Saturday, December 5, 2020

2013 Clos Mogador

 December 4, 2020. Ethereally complex and deep nose. Road tar, vanilla toffee, blackberry, coffee, mint, sweet flowers. Hint of Cabernet in the blend. Long perfectly balanced finish. Med-full body. Rim shows aging nicely, still deep purple center. 97 points from me, 98 from Parker, 94 from Vinous. Totally lives up to my expectations; this is consistently my go-to Priorat when I'm looking for the best.

Monday, November 16, 2020

2016 Mas Doix Salanques

 Mas Doix is one of my favorite wineries. The top of the line wine is Mas Doix, second wine Salanques which I think is just slightly younger vines (still quite old). Had a wonderful tasting with the owner in 2016 (the year this wine's grapes were growing in the vineyard) with Tom and Daniel Banks. The owner had just hosted a tasting for S. Korean sommeliers and already had several older vintages of the flagship wine open so we had a particularly superb tasting, and he was very generous with his time so it was a really memorable experience. (As were several of our other tastings in Priorato.)

On this wine, the nose at 4 years old is opening up nicely, and so beautiful. The impressions of spearmint, flowers and pine needles join with the cherry fruit to mark this as a Priorat. Grapes are 65% grenache, 25% carignan and 10% syrah and that's what this smells like to me, Grenache dominating but spice, woodsy odors from carignan and syrah. Aged 14 mo. in oak. On palate there's plenty of alcohol and acid for long life and this carries a pretty long finish with noticeable but softish tannins. I'd guess this will peak in 2-3 years and last till the late 20s. I'd give it the same 93+ as Parker.

Parker says 93+ points: The 2016 Salanques is phenomenal, one of the finest vintages ever. It has an expressive nose combining notes of flowers, wild herbs and berries and subdued minerality, reminiscent of wet slate. The palate is medium-bodied, with a little less alcohol, fine, slightly dusty tannins and very good freshness. It's terribly balanced and tasty. It should develop beautifully in bottle. 18,000 bottles were filled in April 2018.

Friday, August 28, 2020

2018 Zuccardi Concreto Malbec

 Beautiful deep purple. On nose spicy blackberry and red fruit/berries too. Along with melon and tea. Goes down very easily! Very gentle soft tannins. Almost imperceptible alcohol 14%. Long finish. This is what Malbec can be when done right. I’d give it 94 points. 

Parker says 95. Says it’s stomped by foot! Concrete vats, egg shaped, as Max and I saw when visiting Zuccardi in November 2019.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

2010 Saxum Broken Stones GSM

 August 6, 2020: first post in a long time. Want to at least occasionally record some observations as I'm now able to have an occasional glass of wine without ill effects. This evening I had some 2010 Saxum Broken Stones ($90), preserved nicely by Coravin for a few weeks since I first opened it. Incredibly complex featuring blackberry, coffee + cream, wintergreen and other mints, flowers, lavender and pine woods. The alcohol and acid were prominent at first but calmed down with some airing. Medium body with mild tannins at this point. Medium finish. Particularly impressive on the nose. 94+.

Parker said:

Even more perfumed and up-front aromatically, the 2010 Broken Stones is a brilliant effort. A multi-vineyard blend of 63% Syrah, 19% Mourvedre, 15% Grenache, and 3% Petite Sirah that was aged mostly in new French oak, it offers up a gorgeously pure array of black raspberry, charcoal, licorice, lavender, and assorted floral qualities on the nose. This flows to a full-bodied, deft, and elegant palate that has no hard edges, a weightless feel, and masses of fine, yet firm tannin on the finish. Give bottles another year or three, and then drink over the following 12-15 years.  96 points. Drink 2014- 2029.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

John Duval Plexus GSM 2014 in Denver

As I can now (knock wood) seem to drink a glass of wine with no ill effects much of the time, I'm going to start trying to write again about good bottles I've had. Recently had 2010 Clos Mogador, which was very good but not as spectacular as expected, a bit one dimensional and flat for a Mogador; Beaune 1er Cru Jadot 50th anniversary, ditto, at birthday dinner with Linda at Elaine's, tannin is gone which is generally good but didn't have the expected richness and depth; and John Duval Plexus GSM 2014 which rated 92+ by Parker so chose for the Thanksgiving dinner shared with Emily at The Nickel, Hotel Teatro's restaurant in downtown  Denver. Coincidentally, John Duval, formerly chief winemaker of Penfold's, stays regularly at that hotel because he makes frequent trips to Denver for some reason.

I found the wine delightfully fruity and complex, smooth tannins, evolving and revolving around cores of mulberry, lavender, spicy vanilla. A good example of why I love Aussie reds when they're well-made like this one. Very easy to drink but not, I'd say, a mere "fruit bomb." Hope to visit Duval and other boutique winery tasting room/restaurant in Barossa in March.

Here's what Vinous says about this wine (93 points, quite strong for Vinous): (aged for 14 months in 90 percent used and 10 percent new large French oak barrels) Vivid ruby-red. Expansive aromas of ripe red berries, candied flowers and spicecake, complemented by a subtle mineral nuance. Juicy, concentrated and seamless on the palate, offering sweet raspberry, boysenberry and lavender flavors that become tighter and more lively with air. Shows excellent depth as well as vivacity; fine-grained, firming tannins build slowly on a long, floral-driven finish. In the context of high-end Aussie red wines, this one delivers exceptional value.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

2014 Alto Moncayo Veraton

This is the second wine of Alto Moncayo which I've written about before. It's about half the price in the US. It's still wonderful. It's a good advertisement for grenache. Incredibly complex and pleasing. Initial two openings (March 23-25, 2017): Almonds, gardenia, red berries like pomegranate and cranberry. Preserved with Coravin, poured again March 30 showing even more complex nuances of mint along with the red berries. Smoother now, tannins pretty much gone. I'd like to taste this next to the flagship Alto Moncayo Alto Moncayo as it's called, which I'd guess has fuller body, more tannin, longer finish.  By itself the Veraton is hedonistic and fun. The winemaker is Chris Ringland of Australia.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

2014 Caymus Cabernet

Enjoyed this--immensely--at Circa Foggy Bottom with good friend Prof. Maria José Canel of Madrid. The Caymus cabernet, a hedonistic wine, shows a kaleidoscope of flavors from pine and cedar wood inflected cassis to blackberry to cranberry with many spicy nuances. Maybe even some almond or other nut. It goes down about as easily as a cabernet could. The tannins are barely detectable but there's enough acid and tannin to allow the wine to age and I suppose develop even more complex aromas. I expect some purists would think the wine too extracted and emphatic, a little pushy and obvious. OK by me. It was a terrific accompaniment to the nicely cooked salmon I had. More subtle wines have their place too, of course, but it should be ok to enjoy a wine that just comes up and gives you a big hug.

Unfortunately my Coravin preserver is locked in my car in Alexandria so although I took the bottle home (2/3 full), all that preserved it was its original cork and the refrigerator. It tastes pretty good just the same, two days later.

Here's Parker (94 points): The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley has a dense opaque purple color, a kiss of blackberry and cassis fruit, a full-bodied mouthfeel with ripe tannin and a long finish. It is very Caymus in its immediate accessibility, but has plenty of staying power and depth. This is lush, full, intense and pure. Drink it over the next 15 or so years.