Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
|Pale+ ruby colour. Subtle, slightly closed aromas of red cherry, raspberry, violets, mocha and cinnamon on the nose. The medium+ bodied palate provides a great intensity of cherry, spice and tea flavours balanced by crisp acidity. Medium to firm, grainy, very fine tannins and a long, long finish. Young. Drink 2010 – 2020+. Tasted November 2008. 95 pts|
The 2004 Tignanello (85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc) presents a livelier shade of ruby along with fresher aromatics and flavors. Deeply expressive, it reveals black cherries, licorice, tar and sweet toasted oak on a linear, silky-textured frame of great class and elegance, showing outstanding presence on the palate and fine tannins to round out the finish. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2019. 93 points
Monday, July 20, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Tenuta Guado al tasso is the maker, supposedly in vineyard next to sassacaia. Mixes of cab, merlot, syrah. Bolgheri is .the area. Antinori apparently owns it. Now what I smell on the pleasant nose is a mixture of cherry vanilla, a slight black currant, and some provencal spice, which are accounted for by the merlot, cabernet, and syrah. Initial impression on first drinking was a too simple wine with initial attack of soft fruit follopwed by a hollow mid-palate and short finish of not much interest. the tannins are soft and this seems like a wine that won't last more than 3-4 years. After 30 minutes of course the acid is reduced and fruit comes forth better, with a fruitier finish. As always I've written the notes before consulting the professional notes below. I am closer to Parker on this, both score and impression, although I certainly don't see it lasting for more than 3-4 years and can't believe it'll get any better after 2009.
parker: 88 points. The 2006 Bruciato is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah that spent eight months in French oak. This brooding, intense wine flows from the glass with the essence of dark cherries, tar, smoke and menthol. It offers excellent length and a long, resonating finish that captures the warmth of Tuscany and the 2006 vintage. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2016.
Wine Spectator: Subtle and aromatic, with violet and berries on the nose. Full-bodied, with supersilky tannins and a long, clean, polished finish. The second wine of Guado al Tasso, with a bit more Merlot than the first wine. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and others. Best after 2009. 20,830 cases made/ 90 points.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
very smoothed out from the last time i tasted about a year ago. tannins have melted into the background and acid also, so now you taste abundant fruit with accent on blackberry and black cherry/kirsch and plum, maybe blueberry. a touch of lavender and very mild garrigue (provencal spice including lavender that grows in rocky dry climate of Provence). very long finish with soft tannin and acid nicely accenting the fruit. with air i actually detected a bit of hazelnut and then remembered that priorat was for a long time primarily known for hazelnut production! presumably still some hazelnut trees around and it's not impossible for the roots and leaves and thus fruit to pick up some of the hazelnut chemicals (which is why some Calif cabernets have eucalyptus overtones). This will be good till 2015 or so. I don't think the acid/tannin components are up to maintaining the wine much beyond. A few days later after being in refrig, the wine was ok for a few minutes but soured in the glass.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Left is a nice picture of mataro starting to ripen in Binder's vineyard in Feb 2006 (equivalent to August up here). At end see interesting discussion of the way this very vintage of Heinrich was put together.
Very deep, profound nose of caramel, burnt oak, violet, cherry and raspberry. There’s a scotch-like component, like it’s been aged in old sherry casks! This is one of those wines where one whiff tells you it’s gonna be fun to drink (like the 2004 De Lisio Grenache). It is dominated by Grenache, I suspect. There’s plenty of acid in this full-bodied wine, but tannins are very soft. The color actually is a bit lighter than cabernet-dominated wines and is showing a small hint of brick at the edge indicating less long life than most of the reds I’ve reviewed previously. I suppose this one qualifies as a fruit bomb, but that seems unfairly derogatory since it’s certainly not a simple wine. The finish is extraordinarily long and that requires acid, tannin and some alcohol too. I’d speculate that this one is nearly as good as it will ever get. All in all, it’s not as complex and profound as other Grenache or GSMs (or Priorats) I’ve had, but it's not simple/one dimensional either. I’ll say it’ll peak in 2010 and go for 5-6 years after that. At the bottom I'm pasting a kind of interesting entry from the Binder winemaker's blog where he discusses the work that went into this wine (which turns out to be mostly Shiraz and Mourvedre (called Mataro sometimes in Australia) and only 15 grenache). What Parker calls creosote below is what seemed to me that Maderized/oxidized/burnt element. He thinks it'll last till 2014 or so and I'm saying a year or two longer. He's probably right of course. I certainly didn't get any blueberry or currant/cassis.
Update: Opened after vaccum pumping and refrigerating normally next day (7/8/09). Delectable today, even silkier, softer tannin and acid. The burnt oak/caramel is receded tho present and now it tastes more like a fruit bomb shiraz, though the sweet blueberry, like a pastille, is now present to my nose. A hint of flowery and spicy perfume, as if it had real bottle age. Yes, a good quality red is often more enjoyable the next day. In fact, a clear distinction between the less good and better is even when the former is fine day 1 it won't be worth drinking day 2. This one cost under $25 and as such is a bargain. Notice the differences between what Parker and Wine Spectator tasted. The main thing is to pay attention and savor the complexities of taste, mouth feel, finish--not to worry about exactly what fruit tastes are "really" in there.
Here's what Parker said in Oct 2006 (2.5 years ago as I write). 93 points:
The 2005 Heinrich, a blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, and Shiraz (15%, 30%, and 55% respectively), reveals a dark purple hue along with a sweet perfume of crushed rocks, blueberries, creme de cassis, creosote, vanilla, and spice. It is a full, earthy effort to consume over the next 7-8 years.
Here's the informative material from the Binder website/blog talking about making this wine in 2005:
Wine is constantly being tasted on a day by day basis to see how it is developing but once a year we taste in methodical order every barrel of red wine in the winery. This is the definitive tasting as from it we decide which barrel will go to which final wine of the number we make at Veritas.
This is an exhaustive process and this year it was spread over five days with about six hours tasting each day. We tasted over 700 barrels covering the 2004 and 2005 vintages. The tasters were Christa Binder Deans, Kym Teusner and myself.
Some wines that earlier in the year had picked up enough oak and wines that we do not want to show much of an oak influence have already been taken out of oak and are in tanks. These components are used if required in the final wine blends.
From the barrel tasting we then make a trial blend of the final wine from the barrels selected to see what it will taste like and if it looks O.K. the individual barrels are blended together and returned to oak.
To explain this clearly it is best to use an example, and this is how we composed the Rolf Binder Heinrich Shiraz Mataro Grenache 2005.
Behind the Veritas winery is a shiraz block called Stephanie Lot 2. This yielded 18 barrels. Of these we thought two barrels were good enough for the Heysen, a grade higher than Heinrich, nine were right for Heinrich and seven will become Christa Rolf (the domestic brand)/Halliwell (the overseas brand).
We then made a trial blend of the nine barrels which is equal portions of each barrel to see how it tasted. In this case we were happy and they were all approved as Heinrich. It can be that the barrels do not blend nicely so you then find out which one or two do not belong in the final blend. If this happened that barrel or barrels is declassified to a lower grade wine.
At Veritas if it does not fit the wine style it is declassified and we do this often.
Now a base can be anything from one barrel to a dozen or so, and in a very big winery can run into hundreds. Incidentally the process we are doing at Veritas is pretty standard Australian wine making practise.
So these nine barrels form one of the bases of the shiraz component of Heinrich. For the 2005 Heinrich we ended up with seven shiraz bases. These are next examined in detail and compared with each other. Of the seven it was decided that only five were good enough. Of the two bases declassified one will go to Rolf Binder Christa Rolf Shiraz Grenache 2005 and the other to Rolf Binder Hales Shiraz 2005. This of course lifts the overall quality of these two cheaper wines.
For the mataro component of Heinrich we ended up with two bases. One from the 100 plus year old bush vines from behind the winery and the other from plantings done in 1972 that are next to the winery and were taken from cuttings off the old bush vines.
The grenache we are very particular about and every vintage it generally comes down to a special lot from our Western Ridge vineyard in the Gomersal sub-region of the Barossa. And that is how it turned out this vintage with only one base of grenache making it to the final blend. We looked at 18 barrels of this base and whittled this down to 12. The six that were declassified will go to the Christa Rolf/Halliwell Shiraz Grenache lifting the quality of this wine.
This then led to a final Heinrich 2005 blend of 55% shiraz, 30% mataro and 15% grenache. Each variety is made into the final blend and is kept separate and the wines go back into oak. At this stage we may elect to change the oak, for example we are about to bottle a red which will free up some good two year old oak and the grenache component will go into this oak.
So we were pleased to finish an exhausting week but it may be the most important week in the winery.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
In looking around for more info on Kalin I found the discussion of the newly discovered (or at least newly applied to wine) fifth taste besides sweet, sour, salty and bitter.
Kalin Cellars - Wines With The Fifth Taste
Most wines evoke the taste sensations of sweet, salty, bitter and sour. Kalin Cellars wines are among the VERY, VERY few wines presently available that evoke the FIFTH Taste of Umami. Umami is a newly discovered basic taste that is fundamentally different from the other four. It is variously described as delicious, savory or meaty. It is associated with the taste of perfection - a wine, fruit, cheese, mushroom or ham that is at its peak of flavor maturity and quality. Most wines are either not capable of attaining Umami or are offered for sale long before the fifth flavor of perfection is achieved. Kalin Cellars wines are aged in temperature and humidity controlled underground cellars until they achieve the perfection of Umami. Only after three to ten years of bottle age are these wines released for sale. To learn more about Wine With The Fifth Taste please visit the Umami Wine Page.
Clos l'Obac is a Priorat, a Spanish wine area that has become my second favorite (to bordeaux). Tends to use grenache, syrah and also cabernet, merlot and carignan. This one, on the nose and palate: the grenache has that dense sweet berry, with a resemblance to huckleberry pie with vanilla ice cream. The syrah comes out more in the briary, spicy component of the taste. The nose is pretty restrained now and clearly can go 2-3 more years before it rounds out and fully opens. Underneath the grenache smell for me is the hint of black currant that indicates cabernet--and maybe cherry from merlot? Color is purple ruby with only the slightest hint of age at the rim. Plenty of soft tannin on a long finish that emphasizes strawberry-cherry component with acid that sustains the finish. A whiff of alcohol on nose and a bit of heat on finish, both of which should calm down in a couple years. Medium body and moderately silky palate. I'd think this will be best from 2011 to 2018.
Clos l'Obac on the 2nd day, 24 hours after opening and using vacuum pump and standard refrigerator: incredible how it's changed and now tastes very much like a cabernet. Tannin and acid have receded in favor of the now extremely silky black currant and vanilla fruit. Like drinking a different and at least as pleasurable a wine. I recommend everyone retaste their red wines after 24 hours. The best ones will give as much pleasure a day later.
July 7: two days since opening. 3rd day clos l’obac the spice is more recognizably rosemary (though I am eating rosemary bread as I sip) and the wine no longer tastes like a cabernet so much. More like a blend between day 1 and 2. There’s some cabernet present with a hint of mint and currant. It’s lost some body and zip and won’t be very good tomorrow. There’s a Madera quality to the nose today—I guess that means oxidation is taking its toll. Certainly you could drink this l’Obac today with considerable pleasure, though having it alongside the just-opened Binder Heinrich makes the comparison unfair.
Parker 91 points writing in 2004
The reclusive and idiosyncratic Terry Leighton continues to release his wines a good ten years later than just about anybody else in California. He also continues to turn out one of the finest Sauvignon Blancs and longest-lived Chardonnays.