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."