Tasting Notes Blog - Printer-Friendly Version - January 2019
by Dick Scheer Updated  February 19, 2019
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Wednesday, January 16, 2019
WT011619-01. 14 BANYULS VIN DOUX NATUREL, M. CHAPOUTIER half liter - (FORTIFIED) 17 CHATEAU TERTRE DE LAUNAY, ENTRE DEUX MERS
12.5%; Greffier at Soussac; 45% semillon, 35% sauvignon, 20% muscadelle. Best in years, probably partly because it‛s the earliest I‛ve tasted a vintage of this in a long time. If course, 2017 is a magic white wine vintage too. Sauvignon and muscadelle sing./ Great acid vitality. Balanced and fulfilled. Put it right to use. 16.6.
WT011619-02. 17 CHATEAU BELLEVUE, BORDEAUX BLANC - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 13.5%; Vicomte d'Armecourt at Sauveterre; 49% ea semillon, sauvignon, 1% ea muscadelle, colombard. Fuller bodied and less aromatic. More mineral than fruit./ The main flavor themes are sauvignon spring grass and yellow citrus. Fine acidity. Well balanced and geared to meal time service. This is a dinner wine, not a show wine. 16.2.
WT011619-04. 16 MACON VILLAGES TRADITION DEUX ROCHES, COLLOVRAY ET TERRIER - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 13.5%. 2016 full. Sur lie complex. Meal time body and style./ Moderate acidity. Less lees, more fruit. Full body and texture. 16.6.
WT011619-05. 16 VIRE-CLESSE TRADITION DEUX ROCHES, COLLOVRAY ET TERRIER - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 13%. Fuller and nuttier. This may have seen some time in barrel. Very large indeed. Heavy lees and/or barrel influence./ Like its Macon Villages cellar-mate, moderate acidity. I would have expected that more of a 2015 than a 2016. 16.5.
WT011619-07. 16 PRINCIPAUTE D'ORANGE LA GRANGE DANIEL, DOMAINE ALARY - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 14%. A rich Vin de Pays nose, with 2016 dark, sleek fruit./ Yeah, 16 stylish, sleek, slim, racy. 15.7.
WT011619-08. 15 CHIANTI CLASSICO CASTELNUOVO BERARDENGA, CASTELLO DI BOSSI - (ITALY) 14%; unfiltered. Medium color intensity./ Firm for its vintage. Not up to the fruit ripeness, richness, and sweetness that I would expect from 2015 and Bossi./ Medium bodied. Not much flavor showing yet. A bit tart even. Let‛s wait and see what comes about a few months down the line. I‛ve always been a Bossi fan, but this vintage at this stage is not quite up to snuff. 16.1+.
WT011619-09. 15 SALICE SALENTINO RISERVA, LEONE DI CASTRIS - (ITALY) 13.5%; est. 1665; SSR since 1954; mostly negroamaro. Warm and robust. This has bulk, form, and power befitting of a Salice./ The sweet, enticing ripe fruit qualities of 2015. Round and gentle. Classic barrel-aged riserva set of attributes. 16.6.
WT011619-10. 14 ONE HOPE CALIFORNIA ZINFANDEL - (U.S. WEST COAST) 13.5%. This pleases. Real zinfandel character that seems to incorporate grapes from several growing sectors. I‛m guessing Sonoma and Amador. There‛s nothing Central Valley about it. An impressive showing from a ‛cause‛ brand./ Lots of zinfandel raspberry, peppercorn, and singed fruit qualities. Fine acidity lends balance. It‛s not tart like some 2014 California reds though. Well balanced and great now. Attractive value. 16.6.
WT011619-12. 13 CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE, LES TROIS COURONNES - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 14%. Chateauneuf warm, full, powerful. It‛s softening with bottle age but doesn‛t display much bottle bouquet yet. Sweet black fruit emerges with aeration to raise it up./ Chateauneuf rich, round, and large. Has power, melted tannins, and full richness. In a bit of a mid age trough, flavor wise, it‛s a sleeper for the cellar at this price.16.4+.
WT011619-14. 15 PIESPORTER GOLDTROPFCHEN RIESLING AUSLESE, LEONARD KREUSCH - (GERMANY) 8%. Crisp for 2015 auslese. Nose has Mittel Mosel riesling attributes but isn‛t very Goldtropfchen lush yet./ Well, the palate displays rich, round PGA qualities and light botrytis to boot. Palate confirms good acidity not always prevalent in 2015s. The palate shines now. The nose will catch up. 16.0/16.6+.
WT011619-15. 16 ALSACE GEWURZTRAMINER, THE FURST - (FRANCE ALSACE) 13.5%; medium dry. Nice barber shop set of aromas I like in many an Alsace gewurz. Sweet rose, glycerol, bergamot./ Oh, this has great gewurz astringency to balance its moderate sweetness. Plenty of presence on the palate. Fills, clings, lingers. Huge textural impact. Best vintage yet since the move to a new source for this brand. 17.1.
Wednesday, January 9, 2019
WT010919-01. 17 CHABLIS FOURCHAUME PREMIER CRU, DOMAINE SEGUINOT-BORDET - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 13%. Oh, here it goes again, that 2017 fruit beauty, amplified to Premier Cru volume. Full distinction, full give. Balanced and juicy./ Yes, full acid, juiciness, yielding, flowing fruit bounties. Expounds on Fourchaume, and on 2017. 17.4.
WT010919-02. 17 LIOCO SONOMA CHARDONNAY - (U.S. WEST COAST) 13.7%. And the pure fruit beauties that are always Lioco Chardonnay. Certainly marks 2017 a joyous vintage for California white wines too. This is right in synch with the Chablis: a fruit rather than oak statement, with the same combo of largesse and discretion./ Good acidity; I mean, REALLY good acidity. 2017 fruit purity. Very subtle suggestions of oak and malo. Long, juicy finish. 17.1.
WT010919-03. 16 BOURGOGNE ALIGOTE, JEAN-PHILIPPE FICHET - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 12.5%. Not at all fancy. Understated varietal fruit. No serious oak embellishments./ Oh, that great aligote fruit acid. This is the way Burgundians finish their aligotes for home consumption, not to impress the foreign markets. Small fry wine in this company, but altogether genuine. 16.3.
WT010919-04. 16 BOURGOGNE BLANC, JEAN-PHILIPPE FICHET - (FRANCE BURGUNDY) 13%. Oh, yes; here‛s the beef! Full Burgundian barrel regimen and full Meursault oomph. Just sprawling. Meursault in all but name. Cornucopia of grain, meal, nut, dried leaves--all of Meursault's autumnal bounties./ Full Meursault display on the palate. Terroir and barrel augmentation in total harmony. Full and lengthy flavor and texture. 17.7.
WT010919-05. 15 CHALONE ESTATE HERITAGE VINES CHALONE CHARDONNAY - (U.S. WEST COAST) 14.4%; est. 1940. Heavy framed, large, and dry throwback to California chardonnays of yore. Signs of barrel aging without a smack of new oak./ Yes, the influence of aging in seasoned cooperage rather than lacings of new oak impact. Power, body, force, length. Unique in a world of new wave, New World chardonnays. Eminently meal worthy. 17.5.
WT010919-06. 16 PEDRONCELLI SIGNATURE SELECTION RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY PINOT NOIR - (U.S. WEST COAST) 13.8%; est. 1927. Oh, very juicy and joyous and precise take on pinot noir, with definite RRV class and lineage. Shows oak restraint and pure, traditional pinot styling./ Ripe, sweet fruit balanced by fine fruit acidity. Flag-bearer for Russian River Valley pinot noir throughout my 55 year career. 17.0.
WT010919-07. 15 CHALONE ESTATE HERITAGE VINES CHALONE PINOT NOIR - (U.S. WEST COAST) 13.8%; est. 1940. Yes, indeed, Chalone pinot power, depth, framework. Just sings of its terroir, because it‛s a transparent pinot noir, unhindered by new oak./ Sweet and strong. Well built, well framed. Long finish. Just a wonderful adventure in classic, old time California pinot noir. 17.2+.
WT010919-08. 15 BOURGOGNE PINOT NOIR, DOMAINE DES PERDRIX - (FRANCE BOURGOGNE) 13.5%. From the domaine's parcels in Premeaux-Prissey, on Nuits St. Georges' south border. Unbelievable! The 2015 fruit ripeness, the Cote de Nuits blackness, the Nuits Saint Georges tailoring, the barrel-aged craftsmanship. Pure black plum fruit and discreet yet dazzling oak seasonings./ Yes, fruit ripeness and raciness. Depth, flavor, persistence, acid cling. Fabulous; well surpasses Bourgogne AOC norms. 17.7+.
WT010919-09. 15 PRIORAT CEPS NOUS, CELLER PASANAU GERMANS - (SPAIN) 15%; 80% garnacha, 10% ea merlot, syrah; at La Morera, highest village of Priorat. 6 months in French and American oak barrels. Cool and austere for 2015. Dry. Wears its power well, except when concentrated at the mouth of my Taster glass, it burns my eyes!/ Sweeter fruit palate, but not a lot in the way of either aromatics or texture at this stage. The tannins are fine and well managed. I‛d cellar it. 16.6+.
WT010919-10. 14 AGLIANICO DEL VULTURE GRIFALCO, AZ. AGR. GRIFALCO - (ITALY) 13%. Hearty, well framed, big time aglianico. 2014 form. Deep, very clear varietal character of black fruit and lacings of licorice and black pepper./ Sweet and full, complex and peppery, mouthfilling. So well balanced and satisfying. One of the champion vintages in this series. Definitely a sleeper. 17.5.
WT010919-11. 14 CHATEAU MUSAR MUSAR JEUNE BEKAA VALLEY RED - (LEBANON) 13.5%; 50% cinsault, 30% syrah, 20% cab sauv; unoaked. Amazing complexity without barrel assistance. Cinsault at its best here. Lebanon‛s signature grape variety. Very spicy and deep melange of aromas./ Sweet, rich, powerful, complex, mouthfilling. Gives and gives. Yow. 17.2.
WT010919-12. 10 DULUC DE CHATEAU BRANAIRE-DUCRU, SAINT JULIEN - (FRANCE BORDEAUX) 13.5%. That southern Saint Julien character that marks the wines of Branaire: fat, dark, ripe, plummy. Plenty of new oak influence for a second wine, and it‛s all taken up by the ripe fruit./ This is no longer 2010 firm and resistant. It‛s opening up, showing its appellation and Chateau rich and round filling contained within stocky 2010 framework. 17.4.
WT010919-13. 10 RIOJA GRAN RESERVA, BODEGAS LAN - (SPAIN) 13.5%; from its Lanciano vyd; 2 yrs in barrel, 6 yrs in bottle. Very dark fruited Rioja Alta. The fruit holds up through its long barrel regimen. Oh, the oak and barrel sojourn have a clear and positive impact, yet the fruit stays the course. Overall, a complex and elegant presentation./ Oh, yes, the fruit, the barrel seasoning, and the barrel-aged bouquet lead to a whole greater than the sum of the parts. Best vintage of this in memory. 17.9.
WT010919-14. 15 ALSACE GEWURZTRAMINER VIEILLES VIGNES, FREY-SOHLER - (FRANCE ALSACE) 12,5%. Pomaded, larded, lush Frey-Sohler take on gewurz. This is really loaded, full of rose and ginger and tonic./ Sweet and suave, with inherent gewurz astringency and bitterness as foils. Balanced and right. This has meal time uses. 17.3.
WT010919-15. 14 BANYULS VIN DOUX NATUREL, M. CHAPOUTIER half liter - (FORTIFIED) 16.5%. Full, sweet, plummy, powerful. The spirit is quality and positive, the fruit is fully ripe without going to raisin. Chapoutier has made Banyuls wines for a long time; he's got it down./ Yes, sweetness and power in balance. Like a plum liqueur. Wow. 19.0.
Wednesday, January 2, 2019
WT010219-01. 17 CHATEAU TREBIAC, GRAVES BLANC - (FRANCE BORDEAIX) 12%. At Portets; proprietor Arnaud de Butler; 80% semillon, 20% sauvignon blanc. Graves rich and full, 2017 racy and inviting. Complex aromatic spectrum suggesting that semillon, given the spotlight, can really strut its stuff./ Great zest and vitality. Tangy, juicy. Again, insights into semillon, flairs of sauvignon exuberance. Yow. 16.9.
WT010219-02. 17 VENEZIE PINOT GRIGIO, CANINA COLLI EUGANEI - (ITALY) 12.5%. Rich and penetrating green-fruit goodness of pinot grigio. Full fruit vigor of 2017./ Full, rich, and long for this wine compared to vintages past. It‛s that 2017 fruit fulfillment. Overachiever. 16.5.
WT010219-03. 17 PFALZ PINOT GRIS VILLA WOLF, ERNST LOOSEN - (GERMANY) 12.5%. A different take on pinot gris. Plumper fruit; racy nonetheless./ Really fruity compared to the Venezie. Softer, easier. Well fashioned. 16.7.
WT010219-04. 17 ELK COVE ESTATE WILLAMETTE VALLEY PINOT GRIS - (U.S. WEST COAST) 13%. Reflects its greater power and punch. Great sense of presence plus the usual class of this cuvee. Dials the volume up to salmon-mate level./ Yes, big, broad, sweet fruit flavor. Plenty of texture. Fills the mouth, spreads all over the place. Confirms my perennial affection for this. 17.4.
WT010219-05. 17 LEON ALBARIN BLANCO PARDEVALLES, RAFAEL ALONSO - (SPAIN) 13%. Wow, tropical airs, including mango, passion fruit. Deep, cool, reductive bulb flower aura. Unique and definitive./ Flavors confirm aromas. Special stuff. Add the textural aspects for a great adventure in mouthfeel. 17.1.
WT010219-06. 17 RIBEIRO TREIXADURA THE FLOWER AND THE BEE, COTO DE GOMARIZ - (SPAIN) 13.5%. Highly scented like albarino. Larger presence, greater weight than the albarin blanco. Nostril filling. This talks loud./ Yes, full textured. Attractive bitter tang comes with the territory. Youthful yet. Its aromatic and textural pleasures will increase over the coming weeks. 16.7+.
WT010219-07. 17 CHIANTI POGGIO VINOSO, AZ. AGR. PUGLIANO - (ITALY) 13.5%; 85% sangiovese, 10% canaiolo, 5% malvasia. The minority, sweet malvasia always has plenty to say in this cuvee. Overall, this is not nearly as ripe as most vintages though. A bad sign for 2017 Tuscan rossos?/ Yeah, this is pretty lean and green by comparison with other years. Very tart. Bit of a wash. 13.8+?
WT010219-08. 17 DOLCETTO D'ALBA, AZ. AGR. LUIGI PIRA - (ITALY) 14.5%. What a big, bad dolcetto, if there can be such a thing. Sports great power, presence, fruit sweetness. In its vernacular, huge./ Yes, it‛s really large scaled; the alcohol content tips that off. This is not one of those quaffer dolcettos to serve cool. Neither is it one of those barrel aged, tannic, keeper dolcettos that do little for me. Wow, right down my alley. 16.7+.
WT010219-09. 17 PENLEY ESTATE COONAWARRA CABERNET SAUVIGNON - (AUSTRALIA) 14%. Not very ripe or Coonawarra specific. Talk of green pepper./ Yeah, a weak year for this. Absence of ripe fruit and regionality. Very sad to see after the 2016 was Wine Spectator Top 100. 14.5+?
WT010219-10. 16 SABLET COTES DU RHONE VILLAGES, DOMAINE DE PIAUGIER - (FRANCE MEDITERRANEAN) 14.5%. 75% grenache, 25% syrah. Oh, boy, sizzle and spread. Excitement. Stimulating, sweet, spicy, intense. Wow. This is special./ Yes, lovely, ripe, savory, rangy, sweet, and complete. Entirely satisfactory successor to the 2014 and 2015. 17.1+.
WT010219-11. 16 VALRAVN OLD VINE SONOMA ZINFANDEL - (U.S. WEST COAST) 14.8%; vines up to 120 years old. Very ripe and powerful. Sweet fruit. Said to be mostly from Sonoma Valley. Has precedence. Raspberry, seed, peppercorn, briar./ Yes, all over again. Sweet and persistent. The aftertaste is long and appreciated. 17.1.
WT010219-12. 15 CHIANTI RUFINA RISERVA, RENZO MASI - (ITALY) 13.5%. Oh, finally back to a rich, ripe vintage. 2014, and 2013, to an extent, were a little slighter. Full, oaky, spicy. Long in barrel riserva warmth, savor, complexity. Yes./ Oh, yes, sweet, silky, savory. Plenty of material and oomph here. Wow. 17.1.
WT010219-13. 15 PRIORAT ONA, CELLER CECILIO - (SPAIN) 14%; 40% garnatxa, 40% syrah, 20% carinyena. Awesome complexity and amplification that is Priorat. Grenache sweet, syrah dark, carignan rustic. Barrel extracts spiciness, barrel time breadth, full force of Priorat./ Yes, full, strong, sweet, and spicy. Back to the beginning: complex and amplified. Circle completed. 17.7+.
WT010219-14. 17 KREUZNACHER KRONENBERG RIESLING SPATLESE, ST. ANTONIUS - (GERMANY) 8.5%. Lovely extract and acid etches the nostrils. The aroma set is classic Kreuznacher riesling. Deep and sweet. Big time success in 2017 for this cuvee./ Full flavored. Forward and abundant. Balance of sweetness and acidity. Best vintage of this in memory. 17.1.
WT010219-15. 17 WYNCROFT MARLAND LATE HARVEST LAKE MICHIGAN SHORE RIESLING - (U.S. MICHIGAN) RS 2.5%. Much different from the Kreuznacher Spatlese. Subtly spicy. Deep, dark, and suggestive of red fruits as well as white. Some say 'earthy'. I can see that. And it's positive./ Plenty of extract and acid edge to balance the sweetness. Full, swelling, and long. All in all, a unique and pleasing take on riesling.16.8+.