Tasting Notes Blog - Printer-Friendly Version - Febraury 2019
by Dick Scheer Updated  March 19, 2019
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Wednesday, February 27, 2019
WT022719-1. 17 COTES DE GASCOGNE COLOMBARD - SAUVIGNON BLANC, DOMAINE SAN DE GUILHEM - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 11.5%; 70 - 30. A rightful colombard green-fruit nose. Plumpness too./ Sauvignon chimes in on the palate, racy and citrusy. What a juicy mouthful! 16.4.
WT022719-2. 17 COTES DE GASCOGNE HARMONIE DE GASCOGNE, DOMAINE DE PELLEHAUT - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 11%; ugni blanc, colombard, gros manseng, petit manseng, folle blanche, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay. Round, sweet, more advanced, less racy. The peachy mansengs show../ Yes, oh yes, the juicy white peach stuff! Wow. 16.5.
WT022719-3. 18 MARISCO THE NED WAIHOPAI VALLEY SAUVIGNON BLANC - (NEW ZEALAND) 13%. Lime, grass, green hay. Not balmy in tropical and stone fruits. Refined. Reads a southern valley sauvignon./ Yes, so neat, so discreet. As it warms in the mouth, some passion fruit comes forth. Great acid, dryness, dignity. 16.8.
WT022719-4. 17 SHANNON RIDGE LAKE COUNTY SAUVIGNON BLANC - (U.S. WEST COAST) 13.8%; est. 1996. Older and stronger. Out of sorts in this context. I preferred the 2016 in a different setting./ Yeah, this has higher pH. A rare 2017 white that doesn‛t shine. Can taste the alcohol on the finish. 15.8.
WT022719-5. 17 BARDOLINO CHIARETTO, AZ. AGR. CAVALCHINA - (ITALY) 12.5%. A very pretty pink exuding strawberry and raspberry fruit. Heading into its second spring, this still sings a siren song./ Sweet, round, and pleasing fruit. Balanced, flavorful, long. Great now. Very popular with the group; orders taken. 16.6.
WT022719-6. 18 CASTILLA Y LEON TEMPRANILLO, EL JEFE GRANDE liter - (SPAIN) 12.5%; Farina family estate at La Meseta near Toro; unoaked. Young, dark, fruity, fresh, peppery. Toro oriented. Right out of the box. Tasted earlier than the 2017. Hasn‛t completely unfurled yet; all the same, this is good stuff./ Full of black fruit and black pepper. I appreciate the low tannin and alcohol. Full delivery without it. 16.5.
WT022719-7. 17 RIOJA TEMPRANILLO VENDIMIA SELECCIONADA, MARQUES DE ALDEANUEVA - (SPAIN) 14.5%. Juicy and character-ful tempranillo. Delivery and balance. It sweetens and deepens as it airs/ Less flavor formation in youth. Mainly vinous on the palate yet. Nicely padded, nicely balanced. Mild tannin. Dash of astringency on the finish. 16.2+.
WT022719-8. 17 UTIEL REQUENA BOBAL ESTENAS, FELIX MARTINEZ RODA - (SPAIN) 13.5%; barrel aged. Racy, bright, fruity. Very rich and very classy for the commoner bobal./ Yes, rich and dry both. Lots of good acidity and character for bobal. Balanced and meal-worthy. 16.5.
WT022719-9. 17 GRAYSON CELLARS LOT 10 CALIFORNIA CABERNET SAUVIGNON - (U.S. WEST COAST) 13.5%; family owned. Ripe, open knit, Lodi-centric. Some wood peeeks through./ Disappointing for the vintage, and by comparison with earlier vintages, which seemed more coastal oriented.. Pretty dull fare. 14.2.
WT022719-10. 16 CHRISTOPHER MICHAEL WASHINGTON CABERNET SAUVIGNON - (U.S. WEST COAST) 13.5%; family owned. Opens sweet and strong and oaky. Yet to develop much depth on the nose./ The palate is better, more three dimensional. Both oak and fruit are ample and of good quality. Relatively ripe by WA standards. Palate delivers, nose will catch up. 16.1+.
WT022719-11. 16 COTES DU RHONE LA SOURCE, DOMIANE COURTOIS - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 14%; near Vinsobres; 85% grenache, 15% syrah. 16 sleek and tailored; embodiment of the vintage. 16 harmony./ Oh, this is spicy, peppery, and full of garrigue. Rich fruit too. Great length. Yes, in tune with both the vintage and the estate. 16.3.
WT022719-12. 16 KINGDOM CALIFORNIA PINOT NOIR - (U.S. WEST COAST) 14.5%. Pretty dark color for pinot noir./ Good, full fruit and some oak influence. It‛s really quite generous in both aspects. The fruit is black, which suggests the wine‛s augmented by other, darker grape varieties./ Pretty syrupy sweet fruit on the palate. The alcohol, however, gives bulk, foil, and framing. A dynamic, mixed-message red wine that transcends varietal character. 15.4.
WT022719-14. 15 SICILIA NERO D'AVOLA LAMURI TENUTA REGALEALI, CONTE TASCA D'ALMERITA - (ITALY) 13.5%. A ripe, robust, sweet, advanced 15 nero d‛avola. Good one too./ Yes, generous, ripe, and real. Not much oak sophistication. Heart on sleeve. Good with food. 15.9.
WT022719-15. 12 MADIRAN L'ORIGINEL, DOMAINE DU CRAMPILH - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 14%; all tannat. All tannat. Real 2012 and tannat form and enduring vigor. Beautifully balanced, eminently well composed. With aeration, it becomes very giving./ Full tannat flavor and feel. No barrel aging necessary. Well balanced. Fine fruit tannin. Classic. 16.9.
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
WT022019-1. 17 POUILLY FUME LE TRONCSEC, JOSEPH MELLOT - (FRANCE LOIRE) 13.5%; vineyard on chalky Kimmeridgian marls at Saint Laurent l'Abbaye. Oh, boy, full of lime and passion fruit like a Chateau Bouscaut blanc. Super 17./ Soft and gentle acidity of a 17. Eager to please. 17.3.
WT022019-2. 15 VIRE CLESSE CLIMAT LA VERCHERE, BRET BROTHERS - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 13.5%. Barrel influenced, for sure. 2015 ripeness and softness./ Oaky indeed, but not too oaky. Full and round on the approach, with good back acid. The power and body suggest dinner service. 16.9.
WT022019-3. 15 POUILLY VINZELLES DOMAINE LA SOUFRANDIERE, BRET BROTHERS - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 14%. Additional barrel extract and maturation impacts. A big, powerful Maconnais chardonnay in the Bret Bros. style./ Ample, forceful, large and wide ranging in flavors and textures. Best served with hearty fare. 16.7.
WT022019-4. 15 CHINON LES COTEAUX DOMAINE DES CLOS GODEAUX, PHILIPPE BROCOURT - (FRANCE LOIRE) 13%.. Very clear and bright cabernet franc red raspberry aroma. Sweet and intense in 2015. Great aromatic push./ Yes, fully ripe Loire cabernet franc in 2015. Well ahead of the 2014 in development in turns of roundness and openness. Dense and ample. 16.6+.
WT022019-5. 17 EVESHAM WOOD WILLAMETTE VALLEY PINOT NOIR - (U.S. WEST COAST) 13%; at Salem. Nice, racy 17 lines. Lovely, discreet Oregon pinot cherry with lacings of oak throughout./ Yes, flow, race, fine acid, and fruit. An elegant, classic 2017 Oregon pinot noir. 16.7+.
WT022019-6. 16 APOLLONI WILLAMETTE VALLEY PINOT NOIR - (U.S. WEST COAST) 13.5%; at Forest Grove. Pretty, pretty pinot nose, fresh and inviting. Sweetens up nicely with aeration, spreads out, becomes spicier./ Yes, acid, fruit, form, flavor, race, juice, and balance. A very flexible pinot noir at the table, salmon and all. 16.8.
WT022019-7. 16 THE FOUR GRACES WILLAMETTE VALLEY PINOT NOIR - (U.S. WEST COAST) 14.5%; at McMinnville. Oh, boy, extra race, texture, aromatic complex. Subtle oak interplay./ Body, acid, power, sweetness, thrust. Large and broad. Ambitious. 17.2.
WT022019-8. 15 TORII MOR WILLAMETTE VALLEY PINOT NOIR - (U.S. WEST COAST) 13.1%; at Dundee. Gentle, subtle, lithe, flowing./ Yes, fluid, and relatively lgith bodied following the others. Surprising for a 2015. Useful with salmon for sure. 16.2.
WT022019-9. 17 LANGHE NEBBIOLO CANTINA DEL PINO, RENATO VACCA - (ITALY) 14%. Sweet and giving 2017. Good power, range, generosity. Cherry and tar nebbiolo ID./ Large, balanced, generous, sweet, ideal 2017 nebbiolo. Very racy, textured. Eminently well balanced. Light tannin on the finish. 17.0+.
WT022019-10. 14 LANGHE NEBBIOLO ARCAPLA COSTA DI BUSSIA, TENUTA ARNULFO - (ITALY) 13.5%. Drier; it‛s 2014. More advanced, and in a nice fashion. Sweet and dried cherries, and tar. Really sweetens up with aeration, and reveals glycerol./ Again, the cherry, the tar, the glycerol. Fine tannin. Balanced. Persistent. 17.0+.
WT022019-11. 14 BARBARESCO, FRANCO SERRA - (ITALY) 14%. Oh, boy, a step up in sweetness, power, and concentration. Best ever vintage of this. Cherry concentrate./ Dry and tannic on entry, then rounded by glycerol. Full of material. Best vintage yet for its amplitude. 17.2+.
WT022019-12. 12 BARBARESCO, CANTINA DEL NEBBIOLO - (TIALY) 14%; 13 months in oak casks. Lighter bodied and more developed. Glycerol, power, plenty of sweet fruit. Lots of push./ Yes, sweet glycerol coats its dry tannins, which have melted away to a large degree by bottle age. Balanced, and useful now at the table, though it could be cellared further. 17.1+.
WT022019-13. 16 STOLPMAN LA CUADRILLA BALLARD CANYON RED - (U.S. WEST COAST) 14.1%; 72% syrah, 16% sangiovese, 12% grenache; personal project of Stolpman's vyd crew. California frank, fruity, and strong./ Sweet, two dimensional, not the best vintage of this. 15.7.
WT022019-14. 16 VACQUEYRAS DOMAINE DE L'ESPIGOUETTE, BERNARD LATOUR - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 14.5%. The power and sweetness of 14.5%. Deep seated grenache sweet strawberry and raspberry aromas. Large Espigouette Vacqueyras this vintage./ Regales the palate with sweet grenache and racy garrigue flavors. 2016 class and reserve. 17.0+.
WT022019-15. 11 OFFLEY LATE BOTTLED VINTAGE PORTO - (FORTIFIED) 20.5%; bottled 2015. Oh, boy, power and grip of a Vintage Porto. Singed, sweet, and framed. A deal./ Yes, all the power, sweetness, concentration, texture, and length of the best of its genre. In the house style too. 17.7+.
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
WT021319-1. 17 MUSCADET SEVRE ET MAINE SUR LIE L'AURIERE, VIGNERONS DE LA NOELLE - (FRANCE LOIRE) 11.5%. Very pretty Muscadet. 2017 joy again. Walnut husk and underbrush classic with full nasal texture play./ 2017 soft and broad on entry. Lees taste and texture, and welcome astringency on the finish. 16.5.
WT021319-2. 11 MUSCADET SEVRE ET MAINE CLISSON, DOMAINE OLLIVIER - (FRANCE LOIRE) 12%. Full, vital, vibrant. Racy and well extracted./ Nice, full, nutty character. Medium body of the vintage. Welcome Muscadet soft center. Overall, the more-ish nature of a Village Muscadet. And surely the durability. List price: $19. 16.3.
WT021319-3. 17 VENEZIE PINOT GRIGIO RIFF, CANTINA RIFF - PROGETTO LAGEDER - (ITALY) 12.5%. Fullness of grigio, and 2017 joyously fruity. Complete. Best vintage yet. Rich and racy both./ Plump, and eager to please. Good grigio peels extract adds another textural dimension. A seerious quaffer. 16.4.
WT021319-4. 13 JASNIERES SAINT JACQUES VIEILLES VIGNES, DOMAINE GIGOU - (FRANCE LOIRE) 12%. Fresh, full, rich, and old vines intense. Great clarity; transparent, in fact./ Racy acid. Full of vigor. Totally fresh and brisk. List price: $26. 16.8.
WT021319-6. 09 FRANCAIS GAMAY GIGOU'T, VINS GIGOU - (FRANCE LOIRE) 13%. Fresh, black, warm, full. Astonishingly concentrated Loire gamay. Full of ripe fruit of 2009./ Great acid tang, and surprising tannin for age, variety, vintage. Full density. Light bottle bouquet. List price: $22. 16.8.
WT021319-7. 17 ALENTEJANO CONDE VILLAR, HERDADE PENEDO GORDO - (PORTUGAL) 13.5%; 40% aragonez, 30% trincadeira, 20% alicante bouschet, 10% touriga nacional. Sweet, fresh, and logical Alentejo 2017. Full of fruit goodness of the vintage. Persistent./ Rich and round. Well padded. Simple fruit pleasures. No barrel complications necessary. 16.3.
WT021319-8. 16 MAGISTRATE PASO ROBLES CABERNET SAUVIGNON - (U.S. WEST COAST) 13.5%. Paso sweet, with good power. Plays the role, if not to the hilt./ Yes, sweet and candied. Cherry pastille. Very well polished and agreeable, with good acid to balance. 16.6.
WT021319-9. 16 THREE FINGER JACK EAST SIDE RIDGE LODI CABERNET SAUVIGNON - (U.S. WEST COAST) 15%. Sweet and strong. East Side Ridge for sure; this is Amador like. Full delivery of sweet, ripe fruit, power, and presence./ Sweet and round. Palate lacks some of the thrust and impact of the nose. 16.8/16.3.
WT021319-10. 14 RIOJA TEMPRANILLO, BARON DE LEY - (SPAIN) 13.5%.. Sweet and round for 2014. Very well presented. Nice tempranillo berry aroma plus a special textural aspect. Deep and persistent./ Yes, presents a sweet and smooth, agreeable whole. Well crafted. Eminently well balanced. 16.6.
WT021319-11. 11. 14 RIOJA TEMPRANILLO CRIANZA, BODEGAS MONTECILLO - (SPAIN) 13.5%; est. 1874. Dry and dark form of 2014. More barrel age character here. Crianza term barrel aging evident. Too bad the fruit in 2014 seems not quite up to snuff to bring about ideal wood-fruit crianza balance. However, this grows in capacity and complexity as it airs./ Medium bodied. Sleek. Nice enough take on crianza. 16.3.
WT021319-12. 10 ETNA ROSSO, AGR. COTTANERA - (ITALY) 13.5%.. Full, rich, and deep. Light coffee tone of nerello cappuccio. Mascalese cherry creme is subdued and well integrated. All in all, total Etna rosso./ Yes, balanced and thorough. You could easily spend twice as much and get none better. Textbook. And there‛s much more to come. List price: $53.17.4+.
WT021319-13. 09 ETNA ROSSO, AGR. COTTANEREA - (ITALY) 13.5%. More than a year ahead in bouquet development thanks to the nature of the vintages. Awesome spread, richness, complex of spices, black fruit concentration,. The real deal. Wow./ Yes, full, dense, textured, sweet, complex, balanced. Loaded Great delivery. List price: $53. 18.0+.
WT021319-14. 10 JASNIERES RAISINS NOBLES, DOMAINE GIGOU - (FRAANCE LOIRE) 12.5%. Honey and nut. Perfect pitch. Very vital and well balanced./ Great acid, botrytis, and sweetness all in harmony. And, at a low alcohol level. Totally together. List price: $35. 17.2+.
WT021319-15. 09 MAURY VIN DOUX NATUREL, DOMAINE MAS AMIEL - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 16%. Rich and round and red fruited. As before, relatively low key in its genre. But it‛s coming up, losing its youthful simplicity and gaining bouquet complexity./ Sweet, with a nice roti thing now coming through the fruitiness. No longer a babe in arms. Great price for a nearly ten-year-old Maury VDN. List price: $35.16.9+.
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
WT020619-1. 17 CLARENDELLE, BORDEAUX BLANC - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 12%; 69% semillon, 19% sauvignon, 12% muscadelle. Clarendelle is a negociant venture of Chateau Haut Brion‛s owners, named after American banker Clarence Dillon, who purchased the Chateau in the 1930s. 17 bright. Extremely clean. Has quite a bit of semillon, yet it‛s all lift. Weightless./ 17 fruit beauties. Very nicely polished wine. No oak, no earth, just fruit
WT020619-2. 17 CHABLIS, GILBERT PICQ - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 12.5%. Continues the theme of 17 freshness and lift. Can put to use right away./ Nicely proportioned. 17 softness, ease on the approach Apply with sole and scrod 16.6.
WT020619-3. 16 MACON CHAINTRE LE CHATEAU DE CHAINTRE, FABRICE LAROCHETTE - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 13.5%. Reserves its aromatic profile. Emphasizes 16 material and structure./ Yes, form over fragrance. A rightful Chaintre in that respect. Well priced. 16.5.
WT020619-4. 16 BOURGOGNE CHARDONNAY, FRANCOIS CARILLON - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 13%. Here we‛ve got some oomph, texture, oak, and real 16 concentration. Well this is ample. It shouts fruit and terroir. And barrel elevation./ Yeah, carries over to the palate. Not openly oaky. Barrel and lees influenced. Most impressive white so far. 16.8+.
WT020619-5. 16 BOURGOGNE CHARDONNAY CLOS DE LA COMBE, JEAN CHARTRON - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 13%. Increasing oak influence and 16 form. Wonderful successor to the 15. Splendid amount of oomph and generosity. The fruit, the terroir, the barrel elevage./ Ample, rich, round, buoyant juicy. Great, great dinner wine. Ready for the table. 16.9.
WT020619-6. 16 RULLY MONTMORIN, JEAN CHARTRON - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 13%. Fuller, sappier. A different sort of Burgundy chardonnay for weightier applications./ Not just a size, but a surprising sweetness to it. More like 15 than 16 in that respect. Enduring, lingering finish. Lovely bottle. 17.1.
WT020619-7. 16 CHATEAU DE CAMARSAC, BORDEAUX SUPERIEUR - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 14%; Thierry Lurton at Camarsac; 95% merlot, 5% cabernet franc. Wow, this is the lushest vintage ever. Even more than the 15. And the power gives support. Screams black merlot. Wonderful./ Dark, suave, smooth. Mouthfillling. Gonna sell a lot of this. It‛s awesome. Very popular with the group
WT020619-8. 16 CHATEAU PETIT FREYLON CUVEE SARAH, BORDEAUX SUPERIEUR - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 13%; at St. Genis du Bois; 70% cabernet sauvignon, 30% merlot. Gold Medal - Bordeaux. Lots of purple-black cab sauv fruit. Richly fruited wine with seemingly some seasoned barrel aging influence. Really well put together combo of varietals./ Good cabernet tannin. And the cabernet fruit is fully ripe. Deliciously balanced and overall very, very fine.
WT020619-9. 15 CHATEAU PETIT FREYLON CUVEE LEAH GRANDE CUVEE, BORDEAUX SUPERIEUR - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 13.5%; 100% merlot. Ripeness, richness, and sheen of 15. Probably more barrel-extract influence than in the Sarah, though not blatantly oaky by any means./ Softness, roundness, size, and power of the vintage. Totally well composed, with nice barrel influence. Seems old vines intense. A beauty right now. 16.7.
WT020619-10. 15 CLARENDELLE, BORDEAUX - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 13.5%; 83% merlot, 10% cabernet sauvignon, 7% cabernet franc. Lots of brightness and sheen. Splashy, kinda modern, fruit forward thing./ Warm, ripe, and rich. Pleasing product. Class claret with lots of versatility. Ready to drink. Take to the table regularly. Quality negoc wines. However, I can‛t see much claimed inspiration from Haut Brion, whose wines are terroir oriented. Both rouge and blanc are modern, well fashioned, and regionally inspired. 16.4.
WT020619-11. 12 CHATEAU LA ROCHE MEZIERES, CASTILLON COTES DE BORDEAUX - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 13%. This is nice now, coming along. Seems it was 12 bearish when younger. Pleasingly 12 dark and formed. But earning a nicely softened core./ Yeah, the fruit here is now nice and flashy and pure. 12 dark. Could be oak tinged. And that‛s just the nose./ Pleasingly balance. Has some gaminess. Good degree of maturity. Works right now. Pleases. Very popular with the group. 16.5.
WT020619-12. 10 CHATEAU COUTELIN MERVILLE, CRU BOURGEOIS, SAINT ESTEPHE - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 14%. Boy, it‛s one of those 2010 Saint Estephe bears. Large, clay born, genuine. I hear both cabernet and merlot talking. How far from the estuary is this? Solid, old time, terroir based. Powerful./ The merlot component is starting to soften up the palate. Pleasing wine. Little sign of new wood, though seems to have some barrel seasoning. I like the richness, fullness, roundness. Saint Estephe muscular for sure, and fairly priced. An old steady I haven‛t seem for many a vintage. Add to the portfolio. 16.7+.
WT020619-13. CHATEAU FLEUR CARDINALE, GRAND CRU CLASSE, SAINT EMILION - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 74% merlot, 18% cab franc, 8% cab sauv. These are aged in all new oak barrels. And it‛s well integrated even in this newest of the trio. 16 black fruit, tailoring, burnish. Not blowsy. Classic claret. I can see the ratings for this vintage. And a textbook example here of a ‛cotes‛ Saint Emilion./ Boy, they make a well balanced wine. Saint Emilion rich. Nothing fussy or overboard. Beautiful 16 lines and lovely age potential. Fine, well managed tannins. Good winemaking here. 17.4+.
WT020619-14. 15 CHATEAU FLEUR CARDINALE, GRAND CRU CLASSE, SAINT EMILION - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 15%; 75% merlot, 15% cabernet franc, 10% cabernet sauvignon. Sweet and more powerful. Really blowsy, big, broad, weighty, texture. Oak and power modulate the fruit ripeness./ Richness in balance with more tannin. Which is agreeable because of the sweetness, which envelopes the tannin. Big, big 2015. 17.8+.
WT020619-15. 14 CHATEAU FLEUR CARDINALE, GRAND CRU CLASSE, SAINT EMILION - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 14%; 70% merlot, 25% cabernet franc, 5% cabernet sauvignon. It‛s 14 all right. Blacker, stiffer. Not obdurate though thanks to the fine winemaking and new oak here, which it wears well. Pleases plenty. Exceptionally characteristic of the vintages, each. Shows the way. Boy, they do the job, year after year. Yes, this 14 is blacker and closer than the others, but it doesn‛t matter. This is fine claret. 17.1+.