Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Chateau Fuisse Pouilly Fuisse Les Clos, 2004

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 Chateau Fuisse is arguably the top source for fine Pouilly Fuisse. And Les Clos, the walled vineyard just behind the domaine, has become one of the estate's top selections. It is not a budget wine, but, when I saw this bottle available at auction, I was willing to bid about $25 for the experience of tasting a mature bottle. We were not disappointed.

Deep gold, clear and bright. Deep, concentrated scents of ripe apples, spice and minerals. Creamy and rich. Still lively with lemon acidity. Intense flavors--apples, pears, minerals--attack slowly, then seem to burst into the mouth. At 16 years of age, still drinking beautifully.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Domaine Lou Frejau Chateauneuf du Pape, 1998

Community Tasting Note - 1998 Domaine Lou Frejau Ch√Ęteauneuf-du ... 

When I think steak, I think Gigondas. When lamb is on the menu, my taste buds crave a mature Chateauneuf du Pape. And this one from Domaine Lou Frejau is a perfect match for grilled lamb chops.

Characteristic mature brick color. Sediment crust in the bottle and some free floating sediment, but it doesn't affect the flavors. Medium intense smells of red berries, leather and Provencal herbs. Perfect. Savory flavors up front followed by a long, ripe finish. Good combination of savory and sweet. Some 1998s have started to fade a bit, but this one is going strong.

Bois de Menge Gigondas, 2018

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Gigondas is ordinarily a bold wine that develops complexity with 8 to 12 years in the bottle. But drinking one in its youth is an experience in itself, highlighting the wine's unique power and grace. A bargain at $14.99 from Trader Joe's, this Bois de Menge is delightful to drink right now.\

Medium deep ruby. Has the beautiful scents unique to Gigondas--plums, blue flowers, rosemary and thyme. The appellation is only about five miles away from Vacqueyras and less than 50 from Chateauneuf du Pape and the grapes are basically the same; yet each appellation has its own smells and flavors. Power and beauty. When I think Gigondas, I think grilled strip steak, and that's what we're having tonight!

Ripe and rich, fills the mouth with texture and flavor. No new oak influences that I can detect. Although this is a bargain Gigondas, it meets my expectations. I will buy a few more bottles and keep some for later this decade. But I like it right now.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Tuatea Marlborough (NZ) Sauvignon Blanc

Tuatea Sauvignon Blanc U.V. | Wine Info
Trader Joe's always has several good New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc wines on the shelf, and this is my favorite. From the first sniff, it displays power and personality. And it goes with a wide range of meal options, including spicy Mexican fajitas from Valentina's in Comstock, MI.

Medium deep yellow. Aromas are slightly influenced by oak but still display distinctive Sauvignon Blanc traits. Grapefruit with subtle passion fruit tones. Same on the palate. Full fruit, dry with powerful acidity. A Trader Joe's bargain at $6.99; for my taste, better than those costing a dollar or two more.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Shoofly South Australia Shiraz, 2017


I usually tune out when I encounter an Australian wine with a cutesy name, but this one is made by Ben Riggs, a winemaker I respect who bills it as a "grower's wine." The fruit comes from vineyards in McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek, Padthaway and Wrattenbully--all wine-producing areas that I like.

Deep, dark color typical of Shiraz. Shiraz black fruit scents but also spice and black pepper. Has the freshness and appeal of a good Cotes du Rhone. Tannins are there but ripe and balanced by good acidity. No sign of oak chips or new barrels. I am going back for half a case of this wine, selling for $10 to $14 at D&W in Kalamazoo. It's drinking well now and should continue to do so for at least three or four years.

Bianca Vigna Cuvee 1931 Brut Rose

Bianca Vigna 'Cuvee 1931' Spumante Rosato, Veneto, Italy
I generally don't care for Prosecco wines; most are a bit too sweet and uninteresting. This Italian sparkling wine is made from the same Glera grapes that go into Prosecco but it also has some Pinot Noir in the cuvee that adds character and interest.

Although it is labeled Brut Rose, the color is light with only a subtle streak of pink. Tiny, persistent ubbles and a good mousse. Definitely has Pinot flavors reminiscent of Pinot-rich Champagnes such as Roederer Brut Premier. For $13.49 a bottle, I don't expect Champagne flavors, but I am happy with what's in my glass.

This was served at a Taster's Guild wine dinner (through Zoom) with barbecue-spiced seafood dishes from Oakwood Bistro in Kalamazoo.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Vietti Nebbiolo Perbacco, 2009

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The 2009 vintage was hot and not particularly good for Barolo. Kerin O'Keefe, my go-to source for Piedmont wines, recommends drinking many Barolos and Barbarescos from this vintage "through 2019"compared to several decades for other vintages. Langhe Nebbiolos generally are made for drinking early, but this 2009 Perbacco from Vietti is clearly an exception.

Medium light with orange tones, typical of Nebbiolo. With decanting and a couple of hours aeration, lovely Nebbiolo smells emerge. Not gushy but deep and serious. Licorice, rose petals and a hint of balsamic. As the meal progresses, these scents become irresistible. An "I can sniff this all night" wine. Laid back and elegant on the palate. But again very deep. The rich textures of a Barolo. Dark cherry, red berries and licorice.

Perbacco is never inexpensive, usually $23 to $25 a bottle. But if you like Barolo but shy away because of price, Vietti's Nebbiolo is perhaps the best option. Always serious Nebbiolo, always good.