Tasting Notes Blog - Printer-Friendly Version
- February, 2015
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015
WT022515-01. 14 BARKERíS MARQUE ESTATE RANGA RANGA MARLBOROUGH SAUVIGNON BLANC - (NEW ZEALAND) 13%; from the far-south Blind River sector. Very crisp, elegant, neat presentation of citrus and gooseberry./ Yes, crisp, refined, dry, and dainty. Mouthwatering; invites food. 17.0.
WT022515-03. 13 THIVAIKOS WHITE, MUSES ESTATE - (GREECE) 12.5%; 50% assyrtiko, 30% trebbiano, 20% sauvignon blanc. Good lemon aroma and grip of assyrtiko. Some sauvignon grass. Trebbiano filler./ Good acid, grip, texture. Great balance and mouthfeel. All purpose dry white dinner wine. 16.4.
WT022515-04. 13 CHATEAU GRAND TRAVERSE SHIP OF FOOLS OLD MISSION PENINSULA WHITE - (U.S.) 12.5%; 60% pinot blanc, 35% pinot gris, 5% pinot noir. Fresh, with pinot blanc lift and pinot gris body./ Mild in acid and low key in flavor. Some nuttiness. Some RS. 2012 was better. 15.9.
WT022515-05. 13 RUTHERFORD RANCH NAPA VALLEY CHARDONNAY - (U.S.) 13.5%. American oak superimposed on tart apple fruit./ Again, with malo creaminess playing against malic acid. RS too. The parts do not fit together at this stage. 15.7+.
WT022515-06. 13 MONTES CLASSIC COLCHAGUA VALLEY CABERNET SAUVIGNON - (CHILE) 13.5%. Reduced, purple fruited. Noble reduction./ Yeah, black currant, blackberry cabernet flavors plus good, sexy Montes oak infusions. Pleasing balance, acid, weight, texture. Coming on. 16.5+.
WT022515-07. 12 CHATEAU BEGADAN, CRU ARTISAN, MEDOC - (FRANCE BOREAUX) 13%; Famille Sallette at Begadan. Good, bright, black cabernet fruit aroma. Very elegant. The fruit is ripe. Fine 2012./ Tartness and firmness of 2012 Medoc cabernet. Time will assuage its tannic grip. 16.2+.
WT022515-08. 12 THIVAIKOS RED, MUSES ESTATE - (GREECE) 13.5%; 40% ea cab sauv, merlot, 20% agiorgitiko. Reductive. More so than the Montes. Good, ripe fruit under./ Again, reductive to start; then the fruit comes on. Well balanced, smooth, even, versatile at the table. 16.0+.
WT022515-09. 11 JASON-STEPHENS ESTATE SANTA CLARA VALLEY CABERNET SAUVIGNON - (U.S.) 14.83%. Oak up front. Plenty of powerful, rich, ripe cabernet support. With aeration come bright blackberry and black currant aromas. Now the oak is in tune and adds cedary airs./ Oak and alluring fruit. No 2011 ripeness issues; this is fully ripe. Plus it sports racy 2011 acidity. Fine future. 17.1+.
WT022515-10. 13 BARISTA WESTERN CAPE PINOTAGE - (SOUTH AFRICA) 13.5%. Full coffee and chocolate nose. Fresh ground dark roast./ Coffee grounds. Boy, combine that special yeast strain with pinotage, and itís not just for breakfast anymore. Great acid. Fine sweet-acid balance. Tells the tale. For chicken mole. 16.6.
WT022515-11. 12 ERNESTO CATENA SIESTA EN EL TAHUANTINSUYU TAHUAN - MENDOZA MALBEC - (ARGENTINA) 13.7%; 8 months in French and US oak barrels. Rich and accomplished union of ripe malbec, power, and well integrated oak. Alluring. Sweet fruit cremes and oak toffee. Large./ Potpourri of oak spices, fruit cremes, power. Lasting. This works overtime to please. 16.8.
WT022515-12. 13 SALICE SALENTINO NEGROAMARO PASSAMANTE LI VELI, FAMIGLIA FALVO - (ITALY) 13.5%. Rightfully reductive, youthful negroamaro at age one plus. Give it plenty of aeration, or some bottle age./ Yes, youthful negroamaro dark, peelsy, tart. Salivating fruit acidity begs for food if you want to put it right to work. Will surely soften, broaden, and deepen over the coming months. 16.2+.
WT022515-13. 11 AGLIANICO DEL VULTURE TERRA DI VULCANO, BISCEGLIA - (ITALY) 13%. Oh, romantic and racy! Purple fruits and violets. Fine oak contributions. Textured, balanced, and charming./ Large and sweet. Full of oak and fruit vigor, excitement. Itís still young; thereís plenty more to come, as the 2007 at age six demonstrated. Excellent aglianico display. 17.3+.
WT022515-14. 12 COTES DU RHONE, DOMAINE DES PASQUIERS - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 14%. So fresh and pure an expression of the southern Rhone varietal set. Plus garrigue, peppercorn, terroir. A clear read to the bottom of the glass. Classic CdR./ Everything the nose promised plus good reserve assets. Acid and light tannin balanced by power and glycerol. Complete CdR, bargain priced. 16.7.
WT022515-15. ITALIA BIANCO FRIZZANTE BACI DOLCI, CANTINA COLLI EUGANEI - (ITALY) 6%. Oh, boy, big time nectarine and tangerine gush of moscato aromas./ Sweet and racy. Musky flavor. Mild but adequate acidity. Good price. 16.6.
Wedesday, February 18, 2015
WT021815-01. 14 BARKERíS MARQUE ARONA MARLBOROUGH SAUVIGNON BLANC - (NEW ZEALAND) 13%. Penetrating lemon crystals and tropics essences./ Dry and crisp, very clear, pure. Good acid and juiciness up front, NZ fruit padding to soften the blow. 16.7.
WT021815-02. 14 BARKERíS MARQUE THREE BROOMS SINGLE VINEYARD MARLBOROUGH SAUVIGNON BLANC - (NEW ZEALAND) 13%. Fuller, rounder, less incisive. Less aperitif- and more main-course-oriented./ Less up front, insistent. Plumper. For shellfish, unlike the finny-friendly Arona. Will gain breadth, depth, and aromatic intensity over the coming months. 16.3+.
WT021815-03. 12 JASON-STEPHENS ESTATE SANTA CLARA VALLEY CHARDONNAY - (U.S.) 14.5%. Full bodied, with toasty oak. Apple and grain bin. Some barrel fermentation and lees stirring evidence; gives it Burgundian leanings./ The oak is well integrated. A sensible approach sporting ripe fruit acidity that suggests food-friendliness rather than showmanship. 16.3+.
WT021815-04. 12 CHATEAU PICAU PERNA, SAINT EMILION - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 13%; A. Duboudin at St. Pey díArmens. Black fruit, spice, the sweetness of merlot. Some sense of barrel aging. Treacly thing. A good and solid 2012 Saint Emilion./ Pleasing measure of oak lends a treacly spiciness to season the good, ripe 2012 merlot fruit feel and flavor. A marked success. 16.6+.
WT021815-05. 12 TILIA MENDOZA BONARDA - (ARGENTINA) 13.5%. Some funky reduction to start, dankness. Sweet fruit throughout./ Sweet fruit again but pinched by reduction. Compromised at this stage. 15.6+.
WT021815-06. 13 RIBERA DEL DUERO, BODEGAS BARCO DE PIEDRA - (SPAIN) 13.5%; estate bottled; all tempranillo; aged in French and US oak barrels. Fabulous RDD tempranillo fruit clarity and definition. Tinta del pais clone. Dazzling bright raspberry crystals and light and fine, mellow oak in back./ Yes, berry creme and oak caramel in harmony. Hallmark young RDD. 16.9.
WT021815-07. 13 CHIANTI, QUERCETO - (ITALY) 12.5%. Spicy dried cherry. Rich./ Good acid, inviting, sweet glycerol of dried fruit. Has weight. Continues to please. Too bad about the big price increase. 16.2+.
WT021815-08. 13 ROSSO DI MONTEPULCIANO, DEI - (ITALY) 13.5%; estate bottled. Young, elegant, silky prugnolo gentile style. Perfect pitch. So spot on. Spicy lacings. Sweet core./ Oh so well balanced between crisp acid and round glycerol. All elegant and silky. Shows a ladyís touch. 16.8+.
WT021815-10. 13 CHALONE VINEYARD GAVILAN CHALONE PINOT NOIR - (U.S.) 14.2%. High toned, surging, noble. Shows great terroir. Deep, spicy cherry and just the right oak touch. Pinot sweetness./ Power, presence, stature, class. Structure, filling, flavor, length. This is Chalone! This pushes the Grand Vin. Great value. 17.1+.
WT021815-11. 12 DOURO ASSOBIO QUINTA DOS MURCAS, HEREDADE DO ESPORAO - (PORTUGAL) 14%; est. 1714; 40% each tinta roriz, touriga franca, 20% touriga nacional. Shows a special terroir. Senses of granite, schist. Mineral dominated nose. Reminds me of a fine Dao. Plum, peppercorn, stone. Dry, structured, dignified./ More yield and fruit padding on the palate. Ample body. Will improve. I like its poise. 16.5+.
WT021815-12. 11 COTES DU RHONE RESERVE, DOMAINE DE LA JANASSE - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 14%; vineyard adjacent to Chateauneuf; 55% grenache, 25% syrah, 10% carignan, 5% ea cinsault, mourvedre. Has the revealing properties of 2011 plus plenty of Janasse oomph. Lots of 2011 spice and garrigue. Fine all around delivery./ Round, sweet grenache alcohol and glycerol. Easy to like now. Thatís 2011! 16.7.
WT021815-13. 11 COTES DU RHONE LES DENTELLES, YVES CHERON - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 14.5%. Fresh, reductive, spicy. What does the future hold?/ Red currant, reduction. Not aiming to please at this stage. 14.5+.
WT021815-14. 09 JASON-STEPHENS ESTATE SANTA CLARA VALLEY SYRAH - (U.S.) 15.2%. Sweet and powerful, direct, dense. Shows brawn and old vines intensity./ Full oak that still overwhelms varietal character. Attractive oak. Big, broad California style syrah. 16.6+.
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
WT021115-03. 13 BOWERS HARBOR UNWOODED OLD MISSION PENINSULA CHARDONNAY - (U.S.) 12%. Very clear and clean fruit statement. Apple and sweet syrup./ Yes, very lovely, soft, sweetish, appley, easy. All around use and appeal. Brunch, lunch, aperitif, al fresco dining. 16.3.
WT021115-04. 13 CHARLES & CHARLES COLUMBIA VALLEY CHARDONNAY - (U.S.) 13.9%. Riper, more powerful, forceful, open grained. Includes oak./ Yes, dry and appley and oaky. The power and sweetness of alcohol. As it intends to be. 16.0.
WT021115-05. 12 ALSACE GEWURZTRAMINER RESERVE PERSONNELLE CLOS DES CAPUCINS, DOMAINE WEINBACH - (FRANCE ALSACE) 13.5%. Wow! Perfect Alsace gewurz nose. So rich yet so refined, controlled. Total harmony, intense and beautiful varietal character./ Near dry, with power balancing a touch of sweetness and full glycerol. Classic bitter aftertaste. Young. Great future. 17.3+.
WT021115-06. 14 BADEN AFFENTHALER SPATBURGUNDER, WINZ. BUHL - (GER,AMU) 12.5%. Dry, light, crisp, right./ Good glycerol, pinot fruit sweetness. All as it should be. Pleasing and persistent aftertaste. 16.3.
WT021115-07. 12 GARNET SONOMA COAST PINOT NOIR - (U.S.) 14.7%. Fresh, with 2012 sweetness, SCT coolness. Not the usual SCT tartness and tea. Exemplary ripeness in a cool appellation, really. Deepens with aeration and shows some oak seasonings and barrel time development./ Fabulous taste of cherry, toast, oak, and nut. Great glycerol and fruit sweetness. All. Incredible value. 17.0+.
WT021115-08. 13 MORGON GRAND CRU LES CHARMES, DOMAINE PRAL - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 12.5%; 6-8 months in demi-muids. Oh, bold, sweet, forceful! Cherry peel, pulp, pit./ Powerfully built Grand Cru. Tart cherry taste. Loaded. This has a bright future. 17.0+.
WT021115-09. 12 ALTO ADIGE LAGREIN, CANTINA TRAMIN - (ITALY) 12.5%. Seems deeper and blacker fruited that when I tasted it last summer. Seems younger. Peels extracts./ Yes, peels flavor and tannin. Full form. A big lagrein. Seemed more accommodating months back. Now itís settling into a cellaring mode. 16.2+.
WT021115-10. 10 CHATEAU RECOUGNE, BORDEAUX SUPERIEUR - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 14%; 78% merlot, 12% cabernet franc, 10% cabernet sauvignon; borders Fronsac. Dry, framed, tight, and typical 2010 claret at age four. Sweet core./ Yes, full of 2010 material, depth, compact core, fine tannin. Well balanced acidity. Keeper! 16.3+.
WT021115-11. 08 DOURO RESERVA MURAL, QUINTA DO PORTAL - (PORTUGAL) 13.5%; 40% each tinta roriz, touriga franca, 20% touriga nacional; 9 months in French oak. Mature, bouqueted, ready. Sweet, stewed fruits./ The palate reveals more fresh fruitiness. Fine fruit and oak balance. At a sweet spot and devoid of tannin. Just right now. 16.4.
WT021115-12. 13 FINCA EL ORIGEN RESERVA TUNUYAN - VALLE DE UCO MALBEC - (ARGENTINA) 14.1%; vyds at 3900'; 6 months in oak. Powerful. Nutty oak and ripe malbec fruit. Visions of grandeur at a modest price./ Sweet and full scaled. Great oak spices, ripe malbec delivery. Plenty of power. Steak wine. 16.9+.
WT021115-13. 13 MARTIN RAY NAPA VALLEY CABERNET SAUVIGNON - (U.S.) 14.8%. More structure and less immediate fruit display than the 2012. Certainly in tune with each vintageís character. No longer labeled a reserve, though the price remains the same. Seems to have less barrel time so more backward. Deep and potent./ Well, thereís more fruit and oak expression on the palate. A rich and powerful array of flavors and textures.
keeper qualities. 17.1+.
WT021115-14. 09 JASON-STEPHENS ESTATE SANTA CLARA VALLEY ZINFANDEL - (U.S.) 16.2%. Dark, ruddy red./ Deep, sweet, powerful, large. Shows time in cooperage./ Sweet oak spices plus zinfandel raspberry jam and seeds. First class, and loaded for bear. 17.2+.
WT021115-15. COMMANDARIA SAINT BARNABAS, SODAP - (FORTIFIED) 15%. Powerful bouquet of dried fruits and nuts. Not unlike a top cream sherry./ Very sweet. Date and fig flavors. And wood seasonings. Classic Commandaria. Decant or pour carefully. There is some sediment. 17.4.
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
WT020415-01. 13 VAL DE LOIRE CHARDONNAY, DOMAINE DE LA GRANGE - (FRANCE LOIRE)
12%. Bright, translucent Loire Maritime take on chardonnay. Apple, lemon, mineral./ Lift, daintiness, purity. Not a trace of oak. One of the best unwooded chardonnays from anywhere. 16.8.
WT020415-02. 13 VOUVRAY LE PEU DE LA MORIETTE, DOMAINE PICHOT - (FRANCE LOIRE) 12%. Aromas of quince and lime, understated in youth./ Quince and lime reverberate on the palate, in greater intensity as the wine warms in the mouth. Sec tendre RS more than countered by full, racy, tingly acidity. Young. Good future. 16.4+.
WT020415-03. 14 FIRE ROAD MARLBOROUGH SAUVIGNON BLANC - (NEW ZEALAND) 13%. Clear, cool images of white grapefruit, lime, gooseberry. Lithe and lively./ Rich play of peach and orange. Refreshing citrus and peach juiciness. Racy fruit acidity. 16.7.
WT020415-04. 13 CHINON LES GRAVIERES DíAMADOR ABBE DE TURPENAY, COULY-DUTHEIL - (FRANCE LOIRE) 12.5%. Cool, northern cabernet franc of satisfying ripeness. Red raspberry./ Full flavor and texture. Raspberry, seeds, tar. Great acid and extract. Good future. 16.6+.
WT020415-05. 12 MOULIN A VENT GRAND CRU, DOMAINE PRAL - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 13%; 40+ year old vines; 6-8 months in oak demi-muids. Deep, full, grand, regal. The King of Beaujolais Grands Crus indeed. Rich fruits and form. Cherry, cherry confit./ Full, well built. Sweet glycerol feel plus extract grip to counter. Great concentration of flavors. Good ager. 16.8+.
WT020415-06. 11 GRIGNOLINO DíASTI, LA MONDIANESE - (ITALY) 13%. Tart orange-cherry-cranberry relish aroma, just as it should have. A classic. Has the glycerol too./ Yes, classic grignolino. Great acid preserves perfect freshness. Spot on. Even better than it tasted a year ago. 16.7.
WT020415-07. 12 NEBBIOLO DíALBA, MICHELINO VEGLIO - (ITALY) 13.5%. Hallmark nebbiolo wild cherry, peel, glycerol. More intense, sweeter, riper than the lovely 2011./ Full, full nebbiolo flavor. Fine glycerol-acid balance. Delightful light oak seasoning. The right weight. 16.6+.
WT020415-08. 13 TERRE SICILIANE NERO DíAVOLA, CUSUMANO - (ITALY) 14%. Young and compact to start. With aeration, dense, sweet nero black cherry fruit forming. Really loaded with fruit now./ Suave, fruity, fully packed. Sweet and lovely varietal character. Great form, acid, balance, composition. 16.5.
WT020415-09. 13 MARTIN RAY RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY PINOT NOIR - (U.S.) 14.1%. Powerful, dense, sweet pinot nose. Great oak. Statuesque RRV take on pinot. Cherry, spice, peel extract./ Sweet and spicy and delicious fruit. RRV class, range, 3-D. All. 17.3.
WT020415-10. 12 MONTSANT GRANATXA FINA DE DARMOS ALTAROSES, JOAN DíANGUERA - (SPAIN) 14.5%; demeter. Slumbering giant. Very large in form if unexpressive in aroma at this youthful stage./ Sweet strawberry grenache fruit with attractive oak dressings. Warmth and volume. A mouthful of savory textures. For food. 16.7+.
WT020415-11. 13 SEAN MINOR 4B PASO ROBLES CABERNET SAUVIGNON - (U.S.) 13.5%. Fine Paso ripeness without going to the extreme of dried fruit. Plum rather than prune. Great race and elegance. Fine oak-fruit marriage./ Well, really great oak spice set and perfect degree of Paso ripeness. Great acidity. Long, intricate aftertaste. 2013 Paso at its best, and what a price! 17.0.
WT020415-12. 13 SMITH & HOOK CENTRAL COAST CABERNET SAUVIGNON - (U.S.) 14.8%. Deep, powerful, sweet. Hallmark Smith & Hook cabernet. The fruit is ripe, abundant, and concentrated, so it stands up to an ample measure of attractive oak aromas./ Wow! Exotic wood spices plus rich, ripe fruit. A California cabernet overachiever. A bargain in big-time cabernet. 17.6.
WT020415-13. 13 SEGHESIO FAMILY SONOMA ZINFANDEL - (U.S.) 14.8%; est. 1895. Powerhouse Sonoma zinfandel in tune with the series, and one of the giants in its class. Big fruit concentration thatís the equal to its ample measure of oakiness./ Yes, dense, loaded, powerful. Will age well. 16.7+.
WT020415-14. 12 SWALLOW OREGON GEWURZTRAMINER - (U.S.) 13%. Oh, boy! Sweet, strong, full scented./ Yes, the complete gewurz aromatic range. Full build, texture. Exceptional acidity for gewurz, which balances the modest sweetness to a T. A great mealtime gewurz. 16.8.
WT020415-15. CHERRY KIJAFA - (FRUIT) 16%; est. 1841. Morello cherry aroma./ Full cherry flavor concentration. Full sweetness balanced by quality fortifying spirit. Adheres to its longtime high standards. 16.6.