Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Famille Perrin Cotes du Rhone Reserve, 2015

I figured this Cotes du Rhone might offer some of the same charm as the Pontificis from the Languedoc (below). And I was right. Tasted side by side, they are very similar. And they are both great values even though the Pontificis ($5.99) is about half the price of the CDR  ($10.49).

Both wines are blends of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. And the scent of violets that makes them so attractive is part of the Mourvedre profile. Famille Perrin is a bit richer in Grenache (60%). And, as a result, the smells and flavors lean more toward strawberries than black raspberries. 2015 is a good year for wines from Southern France, and this wine is every bit as attractive right now as the Pontificis. I want more of each.

Pontificis Pays d'Oc Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre, 2015

I have had this wine several times before, but one sniff from this bottle tells me the wine is open and ready for business. Beautiful scents of black raspberries, peppercorn and violets. I believe it's the violets that are responsible for the come-hither overtures. Beautiful. On the palate, it's even more tempting. Ripe and fruity but not simple. Acidic edge brings you back for more...and more.

Produced by the excellent Burgundian negotiant, Badet Clement, this Languedoc wine is 48% Grenache, 32% Syrah and 20% Mourvedre. At $6.99, it's probably the best value I know on the shelves of Trader Joe's.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Mount Langi Ghiran Langi Shiraz, 1995

From one of the best Shiraz vineyards in Australia and legendary winemaker Trevor Mast, this 1995 Langi Shiraz is showing beautifully at the moment.

The lifted minty notes in the bouquet suggest that this vintage was exposed to a greater than usual amount of new American oak. But this does not detract from the wine's overall charms and may even be an asset. The oak scents are nicely integrated into more traditional smells of black currants, black olives and peppercorn. Reminds me a lot of Jaboulet's Domaine Thalabert, one of my favorite Syrah wines. Rich but not at all heavy on the mid palate. And the finish sings. At least at this stage, I think I prefer this 1995 to the very good 1997 Langi Shiraz.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Boomtown by Dusted Valley Columbia Valley Washington Merlot, 2015

I almost never buy Merlot or order a glass of Merlot from a restaurant menu. I have what I believe is a well founded prejudice against this wine because most of those on the market are either soft and sweet, overly oaky or reek of green vegetables such as celery and bell peppers. I realize, of course, that some of the great wines of Pomerol and Saint Emilion are mostly Merlot. And I have thoroughly enjoyed some high end New World Merlots such as Duckhorn and Leonetti. This Boomtown Merlot from Washington State is a budget wine that won my approval.

Deep and dark. There is 6% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend. Cherries and dark chocolate but not at all sweet. Also some black currants but not even a trace of green veggies. Tannic enough to match up well with pan seared duck. But there is enough acid to keep the wine lively and highlight the fresh fruit. The winemaker notes that 20% of the wine was aged in new French oak, but even at this early stage, I can detect no oak influence.

For $13.99 (a reduced price for those who attended the Tasters Guild wine dinner), this Merlot is a bargain. I ordered four bottles.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Ca Rome Romano Marengo DaPruve, 1996

This may be the best Barbaresco I have ever had. And it's not even a Barbaresco. If you take a careful look at the label, you will see that the producer, Ca Rome Romano Marengo, is located in Barbaresco Italia, a small village where Barbaresco is grown and made. But nowhere is the wine identified as Barbaresco, an appellation that requires that the wine be made from 100% Nebbiolo grapes. DaPruve  (Vino da Tavola or table wine) is a blend of 80% Nebbiolo and 20% Barbera. While this small portion of Barbera may lower the price of the bottle, it certainly did not lower the quality...nor its value to me.

Actually, the color is deeper and darker than I would expect from Barbaresco. And that can undoubtedly be attributed to the Barbera in the blend. The bouquet is explosive...but I'm talking about beauty and charm rather than power. It definitely has the Nebbiolo aroma profile--rose petals, dark cherries and a touch of black licorice. And it is even more beautiful on the palate. A feminine wine with ripe tannins that are barely noticeable and enough acidity to make it dance on the tongue. 1996 is recognized as a great year for Barbaresco, and this wine is a great one.

By far, the best wine I have had this year and probably better than anything I had in 2017.