Tasting Notes Blog - Printer-Friendly Version - APRIL 2019
by Dick Scheer Updated May 30, 2019
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Wednesday, April 24, 2019
WT042419-01. 17 SAVOIE CHIGNIN, DOMAINE JEAN-FRANCOIS QUENARD - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 11.5%; all jacquere. Lightly scented. Reminds me of a high altitude pinot blanc./ The flavor is subtle too. The acidity is well buffered, well padded. 16.3.
WT042419-02. 17 SOMMERACHER KATZENKOPF SILVANER KABINETT TROCKEN, WINZER SOMMERACH - (GERMANY) 12.5%.Very nice and clear view of silvaner. Light pear and apple notes. No earthiness./ Medium trocken; not austere; has padding. Subtly flavored in the Franken mode. Good acidity, especially for silvaner. Versatile at the table. 16.4.
WT042419-03. 17 SOMMERACHER KATZENKOPF RIESLING KABINETT TROCKEN, WINZER SOMMERACH - (GERMANY) 11.5%. Very delicate--and correct--riesling fruit-flower aroma profile./ Dry. Not pushing the fragrant stuff. Good acidity. Versatile at the table. What Franken does at riesling, and what makes them popular in the home market. 16.4.
WT042419-04. 17 SAUMUR BLANC LES POUCHES, CAVE DE SAUMUR - (FRANCE LOIRE) 12.5%. Fresh, Chenin quince and lime. 17 bright fruit. About the best vintage yet in terms of fruit clarity./ Yes, juicy and vigorous 2017 all the way. 16.9.
WT042419-05. 17 COTES DE GASCOGNE COLOMBARD - SAUVIGNON, DOMAINE DE MENARD - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 11.5%. Always the combo of richness and raciness./ Yes, with a distinctiveness born of the varietal set. Total overall balance and quality. Ever dependable. 16.9.
WT042419-06. 18 BARKER'S MARQUE THREE BROOMS SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC - (NEW ZEALAND) 13.5%. Some sulphur under screwcap. Both bright and rich fruit. But the sulphur persists, so decant it before serving./ The lightly scratchy palate calls for some aeration relief too. 15.9+.
WT042419-08. 17 PELEE ISLAND WINERY ONTARIO PINOT NOIR - (CANADA) 13%. Retarded to start, it opens to a ripe, northern pinot noir aromatic set./ Crisp and lifted. Pinot cherry flavor--cherry hard candy. Makes sense to decant it first. 16.5+.
WT042419-09. 15 DOS ALMAS GRAN RESERVA CASABLANCA VALLEY PINOT NOIR - (CHILE) 12.5%. Rich and true varietal character, sweet fruited, barrel and bottle aged bouquet development./ Light to medium bodied. A bit fluid. 16.3/15.5.
WT042419-10. 16 PELEE ISLAND WINERY RUGGLES RUN ONTARIO GAMAY - ZWEIGELT - (CANADA) 13%. Fresh, bright, and logical combo of compatible varietal qualities. Delightfully ripe, northern-grown grape varieties./ Yes, full flavor, race, varietal definitions in tandem. Great acid, and fine tannin. Gotta love the price-quality ratio. 16.7.
WT042419-11. 16 LISBOA BIGODE, DFJ VINHOS - (PORTUGAL) 13%. Rich and right. Deep red and black fruits. Really generous, and well poised./ Sweet fruited and typical of its genre. Medium bodied. Yet another good value tinto from Portugal. 16.4.
WT042419-12. 16 COTES DU RHONE PASSION TERROIRS, PONT DU RHONE - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 13%. Light, sweetish, and mainly vinous nose. Smoky. Perhaps some press wine./ Medium bodied. OK value. 15.4.
WT042419-13. 17 FINCA EL ORIGEN ESTATE RESERVA VALLE DE UCO MALBEC - (ARGENTINA) 14.2%. Dry and lean for this cuvee./ Yeah, dry. No fun at all at this stage. These are usually much richer and more demonstrative.14.0+?
WT042419-14. 17 GNARLY HEAD OLD VINE LODI ZINFANDEL - (US. WEST COAST) 14.5%. The sweet ripeness of Lodi fruit seems modulated by old vines concentration and seemingly some oak influence./ Yes, Lodi sweet and round, with old vines concentration and oak extras. If that‛s done (at this price) with oak chips, that‛s OK. It‛s well done. 16.4.
WT042419-15. 12 CIGALES TINTA DEL PAIS RESERVA, FINCA MUSEUM - (SPAIN) 14.5%. Mature. Full bouqueted. Sweet fruit persists./ Yes, very sweet and ripe fruit basis. With fine, residual tannin to balance. This will have wide appeal. 16.6.
WT042419-16. FRATELLI BLAZE SEMI SWEET UKRAINE FRIZZANTE WHITE - (SPARKLING) 11.5%. Pleasing, lightly fruity nose./ Sweet and fizzy. Moderate flavor intensity. All around attractive. 16.1.
WT042419-17. FRATELLI BLAZE SEMI SWEET UKRAINE FRIZZANTE ROSE - (SPARKLING) 11.5%. Shows aromatic red varietal qualities and skin contact influencing aroma as well as color./ The sweetness has a cranberry tart foil. 16.4.
WT042419-18. FRATELLI BLAZE SEMI SWEET UKRAINE FRIZZANTE RED - (SPARKLING) 11.5%. Less fruit intensity. Has some labrusca or hybrid foxiness. Baco? Earlier ripening varieties called for on the cold steppes of the Ukraine. 16.2.
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
WT041719-01. 17 LEESE-FITCH CALIFORNIA SAUVIGNON BLANC - (U.S. WEST COAST) 13.5%; 12% colombard. Sweet and fruity California take on sauvignon blanc. A good example of its genre, stressing the citrus elements of sauvignon./ More of the friendly stuff, plus good acidity. Flavor, feel, length. Spot on. 16.3.
WT041719-02. 16 ALSACE PINOT AUXERROIS, ALBERT SELTZ - (FRANCE ALSACE) 14.5%; at Mittelbergheim. Subtle apple and cream aromatic set of this variety in a Bas Rhin setting. Certainly hides its alcohol well./ Fruit, texture, body. Well managed power. Fabulous texture, really. I mean, the alcohol helps to provide body, bulk, and mouthfeel that direct this straight to the dinner table. 16.3.
WT041719-03. 18 SAVOIE JONGIEUX ROSE, DOMAINE EUGENE CARREL - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 12.5%. A treat. Really full of strawberries and blossoms. Lithe and sweet smelling. Everything‛s upbeat./ Full flavored and textured. Fruit sweetness and acidity in perfect harmony. No waitin‛, no hesitatin‛. 17.0.
WT041719-04. 18 MORGON GRAND CRU, CHATEAU DE PIZAY - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 13%; Gold Medal - Internat'l du Gamay. Sweet Morgon gamay cherry aroma. Ease and freshness. Ready to apply Morgon that really pushes forth the cherry fruit./ Great acid plus a streak of peels astringency that properly balance the sweet fruit succulence. Another wine of immediacy. Which is exceptional for this appellation. 16.9.
WT041719-05. 17 BEAUJOLAIS VILLAGES COTEAUX DE COLETTE, DOMAINE DE COLETTE - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 12.5%; in AOC Regnie. Actually fuller bodied than the Morgon. A sizeable Villages worthy of Regnie Grand Cru. I suppose the domaine chose the more familiar appellation for the wine‛s title. Plenty of fruit and grip here./ Sequesters much of its fruit flavor at this stage. Firm framing and gripping texture. Well poised. 16.5+.
WT041719-06. 16 BOURGOGNE PINOT NOIR, COLLECTION ALAIN CORCIA - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 12%; at Savigny les Beaune. Pleasing from the start. Nothing 2016 lean about it The fruit is adequately ripe, the texture 2016 tailored. Becoming even fruitier as it airs. Yes, this is a rightful 16 Burgundy pinot./ Elevated acidity betrays 2016. Medium bodied. Useful at the table now and will likely improve with some cellaring. 16.4+.
WT041719-07. 17 SUSANA BALBO CRIOS MENDOZA MALBEC - (ARGENTINA) 13.5%. Large, sweet, black, strong. Swollen fruit pleasures./ Yes, this really delivers. Full of sweet fruit, power, oak framing, texture, and fine tannin. Oodles of flavor. A wine of abundance. 16.7. List price: $16.
WT041719-08. 17 MARCHIGUE GRAN RESERVA MAPA COLCHAGUA VALLEY CARMENERE - (CHILE) 14%. Large, compact, full, strong. Wow. A really well built carmenere brimming with black fruit./ The richness and sweetness of carmenere exploited fully. None of the banal elements that sneak into many a lesser carmenere. Fine acid-sweetness balance. Well priced for this measure of size and quality. 16.7.
WT041719-09. 17 DE WET EXCELSIOR ROBERTSON CABERNET SAUVIGNON - (SOUTH AFRICA) 14%. No brett, no dekk. All clear, New World, warm climate cabernet fruit, black and varietal./ Full, fine fruit. The right measures of acid and tannin. Great dinner wine value. Always is. 16.3.
WT041719-10. 17 COTES DU RHONE, CHATEAU DU TRIGNON - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 14%; at Gigondas. Very sweet and black peppery. Clear and pure product of a fermentation that favors whole clusters. A great vintage of this. Yes!/ Full garrigue flavor set of the Trignons of yore. Robert Mayberry would be proud. Cracked peppercorn and Provencal summer airs. Great acid, sweetness, and flow. Juicy mealtime Cotes du Rhone. Best vintage since it‛s come back on the market. 16.9.
WT041719-11. 16 VINA ROBLES ESTATE RED4 PASO ROBLES RED - (U.S. WEST COAST) 14.5%; 40% each petite sirah, syrah; 10% each mourvedre, grenache. Frankly Paso ripe and fruity./ Good power, mouthfeel, sweetness, and breadth. 16.2.
WT041719-12. 15 CHATEAU BELLEVUE PEYCHARNEAU, SAINTE FOY BORDEAUX - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 14.5%; 70% merlot, 30% cab sauv; 12 months in barrels, 1/3 new; Gold Medal - Bordeaux. Sweet and full 2015. Large and bold at 14.5%. Barrel aging embellishments. Wears everything well. One loaded Sainte Foy./ Palate is not 2015 fruity though, at least not at this stage. Tannin constrains the fruit. One ambitious claret. 16.5+.
WT041719-13. 15 MONTEVINA SKYLAND RIDGE AMADOR ZINFANDEL - (U.S. WEST COAST) 14.5%. Comes on bold and frank. Amador singed fruit. Structure and extract over fruit sweetness./ Palate offers more fruit amplitude. No oak evident. Decidedly good value. 16.0+. List price: $13.
WT041719-14. 12 CIRO CLASSICO SUPERIORE RISERVA DUCA SAN FELICE, LIBRANDI - (ITALY) 14.5%; aged 30 months in seasoned cooperage. Full, strong, young, oaky. Shows long maturation in cooperage more than barrel extracts./ Surprisingly youthful. This gaglioppo grape variety can surely support cellarworthy wines. Pleasing measure of fruit as well as barrel contributions. No hurry to consume this one. 16.5+.
WT041719-15. 17 ALSACE GEWURZTRAMINER SIGNATURE, DOMAINE ROBERT KLINGENFUS - (FRANCE ALSACE) 13%; at Molsheim. Certainly not pomaded or pushy. Aromatics true to the variety in a toned down Bas Rhin rendition./ Viscous. 17 sweet fruited. Medium bodied. 16.2.
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
WT041019-01. 17 VOUVRAY LE HAUT LIEU SEC, DOMAINE HUET - (FANCE LOIRE) 13%. Dry, full, and etched. Quince prominent./ 2017 ease. Sec tendre, really. Not as chalky as the 2014 brought by an attendee. Unique. 16.6.
WT041019-02. 17 POUILLY VINZELLES, LES GRANDS CRUS BLANCS - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 13.5%. Just the right sort of 2017 fruitiness. No oak evident. Vinzelles body and intensity, Maconnais chardonnay style./ Yes, ful, sweetly fruity. Come hither. The right fruit acid and roundness balance. 17.0.
WT041019-03. 17 VALLEE D'AOSTE PETITE ARVINE, AZ. AGR. ELIO OTTIN - (ITALY) 14.5%. Whoa! Full like Cote Chalonnais white burgundy. Petite in name alone. Must be a variety with small grapes and high peel-to-pulp ratio. This is powerful. Seems to have had some barrel aging. Large charge./ Body, volume, power, singularity. Worth the tariff. 17.3.
WT041019-04. 17 SAVOIE MONDEUSE, LE CAVEAU SAVOYARD - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 12%. Concentrated, singular, high altitude variety. Deep, dark, and spicy./ Clove-cinnamon highlights. From barrel aging. Special qualities that differentiate it from its peers. 16.7.
WT041019-05. 17 LANGHE NEBBIOLO, AZ. VITIVINICOLA PAOLO SCAVINO - (ITALY) 14%. This is good! Top form and 2017 fruit revelations in the modern Scavino style. Spicy. From barrel aging?/ Yes, Scavino and 2017 sweet and revealing, with power, tannin, and structure to boot. Promises to be full-bouqueted at maturity. 16.9+.
WT041019-06. 17 LEFT FOOT CHARLEY BENZIE-GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTIES BLAUFRANKISCH - (U.S. MICHIGAN) 13%. Sweet. well-appointed fruit. Some barrel aging signs. Fine 2017 ripeness and wholesome fruit bounty. Complete showing of its genre./ Soft and enticing. Made to please early. 16.6.
WT041019-07. 17 BOURGOGNE HAUTES COTES DE BEAUNE PINOT NOIR, CHATEAU DE MERCEY - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 11-14%. Bright in the 2017 style. Dark, fruit peel grip and solidity of a Hautes Cotes pinot. Beautiful highlights of fruits and flowers seldom seen in Hautes Cotes wines. That's 2017!/ Sweet and easy pinot cherry and cherry blossom. Not a bit of the rusticity. 16.9.
WT041019-08. 16 VALLEE D'AOSTE PINOT NOIR, AZ. AGR. ELIO OTTIN - (ITALY) 13%. Cool, high altitude pinot race and sleek sheen. Some oak augmentation./ Surprisingly sweet and suave on the palate. Racy fruit and fine oak. Additional bottle age will coax forth more aromatic push. 16.6+.
WT041019-09. 16 BOUZA ESTATE RESERVA MONTEVIDEO TANNAT - (URUGUAY) 14.5%; Las Violetas & Melilla vineyards; 16 months in French & American oak barrels. Cherry-berry New World fruit openness plus tannat form and grip. And generous, complexing oak savors. Yow./ Full body. Flavors of plum and of oak. Barrel augmented textural range and suavity. Fully ripe tannat. 17.3+.
WT041019-10. 15 CHATEAU LARCIS JAUMAT, GRAND CRU, SAINT EMILION - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 14%; 85% merlot, 15% cab sauv. Sweet and open knit. Much more so in 2015 than 2012 here./ However, on the palate, just as tannic and bearish as the 2012 was in youth. Cannot fathom its depths at this stage. 15.5++.
WT041019-11. 15 BARBARESCO, FRANCO SERRA - (ITALY) 14%. Nice 15 ripeness. This really plumps up the often firm, dry style of this wine. Sweet oak spices and cherry./ Yes, sweet, open, and spicy. Barbaresco racy. All nicely contained by tannic structure and countered by tannic grip. 16.5+.
WT041019-12. 15 ROMAGNA SUPERIORE SANGIOVESE RISERVA CONTE DI COVIGNANO,, SOC. AGR. SAN VALENTINO - (ITALY) 14.5% 2015 ripe fruit, barrel aged complex, Romagna sangiovese racy, riserva upscale quality. Really large for Romagna sangiovese. Rivals a Chianti Classico Riserva./ Both sweet fruited and tannic. Refined and well balanced. Shows the way, actually. 16.7+..
WT041019-13. 12 MASSAYA TERRASSES DE BAALBECK BEQAA VALLEY ROUGE - (LEBANON) 14.5%; 55% grenache, 30% mourvedre,, 15% syrah; 18 months in French oak vats. Wow, well developed barrel and bottle bouquets. Oak spices, botanicals, fruit perfumes. Great range, ripeness, power, and oak influence./ Sweet and concentrated. It‛s a GSM but no Chateauneuf knockoff. Its own thing. Fully stuffed. Put it to use. 17.1.
WT041019-14. 07 RIOJA GRAN RESERVA, MARQUES DE RISCAL - (SPAIN) 14%. Deep, fresh, bright fruit. Lovely barrel age achievements as well. Totally accomplished 2007./ Yes, sweet fruit and barrel. Seems timeless. You just have to keep these Riscals in the cellar awhile to earn the rewards. They‛re Riojas the way Riojas used to be made. A wow wine with melted tannins, so can be put to use. No need to rush the process though. 17.9.
WT041019-15. 09 CARMES DE CHATEAU RIEUSSEC, SAUTERNES - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 13.5%. Ripe, mature, brassy. Enhanced by barrel aging. 2009 sweet. Rieussec loaded./ Peach, apricot, pineapple, and buckwheat honey. Power, countered by sweetness. Ready to serve. 16.8.
Wednesday, April 3, 2019
WT040319-01. 18 CHATEAU LA GRAVIERE, ENTRE DEUX MERS - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 13%; at Saint Genes de Lombaud. Just out of the box freshness. Sauvignon vigor./ Yes, eager to please. Fulls out as it airs, and will even more-so as it progresses through spring and summer. Orders taken. 16.0+.
WT040319-02. 18 SANCERRE L'AUTHENTIQUE, DOMAINE THOMAS LABAILLE - (FRANCE LOIRE) 13%; at Chavignol. Fresh, and pushing toward fulfillment. Still some residual fermentation aromas which will have passed by the time high season for Sancerre arrives./ Yeah, still a vestige of banana and Fleers. Tempered acidity. A pleasing, early release cuvee the will progress nicely over the coming months. 16.6+.
WT040319-03. 17 MACON-LUGNY LES CRAYS, JOSEPH DROUHIN - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 13%. Full, fruity, fresh, rightful Villages chardonnay in the silky, racy Drouhin style. Ventilating chalky nuance./ Yes, Lugny's superior size. Vintage fruitful and inviting. Wide applications. 16.5+.
WT040319-04. 17 GRAYSON CELLARS LOT 11 CALIFORNIA CHARDONNAY - (U.S. WEST COAST) 13.5%. Light oak and fruit. Still on the shy side./ Sweetish fruit; easy to assimilate. Not as filled out and giving yet as the 2016. Shows the potential to be so. 15.9+.
WT040319-05. 17 COTES DU RHONE BLANC SAINT ESPRIT, DELAS - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 13.5%. Full and bright. Has the body and vinosity of low-aromatics varieties grenache blanc. Very subtle viognier floral highlight./ Rich, complex, and emphatic mealtime blanc. Rhone white in its natural setting. 16.3+.
WT040319-06. 17 MCMANIS FAMILY ESTATE RIVER JUNCTION VIOGNIER - (U.S. WEST COAST) 13.5%. True, subtle, fine. It's all here. With aeration, it spreads its peacock's tail and gives a dazzling aromatic display of honeysuckle and orange blossom./ Rich and round. Acidity modulated by viognier glycerol. Full flavor and texture for food. Acidity and astringency come forth on the back palate, establishing harmony as well as entertainment. Fully up to the best vintages of this. 16.7+.
WT040319-07. 17 MANCHUELA BOBAL OLD VINES, 11 PINOS - (SPAIN) 13.5%; vines averaging 80 years. Oh, incredible aromatic intensity and spread attributable to old vines. Sweet black fruit that's bobal at its best./ Round, deep, inviting fruit creme flavor and feel. So generous. All you can derive from humble bobal. Best vintage yet. 16.7+.
WT040319-08. 17 ALICANTE MONASTRELL TARIMA, BODEGAS VOLVER - (SPAIN) 14.5%. Black, concentrated, powerful. Full of dry matter, mourvedre purple and black plum aromas./ Rich, full, and round. What power and size and give for the price! One of the most intense in the series. 16.7+.
WT040319-09. 17 MUD HOUSE CENTRAL OTAGO PINOT NOIR - (NEW ZEALAND) 13.5%. Clearly the best vintage yet. Likely the vines are coming to proper maturity. Finally the richness and depth expected of a Central Otago pinot. Lovely, ripe, spicy pinot noir aromas and none of a Marlborough pinot's typical herbaceous nature./ Yes, this nails it! Central Otago all the way, at half the average price. Some kind of bargain! 16.9+.
WT040319-10. 17 LOS VASCOS ESTATE COLCHAGUA CABERNET SAUVIGNON - (CHILE) 14%; Domaines Barons de Rothschild Lafite. Good show. Sweet, New World cabernet fruit, Lafite measured and discreet rather than powerful and blowsy. The wonderful Chilean cabernet sauvignon precision, varietal clarity and accuracy./ Sweet fruit with light oak lacings. Great acidity keeps everything in balance. It's at once come hither and 'serious'. 16.6.
WT040319-11. 16 COLLINES RHODANIENNES SYRAH, CAVE DE TAIN - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 12%; est. 1933. Some reduction that comes with vintages of this the require more SO2 than the ripest, sunniest years./ Yes, it remains somewhat enclosed, yet the fruit is sweet; this is not dry and tannic syrah. I'm betting it will improve with bottle age. 14.8+.
WT040319-12. 16 DOURO PRAZO DE RORIZ, PRATS & SYMINGTON - (PORTUGAL) 13.5%. This sits right. It reflects a Bordeaux winemaker's influence. Claret styling, with different grape varieties in a warmer setting. It's neither oaky nor overripe nor powerful./ Yes, all in moderation. Sweet fruited and gentle. 16.0+.
WT040319-13. 16 DOURO PRAZO DE RORIZ, PRATS & SYMINGTON - (PORTUGAL) 12.5%; 88% malbec, 12% merlot. Shows maturation and bouquet development in both barrel and bottle. Well textured and aromatically complex. At a useful stage./ Oh, sweet oak and fruit complex. Fine tannin. Long finish. Yes, at a good stage of development. A wow wine in all respects. 17.4.
WT040319-15. 16 CHATEAU LARIBOTTE, SAUTERNES half bottle - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 13%; at Preignac. Brimful of honey, pineapple, and citrus. Very sweet./ Sweetness coats the acidity. Aromatics continue to pour forth. Add almond to the set. Botrytis masked at this stage. Loaded. 17.1+.