Sunday, June 28, 2020

Rocca di Montegrossi Chianti Classico, 2017

This was one of the two wines presented at last week's Tasters Guild (American Wine Society) wine dinner. The food was prepared by Gusto and taken home with the wine to be shared and discussed on Zoom. To accompany wild boar pasta, the Chianti Classico was a very agreeable match.

Beautiful deep ruby. Young and vibrant. Scents of cherries, plums, violets and earth. Rich and full palate feel. Ripe fruit tannins and good acidity. If there is any new oak, it is in the background, as it should be. Reminds me a bit of a good Southern Rhone. The wine is very enjoyable right now, but I think it will be even better with another 5 to 10 years of aging.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Domaine du Pegau Cuvee Reservee Chateauneuf du Pape, 1994

Bottle front photo imageAt this stage of maturity, the 1994 Pegau is not as bold and earthy as some of its siblings. It lures, rather, by charm and a beautiful presentation of Grenache fruit.

Medium dark in color with some bricking. Instantly sweeter and more approachable than the Domaine Thalabert on the table beside it. Everybody loves it at first sip, but it is by no means simple. Silky texture and flavors that unfold slowly over the course of the dinner. Dried and fresh fruit, sweet and savory. Very strawberry. I liked the bold approach of bottles I had a few years ago, but I am even more enamoured of the subtlety it has developed. I don't think it is at risk of sliding, but I plan to drink my remaining bottles in the near future.

Paul Jaboulet Domaine Thalabert Crozes-Hermitage, 1991

Bottle front photo imageFor Father's Day dinner, I chose two of my favorite wines, a Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape and this Domaine Thalabert, a Crozes that,. in my opinion, deserves to be ranked with the best wines from the Hermitage hill. At 29 years, the 1991 is showing well right now.

Still deep albeit with a lot of bricking. Has the Northern Rhone bouquet that I love: black fruits with a spicy, peppery lift. Very savory: black olives, sea salt, earth but with ripe strawberry fruit creeping in at the finish. It's a wine I could sniff and sip all night, finding something new each time.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Vieux Julian Rouge, 2018

2015 La Ferme Julien (Perrin & Fils) Ventoux, France, Rhône ...This, of course, is the Trader Joe's label for the Perrin family's classic La Vieille Ferme. For years, both wines were made from Ventoux fruit, but Ventoux no longer appears anywhere on the label. The wine is still made in the same style and is still a delight to drink. It is one of my favorite wines, regardless of price. And the price ($5.99)  makes it all the more attractive.

Lattanzio W.E. Bottoms Vineyard Russian River Pinot Noir, 2005

 labelIn choosing a wine to put on the table, my primary consideration is always the food that the wine is going to accompany. I chose this Russian River Pinot to accompany grilled salmon, and it was perfect. The next night, the wine that was left was served with beef and bean tacos. The match was so bad that I was beginning to believe the wine was faulty. It tasted overly alcoholic, hot and harsh. Once the meal was over, however, as we sat sipping the wine on its own, the beauty became apparent again. It wasn't the wine that was faulty but rather the match between the wine and the food.

Very deep and dark, bluish. This is clearly a New World Pinot Noir. Raspberries, raspberries and more raspberries. Also  blue flowers and some Russian River spice notes.. Even at 15 years of age, this wine is all about the fruit. And very fine fruit it is. Hard and harsh with tacos but smooth and elegant on its own or with Atlantic salmon.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Bouchard Aine et Fils Pouilly Fuisse, 2012

Whitefish sauteed in butter, almonds and lemon: that was our dinner and the Bouchard Pouilly Fuisse was a perfect wine to go with it--not your butterball New World Chardonnay but a leaner Maconnais version of Chardonnay that picks up the lean flavors of the whitefish as well as the buttery almondine.

Medium deep yellow. Just enough oak for my taste to frame the peachy, citric fruit. A hint of honey, minerals and nuts. Blends seamlessly with the fish.

Pouilly Fuisse, which comes from two nearby villages (Pouilly and Fuisse), is a relatively pricey compared to other Macon Villages wines, but, at least from this estate, I find that the wine is worth the premium. (Also, I managed to find the wine at discount.)

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Chateau Dillon Haut Medoc, 1982

214.jpgA friend brought this to a dinner party at our house some 35 years ago, and it was never opened. It was not an expensive bottle at the time, and I didn't think it was a wine for aging. Nevertheless, the occasion for opening it never came around...until tonight. Hey, it was a wine worth aging after all.

The bottle had serious ullage, and the soaked cork was difficult to remove. Lots of amber in the color. The wine is 38 years old, after all. First sniff: wow! A lively and lovely bouquet: red currants black currants, some floral notes. Lively fruit again on the palate with some minty notes and a pleasant finish.

Chateau Dillon is about 48% Merlot and 30-some% Cabernet Sauvignon plus Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. The current vintage sells for about $20. This 1982 has an auction value of about $75--probably the best indicator of the wine's ability to age.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

La Castellina di Fojanini Valtellina Superiore Sassella 2008

Valtellina Superiore Sassella 2007, La Castellina – Fojanini, 13 ...This is my first go at Valtellina, but I hope it won't be my last. Valtellina is the northern face of Nebbiolo, produced from vineyards in Lombardy in the hills near the Italian border with Switzerland. Barolo and Barbaresco can generally be ranked as cool climate, but Valtellina take the coolness a few steps farther, resulting in wines that have decidedly more acidity and, in most cases, less tannin.

Orangeish/garnet color typical of Nebbiolo. Some free floating sediment and a cloudy appearance. Even with decanting and several hours of aeration, aromas emerge slowly but are deep and concentrated. My wife smells the Korean lilac blossoms she has in her own garden. Also deep scents of cherries and black licorice. Not as austere as you might expect from a cool climate wine. Like the bouquet, the flavors are broad, concentrated and deep. Acid keeps the finish focused and lively. It's my only bottle; wish I had more.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone, 2015

Saint Cosme Cotes du RhoneSaint Cosme has a reputation for producing fine Gigondas wine--a reputation that is reflected in the price of the wines. This Cotes du Rhone, though, offers excellent quality at a reasonable price ($12 to $15). Unlike most Cotes du Rhone wines, which have a significant amount of Grenache in the blend, this one is made from 100% Syrah, half from Vinsobres and half from the Villefranchian region of Gard on the west side of the Rhone River.

Dark color, typical of Syrah. Raised in stainless steel rather than oak. Beautiful aromas of violets, blueberries and anise. Gigondas-like power and intensity. Initially, I get some sappy notes on the tongue, but these fade away with aeration. Tannins are friendly enough for current drinking, but I suspect they will get even better with additional bottle age.

The estate is proud of its 2015, and it ranked #43 on the Wine Spectator top 100 wines of 2016.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Damilano Barbera d'Asti, 2012

Damilano Barbera d'Asti 2017  Front Bottle ShotI generally prefer Barbera d'Alba, but this is a special Barbera d'Asti from a Monferrato vineyard in an area that has built a good reputation for Barbera over many decades.

Deep, brilliant ruby with purplish tints. Could be mistaken for a New World red. Raspberries, violets, red currants and spice. No oak here but it has the lush, ripe qualities on the mid-palate that are often associated with oak aging. Characteristic Barbera acidity. Drinking beautifully right now. Captivating finish showing Barbera at its best. This is a bit more expensive ($16 to $18) than the Barberas I usually drink, but it is well worth the premium. I will buy more.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Domaine Sainte-Anne Cotes du Rhone Villages Notre Dame des Cellettes, 1998

Sainte-Anne Côtes du Rhône Villages Cuvée Notre Dame des Cellettes 1998The last time I tried this 1998 Notre Dame des Cellettes, I thought I detected some signs of age. Not so here; this bottle is very well preserved and better than many 1998 Chateauneuf du Papes in my cellar.

Medium deep ruby. No sign of new oak barriques. Beautiful scents of fresh red berries, spring flowers and mint. Excellent balance. Ripe red and black fruits framed by fruit tannins and acid. Classy wine; could be mistaken for a Northern California Pinot Noir. Good with food (I had it with grilled salmon) or on its own.