Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso, 2008

We have been enjoying this red wine from Mount Etna for several years now, and it is just getting better with each passing year.

Medium light with orange tones around the riml Enticing nose of fresh fruit, flowers and eucaplyptus. The flavors are even better. Ripe cherries, lavender, leather. Some tannic grip but light and elegant on the palate. Good acid. Long finish. Reminds me a lot of a fine red Burgundy.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Chateau Grand Traverse Old Mission Peninsula Gamay Noir Reserve, 2011

I have never been a fan of Michigan red wines, even the highly oaked wines that have emerged over the past two decades carrying high price tags. This Gamay Noir from Chateau Grand Traverse grabbed my attention when I first tasted it and still ranks as my No. 1 Michigan red. I have been putting away a few bottles every vintage to see how the wine ages. This bottle tells me that it ages beautifully, at least over 11 years.

More garnet than ruby in color but bright and clear. A bouquet of freesh fruit and flowers. Tart cherry and pomegranate with gingery spice on the lively mid-palate and a beautiful peppery finish. Has a lot of similarity to an Oregon Pinot Noir. Light in body, big in flavor. 13.8% alcohol is just right. I will keep buying and cellaring this little beauty.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Roger Lassarat Pouilly Fuisse Terroir, 2013

I had several heavenly bottles of Roger Lassarat's 2005 Pouilly Fuisse Racine when the wine was 14 to 16 years of age. That's why I was in no hurry to drink this nine-year-old Lassarat Pouilly Fuisse, even though the fruit was not from a prized single vineyard as the Racine was. My patience with this Terroir bottling was a mistake.

Deep yellow but lacks the brilliance of the 2005 Racine. The smells and flavors have some interesting floral and fruit nuances but they are a bit tired. This wine would have been lovely a few years ago, but tonight it doesn't measure up to the brilliance of the 2005 Racine.

Chateau Haut Bages Liberal Pauillac, 1986

English wine writer Clive Coates and other critics gave this 1986 Haut Bages Liberal high marks when it was released in the 1980s. Wine drinkers on Cellar Tracker have also given it high praise in the past year, but I was somewhat disappointed in this bottle.

Medium to light garnet. More dark cherry than blackcurrant but some cassis, leather, lead pencil, tobacco. A bit funky around the edges but I don't think it is corked. When given proper attention, the wine offers up some complex flavors on the mid-palate and finish

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Vignai da Duline Ronco Pitotti Colli Orientali Friuli Pinot Grigio, 2017

Pinot Grigio has many faces; this may be the most attractive I have encountered. Imported by Kermit Lynch, it comes from one of the best appellations for Pinot Grigio and from vines planted in 1940 and 1958. 

Deep, full yellow. Beautiful scents of white and yellow flowers, subtle but persistent. Flavors of Red Haven peaches and minerals with a hint of almonds on the finish. Great acidity and a subtle, persistent finish. On the Kermit Lynch website, Dustin Soiseth, seeking a one-word description, is torn between "complete" and "delicious." It is clearly both, and Soiseth settles on a two-word description: "completely delicious." I agree.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Pithon Paille Anjou Mozaik, 2017

This has been available for several months at WineBid as a buy-now wine for $11.99 or at auction for a reserve of $10. If you have some, I suggest that you give it plenty of time to air. And it is best only slightly chilled, if at all. It is authentic Loire Chenin Blanc, after all.

Deep gold color. As I say, takes awhile to start showing its best. Ripe melon, lemon, poached apples, honey and straw. True to Chenin Blanc form, it is highly acidic but with broad as well as intense flavors that become increasingly complex and interesting. I could spend hours getting to know this wine. I have bought a few bottles already but may go back for more.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Ici/La-Bas Les Reveles Elke Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, 2006

Ici/La Bas is made by Jim Clendenen, maker of excellent Pinot Noir and Chardonnay at Au Bon Climat. The grapes come from Mary Elke's excellent vineyards in the Anderson Valley, and the juice was matured in 75% new French oak. I have had it before, and, fortunately, I will have it again because it is a special wine.

Medium deep ruby, dark for a Pinot. Cherries, rhubarb, cinnamon and aromatic spices. The right amount of earth. Great energy on the palate. Flavors start on the mid-palate and expand from there. Anderson Valley fruit purity. At least as good as the last bottle and may be getting better. Great with salmon.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Domaine Oratoire Saint Martin Cairanne Reserve des Seigneurs, 2015

My experience with Oratoire Saint Martin Cairanne tells me to drink the Reserve des Seigneurs several years earlier than the Prestige (now known as Les Douyes). Seven years after the vintage seems to be perfect for this 2015.

Deep and dark with medium ruby at the rim. This bottling has 30% Mourvedre to go with 60% Grenache and 10% Syrah. Most of the Mourvedre  and Grenache come from vines planted in the 1950s, and the wine was matured in concrete vats. The Mourvedre and Syrah undoubtedly give it the dark color. Cherry berry scents but some black raspberries too along with violets, thyme and aromatic spices. Beautifully balanced with ripe tannins that frame the fruit balanced by fresh acidity. All the beauty of a young Southern Rhone but with the depth, complexity and seriousness that define Domaine Oratoire Saint Martin.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Edna Road Ranch 500 Edna Valley Chardonnay, 2019

Through Google, I can't find any mention of an Edna Road or Ranch 500 winery. I bought the wine for $8.99 from Trader Joe's and suspect that it was a special purchase from a well known winery. It is a "mystery bottle," so to speak, and my guess is that it might come from Tolosa, which is located at 4910 Edna Road and has excellent vineyards in Edna Valley, well known for fine Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Beautiful bright lemon yellow. Buttered apples and pears with a squeeze of lemon. An elegant Chardonnay with medium body and strong, persistent flavors. Good acidity from the cool climate of Edna Valley. Nuances that I didn't find in this wine six months ago. A good wine getting better. Glad I bought a few bottles because it disappeared quickly from my local Trader Joe's.

Monday, November 14, 2022

Chateau La Tour St. Bonnet Cru Bourgeouis Medoc, 1990


The label on this wine clearly reads: "LATOUR ST. BONNET," but current vintages are now sold as Tour St. Bonnet, presumably because of proprietary issues. This is clearly a Bourgeois Cru from the Medoc rather than the well known first growth Chateau Latour. After 32 years, though, it has nothing to be ashamed of.

Remarkably dark and deep,, more like a young wine than a 32-year-old. No new oak; the wine was matured in large, neutral oak barrels. Assertive bouquet, fruity and floral. The wine is 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 5% Malbec and 5% Petit Verdot. Malbec cherry is quite prominent, though, in the smells and flavors. And the floral qualities are like those of Petit Verdot. Also some  Merlot currant and Cabernet cassis.  I have had this wine many times over the past two decades, and this bottle may well be the best of rhe lot. Not at all old.. I bought it becuse of its reputation as a good value Bourgeois Cru Bordeaux. And tonight it is living up to that reputation.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Damilano Langhe Nebbiolo Marghe, 2010

The one word that keeps coming into my mind to describe this wine is "deep." It is very deep and serious and lovely. Damilano has excellent vineyards in Barolo, and this Nebbiolo is built like a Barolo, deep and powerful.

Light ruby, clear and bright. Considerable sediment. For the first hour or so, it takes a lot of swirling to get to the aromas centering on dark cherry and black licorice. Deep rather than pretty, lures you in slowly with its power. As I expected, gets better and better with each sip. Ripe Nebbiolo fruit on a sturdy carriage of acidity. Deep, lasting finish. I am so glad I have one more bottle of this wine.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Vignerons du Mont Ventoux Cuvee des 3 Messes Basses Ventoux, 2018

This is one of my go-to wines that I open when we are having pizza, leftovers or even a special meal. It is always lovely and always brings a smile to my face.

Deep and bright ruby. Grenache (50%) Carignan (30%) and Syrah (20%), vinified separately and aged in concrete vats. Captivating aromas of fruit and spices beginning to develop into a mature bouquet. Red berries, spice, pepper. Garrigue to give it lift. Rich in fruit and flavor and a long finish. For me, this is what Ventoux (one of my favorite Southern Rhone appellations) is all about.

At $10 to $12 a bottle, this is, in my opinion, an excdellent value. I am disappointed that so few stores in Southwest Michigan carry and promote it.


Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Wind Gap Woodruff Vineyard (Santa Cruz Mountain) Chardonnay, 2012

This 10-year-old Chardonnay is drinking beautifully right now. Deep gold color. Powerful and persistent bouquet. Buttered apples, caramelized, plus lemon creme, honey and roasted nuts. Rich on the mid-palate. French oak qualities are nicely moderated by natural fruit acidity. Complex fruit flavors on a well balanced finish. The color of this wine will get even deeper, but the strong fruit presence is likely to continue indefinitely. Does not smell or taste old.

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Shoofly South Australia Shiraz, 2017

Recent bottles of this wine have been a bit closed, but this one tonight is singing, as it did in July, 2020 when I had it at a Tasters Guild dinner. It is a good value at $10 to $15 a bottle.

Deep and dark. Blackberries and sweet oak spice. Just a touch of pepper on the finish. More acidity than I would expect from an Ausside Shiraz,, but the grapes come from relatively cool vineyards in McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek, Padthaway and Wrattenbully.. Plush on the mid-palate and a ripe finish.

Friday, November 4, 2022

Famille Perrin Ventoux Rouge, 2019

This wine from Famille Perrin reminds me of the estate's La Vieille Ferme wines produced from Ventoux Vineyards back in the 1980s and 1990s. With the price of Ventoux grapes increasing, La Vieille Ferme now comes from less expensive grapes from unidentified regions of Southern France. This Ventoux, however, carries on the tradition at a similarly low price--$5.99 for many months and now $6.97 (for the 2020 vintage) at Plum Market in Ann Arbor.

Deep and bright ruby red. This wine has more Carignan and Cinsault than Grenache and Syrah, but the youthful flavors are still similar. Strawberries, cherries, violets and spice. Medium to full bodied with good acidity from the relatively cool climate of the Ventoux slopes. Delightful ripe fruit finish.


Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Terramata Barbera d'Alba, 2017

Terramata Barbera d'Alba is produced by a growers' cooperative, Cantina Vignaioli, in the Piedmont area of Italy near the city of Alba. It is reasonably priced (under $15 and sometimes under $10) and a good choice to accompany pizza, pasta or other every day fare.

Medium deep ruby. No blue or purple tints. Strawberries, tart cherries, earth and spices. Not much tannin to get in the way of the bright fruit flavors and with ample acidity to keep it lively. Not as complex as other reasonably priced Barberas, such as Franco Serra and Costa di Bussia, but good fruit flavors and a long finish.