Tasting Notes Blog - Printer-Friendly Version - January, 2014
by Dick Scheer     
 Updated February 4,  2014

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

WT012914-01. 12 ENVOLVE SONOMA VALLEY SAUVIGNON BLANC - (U.S.) 13.6%; includes a dash of muscat canelli. Beautifully precise gooseberry. Positive, perfumed, bulb flower reduction highlights. Unlike any other sauvignon blanc, and far removed from its California peers’ styles./ Elegant, jewel like, cool, racy, almost tonic. And, yes, unique. Better than the fine 2011 and 3/4 the price. Wow! 17.3.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $14.99

WT012914-02. 12 THE WHITE KNIGHT CLARKSBURG VIOGNIER - (U.S.) 13.5%; by Don Sebastiani & sons. A good, crisp viognier. Highly scented. Great 2012 fruit purity. Honey, peach, blossom./ Sweet honeysuckle flavor. Great acid, vitality. Best vintage yet. 16.9.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $10.99

WT012914-03. 11 CAHORS, CLOS LA COUTALE - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 13.5%; 80% malbec, 20% merlot; Philippe Bernede, sixth generation owner. Lovely, bright, elegant, pure malbec black cherry, pitch, anise. Both sweet fruited and snappy. Great vintage of this./ Super flavor purity and intensity. Peels contributions are positive. All around fine Cahors. 17.2.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $14.99

WT012914-04. 10 CHATEAU ARGADENS, BORDEAUX SUPERIEUR - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 14%; Famille Sichel at St. Andre du Bois; Silver Medal - Bordeaux. Lovely, pure merlot and cabernet franc claret statements. Boy, the wines are showing so bright this evening!/ Yes, the fruit delivery plus that cabernet cedar overtone. Balanced, classic 2010 approach. More than a year behind the 2009 in development, yet perfectly pleasing now thanks to its harmony. 16.8+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $14.99

WT012914-05. 12 COLLINES RHODANIENNES SYRAH, DOMAINE ERIC ET JOEL DURAND - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 13%. Lovely, even definitive northern Rhone syrah, emphasizing black raspberry and white pepper. Perfect poise./ Spicy, fruity, briary. Good, sweet fruit ripeness. Well balanced and well positioned for graceful aging, though it’s plenty attractive in youth too. Right. 17.0+
    Price each (at time of tasting) $15.99

WT012914-06. 12 BARBERA D’ASTI FIULOT, PRUNOTTO - (ITALY) 13.5%. Fresh and elegant 2012 style. Tar, cherry, peppercorn. Perfect posture./ Yes, just the right balance of fruit sweetness, acidity, tannin. Zesty. Well balanced. Hits the spot! Very popular with the group. 16.8
    Price each (at time of tasting) $15.99

WT012914-07. 11 MONTEPULCIANO D’ABRUZZO DA MA, AZ. MARRAMIERO - (ITALY) 13.5%. Stylish. Medium body and intensity of the vintage. Black fruits and berries, and that lovely monte top note of violets./ Yes, lithe and tenderly sweet fruit. Full elegance and distinction of low-yield montepulciano from hillside vineyards. 16.3+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $14.99

WT012914-08. 10 MINERVOIS, CHATEAU MILLEGRAND - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 13%; 35% syrah, 30% grenache, 25% carignan, 10% mourvedre; barrel aged 12 months; Gold Medal - Macon; on the Canal de Midi; vineyard purchased from the Church of Carcassonne in 2003. Brilliant aromatic range. Pure boysenberry and baking spices. Fabulous reduction notes./ Ripe, suave acidity. Delicious fruit flavors. Smooth and inviting. 17.0.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $12.99

WT012914-09. 10 COTES DU RHONE VILLAGES, DOMAINE DE COURON - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 14.5%; syrah, grenache, mourvedre; in Saint Marcel d’Ardeche on a limestone site cultivated since Roman times. Gard coolness, elegance, silky texture. Some 2010 firmness to start, but limbers up with aeration. Coming on./ The flavor expression remains a little reticent. Lovely balance of sweetness and acidity. More aeration and/or bottle age will bring this on nicely. 16.6+
    Price each (at time of tasting) $15.99

WT012914-10. 03 VALDEPENAS TEMPRANILLO GRAN RESERVA 10 YEARS ANCIANO, BODEGAS NAVALON - (SPAIN) 13%; aged two years in barrel, eight in bottle before release. Deep and scented. Young, cool, romantic. Northern demeanor. Splendid black fruits. Less rancio and barrel age impact than earlier vintages, but there’s enough barrel influence to satisfy./ Oh, sweet fruit of the ripe vintage plus caramel creme oak contribution. Fine complex of fruit, oak, age. Extremely pleasure giving! 17.7
    Price each (at time of tasting) $11.99

WT012914-11. 12 MASKED RIDER THE FIDDLER CALIFORNIA ZINFANDEL - (U.S.) 13.5%. Good, lightly jammy raspberry with peppercorn zest. Dry and astute. No pandering sweetness./ Well, there’s a little inland sweetness and ripeness. Nonetheless, this has grip and dry, coastal style basis. It works. I’m impressed at the price. 16.2
    Price each (at time of tasting) $9.99

WT012914-12. 12 VOUVRAY DEMI-SEC LA FORCINE, AUGUSTE BONHOMME - (FRANCE LOIRE) 11.5%. Good and zesty and vigorous. Quince all the way. Most intense vintage yet. Shows texture and substance./ Just the right mouthfeel of a demi-sec with good acid and plenty of extract to balance. 2012 is a Loire champ! 17.0
    Price each (at time of tasting) $14.99

WT012914-13. 11 BECHTHEIMER GEWURZTRAMINER SPATLESE, G. & M. MACHMER - (GERMANY) 10.5%. Cool, racy, snappy. Deep rose and tonic; positive reduction. Typically successful Machmer gewurz./ Sweet Hessia style. Intense flavor. In tune with the series. 16.8+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $14.99

WT012914-14. 11 BICKENSOHLER HERRENSTUCK GEWURZTRAMINEER SPATLESE, WINZER BICKENSOHL AM KAISERSTUHL - (GERMANY) 13.5%; Gold Kammerpreis - Pfalz Combo of fresh orange juice and orange zest along with rose and ginger./ Spatlese sweetness balanced by reasonable acidity for gewurz and by that ginger nip and tonic astringency. Good glycerol, concentration, harmony. 17.0+
    Price each (at time of tasting) $15.99

WT012914-15. 12 VALTER BARBERO SERENA DOLCE ROSSO, AZ. AGR. CASCINA PIAN D’OR - (ITALY) 7%. Scented. Spiced cherry. Light fizz./ Sweet cherry-berry cremes. Enough acid foil. A treat. 16.8.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $12.99

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

WT012214-01. 12 PENEDES BLANC SELECCIO FINCA CAN FEIXES, HUGUET - (SPAIN) 12%; organic. Delicate orchard fruit and floral aromas. Dainty, high altitude parellada./ Yes, elegant, measured, bright, inviting. Attractive, soft texture of the varietal. As good as parellada gets. Textbook. 16.7.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $15.99

WT012214-02. 12 GAVI DI GAVI, AZ. VIN. PATRIZI - (ITALY) 12%. Fuller nose. Sense of body and richness of cortese. Apple, nut, sage./ Dry and astute. Good play of acid and glycerol. Tailor made for the dinner table. 16.6.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $14.99

WT012214-03. 12 ALSACE PINOT AUXERROIS VAL ST. GREGOIRE, DOMAINE EHRHART - (FRANCE ALSACE) 12.5%; est. 1725 in Wettolsheim south of Colmar; 2/9 on the sweetness scale. Exemplary of the varietal. Tang of pinot blanc, fatness of pinot gris./ Oh, full and lush. Fabulous texture. Plumpness of glycerol and just the right touch of RS. Fine acid burnish. Yes! 17.2.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $14.99

WT012214-05. 12 GIGONDAS ROSE CUVEE DU ROSSIGNOL, CHATEAU DE MONTMIRAIL - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 14%. Lovely display of red fruits–strawberry, raspberry, cherry. Graceful Montmirail approach to a heavy rose subject./ Wow! Gigondas body and power. Decidedly dry and hefty winter rose. First Gigondas rose in our market in years. A hearty welcome to a hearty wine! 17.1.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $24.99

WT012214-06. 11 EGRI BIKAVER BULLS BLOOD, EGERVIN - (HUNGARY) 12%. Lovely claret weight and style. Both red and black fruits. Good poise, plus an aim to please./ Yes, medium claret body. Well balanced. Juicy fruit pastille flavors and broad, vinous base. Great acidity. 16.6.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $9.99

WT012214-07. 12 VALPOLICELLA, BERTANI - (ITALY) 12.5%; est. 1857. Subtle aromatic set featuring sweet and dried fruits and a gaminess../ Good, juicy fruit and floral airs as the wine warms in the mouth. Lovely middle weight that is the classic Valpol style I favor. High spirited. Long, juicy fruit finish. Just right. 16.5
    Price each (at time of tasting) $12.99

WT012214-08. 12 CHATEAU LA CROIX DU DUC, BORDEAUX - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 13%. Cool vintage young claret vinosity. Fresh fruit highlights. Well crafted./ Good substance, fruit, acid. Still a little tart and astringent. Better in 6 months, when it’s had a chance to flesh out. 16.0+
    Price each (at time of tasting) $9.99

WT012214-09. 12 J. LOHR CYPRESS VINEYARDS CENTRAL COAST CABERNET SAUVIGNON - (U.S.) 13.5%; est. 1986. Ripe, fruity, wholesome 2012 purity and generosity. No cabernet resistance; a very giving cabernet always, it’s especially so this vintage./ Sweet and ripe and wholly pleasurable. Gives and gives and gives. Best vintage yet? 16.5
    Price each (at time of tasting) $7.99

WT012214-10. 12 TERRE SICILIANE NERO D’AVOLA, TAMI’ - (U.S.) 13%. Sweet, ripe, southern display of dried fruits and nuts. Maraschino./ The fruit is cool and racy on the palate. Lots of flair. Black cherry. Fresh and balanced. From high altitude? 16.5+
    Price each (at time of tasting) $16.99

WT012214-11. 12 OAK RIDGE INTO ZIN ZINLICIOUS LODI ZINFANDEL - (U.S.) 13%. Sweetness of Lodi and quality of 2012 fruit./ Good, sweet Lodi fruit cremes. Plus racy acidity provides balance. A lot of satisfaction here. 16.4.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $12.99

WT012214-12. 07 VALDEPENAS TEMPRANILLO RESERVA ANCIANO 5 YEARS, BODEGAS NAVALON - (SPAIN) 13%. Sweet, forward 2007 fruit plus the development and nuances of barrel age. Attractive southern warmth. This works from both the fruit and barrel standpoints./ Again, the balance of fruit, oak, and barrel age. And of fruit sweetness and acidity. Provides both freshness and bouquet sophistication. Balanced in all respects, so good now. 16.8.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $10.99

WT012214-13. 11 ALSACE RIESLING VIEILLES VIGNES, DOMAINE EHRHART - (FRANCE ALSACE) 12.5%; 1/9 on the dryness scale. Lightly resinous riesling bouquet development. Good power and old vines concentration./ Yes, nicely forward already, with dryness, power, presence. Ready for the table. 16.7
    Price each (at time of tasting) $17.99

WT012214-14. 11 ALSACE GEWURZTRAMINER HERRENWEG, DOMAINE EHRHART - (FRANCE ALSACE) 13%; 4.5/9 on the dryness scale. The tonic clarity of Herrenweg gewurz. Bergamot, barber shop./ Yes! Great elegance and flair. Rose, ginger, laurel. Sweetness and glycerol balanced by exceptional acidity for this variety. Total Herrenweg. 17.8+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $19.99

WT012214-15. 09 ALSACE GEWURZTRAMINER ROSENBERG, DOMAINE EHRHART - (FRANCE ALSACE) 13.5%. More softness and maturity from the vintage nature and the extra two years. Nice rosewater and glycerine aroma./ Softness of the vintage. Less acidity, but the innate gewurz astringency chimes in to supply balance. Good power. Lots of gewurz perfumes on the long finish. Fine wine. 17.5.+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $21.99

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

WT011514-01. 12 QUINCY, DOMAINE LES ROUESSES - (FRANCE LOIRE) 12.5%. Cool, clear, crisp citrus range. Lemon and grapefruit./ Great acid ring. Positively vibrates. Citrus peel tang. All a Quincy should be. Well liked by the group. 16.9.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $19.99

WT011514-03. 12 SANCERRE, DOMAINE HIPPOLYTE REVERDY - (FRANCE LOIRE) 11-14%; at Chaudoux-Verdigny. Crisp, cool, and clear. Uncomplicated./ Full, stony. Good acid. The usual frankness and form. Will fill out further. One of the group favorites. 16.4+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $25.99

WT011514-04. 12 SANCERRE LA REINE BLANCHE, JEAN REVERDY - (FRANCE LOIRE) 13%; at Verdigny. A very pretty, pointed citrus nose. Lemon and lime./ Zesty. Dash of press bitterness on the aftertaste. Otherwise, attractive. Another group favorite. 16.6+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $25.99

WT011514-05. 12 SANCERRE CHAVIGNOL LES MONTS DAMNES, DOMAINE THOMAS-LABAILLE - (FRANCE LOIRE) 13%; unfiltered. A hero. Crisp, elegant, racy, refined./ Great class and dignity. Wide ranging flavor and texture attractions. Grand Cru material. The group was in awe. 17.4.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $28.99

WT011514-06. 12 POUILLY FUME LES PENTES, DOMAINE SERGE DAGUENEAU - (FRANCE LOIRE) 12.5%; at Les Berthiers. Full and glowing with peach and meyer lemon attractions./ Lush. Full of good peach juice flavor. Rich and right Les Berthiers Fume. 17.5+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $25.99

WT011514-08. 12 J. LOHR ESTATES WILDFLOWER MONTEREY VALDIGUIE - (FRANCE LOIRE) 12.5%. Bright, fresh, whole cluster style. Beaujolais like, if darker in complexion. Not all up front; has some reserve too./ Rich, suave, full, sweet New World take on the variety. Really pumped up 2012 fruit quality. Long, sweet aftertaste of ‘California Beaujolais.’ Perennial winner. 16.5.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $8.99

WT011514-09. 12 MONTPELLIER CALIFORNIA SYRAH - (U.S.) 12.5%. Reduced. Plainness of California syrah. Dark fruit./ Yes, reduced. Plain. Air and age. 13.7+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $7.99

WT011514-10. 11 MONTEPULCIANO D’ABRUZZO RISERVA DAL TRALCETTO, AZ. AGR. CICCIO ZACCAGNINI - (ITALY) 13%. Racy, fresh, crisp. Showing more youthful fruit and less riserva barrel aging than previous vintages. Rich./ Good light oak and barrel age contributions. Suave and mellow from barrel time. Light, treacly oak complex. Well liked by the group. 16.4+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $14.99

WT011514-11. 11 RIOJA TEMPRANILLO, VINA HERMINIA - (SPAIN) 14%. Sweet black fruit. Plenty of richness and oomph for the price./ Yes, replete with sweet, wholesome 2011 tempranillo fruit. A bargain. 16.2.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $11.99

WT011514-13. 11 ROSSO DI MONTALCINO IL POGGIONE ESTATE, LEOPOLDO FRANCESCHI - (ITALY) 14%; fifth generation proprietor. Raciness of the vintage. Class of the zone and estate. Just right./ Oh, at once rich and elegant! Just the right touch of oak and barrel age. Great acid, sweetness, grip, class. 17.0+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $23.99

WT011514-14. 12 LAPIS LUNA ROMANZO MOON SHOUP VINEYARD LODI ZINFANDEL - (U.S.) 14.8%. Medium color intensity./ Some sweet fruit, but generally lacks spunk. Only good./ Likewise on the palate. Middlin’ all the way. There have been more exciting renditions. 15.7+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $15.99

WT011514-15. 11 BICKENSOHLER VULKANFELSEN GEWURZTRAMINER KABINETT, WINZ. BICKENSOHL - (GERMANY) 13.5%; from the heart of the great Kaiserstuhl hillside of vines. Some sulphur scratch to start. Dry gewurz character. Sulphur depresses./ Sulphur again. Rightful kabinett sweetness. Mild gewurz acid. Not bad. Air and age. The following week, a supplier rep brought a sample that had been open a day. Clear of sulphur issues; much more revealing! 15.8+
    Price each (at time of tasting) $12.99

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

WT010814-01. 10 NAVERAN DAMA ALT PENEDES CAVA - (SPAIN) 12.5%; 85% chardonnay, 15% parellada; 2 years en tirage. Very fine mousse and bottle bouquet combined with fruit elegance./ Yes, very fine in all respects. High brut. Totally elegant. The grape selection is critical, as is the long spell on the bottle lees. Not a hint of cheap cava earthiness. Worth the premium; helluva cava. 16.7.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $23.99

WT010814-02. 12 ORVIETO CLASSICO SECCO, BIGI - (ITALY) 12.5%. Good mineral-calcaire savor. Nice grechetto personality plus dash of malvasia. Perfect pitch./ Clear and lovely flavors. Spot on acid, extract. Great balance. Stony aftertaste. Best ever vintage of this. 16.4.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $10.99

WT010814-03. 12 ALTO ADIGE PINOT GRIGIO, BARONE FINI - (ITALY) 12.5%; distinct from the less expensive Valdadige model. Mercaptans to lose; give it air. Larger in extract, stoniness, than the good Valdadige cuvee. Nose clears up nicely./ Still some sulphur scratch, etch to start. With aeration, it reveals suave, plump grigio richness. Will improve over the coming months. 16.3+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $16.99

WT010814-04. 12 MACON LA ROCHE VINEUSE, SYLVAINE & ALAIN NORMAND - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 13%; 50-acre, hand-harvested estate using indigenous yeasts. Full. Tingles, sings. Apple and lemon-lime. High spirited./ On the palate, smooth, rich, ripe fruit still envelopes the acidity and extract. Will gain proportion over the coming months. 16.8+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $17.99

WT010814-05. 12 NAPA CELLARS NAPA VALLEY CHARDONNAY - (U.S.) 14.1%; 82% French oak barrels, 22% new. Always a showboat. Senses of ripe apple-citrus fruit, barrel fermentation dimension, sur lie aging doughiness, nutty, treacly, toasty oak./ Real French oak class, with butterscotch and wood spice complex. Good acidity. Class 2012 fruit quality. 17.0.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $18.99

WT010814-06. 12 VENEZIE PINOT NOIR DUETORRI, CESARI - (ITALY) 12.5%; est. 1936. Oh, crisp and lovely, cool and precise pinot cherry and tea. Fabulous cool climate pinot nose./ Yes, cherry, tea, tar, game–all the right pinot attributes. Good acid too. I much prefer this to the 2011, even to the 2010. 16.5.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $10.99

WT010814-07. 11 BOURGOGNE PINOT NOIR VIEILLES VIGNES, MAISON ROCHE DE BELLENE - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 13%; 56-88 year old vines; indigenous yeasts; 15 months in French oak barrels; unfined, unfiltered. Crisp, tart cherry fruit of 2011. Right for vintage and place./ Good tart cherry juice taste. Great acid, juiciness, balance. Barrel-age extras without the blast of new oak. Well crafted, decidedly Euro pinot noir that begs for food. Will improve in the cellar too. Put on weight. 16.9+
    Price each (at time of tasting) $21.99

WT010814-08. 12 TOSCANA SANGIOVESE ALI, DONNA LAURA - (ITALY) 13%. Crisp, correct, dried cherry sangiovese character. A little reticent to start, it gains breadth, depth, and texture with aeration. Good sweet-acid balance./ Full texture and feel. Additional bottle age will bring forth more flavor intensity. It’s still a little shy.16.2+
    Price each (at time of tasting) $9.99

WT010814-09. 12 MONTEPULCIANO D’ABRUZZO PIANE DI MAGGIO, AGRIVERDE ESTATE - (ITALY) 13%; serve at 64 degrees advises the producer. Cool, purple tones including violets. Very pure. Some early, positive reduction as usual for this cuvee. Good texture evident even on the nose./ Full and sweet fruited. Full of material. Elegant, silky texture. Nice all around. 16.4+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $10.99

WT010814-10. 12 COLLINES RHODANIENNES SYRAH, DOMAINE FAURY - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 13%. Oh, deep! With fabulous northern Rhone coolness, spiciness, reduction. Raspberry, peppercorn, lavender./ Very peppery, zesty. Attractive moderation of 2012. Now comes some pepper jerky, the ‘bacon’ element of northern Rhone syrah. Ends on a high note. 17.1+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $21.99

WT010814-11. 11 CARINENA GARNACHA, CASTILLO DI MONSERAN - (SPAIN) 12.5%. Wow! Huge strawberry-raspberry grenache surge! Sweet and spicy, briary./ Yes, sweet and racy. Sweetbriar and woody herbs. Good now. 16.6.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $7.99

WT010814-12. 11 DISENO OLD VINE MENDOZA MALBEC - (ARGENTINA) 13.5%. Yes, good old vines intensity. Deep and black and earthy. Delivers. Spicy, meaty, vigorous./ Black, concentrated, full of material. A lot of oomph for the money. 16.7.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $11.99

WT010814-13. 12 ORVIETO CLASSICO AMABILE, BIGI - (ITALY) 12%. Yes, good peach-apricot-almond aromas of malvasia bianca, a critical component of Orvieto Amabile. Great acid zing. Tingles./ Light sweetness balanced by good acidity. Peach juice flavor. Best vintage in years. Bigi is back! 16.8.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $10.99

WT010814-14. 12 MOSEL RIESLING KABINETT, DR. HANS VON MULLER - (GERMANY) 8.5%. Great Mosel race plus an Ockfener Bockstein like fullness and earthiness. The right Kabinett richness./ Young. Acidity still coated, flavors relatively undeveloped. Nice lemony back-taste. With a few months’ aging, this will gain dimension, complexity, and excellence. All the foundation pieces are in place. 16.4+
    Price each (at time of tasting) $12.99

WT010814-15. LOMBARDO FINE I.P. AMBRA SWEET MARSALA - (ITALY) 17%; est. 1881. Sweet, with a fabulous aroma set of dried fruits, including fig, date, and sultana. Plus baking spices./ Strong and spicy. Cumin and other curry spices. The sweetness is balanced by great acidity. 17.1.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $8.99

 

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