Thursday, October 21, 2021

Domaine de la Tourade Vacqueyras, 2011

Domaine de la Tourade is an excellent source of traditional Gigondas, -and the estate also owns vineyards in Vacqueyras. Cuvee de l'Euse is produced from old-vine Grenache, while this regular cuvee, often available at an attractive price, is 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre from vines averaging 50 years of age on clay-limestone soil.

Deep crimson. Dark, earthy tones typical of Vacqueyras. Blackberries, anise, leather and a pleasant (for me) touch of barnyard. Bold fruit with matching acidity. More aggressive than the 2008 vintage of this wine that I enjoyed several years ago. 2008 was a lesser vintage but I consumed the wine at five to eight years of age.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Pithon-Paille Anjour Mozaik Blanc, 2017

I am a long-time fan of dry Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley and was anxious to try this offering from the Anjou area. Compared to Savennieres and Saumur Blanc, it is a different face of Chenin Blanc. But very good.

Deeper gold than I expect from a 2017 wine. This wine probably won't last for decades as my favorite Sanennieres from Domaine Baumard do, but I'm sure it will keep well and develop for a few more years. Very full bodied with legs that cling to the inside of the glass. Yet the alcohol level is only 12%. Blood orange, quince, minerals--rich and vibrant flavors and smells. Deep and concentrated. Good fruit/acid balance and a long, complex finish. A perfect match for shrimp pasta but would go well with pork or chicken.

Barham Mendelsohn Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, 2004

Some wine critics such as Jim Gordon have written that Pinot Noirs from California and even Oregon have limited aging ability and should be drunk within five years or so of the vintage. While I respect Gordon's taste, my experience is that well made, well chosen Pinot Noirs not only keep well but, in many cases, require 10 to 20 years in the bottle to show their best. If given the choice, I would almost always choose a Pinot made by the late Clendenen of Au Bon Climat. Clendenen has spoken highly of the Mendelsohn vineyard of the Russian River Valley and made this wine, which is showing quite well at 17 years of age.

Medium light garnet ruby. Incredibly fragrant bouquet of red raspberries, sweet spices and earth. This is a wine I could sniff all night. Delicate Pinot body and texture. Good acidity. Picks up some dark cherries and red plums on the mid-palate and a dash of sweet vanilla on the finish. Again, the flavors and smells just keep getting better and better. In my opinion, this wine will be just as good, if not better, four or five years from now.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Domaine Sainte-Anne Cotes du Rhone Villages, 2007

There are unique Sainte-Anne smells and flavots that I think I could detect readily in a blind tasting. Sometimes, these high-toned elements are a bit too aggressive for me when the wine is young. After 10 to 12 years, these traits are still around but mellow enough to make each sip a true delight.

Still deep and dark crimson. Amazing for a 14-year-old CDR Villages. Dark cherries, black raspberries and Sainte-Anne herbs and spices--rosemary and basil?? High toned still but not aggressively so. Strawberry puree on the palatewith some darker fruits from the Syrah and Mourvedre. Mellow and lovely. This was a $12 wine when I bought it (now about $16 for the current vintage), and it is an amazing value.


Sunday, October 10, 2021

Brooks Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, 2019

Another good wine-by-the-glass choice at Every Day People Cafe in Douglas, MI. Ordered to accompany the herbed chicken entree.

Medium light garnet. Wild strawberry, flowers and herbs. This could be easily mistaken for a good Southern Rhone. Violets, pomegranate and licorice. Pinot Noir texture and weight. Amazingly long finish that is more herbal and floral than fruity.

Yves Cheron Gigondas, 2018

I couldn't resist trying this Yves Cheron Gigondas offered as a wine-by-the-glass at Every Day People Cafe in Douglas. It was a good choice to accompany the heavenly seared pork belly entree. This is one of our favorite dining spots in SW Michigan.

Deep and dark. Initial sniffs and tastes told me it was a New World take on an Old World classic. Big, fat and impenetrable. With a few minutes of airing, the old Gigondas traits began to come through. Dark fruit, tobacco, licorice and hints of talc and non-oak-derived vanilla. Gets better and better throughout the meal. Multi-dimensional and not at all heavy. I would be happy to wait five or more years for this wine to come around, but it is enjoyable tonight.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Terramata Barbera d'Alba DOC, 2017

G.B. Russo & Sons was an institution for more than 100 years in Southwest Michigan, offering an excellent selection of wines and international food. I visited the store frequently and in recent years depended on Dave Russo's email Wine Buyers' Guide for excellent wine values. Sadly, G.B. Russo & Sons is no longer, with the facility being taken over by MegaBev. Fortunately, Dave's Wine Buyers' Guide continues, and that is where I obtained this very good Barbera. Dave knows Italian wines, and he also knows how to seek out good closeout bargains from distributors and other stores. Produced by a cooperative in the Piedmont, Terramata Barbera d'Alba typically sells for about $15 a bottle, a good value. Through the Wine Buyers' Guide, I picked up a case for $5.99 a bottle--an even better value.

Bright, medium deep ruby red. Sumptuous smells and flavors of red berries, cherries and vanilla with a hint of almonds. Excellent balance on the palate with good fruit and no hard edges. The wine is very good now and should age well over the next five years or so. Terramata is actually an alternative label for the Pertinace Barbera I obtained from Costco ($12.99) and reviewed here on September 16 of this year. The Pertinace was a 2018; this 2017 is less tannic and has better balance.