Tasting Notes Blog - Printer-Friendly Version - January, 2016
by Dick Scheer     
 Updated  January 28,  2016

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

WT012016-1. 14 MUSCADET SEVRE ET MAINE SUR LIE, DOMAINE DE L’AURIERE - (FRANCE LOIRE) 11.5%; Vignerons des Terroirs de la Noelle @Ancenis. Quiet. Crisp. Light and good green things./ Good green again. Light. Unformed. Well liked by the group, especially as a value. 15.8+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $9.99

WT012016-2. 14 MUSCADET SEVRE & MAINE SURE LIE CUVEE LA LEVRAUDIERE CHATEAU LA TARCIERE, BONNET-HUTEAU - (FRANCE LOIRE) 12%; @La Chapelle-Heulin. Fuller. More texture, depth, padding, interest./ Yes, softer and broader. Not without edge, etch. Serious stuff, and will age well. 16.5+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $12.99

WT012016-3. 14 SANCERRE CHAVIGNOL LES MONTS DAMNES, DOMAINE THOMAS-LABAILLE - (FRANCE LOIRE) 13%; unfiltered. Very elegant, charming, precise, measured. Hallmark terroir statement, really./ Oh, the clarity of its citrus, gooseberry, and calcaire messages. Great texture too, so silky. 17.3+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $23.99

WT012016-4. 14 SACRED HILL MARLBOROUGH SAUVIGNON BLANC - (NEW ZEALAND) 12.5%. Fresh, new, crisp, orangey. Screwcap helps preserve its youthfulness. Rich, bright ruby red grapefruit and walnut. Super./ Great taste. Full citrus-nut adventure. 16.8.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $14.99

WT012016-5. 14 SANCERRE ROUGE, DOMAINE ETIENNE DAULNY - (FRANCE LOIRE) 12.5%. Deep, cool, tart, reduced. Reads Loire pinot noir, as yet unfulfilled./ Tart and tight and reduced. Pinched. Just a bud. 14.0++.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $18.99

WT012016-6. 14 ANGELINE RESERVE MENDOCINO-SONOMA-MONTEREY PINOT NOIR - (U.S.) 14.1%; 40-35-25; est. 1990. Shows some reduction under screwcap still. 2014 elegance. Deserves aeration and a few weeks’ aging./ Luscious cremes on the palate: fruit, nut, wood. The usual abundance here. This will fill out over the coming weeks and will adhere to its 2014 stylishness. 16.3+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $15.99

WT012016-7. 13 DAVIS BYNUM JANE’S VINEYARD RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY PINOT NOIR - (U.S.) 14.5%; Pommard clones; 10 months in French oak barrels. Large. Shows 2013 power and framing. RRV 3-D, spice, vigor. Good oak./ Yes, fine fresh fruit and savory oak in proper proportion. Fabulous. Pommard indeed. Long, spice filled finish. 17.1+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $22.99

WT012016-8. 12 CAHORS MALBEC, CHATEAU HAUT-MONPLAISIR - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 13.5%; on the prestigious third terrace above the Lot. Reductive. 2012 close, dark, licorice laced. Black and mean./ The palate reveals some give, some tenderness. The tannins are fine. Well balanced for aging. Just needs to fill out and gain more depth, and it will. 16.4+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $17.99

WT012016-9. 12 CAHORS LA TOUR CHAMBERT CUVEE DES HAUTS COTEAUX, CHATEAU CHAMBERT - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 13.5%; 70% malbec, 30% merlot. Large, licorice laced. Black and tarry. Deep and peppery./ Yes, the high merlot content seems to open this out more. Softens and deepens it. Has more to offer at this stage. Fine winemaking. 16.9+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $18.99

WT012016-10. 13 CASARENA RESERVADO LUJAN DE CUYO MALBEC - (ARGENTINA) 14.5%; all malbec; aged in French oak. Dark and Euro./ Large, sweet, powerful. Good oak. Rather a monolith compared to the Cahors wines. I prefer Casarena’s 2012 cabernet reserve. Maybe it’s the vintage and not the varietal that makes the difference. 16.3+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $18.99

WT012016-12. 14 COTES DU RHONE LA GRANGE DE PIAUGIER, DOMAINE DE PIAUGIER - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 13.5%. Charming. Good work with 2014 material; takes what the vintage gives. Dry and elegant./ Dry and lean 2014 style. Small fry for now. Give it a chance to express itself more fully. 15.9+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $12.99

WT012016-13. 13 COSTIERES DE NIMES, CHATEAU L’ERMITAGE - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 14%; 40% each syrah, mourvedre, 20% grenache. Sweet and bold. The extra year’s aging shows, as does the superior vintage. Good grip./ Both creamy fruit and fruit tannin grip. All around good guy, and, good value. 16.4+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $11.99

WT012016-14. 13 JOEL GOTT CALIFORNIA ZINFANDEL - (U.S.) 14.4%. Somehow Gott manages to incorporate both power and elegance in his reds./ 2013 sweet, large, well built.. No regionality; no doubt it combines the fruit of several AVAs. Masterfully. It shows full expression of the bold 2013 vintage through and through. Will keep, and improve. 16.7+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $17.99

WT012016-15. 15 MALVASIA DE CASTELNUOVO DON BOSCO, LITTLE BOSCO - (ITALY) 6%. Sweet, spritzy, fruity, right. If not as ripe and rich as other Piemonte rossos of similar ilk./ Some lipstick. Fermentation residual. May have caught this too young, sold before its time. 16.2+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $12.99

WT012016-16. 16. 14 TENSHEN CALIFORNIA RED - (U.S.) Syrah, petite sirah, grenache, merlot. Sweet and sprawling. All fruit creme all the time./ Power, sweetness, and grip. Market driven. Made for millenials, and other newbies And well made at that. 16.7.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $23.99

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

WT011316-1. 14 COTES DE GASCOGNE BLANC, DOMAINE DUFFOUR - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 12%; 70% colombard, 15% each gros manseng, ugni blanc. Very bright and citrusy like sauvignon blanc, but not exactly. No, it’s its own thing, a special combo of colombard and gros manseng imparting a unique aroma./ Yes, special zest and flavor range. That gros manseng padding too. Indeed, unique within its field, and without. 17.0.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $11.99

WT011316-3. 14 PELOPONNESOS RODITIS-MOSCOFILERO ZOE, SKOURAS - (GREECE) 12%; 60-40. Lovely, fresh, hops, citrus peel, and flowers character of moscofilero. Intense, thick./ The varietal’s bitter facet too, bitter orange. Accurate. 16.1.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $10.99

WT011316-4. 14 VENEZIE PINOT GRIGIO, KRIS - (ITALY) 12.5%. Bright and creamy. Apple cobbler: the fruit, the cream, the crumbs. Rich and right./ Yes, this is rich and padded. The acid is pleasing, and so’s the flavor. A no brainer, inviting repetitive use. 16.3.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $11.99

WT011316-5. 14 NIEDEROSTERREICH GRUNER VELTLINER PREMIUM, AICHENBERG - (AUSTRIA) 13%. Very racy apple and walnut. Positively incisive./ Rich textured. Lots of mouthfeel. Open grained, gritty. A fundamental gruve that’s better with food than without. 16.1.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $11.99

WT011316-6. 14 ALTO ADIGE SAUVIGNON, CANTINA TRAMIN - (ITALY) 13%; from high elevation villages Montan & Tramin. Wow! Totally reductive and unique high altitude sauvignon spewing forth grass, tart citrus, and a potpourri of herbs, including basil, oregano, and sage. This is invigorating!/ Crisp and well balanced. Palate echoes basil and citrus peel. Positively ventilating. 17.1.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $14.99

WT011316-7. 14 COTES DU RHONE, LES TROIS COURONNES, CELLIER DES TROIS COURONNES - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 13.5%; 80% grenache, 20% syrah. Sweet grenache and dark fruited syrah, forthcoming, direct, exemplary./ Good balance of grenache richness and the relative tartness of the vintage. Some astringency at the end calls for food or more time in bottle. 16.2+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $9.99

WT011316-8. 14 VISAN COTES DU RHONE VILLAGES, DOMAINE DE LA BASTIDE - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 14%; 40% each grenache, ‘shiraz’, 20% mourvedre; Silver Medal - Decanter WWA. Deep, and still somewhat reductive. Likely a little more sulphur used in this damp vintage. This all passes with aeration, and on comes that Visan charm and originality./ Yes, the palate is already reduction free and rich in black fruit pastilles and cremes. Wow! Is this a bargain, or what?! 16.5+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $11.99

WT011316-9. 13 COTES DU RHONE MON COEUR, J. L. CHAVE SELECTION - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 14.5%. Oh, this defines black velvet. And I don’t mean the whisky, smooth as BV 8-year-old reserve is. Syrah dominant, northern Rhone winemaker style. Seems to incorporate some oak extras rarely found in this appellation’s wines. Real class act./ Rich textured, velvet textured. Great fruit. Oak adds complexity. Fine tannin. So well crafted. 16.9+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $21.99

WT011316-10. 13 VENTOUX VIEILLES VIGNES, DOMAINE DE FONT-SANE - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 14.5%; 70% grenache, 30% syrah. Full, strong, direct, dry, typical Ventoux. Underlying sweet, dark, youthful fruit./ Frank and dry, as some recent vintages can be. Some peppercorn, but less fruit and garrigue than in the 2012. Well liked by the group though. 15.0+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $12.99

WT011316-11. 13 SABLET COTES DU RHONE VILLAGES, DOMAINE DE PIAUGIER - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 14.5%; 75% grenache, 25% syrah. Oh, boy. Fruit, berry, seed, peppercorn, garrigue. Wow, what an aromatic range!/ Yes, spicy, racy, fruity. Not tutti-frutti. This is framed, dry, and serious stuff too. With age potential. 16.9+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $16.99

WT011316-12. 11 VACQUEYRAS SIGNATURE, DOMAINE DES AMOURIERS - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 14%. Oh, Vacqueyras sweet, full, broad, ample, peppery, persistent./ Palate just as voluminous, wide spread, full bodied. Dry, with a compact core too, showing great potential. 17.1+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $18.99

WT011316-13. 12 VACQUEYRAS, DOMAINE DE L’ESPIGOUETTE - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 14.5%; Silver Medal - Paris. Yes, the usual Espigouette elegant and alluring berry, pepper, and garrigue set. Complete and well balanced approach./ Sweet, racy, flavorful. Medium bodied. Harmonious. 16.9+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $23.99

WT011316-14. 12 VACQUEYRAS, CUVEE DES DEUX FRERES, CHATEAU DE MONTMIRAIL - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 15%. Very ripe and powerful indeed. A year further along in bouquet development. One of the biggest, baddest, fullest bodied Montmirails in memory./ Yes, ripe and powerful. Some dried fruit, roti. Medium tannin. Not an elegant sort. Certainly bolder than the Montmirails I remember. What a treat to compare the Vacqueyras wines. The appellation’s winegrowers are so diverse. 16.8+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $23.99

WT011316-15. CHOYA UMESHU JAPANESE PLUM WINE half liter - (FRUIT) 14.6%; of ume plums. Very odd nose. What is it? Oil paint? Wet plaster? Wallpaper paste? Wheat juice?/ Sweet, with flavors of bitter almond, paint, paste. Lost on me. No rating. Said to be a best seller. Different strokes...
    Price each (at time of tasting) $14.99

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

WT010616-1. L. MAWBY GRACE CUVEE 230 LEELANAU PENINSULA ROSE BRUT - (U.S.) 11%; en tirage 2/13; disgorged 11/15; 98% pinot noir, 2% regent. As before, this displays both clear and full red fruit and ‘en tirage’ bottle bouquet. Superbly crafted./ Biscuity bottle bouquet and attractive, soft, rich red fruit. Appropriately high brut. Lovely rose, well crafted. 17.2+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $19.99

WT010616-2. 15 OYSTER BAY MARLBOROUGH SAUVIGNON BLANC - (NEW ZEALAND) 13%. Whoa! Looks like a good vintage coming on! Great mango and grapefruit aromas. Lovely, giving, both brisk and rich./ Well, there you go with the same flavors, and, of course, the palate tells you more about signals like mango and grapefruit tartness, astringency, bitterness, and stimulation. Sweet and sassy. Wow! Paragon NZ sauvignon, really. 17.0.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $11.99

WT010616-3. 14 COTES D’AUVERGNE CHARDONNAY, CAVE SAINT VERNY - (FRANCE LOIRE) 13%; near Clermont-Ferrand along upper Loire’s tributary, Allier. A clean, fresh, Euro crisp and high altitude and calcaire born chardonnay apple and terroir nose free of oak. Hint of oxidation though./ Full apple and walnut. But, yes, that oxidation is the disturbing element. Was really looking forward to a fresh vintage of this, though the 2012 was holding the fort, and 2014 should be a good one. Bottle issue? Gets worse with aeration; shot by the next day. Try another bottle. 16.2-.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $9.99

WT010616-5. 13 EGRI BIKAVER BULLS BLOOD, EGERVIN - (HUNGARY) 12%; the original Bulls Blood; barrel aged. The nose is great, all about good black fruit, with sweetness of ripeness, quality of the zone and variety; form and acidity showing too. Bright, fresh, vigorous, sweet and spicy. Bountiful and accurate./ The palate is drier and more contrite. Good vigor. Tarry core. There have been more pleasurable vintages at this age, palate-wise. Good value, and will improve in the cellar. 16.8/16.2+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $9.99

WT010616-6. 14 CHINON RIVE GAUCHE CHATEAU DE LA BONNELIERE, M. PLOUZEAU - (FRANCE LOIRE) 12.5%; unfiltered. Close and reduced to start. Young and sour. Has the right form and poise./ Again, close to the vest at this stage. Closed book. Grip and matter. Aeration brings more give and aromatics of cherry. Air and age. 15.0++.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $14.99

WT010616-7. 13 VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO SUPERIORE VIGNETO RAFAEL, VITICOLTORI TOMMASI - (ITALY) 12.5%; corvina, rondinella, molinara; 15 mo. Slavonian barrels. The group was very enthusiastic about this. In a solid series, it’s quite bold and sweet, rich and powerful for 12.5%, though not as ripasso-like as some vintages./ Altogether, a large and rich Valpol. Medium-full bodied, short of ripasso ripeness. Very young and still sorting itself out. 16.2+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $16.99

WT010616-8. 12 LANGHE MATOT, PODERE RUGGERI CORSINI - (ITALY) 13.5%; 40% nebbiolo, 30% ea barbera, dolcetto; special attendee price: $11.99. Certainly doesn’t declare itself at this stage, due to mid age or what. Vinous only; four square. I hope this is just a phase and not an ill conceived hodge-podge of varietals that cannot get together to form a whole greater than the sum of the parts. At this stage, they’re cancelling each other out./ Yeah, quiet, speechless. Just basic vinosity for now. Age it. 15.0++.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $18.99

WT010616-9. 11 LAGO DI CORBARA TURLO DI SALVIANO, AGRICOLA TITIGNANO - (ITALY) 14%; 50% sangiovese, 30% cab sauv, 20% merlot.Well, this is as revealing as the former is contrite. Gushing, ripe and rich aromatics of the varietal set, giving if not sophisticated./ A bountiful mouthful of flavors and textures, open and flowing easy. Heart on sleeve, uncomplicated. 16.3.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $19.99

WT010616-10. 10 CHATEAU CROIX DU TRALE, HAUT MEDOC - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 13.5%; at Saint Seurin de Cadourne north of Saint Estephe. Good, solid Left Bank 2010 claret showing vintage and cabernet frame and material, cabernet blackberry and merlot cherry. The energy of Saint Seurin. With aeration, this begins to show some give and 09 like fruit sweetness./ Yes, well constituted for future growth but not too resistant for current use after aeration. Medium bodied. Good basis of cabernet grip and tannin. Keeper. 16.5+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $14.99

WT010616-11. 14 YECLA MONASTRELL VINAS VIEJAS, BODEGAS CASTANO - (SPAIN) 13.5%; high altitude vineyards on limestone. One of the most impressive vintages of this. In hot years, this can be a little jammy and ordinary. Here it’s distinguished, showing purple mourvedre fruit, limestone base, high altitude cool demeanor, and old vines intensity./ One of the sweetest in the series, as well as best framed and built. The play of acid, sweetness, old vines intense fruit, and calcaire. Loaded; has it all. Both rich and racy, sumptuous and cool, it’s ideal, and, a steal. 16.7.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $8.99

WT010616-12. 14 COTES DU RHONE SAINT COSME, LOUIS ET CHERRY BARRUOL - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 14%; est. 1490; on cobbles near Gigondas; syrah emphasis. Deep, large, dark, earthy southern syrah concentration. Bold, broad, and powerful, dense and sweet. Really very strong and ripe for the coolest year since 2008./ A touch roti even. Good acid and form Strong. Dark fruited syrah basis. Really solid and ample, albeit less revealing than the nose at this stage. 16.4+.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $15.99

WT010616-13. 14 BODEGAS Y VINEDOS RENACER PUNTO FINAL PERDRIEL MALBEC - (ARGENTINA) 14%; vines over 50 years old. Rich and thick, young and strong. Combo of ripeness and resistance. Cherry fruit./ Thin center, ripe outer. Out of balance at this stage. Fluid even while ripe. Mixed signals. Edgy acid. Doesn’t compose itself. 15.5+?
    Price each (at time of tasting) $12.99

WT010616-14. MOSEL RIESLING AUSLESE, HEINZ EIFEL - (GERMANY) 7.5%. This is plain, plain, plain. Sweet enough for sure, but few signs of Mosel riesling aromas and flavors, acid and race and texture./ Sweet and simple. Lowland product. Mild acid. Really ordinary for Mosel riesling. 15.0.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $14.99

WT010616-15. MACKINAW TRAIL MICHIGAN CHERRY SANGRIA - (U.S.) 12%. What it should be. Clear and full MI montmorency basis, with light and refreshing citrus elements. Well crafted./ Balance of sweet montmorency and cool citrus. Good acid and texture. Not overly citrusy like many bottled sangrias. Works. 16.0.
    Price each (at time of tasting) $11.99

 

 

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