Tuesday, December 1, 2015

2012 Poggio al Tufo Rompicollo Sangiovese 60% Cabernet Sauv 40%

A SuperTuscan from Maremma on sale at Calvert Woodley for about $15. I had to buy a bottle. It generated a 93 point rating from Vinous (formerly Tanzer's IWC) which is pretty high for them. So what I'm finding in the glass initially is indeed a soft and smooth but complex wine with evolving nose of piney woods, cherry, a certain herbal earthiness that's common in sangiovese but dialed back a bit by the cabernet, which I like. With air more of a mint/menthol/eucalyptus aroma. Soft tannins and moderately long finish, medium body, fairly light colored. I'd say this is better than the hyped Black Slate Priorats I've purchased--not that they're bad.

Vinous says this in its review: Dark bright red. Amarone-like opulence on the nose and in the mouth, with a raisiny nuance to the ripe, soft red cherry, sweet spice and herb aromas and flavors. So velvety and opulent I would have tasted it in Veneto had I tasted it blind, but it’s so well balanced and smooth that it’s pretty irresistible. Finishes long, with lush, smooth tannins and a hint of residual sweetness. I really like this wine because, for all its showy sweetness and opulence, it manages to retain a graceful quality without going over the top. Amarone lovers will score it even higher than I have.

2012 Ferrari-Carano Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon

Had this on Nov. 30 at District Commons restaurant, DC. Just a glass but it was unusually tasty for a restaurant glass. Spicy, licorice, blackcurrant, nicely balanced. Not super complex or rich, 90 points. Pretty good deal around $20 at the store.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

2009 Mas Romani (Mas Alta) La Basseta

Enjoyed this at Le Town Talk in St Paul with dear friends Clay and Inge. A superb Priorat that receives 95 points from Parker's newsletter and deserves it. The nose changed over time. Initially strong cherry; then mint./eucalyptus; then more licorice and woodsy/piney. The palate was a bit hot initially but after decanting and some time in bottle became softer. Cherry suggests Grenache dominance. Medium body, beautiful very dark red-purple color, moderately long finish. Flavors integrated in very pleasurable way after maybe an hour. Despite rich fruit, could be called elegant or suave if I were being pretentious. Matched up very nicely with the steak & frites dinner. I especially loved the changing array of aromas. Will taste again on Sunday evening after Saturday eve dinner. Priorat rarely disappoints. $65.

I found this on the Mas Romani website: 

Throughout the process of producing our vintages, we aim to obtain sensitive and complex wines. La Basseta is undoubtedly the most feminine wine in our range. The intensity of the fruit blended with a long and silky finish make for a feminine feel...

So what I call suave and elegant they seem to call "feminine." Interesting.

Pictures of Mas Romani and Priorat http://www.bodegasmasalta.com/en/pictures.aspx

L A B A S S E T A 2 0 0 9 Made from a blend of our best Grenache vineyards, old vine Carignan and a dash of Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon, LA BASSETA is without a doubt the most feminine wine of our range. A complex mix of elegance and typical flavours of Priorat.

WINE BLEND: 60% Grenache noir, 20% Carignan and 20% Syrah PRODUCTION: 8.800 bottles and 100 magnums

VINE EXPOSURE: - 60% step slopes facing North East - 40% step slopes facing South East

SOIL CHARACTERISTICS: dark slate called “llicorella " ALTITUDE: 350 – 550 meters

AVERAGE YIELD: 0,5 - 1 kg/plant

AGE OF THE VINES: between 15 (Grenache) and 100 years old (Carignan)

AGING The aging period is about 16 months in Allier French oak barrels. - 60% new barrel - 40% 1 year old barrel

TASTING NOTES  Beautiful black cherry colour, with a purple disk.  The nose is complex, intense, with mineral aromas, associated with mint and fresh spices notes, black fruit. Nice depth.  On the palate, the wine reveals an elegant acidity. The tannins are unctuous, powerful and fresh on the same time. Length, with coffee and spicy persistent notes on the finish.

AGING POTENTIAL: Drink it now through 2022 S

Parker says: The 2009 La Basseta is purple black in color with a brooding bouquet of liquid minerals, licorice, tapenade, a hint of balsamic, black cherry, and blackberry. On the palate it reveals greater richness than the 2008 with plush fruit, succulent flavors, and enough ripe tannin to evolve for 4-6 years. It will be at its best from 2015 to 2029. 

Parker gets the blend wrong, it's 60% grenache.

Bodegas Mas Alta, based in the Priorat village of Vilella Alta, is a partnership of five Belgian families. They have hired the duo of Frenchmen Michel Tardieu and Philippe Cambie (of Rhone Valley renown) as consultants. Since 1999 they have planted 77 acres of vines, mostly on slate at altitude. The top cuvees are made from old-vine fruit purchased from local growers. The red wines begin with the value-priced Els Pics bottling made from younger vines with 45% of the fruit coming from valley floors. Both the 2008 and 2009 vintages are blends of 60% Grenache, 35% Carignan, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon with 12 months of aging in seasoned French oak. The Artigas cuvee is made up of 60% Grenache, 35% Carignan, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon aged for 16 months in 35% new French oak. Most of the fruit is sourced from Priorat’s steep slopes. The Cirerets cuvee is made up of 60% Grenache and 40% Carignan, all from steep slopes in llicorella slate. The Carignan portion comes from vines ranging in age from 40-100 years. The wine is aged in 30% new French oak for 18 months. The La Basseta cuvee is a blend of 40% Grenache, 40% Carignan, and 20% Syrah all from steep slopes and aged for 16 months in 60% new French oak. The flagship cuvee is La Creu Alta, a blend of 55% Carignan and 45% Grenache from old vines and steep hillsides planted in llicorella slate made only in top vintages. The wine is aged for 18 months in 80% new French oak.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

2007 Stonestreet Bear Point Cabernet

This one was a splurge purchase from Stonestreet, ordered after tasting it at the winery and comparing it to a Harlan (i.e., a $500-700 bottle). Something about the depth of the fruit, yet elegance and balance and very long finish reminded me of Harlan. So opening this one last night at 18 Seaboard with a friend was an interesting reality check. It is still quite dark, and the palate a celestrial variety of black fruits, boysenberry, blackberry, maybe blueberry, with spicy licorice, vanilla, pine woods and cream. The nose was rather restrained even with some time in the glass, but the taste varied from sip to sip, always soft (tannins now 80% melted away) and drinking like a mature Pomerol. I don't know why the nose wasn't more perfumed given the complex taste but this was a lovely balanced, complex medium bodied cabernet with a very long finish. 95 points.

Parket gives it only 92 points, but that was 5 years ago and the tannin has largely resolved as noted above: Another big, earthy, tannic, Medoc-styled wine is the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Bear Point. There are only 231 cases of this cuvee, which offers abundant amounts of black currant, cedar, spice box, and earth notes in a full-bodied, tannic style. Give it 5-8 years of cellaring and drink it over the following 20 years.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

2004 Andrew Will Sorella

The Wine Advocate nails this one: Also aging gracefully and just at the early stages of maturity, the 2004 Sorella possesses a lifted, elegant and perfumed array of violets, wild herbs, bay leaf and spice box that’s supported by a rich core of fruit. Medium to full-bodied, balanced and fresh, it opens nicely in the glass. It should hit full maturity in another 3-5 years and evolve gracefully after that. Drink now[2009]-2024. 93 points.

I found it remarkably young for an '04 and it definitely needed the half hour in glass, or even hour, before it really opened up its charms. Reminiscent of a bordeaux at first, then more unique because of the spice that was more new world. I'm glad I've got a lot of Sorella aging in the cellar. Drank this with Max at Medium Rare, the one-dish steak restaurant in Cleveland Park, to celebrate his 29th birthday. Excellent steak that went well with this wine.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Robert Craig 2007 Affinity Cabernet

Robert Craig 2007 Affinity Cabernet

Classic california cabernet. Tannins smoothed out now but still pretty young looking. Nose got bigger and bigger as wine sat in glass over time. Amazing citrus tropical fruit sweet perfume along with spicy licorice. Blackberry, cedar, briar woodsy. The finish is medium as is the body. Thus there's a slight lack of depth and richness here as compared say with O'Shaughnessy.  But it's a hell of a fine wine. Drinking it while watching "The Fall" on Netflix--fairly upsetting stuff shall we say, made more palatable by enjoyment of the wine.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

2009 Certan de May

At Vidalia to celebrate Max and Laura's 1st anniversary, took along the first bottle of '09 Certan de May purchased in Paris from a distributor of some sort, through Craigslist. He listed a bunch of excellent Bordeaux and this one caught my eye as it's been a fav since 1985 when I purchased 4 bottles at the chateau during the great snowstorm of January 1985--30 yrs ago this month come to think of it and a year before Max was born. I love Pomerol and this one was prototypical of great ones. Round soft mellifluous and complex with blackberry, cherry, spice, pine and with airing pronounced sherry wood and caramel aromas. Exquisitely balanced fruit/acid with virtually undetectable tannins yet still pretty youthful looking, the finish was extremely long, complex, fruity and just basically what Pomerol is all about. Great that it drinks so well at young age. Hard to believe it'll get better but I'd guess it'll hold for another 3-5 years. 95 points.