Sunday, January 26, 2014

2011 Alto Moncayo Garnacha

Well I'm admitting to having a few more glasses of wine since jan 16, at Max and Laura's wedding and now this. Also want to note with great approval 2004 Pinot noir from Oregon enjoyed at Dino's restaurant with max and Laura on Monday jan 20 after the wedding, with Emily and dear friend Clay in attendance. Reminded me how great Pinot noir can be and age worthy too. I have to look on their menu for specific vineyard...

Meanwhile this 100% Grenache from Spain ! Oh man is it heavenly.  This is the way I like Grenache --fruit bomb-like. Nose of eucalyptus, vanilla creAm and huckleberry/blueberry/blackberry with a touch of lavender and pine. Silky fruit on the palate with plenty of softish tannin and acid for aging. Long, warm finish. With age will probably grow even more in complexity but this is just wonderful now. Reminiscent of my reference standard  the 2004 De Lisio from Australia . And I see below Aussie winemaker Chris Ringland is to me but not surprising!

Parker 95 points and I agree: "I tend to drink Alto Moncayo during its first 5-6 years of life. Although I was sure they had aging potential, I did not realize just how much longevity these wines possess. They are generally full-bodied, powerful (with at least 15.5% natural alcohol), concentrated, rich wines made from very old vines and tiny yields. If you are not into flavor concentration or care about artisanal wines from great terroirs that have been ignored for centuries, this may not be the wine for you. Not one of these ten vintages was close to full maturity. The two most recent vintages, 2010 and 2011, were both late, cooler years and both have turned out to be sexy wines. I suspect that in many ways, 2011 will behave like 2006, being precocious and delicious, but not as long-lived as some of its siblings. These wines appear to have 20-30 years of aging potential, although the sweet spot for drinking them appears to be between age 8 and 15.

This was a great opportunity to look at one of the flagship wines of importer Jorge Ordonez’s portfolio. Alto Moncayo is a 100% old vine Grenache cuvee (900-1,000 cases produced depending on the vintage) that is a joint project between Jorge Ordonez and Barossa winemaker, Chris Ringland. Five generations of vignerons have farmed over 210 acres of primarily old vine Grenache at Alto Moncayo, a wine that is produced from incredibly low yields of 500 grams of grape bunches per vine. There are never more than six to eight bunches on these ancient head-pruned Grenache vines. The wine is fermented in open-top wood fermenters, and spends 19 months in 100% new oak prior to being bottled unfiltered. The fruit is all destemmed. I tasted these ten vintages of Alto Moncayo in September, and I was blown away by how well they were showing."

Friday, January 17, 2014

Mouton Rothschild 1982 at Vidalia

The wine (see picture below) is remarkably youthful. The rim was showing some age but could've been a 2000 by its looks. Started out with blackberry and leather nose then began develop an almost Margaux like perfume of sweet black cherry and lavender and violet with a long sweet finish and some very soft tannin. It took maybe an hour for alcohol and acid to fully integrate with fruit, another lesson in the importance of letting the wine rest in the glass and savoring it over time to enjoy the changes and usually, improvement. The perfume aspect became more pronounced than with earlier '82 Moutons. Certainly the relative youth and staying power of this wine combine with its balance and classic Bordeaux flavor profile to merit its legendary status. 

Enjoyed this at dinner Thursday night January 16, 2014 before Max and Laura's wedding on 19th, at Vidalia in DC , still a consistently excellent restaurant and probably my all around favorite in this city