Friday, February 26, 2010

2001 Marciliano (Umbria IGT)

Oh boy does this one have a nose. This is why it's really good to let the bottle age till it's ready, even if delicious young. This one has an incredibly complex nose of spicy vanilla, licorice, blackberry, maybe boysenberry or huckleberry. On the palate it's still actually pretty young (i'm afraid it's my last of 2 bottles, very sadly) withjust about a perfect balance of acid tannin and fruit and therefore a very long fruity finish, maybe a touch of sour cherry involved in the finish impression. There's an herbal quality that's pleasant not overwhelming. The finish must last 2 minutes! This one is easily a 95. I don't get to drink many wines that are better than this. I'd say it's not peaked yet, maybe 2012-2018 will be prime years. See earlier posting (which i didn't read).

I see it's 70% cab sauvignon and 30% cab franc which accounts for the nicely herbaceous quality. And there's no merlot which is why I didn't taste merlot (as noted in the prior post which I did just read after writing the first graf above. In teh earlier post i said it was restrained on nose, on first opening, then opened up after a few days. now, perhaps because it's better rested, perhaps because it's a couple months older (though that seems unlikely) it's open and lovely.

On second night, after having put wine in Preservino, the wine was still good but the vegetal quality is now stronger and the wine less complex and elegant. I should have drunk more last night!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ken Wright Pinot Noir Carter Vineyard 2007

Had this with friend Rui Novais of Porto at Mendocino Grille last night. Must write therefore from memory, but it's a good memory. Seemed to me classic Pinot fruit which leans toward the strawberry plus black cherry in my view. There was considerable vanilla oak and "forest floor" in the mix and not much tannin; acid level quite good and sustaining a good finish with no rough edges. It paired very nicely with a NY strip steak that was delicious in its own right. Pinot is not my favorite wine though partly that's due to price/quality ratio being higher than for grenache and even cabernet. Still this was highly pleasurable. I'd guess it'll be good for another 5-6 years. 90+ points from me. Note below the disparity between Parker and Wine Spectator; I split the difference apparently.

Parker gives it 92:
The 2007 Pinot Noir Carter Vineyard is from a 1983 planting. Lovely aromas of smoke, spice, underbrush, incense, and black cherry lead to a round, velvety, sweetly fruited Pinot with enough structure and balance to evolve for 2-3 years. It should provide pleasure from 2012 to 2022.

89 from WS:
Tangy, with firm tannins around a juicy core of peppery raspberry and cherry flavors, lingering on the vibrant finish. Drink now through 2013. 1,317 cases made. –HS

Signargues Cotes du Rhone Vieille Vignes 2007

This is my second bottle apparently. I won't read what i wrote the first time until i dissect this sample. I like this although as usual with Cotes du Rhone, it's on the rustic side. The nose is intriguing though confounded by the damn dish detergent at 1114 Rhode Island, which has flowers/nuts. Trying to get underneath the detergent, impossible on the nose, but on the palate it's quite silky and has the voluptuousness I associate with grenache. I believe since it's called granacha it's all grenache. The fruit on palate is blackberry/blueberry with a hint of cedar and licorice, decent acidity and enough tannin to keep and perhaps improve and round out the wine for 3-4 years. I'd give it 88 points.

Friday, February 19, 2010

2005 Neyers Syrah Old Lakeville Rd

It was entirely unplanned that i opened this bottle next, after having the Tensley syrah. The Tensley is superior in every way but this is a good one in its own right. I neglected to write about it when i first opened and five nights later, after storage in the Preservino (argon gas, unrefrigerated) I'm pleased to say the wine is drinking very nicely. The nose is pretty sweet blackberry and tea, with some pleasant spice overtones. On the palate there's a good acid kick after an initial impression of silky fruit. Not particularly complex or profound; low tannin, ready to drink now and won't be getting better, probably another year or two left of drinkability. I don't know what this cost me but if it was about $15 it's a good drink. 89 points but 30 minutes later with full opening on nose and palate certainly it's a 90 point wine. It's hedonistic and pleasurable though still not a profound experience.

Wine Spectator 87 pts: Offers aromas and flavors of bay leaf, mint, cola and sassafras. Will have its appeal, as this is rich and concentrated, with loads of spice and pepper. Drink now through 2012. 1,155 cases made.

Parker 90-92 pts: The 2005 Syrah Old Lakeville Highway reveals plenty of bacon fat and black olive characteristics in its aromatic, outgoing personality. Medium to full-bodied, deep, rich, and pure, it is best consumed during its first 4-5 years of life.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

2008 Tensley Colson Syrah

This one was recommended to me strongly by David Ramey, the winemaker for the eponymous winery and the guy who crafts my favorite CA chardonnays. Attended the tasting mentioned in previous post and he urged me to buy this one (even though his own Syrah was being sold and it was good too, and more expensive--this one just $31 for 95 pt wine from Spectator).

Anyhow, this one is the proverbial fruit bomb with raspberry and huckleberry predominant on a very intensely fruity nose. On the palate the tannins are well concealed behind a good acid backbone and the huge fruit. The finish is long and mixed berryish. I'm not sure I'd go 95 points given the strong fruit which isn't all that complex. It is however hedonistic and that's something I'm more than happy to endorse. It's also a syrah that doesn't give off the pepper/vegetal element that I don't like. I'm guessing this one will be fine for another 4-5 years but i can't see it getting much better. maybe a little complexity and bottle bouquet will come out with another year or two of age. There isn't the tannin to take this for very many years. but for now it's certainly pleasurable, if not quite up to my benchmark fruit bomb, the 2004 De Lisio Grenache. I just like grenache better than syrah. I do see the minerally finish mentioned below and it's a nice extra dimension.

Spectator 95 pts: Displays gorgeous fruit, with a medley of wild berry, blackberry, huckleberry and boysenberry fruit that's pure, rich and intense, yet elegant, supple and refined. The fruit flavors are sustained on the finish, ending minerally, with fine-grained tannins. Drink now through 2017. 1,610 cases made.–JL

Friday, February 5, 2010

Ramey 2005 Hudson Chardonnay etc

A Triangle Wine Experience dinner at Bloomsbury Bistro paired 4 excellent Ramey wines with 5 courses--very nicely matched. The 2007 Russian River chard started off the evening and it was a good 90 point chard with butter and tropical fruit. The Hyde Vineyard Chard. was much better, very Burgundian and reminiscent of Puligny Montrachet. Can age but wonderful full, complex, long finish toasted oak and stone fruit with gout de terroir. As good as California chardonnay gets tho my memory of Ramey's Ritchie might be even a touch better. (I spoke to Ramey tonight at another tasting, at CH Wine Co, and compared Hyde and 2005 Hudson, which I had tonight, saying that Hudson was more Meursault and Hyde Puligny; he agreed tho said maybe Hudson is more Chassagne Montrachet; in any case Hyde more feminine, Hudson more masculine {and clearly needs more age in bottle}.). Also tasted the 2006 Claret, 2006 Cab, and 2006 Shanel Syrah. All fine, 91-92 points; Syrah perhaps the best. Tonight also had the Cab Vinum ($70) 96% cab with a tiny touch of the other bordeaux varietals. Best of the cabs from him I tasted but I'd have to say Ramey is a chardonnay man and there's no better in CA imho.


Here's Tanzer 93 pts Hudson 2005:

Green-tinged gold. Ripe orange, pear and honeydew on the nose, with iodine and anise adding complexity. Deep and creamy, offering concentrated orchard and pit fruit flavors and bracing minerality. Becomes spicier on the long, vibrant finish. This is strikingly pure and persistent.

Chardonnay Hyde 2006 93 pts
Yellow-gold. Powerful aromas of orange peel, pear, truffle and floral honey, with slow-building minerality adding verve. Deep, spicy, impressively pure orchard fruit and citrus flavors pick up a bitter quinine quality on the back end. Brighter and more vivacious than the Hudson today, with excellent finishing clarity and mineral snap.

Vinum 2006 93 pts:
ncludes 2% petit verdot and 1% each of cabernet franc and malbec) Inky ruby color. Pungent aromas of blackcurrant, cherry preserves, licorice and smoky Indian spices. Really exotic in the mouth, offering mineral-driven dark berry and bitter cherry flavors, with dusty tannins adding grip. The spice and mineral notes build with air and extend through the long, sappy, gently sweet finish. There's a strong suggestion of Pauillac showing today, and I don't think this would be out of place in a flight of high-end Bordeaux of similar age.

Cab 2006 92 pts
Dense ruby-red color. Ripe and smoky, offering powerful raspberry and cherry scents, along with tobacco and roasted coffee. Surprisingly vibrant in the mouth, with zesty red- and blackcurrant flavors, velvety texture and good mineral snap. Finishes clean and brisk, with excellent lift and cut.

2007 Els Pics Bodegas Mas Alta Priorat

This is a low-cost, relatively, Priorat @ $23 from CH Wine Co. It's not a Mogador, but it's reminiscent of it. This one is Grenache, Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon: "Founded in 1999, Bodegas Mas Alta has the renowned Michel Tardieu from the Rhone and noted French enologist Philippe Cambie consulting for a partnership of Belgian owners. Els Pics is a blend 60% Grenache, 30% Carignan (aka Mazuelo in Spain), and 5% Cabernet from young vines grown at an elevation of 50-350 meters. 55% of the fruit is grown in the llicorella soils of the terraced slopes and the balance from the clay soils of the valley floor. Their approach to vinification is very gentle, this cuvee was aged for 12 months in Allier oak." (The numbers add to 95% so I think 65% grenache)

You have the spicy blackberry/strawberry that marks grenache for me, the marked nutiness that I can't help thinking is like hazelnut,, the old dominant crop of this area of Spain!, and also some interesting melon overtones. Very silky on the palate tho with plenty of acid on finish, which is pleasant, moderately long and warm. Tannins are soft. I'm going to say peak drinking will be 2011-2016. This is a 90+ point, maybe 91 point wine that's a reasonable substitute for the next pricepoint wines like Les Terraces (Palacios) at $40-45 or twice as much. With air added complexity of berries and mocha, somehow calling to mind cabernet and the extra complexity on nose is carignan--would be similar to what Malbec or cab franc does in bordeaux I think.