Tasting Notes Blog - Printer-Friendly Version
- January, 2017
by Dick Scheer Updated February 11, 2017
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Wednesday, January 25, 2017
WT012517-1. 16 KONO MARLBOROUGH SAUVIGNON BLANC - (NEW ZEALAND) 12.5%; Maori owned. Sweet citrus and soft tropics, including passion fruit. Balanced and charming./ Yes, tender on the approach, with enough acid backing. Suave, gentle, perfectly fashioned. Sits comfortably on the palate. 16.7.
WT012517-2. 15 TOURAINE SAUVIGNON, DOMAINE MANDARD - (FRANCE LOIRE) 13.5%. A more delicate approach–Loire vs Marlborough. Sweet lemon curd. Deep and penetrating gooseberry. Poise and confidence./ Citrus, mint, calcaire. Soft acidity of 2015. Good, bitter aftertaste has a balancing effect. 16.8.
WT012517-3. 15 CASTLE ROCK CENTRAL COAST CHARDONNAY - (U.S. WEST COAST) 13.5%. Light oak. Rather neutral nose./ Sweetish. Nowhere near as impressive as the 2014. 15.0.
WT012517-4. 14 FORIS ESTATE DRY SOUTHERN OREGON GEWURZTRAMINER - (U.S. WEST COAST) 13.9%. Thick, viscous gewurz aroma, offering ginger, rose, and even tar./ Very gingery, spicy. Dry and suave. Gewurz medium acidity and thickness. Unique and special. 16.6.
WT012517-5. 15 VAL DE LOIRE HEHO, DOMAINE LES HAUTES NOELLES - (FRANCE LOIRE) 12%; 45% each cabernet franc and grolleau; 10% gamay. A fresh melange of these grape varieties. Pleasing fruit, spice, peel extract vigor./ Lovely fruit flavors of lower Loire red varieties. Attractive levity. Rangy, cool, and ready for food. 16.5.
WT012517-6. 15 HAHN CALIFORNIA CABERNET SAUVIGNON - (U.S. WEST COAST) 14.5%; Spectator Top 100. Rich, sweet, and convincingly coastal./ Warm, juicy, ripe fruit. Cunningly crafted for broad, current appeal. Yes. 16.4.
WT012517-7. 14 PAOLETTI PICCOLO CRU CALISTOGA RED - (U.S. WEST COAST) 14.6%; 50% cab sauv, 20% merlot, 18% malbec, 6% each petit verdot, cab franc. Younger and closer knit than the 2013 at recent encounter. Naturally. 2014 dark fruit. Compact yet. Just shipped./ Oh, the rich and rangy and racy palate is more revealing than the nose. Baking spices. Calistoga sweet, ripe fruit. Palate is already good to go. Likely the nose will be too, after further aeration. 17.1+.
WT012517-8. 14 FORCE OF NATURE MOSSFIRE RANCH PASO ROBLES CABERNET SAUVIGNON - (U.S. WEST COAST) 14.5%. Rich in oak and Paso sweet, ripe fruit./ Yes, Paso sweet but not pruny, not sloppy. 2014 containment. Good vintage here. Good stuff. 16.5.
WT012517-9. 15 VITTORIA FRAPPATO IL FRAPPATO, VALLE DELL’ ACATE - (ITALY) 13%. Spicy, sweet cherry and plum./ Cherry cordial. Good acidity. All the frappato appeal and definition one could want. 16.8.
WT012517-10. 15 MINERVOIS BASTIDE, CHATEAU COUPE ROSES - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 13.5%; 48% carignan, 46% grenache, 6% syrah. Spicy and vigorous. The ripest vintage in years here. Elegant too. Wonderfully proportioned varietal lineup./ Yes, really voluptuous in ripe 2015 compared to the previous four vintages. The group spoke of brett. I didn’t notice any. 16.6.
WT012517-11. 15 HAHN CENTRAL COAST GSM - (U.S. WEST COAST) 14.5%; 59% grenache, 33% syrah, 8% mourvedre; Spectator Top 100. Spicy and right. Drier than the cabernet./ Yes, drier and spicier, and a touch slighter. Good. 16.0.
WT012517-12. 13 SNOQUALMIE COLUMBIA VALLEY SYRAH - (U.S. WEST COAST) 13.5%. Spectator Top 100. Standard, vinous. Little varietal character./ Cool WA black fruit. Medium body and flavor intensity. The group was more enthused than I.. 15.2.
WT012517-13. 13 DOURO VEEDHA, SOGEVINUS - (PORTUGAL) 13%. Yes, violets to the fore. I love that. Elegant. Douro substantial too. Spicy wood. Schist foundation./ Ripeness of Douro on the palate too, without excessive power and singe. Very popular with the group. 16.7.
WT012517-14. 10 TOSCANA DAINERO, CASTIGLION DEL BOSCO - (ITALY) 13.5%; 90% merlot, 10% sangiovese. 2010 size and meatiness. At a quiet stage between aroma and bouquet. In a trough like many 2010 Tuscans at this stage./ Medium richness, medium acidity. Balanced. One to cellar. List price: $25. 16.4+.
WT012517-15. 15 ORVIETO CLASSICO AMABILE, BIGI - (ITALY) 12%. Fabulously tangy as well as rich. Lemon peel, zest./ Flavorful if still restrained in youth. The acid is coated. Lemony finish. 16.6+.
WT012517-16. 15 LEFT FOOT CHARLEY MURMUR MICHIGAN WHITE - (U.S. MICHIGAN) Pinot gris (from the MacDonald vineyard), chardonnay, and pinot blanc. Good richness and balance./ Pinot gris body. These vines are 15 years old. This works. Wide spectrum of flavors and positive texture. I much prefer this to the 2014. 16.5.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
WT011817-1. JOSEP MASACHS LA PASION ROSE BRUT CAVA - (SPARKLING) 11.5%; 36% parellada, 34% xarello, 30% macabeo. Oh, good fruit and bottle bouquet both. Pink fruit./ Full and good fruit again. No earth. Clear and simple charms. 16.2.
WT011817-2. 16 CHATEAU FONTAINE WOODLAND LEELANAU PENINSULA WHITE - (U.S. MICHIGAN) 100% auxerrois. Fermentation aromas of apple blossom, bubble gum. Premature./ Same flavor set. Sweetish. The basis is laid. Needs weeks, if not months for fulfillment. 16.2+.
WT011817-3. 15 CHABLIS LES PARGUES, DOMAINE SERVIN - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 12.5%. Good and full. Not as chiseled as in cooler years. Deep and rich./ Fabulous up-front Chablis chardonnay fruit fulfillment. There’s calcaire and texture in the back. This will broaden and deepen as the months pass. 16.7+.
WT011817-4. 15 CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE COLUMBIA VALLEY CHARDONNAY - (U.S. WEST COAST) 14%; est. 1967; 100% vinifera rootstock. Light oak and good, crisp WA fruit in balance. One of the best years./ Sweet, enticing wood-nut cremes. Good acid and power in tune with the rest. Well crafted for wide appeal and wide use. 16.7.
WT011817-5. 05 VALDEPENAS TEMPRANILLO GRAN RESERVA ANCIANO 10 ANOS. BODEGAS NAVALON - (SPAIN) 13%; 2 yrs in barrel, 8 yrs in bottle at the bodega. Plenty of fine oak and fine, fresh fruit too. Balanced to perfection./ Chocolate covered fruit cremes taste. Seductive. And balanced by very fine tannin. Very popular with the group. 17.0.
WT011817-6. 15 FORCE OF NATURE MOSSFIRE RANCH PASO ROBLES TEMPRANILLO - (U.S. WEST COAST) 14.1%. Ripe fruited and forceful, with good, sweet, spicy oak. No varietal aromatic ID./ Good wood and rich Paso fruit. Ripe, powerful appeal, with wood succulence. Wine of place and winemaker, with tempranillo the medium. 16.8.
WT011817-7. 15 VERONA CORVINA, MARCHESI BISCARDO - (ITALY) 14%. Very fine fruit qualities of 2015. Corvina on steroids. Perfect form./ Sweet and lush for a Veneto red. The fruit is fresh, not dried as in ripasso and amarone. Total corvina. Gives 110%. 17.1.
WT011817-8. 12 VERONA CAMPOFIORIN, MASI - (ITALY) 13%; the original ripasso, first made in 1964. Oh, deep, black, and totally new. Richness of ripasso without the singe. Perfect./ Yes, perfect ripasso composition by the master of this style for 50 years. Textbook. 17.4.
WT011817-9. 14 BODEGA TAMARI RESERVA MENDOZA MALBEC - (ARGENTINA) 14%. Well, as always both deep and classy. Rich black cherry and oak seasonings. Spicy, creamy, elegant./ Smooth and sweet while elegant. This producer has it down. 16.7.
WT011817-10. 14 DAO SELECAO DO ENOLOGO, PEDRA CANCELA - (PORTUGAL) 13.5%; 40% touriga nacional, 30% each alfrocheiro, tinta roriz. Great oak in tune with touriga nacional size and Dao granite basis. The other varieties full it out./ Sweet fruit and oak complement one another. Fine tannin. Great length and clarity. Wow. 17.3.
WT011817-13. 12 OATLEY FAMILY ESTATE WILD OATS CENTRAL RANGES SHIRAZ - (AUSTRALIA) 13.5%. Plenty of Aussie ripeness plus high altitude race. Quality fruit of 2012. Syrah peppercorn, raspberry and seeds./ Smooth and spicy. Balance, elegance, clarity. Fine winemaking here. 16.5.
WT011817-14. 14 FORCE OF NATURE PASO ROBLES RED - (U.S. WEST COAST) 14.5%. Good balance of fruit and oak. Complementary varieties, mostly merlot, with petite sirah, syrah, and cabernet. Works./ Suave, balanced, well composed, and useful now. Paso Robles at its best. Appreciated by the group. 16.7.
WT011817-15. 15 SEGHESIO FAMILY SONOMA ZINFANDEL - (U.S. WEST COAST) 14.8%; est. 1895; from Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys. The usual sweet, powerful, woody presentation. A large charge./ Yes, powerful, sweet fruited, and oaky. Balanced. Alexander and Dry Creek Valleys offer plenty of warmth, ripeness, and alcohol potential. Long finish. 17.4.
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
WT011117-1. 15 MUSCADET SEVRE ET MAINE SUR LIE LES HOUX, DOMAINE JO LANDRON - (FRANCE LOIRE) 12%. Just a succulent form of muscadet in 2015. I mean, it’s not soft and sloppy; it’s just ample, cushioned, loaded./ Yeah, it has big time form and filling, power and presence. How does it give all this at 12%?! All the while, maintaining its cool. 16.5.
WT011117-2. 14 CHATEAU FONTAINE LEELANAU PENINSULA PINOT BLANC - (U.S. MICHIGAN) Smashing success in yet another successive vintage. Full apple, melon, and pear scents, vast and penetrating. Material, padding, grip./ Suave, with pleasing flavor intensity. Mild acid of the variety leads to a lightly sweet conclusion. 16.4.
WT011117-3. 14 CHABLIS, DOMAINE GILBERT PICQ - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 12.5%. A full apple aromatic range right from the peel down to the core. Calcaire, hazelnut. Huge 2014 extract./ Rich and full of dry matter and grip. Well burnished. Wow! There were comments about sulphur. I found no objectional level on either early or late encounters. 17.0.
WT011117-4. 15 VAL DE LOIRE PINOT NOIR ROSE DESTINEA, JOSEPH MELLOT - (FRANCE LOIRE) 13%. Snappy and well extracted, especially for Loire pinot noir. Full material. This could be a Sancerre rose./ Peels astringency gives a degree of coarseness in a non-mealtime setting. Needs food. 16.1.
WT011117-5. 13 SEA RIDGE CALIFORNIA SYRAH - (U.S. WEST COAST) 12.5%. Rich and convincingly accurate. Sweet red fruit intensity. Syrah inferences indeed./ Good richness and ripeness. Tender and easy on the approach, with good acid and grip in the back to keep it honest. Deal. 15.5.
WT011117-6. 11 ALBIGER HUNDSKOPF SPATBURGUNDER SELECTION, WEINGUT KOSTER-WOLF - (GERMANY) 13.5%; im barrique gereift; Gold Kammerpreis - Pfalz. Deep, tart, black fruit nose. Not as much oak showing as when it was younger./ Suave pinot flavor and texture. Some pinot gaminess. Well managed acidity. No signs of age yet. Will reward additional cellaring. 15.9+.
WT011117-7. 11 CHATEAU LYONNAT, LUSSAC SAINT EMILION - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 13.5%; 85% merlot, 11% cab sauv, 4% cab franc. Sweet fruit. No ripeness issues. Good 11 forward, easy to appreciate styling. Oak and barrel time both evident. Class and importance for vintage and AC./ Youthful framing. Tannin yet. Its fruit center is developing bottle bouquet. Unresolved, adolescent stage of development. Keep longer. 16.1+.
WT011117-8. 11 LACRIMA DI MORRO D’ALBA, ACCATTOLI - (ITALY) 12.5%. Rich, sweet, well developed lacrima balaton cherry bouquet. Deep and lush./ Medium bodied. Good acid balance. Like the spatburgunder, in something of a trough between the crests of earlier aroma and later bottle bouquet. Good potential. 16.4+.
WT011117-9. 13 ALENTEJANO CHAMINE, CORTES DE CIMA - (PORTUGAL) 13.5%. Oh, a deep, rich, complete picture of Alentejano. What a great deal this is, sweet fruited and loaded./ Neat, sweet, and oh so complete. All the positives of the warm zone, while not a bit overdone. Well balanced. Just great now. 16.9.
WT011117-10. 12 DOURO DOU ROSA, QUINTA DE LA ROSA - (PORTUGAL) 14%; 35% ea touriga nacional, touriga franca, 30% tinta roriz. Oh, this is full, powerful, all encompassing. Massive, singed, loaded Douro tinta./ Yes, power and density, extract, everything one could want. The complete Douro table wine picture. 17.0.
WT011117-11. 10 ALENQUER QUINTA DAS SETENCOSTAS, CASA SANTOS LIMA - (PORTUGAL) 13.5%; 50% castelao, 20% camarate, 15% ea tinta miuda, preto martinho. Clearly older than the 2013. Less fruity, more vinous. Drier. Sweet core of fruit though./ Sweet and well balanced. Again, clearly more mature. In a nice position now and with additional bouquet to come. Lacks the spontaneity of the 2013. May just be stage. 16.3.
WT011117-12. 14 MASSAYA LE COLOMBIER MOUNT LEBANON - BEQAA VALLEY RED - (LEBANON) 14.5%; 35% ea cinsault, grenache, 15% ea syrah, tempranillo; Ghosn, Brunier, Hebrard owners. OMG! Massive concentration and power. Full Beqaa ripeness, first class winegrowing, barrel aging extras. How do these coax this much from cinsault? Nonpareil./ Huge, sweet, full bodied. Good acid and tannin to boot. Wow. 17.4+.
WT011117-13. 15 EITELSBACHER KARTHAUSERHOFBERG RIESLING TROCKEN, KARTHAUSERHOF - (GERMANY) 12%. Soo Ruwer gossamer, precise, and focused, while Grosses Gewachs loaded with extract. This is in the league with dry rieslings costing 2-3 times more./ Yes, yes, yes. Total extraction without losing its innate delicacy. Hallmark. Endless finish. 18.0.
WT011117-14. 15 MOSEL RIESLING KARTHAUSERHOF, KARTHAUSERHOF - (GERMANY) 10%. Sweeter, appley. Regional sourcing? Delicate but not as precise./ Sweet, of course. Great riesling elegance. Good acid and extract, and balance. Very well balanced indeed, and works well in its own vernacular. Just blown away by the trocken though. Why priced so close? 16.9.
WT011117-15. CANTINE FLORIO FINE AMBRA SECCO MARSALA - (FORTIFIED) 18%; est. 1833. Good, genuine dried and baked fruit nose. While sweet smelling, this has an aura of sophistication about it too./ Pretty dry next to other so called seccos, but, or course, there’s a bit of sweetness here too. And it’s balanced by good power and acidity. A value. 16.7.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
WT010417-1. GRUET METHODE CHAMPENOISE AMERICA BLANC DE BLANCS - (U.S. SPARKLING) 12%. Good bottle bouquet. Fairly gross mousse./ Yes, younger tasting, with an large mousse. Fairly short finish. Not bad, but it seems these are getting less ‘en tirage’ time now. 16.0.
WT010417-2. 15 COTES DU ROUSSILLON BLANC LES VIGNES DE BILA-HAUT, MICHEL CHAPOUTIER - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 13.5%. Scent of viognier or rolle. I’m guessing the latter. Cool and fresh./ Good astringency that is a feature of both viognier and rolle. Good vintage for this. Turns out to be grenaches blanc and gris, and macabeu. The macabeu’s the scented one, not the two I guessed. Works. 16.3.
WT010417-3. 15 LANGHE ARNEIS, CORDERO DI MONTEZEMOLO - (ITALY) 13.5%; est. 1340; 19th generation estate.Seems rustic, coarse. Little perfume. Earth and sulphur./ Edgy, rough. No. Did not improve after aeration. 13.0+?
WT010417-4. 15 FLEURIE GRAND CRU CLOS DE LA ROILETTE, DOMAINE COUDERT - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 13%. Elegant, dark, silky, deep, poised. Nobly reductive. For its coolness, it seems more like a 2014 than 2015./ Dark and young and reductive. The class is there. Air and age. 16.5++.
WT010417-5. 13 ALENQUER QUINTA DAS SETENCOSTAS, CASA SANTOS LIMA - (PORTUGAL) 13.5%; 50% castelao, 20% camarate, 15% each tinta miuda, preto martinho. Rich and dark and silky. Pure and deep cherry and spice complex./ Pure, satiny, classy, balanced. Perfect posture. Long, enticing blueberry cobbler aftertaste. This all fits together so comfortably. 17.0.
WT010417-6. 13 COTES DU RHONE, DOMAINE LES APHILLANTHES - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 13.5%. OMG! Deep, garrrigue and potpourri scented without oakiness. Full garrigue range of peppercorns, sage, rosemary./ Yes, good body, fruit sweetness, full presence, acid, texture, all. This estate keeps on truckin’. 16.8.
WT010417-7. 14 TERRAZZE RETICHE DI SONDRIO NEBBIOLO BOTONERO, MEMETE PREVOSTINI - (ITALY) 13%. A fresh, spicy, northern, high altitude take on nebbiolo, rightly delicate./ Smooth fruit coating. Racy acid. No tannin. Not your basic Langhe nebbiolo. Its own thing. 16.6.
WT010417-8. 13 AGLIANICO DEL VULTURE GRICOS, AZ. AGR. GRIFALCO - (ITALY) 13.5%. Expressive of licorice, tar, cherry, peppercorn. Great aglianico, deep and persistent./ Yes, well textured, well balanced. Sweet fruit flavors, fine tannin, all. One of the best in this series. 17.0.
WT010417-9. 13 AGLIANICO DEL VULTURE GRIFALCO, AZ. AGR. GRIFALCO - (ITALY) 13.5%. Additional freshness and uplift. Perhaps longer in barrel, but not woody. Deep and concentrated cherry essence and licorice./ Palate shows more oakiness, more structure. This is young, backward, powerful. Not as appealing as the Gricos at present; crafted for cellaring. 16.6+.
WT010417-10. 14 CATENA ZAPATA ESTATE HIGH MOUNTAIN VINES MENDOZA MALBEC - (ARGENTINA) 13.5%; est. 1902. Oh, my, deep, peppery, spicy, black, racy. Refined wood in balance./ Full oak cremes. Suave, with tempered acidity. Pleasingly soft and ready to enjoy. 16.7.
WT010417-11. 13 SAN PEDRO ESTATE 1865 SINGLE VINEYARD MAULE VALLEY MALBEC - (CHILE) 14.5%. Very ripe. Plum pudding like. Light oak. Dried fruit, warm spices, power. Loaded./ Balanced and full of body and flavor and texture. Mega malbec. 16.9.
WT010417-12. 10 JASON-STEPHENS ESTATE SANTA CLARA VALLEY SYRAH - (U.S. WEST COAST) 14.7%. 2010 dark and solid. Surprisingly unevolved. Woody, spicy, dry, and proud./ Suave, with oak and integrity. Full glycerol. 16.4.
WT010417-13. 14 CARNIVOR CALIFORNIA CABERNET SAUVIGNON - (U.S. WEST COAST) 13.9%. Mega purple color./ Ripe and open and assisted. Generous, honest./ Sweet, ripe and made to please. Right. 16.1.
WT010417-14. 15 GNARLY HEAD 1924 DOUBLE BLACK LIMITED EDITION CALIFORNIA RED - (U.S. WEST COAST) 15%; petite sirah, zinfandel, malbec. Frosted bottle now. Oh, boy, very spicy wood additives, well conceived and executed./ Sweet, spicy, powerful. Yes. 16.2.
WT010417-15. CHATEAU FONTAINE CHERRYSHINE MICHIGAN CHERRY half bottle - (U.S. MICHIGAN FORTIFIED) 18%; fortified with Fontaine’s cherry eau-de-vie; last week’s bottle deemed corked. What a difference this week. Power, cherry, spirit, kirsch. Balanced and sweet on the nose./ Yes, sweetness and strength in balance on the palate too. Full cherry flavor. While working in tandem, spirit and wine each make a distinct and lovely statement. 18.0.