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Cayuse, Chidaine, and Gros ‘Noré

October 17, 2014 Leave a comment

It is only through friends that I have been able to drink a handful of wines from Cayuse Vineyards.  Lou was curious to try one of his bottles so we recently gathered in his kitchen to taste some wines while we ate cheeses, charcuterie, and pasta.  We started with the demi-sec 2010 François Chidaine, Les Tuffeaux, Montlouis Sur Loire. The complex aromas and flavors were immediately apparent and perhaps due to the rather long fermentation period.  At first I wished it had a bit more acidity but then on the second night it all came into balance.  I would suggest you buy this outstanding value for your cellar.  Lou had opened the 2007 Cayuse Vineyards, God Only Knows, Walla Walla Valley some 13 hours ahead then decanted before the tasting.  Even then it showed more complexity on the second night!  This was a bigger wine but the red fruit flavors were light and delivered with precise mouthfeel. Beautiful stuff!  Finally we came to the trio from Domaine du Gros ‘Noré.  These wines were double-decanted about three hours before we tasted them.  These are, perhaps, prototypical classic Bandol with brawn and ample structure.  Our bottle of 2005 Domaine du Gros ‘Noré, Bandol was marred by some volatile acidity that was present on the nose but not distracting from the good, maturing flavor.  The 2007 Domaine du Gros ‘Noré, Bandol was my favorite due to its combination of concentrated fruit, minerals, racy flavors, and balance.  It is just entering its drinking window so this is a wine to look out for.  The 2011 Domaine du Gros ‘Noré, Bandol remained young with its grapey flavors but also shutdown.  I had a hard time getting a sense of its future but I would not be surprised if, with bottle age, it developed like the 2007.

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2010 François Chidaine, Les Tuffeaux, Montlouis Sur Loire
Imported by Dionysos Imports.  This demi-sec wine is 100% Chenin Blanc sourced from multiple parcels of vines 30-90 years of age.  The fruit was fermented with indigenous yeasts in demi-muids for up to six months and did not undergo malolactic fermentation.  It was then aged for 11 months on fine lees in demi-muids.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose was fragrant, textured, and round with aromas of miso, sweet notes then apples.  In the mouth was a round start followed by earthy, mineral flavors.  There was some residual sugar but also some tannin.  The earthy, grass flavors were picked up with food.  The acidity was more in a supportive role but became more noticeable on the second evening when the wine was more fruit driven.  There was a slight oxidative hint.  ***(*) Now-2024.

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2007 Cayuse Vineyards, God Only Knows, Walla Walla Valley
This wine is a blend of 90% Grenache and 10% “god only knows” sourced from the Armada Vineyard.  It was aged in used puncheons purchased from Rene Rostaing.  Alcohol 15.2%.  This was a big wine but the brighter, lighter red fruit brought forth very attractive cherry flavors.  There was a slight wood hint with an uncrushable mouthfeel from glycerin.  With air it seamlessly developed complex flavors of oranges, exotic plants, stems, and unique flavors.  **** Now-2029.

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2005 Domaine du Gros ‘Noré, Bandol
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 80% Mourvèdre, 15% Grenache, 5% Cinsault sourced from 30 year old vines on soils of clay.  The grapes were partially de-stemmed then aged for 18 months in oak foudres.  Alcohol 15%.  The color was a medium, garnet infused.  The volatile acidity did pick up a bit on the nose, present but not distracting because the fruit and wood hints were still there.  In the mouth were savory, earthy flavors that mixed with wood box.  The flavors improved with air showing firm, black fruit at the start followed by sweet cherry and strawberry.  The finish was robust with some heat and roughness.  The aftertaste was long leaving a coating of firm minerals.  *** Now-2019.

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2007 Domaine du Gros ‘Noré, Bandol
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 80% Mourvèdre, 15% Grenache, 5% Cinsault sourced from 30 year old vines on soils of clay.  The grapes were partially de-stemmed then aged for 18 months in oak foudres.  Alcohol 15%.  This showed good concentration of fruit with a racy and inky midpalate presence.  There were flavors of black fruit, hints of red fruit, and minerals as the tannins coated the gums in the finish.  This was youngful, all around balanced, and has a long life ahead. Well done. ***(*) Now-2022.

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2011 Domaine du Gros ‘Noré, Bandol
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 80% Mourvèdre, 15% Grenache, 5% Cinsault sourced from 30 year old vines on soils of clay.  The grapes were partially de-stemmed then aged for 18 months in oak foudres.  Alcohol 15%.  The color was a medium cranberry red, showing youth.  The good nose made way to red punch flavored fruit.  The wine developed black fruit flavors but in general remained very tightly played.  It was dense, a little round, and had hints of grapey fruit in the rather firm tannic structure.  The aftertaste brought fine drying tannins and a touch of heat in the back of the throat.  Good flavor, definitely needs age.  *** 2018-2026.

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Compelling wines from Savage Grace

October 14, 2014 Leave a comment

It seems to me that over the last several years the wine store scene has changed in Seattle.  There seems to have been a loss of enthusiasm in some of the stores.  This changed may have been signaled by the Whole Foods on 65th at Roosevelt Square opening up their walk-in wine cellar by removing the glass walls.   The inventory at Pete’s on East Lake seems to maintain more of the same stock with less peppering of unique wines.  Wine World and Spirits has a massive inventory of both but what good is all of the stock if no one has tasted the wine?  There are still interesting stores in Seattle and one of them is Pike & Western Wine Shop.  I personally think the selection here is even more diverse as of late.  Michael Teer is clearly excited and has done an excellent job of editing through everything that could be sold.

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I managed to see Michael during my recent trip to Seattle.  Michael has an unabashed love for Italian wine which means his Northwest selections tend to be rather interesting.  Of the few wines I purchased, Michael recommended the pair from Savage Grace Wines featured in today’s post.  I was quite taken by one of the wines such that I decided to move this post up in my ever-increasing queue.  Savage Grace Wines was only founded by Michael Savage in 2011.  His stated goal is to produce “lower-alcohol, balanced, and expressive wines”.   I do not select my wines based on alcohol level but I certainly appreciate lower-alcohol wines particularly when I feel like a bit of a drink.  Once  the 2013 Savage Grace Wines, Malbec, Dineen Vineyard, Rattlesnake Hills opened up, the only compelling choice was to see the bottle to the end.  Thus I appreciated the 12.8% alcohol.  This balanced wine was round, savory, had good acidity and tasted like nothing else.  A must try!  Just be sure to double-decant it for a few hours or wait until the temperatures drop below freezing.  The 2013 Savage Grace Wines, Cabernet Franc, Copeland Vineyard, Rattlesnake Hills was  clearly a Cabernet Franc wine.  It was a good wine but it remained a bit tight and not as exciting.  Perhaps I am unfair but then I hope you are reading this post because of my opinion. These wines were purchased as Pike & Western Wine Shop.

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2013 Savage Grace Wines, Malbec, Dineen Vineyard, Rattlesnake Hills – $25
This wine is 100% Malbec sourced from vines located around 1,000 feet in elevation.  The fruit was 70% whole cluster fermented then aged for a short period in neutral French oak.  Alcohol 12.8%.  The nose was aromatic with nice ripe, floral black fruit.  The mouth followed the nose becoming increasingly round and savory.  It had a little citrus then a mouth filling middle.  It reacted well to a few hours of air with the dark red fruit becoming a bit racy and round but balanced by the acidity on the tongue.  It reminded me of a Washington state wine and in an absolutely horrible comparison, had a uniqueness of flavor such as Boushey Syrah can provide.  ***(*) Now-2018.

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2013 Savage Grace Wines, Cabernet Franc, Copeland Vineyard, Rattlesnake Hills – $25
This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc sourced from vines located around 1,300 feet in elevation.  The fruit was destemmed, whole-berry fermented, then aged for seven months in neutral French oak barrels.  Alcohol 13.2%.  The nose revealed berries overlaying greenhouse aromas.  In the mouth were focused, round and tart fruit.  The flavors became savory with a sweet strawberry start.  There was acidity and a drier essence of flavors in the finish.  It remained compact over two days.  ** Now-2015.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Quilceda Creek

I have now drunk three bottles of Quilceda Creek from two vintages.  The most recent bottle of 2007 Quilceda Creek Vintners, Red Wine, Columbia Valley proved powerful.  The flavors were good but the bits of heat breaking out were distracting.  I shall hold onto my final bottle for several more years.  The second experiences was with Lou who opened the 2007 Quilceda Creek Vintners, Red Wine, Columbia Valley back in August of 2011.  This bottle was also young but the fruit held up to the structure and heat.  The first experience dates back 21 years when Mark Savage MW tutored an Oregon and Washington State tasting for the Bristol University Wine Circle.    My tasting note for the 1985 Quilceda Creek, Cabernet Sauvignon reads ,”Deep dark color.  Really dry, extremely tannic.  Last vintage made so tannic.  This one has too much tannin.”  I had forgotten I drunk this wine until I wrote about my drinking experiences at Bristol University.  I suggest you read my post Oregon And Washington Tasting, Mark Savage MW, 16th Feb 1993 for there are some hilarious notes!

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2007 Quilceda Creek Vintners, Red Wine, Columbia Valley –
This wine is a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Malbec.  Alcohol 15.2%.  The nose was a little meaty. In the mouth were dense, inky fruit then minerals and spicy structure as well as some heat.  The structure was strong but the flavors spread low and expanded rapidly in the finish.  With air the fruit developed some sweetness before the refreshing aftertaste.  The structure and heat were a little distracting at this point, cellar further.  *** 2017-2027.

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Recent Drinks Including An Attractive Greek Wine Made from Mavro Kalavritino

These are several solid wines in this post that deliver regional character at an affordable price.  Of those still available I would recommend the 2012 Domaine Roger Perrin, Cotes du Rhone and the 2012 Celler de Capcanes, Mas Donis Barrica, Old Vines, Montsant.  Chances are you have seen this pair of wines before so I want to bring the 2012 Tetramythos Wines, Mavro Kalavritino, Achaia to your attention.  Tetramythos is a young winery having produced their first wine in 1999 and completed the winery in 2004.  I had never tried a wine made from Mavro Kalavritino nor from the Achaia region so I was excited to find I enjoyed this wine.  I was particularly attracted to evocations of wild scrubland herbs in the aromas and the flavors.  I recommend you try this wine and there really is no excuse not to, it is afterall, only $11.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2009 Andre Brunel, Cuvee Sabrine, Cotes du Rhone Villages – $13
Imported by Robert Kacher Selections.  This wine is a blend of mostly Grenache with some Syrah and Mourvedre.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose bore some blackberry aromas.  In the mouth were somewhat compact black fruit flavors, gentle spices, and fresh fruit acidity.  It became more robust in the middle with fine tannins in the finish and a dry aftertaste.  It opened up with air to show some roundness, a touch of earthy flavors complemented by garrigue, wood, and leather.  **(*) 2015-2022.

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2012 Celler de Capcanes, Mas Donis Barrica, Old Vines, Montsant – $12
Imported by Eric Solomon European Cellars.  Alcohol 14%.  There were dense fruit aromas on the nose.  In the mouth were dense flavors that leaned towards the red spectrum before becoming black and dry.  With air the earthiness reduced but it did show some complexity with a little cherry note in the finish.  There was some extract, a little salivating acidity.  A solid wine.  ** Now-2018.

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2008 Mercer Estates, Merlot, Columbia Valley – $18
The nose was a modern blend of fruit and chocolate.  In the mouth were flavors of controlled ripe fruit, chocolate powder, and hints of both greenhouse and spiciness.  There were fine, ripe, powdery tannins and some acidity.  This wine had decent flavors for the profile and should remain at this plateau for years.  ** Now-2018.

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2012 Domaine Roger Perrin, Cotes du Rhone – $13
Imported by Potomac Selections.  Alcohol 13%.  The dark red aromas and macerated berries made way to mixed flavors of red and blue fruit.  The fruit tastes young.  The wine had some minerals, good acidity, and moderate structure which was left on the gums.  It had  a bit of everything but remained a little tight over two nights.  I would wait a few more months before drinking. ** Now-2018.

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2012 Tetramythos Wines, Mavro Kalavritino, Achaia – $11
Imported by Dionysos Imports.  Alcohol 13%.  The attractive nose smelled of scrubland and became a little sweaty.  In the mouth were dark red fruit flavors.  This was a lighter wine with a dry flavors before a gentle, textured ripeness.  There were flavors of wild herbs that mixed with a sense of maturity and watering acidity before the dry finish.  This solid wine took up plum and cocoa flavors in the persistent aftertaste.  ** Now-2015.

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2011 Valley Vintners, Trianguli, Bouquet, Danubian Plain – $19
Imported by Parallel 43 Selection.  This is made from 100% Bouquet which is a crossing between Mavrud and Pinot Noir.  Alcohol 13%.  The  nose bore dark fruit and tightened up with air.  In the mouth were modern, black fruit flavors, a hint of black tea, and a citric note in the finish.  This is a solid wine that should be aged for several months before trying.  *(*) 2014-2018.

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Bottles of Miner, Neyers, and K Vintners for the 4th of July Weekend

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We continued our tradition of drinking American wines over the long 4th of July holiday weekend.  The 2013 Miner Family Wines, Rosato, Mendocino proved to be an outright tasty wine.  While some might be excited that it is made from Sangiovese, our group preferred the flavor for our bottle was promptly finish.  Our experience with Neyers Vineyards continues to reveal attractive, well-priced wines.  The 2011 Neyers Vineyards, Zinfandel, Del Barba Vineyard, Contra Costa County was enjoyed by all.  It captures the juicy, berry nature of Zinfandel in a generous yet crisp manner.  There is good complexity right now so why wait?  Bottles of 2011 K Vintners, Syrah, Milbrandt, Wahluke Slope, Columbia Valley should be left in the cellar.  It is true that the flavors have no hard edges at all but the new oak flavors need time to integrate. The Miner and Neyers are available at MacArthur Beverages and the K Vintners at The Cheese Shop in Williamsburg.

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2013 Miner Family Wines, Rosato, Mendocino – $20
This wine is produced using the saignée method with 100% Sangiovese.  Alcohol 14.1%.  The color was a vivid red rose.  This fruit wine had red fruit followed by minerally black fruit.  There was a lot of acidity as well as a textured, ripe finish.  This flavorful, crisp wine was evocative of hard cherries.  Nice.  *** Now.

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2011 Neyers Vineyards, Zinfandel, Del Barba Vineyard, Contra Costa County – $24
This wine is 100% Zinfandel that was aged in used French oak.  Alcohol 14.6%.  The ripeness was immediately apparent with flavors of blue and red fruit mixed with baking spices.  There was some extract in this juicy wine that took on a lot of berry cobbler flavor.  Though the wine was fairly rich and weighty it maintained freshness.  Drinking well right now.  *** Now.

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2011 K Vintners, Syrah, Milbrandt, Wahluke Slope, Columbia Valley – $35
This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from the Sundance and Northridge vineyards that was aged for 11 months in 25%new French oak barrels.  Alcohol 14%.  There were round flavors of red and black fruit, and a hint of cocoa.  The wine was almost creamy with no harsh edges before the mineral hint in the finish.  The fruit remained clean with an almost refreshing, cool aftertaste.  I would cellar this further because the barrel flavors need further time to integrate. **(*) 2016-2024.

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A West-Coast Trio: Sbragia, Ch Ste Michelle, & Ridge

I continue to purchase the wines that are featured on this blog.  Hopefully this gives you a good sense of my interests one of which led me to pick up the 2007 Ridge, Zinfandel, York Creek.  There is an uncanny ability for Ridge wines to develop and age but I feel this particular bottle drank at its peak.  Indeed the back label reveals a development forecast to 2014-2016.  The wine was a bit soft at first but once it firmed up the fruit, minerals, acidity, and structure were in pleasing balance.

Andy has been recommending wines as of late including the 2010 Chateau Ste Michelle, Cabernet Sauvignon, Canoe Ridge Estate, Horse Heaven Hills.  This bottle must sport the largest ratio of mouthful-of-flavor to price out there.  It is a seamless wine with dense, dark fruit matched by a chocolate vein.  This will surely be a crowd pleaser, it was a bit too much for me though not fatiguing.  Another recommendation from Andy is the 2011 Sbragia Family Vineyards, Zinfandel, Gino’s Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley.   I had never heard of Sbragia before so if you have not then try this wine.  It is more elegant but has complexity.  I particularly liked the subtle orange and tobacco flavors.  If you drink it now give it a few hours in the decanter otherwise try it at the end of the year.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2007 Ridge, Zinfandel, York Creek – $23
This wine is a blend of 78% Zinfandel and 22% Petite Sirah sourced from vines planted between the 1970s and 1990.  It was fermented with indigenous yeast then aged for 12 months in new and used American oak barrels.  Alcohol 14.6%.  There were rather ripe aromas of macerated fruit.  In the mouth there was a certain softness at first but the wine firmed up with air.  There were minerally flavors of red and black fruit, appropriate acidity, and a supportive structure.  The maturity came through with the cedar and wood-box infused finish.  Drinking well right now.  *** Now-2015.

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2010 Chateau Ste Michelle, Cabernet Sauvignon, Canoe Ridge Estate, Horse Heaven Hills – $22
This wine is a blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Merlot, 2% Syrah, and 1% Malbec which was fermented with both indigenous and inoculated yeasts in French oak barrels then aged sur lie for 10 months.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose revealed dense, ripe aromas of musky chocolate.  Tasted over four nights the silky flavors of dense, dark fruit mixed with moderately ripe tannins and had no edges at all.  This completely integrated wine was rich, smooth, and full of flavors including chocolate.  The ample oak influence was matched by the fruit.  *** Now-2016.

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2011 Sbragia Family Vineyards, Zinfandel, Gino’s Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley – $30
This wine is a field blend of 85% Zinfandel, 10% Carignan, and 5% Petite Sirah sourced from 55 year old vines on the 5 acre Gino’s Vineyard.  It was aged for 18 months in French oak barrels.  Alcohol 14.4%.  The lighter but complex nose made way to brighter red fruit in the mouth.  The flavors were slightly tart but still ripe with strawberry notes and an orange hint.  There was some tobacco as well as freshness from a little menthol.  With air a lipstick component came out.  *** 2014-2019.

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Drinks in Seattle

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There is a cycle of demolition and construction which has persisted across the recession in Seattle.  It is both fascinating to watch both across and within my visits.  I must admit it is one aspect I look forward to when I fly out.   Amongst the wines I tasted one year ago on the 33rd floor of my hotel were the 2011 Owen Roe, Sinister Hand and 2010 Gifford Hirlinger, Stateline Red.  Strangely enough I tasted the opposite vintages during my most recent trip.  The 2010 Owen Row, Sinister Hand, Columbia Valley is starting to open up to reveal a very satisfying wine which is gaining complexity.  It should drink well for several years so I definitely recommend you grab several bottles.  The 2011 Gifford Hirlinger, Stateline Red, Columbia Valley loses the Tempranillo and Petit Verdot from the previous vintage but gains Syrah.  There is no doubt that at $13 you get a ton of wine for the price.  It drank best on the first night when it was mouthfilling and hedonistic rather than the second night when heat was breaking through.  It is honestly too much for me but that is perhaps better than too little at this price point.  Finally, the 2010 Domaine Grand Guilhem, Fitou was a lighter but serious wine.  I remember drinking Fitou during my Bristol days because it was rather inexpensive but still had character.  The Sinister Hand was purchased at Whole Foods, the Gifford Hirlinger was purchased at Pete’s Wine of Eastlake, and the Grand Guilhen was purchased at Bar Ferd’nand.

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2010 Owen Row, Sinister Hand, Columbia Valley – $25
This wine is a blend of 71% Grenache, 24% Syrah, and 5% Mourvedre.  Alcohol 14.3%.  This had a fresh nose of fruit and lemony citrus.  The flavors were slightly tight with a tannic start.  The red and orange fruit flavors morphed into more black flavor mixed with spices and a savory end.  The structure was there but the tannins were not really noticeable  until the finish.  The was followed by an orange hint in the aftertaste.  Best on the second night.  *** Now-2019.

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2011 Gifford Hirlinger, Stateline Red, Columbia Valley – $13
This wine is a blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40$ Merlot, and 15% Syrah which was aged for 18 months in 30% new American oak barrels.  Alcohol 14.9%.  There was a lot of robust, forward fruit that was black and mouth filling.  It had moderate weight then salty power in the finish.  On the second day noticeable heat came out in the aftertaste.  It was smooth on the outside with a sense of roughness and mouth-filling power but the heat was distracting.  ** Now.

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2010 Domaine Grand Guilhem, Fitou – $22
Imported by Barrique Imports.  This wine is a blend of Carignan, Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This was a little stinky at first then black fruit aromas came out.  In the mouth were brighter and lighter black fruit flavors.  It was a touch juicy with a little tang near the start.  The tannins played out near the end dressing the wine up with a little bit of structure.  It was lighter and youthful but in a serious way.  ** Now-2016.

Wine in Small Servings: From Unpleasant Reactions to Red and Black Fruit

April 1, 2014 4 comments

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I travel with some consistency.  In my desire to have a few glasses of wine in my hotel room I inevitably do not finish the bottle I have purchased and dump the remains down the sink.  That is a waste which could be eliminated by drinking from single-serve bottles.  While it is in my nature to travel with a corkscrew, others may not, particularly if you fly carry-on.  In this post we investigated small servings of wine which do not require a corkscrew to open.  These are suitable not only for travel but other occasions including lunch in one’s cubicle, a picnic, or perhaps the long train ride home.  There is a certain tongue-in-cheek nature to the idea of this post, given the timing of this first day of April, but one thing which is true is that my most viewed post remains I Try Cups of Copa Di Vino.  Back in January almost 1,000 individuals read this post within 24 hours.

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The wines featured in this post come from a variety of sources including Giant in Manassas, Sheetz gas station in Morgantown (thanks John!), and Whole Foods in downtown Seattle.  The per bottle price ranges from $6.29 for NV Sutter Home, Cabernet Sauvignon, California to a whopping $20.18 for the NV oneglass Wine, Cabernet Savuignon, Delle Venezie, Italy.  The last time I recall drinking a single serve bottle of wine was on an Alaska Airlines flight where I featured the 2009 Sutter Home, Merlot, California in my post Tasting Wine at 34,000 Feet….Live!

Of the wines tasted the 2011 Bota Box, Chardonnay, California ranks as the worst wine I have ever drunk in my life.  It literally made me want to puke and like sticking your fingers down your throat, it was repeatable.  If it acceptable to find Copa di Vino at a gas station then  it is unacceptable that Whole Foods was selling the NV oneglass Wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, Delle Venezie, Italy.   Beyond the $20 per bottle equivalent sales price, marked down from $22.50, the wine was off-putting.  I simply cannot imagine how it ended up on their shelves.  One thing that might be telling, there were just a handful of these containers left as compared to my previous visit.  Of all the wines tasted the 2012 Woodbridge, Cabernet Sauvignon, California was the best.  It smelled and tasted like wine and at $6.74 per 4-pack it was all that I expected.  It comes with a handy carrying case.  If you do not mind dumping some wine down the sick then you are better off buying by the screw-capped bottle.

WHITE WINES

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The best of the dry whites was the NV Vendange, Chardonnay, Australia.  Rather mellow for my tastes it could be thought of as a mature box wine!  The best and only off-dry white was the Copa di Vino, Riesling, Columbia Valley.  This was in fact the best of the Copa di Vino wines we tried for it did not purport to be anything else.

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Copa di Vino, Chardonnay, Columbia Valley – $2.69 (187 mL)
Use by 07-29-14.  Alcohol 13.2%.  The color was a very light straw.  The very light nose had a little oak influences, yellow fruit, and stink notes.  In the mouth were lean, acidity driven flavors which became puckering with a lot of acidity by the aftertaste.  It was watering with a metallic note and the stink persisting in the mouth.  On the second night it was still funky and stinky. Poor.

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2012 Woodbridge, Chardonnay, California – $6.74 (4-pack of 187mL)
Alcohol 13.5%.  The color was a light yellow green.  The nose had fresher yellow fruit which turned tropical.  There was very acidity driven fruit, a roundish feel, and acidity on the tongue tip.  It had a creamsicle flavor and a metallic finish.  There was some grip in the aftertaste.  On the second night it was very similar but with more tropical notes.  Drinkable. * Now.

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NV Vendange, Chardonnay, Australia – $4.94 (500 mL)
Alcohol 12.5%.  The color was a very light straw.  The light nose had slightly richer yellow fruit.  In the mouth were lower lying flavor, much less comparable acidity.  As a whole more mellow but with some balance.  It had some toast in the apple-like finish and became more balanced with air.  There was even some aftertaste.  Tropical notes develop for which it needs more acidity.  Drinkable. * Now.

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2011 Bota Box, Chardonnay, California – $6.29 (500 mL)
Alcohol 13%.  The color was a light golden yellow.  The nose bore mature pineapple pieces.  In the mouth this dense tasting wine was mouth filling with supporting acidity and non-descript flavors.  Odd.  There was a metallic finish.  Strange enough, there was an odd reaction in the back of my throat…this wine made me want to puke.  Poor.

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Copa di Vino, Riesling, Columbia Valley – $2.69 (187 mL)
Freshest by 08-12-14.  Alcohol 12.2%.  The nose smelled like sweet wine.  In the mouth was a sweet entry with supporting acidity and a little texture on the tongue tip.  It had tropical white and yellow fruit flavors.  There was a short finish.  * Now.

 

RED WINES

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The red wines generally left the impression of either being heavily manufactured or made from the discarded remnant of bad wine.  The NV Barefoot, Merlot, California might have fans because it is intentionally slightly off-dry but it did pass the threshold of being drinkable wine.  Just a few tens of cents more the 2012 Woodbridge, Cabernet Sauvignon, California was the hands down favorite of all of the wines tasted.  Perhaps it was the vintage date or the $0.45 premium over the NV Sutter Home, Cabernet Sauvignon, California that account for higher-quality fruit.

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2012 JT Wines, FLASQ wine, Merlot, California – $7 (375 mL)
Alcohol 13.5%.  This had red fruit on the nose with a hint of greenhouse aromas.  In the mouth the red fruit had some ripeness, a greenhouse note, and a hint of jammy sweetness.  The tannins were pleasing.  It did have an odd under-note and feeling of confection.  Would rate higher but for the oddity.   Poor.

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NV Barefoot, Merlot, California – $6.74 (4-pack of 187mL)
Alcohol 13%.  The color was a medium ruby grape.  There was sweet blue fruit on the nose.  In the mouth was a round start with ripe fruit that had grip and was balanced with acidity.  It had a creamy blueberry finish with good texture.  Perhaps too much residual sugar for my preference.  * Now.

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NV Sutter Home, Cabernet Sauvignon, California – $6.29 (4-pack of 187mL)
Alcohol 13%.  The color was a light to medium ruby.  It had a cleaner fruit nose.  In the mouth were leaner black and red fruit, subtle structure, a little appropriate greenhouse flavor, and some candied notes.  * Now.

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2012 Woodbridge, Cabernet Sauvignon, California – $6.74 (4-pack of 187mL)
Alcohol 13.5%.  This had a subtle nose.  In the mouth were ripe but controlled red and black fruit, plenty of integrated acidity, some spice, a little chewy finish, and structure towards the end.  This tasted like proper wine and was hands-down the best.  * Now.

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Copa di Vino, Merlot, Chile – $2.69 (187 mL)
Use by 02-08-15.  Alcohol 13%.  There was a sweet nose of sweet floral aromas.  In the mouth this wind revealed round, soft, rather perfumed sweet fruit.  It was very round with creamy fruit, some herbaceousness, and a downright odd profile.  Poor.

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Copa di Vino, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile – $2.69 (187 mL)
Use by 05-07-15.  Alcohol 13.3%.  This had a better nose of black fruit and greenhouse aromas.  In the mouth the herbaceous black fruit had a grapefruit note with integrated acidity and tannins.  There was texture in the finish and a surprising amount of tannins.  Tasted manufactured but drinkable.  * Now.

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NV oneglass Wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, Delle Venezie, Italy – $2.69 (100 mL)
Alcohol 13%.  There was a bizarre and off-putting nose.  The mouth had round, cherry fruit which tasted old in a way.  There was old perfume, acidity, ripe tannins, and downright odd flavors.  Poor.

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A Pair of Wines from aMaurice Cellars

December 11, 2013 Leave a comment

The 2009 aMaurice Cellars, Pour Me appears to have been released in 2011 for the Metropolitan Market.  Quite frankly I found it over oaked so I would avoid it. Much better is the 2010 aMaurice Cellars, Syrah/Grenache, Boushey Vineyards.   I cannot write that I am an expert with regards to Boushey Vineyards but this bottle immediately reminded me of the 2008 Ross Andrew Winery, Syrah, Boushey Vineyards.  That is a good memory.  This current release from Amaurice is on the young side so I would keep it in your cellar for at least a year before revisiting.  I believe it is worth the patience.  These wines were purchased at Whole Foods in Seattle.

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2009 aMaurice Cellars, Pour Me, Red Blend, Columbia Valley – $18
This wine is a blend of 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Cabernet Franc, 28% Merlot aged two years in 40% new French oak.  Alcohol 14%.  Aromas of sweet vanilla waft up from the glass.  In the mouth there was sweet vanilla from the start with Jenn calling it, “overt.”  The wine was round and soft with black and red fruit, and salivating acidity.  It was tougher towards the finish.  With air it took on chocolate notes.  Not my style.  * Now.

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2010 aMaurice Cellars, Boushey Vineyard, Yakima Valley – $34
This wine is a blend of 72% Syrah and 28% Grenache sourced from vines planted in 1980.  It was fermented in stainless steel then aged for two years in used French oak.  Alcohol 14.1%.  The nose revealed a subtle mix of orange, potpourri, and berries which was evocative of Boushey fruit.  The mouth followed the nose but the fruit firmed up in the middle.  There was acidity and an orange note.  With air there was a hint of round mouthfeel and some spices in the finish.  *** 2015-2024.

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