Saturday, January 31, 2009

2005 Henri Milan “Clos de Milan” Les Baux de Provence

This wine is from Garagiste, which sends out emails with interesting wine; you buy them and a while later, they show up on your doorstep. A lot of the time, the wines are from small producers, or are older vintages. This particular wine is from Provence, which is in the Southern Rhone. It's 80% grenache, with 20% syrah. There's lots going on. Plums, blueberries, licorice, violets and maybe the faintest hint of lavender. It reeks of the countryside in Spring. Lots of balance and elegance. The finish is all fruit and minerals. 27$. Maybe a bit expensive, but then again, last nights Coudoulet du Beaucastel didn't have near the complexity of this and was only 10$ less. This wine has a lot of terroir. A-

Friday, January 30, 2009

2004 Coudoulet de Beaucastel Cotes du Rhone

The second wine of the famous Chateau de Beaucastel, which also has a blog. There's also a great post about this wine at The Wine Doctor. Grenache 30%, Mourvèdre 30%, Syrah 20%, Cinsault 20%. Dense with sweet cherries, plums, berries, licorice, mint, and herby notes. Complex, well made, and what you'd expect to get from the 2nd wine of such a famous estate. A relative bargain at only 1/4 the price of actual Beaucastel. A

2006 Pasetti Montepulciano D'Abruzzo

This wine has lots of acidity and poise. Pure cherries and earthy tones. The fruit is well balanced by the acidity. Went great with a ribeye. A

Thursday, January 29, 2009

2007 Laugel Cuvee Michel Leon Gewurztraminer

This gewurztraminer comes from Alsace. About 8$ at TJs. This wine is aromatic, and full of tropical fruit, floral aromas, and even a bit of nuttiness (although admittedly, the wine was quite cold at this point). It's lush (although completely dry), full bodied, and has acidity that proves to be a great foil to the sweet tropical fruit. B+

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

2006 Artazu "Artazuri" Garnacha Spain

The 2006 Artazuri is imported by Eric Solomon and hails from the Navarra DO, which is in the North of Spain--more commonly known as the Basque country. The capitol of Navarra is Pamplona, which is where they have the running of the bulls. Stereotypically Spanish I guess!

The Basque country is known for it's great food--and this wine is awfully good. Juan Carlos Lopez de la Calle started Artazu in 1996, but the garnacha that the wine comes from is all old-vines at an altitude of 400-600 meters. The wine is juicy, with raspberries, maybe even a bit of strawberry, and hints of pepper in the nose. In the mouth, the wine is denser and sweeter. This wine has a lot of punch, and it's only 10$ at K&L. I would be happy drinking this wine every day for a week or two. I don't know why more Americans don't get off on this style of wine and why they insist on mediocre, expensive Napa cabs! This wine rules. Apparently, Stephen Tanzer and I agree on that; he gave it 90 points. A

Monday, January 26, 2009

2005 Sogrape Vinhos Callabriga Dao

Number 57 on the Wine Spectator Top 100 2008 and only 9$ at TJ's. Strangely enough, they didn't even point it out--which is atypical of most wine retailers. It's even weirder that they didn't mention it because there are few wines from the Top 100 that can be had this cheaply. Maybe they don't have a lot of it or something? Who knows...

A blend of indigenous Portugese grapes--Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional and Alfrocheiro Preto. This is a big wine, fruit-forward, with lots of sweet, sappy blackberries and herbs. There's also a little leather, or something similar. Balanced. I don't know that this reminds me too much of Portugal. Most Portugese wines I've had that weren't Port were more along the lines of Italian wines in terms of their balance and amount of acidity--like a Rosso di Montalcino or a Barbera. This is more like a new world Syrah or Australian Shiraz. Good, but could be from anywhere. B (But only because it tastes like it could be from anywhere--this is still a great value.)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

2004 Stefano Farina Barolo

Our neighbor brought this over. About 25$. I'm suprised at how accessible 04 Barolos are right now (at least the ones I've had). This has a nose of candied fruit (Wine Spectator says plum skin, which on second thought really fits) and fennel. Strawberry/ raspberry flavors lead into licorice and 30 second finish that has lots of fruit. Not a complex blockbuster, but satisfying, elegant and pure. At only 25$ a great deal for Barolo in a great vintage. This wine was also on the Wine Spectator Top 100 for 2008; it's number 84 and got 91 points. A-

Update: Today (I had a small glass of this leftover) the wine matches Wine Spectators review much more closely--the wine has picked up a lot more chocolate and coffee character, and plums. Also--if you go over to, you'll notice that our bottle had a different label. This is because some of the wrong label was imported into the US (according to our neighbor); it was supposed to be only for restaurants, but they're the exact same wine.

1998 Chateau de Montfaucon "Baron Louis" Cotes du Rhone

The Chateau de Montfaucon estate is owned and operated by Rodolphe de Pins, who used to work for Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe (their 05 Telegramme Chateauneuf is awesome; I'm sure the top cuvee is even better), so you know it's going to be good. All of the fruit comes from the 88 acre estate (you'd think so with 88 acres and this being the prestige cuvee). The wine is made from old-vine Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault, and Syrah. The wine is named after Baron Louis de Montfaucon, who restored the castle on the label.

This wine is fully mature, and has a huge nose of coffee/chocolate. The fruit has mellowed a lot, but there is cherry/raspberry/cranberry in the nose that plays a supporting role to the coffee. Earthy fruit and nice balance lead into a long finish. Not as big-boned as some of the more muscular appellations; this is a great deal at about 25$. The current release of this wine is 18$, but for only a little more you can have it pre-aged from a fantastic Rhone vintage. A-

Friday, January 23, 2009

2006 Sesta di Sopra Rosso di Montalcino

Cherries, leather and earth. Balanced and juicy with good structure. I like this wine. From K&L's wine club. Like a more muscular Chianti Classico. 1 Glass from Gambero Rosso. B+

Saturday, January 17, 2009

2005 Cornas Domaine Durand "Empreintes"

This wine is tasty. I love syrah from the Rhone. Blueberries, blackberries, pepper, bacon, lavender--the whole kitchen sink of syrah flavors. Smooth, tasty, complex. A lot of critics liked this wine too. From K&L:

90-93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Inky purple. Suave, potent creme de cassis and blackberry aromas lifted by baking spice accents and a strong vanilla note. Lush and creamy in texture and very sweet, with concentrated dark berry and black cherry flavors and late notes of gingerbread and mocha. The fresh, juicy finish features velvety tannins and excellent length." (Jan/Feb 07) 91 points Wine Spectator: "There's solid grip, but this manages to stay elegant, with a range of dark currant, tobacco, olive and sage notes followed by a meaty edge on the finish. The latent richness begs for a cassoulet. Best from 2009 through 2015." (03/08) 90 points Robert Parker: "The 2005 Cornas Empreintes possesses good density and power as well as high tannin, sweet cherry and blackberry fruit, and hints of coffee, bay leaves, and crushed rocks. It will benefit from 1-2 years of cellaring, and drink well for 10-12 years." (02/08) 17+ Jancis Robinson: "Healthy evolved ruby. Sweet and heady and utterly pleasurable already with quite a lot of development. Lovely balance – super-easy to drink, Great texture and balance. It’s very ripe, almost roasted Syrah with a dry finish but it’s so ripe that it slightly reminds me of a non European Syrah. The finish is French, dry and appetising however. Not obviously hot or alcoholic at all. Bravo!"

About 30$. A

Friday, January 16, 2009

1999 Navarro Lopez Old Vines Gran Reserva Tempranillo

Drinking wine always reminds me what I was up to when it was this case, I was probably a senior in high school, and didn't even really like booze except for it's intoxicating properties. I can remember lots of beer that I didn't really like...

This wine is tasty--and it's a lot like a Pinot Noir. Fitting since tempranillo is sort of Spains pinot. Strawberries, leather, cinnamon, and a smooth deep taste make this an easy and tasty wine to drink. 14$ from K&L. B+

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

2007 Valreas Cuvee Prestige Cotes du Rhone Villages

Holy crap...this is post number 100. I guess congratulations to myself for not getting too lazy to write tasting notes.

6$ at TJs, which is absolutely ridiculous for a Village level wine. This wine comes from Valreas, and is from Lea Vignerons de l'Enclave des Papes. 75% Grenache with 25% Syrah. This wine took a couple hours to show itself, but eventually offered lots of dark fruit, herbs, and earthy notes, as well as a satiny mouthfeel. Overall, I wasn't blown away, but for 6$, this would be pretty hard to beat or complain about. B

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

2007 Bruno Porro Dolcetto do Dogliani

Lots of dark cherries--maybe even plums, the slightest hints of earthiness and lots of density. Lots of acid too. Went great with a roast chicken, not so good by itself--the acid is just too much. But you're not supposed to drink most dolcettos by themselves...about 10$ at TJ's. B-/C+

Sunday, January 11, 2009

2006 La Fortuna Rosso di Montalcino

K&L Italian Wine Club Wine. 100% Sangiovese and 2 glasses Gambero Rosso. Apparently there is a legend that this winery was won by a gambler on a bet...thus the name La Fortuna. This wine is intense with huge amounts of plum, cherries and chocolate. Dense, weighty, brooding and delicious. Plus, it's rocking the retro 60's/70's label. A

2006 Chateau Rocher-Caton Montagne-Saint-Emilion

A gift from a vendor, this is a wine from a completely random, tiny little appellation next to St.-Emilion. This wine isn't that great. It's about 16$ or so online, it's from a less than great vintage, and it doesn't taste all that good either. It's lean, acidic, and the first day it was open, it exhibited a lot of vanilla on the nose. It also had some cherries and some earthy elements. Drink with food. Maybe this wine is better in a better vintage, but for the price, it's bad. I've had numerous 05 Bordeaux that were about the same price but about twice as good. At least it was free! D-

Saturday, January 10, 2009

2007 Senorio de P. Pecina Cosecha Rioja

This is an unoaked Rioja...who knows what's in it (probably tempranillo or garnache), but it is damn good in that man this is tasty and goes great with food type of way. Yeah it isn't a Vega Sicilia or something, but that doesn't mean that it isn't insanely enjoyable. I imagine that most of this is consumed by people in Spain and not a lot is imported. Lots of really sour, fresh cherry fruit and bright acidity. A little bit of funk, that sort of reminds me of leather. 15$ A