Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Schlumberger Alsace Pinot Blanc, 2016

Pinot Blanc Les Princes Abbés 2016.Last night, I enjoyed Trimbach's Pinot Blanc. Tonight, it's Schlumberger's Pinot Blanc, and it's at least as good.

Green apples, pears, lemon and white flowers. Fresh and vigorous. Good acid structure and long finish. I like Pinot Blanc.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Flying Leap Vineyards Arizona Mourvedre, 2016

My expectations were not particularly high when I ordered a glass of this Arizona Mourvedre. But I was very pleasantly surprised.

Medium garnet. Smells and tastes like a very good Cotes du Rhone Villages. Dried strawberries, herbs, pepper. Has the intensity of a Chateauneuf du Pape. If I were tasting this blind, I would swear it was Grenache rather than Mourvedre. An after taste that sticks with me for a good part of the evening. Very good wine.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Les Cassagnes de la Nerthe Cotes du Rhone Villages, 2015

Chateau la Nerthe, of course, is a Chateauneuf du Pape estate; this is a CDR Villages from vineyards just north of Orange and Avignon.

Deep, dark, purplish. Although the wine has been aged, according to tradition, in concrete vats, it has also spent 12 months in four-year-old 228-liter barrels.. Ripe black fruit smells and flavors. Fruity and delicious, but a bit too New World for my taste. Lacks the peppery rustic tannins I expect from a good Cotes du Rhone. By the end of the meal, I could identify it as a CDR Villages. I suspect that most of the qualities I most desire in a Southern Rhone will start showing up with four or five years of aging.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Grao Vascoi Dao DOC Vinho Tinto, 2016

Donna and I had a memorable experience drinking Grao Vasco Dao red wine two years ago while waiting for a pizza in Porto, Portugal. Tonight, back home, we are once again enjoying a bottle of Grao Vasco while waiting for a pizza. As the waiter in Porto told us, in broken English: "Very good wine, very low price."

Very deep, dark and intense color. Lovely scents of ripe cherries, flowers and spices. Pleasantly mouth filling, medium body with peppery acidity. Combines the attractive qualities of a Northern California Pinot Noir and a good Cotes du Rhone Villages. As the label suggests: "perfect for every day drinking and long conversations."

Friday, February 15, 2019

Trimbach Alsace Pinot Blanc, 2015

Trimbach Riesling 2015The winemaker at Trimbach called this Pinot Blanc a "wine for pure pleasure!" I agree.

Citrus, green apples and minerals. Has the Trimbach stamp of quality--clean, bright and focused. Nothing overdone. Crisp acidity of a good Pinot Blanc; a perfect match for rainbow trout. Long, dry finish.

Trefethen Napa Valley Chardonnay, 2015

Trefethen is about as old school as it gets; in fact, the estate's 1976 Chardonnay was named "Best Chardonnay of the World at the Gault Millau World Wine Olympics in France in 1979. From persons who know wine, I have heard nothing but high praise for this winery in the Oak Knoll district of Napa.

Nothing flashy about Trefethen's 2015 Chardonnay. Classy scents of lime and orange blossom integrating nicely with apple oriented Chardonnay fruit. The wine was aged 9 months in French oak, only 20% new. Elegant mouth feel and subtle flavors that linger for several minutes. A real treat.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Heavenly Hour Revisited

I couldn't resist another Heavenly Hour wine flight at Vino di Sedona in Sedona, AZ. For the white, I went back to the Selbach Spatlese from Piesporter Michelsberg. And I wasn't disappointed: ripe apple fruit, sleek and stylish.

For the Pinot, I chose Alexana Winery's Terroir Series from the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Black cherry fruit with mocha, nutmeg and violets. This wine sells for about $35 retail, about the same as Ferraro Carano's Anderson Valley Pinot I had a few days ago. Both are very good wines, but I prefer the Anderson Valley wine.

My final selection was the Quilt Napa Valley Cabernet. Very deep and dark. Smokey oak and vanilla on the nose with rich black fruits on the mid-palate and a sweetish, oaky finish. As to be expected from the Wagner Family (Caymus Vineyards, Meomi), this wine has been produced with the assistance of 20 months in French oak barrels, 70% new. It's too oaky for me but is exactly what many wine drinkers are looking for. At least some of the grapes come from the high-rent district of Napa (Oakville, Rutherford and St. Helena) so I would expect it to age for many years.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Ferrari Carano Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, 2016

This wine took a few minutes to open up but eventually became my favorite of the flight (Selbach Riesling, Viberti Barbera d'Alba and Ferrari Carano Pinot Noir).

Lovely Anderson Valley fruit--clean, focused and elegant. Raspberries, cherries. Burgundian-style fruit presence. Firm texture. I would expect this wine to develop greater complexity with 8 to 10 years in the bottle.

Viberti La Gemella Barbera d'Alba, 2016

La Gemella means twin, and this wine was named to honor the winemaker's mother, who was herself a twin. The mother was also a lover of Barbera, and she would be greatly honored if she could taste this wine.

Beautiful scents of cherries, berries, crushed roses and oak. Some Piedmontese licorice on the palate but tannins are ripe and supple. As to be expected from Barbera, the acids are ample and lively, bringing me back for sip after sip. Drinking beautifully right now.

Selbach Spatlese Riesling Piesporter Michelsberg, 2016

Happy Hour at Vino di Sedona in Sedona, AZ offers a flight of three wines, 3 ounces each, for $13. Considering the wines available, this is not Happy Hour but Heavenly Hour. I chose this Selbach Spatlese plus a Viberti Barbera d'Alba and a Ferrari Carano Anderson Valley Pinot Noir. Heaven indeed.

Spatlese wines are sweeter than Kabinetts because the grapes are left on the vines until they are fully ripe--sometimes only 7 to 10 days longer but the difference in the glass is significant. They are not dessert wines but rather ripe and complete. Brilliant color, classic Riesling scents with just a touch of petrol. Clean, bright, elegant. Long finish.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Elouan Oregon Pinot Noir, 2015

Pinot Noir bottle shot horizontalI was a bit disappointed when I first smelled and tasted this Oregon Pinot Noir. My first impressions were focused on ginger, cinnamon and other baking spices that I usually associate with California Pinots from cheaper appellations of California. Rich and full bodied on the palate--not really the traits I am most looking for in an Oregon Pinot Noir. Over the course of the meal, though, the wine opened nicely. Cranberry and cherry fruit with good depth on the finish.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Marchesi di Barolo Barbera del Monferrato “Maraia, 2016

In the dialect spoken in the Piedmont area of northern Italy, "maraia" refers to a group of rowdy youngsters or "brats." And I like the lively "bratty" traits of this wine. It was a perfect match for the delicious Capellina Pomodoro I had at Uncle Sal's Italian restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Dark ruby, lively and brilliant. Dark cherry/berry smells along with cassis and vanilla. Lively acidity and just the right amount (13%) of warmth and body. Will get better with a year or two in the bottles but beautiful right now.