Thursday, June 8, 2023

Alain Jaume Lirac Clos de Sixte, 2015

Located across the river to the west, Lirac often gets overlooked among other Southern Rhone appellations. It is a good source, though, of serious big-boned wines.

Bright ruby, deep and concentrated. Black cherries, raspberries, violets and spice. Big flavors, alcohol and ripe tannins on the mid-palate. 50% Grenache, 35% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre; a mix of traditional and modern winemaking; fermentation in stainless steel, concrete followed by 16 months in French oak.. A bold, concentrated wine. Right now, though, the tannins and alcohol (15%) are thoroughly in charge; I might be happier with this wine in three to five years.


Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Powers Columbia Valley (Washington) Chardonnay, 2022

This Chardonnay was presented at a local Tasters' Guild dinner that I didn't attend. It was well received, and I bought a bottle to try.

Medium lemon yellow. Fruit rather than oak, white peaches and melon with a hint of honey. Firm acidity on the palate. The wine apparently is unoaked or has had very little oak treatment, and I approve of that. Lacks the complexity and excitement, though, that I have found in many Dijon Clone Oregon Chardonnays. Still young and will probably age well over five years or so. I would consider buying more at $10 to $12 a bottle.


Thursday, June 1, 2023

Gonzales Byass 1847 solera cream sherry

In Jerez, one must drink sherry. That is the name, of course. I wanted to tour and taste at my favorite bodega, Emilio Lustau, but the facility was closed for lunch. Across the street at a small neighborhood bar, I ordered a glass of what the chalk board described as simply solera. Only after I had finished the glass did I ask the waiter what I was drinking. Gonzales Byass 1847 is 75% Palomino and 25% Pedro Ximinez--hence the sweet, but oh so complex, finish.

Walnuts, figs, tofee, raisins, caramel and dried fruits. Rich and complex plus plus. I don't drink much sherry but when I taste a wine like this I wonder why. At the neighborhood bar across from Emilio Lustau, I paid $1.70 and enjoyed every sip.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

WillaKenzie Estate Emery Pinot Noir, 2006

In my previous note, I compared the Quinto do Crasto from Portugal with a fine Oregon Pinot Noir. Having tasted it side by side with this WillaKenzie Emery Vineyard Pinot from Oregon, I take it all back. While the Portuguese wine is very good, it has nothing to match the depth, complexity and elegance of this fine Oregon Pinot Noir.

Medium light. Wild cherries, strawberries, pomegranate, forest floor. Flavors that reverberate. More ripeness and warmth on the mid-palate than I have found in other WillaKenzie Pinots, but that's alright with me. Remarkable depth and a finish that lasts at least 45 seconds. No comparisons necessary. This is fine wine.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Quinta do Cabriz Dao Coheita Selecionada, 2014

When I bought this wine in 2017 ($6.99 from Costco), I knew it would age well, and it has. In fact, it seems to have put on some weight over the last six years.

Deep ruby with violet tints and garnet at the rim. Intense smells and flavors: cherries, red plums, balsamic. Medium to full body but only 13% alcohol. Tannins are still a bit aggressive (maybe even more than they were in 2017 and 2020) and I will be in no hurry to drink my remaining bottles. Peppery, spicy finish that reminds me of a good Oregon Pinot Noir.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Domaine Marcel Couturier Saint Veran La Cour des Bois, 2018

Saint Veran is nearly always less expensive than Pouilly Fuisse and nearly always almost as good. Both are Chardonnays from the Macon appellation of Burgundy, and I buy them whenever I can find and afford them. This Saint Veran one from Marcel Couturier is special.

Medium straw, bright and clear. Captivating scents and flavors: white flowers, peaches and honey with a twist of lemon. Light and delicate on the tongue but oh so delicious. For me, this is what Chardonnay is all about.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Saltram S2 Southeast Australia Shiraz, 2019

When I saw this Australian Shiraz offered for $3.99 at my local Trader Joe's store, I knew it wouldn't stay on the shelves long, and it didn't! I bought 12 bottles and glad I did.

I knew that Saltram's is an old and respected Australian winery, but this S2 bottling is not listed on their website. That's because it's a cuvee that is ordinarily sent to China. When a trade dispute occurred, however, China would not let a 30,000 case shipment into the country, and Trader Joe's (according to their story) bought all 30,000 at a discount low enough to offer it at this rock bottom price. It is not a typical Saltram Shiraz, of course, but certainly worth the price.

Bright ruby. Light color suggests that the wine has spent little or no time in oak barrels. Black raspberry smells and flavors. Medium to light body (13.5% alcohol) and minimal oak tannins. Has enough acidity to give it interest, but probably not enough concentrated fruit to justify aging. Unadorned Shiraz fruit, smooth and ready to enjoy.