Bright crimson. Forward scents of blackberries, currants, coffee and dark chocolate. Both red and black fruits on the palate plus cool climate spice and pepper. Has noticeable tannins but is probably at a good stage for drinking right now while the fruit is fresh and vibrant.
Thursday, December 30, 2021
Tuesday, December 28, 2021
Ronchi di Pietro Schioppettino Colli Orientali del Friuli DOC, 2016
Slightly burnished garnet with a violet tinge. Intense wild berries, red and black. The cool climate acidity is apparent even in the aroma. Black pepper and more black pepper on the palate: I love it. Good tannic structure and almost tart flavors, offering subtle nuances. This is not the "big" wine style that was popular in the 1980s, and that is one reason I like it so much. Would go well with almost any dish. Available for about $20 at MegaBev in Kalamazoo.
Monday, December 27, 2021
Tenuta Rocca Vigna San Pietro Barolo, 2005
G.D. Vajra Langhe Rosso, 2019
Bright ruby red. Very aromatic with scents of red cherries, black raspberries, red currants, flowers and spice. Tannins are friendly, the fruit is ripe and the acidity is mouth watering.. Has the best traits of Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto, Freisa and Pinot Noir blended together in a wine priced for every day drinking. It's hard to go wrong with G.D. Vajra's Rosso.
Sunday, December 26, 2021
Terramata Barbera d'Alba, 2017
Bright ruby/garnet. Enticing smells of fresh raspberries, violets, mushrooms and aromatic herbs. Fruity and medium bodied with characteristic Barbera acidity. A hint of almonds adds interest to the finish. I am sure the wine will age over a few years, but I doubt that my case will last that long. It's too good to sit on the shelf.
Saturday, December 25, 2021
Gould Campbell Vintage Port, 1977
Dark amber with a very dark center. Smells and flavors are dark and incredibly rich. Figs, dates, prunes, chocolate but also some bright cherry and mint to add complexity. Amazingly young for a wine that has been in the bottle from 44 years. An unforgettable experience.
Raymond Usseglio Chateauneuf dui Pape, 1999
Deep, dark color. An earthy Chateauneuf but with eipe red berry scents and flavors playiing off of the savory notes. Full bodied with a rich mouth feel. This is what I expected, and it was a hit with other tasters
Domaine Pegau Cuvee Reservee Chateauneuf du Pape, 1994
Good color. Deep and dark with bright tones. Less barnyard on the nose than the Clefs d'Or Chateauneuf that preceded it, but there are brett-like tones in the flavors. Savory with a good texture but the cascade of fruit flavors that I always get from a Pegau Cuvee Reservee seem to be hiding or non-existent. The consensus at the table is that this is the lesser of the three Chateuneufs being poured tonight. I suspect this is merely a bad bottle.
Domaine Jean Deydier et Fils Les Clefs d'Or Chateauneuf du Pape, 2000
Good deep ruby color. Barnyard notes from the first sniff, and they continue to haunt the wine. Brett? They are not really objectionable but they seem to hide whatever fruit is still around. Savory more than fruity. A good wine; has Chateauneuf dui Pape traits but not a great deal of depth or complexity.
Friday, December 24, 2021
Chateau Bel Air Sainte Croix du Mont, 1986
Deep gold, bright and beautiful. No fading. Beautiful scents and flavors of coconut frosting, apricots and pineapple. Not overly sweet but attractive to all at the table, even those relatively new to wine. Acidity that brings you back for more.
Willakenzie Estate Cuvee Pinot Noir, 2015
Medium deep crimson. Very bright. Great bouquet, even at age 6. Rose petals, cherries and more black pepper and orange zest. Texture is a bit heavier than the Stoller Vineyards, but I have no complaint. Good acid/tannin structure. Flavors that grow in the mouth.
WillaKenzie concentrates on the specific attributes of specific vineyards, but this wine, like the Stoller Vineyards, is produced from a combination of terroirs. I like the result.
Stoller Vineyards Dundee Hills Pinot Noir, 2015
Just a slight difference in alcohol content, compared to the Calstar Cellars Pinot that preceded it at the table, made a big difference. While both wines were very good, most at the table agreed that this Willamette Valley wine had better balance and more interesting flavors.
Medium deep but a bit lighter than the Calstar Cellars. Cherries, anise seed, black pepper and orange zest. The zesty, peppery quality was immediately recognized by those at the table. The light, silky texture, though, was what set the wine apart for me. Flavors that open up and get more complex as the meal progresses. An excellent wine..
Calstar Cellars Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, 2007
Medium dark ruby. Cherries, red berries, flowers and vanilla. Captures the vibrant fruit purity of Anderson Valley Pinot. At least one at the table noticed the alcohol, which is a bit high at 14.2%. Otherwise, the balance is good, and the wine is tasty with a medium long finish that keeps me coming back for more. Unfortunately, it was presented against two very good Oregon Pinots.
Bouchard Aine et Fils Bourgogne Chardonnay, 2019
Bright gold but noticeably lighter than the Wind Gap on the table beside it. Many of the same traits: apple, citrus, white flowers. Wonderful expressive flavors unfold, wrapped with brisk acidity. Depth and complexity as wine warms and airs. Beautiful. Gives everything that I was waiting for but never received from the Wind Gap. This wine is drinking beautifully today but I will not hesitate to keep a few bottles for five or six years.
Wind Gap Woodruff Vineyard (Santa Cruz) Chardonnay, 2012
Elke Vineyards Mary Elke Boonville Barter Pinot Noir, 2013
Medium garnet. Beautiful scents and flavors of cranberries, pomegranate and flowers. Peppery spice and orange zest on the palate. Reminds me of a good Willamette Valley (Oregon) Pinot. This is the my first of half a dozen Boonville Barters bought on futures frrom the winery. I am looking forward to the rest.
Saturday, December 18, 2021
Chehalem Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, 2018
Bright ruby. Lighter tone than the Meiomi. The wine is young and requires a few minutes of aeration before it starts releasing its complex aromas and flavors. Deep, deep, deep cherry. Clings to the nostrils and tongue. Pepper, orange zest, earth, dark red and blue fruits. Silky Pinot texture. Dances on the tongue. I just keep coming back for another sniff and another sip. Excellent wine!
Meiomi California Pinot Noir, 2016
Full garnet color. Dark red fruits, tobacco, chocolate and espresso. A green flavor that reminds me of cheap Merlot. Does not have texture I expect from Pinot Noir. And I find the wine overly oaky and a bit one-dimensional. That's me; you don't have to agree. And sales figures reveal that thousands of wine buyers disagree.
Chateau Grand Traverse Old Mission Peninsula Whole Cluster Riesling, 2014
Medium deep yellow. A good lively color. The smells are heavenly. Flowers, pears, ripe peaches. Flavors are crisp, well defined and persistent. The acidity in this bottle is perfect. Reminds me of a very good German Kabinett or Spatlese. Goes perfectly with grilled salmon and mushroom risotto.
The grapes come from three different plots at the estate. They are hand picked and gently pressed without destemming or mechanical crushing. From that point, processing is minimal. The grapes speak for themselves and with great articulation.
Thursday, December 16, 2021
Laurent duBlanc Cotes du Rhone Tradition et Terroir, 2020
Deep and dark with purplish tones. This wine been has aged a bit in new oak barriques. Red berry fruit and peppery spice but also some darker oak-derived notes. The oak is not covering up the fruit, howeveer. Even in its youth, this CDR is drinking very well. Those who are used to oak-influenced wines might prefer it to the Collection Rhone that I described last week. For my taste, I will take the more traditional Collection Rhone.
Tuesday, December 14, 2021
Luca Bosio Truffle Hunter Leda Barbera d'Asti, 2018
Beautiful deep ruby color. Cherries, roses, anise and a hint of almonds. Do I detect truffles? That's probably my imagination. And the wine, after all, is named after the owner's truffle hunting dog, Leda, rather than the truffles that Leda sniffs out. Truffle Hunter Barbera is fun to smell and taste, and it has the hallmark acidity that makes Barbera an exciting wine to drink.
Truffle Hunter Barbera is widely available in the Kalamazoo area (MegaBev, D&W, Hardings) for $10 to $12 a bottle. In my opinion it is well worth the price.
Sunday, December 12, 2021
Arnoux et Fils Vacqueyras Cuvee de Lauris, 2007
Still dense and dark in color. Only a small part of this cuvee is aged in new, 228 liter oak casks; the rest, in large seasoned oak barrels. Blueberries, boysenberries, licorice and black pepper. Lush and fruity for a 13-year-old Vacqueyras. Many of the Grenache (60% to 70%) and Syrah vines (25% to 40%) for this cuvee are nearly 100 years old, and the wine has some old vine funk but none of the intensity and complexity that I would expect. It drinks very well, though, and I would buy again if available for thes same price ($15).
Friday, December 10, 2021
Vignobles de la Vallee du Rhone Collection Rhone Cotes du Rhone, 2020
Deep crimson. Beautiful scents focusing on red cherries and peppery spice. 55% Grenache, 30% Carignan and 15% Syrah. Tannins, clearly derived from skins and pips rather than oak, are entwined beautifully with the fruit. If this is an indication of what the 2020 Rhone vintage offers, I will be a buyer. And I will return to Trader Joe's for more of this lovely Collection Rhone. Good now and will stay that way for at least a couple of years.
Thursday, December 9, 2021
Hope's End South Australia Red Blend, 2018
Deep and dark crimson/ruby. Has a little of everything: black fruit, red berries, cherries and plenty of sweetish chocolate. Has enough sweetness to counter the oak tannins. Not much acidity. I enjoyed a glass to accompany my meal at Fieldstone in Kalamazoo but am not tempted to buy or drink any more.
Tuesday, December 7, 2021
d'Arenberg The Hermit Crab McLaren Vale Viognier Marsanne, 2018
Medium gold, clear and bright. Enticing scents of white flowers, ripe pears and canteloupe. Round, ripe and full bodied with moderate acidity and a pleasing finish. Very pear-like. When you are looking for an alternative to Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc at about $15 a bottle, this is a good choice.
Sunday, December 5, 2021
Paolo Scavino Langhe Nebbiolo, 2012
Saturday, December 4, 2021
Paul Jaboulet Aine Domaine de Thalabert Crozes-Hermitage, 1988
Chateau Pegau Cuvee Maclura Cotes du Rhone, 2017
Deep ruby. No new oak, of course, with a Laurence Feraud wine. Very aromatic: red and black berries, cassis, spice and a hint of black olives. Lush, rich fruit on the palate. Ripe tannins and refreshing acidity. The wine goes down pleasantly, sip after sip. Now, I am ready to try the CDR Villages Setier.
Wednesday, December 1, 2021
WillaKenzie Estate Chardonnay Yamhill-Carlton District, 2016
Medium deep yellow. Scents of lemon butter, green apples and tangerine. Lemon crerme and minerals on the palate. The butter is in the smells and flavors but not so much in the texture, which is taut and minerally. More like Chablis than Cote de Beaune Chardonnay. Better when it's only lightly chilled. And I suspect that this 2016 still has room to improve in the bottle over the next several years.
According to the label, it "was fermented and aged in wood puncheons, amphorae and stainless steel tanks to emphasize fruit expression, minerality and crisp acidity. Battonage of the lees and partial malolactic fermentation contribute to a complex and round mouthfeel."
Saturday, November 27, 2021
Jean-Louis Chave Selection Crozes-Hermitage Silene, 2011
Paul Jaboulet Aine Crozes-Hermitage Domaine Thalabert, 1980
Thursday, November 25, 2021
Sokol Blosser Orchard Block Pinot Noir, 2009
Light Pinot color. Intense, concentrated smells and flavors. Blackberries, dark cherries, cassis and lemon peel. Silky texture but there is nothing shy or delicate about this wine. Big in the mouth with intense, grippy tannins and acidity. Flavors that expand and fill the mouth.
On their website, Sokol Blosser is offering a three vintage vertical (2013, 2014 and 2015) for $270. That's too much for me to pay, even for a wine of such quality. But if you have that kind of money to spend on wine and like Oregon Pinot, I don't think you will be disappointed.
Wednesday, November 24, 2021
Domaine Roger Lassarat Pouilly-Fuisse Racines, 2005
Sunday, November 21, 2021
Delas Cotes du Rhone St.-Esprit, 2017
Deep ruby. 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache. And it's showing mostly Syrah traits right now. Black raspberrries, cassis, violets. Very aromatic. The winemaker's note mentions "delicate tannins," but I would call them friendly rather than delicate. Tannins are ripe and balanced by acidity. Has a rich, full bodied mouth feel. Pleasantly warm (14%) but no sharp edges. This is a very good wine but I suspect that the 2018 and 2019 vintages will be even better.
Friday, November 19, 2021
Giorgio Pelissero Langhe Nebbiolo, 2012
Good ruby red color. Has clearly seen some aging in barriques. The bouquet, though, has the Nebbiolo profile: dark cherries, roses, vanilla. Perhaps a bit understated but still beautiful. Tar and licorice show up on the palate along with red raspberries more than cherries. Tannic and acidic, as you might suspect, but not as broad shouldered as Barolo. Nuances that tease and please and just keep coming on the finish. I still have a couple of bottles but will be in no hurry to drink them.
Wednesday, November 17, 2021
Couloir Roma's Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, 2007
Medium light ruby, getting lighter at the rim. Bright and clear. Berries, berries, berries with a touch of flowers, cinnamon and other spices. The bouquret is worth the price of admission, but the wine gets even better on the tongue. Lovely Pinot texture. Fresh, ripe berries everywhere, blending seamlessly with the acid and tannins. Long, long finish. At a perfect stage of maturity, but I get the feeling that it is going to stay that way for quite some time.
Roma's vineyard is at the deep end of the Anderson Valley on a mountain ridge at 1,850 feet.
Monday, November 15, 2021
Les Comtes de Ribeauville Cuvee Prestige Pinot Blanc, 20187
Light, bright yellow. Scents of fresh pears, spice and flowers.Medium bodied. Very agreeable flavors with some subtle nuances on the finish. Not as tart as some of my favorite Michigan Pinot Blancs but certainly dry. I will go back for more.
Friday, November 12, 2021
Domaine Sainte-Anne Cotes du Rhone Villages Notre Dame des Cellettes, 2004
The cork comes out cleanly with almost no stain except on the very bottom. I don't think storage is the problem. The color is murky with paper-like sediment that comes out into my first glass. Burnt wood smells and smoky flavors. Not much to like. The wine has none of the wet cardboard smells that I associate with cork taint, and it is not seriously oxidized--just flat and somewhat bitter. If the wine is sliding rapidly downhill, at least it's my last bottle. And it's no reflection on other vintages such as 1998 and 2000, which have shown beautifully in the past year. All of the Sainte-Anne wines age very well.
The Vinum 002 Langhe Rosso, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2021
Chateau Redortier Gigondas, 2012
Bright red, deep and dark. As soon as I pop the cork, I can smell the Gigondas goodness: cherries, blueberries, violets and talc. Power and beauty. Voluptuous body that teases with its underlying charm. Still has some tannins bracing the mid-palate, but that's part of the Gigondas package. In a couple of years, the fruit will gain some complexity but with some fading of the hallmark power.
Saturday, November 6, 2021
Olivier Leflaive Saint-Aubin 1er Cru en Remilly, 1999
Friday, November 5, 2021
Chateau Patache d'Aux Medoc, 1983
Wednesday, November 3, 2021
Vignerons du Mont Ventoux Cuvee des Trois Messes Basses Rouge, 2018
Sunday, October 31, 2021
Tenuta Arnulfo Costa di Bussia Barbera d'Alba, 2014
Bright ruby red, lightening in tone around the rim. Beautifully aromatic with scents of cherries, strawberries, licorice and mint. I have had this wine frequently over the last several years, and it seems to be at a good stage of maturity right now. French oak tannins have melted to let the red berry fruit to show through. One of my favorite mid-priced Barberas.
Saturday, October 30, 2021
Edna Road 500 Ranch Edna Valley Chardonnay, 2019
Wednesday, October 27, 2021
Pelassa Antaniolo Roero Riserva, 2011
Medium light ruby. Scents of red berries, roses, spices and licorice. The latter is not as pronounced as in some Barolos but well defined and beautiful. Plenty of tannin on the mid-palate. Creates a sense of dryness but lets the fruit shine through. Cascade of flavors on the long finish. Beautiful wine for drinking now and over the next decade.
Monday, October 25, 2021
Casa Santos Lima Confidencial Reserva Tinto Lisboa, 2017
Very dark, bluish. Even though the label speaks of "traditional fermentation techniques," the long maceration and oak aging also mentioned are really modern and international. From the time the cork is popped, the wine gushes with red berry scents, very ripe red raspberries. Flavors are sumptuously ripe, with a toasty element, but carried by acidity that keeps you coming back for more. On the second night, the tannins are more evident. This is a wine to buy and enjoy now. But if you buy more than you can drink right away, be aware that it may go into a mute period for a few years before emerging with greater depth and complexity.
Saturday, October 23, 2021
E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone, 2015
Deep ruby, bright and clear. Blackberries, cassis, smoke. Medium to full bodied. Still has substantial tannin on the mid-palate. Wish I had waited a few years on this one. Good fruit on the finish, though. Guigal's CDR has a good reputation for aging and is a good value at about $12 to $15 a bottle.
Thursday, October 21, 2021
Domaine de la Tourade Vacqueyras, 2011
Deep crimson. Dark, earthy tones typical of Vacqueyras. Blackberries, anise, leather and a pleasant (for me) touch of barnyard. Bold fruit with matching acidity. More aggressive than the 2008 vintage of this wine that I enjoyed several years ago. 2008 was a lesser vintage but I consumed the wine at five to eight years of age.
Monday, October 18, 2021
Pithon-Paille Anjour Mozaik Blanc, 2017
Deeper gold than I expect from a 2017 wine. This wine probably won't last for decades as my favorite Sanennieres from Domaine Baumard do, but I'm sure it will keep well and develop for a few more years. Very full bodied with legs that cling to the inside of the glass. Yet the alcohol level is only 12%. Blood orange, quince, minerals--rich and vibrant flavors and smells. Deep and concentrated. Good fruit/acid balance and a long, complex finish. A perfect match for shrimp pasta but would go well with pork or chicken.