Archive for April, 2017

It has taken me a VERY long time to even begin to understand Tuscany & the Sangiovese grape variety. Was I waiting for wines which could stand on the same level of pedestal as Bordeaux? I hope not. I have since discovered that I believe the true nobility of Tuscan Sangiovese is not really about showiness or bravado, but rather more about how wonderfully food friendly it really can be. That’s what inspired this particular tasting. 4 Sangiovese based Tuscans….each should shed a different light on what this grape variety is capable of. How often do opportunities like this come about?

2013 Casa alle Vacche Chianti “Colli Senesi”–we absolutely love this style of “country” styled Tuscan red wines.  We thankfully finally understand how incredibly food friendly they really are. The 2013 is 85 % Sangiovese – 15 % Canaiolo & Colorino blend of varying percentages….from mid slope–up to 1100 feet elevation in the Colli Senesi appellation.  A wonderful example of Tuscan Sangiovese reminiscent of the Old Days in deliciousness, food friendliness & gulpability BUT, with some oak qualities in smell & taste.  

2012 Tua Rita “Rosso di Notri”–in comparison, here is a superb, contemporary Tuscan thoroughbred– 50% Sangiovese & 50% (Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah) , grown in pebbly soils in the foothills of Suvereto out towards the Tuscan Coast.  What a considerable splash Tua Rita has made on the world wine stage with their contemporary crafted Sangiovese based red wines!

 2006 Melini Chianti Classico Riserva “La Selvanella”–La Selvanella was the first wine made from a single vineyard in Chianti and among the first in Italy. Gambero Rosso has declared La Selvanella a “crowning glory” and “standard-bearer of the zone’s most traditional style.”  Yes, a 2006 in all its glory! 

2006 Sesti Brunello di Montalcino–I don’t really know what to make of all of the different bottling I now see of Brunello di Montalcino.  I remember for the longest time in the old days, the standout was Biondi Santi, a winery whose first vintage was in the 1880’s.  Then back in the early 1980’s, maybe late 1970’s, Poggio Antico made quite the splash for their rendition.  The under dog for me around then was the Carpazo bottling, only because it was spearheaded by superstar consultant, Vittorio Fiore, who introduced me to the wine while on a wine visit to him in Italy sometime in the early 1980’s.  Since then, it is like the flood gates have opened for this wine appellation & I have since tried a considerable bunch.  Here is one of the standouts for me–a truly superb, majestic, 11 year old Tuscan aristocrat, which was aged for 39 months in 30hl botti & bottled unfiltered, unfined.

Categories : Wine
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A chance to get together to taste wines, talk story & share insight.  Thanks to all who came.

2012 Cambiata Tannat “Monterey”–we found this winery sometime back.  Our relationship with owner/winemaker Eric Laumann with his Albariño, which stood out among its Californian grown peers, but later very impressed, as well, with his big, black 2004 Tannat red wine beast & its character, texture, remarkable balance despite its enormity.  Albarino, Tannat????  Who in their right mind specializes in these kinds of grape variety & challenges & still have a viable business model in California?  Here is what Eric has to say about it all–“Cambiata is not your average California winery.  I launched Cambiata in 2002. My intention was to make distinctive wines that go beyond the Franco triumvirate of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Rhone. Today, we are vinifying a handful of compelling wines from some of California’s scarcest grape varieties including Albariño, Tannat and Dornfelder.   We planted our small Tannat vineyard in the rocky and well drained soils of the Santa Lucia Mountains. Tannat has an incredible ability to absorb oxygen. Technically speaking, the wine is full of procyanidintype tannins, which slow the aging and development process to a crawl. While today’s technology has given winemakers aggressive tools to introduce oxygen, at Cambiata we do it the oldfashion way – extended barrel aging. For our 2012 Tannat it took 28 months before the wine had reached an appropriate balance between fruit and tannin that allowed us to put it into bottle.  We fermented the black juice in small opentop fermenters.  The wine was then pressed straight to 60 gallon barrels (100% French, 40% new). Our 2012 Tannat is incredibly deep and concentrated with notes of earth, blackberries, saddle leather and licorice. On the palate it is thick and chewy with bold, wellintegrated tannins“.   Our intent was to show the younger generation, “good” wine can be found out of the box, without getting esoteric & trying to carry the next new frontier.  In our humble opinion there are opportunities in our VINO restaurant for wines like this…because it is very good……especially for the dollar.

2013 Hilt Pinot Noir “Old Guard”–on one of last trips to Californian wine country, this was THE standout of 8 days of visiting countless wineries, vineyards & tastings.  We loved how un-clonal it was, showcasing amazing intensity without any sense of overdone-ness & how seamless, well textured & balanced it really was.  We later found out, the core is old vine Mount Eden vine selection (with a little Martini as well), from the iconic Sanford & Benedict vineyard.  Their parcel was planted in 1971 on its own roots & organically farmed.  (I don’t think the rest of the vineyard is organically farmed).  I just to show the tasters what American grown Pinot Noir can be.  2014 Guillemot Savigny-lès-Beaune “Vieilles Vignes”–in comparison, here is a Pinot made in the “old fashion” way.  The vines average 55 years in age & are grown in limestone, marl, clay & gravel.  I have to say, however, this wine is SOOOO transparent & ethereal–much more about the limestone, especially in taste.  I could tell from the tasters’ faces, it was something they were not used too.  I understand, as it took quite a long time to understand & appreciate these wines too.  The 2014 came from 3 parcels–Planchots de la Champagne, Dessus les Gollardes, Vermots within the village.  Here is what importer Kermit Lynch appropriately says–“The Guillemot family has worked Savigny-lès-Beaune vines for eight generations (!) and produces wines with classic Burgundian finesse and balance, all while leaving us a reminder of Savigny’s rustic character. Guillemot is one of the quintessential KLWM producers, with wines that epitomize the local terroir and emphasize grace and elegance over power and structure“.

Sang des Cailloux Vacqueyras–this particular bottling/producer is one of typical favorites from the Southern Rhone Valley of France.  I am the first to admit, these wildly rustic, hearty, masculine red wine beasts are not for everyone.  Even the majority of the professional wine community I surmise probably would not tolerate the higher levels of volatile acidity & brett frequently found in these wines.  Still, for me, the true soulfulness this wine typically has is the reason I keep coming back for more, which is partly why I therefore presented these 2 wines.  In addition, I thought it would be interesting to compare a younger vintage to one completely different in profile AND with a little bottle age.  We started with the 2014, as it was showing well right out of the gates—surprisingly approachable, transparent & tame with lower in alcohol & tannin levels.  It reminded me of some of the vintages back in the 1980’s which featured rusticity, integrity & soulfulness without so much bravado.  I also would add, I cannot wait to try this wine again when it is 10 to 15 years of age, as I think it will be quite the experience!  For comparison, we then poured the 2007, a wine now 10 years of age.  I remember trying this wine upon release & thinking how humongous it really was–much darker than usual & showing mostly deep, lavish, opulent fruit & a profile I was not used to from this domaine.  (Please remember, this was coming after the 2006–which I found to showcase its feral/rusticity & stoniness right out of the gates with lighter coloring & a leaner mouthfeel….& the 2005–which was power packed & such formidable structure).  I was anxious to taste the 2007 again, as it had been awhile.  In short, despite much early on apprehension, I was mesmerized how gorgeous this wine tasted on this night.  OMG!  Yes, 10 years of bottle age had done wonders for this behemoth.  One memorable facet, was how the visceral, higher alcohol & glycerine levels from the vintage’s generous sunshine added a very different & luscious texture to the wine & the innate rusticity & stoniness was once again shining through, though with seemingly deeper base notes.  Wow!

Piemonte Reds–while we all are quite fascinated with the standout style of wines, at VINO, we also work hard to keep an eye out for really good “country” styled wines–those that are delicious, lighter, food friendly & gulpable–& therefore well suited for the dining table.  We frequently encounter 2 real challenges on that question, living way out here in the Islands.  The first is availability/supply (which is undoubtedly linked to the lack of demand here) of the smaller, true artisan renditions.  We instead see examples from large houses or those done, almost as an after thought.  Secondly, finding examples which are shipped all the way here in temperature control.  Yes, all of this can be quite formidable.  We tasted these 2 wines to show participants, it is though possible.  In addition, we wanted to show tasters 2 completely different “takes” on what dinner table red wines can be, at least from Piemonte.  The 2014 La Palazzotto Dolcetto di Diano d’Alba–we started the duo with this wonderfully delicious, fabulous new “find”.  Yes, there are quite a bit of very good Dolcetto based reds available.  I, however, don’t run across which catch my fancy like this one did.  Why?  Because of its real deliciousness.  Furthermore, it still has such a wonderful artisan feel & therefore displays the earthiness, muskiness, spices I find in many Piemontese quality reds.  In comparison, we then poured the 2015 La Pergola “Il Goccetto”.  As VINO regulars well know by now, we have been really searching for well grown & made aromatic wines, both white & red (& I am sure soon to include rose too).  They can uplift foods, just as fresh herbs do.  Here was our latest arrival, produced mainly from the lighter colored, highly perfumed Brachetto grape variety, along with some Barbera for structure & core.  It certainly did not disappoint.  The perfume is quite a shock for most.  Many wine drinkers today after all been trained in the wine world to think, bigger & darker equates to higher quality, even with innately lighter pigmented grape varieties such as Pinot Noir.  Imagine trying these 2 wines with VINO food–whether it is our Braised Spanish Octopus served with a ham hock stew or our homemade fennel sausage pizza!  The Dolcetto would be much more classical & the Brachetto would provide a completely different & unique experience.  Isn’t that at least part of the fun of pairing wine & food? 

We then followed with a duo of exemplary Nebbiolo based Piemontese red wines to remind tasters of the difference between “country”/dinner table wines & more top echelon Piemontese wines.  Furthermore, this could hopefully provide a glimpse of how different Barolo & Barbaresco can be.  2012 Cavallotto Barolo “Bricco Boschis”–yes, this is certainly one of our favorite Barolo producers, located in the Castiglione Falletto appellation.  The family owns 25ha of prime vineyard, mainly in the Bricco Boschis & Vignolo crus, all organically farmed.  We loved the 2012 because of its perfume, purity, vinosity, depth, mojo, structure & balance.  It is a real GUN.  In comparison, we poured the 2011 Cascina Luisin Barbaresco “Rabaja”.  Their winery is located on the ridge lying above the iconic Rabaja cru, right down the road from Giuseppe Cortese, another favorite producer.  This estate was founded in 1913, owns 7ha, mostly in the Asili & Rabaja crus.  The 2011 was very pretty, seemingly softer, more broad, flatter & approachable than the Cavallotto, yet still showcasing the purity & virility their wines are renown for.  This past October while visiting Piemonte, I was reminded how wonderful AND true these 3 producers’ wines are & how each is done with much respect to where they came from.

Categories : General, Red, Wine, Wine Thoughts
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Loire Valley–this duo centered around the fact that I was able to get a bottle of the much heralded Guiberteau Saumur Blanc “Brézé” on my last trip to Seattle.  My point was, while I really respect & appreciate superstar cuvees like this, I wanted to compare it to another producer’s top echelon Loire Valley bottling, Bregeon “Gorges”, just to keep things in perspective.  The 2013 Bregeon “Gorges” hails from the western region of the valley, where the greatly under appreciated Muscadet grape variety calls home turf.  While many of the soils are marine influenced, mostly sand & fossilized sea critters, this particular producer & his vineyards are planted on “Gabbro soils–an old, blue-green, volcanic rock, rarely found in vineyard land. Formed by magma eruptions under the ocean floor, it is said to impart intense complexity to Michel’s wine“.  To add to this wine fulfilling its potential, Bregeon further ages this cuvee for at least 2 years (different vintage to vintage) in subterranean glass cuvees on its lees, all done with a very masterful touch.  The 2013 was just SOOOO breathtakingly pure, minerally & delicately nuanced with a distinct, salivating salinity.  Eventhough it is quite pricey at roughly $38 a bottle retail, I bought it just because of how good it really is..  In comparison, we poured the much heralded 2012 Domaine Guiberteau Saumur Blanc “Brézé”.   This family has owned vineyards in the Saumur appellation for well over 100 years & today headed by Romain Guiberteau, who along with his father reinvented the estate & wines in the 1990’s.  The single vineyard La Brézé is their crown jewel & is truly recognized as one of the most profound single terroirs in all of the Loire Valley.  Their 1.2ha parcel, is sand & clay on limestone & today organically farmed.  A little over 1/2 of the vineyard was planted to Chenin Blanc (the other half Cabernet Franc), planted in 1933 & 1952 (although I believe there are some younger vines scattered here & there).  The juice is whole cluster pressed & wild yeast fermented in 1 & 2 year barrels & then aged on it lees for 18 months.  This is an example of a SUPER wine.  It seems every wine sooner or later features a similar standout.  Yes, there is still Beaujolais–light, delicious, unpretentious & carefree….& now there are also SUPER Beaujolais, just as their is Loire Valley Chenin Blanc & now this SUPER version.  This is an undeniably “tour de force’ bottling–so mega intense & concentrated, almost to the point of being liquid rock, with a resounding, bordering puckering structure & a strong oak presence, especially on the palate.  I suggest those lucky enough to have this wine in their collection, put it away for at least 15 years before trying it.  And, while I think the Guiberteau wine is a real trophy & deservedly so, for VINO, we think the Bregeon “Gorges” is much more appropriate, especially with our foods (& targeted price points).

German wines–This duo was to be the final pairing of the night.  It wasn’t that long ago where Germany would ripen Riesling typically 2 to 3 vintages out of every 10.  This encouraged scientists to work on finding grape vine crossings, which would offer Riesling nobility, but would ripen earlier.  One of the most popular crossings developed was Scheurebe.  In the old days, I sometimes would pair the quite exotic, fruity styled Scheurebe Spätlese with lighter foie gras dishes as well as with Asian inspired meat/fowl dishes such as Chinese Peking Duck.  Not all Scheurebe, however, are equal & one therefore needs to be very selective when purchasing one.  Plus, now, because we can essentially get ripe Riesling Spätlese & Auslese more regularly, the demand for Scheurebe for me is far less.  Still I thought it would be fascinating to try 2 Spätlese–1 Scheurebe & 1 Riesling–both from the 2008 vintage.  The 2008 Pfeffingen Scheurebe Spätlese “Ungsteiner Herrenberg” proved to be quite tropical/exotic fruited in aroma with some gewurz-ish spice & floral nuances.  Eventhough it was a more classic vintage, this 2008 was filled with gorgeous, unctuous, ripe, tropical fruit (I suspect more Auslese than actually Spätlese) whose once obvious, apparent sweetness (despite the 10.5 alcohol level) had at least partially morphed into a more tactile, visceral mouthfeel/texture.  The 2008 Dönnhoff Riesling Spätlese “Niederhauser Hermannshöhle”, in comparison , was decidedly more about slate/rock character than any kind of fruit–seemingly chiseled out of rock & done with precision & masterful workmanship.  Dönnhoff produces wines of immense concentration, elegance & adulterated power with truly majestic pedigree (especially with this vineyard, revered as the finest in the Nahe region) & the innate ability to get better with age.  The soils of Hermannshöhle are “mostly black slate with some igneous rock & limestone“.   We really treasure vintages like 2008, especially in this day & age, as they can offer wines of such purity/transparency, elegance, refinement & filigree, as was the case here.

Categories : White, Wine, Wine Thoughts
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GRENACHE 

2014 Sucette Grenache–here is a standout Grenache from superstar Master Sommelier Richard Betts, certainly worthy enough to measure others by.  It is lush, lavish & ripe, yet still remarkably transparent, delicious & surprisingly UN-heavy.   Richard selected this parcel of 90 year old vines….own rooted in the sandy soils of Vine Vale (Barossa Valley)—because of the sand & the old vines, both reminiscent of Chateau Rayas of the southern Rhone Valley of France, in addition to the vines being grown in the wild & therefore completely feral. 20 to 40% stems. Basket press. Aged in OLD oak

2011 Sella & Mosca Cannonau de Sardegna Riserva–made only in select vintages. 100% Cannonau, 2 to 3 years in old Slavonia oak.  There is much discussion about whether the Cannonau grape variety is in fact Grenache or a descendent & even some who think Grenache is a descendent of Cannonau.   I’ll leave that to the scientists & wine geek patrol.   I think this Sardinian red offers SENSATIONAL VALUE, which is why we put it in this flight with lots of Grenache like qualities, done in a VERY delicious, rustic, food friendly, “country” style of red wine.

2014 Sang des Cailloux Vacqueyras–This is undoubtedly one of our favorite Grenache based wine blends, because of its wild/feral edge & soulfulness, in spite of what many wine professionals would say are winemaking “flaws”.  That’s is probably why this wine is still so reasonably prices, especially considering the quality & soulfulness the wine innately has.  “All of Serge’s seventeen hectares rest on the great Plateau des Garrigues, where red clay, limestone, and the famous galets roulés, or rounded stones, impart a terrific intensity and depth to the wines. Given the aridity of the soil, the vines here are naturally prone to lower yields—this gives the wines their concentration and power. That Serge has been farming organically for years but has never sought certification says something about his philosophy. He is not looking to impress; only to make the best wines he possibly can. 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre & Cinsault. Hand harvested, de-stemmed, wild yeast in cement cuvees & 6 months in old foudres. Bottled unfiltered, unfined”.  We are huge fans!

MOURVEDRE

2011 Gramercy Cellars “L’Idiot du Village”--Gramercy is the project of superstar Master Sommelier, Greg Harrington.  FYI–Greg used to be the wine director for all of the Emeril Lagasse restaurants & the Wolfgang Puck empire.  His highly lauded Washington based winery specializes in Syrah, but also produces a very noteworthy Mourvedre based red shown here.  Greg has told me that he feels this grape variety has huge potential in his neck of the woods & we have seen quite the improvement with each vintage he releases.  The 91 point rated 2011 “L’Idiot du Village is 90% Mourvedre, 5% each Syrah & Cinsault.  The fruit comes from eastern Washington—Olsen (near Red Mountain) & Alder Ridge (Horse Heaven). Roughly 50% whole cluster (dependent on the vintage) & aged for 15 months in old oak. Typically 200 to 350 case production.

2014 Domaine de la Tour de Bon–We decided then to compare the Washington grown Mourvedre with one from the Bandol appellation of Provence, France. Domaine de la Tour du Bon rests peacefully atop a limestone plateau in Le Brûlat du Castellet, in the northwestern corner of the A.O.C. Bandol. Nestled beneath the mountains to the North, it is a bastion of tranquility, an oasis on the Mediterranean surrounded by beautiful gardens and vineyards The Hocquard family has been farming this land since 1968, though this has been a full-time farm since 1925. Today, Agnès Henry runs the show. Independent, finally set her mind to making them on her own, she hit her stride, crafting wines with power and precision, but also finesse and charm. The domaine is situated at an altitude of 150 meters above sea-level—a high point on this coastal appellation where maritime breezes cool the arid climate. Fourteen hectares of red earth, clay, sand, and gravel rest upon sturdy limestone bedrock. Brow-beating excavation and focused determination alone have built these vineyards. 55% Mourvèdre, 25% Grenache, 15% Cinsault, 5% Carignan. de-stemmed. Traditional vinification with indigenous yeasts. age in foudres for 18 months“.

CARIGNANE–We are increasingly more & more intrigued with old vine Carignane & what it has to offer.  It started way back when with Californian old vine bottling we discovered here & there over the years.  We then became huge fans of bottlings back in the 1980’s we had from Domaine Fontsainte of Corbieres.  In our continual search for noteworthy bottlings, here are 3 fabulous, interesting Carignane based red wines that will shed new light on what this grape variety has to offer.   

2015 Neyers “Sage Canyon Cuvee”–I always refer to this very special & unique bottling as a homage to the wines of Maxime Magnon (see below).  The 2015 is 45% Carignan (vines are 140 years-old), 25% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre and 15% Syrah—heritage/heirloom, foot stomped, wild yeast fermented & then aged in old Oak.  Absolutely delicious!!!!!!

2012 Leon Barral Faugères “Jadis”–I believe Didier Barral took over the domaine with the 1993 vintage & as he converted the vineyards & winemaking to a very fanatical uber au naturale mind set, quite candidly there were quite a few of rough patches along the ways.  In addition, he relied a lot of the Syrah grape variety as the core for his various bottlings…..with one specific showpiece which was Mourvedre dominated.  Somewhere along the way, his appreciation for old vine Carignane grew & so it is thankfully today.  We love the deliciousness it brings to the otherwise wild, feral, intriguingly rustic, earthy, core of his wines.  “Deep in the heart of the Languedoc, in the Faugères appellation just outside the hamlet of Lenthéric, Domaine Léon Barral is a beacon of revolutionary winegrowing.  50% Carignan, 30% Syrah, 20% Grenache, biodynamically farmed, hand harvested. de-stemmed, however whole clusters are also used. No SO2 is added. vinified in gravity-fed, cement cuves with natural yeasts. lightly pressed with an old, wooden, vertical, basket press.   aged for 24 to 26 months in barrel (10% new oak)“.

2014 Maxime Magnon “Rozeta”–Maxime is yet another one of the “young guns” of southern France changing the “game” both in the vineyard, the winemaking & his belief in old vine Carignane.   While he produces a few different bottlings, his Rozeta cuvee is typically our favorite, because of its wonderful perfume, vinosity & supreme deliciousmess.  “Maxime Magnon is part of one of the most revolutionary wine movements in France. He was fortunate to have purchased some prime parcels of old vines from abandoned plots and rents his cellar—a garagiste if ever there was one. He farms nine parcels over eleven hectares, with steep vineyards that reach high altitudes, and manages it all on his own. Maxime is part of the new wave of passionate viticulteurs who cultivate their vines with the utmost respect for nature and the soil. He’s certified organic, but also incorporates biodynamic practices into his vineyard management. Most of Maxime’s vineyard land is comprised of schist and limestone subsoils in the sub-appellation Hautes Corbières, bordering Fitou to the South. This is incredibly tough terrain to farm in, as there is virtually no top-soil, just pure rock and garrigue. The Corbières “Rozeta” is a blend of these two district terroirs. This blend is particularly unique, from 50 to 60 year old vine Carignan vineyards that are dispersed with numerous varietals of older vines, namely Grenache Gris, Macabou, and Terret, which are all picked and fermented together—a true field blend of the old school.   Grapes from field blend are picked and fermented together & aged in old Burgundian barrels from a producer in Chassagne-Montrachet“.

SYRAH

2014 Mollydooker “Blue Eyed Boy”–a lavish, opulent, highly lauded Australian “fruit bomb” in all its glory!  The fruit comes from McLaren Vale–Coppermine Road, Long Gully Road & Mollydooker Home vineyards…& Joppich vineyard of Langhorne Creek.  Sustainably Grown.  Barrel fermented and matured in 100% American oak—70% new; 30% one year old.

2014 Anthill Farms Syrah “Sonoma Coast”–Grown out on the true Sonoma Coast near Annapolis & crafted by a trio of Pinot Maestros.  The core comes from 2 main vineyards–Campbell Ranch is a few miles from the Pacific Ocean, near the tiny town of Annapolis, and is farmed by Steve Campbell. At approximately 750 feet above sea level, it sits right at the boundary of the marine layer, ensuring that the cool, coastal climate delays ripening well beyond the warmer vineyards to the east. The two-decade-old vines grow on sandy, low-vigor Goldridge soil, which helps reduce yields to near two tons per acre.  The Peters Vineyard Syrah–Randy Peters farms this vineyard outside of Sebastopol in western Sonoma County. The southern slopes of these hills form the northern edge of the Petaluma Gap, which rushes cool, marine air from the Pacific Ocean inland. These Syrah and interplanted Viognier vines, which Randy put in for us just a few years ago, occupy less than an acre at the lowest edge of this cool, foggy vineyard. The entire block produced just above three tons of fruit.  I am sure there is fruit from other vineyards blended in too.

2013 Chateau Fontanes Pic St Loup “La Petite Sérine”–Here is an absolutely thrilling, new wine discovery.  The conventional Old School thought in the northern Rhone Valley of France is the appreciation of the La Petite Sérine, a selection of the Syrah grape variety made famous by iconic Syrah masters such as Marius Gentaz of Cote Rotie, Chave at hermitage & Noel Verset at Cornas.  Here is the results of some cuttings, planted down in the Pict St Loup appellations southern France–organically & biodynamically farmed, & hand-harvested. 60% de-stemmed, wild yeast fermentation in cement tanks, aged in cement tank and foudre that have aged 2, 3, and 4 wines for 3 to 6 months & bottled unfiltered, unfined,

2009 Clape Cornas–One of the “Hall of Fame”, true stalwarts of northern Rhone valley Syrah.  “The Clapes farm only eight hectares, the challenge presented by the rough, tightly stacked terrace vineyards of Cornas is largely enough to handle by anybody’s standards. The dicey precipices make using any machinery in the vineyards impossible. All work must be done by hand. There are no official rules to their viticultural methodology—they work the old-fashioned way, by instinct, feeling, and common sense. The vineyards sit on granite subsoil, behind the village, with optimal sun exposure. They farm a number of prime parcels, including Reynards, La Côte, Geynale, Tézier, Petite Côte, Les Mazards, Patou, Pied La Vigne, Chaillot, and Sabarotte, the latter purchased from Cornas legend Noël Verset. Whole grape clusters are fermented with natural yeasts in open air cement cuves with punch-downs or pump-overs twice a day over 12 days. Malolactic fermentation occurs in foudre. Then, aged for 22 months in 6 or 12 hl-foudres”. Now, this is Syrah–soulful, profound & worth searching out to taste.

Categories : Red, Wine, Wine Thoughts
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