Monday, May 17, 2021

Gougenheim Valle Escondido (Argentina) Torrontes, 2016

Torrontes is a white wine grape that is often compared to Viognier. It offers up highly aromatic floral scents but basically dry flavors. That is precisely what I get from this wine. Medium light yellow. Spring flowers and white peaches. Donna also gets a Riesling-like smell of petrol. Very refreshing in the mouth. More body than you might expect from the aromas. Ripe but moderately tart with some mineral and earth tones. A good wine for summer and spring sipping.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Chateau Canon Canon Fronsac, 1990

I am generally not a fan of Merlot, but that hasn't kept me from buying and enjoying the Merlot-rich wines such as this one from the satellite appellations of Bordeaux. I enjoyed several vintages of Chateau Canon (from Canon Fronsac) during the 1980s and 1990s, and this 1990 is drinking beautifully in its maturity.

The color has turned from ruby to garnet and is a bit murky at this stage. Scents of ripe cherries, menthol, and flowers. Very friendly on the palate. Cool fruit impressions. A classic claret.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Domaine de Font-Sane Terrasses des Dentelles Gigondas, 2012

For many years I have bought and enjoyed the Font-Sane Tradition Gigondas. This is my first taste of the Terrasses des Dentelles, a premium bottling from a terraced vineyard on the limestone slopes of the Dentelles des Montmirail overlooking the Gigondas appellation This wine definitely shows its breeding and is worth the premium price ($40 to $45).

Deep bluish color. Has some new oak treatment, but I don't detect any change in the traditional scents and flavors of Gigondas. Spring flowers, fresh red and blue berries and a touch of cassis. Feels big in the mouth but also has a lacy sweetness on the mid palate. Beautifully balanced for current drinking but has the structure for aging. Archetypal Gigondas: beauty and power. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Willamette Valley Vineyards Dijon Clones Chardonnay, 2017

At an American Wine Society tasting last Fall, I was quite impressed by the 2017 Bernau Block Chardonnay. Jim Bernau, founder of Willamette Valley Vineyards, talked about his quest for a Chardonnay clone best suited to the Willamette Valley climate and soil--a quest that took him to the Burgundy region of France, where winemakers recommended the Dijon clone. As far as I'm concerned it was a great choice. The Bernau Block Chardonnay I had at the tasting was arguably the best Chardonnay I have ever tasted. While several steps down in price, this Dijon Clones Chardonnay offers many of the same qualities. It was aged 16 months in 20% new French oak.

Medium lemon yellow in color. Captivating smells of lemon, apples, pears and a touch of Eucalypt honey. Medium body. Lemon curd--creamy but with citric acidity. Best when it warms up a bit in the glass. Smooth, nuanced finish. This wine retails for $25 to $30, but I have heard rumors that will soon be available at Costco for $15.99--an incredible value.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Sokol Blosser Evolution Sparkling Red, NV

Australian sparkling Shiraz is a holiday tradition at our house, but I have found it increasingly difficult to find bottles that are not overly sweet and simple. After trying this red sparkler from Sokol Blosser in Oregon I am convinced we have what we need for coming holidays.

Very deep red, so opaque it's difficult to see the small bubbles. Beautiful fruit--mostly Syrah but topped up with Pinot Noir. It's mainly the Pinot that comes across to me. Red cherries, cranberries on a yeasty backdrop. Crisp acidity. The wine is billed as "off dry" but it is much, much drier than most Australian examples we have had recently. We will be back for more.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Paolo Scavino Langhe Nebbiolo, 2012

This wine demonstrates well the similarity between Nebbiolo and Pinot Noir. It has fresh, vibrant fruit with notable depth and concentration.

Medium ruby shading to garnet. Pretty Nebbiolo smells, more like Barbaresco than Barolo. Red raspberry acidity countered by the richness of dark cherries and a touch of black licorice and earth. I am sure the wine will gain some complexity over the next several years, but it is delightful right now.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Sonoma Cutrer Sonoma Valley Les Pierres Vineyard Chardonnay, 1983

I bought two bottles of this wine back in 1985, one to give as a present  to my brother-in-law, Peter (Pierre) and one for myself to try. I planned to drink it by 1988 but as the years passed, the bottle became less and desirable, and I assumed it was long past its drinking window. 

Les Pierres, though, is known though as a special place to grow high quality Chardonnay. As the label states: "The vineyard takes its name from the large number of stones in the soil. The vines are planted in gravelly loam, underlain at 14 to 30 inches by layers of igneous rock and cobblestone." The vines are highly stressed with poor water retention, resulting in low yields and wines that are highly concentrated and rich in flavor and mineral tones. Many believe it is one of the best California Chardonnays.

After 37 years in the bottle, the color is a somewhat cloudy salmon. Could easily be mistaken for a rose. The bouquet needs some coaxing and is best after the wine has warmed in the glass. Ripe apple, peach, minerals and spice. Smooth with good body but also ample acidity. Flavors develop substantially over the course of the meal--rich, subtle and complex. Medium long finish. Of course, this wine would have been better a few decades ago, but it is very enjoyable tonight. I will keep an eye out for current vintages of Les Pierres.