Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving wines De Lisio Grenache 2004, Mitolo Shiraz GAM 2004, Clos l'Obac 2001, 2004 D'Arenberg Ironstone Pressings

The DeLisio was wonderful as usual. Everything in order: big fruit, with sufficient acid and soft tannin for a great nose and palate. I'm sad today was the last one I'll drink.

The Mitolo Shiraz GAM was actually the equal of the De Lisio today. Big and only slightly herbaceous, more sweet raspberry fruit than many shiraz wine i've had. Looks like the thing to do is find the expensive Shiraz wines and make sure they have a few years age and they'll lose the herb/pepper component that isn't too my liking. This one was silky and long finishing, though certainly not as complex as a bordeaux blend or even a GSM.

Clos l'Obac was very restrained relative to the first two. It is a blend of the grenache with syrah and i expected it to be more flamboyant and thus up to the first two. It was fine -- perhaps elegant is the word, subtle--but i'd say closed and not ready. Also seemed to have cabernet currant element. WS gives it 91 (as does Parker). Here's WS:
Powerful, rich with extract and tannins, offering ripe fruit flavors of plum and dried cherry that mingle with spicy oak and notes of wild herb. More muscular than expressive, but should open with food. Best after 2004. 200 cases imported. –TM

And indeed I was right it does have a good dose of Cab: Blend of 35% Garnacha, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah, 10% Merlot and 10% Cariñena.

As to Ironstone Pressings, loved this before, this time also seemed somewhat closed. Didn't have much time to expand in glass and will be drinking some more tomorrow from a pumped bottle.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

2004 Chryseia redux

A wonderful wine beautifully blackberry/huckleberry juice with very soft tannins and just-right acid-fruit balance. Like other Portuguese wines, this one gets noticeably better with air, more complexity, floral, spicedrop and forest overtones coming out with time. Red raspberry too. Silky smooth, moderately long finish. On the second day after refrig and pumping out oxygen. Even silkier, acid is attenuated as is tannin and you get a lovely blueberry vanilla and spice. This is one great wine. Could drink this every night of my life. Note the earlier tasting note on Chryseia.

Monday, November 16, 2009

2002 Andrew Will Sorella

Forgot I had this stashed away at 1114 Rhode Island. Beautiful day in DC 11/16 so I left office early to work on chapter 2, the theory chapter, of the scandal book. It's tough sledding so I deserve a break though I'm still writing thank you very much.

Now the wine: Blackberry, cinnamon, nutmeg, cedar and pine, minerally/steely component and other spice notes highlight the nose. Some herbaceous accents join these on the palate. The color is a kind of blackberry/black cherry juice tint with a bit of brick red at the edge. There is plenty of tannin and good acid yet very silky textured and full bodied. I would say this is short of peaking, maybe should be drunk starting in 2011 and can be enjoyed for another 6-8 years till 2018 or so. Very, very long finish carried by the tannin and acid. After the tannin rounds out this will be better, but I also suspect it's not a 20+ year wine. 92 points at this point.

Here's what Parker says in giving it 93 points (actually Pierre Rovani). Pierre and I are quite similar:
Produced entirely from fruit acquired from Paul Champoux’s Champoux Vineyard, the 2002 Sorella is fashioned from 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Franc, and 8% Petit Verdot. Tar-laced black fruits, sweet spices, and herbs are found in this beauty’s aromas as well as flavors. Medium-bodied, muscular, and intricate, it is a lovely, concentrated, as well as complex offering with a long, flavor-packed, and slightly warm (from alcohol) finish. Drink it between 2007 and 2018.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Birthday Nov 7 tasting quick notes plus Nov 8 Tirant 2001 Rotllan Torra spectacular

On November 7 celebrated Bob's birthday with 3 Super Tuscans that were all superb, esp the 1997 100% merlot Montiano Falesco and the 2000 Solengo
1996 Vigna d'Alceo Castello dei Rampolla 92 parker

1997 Montiano Falesco 95 parker

2000 Solengo Argiano 95 parker

I couldn't take contemporaneous notes on the above but i will say the Montiano had all the great cherry fruit and roundness of a Pomerol, totally pleasure; and the Solengo which was cab merlot and syrah was also round seamless and very complex and silky.

Then opened another purchase from Hart Davis Hart, 2001 Rotllan Torra Tirant Priorat (Parker 96-98) which was superb tonight. Very full of licorice, blueberry, blackberry, road tar, a figgy ripeness with a bit of vanillla, cedar and spring woods too. In short everything from the grapes which are grenache, Cab sauv, carignan *25% each, plus merlot 10%, syrah 15%. the acid and tannin are apparent only on swallowing whereupon they carry a long spicy licorice berry finish. this is what Priorat is all about. It is better than any of the 3 others above but not hugely better than the Montiano or Solengo, and possibly the latter has the potential to get even better. I can imagine the Tirant getting better with another year, developing more bottle bouquet, but that's about it for development and it'll certainly hold for 6-8 more years after that, till maybe 2018.

Lovely birthday party, wonderful to have everyone gathering here in Chapel Hill including Max and Emily, Emily's friends Taylor and Sarah and Jesse, Clay and Inge, Connie, Hans, Dub, Libby, Wib, Charlotte, Bob (Laurie in Guatemala), John, Lucy. Great friends all.

Here's Parker on Tirant: 96-98 points reviewed in 2004

A prodigious effort, the 2001 Tirant is a 9,000-bottle cuvee made from 30% Grenache (90-100 years old), 25% Carignan (90-100 years old), 25% young vine Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah, and 10% Merlot. Fermented in large oak foudres and aged 12 months in new French oak, it will be bottled with neither fining nor filtration. Inky/purple-colored to the rim, it boasts a spectacular bouquet of blueberries, blackberries, and the region’s classic crushed stone minerality. This full-throttle yet remarkably elegant 2001 possesses tremendous intensity and texture as well as layers of flavor, but comes across as not over the top, overripe, or overly heavy. The 60-second finish reveals more noticeable tannin than the other cuvees. Give it 1-2 years of cellaring and drink it over the following 10-15. The 2001 Tirant is indeed a special wine.

Jordi Rotllan Torra was one of the pioneers of Priorat having founded this small estate in 1984, long before this now fashionable wine region became world renowned.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

2005 Glen Carlou Red bordeaux blend South Africa

I had this at a tasting i stumbled upon at Bell Liquors on M St, DC. I tasted several decent btls but this was the best. totally ready to drink with very appealing spicy cinnamon, licorice overtones to the nose and palate, cedar/woodsy and even chocolate. It was $14 at Bell and worth that for current drinking. I see at it's $20. The winery notes say this:

A blend of 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot, 6% Malbec and 5% Cabernet Franc.

Brilliant ruby red with a purple rim. Dark berry fruit and Christmas cake with some cedar wood undertones and cinnamon. Very round and soft with nice ripe tannins some liquorice and cured cherries. Mouth feel very long and elegant with a nice creamy chocolate flavor.

The 2005 vintage was a bit cooler and drier than average, making our ripening period longer on the noble red cultivars, giving us full ripe fruit with elegant soft tannins.

And I see Parker actually has a review w/89 points, just where I'd put it

2005 Grand Classique - a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with small amounts of Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc – costs only a few dollars more than their pure Cabernet, and is vastly more interesting and delicious. Stewed blackberries, cassis, cedar, tobacco and juniper berry rise from the glass and saturate the palate in a smooth yet invigorating show. The dark tobacco element – along with a stony suggestion – is especially prominent in the finish, which this vintage (unlike the last) evinces neither heat nor drying. This is in short a seamlessly-rich, intriguing, sensually-satisfying Bordeaux blend to enjoy over the next 3-5 years

2003 Sociando Mallet

This one gets very good write-ups from Parker and Jancis robinson (whom I've just subscribed to). On the first night, 10/31, the wine was dark and silky with plenty of acid and softening tannins but I found the fruit overwhelmingly tinged with black olive--not one of my favorite aromas. Gassed it and tonight the olive was gone to be replaced by spring woods, flowers, violet, and hint of cassis. So it's much better tonight. However it also was oxidizing, in my view; i'm not sure how good the gas valve still is. I say oxidizing because the acid seemed too high tonight. Nonetheless I'd say what I need to do is let this sit for another year or two before drinking the other 10 btls I'm storing. I'd give it 92 based on potential for future mellowing, rounding and shedding the olive. Here's Parker and Jancis. For her 17.5 is very high.

Sociando-Mallet is the poster child for what cru bourgeois estates can achieve. This is a wine that is consistently of classified-growth quality and also one of the longest lived wines made in the Medoc. An exceptional vintage for Sociando-Mallet, 2003 has produced a spectacularly concentrated, inky blue/purple-colored wine with an extraordinary nose of blackberries, raspberries, some white flowers, and a hint of lead pencil shavings. The wine is powerful, extremely full-bodied, quite tannic, and seriously endowed. This is stunning wine that is rich, layered, and in need of 5-6 years of bottle-age. It should keep for 30+ years. It is certainly a riveting effort for the vintage and, as I wrote last year, probably a modern-day version of a hypothetical blend of a 1970 and a 1982.

Ch Sociando-Mallet 2003 Haut-Médoc 17.5 Drink 2007-20
Harvest date 10-24 Sep; yield 49.5 hl/ha; vineyard area 70.62 ha
Very dark indeed – much more so than most 2003s. Right out to the rim too! Mineral and heady – this smells like one of the most successful wines of this vintage. Succulent and ripe and exotic but not overdone and without a hollow middle. The tannins are a bit dry on the end, which stops it being a top scorer for me, but it’s definitely one of the best 2003s. Flattering and with sufficient freshness – the structure is rather Italian actually! Some bitterness and acidity... I wonder whether this was acidified?