiser.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose was of ripe strawberries.  In the mouth were round, puffy flavors that were quite forward.  There was some tang to the wine and texture on the tongue.  The tart aftertaste  brought some cranberry-strawberry flavors and hints of minerals.  A tasty wine but a little too loose.  ** Now-2015.

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2010 Massaya, Classic, Bekaa Valley – $13
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is a blend of 60% Cinsault, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Syrah.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There were more berry and tooty-fruity flavors that had some freshness.  With air, there was a spicy bit with acidity on the front-middle of the tongue then black fruit with some minerals before a little grainy, macerated berry flavor came out.  A solid wine.  ** Now-2015.

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2010 McPherson, Tre Colore, Texas – $18
This wine is a blend of 62% Mourvedre, 27% Carignan, and 11% Viognier.  Alcohol 13.9%.  There were wafting aromas of macerated berries.  Billowy.  There was a riper start in the mouth with strawberry notes before the flavors became redder and riper.  It turned softer in the short finish.  There were no hard edges but could use more acidity for verve.  ** Now.

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2007 Manousakis Winery, Nostos, Crete – $18
Imported by Dionysos Imports.  This wine is a blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache, and Roussanne.  Alcohol 14%.  There were tangy flavors  of red and black fruit.  The wine became citric and sharp towards the finish as the acidity became quite noticeable.  There were potpourri notes in the aftertaste.  On the second night the wine was woodsy and yeasty.  Strange.  * Now.

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Texan Tasting Notes

Texas Waffle

After a Texan breakfast I decided to write up my tasting notes from the three wines we had purchased at Whole Foods. They were casually drunk out of our plastic hotel cups so the notes are a bit short. It was interesting to drink these wines but they are not of a style that I prefer to drink. Italian varietals seem to be popular in New Mexico and Texas.

2009 Duchman Family Winery, Reddy Vineyards, Spino, Montepulciano
This showed a red fruit nose. In the mouth there were tart, juicy, red fruits with some herbs. This was well made and Jenn liked it. It would be hard to pick this as a Texan wine if tasted blind. I believe this was $15 on sale, marked down from $25. It is certainly worth the $15 price.  ** Now.

2006 Dry Comal Creek Vineyards, “Shiraz – Syrah” Reserve
13% Abv. This medium+ bodied wine had salty flavors of black cherry. The finish brought dark red fruits, fine wood tannins, and even darker red fruits in the aftertaste. Reminiscent of an Australian Shiraz this rich wine is well made but does not offer much complexity. This was $28.  * Now.

2007 Chrisholm Trail, Lone Wolf, Lenoir
12% Abv. This was immediately weird with cola aromas on the nose. In the mouth there were sour red fruits, some sugared red candy and no noticeable tannins. This was so strange that we dumped it. This was $20.   Not Rated.

Texas!

Three Texan Bottles

We are visiting Texas on our way back home from New Mexico. We stopped by the Whole Foods in Arlington to pick up some food and wine.  I grabbed three different bottles of Texan red wine.  There was no particular reasoning beyond: different producers, different vintages,  and different varietals.  Here is what I grabbed:

  • 2007 Chrisholm Trail Winery, Lone Wolf Lenoir
  • 2006 Drycomal Creek Vineyards, “Shiraz-Syrah”, Reserve
  • 2009 Duchman Family Winery, Montepulciano, Spino, Reddy Vineyard

They ranged in price from $15 to $25 per bottle. The Drycomal Creek bottle sports “Featuring Texas-Style Wines.”

I can’t wait to try them!

Memorial Weekend Tasting Notes

Amy, with a Hook & Ladder beer, taking a break from photographing the kids.

Here are my brief tasting notes from a handful of the wines.  I only wrote a few sentences worth of notes so they are more impressions.  With my Texan wine being a disaster it was nice to have the local Black Ankle wine and even more local Hook and Ladder beer.

Deborah and Amy discussing photography.

Once the sun lowered in the horizon it became less hot but even more humid.  The adults enjoyed cold white wines while others played on the grass.

Alice and Elliott, Picture by Amy Carmichael Smith

I opened a couple of Rieslings because I knew that Phil and Shane would enjoy them.  Phil has been to both of these estates.

2002 Carl Schmitt-Wagner, Longuicher Maximiner Herrenberg Riesling Kabinett,  Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
I was immediately drawn to the older, petroleum aromas and gave a slight nod to it over the Kerpen.  Phil thought this wine would go with food and prefered the Kerpen.  On the second night there were soft, petroleum flavors, that are rich and expansive.  There is a little lifted quality then midpalate the wine softens up and there is just enough acidity to keep it going.  ** Now-2015.

2006 Kerpen, Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
This wine was very nice the second night and I suspect even better than on the first.  There were slightly spritely floral notes.  At first the tropical fruits mix with some petroleum in the mouth.  Then the wine immediately starts to dance around with a fresh midpalate, good finish and slightly puckering aftertaste that carries on.  This is a good wine. *** 2015-2019.

Jim and Shane discussing the wine trade.

We did not have too many roses.  Actually, the Etude might have been the only bottle.

2009 Etude, Pinot Noir Rose, Carneros
I did not take any notes about this wine but last night I cracked open a bottle of the 2010.  In my recollection the 2009 was better with well-balanced, rich flavors, and structure.

Daniel contemplating his father's wine glass.

There were several red wines to try from.  Inspired by Julie’s Swiss posts I wanted to get some Swiss wine.  There was none at MacArthur’s so Phil had recommended some from Savoie.

2007 Jongieux, Mondeuse, Savoie
This wine was surprisingly good for $12-$13.  It is a bit winey with a light nose that is peppery.  There is good acidity that grabs the side of the mouth, lovely pepper notes are developed and it leaves the overall impression of being a nice wine.  I drank this cold and it did quite well. ** Now.

2009 Domaine du Vissoux, Pierre-Marie Chermette, Cuvee Traditionnelle, Beaujolais
This wine was a recent gift from Lou.  There were a lot of dark strawberries and red berries with light but nice weight.  A bit soft in the finish but a wine the drank well all night.  I can see why Lou likes this wine.  The one problem, though, is the $19 price tag.  ** Now.

Non-Vintage Delaney Vineyards, Texas Claret, Texas High Plains
Jenn and I had brought back a few bottles of Texan wine several years ago when we visited her grandmother in Fort Worth. We drank up and enjoyed the reds from Becker Vineyards. I recently discovered I had this bottle laying about. It was probably acquired four to five years ago. It smelled awfully like weed killer. Something must have been wrong to begin with.  Not Rated.

2006 Black Ankle Vineyards, Cosecha, Frederick County, Maryland
Phil had never tried a Black Ankle wine before. The owners of Black Ankle, Ed and Sarah, are friends of Denise and Shane and live in our neighborhood. Shane dashed off to his house to bring back this bottle he has had for one or two years. The color and the flavors show some bottle age. Phil and I guess there was Syrah in it but there was not. Instead it is a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc. It was a nice wine that drank well straight from the bottle. I would recommend drinking this within the next year.  ** Now-2014.

2009 Tensley, Syrah, Colson Canyon Vineyard, Santa Barbara County
Tensley can be quite nice and give hints of what is to come in its youth. This was very dark and inky. There are lifted flavors of Syrah, with fresh purple fruits, pepper, and lively acidity. There are light purple/blue fruits in the finish. Definitely a step up from the base Syrah this seems more approachable than the 2007 is right now. I would age this wine for several years.  *** 2015-2022.

2007 L’Argentier, Vieilles Vignes de Carignan
This wine is made from 100% Carignan planted in 1935.  There was a definite sulphur component so we decanted the wine.  It eventually blew off and because an intriguing wine.  I do not think Shane liked it but Phil and I did.  I will try it again in June.  Not Rated.

Amy, Jenn, Mark, Deborah, and Aaron

Memorial Weekend Barbeque with Wine

All good Memorial weekends should be filled with barbecue and pool parties. This weekend was no exception. It started off with Shane’s birthday pool party on Saturday. This was an early evening for us so I only tried the 2009 Deiss, Pinot Blanc, the 2010 Mordoree, Rose, Cotes du Rhone, and the 2010 Bastide St. Dominique, Rose, Cotes du Rhone. The Deiss was a lovely, rich Pinot Blanc. The Mordoree showed structured, easy to drink fruit and the Bastide was tasty but for a lack of verve.

Keeping the bottles chilled

Sunday afternoon we hosted a small gathering in our back yard. The heat was ratcheting up with a high around 90 Farenheit and a relative humidity of 80%!!! So all of the wines had to be chilled. Amy was kind enough to take pictures throughout the afternoon and evening. It is a treat to have some pictures of myself! I am including a selection of her images in my posts about the party. I have also included a link to her website under the Friends links.

Most people started off with some Sauvignon Blanc, including Dan, as the kids played on the lawn.

Dan

There were plenty of non-alcoholic bubbles to entertain those who did not drink.

Daniel, Picture by Amy Carmichael Smith

There was not enough space at on the deck so we had a second table.

Picture by Amy Carmichael Smith

Deborah, my mother, and I explained all about the blog to Jim.

Deborah, Aaron, and Jim discussing the blog, Picture by Amy Carmichael Smith

While the adults chilled down with rose the children enjoyed Popsicles.

Mia and Lorelei keeping cool, Picture by Amy Carmichael Smith

Phil and Meriam, Picture by Amy Carmichael Smith

There was a wide variety of wine contributed by everyone. The bottles included:
Bottex, Bugey-Cerdon
2002 Carl-Schmitt-Wagner, Riesling Kabinett, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
2006 Kerpen, Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
2009 Etude, Pinot Gris
2007 Jongieux, Monduse, Savoie
2009 Chermette, Beaujolais
2006 Black Ankle, Cosecha, Maryland
A non-vintage Texan wine
2009 Tensley, Colson Canyon Syrah
2009 l’Argentier, Carignan
2007 Rouge-Bleu, Cuvee Mistral
And others.

Texan wine lurking there, Picture by Amy Carmichael Smith

Everyone had fun!

Olivia, Picture by Amy Carmichael Smith

I will post more pictures and some short tasting notes tomorrow. Today we were too busy enjoying the swimming pool to keep cool in the 95 degree Farenheit weather.

Red wine, Picture by Amy Carmichael Smith

Although we sweated even as we sat there, it was a fun evening. A large amount of food was eaten and most of the wines were enjoyed by all.

Aaron and Phil, Picture by Amy Carmichael Smith