Sunday, September 22, 2019

Vincent Girardin Emotion de Terroirs Pinot Noir, 2006

I know that red Pinot Noirs from the Burgundy area of France are the benchmark for the varietal. But I have never been willing to part with the $$ required for the best red Burgundies, and the lesser ones (such as this wine) have never measured up to the quality or aging ability of Pinot Noirs from the Northern Coasts of California. This Emotion de Terroirs, from the highly respected estate of Vincent Girardin, is good but at 13 years of age appears to have passed its prime--an age when many Pinots from Russian River and the Anderson Valley are just beginning to shine.

Deep and dark. More like a Cotes d'Or than a Cotes de Beaune. Has the peppery/gingery spice aromas that I usually find in a Russian River Pinot. Good Pinot Noir texture but the balance seems to be leaning more toward alcohol than fruit at this stage. Wish I had opened it a few years ago.

Terlato & Chapoutier Victorian Shiraz-Viognier, 2006

2011 Domaine Terlato and Chapoutier Shiraz ViognierMy favorite Shiraz wines come from Central Victoria, and this is a very good example. Tasted alongside the 1983 Domaine Thalabert (below), it was definitely the inferior wine but did not embarrass itself.

Deep ruby, darker than the Thalabert. On the first night, pretty Viognier scents tended to overwhelm the Syrah notes of black raspberries and currants. On the second night, the depth was much more apparent. More acid than the typical Australian Shiraz, and that is what I like about it. Ready to drink now and over the next five years.

Paul Jaboulet Domaine de Thalabert Crozes-Hermitage, 1983

1983 Paul Jaboulet Aine Crozes-Hermitage Domaine de ThalabertOpened for my son's 36th birthday, this is a wine that has aged every bit as admirably as he has. He appreciated it and so did I.

Deep ruby with minimal bricking for a wine that is in its 36th year. Lots of crusty sediment and a cork that was difficult to remove, but all that was resolved through careful decanting. Black olives, currants and black pepper on the nose. Incredible presence on the palate. Deep, concentrated and just keeps on singing. Great acid structure plus tannin and remarkably pure Syrah fruit. This is better than any Hermitage I have ever had. But that has generally been my experience with Domaine Thalabert.

I'm not sure how Jaboulet's 1983 Hermitage la Chapelle is showing right now. I bought a case but sold most of it prematurely. Robert Parker downgraded the 1983 Northern Rhones because of excessive tannins that he thought would outlive the fruit. As far as I am concerned, he was dead wrong.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

D'Arenberg The Stump Jump Grenache Syrah Mourvedre, 2014

 labelThe label says that this wine is 38% Grenache, 32% Syrah and 30% Mourvedre, but my impression is that it is 100% Shiraz in personality. It is slightly sweet (1.6% residual sugar), very oaky and somewhat alcoholic. It's a style that is very popular among Americans as well as Australians. And the label claims that if you hold the bottle at arm's length and can still read the optometry chart, you are sober enough to have another glass.

Maison L'Envoye Straight Shooter Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, 2017

Maison L'Envoye originated in French Burgundy but has traversed the globe in search of "elusive sites where Pinot Noir shines." Straight Shooter is the group's low end offering from the Willamette Valley of Oregon, and their web site calls it a wine "made to drink, not analyze." Of course, it's a wine to drink and enjoy, but it's not at all simple.

Deep ruby, darker than many Pinots. The clones are  Pommard/114/115/777/Wadensvil/667, and the wine was matured in French oak barrels, 10% of which were new, for 12 months. The oak influence, though, is unobtrusive. From the first sip, the wine cannot be mistaken for anything but high quality Pinot Noir. Bright Oregon fruit (dark cherries, blueberries, plums), flowers and ginger/pepper spice. Strong flavors from front to back. Goes well on its own as well as with grilled Faroe Island salmon from the menu at 600 Kitchen in Kalamazoo.

I have not seen Straight Shooter Pinot in shops but will certainly look for it. At $15 to $20 a bottle, it is a fantastic bargain.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Chateau d'Angludet Margaux, 1978

1981 Château D'AngludetAt 41 years of age, this 1978 Cru Bourgeois still has some life left in it, although it is probably well past its prime.

I get a medicinal smell when the cork is popped, but this blows away with some airing. Pretty scents of flowers and fruit, dry and fresh. Flavors are classic: black currant, cassis and a hint of sour cherry. Has plenty of acid as a backdrop to the ripe black currant finish. Good balance that brings me back for sip and after sip.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Tenuta Arnulfo Costa di Bussia Barolo, 2005

When I first opened this wine and took a sip, I wasn't so sure it would measure up to a very good Langue Rosso (2010 The Vinum) we had enjoyed two nights previously. The smells were a bit muted, and acidity was blocking ripe fruit flavors. After three or four hours of passive aeration in the bottle, though, this 2005 Costa di Bussia was living up to the expectations of a fine Barolo just entering its prime stage of drinkability.

Medium deep crimson/amber with good brightness and saturation. Now the bouquet is coming through--dark cherries, flowers, leather and a hint of Piedmont black licorice. Acids and tannins are still dominant but not enough to blunt the bright Nebbiolo flavors. Deep fruit. Dances on the tongue. Long after taste.