Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Domaine Sainte-Anne Cotes du Rhone, 2004

What's most impressive about this 11-year-old Cotes du Rhone is the way it smells and tastes on the second third day. The wine is mature but not fading.

The deep crimson color this wine had in its youth has faded to brick red, and there is a bit of sediment in the bottle. A good sign. Smells and flavors are also mature. Dried flowers, fresh berries and spice. Intriguing flavors and textures that seem to change with every sip. Ripe but with savory facets.
And these flavors are just as intense on Monday and Tuesday as they were on Sunday. (I'm a slow drinker.)

Domaine Sainte-Anne makes atypical Cotes du Rhones--worth aging at even the basic CDR level.

Famille Perrin Reserve Cotes du Rhone, 2012

This is one of the best young Cotes du Rhones I've had in quite some time. It has lovely bright aromas and flavors--a joy to drink. And it's widely available for about $9.95.

Deep ruby. Good strong core of Syrah showing. Beautiful aromas of cherries, peppercorn, cassis, spice and freshly cut flowers. Reminds me of Vinsobres, and I love Vinsobres. Flavors are lively and intense. Dark cherry and licorice with some Syrah-type pepper. Fleshy texture, just right for hearty foods. Traditional CDR without the international trappings.

Actually, I discover, the cuvee includes 20% Syrah from the Perrins' vineyards in Vinsobres--a very good source--plus Grenache and Mourvedre. The wine is showing well right now but with plenty of strength to carry on for a few years.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Franco Serra Barbera d'Alba, 2013

I am always on the lookout for good Barberas in the $10 to $12 price range. My favorites at this time are Franco Serra and Costa di Bussia.

Aromas are lovely--cherry, black licorice and flowers--spicy and bright. Flavors are the same. Firmness in the middle; the wine is still young. Some leather on the finish along with intricate fruit flavors.

This wine has been selling for $9.99 at D&W in Kalamazoo. I consider it one of the best values in the store.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Collovray & Terrier Macon-Villages Tradition, 2013

I have many happy memories of Collovray & Terrier wines from the early 1990s. My favorite was the Domaine Deux Roches. At $10 to $12 a bottle, it was an excellent wine to buy by the case (or two or three) and drink over the next three or four years. I aged very well. The C&T Macon-Villages Tradition was several dollars cheaper, and Deux Roches Saint Veran, at $12, was one of the best values in wine I have encountered. The exchange rate was very favorable at that time. Today, this wine $18 and the Deux Roche bottlings are out of my price range. There is never any question about the quality of wines from this estate, however.

Medium deep yellow. Apple, minerals and citrus. All the lovely Chardonnay flavors shining through without any oak cosmetics. Still young and tight. Deep mineral-laden flavors. All Chardonnay in the distinctive C&T style. Exactly what I like; even at $18, it's a great value.

Les Trois Couronnes Gigondas, 2007

The last two bottles I had of this wine were much, much better. It's not corked, and it doesn't appear to be over the hill. But, for one reason or another, this bottle is disappointing.

Deep, dark crimson. Muted smells and flavors. Dark cherries, dried figs. Rustic tannins. Pleasant but nothing very dramatic right now.

St. Hallett Barossa Faith Shiraz, 2010

St. Hallett's Old Block Shiraz is a special wine; this is a less expensive Barossa Shiraz meant for every day consumption.

Very deep and dark. Enticing aromas of blackberries, coffee, flowers. And same on the palate. This wine has seen plenty of oak, and that is a good part of its attraction. Very ripe but with firm tannins in the middle to give it a serious tone. A friendly, juicy finish. For $14 to $16, this is a good Australian Shiraz, drinking beautifully right now.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Veglio Michelino Barbera d'Alba, 2012

We had this wine with a somewhat spicy pork stir fry, and it worked well. The wine is not particularly spicy itself, but it has the right balance of ripeness and acidity to stand up to the Asian spices and soy sauce.

Very deep and dark. Probably oak influenced. Pretty aromas of violets, blackcurrants and coffee. Same on the palate. Hard not to like this wine. Plush and slightly sweet on the mid-palate. Sweeter than many Barberas but has good acidity on the finish to keep it lively and fresh.

Gilles Ferran Rasteau, 2009 Revisited

In my post below, I recklessly stated that the Gilles Ferran 2009 was one of the best Rasteaus I have tasted. It was very good on the first night, but after being re-corked for a day, it completely lost its charm, tasting sharp and alcoholic.

This wine has a 15% alcohol content, compared to 13% to 13.5% for a typical Cotes du Rhone or Cotes du Rhone Villages. It carried that alcohol well on the first night, then seemed to become unbalanced on the second night. High alcohol content is an increasingly common part of the international style of winemaking, giving a wine body and youthful aromatic appeal. But it is not what I expect from a traditional Southern Rhone.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Cameron Hughes Lot 324 Atlas Peak Chardonnay, 2010

This Atlas Peak Chardonnay is every bit as dramatic as the Sabrego Godello (below), but for different reasons. The lush qualities in this wine are mainly oak inspired but the fruit is strong enough to shine through.

Medium deep gold. Beautiful scents of limey French oak, apple, citrus and flowers. Extravagant is a good word for this wine. Rich in texture and flavor. And at the peak of maturity.

Atlas Peak is a pricey source of wine grapes, but Cameron Hughes buys excess produce at closeout prices. At $15 from World Market, this was a very good value.

Sabrego Valdeorras Godello, 2010

Godello, from Valdeorras in Spain, has quickly become one of my favorite white wines. And this wine from the 2010 vintage suggests that they become even better after a few years in the bottle.

Medium deep gold. Has deepened in both color and flavors. Has become a bit sweeter with age but with a lot more depth and complexity. Incredible perfume: ripe peaches, spices and flowers. Flavors tend to sparkle--almost tactile impressions on the palate. I like the direction this wine is going.

Chateau Grand Corbin Manuel Saint Emilion, 1982

I'm not a big fan of young Merlot and, as a result, don't buy many wines from Saint Emilion or Pomerol. After 33 years in the bottle, though, this Saint Emilion is more to my liking.

Amber tones. Takes awhile for 33 years of stale air trapped at the top of the bottle to blow away, but the wine underneath has developed nicely. Very pretty bouquet of ripe fruit and Asian spices. Smooth mouth feel. Rich and dark. Dates and raisins. Definitely salty on the finish. Not great but very good. The price tag says I paid $8.99 (before the 17% mixed case discount) at Village Corner in Ann Arbor. Hard to beat that for value.

Domaine Sainte Anne Cotes du Rhone Villages, 2001

The major difference between Sainte Anne's basic Cotes du Rhone and its CDR Villages is the age of the vines. It is a step up in quality, although not quite up to the level of the Notre Dame des Cellettes or the Saint Gervais. All are very reasonably priced for the quality and ability to grow with age.

Deep ruby beginning to turn in color but not as much so as the 2004 basic Cotes du Rhone. This 2001 also seems a bit less developed in its aromas and flavors. Still has that cool aromatic intensity that is typical of Sainte Anne wines in their youth. Fresh berries, ripe plums and herbs. Flavors are showing more signs of maturity. Savory finish.

Gilles Ferran Cotes du Rhone Villages Rasteau La Ponce, 2009

I usually prefer the red-fruited wines of Cairanne to their darker-toned siblings from nearby Rasteau. This is a notable exception, one of the best Rasteaus I have had.

Deep and dark. Smells dark too, as Rasteau should. Boysenberries with licorice, spice and tobacco. A blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah; I would have guessed the other way around, considering the black fruit and tannins. The aromas just get better and better. Now some peppercorn as a background to the dark berry fruit. Medium body, rich mouth feel and a long finish with flavors well defined. This is an excellent example of what traditional Southern Rhone is all about.