Tasting Notes Blog - Printer-Friendly Version - December 2019
by Dick Scheer
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Monday, December 30, 2019
WT123019-1. 18 CHATEAU CASTELNEAU, ENTRE DEUX MERS - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 13%; 40% each sauvignon blanc, semillon; 20% muscadelle.
Aromatics low key. Perhaps because just shipped./ Understated, flavor-wise also. Good texture throughout. A little rest activate it. 16.2+.
WT123019-2. 18 CHARLES KRUG ST. HELENA SAUVIGNON BLANC' - (U.S. WEST COAST) 13.5%. Nice, crisp pink citrus and soft tropical fruits./ Whoa! This really explodes on the palate. Rich and racy. Both cut and padding. 16.8.
WT123019-3. 18 BARDOLINO CHIARETTO, AZ. AGR. RONCA DI RONCA MASSIMO - (ROSE) 11%. Bright--no, brilliant!--aromatic flair, freshness, coolness. At the top of its game./ Palate falls in stride nicely. Sure has good acidity. 16.6.
WT123019-4. 18 CASTILLA BOBAL ROSE GARDUNO, UNION CAMPESINA INIESTENSE - (ROSE) 13%. Full fruited. Really comes forth. The ingratiating softness of bobal./ Full flavored. Total give and value. 16.6.
WT123019-5. 17 CHATEAU DE BON AMI, BORDEAUX - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 13%; at Le Puy; 45% each cabernet sauvignon, merlot; 10% cabernet franc. Sweet red fruit and easy to enjoy 2017 style. A no brainer./ Yes, 17 gentle, accomplished early. If chaptelized, it was well done. Good acid and tannin for form and texture. 16.4+.
WT123019-6. 16 CHATEAU TOUR DE LUCHEY, BORDEAUX - 14%; at Moulon; 80% merlot, 10% each of the cabernets. It‛s 2016, so it‛s firmer. Nice, burnished texture of 2016 claret. Lovely example./ Good fruit, composure, and the finest of tannin feels. 16.2+.
WT123019-7. 16 CHATEAU LA MARZELLE, BORDEAUX - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 13.5%; at Savignac; 80% merlot, 15% cabernet sauvignon, 5% malbec. Deep, dark, and complicated. Really loaded./ Rich, suave, and balanced 2016 approach. Barrel enhancements. 16.5+.
WT123019-8. 16 CHATEAU CHAUVET, BORDEAUX - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 13%; at Saint Hilaire du Bois; Gold Medals at Lyon and Paris; see notes. Fabulously lush and romantic. There‛s 2016 control too though. Distinguished./ The palate, on the other hand, is closed up and tannic. Put this in the cellar for awhile. 16.5/16.0+.
WT123019-9. 16 CHATEAU TALAISE, BORDEAUX - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 13%; at Saint Hilaire du Bois; Gold Medals at Lyon and Paris; see notes. There seems to be the same owner here. Same commune and awards too. Yet this one is clearly a different wine. Riper and sweeter./ Plenty of fruit in store here. Even handed 2016 claret. 16.3+.
WT123019-10. 16 CHATEAU HAUT BARDIN CUVEE JEAN ROBIN, BORDEAUX - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 13%; at Saint Martial; Gold Medal at Paris; see notes. Full bodied and forthcoming. This one stretches the nostrils./ 16 cool and clarety. Euro. Yes 16.6+.
WT123019-11. 16 CHATEAU JEAN DE BEL AIR, BORDEAUX - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 13.5%; at Saint Martin du Puy; Gold Medals at G&G, Bruxelles, Los Angeles, New York; see notes. Closed up for now. Must have been showier when it took its awards. The issue may be that it was just shipped or that it‛s in a bit of a trough at this stage../ Again, close. Medium bodied. At this stage, not showing its all. Patience, please. 16.0+.
WT123019-12. 16 CHATEAU SUBILAUX, BLAYE COTES DE BORDEAUX - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 14%; Gold Medal at Bordeaux; see notes. This has the superior Blaye range, depth, variegation./ I just had some cheese (mistake!), so the palate is smooth and less adventuresome. Damn! Nonetheless, 16.6+.
WT123019-13. 16 CHATEAU HAUT NADEAU, BORDEAUX SUPERIEUR - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 13.5%; at Targon; Gold Medal at G&G; see notes. The extra largesse and power of Bordeaux Superieur./ Palate still closed and two dimensional. Has the textural goods though. 16.4+.
WT123019-14. 16 CHATEAU ARGADENS, BORDEAUX SUPERIEUR - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 13.5%; at Saint Andre du Bois; 65% merlot, 30% cabernet sauvignon, 5% cabernet franc. More signs of barrel age here (it spent 12 months in barrels)./ Smoothed out by the barrel time influence. Great texture, fine tannin, all. A champion vintage of this one. 16.7+.
WT123019-15. 17 URZIGER WURZGARTEN RIESLING AUSLESE, WEINGUT KARL ERBES - (GERMANY) 7.5%. H2S up front. Rich auslese fruit lurking behind the veil of sulphur./ As usual, less sulphur impact found on the palate. Sweet, concentrated, Wurzgarten spicy. Not much botrytis showing, which highlights the terroir. 16.4
Monday, December 23, 2019
WT122319-1. 17 KRASNO GORISKA BRDA SPARKLING RIBOLLA GIALLA - (SPARKLING) 12%. Not much aroma./ Or taste. Extra dry. See Champagne Brunch notes for a more thorough review. 15.3.
WT122319-2. 17 RAVENTOS I BLANC CONCHA DEL RIU ANOIA DE NIT - (SPARKLING) 12%. Light bottle bouquet./ And taste. Earthy macabeo. Cool. See Champagne Brunch notes for a more thorough review. 15.7.
WT122319-3. 18 SANCERRE DOMAINE DOMINIQUE ET JANINE CROCHET - (FRANCE LOIRE) 13%. Pleasantly elegant and understated./ And so gentle on the approach. Very nice. Said to become more expressive the next day. Good sign. 16.6+.
WT122319-4. 18 SANCERRE LES BELLES DAMES SILEX, DOMAINE GITTON PERE - (FRANCE LOIRE) 13.5%. Sharper, more delineated. Good extract and grip./ Palate rounder and softer. Another come hither 2018. 16.5+.
WT122319-5. 18 SANCERRE LA CHATELLENIE, JOSEPH MELLOT - (FRANCE LOIRE) 13%. This one's really pungent and penetrating, sharp edged. Talks the talk./ Flavorful. Citrus fruits and soft tropical fruits. Good acid in the back and a finely burnished texture. 17.1.
WT122319-6. 18 COTEAUX D'AIX EN PROVENCE ROSE, CHATEAU DE CALAVON - (ROSE) 13%. Oh, good, big, and strong as always. Fulfilled too. Wow!/ Well, that said, there is still some banana and bubble gum fermentation residual on the palate. No problem; this is always a long-keeping winter rose that will come into its own in 2020. 17.0/16.2+.
WT122319-7. 18 PIEMONTE ROSATO LE QUATTRO TERRE, TENUTA LA MERIDIANA - (ROSE) 12.5%. Dainty, and nicely fruity./ Yes, reads the same on the palate. A tender and giving delight for lighter fare. 16.4.
WT122319-8. 18 ILLAHE ESTATE WILLAMETTE VALLEY PINOT NOIR - (U.S. WEST COAST) 14%. Brilliant Oregon pinot noir lucidity, class, and coolness. Fully ripe, with lots of cherry and cranberry fruit and a dab of tar./ Wow, full flavor, acid, padding. Light tannin. Total. Best of a fine series. 17.6+.
WT122319-9. 16 RIVEN ROCK CALIFORNIA CABERNET SAUVIGNON - (U.S. WEST COAST) 13%. Abundantly fruity, without any sense of inland zones at all. All coastal fruit, I'd surmise./ Yes, the fruit is perfectly ripe and retains coastal fruit acidity to form a fond balance. The bonus at this price are the barrel extras of vanilla, caramel, and toast. Yow! 16.6+.
WT122319-10. 16 CROZES HERMITAGE, E. GUIGAL - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 13%. Oh, abundant, sweet northern Rhone syrah set. Totally rich fruit with definitive raspberry and white pepper. Certainly doesn't back off from the monster-score 2015./ Great body, and sweet-acid balance. Full flavor, light tannin. Yes! These folks are on top of it all! 17.1+.
WT122319-11. 16 UMBRIA PERTICAIA, SOC. AGR. PERTICAIA - (ITALY) 13.5%. Balanced and dark and suave amalgam of sangiovese acidity and sagrantino rich, ripe, noble fruit./ Wow! The texture, the harmony of sweetness and acidity. Totally saturates the taste buds. 17.2.
WT122319-12. 16 PRIORAT CLOS DE TAFALL, CLOS BERENGUER - (SPAIN) 14.5%. Powerful, concentrated, intense, fruitful, thorough./ Dry and forceful on the approach. Then alcohol and glycerol form a smoothness. Just another Priorat overachiever. Great acid and abundant fruit. 17.4.
WT122319-13. 15 CHATEAU HYOT, CASTILLON COTES DE BORDEAUX - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 13.5%. Wow, much riper and sweeter than the good 2014. Castillon complexity and Saint Emilion generosity./ Drier and more tannic than the nose suggests. Trace of astringency. Aerate, decant, or give more bottle age to bring the palate forth. 16.6/16.3+.
WT122319-14. VILLA JOLANDA MOSCATO & MANGO - (SPARKLING) 6.5%. Fresher than the previous brand tasted. Still not dense with fruit pulp./ Good. Closer to Moscamango, but not spot on. 16.2.
Wednesday, December 18, 2019
WT121819-2. 10 GRAACHER DOMPROPST RIESLING SPATLESE FEINHERB, WEINGUT MAX FERD. RICHTER - (GERMANY) 11%; est. 1680. Fully up to snuff. Perfectly clear picture of the site‛s riesling, the spatlese concentration, the feinherb degree of dryness, and almost 9 years of bottle age. Lovely bouquet without any signs of terpenes./ Just a wonderful combination of density and flow. 17.4.
WT121819-3. 18 CORBIERES ROSE, VIGNERONS DE CAMPLONG - (ROSE) 14%; Gold Medal - Paris. Full body and character, finely accomplished. Wow, this sings. And it‛s big and generous too./ Yes, gracious, this is a large scale Med rose on the level of a Tavel. 16.8.
WT121819-4. 17 CIRO ROSSO CLASSICO, TENUTA IUZZOLINI - (ITALY) 13%. Clear statement of gaglioppo as always. The grape fits the zone. It ripens fully without excessive warmth and strength. Comes across dry, crisp, and rightly medium bodied.. Yes./ Oh, the taste is very rich without going overboard. Wow, well extracted, sweet fruited, all. A stellar vintage of this. 16.8.
WT121819-5. 17 BARBERA D'ASTI LAVIGNONE, SOC. AGR. PICO MACCARIO - (ITALY) 13.5%. Very fruity as always. What I look for in an Asti Barbera./ Wow, just full of fruit and vigor. Alert and alive. Striking balance of fruit sweetness and acidity. Great mouthfeel. 16.9.
WT121819-6. 17 PEDRONCELLI SIGNATURE SELECTION RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY PINOT NOIR - (U.S. WEST COAST) 13.5%; est. 1927. Tight and right old style California pinot noir. A throwback to the late Sixties and early Seventies, when this wine was receiving high critical acclaim. It hasn‛t changed. Today‛s critics are more taken by sweeter, oakier, blowsier renditions now on the market./ Yes, this is the one I want at the table. Great acidity for mealtime versatility. The grip, the texture, and the varietal character of California pinots of yore. 16.7+.
WT121819-7. 17 GALIL MOUNTAIN WINERY UPPER GALILEE CABERNET SAUVIGNON - (LEBANON) 14.5%. While a sweet and warm Med statement of cabernet sauvignon, this is also high pitched, suggesting Golan Heights origins. Wears its high alcohol well. A lot of give here./ Dark, full, and well endowed in both power and texture. Plenty of varietal precision too. And eminently well balanced. Very impressive. 17.0.
WT121819-8. 17 SAN PEDRO 1865 VALLE DEL MAULE CARMENERE - (CHILE) 14.5%. Intense and pure black currant. Some mistake this for bell pepper, a bane of lesser carmeneres. Sorry, you‛re wrong; it‛s beautiful carmenere black currant; ideal. Plus the always generous and good oak seasoning of San Pedro‛s 1865 range./ Yes, taste of black currant and fine oak toast and caramel. Spot on. 17.1.
WT121819-9. 17 JUMILLA MONASTRELL, BODEGAS JUAN GIL - (SPAIN) 15%. Rich, concentrated, powerful, and full of black plum aroma of mourvedre. Top ripeness for this varietal, with zero raisin,./ Yes, great strength and intensity. Very large wine for hearty fare. 17.0.
WT121819-10. 16 DOURO ASSOBIO ESPORAO, MURCAS - (PORTUGAL) 13%; 40% touriga nacional, 30% each tinta roriz, touriga franca. Tightly wound aromas of tart red fruit/ Full tannin of a Douro tinto. Aromatics still enclosed. Give it more bottle age. 15.9+.
WT121819-11. 16 BERGKELDER FLEUR DU CAP ESSENCE DU CAP WESTERN CAPE PINOTAGE - (SOUTH SFRICA) 14%. Some submit that it‛s lightly corked. I‛m not sure. It‛s certainly pinotage earthy. Full too./ Ripe fruit plus some pniotage horse flesh (dekkera). I‛m not convinced it‛s corked. I certainly preferred the 2015 to this bottle. Maybe we should give it another chance. 15.6.
WT121819-12. 16 COSTERS DEL SEGRE VILOSELL, TOMAS CUSINE - (SPAIN) 14.5%; ull de llebre (tempranillo), syrah, garnatxa. Rich and broad. Exciting, rangy, fruity./ All this is magnified on the palate. The sweetness of grenache, the darkness of syrah, the elegance of tempranillo. Wow. Best vintage of this I‛ve tasted. 16.9.
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
WT12119-01. 18 WAGRAM GRUNER VELTLINER, PAUL DIREDER liter - (AUSTRIA) 13%. I like this. It's full, frank, and bountiful. With good form. It's doesn't gush apple and legume aromas though. It's under control and bound for the table./ Yes, this has grip and firm figure. Generous texture and taste. 16.6+.
WT12119-02. 18 TILIA SALTA TORRONTES - (ARGENTINA) 13.5%. Oh, lovely citrus, rose, ginger, and stone fruit aromas. Salta's the spot for torrontes, and it doesn't get any better than this no matter how much you pay./ The same wide aromatic spectrum on the palate. In great intensity. Some torrontes wines lean toward muscat, others gewurztraminer. This has it all. And a proper amount of glycerol for smoothness. Bargain. 17.4.
WT12119-03. 16 LORING SANTA LUCIA HIGHLANDS CHARDONNAY - (U.S. WEST COAST) 14.3%. This really fills the bill. SLH and Loring heft. Good oak augmentation, well managed./ Whoa, this is a Loring mouthful, power, body, and all. Well balanced too. A whopper. Very useful at age three and no doubt capable of waxing even larger with another year or two of aging. 16.9+.
WT12119-05. 18 COTEAUX VAROIS EN PROVENCE ROSE DIAMARINE, LE CERCLE DES VIGNERONS DE SAINT LOUIS - (ROSE) 12.5%. Elegant, dainty Varois styling. With aeration, a sneaky degree of richness builds up./ There's still some fermentation BBG (banana-bubble gum) and accompanying astringency. Too bad. Wait it out. 16.4/15.4.
WT12119-06. 18 SAUMUR ROUGE BREZE CLOS MAZURIQUE MONOPOLE, DOMAINE ARNAUD LAMBERT - (FRANCE LOIRE) 13%. On very rich and ample Loire cabernet franc. Wow. So far, Loire's reds speak well for the 2018 vintage./ Full bodied, and spicy too. Delivers ripeness, depth, and range. And it's fully formed. Wow again. 17.0.
WT12119-07. 18 ALTO ADIGE SCHIAVA, ELENA WALCH - (ITALY) 13%. Medium dark, which is correct./ VERY rich and spicy for the variety, and Alto Adige red wine in general. Yes, a perfect combo of schiava litheness and Walch amplitude./ The palate shows less flair and give at this point. A young red with flavors and textures still in formation. 16.8/16.2+.
WT12119-08. 17 RIOJA TEMPRANILLO COSECHA SELECCION PRIVADA CEPAS ANTIGUAS, BODEGAS MARTINEZ CORTA - (SPAIN) 13.5%; from 40+ yr old Rioja Alta estate vineyards. Fabulously intense, strong, dark, dense old vines summation./ Equally voluminous on the palate. Plus there's some barrel aging complexity to boot. What a generous Rioja thing this is! 16.8.
WT12119-09. 17 MAREMMA RISERVA DEL CANAPONE 642, TENUTA LA BADIOLA - (ITALY) 14%; from six grape varieties grown on the 42nd Parallel. Warm, ripe, clear, and spicy. All the varietals seem to pitch in to make the whole greater than the sum of the parts. Plus a riserva aura of barrel aging./ Yes, indeed, the palate is equally impressive for its range and amplitude. This fills and thrills. 17.0.
WT12119-10. 17 PEDRONCELLI FRIENDS SONOMA RED - (U.S. WEST COAST) 14.5%; merlot, zinfandel, syrah. Rich, well padded, generous, and easy flowing. Exactly as intended. Full varietal range of sensations./ Sweetly fruity, spicy, and wholly engaging. 16.6.
WT12119-11. 16 CHATEAU VIEUX MANOIR, BORDEAUX - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 14%; at Targon, Entre deux Mers.; 60% merlot, 35% cab sauv, 5% cab franc. Ripe like the 2015, but not as ripe. Fine 16 lines, proportions./ Tarter than the 2015. And more tannic. Makes sense. Will appeal to Euro palates. And will improve with more bottle age. 16.3/15.8+.
WT12119-12. 18 COTES DU RHONE GRENACHE CUVEE BASTIEN, DOMAINE DE CHATEAUMAR - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 13.9%; single parcel; 45 year old vines. Up front and eager to please, ready to enjoy. 2018, old vines, and grenache combine to give the ultimate in young red wine generosity./ Strawberry, raspberry, and brambly spices. Plenty of body and flavor. Tannin to shed still. 16.5+.
WT12119-13. 16 COTES DU RHONE, E. GUIGAL - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 14.5%. This has advanced nicely since tasted at an October trade show. It's still 2016 structured versus the plumper 2015, but it's making strides. In tune with vintage contrasts and a sure bet to satisfy over the coming months. 16.3+.
WT12119-14. 16 BERNKASTELER KURFURSTLAY RIESLING AUSLESE, J. & H. SELBACH - (GERMANY) 8%. Shows the great extract of 2016. One of the best in the series./ Yes, this has it all: sweetness, fruit, and flavor matched by acid, extract, grip, and full texture. 17.2+.
Wednesday, December 4, 2019
WT120419-01. 18 CAMPANIA FIANO LA CAPRANERA, SAN SALVATORE - (ITALY) 12%. Nobly discreet; gently pungent. Full feel./ Lightly fruity and honeyed in the varietal context. Well textured. Fiano waxiness and good grip to counter. 16.3+.
WT120419-02. 18 CAMPANIA FALANGHINA LA CAPRANERA, SAN SALVATORE - (ITALY) 12.5%. More open, giving, pungent. Nectar, flowers, citrus./ Aromatics still forming, advancing to fulfillment. Great grip again. 16.3+.
WT120419-03. 18 COLLI APRUTINI PINOT GRIGIO RONDINETO, FATTORIA SAVINI - (ITALY) 12.5%. Lovely, lithe pinot grigio of cool, northern demeanor despite its Abruzzo origin. Perfect pitch./ Suave, lightly fruity. Good acidity. Well balanced and superbly flexible at the table. 16.2.
WT120419-04. 18 COTES DE GASCOGNE GROS MANSENG - SAUVIGNON, VIGNOBLES BRUMONT - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 12.5%. That enduring balance of gros manseng plumpness and sauvignon blanc cut. Well tuned./ Juicy sauvignon white grapefruit meets manseng‛s peachy padding. Great taste succulence and texture. 16.5.
WT120419-05. 19 BARKER'S MARQUE THREE BROOMS SINGLE VINEYARD MARLBOROUGH SAUVIGNON BLANC - (NEW ZEALAND) 13%. Both deep and brisk. Real persistence. One of the best vintages of this./ Yes, while racy, this is plumper than usual, with fine tangerine back taste. 16.8.
WT120419-06. 19 BEAUJOLAIS NOUVEAU ROSE, ANTONIN RODET - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 11-14%. Fulfilled already. Lithe gamay form of rose scores marks./ Still a little fermentation residual in the form of lipstick. That will pass.. 15.9+.
WT120419-07. 19 BEAUJOLAIS NOUVEAU, ANTONIN RODET - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 11-14%. This is it. The consistent, dark fruited Rodet nouveau style year after year. And the superb tailoring. Accomplished now./ Compact and controlled as always. Some fermentation residual on the palate. Just weeks from total fulfillment. 16.2+.
WT120419-08. 18 BEAUJOLAIS NOUVEAU, ANTONIN RODET - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 11-14%. Suaver for the extra year‛s aging. Showing more maturity in a positive sense. Still amazingly fresh. Continues to work in our behalf./ Great texture, taste, state of readiness. 16.4.
WT120419-09. 19 BEAUJOLAIS NOUVEAU, ALBERT BICHOT - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 13%. Very nouveau whole bunch character as always Heart on sleeve./ Again, fully nouveau-ish, pungent, eager to please. Full bubble-gum fermentation display in a positive sense. 15.9+.
WT120419-10. 19 BEAUJOLAIS NOUVEAU, GEORGES DUBOEUF - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 13%. House style vinosity. Dependable./ Still fermentation taste dominated. Relatively sweet and padded. 15.7+.
WT120419-11. 19 BEAUJOLAIS VILLAGES NOUVEAU, ALBERT BICHOT - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 13.5%. Intense banana and bubble gum display of Bichot nouveau. More body than the Beaujolais./ Fermentation dominated still. Astringent. Keep. 15.2+.
WT120419-12. 19 BEAUJOLAIS VILLAGES NOUVEAU, GEORGES DUBOEUF - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 13%. Definitely more body than the Beaujolais. Good heft./ Tannin to balance the sweetness and fermentation flair.. Better than the Beaujolais. 15.9+.
WT120419-13. 19 BEAUJOLAIS VILLAGES NOUVEAU, DOMAINE ROCHETTE - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 13%. Body, intensity, accomplishment. Yes!/ All ready to go. Villages extra material, richness. Fulfilled and exciting. Yes. 16.7+.
WT120419-14. 17 MAN FAMILY BOSSTOK COASTAL REGION PINOTAGE - (SOUTH AFRICA) 14%. Odd. Stalk, marl, green coffee, celery./ Both grip and sweetness. No pinotage positives. Mixed up for now. 14.0+, hopefully.
WT120419-15. 16 RIBERA DEL DUERO TINTO FINO PROTOS, BODEGA RIBERA DUERO DE PENAFIEL - (SPAIN) 14%; 12 months in French & American oak barrels. Opulent texture but little aroma formation yet. Some oak and barrel age signs./ Palate more revealing. More fruit, oak, barrel and bottle bouquets. Fruit sweetness on the lips. Real density. Palate has it all. 16.0
WT120419-16. 16 PRIORAT ONA, CELLER CECILIO - (SPAIN) 14%; 40% each garnatxa, syrah; 20% carinyena. Strong and direct. Deep;, sweet raspberry interests./ Palate sweet fruited and well balanced. A pleasing measure of maturity at age three, thanks to barrel time. More goodness to come. 16.7+.