Saturday, January 14, 2012

2007 Herman Story Nuts and Bolts - Syrah - Pass Roles, CA

I'm currently drinking the 2007 Herman Story Syrah -Nuts and Bolts.  Almost black in color. Spice aroma with notes of dark dried fruit. Figs, plums, bark berries.  Very aromatic. Full bodied and lush. Long finish with dark fruit lingering on the tongue for a long time.

This is a BIG wine...

But if you like this style then its fantastic.  A solid A!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

2008 Loring - Keefer Ranch Pinot Noir - Russian River Valley

How's this..... My first wine note of the year.... In MAY!!! By the end of 2010, I would have posted 2.5 total notes.

Lots to catch up on and I will likely back fill this page with wines that I've had but have to transfer from hand notes to here.

But today we opened a 2008 Loring - Keefer Ranch Pinot Noir from Green Valley in Russian River.

Cheery red color. You do get a whiff of alcohol right off the bat (15.1% ABV) if you don't swirl it. But if you do... Notes of plum and raspberry mixed in with a little bit of what comes across as Christmas spice. The fruit is nice and bright. A big plus. Hot finish but for me the raspberry comes through. Medium bodied with a medium long finish.

Good wine but I wish the heat didn't get in the way.

Monday, November 16, 2009

2007 Kosta Browne – Russian River Valley – Pinot Noir – California

This wine is flat out fantastic!

Blackberry and black cherry on the nose. Dark fruits in general with an earthiness as well. Dark fruits again on the taste with more noticeable blackberry and a velvety smooth texture. Hints of spice and licorice as well. Long long finish. Very balanced.

Simply put this is one of the best California Pinot Noirs I have ever had. These wines might be hard to come by and at $50+ a bottle (if you’re on the list), its pushing the limits of my affordability but WOW, this wine is worth seeking out.

Friday, October 30, 2009

2000 Beau-Site – St. Espephe – Bordeaux

This is a very nice, solid, affodabl wine that I believe was approximaly $20 on realase in 2003. It has aged well over the past 9 years and it drinking well right now.

Dark purple hued with notes of plum, oak, tabac, smoke and an overall earthiness. The plum also comes through on the taste but mixed in well with the secondary notes. Medium bodied with sweet tannins and a medium long finish.

A solid wine. At the price I paid, I wish I had more of these. Also, I don’t think these are going to get much better with additional bottle age but its so good now I don’t see why you would want to wait any longer!

Friday, October 16, 2009

2004 Loring Pinot Noir – Clos Pepe Vineyard - Santa Rita Hills – California

Cerry red color with some slight browning at the edges. Cherry color compliments a similar cherry tinged aroma. This is a one dimentional wine in that respect…

There are cola aspects as well, not something unseen with Central Coast Pinot Noir. Medium bodied with a medium long finish.

Noticable heat at the end giving away its 15% alcohol level.

In a way, this is a typical California Pinot Noir style but the elements don’t really work in this wine.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

2003 Chateau Pipeau – St. Emillion – Bordeaux

Deep purple color and still pretty young. Intense nose of prunes, blueberry, and almost a sweet spice. If you sniff it hard enough, you’ll even get some of the heat and high alcohol of the vintage. Darker fruit on the taste, blackberry is what’s noticeable.

Medium long finish and dry.

This is a solid wine with the one noticeable flaw of showing its “heat.”

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Oregon Wine Country (and beer too...)

It’s been a while but I wanted to finally post my thoughts on my visit to Oregon’s Willamette Valley wine country. Before I start, I have to say that with a full fledged family now, its become a little harder to keep up posting all my wine notes. I have the best intentions but they often drift to the wayside and un unintentionally linger for longer than I’d like.

Our trip to Oregon is a perfect case in point. My family was “dragged” to a wedding in Portland, Oregon last summer and I petitioned that we take a one day detour and visit a few wineries in Willamette Valley just south of the city.

As Oregon is known for their Pinot Noir, I made that the main focus of our tastings but I was very pleasantly surprised to see how well the whites stood out.

My thoughts are below but they’re really overall impressions more than specific notes.

First up was Archery Summit and it was one of the highlights of the trip. We felt their wines had more complexity than a lot of other wineries we tasted that first day but may have lacked some of the “nuance” that I’ve often read about and experienced in my limited Oregon experience.

We tasted their ‘06 Premiere Cuvѐe Pinot Noir, the ’05 Renegade Ridge Estate Pinot Noir, the ’06 Looney vineyard Pinot Noir, and their ’06 Arcus Estate Pinot Noir. All here very good and none were cheap by any standards. The Premiere ‘06 Premiere Cuvѐe was the lowest priced we tasted that day with a retail price of $48 while the other came in at $80+. If I had to generalize on the wines we tasted, they were concentrated with lots of fruit and a rich texture. I’m leaving out the nuances of each specific wine but by notes a little “light” in that regard.

I’m familiar with Sokel Blosser because of their “Evolution”, a non-vintage white made from nine (or so) different grapes. It’s relatively inexpensive at approximately $15, relatively available, and different from a lot of other white wines on the market. I had never tasted anything else from them until our visit.
Our line-up inliced the ’07 Dundee Hills Cuvѐe Pinot Gris, the ’07 Rosѐ of Pinot Noir, Evolution, the ’05 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir, Meditrina which is a non-vintage red grape blend, the ’07 Willamette Valley Early Muscat, and their ’06 Estate White Riesling Dessert Wine.

Our tasting here was mixed. While pricing was lower than most of the other wineries we visited, I also thought that most of the wines poured at Sokel Blosser were average. The two standouts included the ’05 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir which wasn’t cheap at $34 but was one of the better entry level Oregon Pinots we tasted. Strong fruit mixed in with spice, notably cinnamon, and a smooth texture. The other standout was their fantastic ’07 Willamette Valley Early Muscat which was a bargain at $20. This is a sweet wine that falls into the dessert category. Very aromatic with a strong floral and orange aroma and a texture that just coats the tongue without being clingy.

Oregon also has a reputation for crafting good sparkling wines and Argyle is the best known of these producers. With that in mind, we tried the “bubbly flight” which included the ’00 Blanc de Blanc, the ’00 Knudsen Vineyard Brut, the ’06 Brut Rose, and the ’05 Black Brut which is a red sparkler. I don’t have extensive experience with sparkling wines but I came away thinking these were good but not special. In fact I thought they should have been better than they were given the price range from $30 for the Black Brut to $40-$45 for the others. In fact, I remembered them mostly for what they were not rather than what they were, having fruity flavors and creamy textures rather than the “yeasty elegance” that I’ve had from French Bruts for this price.

We also tacked on two Pinot Noirs, the ’05 Nuthouse Pinot Noir and the ’05 Spirithouse Pinot Noir. I have to mention the prices up front here at $60 and $70 respectively. These focused on dark fruit aroma and creamy textures with the Spirithouse being slightly more balanced and refined. However, I still felt they were more average than exceptional and not worth their price tag.

At Four Graces we tasted their ’06 Pinot Gris, the ’06 Pinot Blanc, the ’06 Pinot Noir, the ’06 Pinot Noir Reserve, and the ’05 Dundee Hills Black Family Estate Pinot Noir Reverve. I know I’ve had their entry level Pinot in a restaurant setting and have liked it and that was the same at the estate with their basic bottling being the one we liked the best. At $27 it was also a relatively affordable wine too. However, both their Reserve wines were disappointments and at $42 and $75 respectively, they shouldn’t have been. In the case of their Reserve, the oak dominated the fruit while their Black Family Estate tasted sour more than anything else. However, their Pinot Gris had a creamy texture with ripe apricot and green apple flavors. It was one of the first Oregon whites that stood out to us.

Up until this point, our Willamette Valley tasting had been a mixed bag with more misses than hits. That changed the second we walked into the Eyrie Vineyard tasting room. It was just us and Mike, the tasting manager that day. Eyrie Vineyards and its proprietor David Lett were among the pioneers of Oregon viniculture and their wines tasted more reminiscent of a lighter style that was likely more in fashion 30 years ago than the bigger and bolder styles today. The man started with what he liked and stuck through it all these years. Mike was great that day as well, giving us the whole Eyrie Vineyard story and even letting us poke around the barrel rooms.
The wines poured included the ’06 Pinot Gris, ’06 Pinot Blanc, ’06 Chardonnay, ’03 Reserve Chardonnay, the ’06 Pinot Noir, the ’03 Reserve Pinot Noir, and the ’06 Black Cap Pinot Noir made by his son Jason Lett.

The ’03 Reserve Pinot Noir was unlike any other Pinot I’ve ever had before in my limited tasting experience, light and spicy with a clear focused fruit core. Unfortunately I did not take more detailed notes on the wine that day but I still remember the “wow” experience.

Their whites, both the Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc, where also revelations. Rich textures mixed in with ripe fruit flavors that leave a long lasting finish.

Any trip to Portland wouldn’t be complete without a visit to one of the many and multiple brewpubs in town. The region may be known for its wine but it could be argued that Portland is also the Mecca of craft beer in the US.

Unfortunately we could only fit in one brewpub visit and we made that the Deschutes Brewery. It’s actually based in Bend, OR but they have an outpost in Portland.

Here we sampled their Cascade Ale, Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Inversion IPA, Black Butte Porter, Obsidian Stout, Bachelor Bitter, Green Lakes Organic Amber, Twilight Ale, X-Tap D Straat Dubbel, Altitude Amber, Sagebush Classic Pils, and the Spiced Dubbel.

All of these were the X-Tap Dubbel and the Spiced Dubbel with honorable mentions going to the Black Butte Porters, Obsidian Stout and the Bachelor Bitter.

While I feel we got an adequate sample of Oregon wines, I know we only scratched the surface of their beer culture and the little we saw was fantastic.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Finger Lakes Red: '03 Atwater Meritage

The ’03 Atwater Meritage from New York’s Finger Lakes is a perfect example that the region still has a lot to work on in respect to their red wines.

At 6 years, this wine was already on a downward trajectory and while I’m sure this wine was meant to be consumed on release, it still seems like a quick decline.

The wine is a blend of 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Cabernet Franc, and 17% Merlot. It has a brown/tawny color with secondary notes of oak, tar and smoke up front. Little fruit replaced by a vegetal green pepper aspect to the secondary aroma. Green pepper also mixed into the tart taste.

Not very good.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

2000 Beni di Batasiolo Barbaresco - Piedmont, Italy

Cherry red and just bordering on brick red so now is the time to drink this up if you have them. Secondary notes of leather and spice start with darker fruits in the background. The blackberry and currant is fading but they still come through as pleasant secondary notes. A fine texture and a slightly tart finish. Even with that at the end, it’s still a good wine. Although definitely nearing the end of its drinking window.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Tasting Group Tries Out Loire Valley Wines...

The Food Network Wine Group got together last Thursday and tasted through a fantastic selection of Loire Valley whites and reds.

The wines…

’08 Chinon Rose - Wilfrid Rousse – This light pink wine had green apple and grapefruit notes. A little tart but not unpleasant. Juicy and mouthwatering with great acidity.

’08 Cheverny Blanc – Domaine Francois Cazin – Light gold in color with a lot of minerality. Grapefruit notes and a little bit of peach and floral notes mixed in. A little tart but with juicy acdity and a smooth, medium long finish. This wine is unfiltered and a blend of 85% Sauvignon Blanc and an interesting addition of 15% Chardonnay which addes to the weight of this wine. Very good.

’06 Chenin Blanc “La Croix Boissee” - Domaine Bernard Baudry – Golden colored with a flowery aroma mixed in with a hint of petrol. It might not sound like a good combination but it works. Grapefruit and peach on the taste but also slightly earthy too. Another incongruous combination that works. Rich texture with a long finish. Very good and the wine of the night for most attendees.

’99 Le L d’Or Muscadet Serve et Maine – Domaine Pierre Lineau Papin – What was most interesting about this wine was the age. It allowed a glimpse in at what a well made Loire would taste like with a little bit of time in the bottle. Very minerally with green apple and another dose of petrol and a touch of floral notes, similar to the Baudry. Hay colored and dry. What was different about this wine is that it had more in common with a good Riesling than a Loire white. Still very good.

’03 Sancerre Los Belles Vignes – Fournier Pere & Fils – This was the first of two reds for the night. Notes of stewed meats, smoke, and cherry. Medium bodied and smooth with a medium long finish. Although the wine notes here are a little on the light side, this was a good wine and pleasant to drink. Not as complex as the whites but its not hard to imagine this as part of a backyard bbq and more than pulling its own weight.

’06 Bernard Baudry - Chinon Les Granges – This wine was fermented in stainless steel. The nose shows red fruit and a little bit of spice. Medium bodied with a medium long finish. Good wine.

Overall a great night and a nice overview of Loire Valley wines. Its an area I’m excited to learn more about.

Monday, August 17, 2009

2004 Cap de Faugeres – Cotes de Castillion – Bordeaux

The color is deep purple. Black currant and blackberry aromas aling with general dark fruit. This is mixed in with spice and cigar box. Dry but with a smooth and soft texture. Medium to full bodied with a medium long finish.

This is really at a nice drinking window right now. I don’t think its going to get better than this but it should hold up there for a few more years.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Our Tasting Group visits Moët Hennessy

This past Tuesday, our Food Network tasting group was treated to a tasting at the Moet-Hennessey headquarters in New York. Moet owns or has a hand in 18 different estates producing approximately 100 different wines.

We stated with the Veuve Cliqout Brut which was straw yellow in color with yeast and lemon notes and a driving minerality.

After that aperitif, we tasted through six wines from their portfolio, a mix of red and whites.

First up was the ’08 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc. It was dry and acidic with lemon and minerals. Medium long finish. Balanced, zippy and grassy.

’07 Livio Felluga Terre Alte followed that. It was an interesting blend of 40% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Pinot Blanco, and 30% Freluano. It was soft and rounder than the Cloudy Bay with plenty of acidity. Medium bodied with a medium finish. While this was the wine of the night for some in our group, I found it a bit all over the place.

’07 Chateau La Nerthe – Chateauneuf du Pape White was next and this was also round with nice acidity. Light gold in color with floral and orange spice aromas. Stone fruits, flowers, and minerals emerged as the wine had time to warm up. Medium bodied with a medium long finish. I thought this wine was very good and the white wine of the night for me.

’06 Newton – Unfiltered Chardonnay finished off the white wines. This had obvious oak and vanilla notes with lemon fighting through the background. Golden colored and the darkest hue of any of the whites tasted. Lush texture with a long finish. Good but not necessarily my style of wine.

We moved on to two reds after this. The first being the ’06 Terrazes de los Andes Reserva – Malbac which was a garnet colored, acidic and dry. Notably tannic leading to a long finish. OK.

Last was the ’06 Numanthia from Spain. Garnet colored with dark fruit, cider and spice box notes. Lots of various dark fruits going on and chocolate, cocoa, and mocha mixed in. Smooth, balanced with a persistent long finish. This was my wine of the night hands down.

What was also interesting about this tasting was the “how to taste” suggestions we were given from our guide.

(1) Is the wine “Yum” or “Yuk”?
(2) Does the wine have any faults or is it funky in any way?
(3) What are the fruit aromas and are they primary or in the background?
(4) What are the secondary or tertiary notes? Are they up front or in the background? Is there noticeable wood notes? They are more likely to be upfront in older wines?
(5) What’s the color of the wine? Lighter wines are likely to have less or no wood aging while darker wines are more likely to have them.

- Acidity is best defined by how much the wine makes your mouth water.
- Tannins are mainly imparted by the oak/wood aging or through seeds, skins, and stems. Tannic usually translates to a dry wine. It can also become astringent.
- Alcohol – If you smell it and your nose burns than it’s too alcoholic.
- But… Just because a wine might be 15% alcohol, it doesn’t necessarily mean its “crap” if its still in balance.
- Balance – When all of these elements come together.
- Finish – Are you still thinking about it after you drink it?
- Persistance – You should get this, essentially an extended finish, with an expensive bottle.
- Acid cuts though fat.
- Proseco is grapy by nature and goes great with a good fresh squeezed OJ.

- If is there for you, its there for you.
- Trust your taste.

These “musings” are the opinions of our tasting guide and guided towards our relatively “newbie” tasting group but I think he did a pretty good job of summing everything up.

Overall it was a great outing and we’re looking forward to our next visit.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Pichon Lalande - 1997

I’ve had the 1997 Pichon Lalande a few times at this point after picking up 6 bottles about 5 years ago on sale. This was the last bottle of the lot.

The last time I had this I felt like its time was up. This last bottle didn’t necessarily change my opinion on that but I did think it was much better than the last time out.

Medium bodied. The fruit is still there but muted and just hidden behind the tar, leather, and pencil lead. Cassis notes come out a little more towards the end of the taste along with a light layer of chocolate. This wine has become more steely than creamy over time with a dry, medium long finish.

This wine served me well and was certainly a piece of my earlier wine education.

Thanks Pichon Lalande!

Monday, June 01, 2009

A New Wine Tasting Group: The Wines... Veneto-Italy

I’m part of a new wine tasting group. It’s currently made up of a few current and past work colleagues.

The past time out we tasted wines from the Veneto region of Italy to great effect. The line-up was made up of a Pinot Grigio, a Soave, a Cabernet Sauvignon, and two Amarone. It was an eclectic line-up that, other than the Amarone, show-cased wines and grapes that many wine drinkers don’t normally think of in the Veneto.

Tre Fili – 2008 Pinot Grigio ITG

This wine was best characterized as simple and straight forward. Lime green color with a very distinct lime aroma. The taste was made up of green apple and lime which rose just above a layer of minerality. The acidity was “stretched out” making this a very good food wine along with being a nice summer “quaffer.”

I Campi-Camp Vulcano – 2007 Soave Classico

This was pale yellow in color with light floral aroma and a tiny hint of peach. Lemon was forefront on the taste and this also exhibited a steely minerality. Medium bodied with a soft texture, leading to a refreshing long finish.

Le Ragose-Gaida – 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon

Deep garnet colored with a smoky aroma. Dark cherry fruit at first but this turned into more of a stewed fruit with noticeably darker characteristics like blueberry, green peppers, and spices as it saw some air. Soft texture with nice acidity and a medium finish.

Alberino – 2005 Amarone

Amarone is made by the rasinate method where the grapes are allowed to dry and shrivel on straw mats before the remaining concentrated juice is extracted. This process was evident in the deep ruby colored with a raisin and prune aroma as they are characteristics of highly concentrated wine. There are notes of blackberry, chocolate, raisins, and basically dark burnt fruit. This is almost port like which can happen with the way the wine is made. Jammy is the best way to describe this wine.

Guerrieri Rizzardo-Villa Rizzardi – 2001 Amarone

This was the undisputed wine of the night. Black in color with beautiful aromas of cocoa powder, black current, chocolate and dried dark fruit. This was incredibly refined and not as concentrated or overly extracted as the Alberino. Plum also emerged on the taste. This was a very full bodied wine with high acidity, a super long finish and tannins that melted on the tongue. The alcohol clocked in at 15.5% but it was barely noticeable as this was a very balanced wine.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pisoni Vineyards at Union Square Wines

I've been a little lax in updating lately but hopefully things will pick up…

That said, I also haven’t been taking as many notes as I normally would. Again, I’m hoping that turns around too…

However, I’ve still been drinking and have been to some pretty decent store tasting of late.
One recent visit (with our one year old tagging along no less) was at Union Square Wines where Gary Pisoni and his son Jeff were pouring wines made from their Santa Lucia Highlands grapes along with their own wines which are currently made by Jeff Pisoni.

I’m not the best at taking notes at events like this. For one, you taste so many wines and they often blur together. Also, it’s hard enough to fight through the lines to get a pour and the last thing you want to do is to find a spot to write down thought. Finally, the size of the pour at tastings like this are often small enough to get the essence but often not large enough to give a full expression.
All that said, below is a list of the wines tasted with what sparse notes I have.

Luli ’07 Chardonnay – “Peach and bracing acidity.”
Lucy ’08 Rose of Pinot Noir – “Very Good”
Lucia ’06 Pinot Noir
Lucia ’05 Pinot Noir ‘Gary’s Vineyard’
– “More character than the ‘06”
Pisoni ’06 Estate Pinot Noir – “A+ - clean and smooth”
Lucia ’05 Syrah Susan’s Hill Vineyard

Loring Wine Company ’05 Pinot Noir ‘Gary’s Vineyard’ – “Very good and a lot lighter in body and weight than other Loring’s I’ve had in the past.”
Lorca ’03 Pinot Noir ‘Pisoni Vineyard’
Capiaux ’06 Pinot Noir ‘Pisoni Vineyard’ – “One of my least favorite wines of the afternoon.”
Patz & Hall ’05 Pinot Noir ‘Pisoni Vineyard’ – “Another of my least favorites of the afternoon.”

A great tasting overall with the general impression that these wines were well made, in balance, and without the “heaft” that often mark the typical California Pinot Noir that I’ve been exposed to.

Like I said, these notes are less than helpful but there you have it anyway.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Chambers Steet Artisanal wine tasting... (more notes)

I wanted to talk a little more about the tasting I went to at Chamber's Street earlier in the month where they hosted the “8th Annual real Wine Assault (Part 1)” which pulled together over 40 wines from over 10 producers, most of whom where there to talk about and pour their own creations.

I love events like this for a couple of reasons. First, it’s a venue to discover new wines but second and most importantly, I usually find out about wines that I would have never found about otherwise.

For one thing, the “vignerons” at this event, all French, are all small artisanal producers. These wines are not readily found in the marketplace. Another point, and this is a big one I have to work on, is that I’m not in the habit of buying random wines from growing regions that I don’t already know.

This is a BIG part of my wine education that I really have to work on. If the wines tasted are any indication, I have a lot to work on. The majority of these wines were really tasty and they came from French regions that I know relatively little about.

Three wines stood out to me.

- ’07 Terres Dorees Fleurie from Jean-Paul Brun – The lesson from this one is that I really need to explore more Cru Beaujolais.

- ’05 Coteaux du Loir “L’Effraie” from Domaine Belliviere – Lesson from this is that the Loire region is definitely an area I need to explore more. This was an excellent wine that I went back for.

- ’06 Chinon Blanc “La Croix Boissee” from Domaine Bernard Baudry – This wine was so good with fantastic minerality and structure, that it rivaled some of the best white wines I’ve ever had. While not cheap at approximately $40, the lesson here is that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to get world class quality from Loire whites.

All that said, school was in session for me that day.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Artisanal French Wines at Chamber's St.

Chamber Street Wines in Tribeca has some pretty good afternoon tastings. They don’t happen all the time but when they do, it’s more often than not worth the trip in from Brooklyn on a Saturday afternoon.

Such was the case on April 11th when they tested a selection of French artisanal /natural wines from Louis/Dressner Selections. The wines came mainly from the Loire and Beaujolais and in all the 10 growers who were the states poured a total of 45+ wines. Note that some estates where represented without their owners present.

They were for the most part very good with some being fantastic. The disclaimer I have to make up front is that I am not as familiar with Loire or Beaujolais as I would like to be. On one hand I don’t have as much of a base of knowledge to compare these wines to. On the other, it was a great educational experience.

I’m terrible at taking notes in situations like this so listed below are the Domaines and Chateau that were represented. Below that are the individual wines that stood out to me above the rest. These three bottles are the ones brought home from the tasting.

The Domaine/Chateau/Clos
Domaine de la Pѐpiere
Domaine du Closel
Domaine Pinon
Domaine Belliviѐre
Domaine Bernard Baudry
Domaine des Terres Dorѐes
Clos de la Roilette
Chateau Moulin Pey-Labrie
De Moor
Clos Tue-Boeuf
Clos Roche Blanche
Domaine de Roally
Domaine Girard
Chateau D’Oupia

The Stand-Out Wines
Domaine Belliviѐre – 2005 Coteaux du Loir “L’Effraie”
Domaine Bernard Baudry – 2006 Chinon Blanc “La Criox Boissѐe”
Domaine des Terres Dorѐes – 2007 Terres Dorѐes Fleurie

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

August West’s ’06 Graham Family Vineyard Pinot Noir is ruby red in color and medium bodied. Spice and cherry cola on the nose. However, there is also a darker essence to it as well with a complexity I can’t quite nail down. Smoother than might be expected for a 15% alc/vol wine with a medium long finish and a slight acidic zip at the end.

Good juice. Not great but good. $45 from the winery.

Monday, March 02, 2009

2000 Phélan Ségur - St. Estephe - Bordeaux

The 2000 Phélan Ségur was, to be honest, a little bit of a disappointment for me as I had been holding on to it since its release.

This St. Estephe is ruby red in color with a leather, charcoal, and pencil lead nose. These “secondary notes” are upront with the more primary fruit notes of black currant and blueberry fading in the background. They are still evident though. The blueberry also comes through more on the taste. This is dry with a medium body, somewhat bitter tannins and a medium long finish.

This is a C+/B- wine for me that would have been obviously much more enjoyable a couple years ago.

Friday, February 20, 2009

2004 Chateau Pipeau - Saint-Émilion - Bordeaux

A short note on the 2004 Chateau Pipeau, a merlot based Saint-Émilion from Bordeaux.

Deep dark garnet colored wine with rich dark fruit intermixed with cedar. Fruits come across as cassis, blackberry and maybe a hint of prunes. Tannins need to soften. Super long finish.

Young young wine that needs time. Luckily I have more to go through and the time to let it sit!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

2007 Domaine “La Garrigue” Cuvee Romaine - Côtes du Rhône - France

This is my second “wow” wine of the year. Rich ruby red in color with tar and blackberry notes intermingled up front. Dark and rich with a thick, velvety texture and a fruit laden long finish.

A large part of the “wow” comes from its $13 price tag at Garnet Wines. When Tahirih was asked how much she thought this was, the guess was $35 and it drinks like that.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

2005 Domaine Marcel Deiss Pinot Blanc – Bergheim - Alsace-France

To quote my wife after her first sip of this… “Wow! And I mean that in a good way!”

The 2005 Domaine Marcel Deiss Pinot Blanc – Bergheim is unlike any other Pinot Blanc I’ve ever had. To set up the point of contrast first, most Pinot Blancs I’ve had, weather from the US or Europe, tend to be light in color and body with noticeable minerality ahead of the fruit and a clear acidic zip, not really unlike a Finger Lakes Riesling.

This was different. It was a rich golden color with what I thought were honey, orange citrus and some light notes of petrol on the nose. The minerality was there as well but as a very nice and subtle secondary layer. This also had a very full bodied texture, again unlike most other Pinot Blancs I’ve had. Very mouth coating but that same acidic zip comes at the very end if you hold the wine in your mouth long enough.

Very food friendly and extremely good!

This was a wine recommendation from my friend Chris at Blanc & Rouge, a really nice wine shop in Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood. The kind of place where you can tell that everyone LOVES wine. You can tell it’s a passion of everyone who works there. You can find this wine there for $22 which makes it a great QPR find.

Anyway, I’m hoping this is the first of many recommendations to come my way from Chris and the other fine people at the shop

Monday, February 09, 2009

Bordeaux Mega Tasting...

Here are my thoughts on the Zachy’s ‘05/’06 Bordeaux tasting I attended in January ’09 at the Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers…

I’m just going to do it. I’m just going to list all the wines I tasted that night and let you all go…”wow”… He tasted all that? How cool!

Let me also say this, from the list below I couldn’t tell you more than 5 wines that night that really stood out to me in such a way that I could accurately describe them with anything that remotely looks like a note.

And of the ones that stood out, with the exception of maybe a couple, I think they stood out simply because they were big and rich enough to express themselves louder than the rest.

That said, I do believe that I got a general idea that these wines were good in the context of the ’05 Bordeaux vintage being a “good year” and honestly, it was pretty cool to be able to taste all these great wines that I would have a really hard time affording in today’s economic climate!

The Wines…

Les Ormes de Pez ‘05
Les Ormes de Pez ‘06

Lynch Bages ‘05
Clerc Milon ‘05
Clerc Milon ‘06
d’Armailhac ‘05
d’Armailhac ‘06
Pichon Longueville Baron ‘05
Pichon Longueville Baron ‘06
Pichon Lalande ‘05
Pichon Lalande ‘06
Pontet Canet ‘05
Pontet Canet ‘06

Beychevelle ‘05
Beychevelle ‘06
Branaire Ducru ‘05
Branaire Ducru ‘06
Gruaud Larose ‘05
Gruaud Larose ‘06
Lagrange ‘05
Lagrange ‘06
St. Pierre ‘05
St. Pierre ‘06
Leoville Poyferre ‘05
Leoville Poyferre ‘06
Talbot ‘05
Talbot ‘06

Brane Cantenac ‘05
Brane Cantenac ‘06
Cantenac Brown ‘05
Cantenac Brown ‘06
Prieure Lichine ‘05
Prieure Lichine ‘06
Kirwan ‘05
Kirwan ‘06
Du Tertre ‘05
Du Tertre ‘06
Giscours ‘05
Giscours ‘06
Labegorce ‘05
Labegorce ‘06
Malescot St. Exupery ‘05
Malescot St. Exupery ‘06
Marquis de Terme ‘05
Marquis de Terme ‘06

La Louviere Blanc ‘05
La Louviere Blanc ‘06
Larrivet Haut Brion Blanc ‘05
Larrivet Haut Brion Blanc ‘06
Larrivet Haut Brion ‘05
Larrivet Haut Brion ‘06
Latour Martillac ‘05
Les Carmes Haut Brion ‘05
Les Carmes Haut Brion ‘06
Malartic La Graviere Blanc ‘05
Malartic La Graviere ‘05
Malartic La Graviere ‘06
Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc ‘05
Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc ‘06

Beauregard ‘05
Beauregard ‘06
Clinet ‘05
Clinet ‘06
Gazin ‘05
Gazin ‘06
La Cabanne ‘05
La Cabanne ‘06
Petit Village ‘05
Petit Village ‘06
Angelus ‘05
Angelus ‘06
Beau Sejour Becot ‘05
Beau Sejour Becot ‘06
Canon La Gaffeliere ‘05
Canon La Gaffeliere ‘06
Figeac ‘05
Figeac ‘06
Larcis Ducasse ‘05
Larcis Ducasse ‘06
Pavie Macquin ‘05
Pavie Macquin ‘06
La Gaffeliere ‘05
La Gaffeliere ‘06
Troplong Mondot ‘05
Troplong Mondot ‘06
Trottevielle ‘05
Trottevielle ‘06

Climens ‘05
Climens ‘06
Doisy Daene ‘05
Doisy Daene ‘06
Guiraud ‘05
Guiraud ‘06
La Tour Blanche ‘05
La Tour Blanche ‘06
Lafaurie Peyraguey ‘05
Lafaurie Peyraguey ‘06
Sigalas Rabaud ‘06
Suduiraut ‘05
Suduiraut ‘06

Monday, February 02, 2009

2002 Termes Toro - Bodega Numenthia Termes - Spain

This lovely wine is starting to near the end of its life (within a couple years I think) but is drinking beautifully now.

Garnet colored and medium bodied with secondary notes of tar and cedar now at the forefront with some nice black currant and other dark notes receding some.

Fine tannins and a soft texture with a long finish. A touch of heat at the end is the only slight against this really nice wine.

Bought 3 or 4 years ago from Union Square Wines for $25.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

2006 Graff Riesling Auslese – Mosel-Saar Ruwar – Germany

Quick Note: 2006 Graff Riesling Auslese – Mosel-Saar Ruwar – Germany. Pale yellow in color with peaches and apricots mingling with honey on the nose. Light bodies with a medium finish and a light touch of acidity. Sweet notes but not overly so.

I’d give this wine a C. Not bad but really reminds me more of a slightly sweeter version of an entry level kabinett than anything else. It basically lacks any distinctiveness for me as well.

All said with the understanding that '06 was a difficult vintage for Riesling in Germany. At roughtly $20, I'm hoping that the '07 provides more QPR as the price certainly could be seen as right for an auslese.