Archive for Red

Mar
19

Dry Aged Steak & Wine

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Over at our DK Steakhouse, located in Waikiki, we dry age our own steaks.  Generally speaking, as the meat dry ages, moisture evaporates from the muscle which concentrates the natural meat flavor & at the same time, helps to tenderize (the natural enzymes help break down the connective tissue) the steak.

The showpiece steak to try here is a 21 day dry aged “bone in” rib-eye.  We start with a terrific no growth, no hormone steak.  In addition to the qualities listed above, once the steak gets over 20 days of aging, it also develops a nutty, gamey, almost bleu cheese like character which true steak lovers really look for & relish.  I bring this up, only because it will be an important consideration when we look to pair a wine. For me, 21 day typically is a good sweet spot for many to enjoy.

DK Steakhouse also has an 1800 degree oven, which essentially sears 0_a_steakthe steak on 2 sides, keeping the middle tender & juicy when cooked medium rare.  In addition, the steak does not get that charred, burnt taste on the outside like charcoal or wood cooking can create.  This is again, another factor to consider when pairing wines.

Yes, to me, this is an ideal dish to pair all kinds of red wines with.

For many wine collectors, this is certainly the dish to bust out your treasured bottle of Californian Cabernet/Merlot or red Bordeaux.  Since most wine collectors are well versed in this arena, I will only mention the Forman Cabernet Sauvignon.  Ric Forman Cabernets are not like anything else from the Napa Valley.  They exude a much more gravelly character, which really steps forward in the wine with bottle age.  I find the gravel rusticity works very well with this steak’s more rustic character.  In addition, the Forman Cabernets are not “fruit bombs” & have really good structure, elegance & wonderful balance.  I have been very fortunate to taste many older vintages of these masterpieces recently & would suggest the 2002, if I had a choice.  The 2002 still has an amazing, resiliant core AND, the gravelly character is very prominent, both qualities very ideal to create an interesting pairing.

True wine lovers can also use this as an opportunity to be adventurous & try other kinds of wines.  Consider, for example, a hearty (for the meat’s full flavor & marbling), more rustic styled (which will work with the nutty/gamey edge) red wine.  My first, knee jerk thoughts are from France’s Rhone Valley –Clape (or Allemand) Cornas, a Syrah based red from the north or Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape “La Crau” (or Sang des Cailloux Vacqueyras) a Grenache blend from the south.  In each case, I would suggest vintages which still feature a virile core of mojo, fruit & structure.  For both the Clape & Allemand Cornas, therefore, consider the 2000 vintage.  Although not overly heralded, having had both recently, they both still have the hutzpah to handle this wonderfully marbled steak & the wild gaminess to make things interesting.  In the case of the Vieux Telegraphe & the Sang des Cailloux, my wish would be the 1998, both still being a real beast with lots of true character, depth & soul.

If you are looking for a Californian red wine, I suggest this can be a wonderful opportunity to explore California Syrah & other “Rhone Varietal” red wines.  There are growing number of really interesting, provocative renditions being produced up & down the state.  Standouts which immediately come to mind include more worldly styled Syrah based reds, such as the 2001 Ojai Syrah “Bien Nacido Vineyard” (from the Santa Maria Valley); the 2011 Linne Calodo “Perfectionist”; the 2006 Saxum “Bone Rock” (both from the limestone/siliceous hillsides of Paso Robles); the 2010 Neyers Syrah “Old Lakeville Road” (from the Sonoma Coast, near Petaluma) or the 2007 Autonom Syrah “Law of Proportions” (a blend of Santa Barbara & Arroyo Grande grapes).  Somehow these kinds of masculine, rustic, earth driven, peppery reds create a real interesting synergy with dry aged steaks like this.

Here are some other interesting wines/grape varieties, recommended by managing Partner, Ivy Nagayama, to explore–

–Mourvedre (Domaine Tempier or Domaine Gros Nore from Provence, France)

–Nero d’Avola (Riofavara “Sciave” from the southern tip of Italy)

–Malbec (Clos la Coutale Cahors from southwest France or Tritono from Argentina)

–Tannat (2004 Cambiata from Monterey, California)

–Nebbiolo (2005 Barolo or Barbaresco from Piemonte, Italy or the 2004 Palmina”Ranch Sisquoc” from Santa Barbara, California)

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Mar
17

A Tasting of 4 IPOB Pinot Noir

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“In Pursuit of Balance”  Thursday, February 26th 6pm

A few years ago, then Michael Mina Restaurants wine director, Rajat Parr along with Jasmine Hirsch from Hirsch Vineyards, launched a concept they entitled “In Pursuit of Balance”.  Here is an excerpt from their website–

In Pursuit of Balance is a non-profit organization seeking to promote dialogue around the meaning and relevance of balance in California pinot noir and chardonnay.

This growing group of producers is seeking a different direction with their wines, both in the vineyard and the winery. This direction focuses on balance, non-manipulation in the cellar, and the promotion of the fundamental varietal characteristics which make pinot noir and chardonnay great – subtlety, poise and the ability of these grapes to serve as profound vehicles for the expression of terroir”.

Needless to say, it created much controversy, as wineries lined up taking sides/stances on the issue.  There is never just one right answer to these things, AND to me, the issues were, in fact, not as important as the questions being asked.

The IPOB website further asks

What is balance in pinot noir and why does it matter?

Balance is the foundation of all fine wine. Loosely speaking, a wine is in balance when its diverse components – fruit, acidity, structure and alcohol – coexist in a manner such that should any one aspect overwhelm or be diminished, then the fundamental nature of the wine would be changed.  The genius of Pinot Noir is found in subtlety and poise, in its graceful and transparent expression of the soils and climate in which it is grown. Balance in Pinot Noir enables these

characteristics to reach their highest expression in a complete wine where no single element dominates the whole.  The purpose of this event is to bring together like-minded growers, winemakers, sommeliers, retailers, journalists and consumers who believe in the potential of California to produce profound and balanced Pinot Noirs.

This isn’t a rebellion, but rather a gathering of believers. This is meant to open a dialogue between producers and consumers about the nature of balanced Pinot Noir, including:

  • Whole-picture farming and winemaking. Artisan winemaking techniques are a given at this point. Looking beyond that, let’s consider farming, or even pre-farming decisions, and the thought process behind identifying a great terroir. How do these decisions affect the balance of the ultimate wine?
  • Growing healthy fruit and maintaining natural acidity to achieve optimum ripeness without being overripe. What is ripeness and what is its relation to balance?
  • A question of intention: Can balance in wine be achieved through corrections in the winery or is it the result of a natural process informed by carefully considered intention at every step of the way?
  • Reconsidering the importance of heritage Pinot Noir clones with respect to the omnipresent Dijon clones.

What do heritage clones contribute to balanced wine?

Pinot Noir grown on the west coast has been the next big thing for a while now, but perhaps that shouldn’t be the case. Popularity is an exaggeration, a distortion of Pinot Noir’s defining qualities and a distraction from what makes it truly great.  As Pinot Noir lovers, we face a collective challenge in the search for truly expressive, honest wine: What must we do to achieve balance in California Pinot Noir?”

For this tasting, we have chosen wines from 4 members of IPOB (from 4 different vintages) to showcase what can be—

2011 Knez Pinot Noir  “Demuth Vineyard”  112

from the cool confines of the Anderson Valley, this vineyard is located in the hills to the east, roughly 1300 to 1500 feet elevation, 30+ year old vines—2A & Pommard heritage selections.  Business entrepeneur Peter Knez a few years back purchased both Demuth & the adjacent, well renown, celebrated Cerise Vineyard.  Both vineyards feature bear wallow soils on a wind pounded hillside.  Knez smartly hired Anthony Filiberti of Anthill Farms to over see this project & the wines have so far been pretty darn good–lighter in color, enticingly fragrant, fresh & snappy with wonderful texture, refinement, balance & only 13.2 alcohol, naturally.  This is just the beginning………

1132009 Drew Pinot Noir “Valenti Vineyard”

Jason Drew is one VERY talented winemaker.  We have watched, in fascination, him grow & develop over the years & there is NO doubt, he is in the zone right now.  The Valenti Vineyard is perched up in the Mendocino Coastal Ridge roughly between 1200 to 1600 feet elevation, planted to 667 & 10% Rochioli cuttings.  This 2009 is absolutely gorgeous & well textured.  72 case production.  Yes, this boy is on fire right now.

2008 Ojai Pinot Noir  “Clos Pepe Vineyard”  114

Ojai is the wine project of Adam Tolmach, one of California’s true winemaking masters of all time.  Over the years, his wines showcase an Old World sensibility, especially for minerality & balance.  This 2008 Clos Pepe Vineyard designate is produced from a Pommard heritage selection harvested at a scant 1.5 ton per acre. This vineyard is continually pounded by a gusting coastal wind, which at least partially accounts for its low vigor.  I don’t typically quite understand wines produced from the Clos Pepe vineyard.  (Although, I actually prefer the Chardonnay to the Pinot Noir).  The wines are often lean, angular & tight fisted.   Furthermore, I am not sure this is a Cru quality vineyard, but I would say, Tolmach produced a wonderfully pure, minerally, well balanced, wonderfully textured, classy Pinot which is very tasty, sumptuous & interesting right now.  140 case production.

1152010 Tyler Pinot Noir  “N Block–Bien Nacido Vineyard”

The Bien Nacido vineyard is very large at over 800 acres. Over the years, the 2 blocks which have really stood out for Pinot Noir are “Q” & “N”.  Justin Willett now gets tiny quantities of “N” Block–Martini heritage selection, planted in 1973 on its own roots.  (I also believes he gets a tiny bit of Q Block too).  As expected, this finished wine displays lots of vinosity & character, much more so than the “G” block fruit he previously worked with, AND much more interesting & provocative.  Yes, this is quite a standout & well worth trying to get.  Roughly 100 case production.

Categories : General, Red, Wine, Wine Thoughts
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Mar
05

A Taste of Old Vine Carignane

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Although the relatively little known Carignane grape variety is one of the world’s most widely planted, over the years, it has been generally regarded as a “work horse” rather than a noble one.  Still thankfully, there is a niche for this unsung grape variety being established by a growing number of young buck winemakers, from different parts of the world.  Why?  When grown & made by the right hands & minds, athough not showy or grand, it certainly can range from being interesting, delicious & food friendly to provocative & soulful.

Furthermore, since there are many really interesting, old vine parcels & their grapes accessible & at good prices, one can get really good, interesting wine at much more reasonable prices.  To show you better what we mean, here are 4 well worth trying.  (I was so surprised when overlooking our wine inventory how many more Carignane based red wines we actually have at VINO to choose from!) Just another really good opportunity to learn!

2009 Santadi Carignano del Sulcis Riserva  “Rocca Rubia”  0aa2

“This barrique-aged, cru Carignano (100%)  is a real star: lush, extract-fraught, full-bodied, with ripe, chewy fruit & supple texture, it is also extremely long-living. Bush-trained Carignano is especially rich in noble tannins.  Experts believe Sulcis (of Sardegna) is the exclusive Italian home of Carignano.  Whatever its beginnings, here the Carignano vine is so ancient and rooted in the Sulcis region it can safely be called one of the island’s native stars”.

2007 Shardana

A relatively new discovery for us from the Island of Sardegna, in the seafront Valli di Porto, extending to the sea.  The core of this wine is produced from 100 year old Carignane with a small amount of Syrah blended in.

2010 Vinci  Carignan Centenaire “Rafalot”  0aa4

“100 year old vine Carignane–natural yeast fermentation in neutral vessels & bottled unfined and unfiltered, with little to no added sulfur.  This special bottling has profound concentration and minerality from the clay, limestone, granite, and schist of this corner of the Roussillon”.

0aa32007 Clos Pissarra “La Vinyeta”

an extremely steep 2.5 acre vineyard in Priorat, Spain, full of slate with almost no topsoil. 2007 yielded a scant 4/10’s of a tons per acre of roughly 80% Carignane (Samso) & 20% Grenache Garnatxa) vines that are over 125 years old .  A true throwback to another century, the vines really get to know the meaning of struggling.

Categories : General, Red, Wine, Wine Thoughts
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The pursuit of superb red Burgundy is such a challenge.  It really is hard to imagine a more elusive, fickle grape variety than Pinot Noir, even those from its home turf in Burgundy.

In a recent discussion with a wine friend & whose palate I greatly admire, I was amazed at how he diligently spends so much time looking for flaws & imperfections in wine.  Well, one would have such a hard time looking for pure perfection in wines, especially in Burgundy.

I, on the other hand, now look whether I enjoyed the wine or not, a little brettanomyces, or a huge dollop of oak or not, especially in Burgundy.

Which brings us to the 2 red Burgundies we recently tasted, which we enjoyed, flaws & all.

2000 Domaine Maume Charmes Chambertin  b4

I don’t think the Burgundies of Domaine Maume were or are on too many top 10 lists.  There are many possible reasons for that, but the fact is, I tend to enjoy their idiosyncratic, more rustic, old style approach to their Gevrey Chambertin based Pinot Noirs.  I was amazed watching their wine ferment in underground cement tanks, unlike those in so many other luxury domaines.  The wines have a musky masculinity & a deep, resounding stoniness woven throughout the wine which sets it apart.  Maume has 2 Grand Cru parcels–1 in Mazis Chanbertin & the other in Charmes Chambertin.  2000 certainly had its challenges for many producers & their resulting wines, but I don’t care about that in this case.  I enjoyed this wine.  It was like seeing an old friend again.  I was saddened to hear that this domaine sold a little while back, which made tasting this wine even more memorable. I am sure what once was, may be only a memory shortly.  Change is inevitable at this domaine.

aa031998 Leroy Clos Vougeot

1998 was yet another vintage with its challenges.  I remember once hearing a winemaker say “anyone can make a really good wine in great vintages.  It’s those challenging vintages which really shows the true skill of a master“.  This wine had wonderful perfume & pedigree…..& definitely Grand Cru in character. There is a lot happening in this bottle & one can understand why Leroy has such a huge reputation for their wines.  The biggest challenge for me is the price tag, so I am most thankful for having the opportunity to even try this superstar cuvee.

1989 Emmanuel Rouget Vosne Romanee “Cros Parantoux” 

One of the true iconic collectibles from Burgundy today!  I have tried in vain to write something logical, coherent about this wine & still express something that is not expressible to me.  So….instead, here are some excerpts from  to the rescue–

http://winehog.org/cros-parantoux-soft-spot-richebourg-21033/

Categories : Red, Wine, Wines Revisted
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Feb
22

A Quartet of New World Rustic Reds

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Here was an opportunity to taste some hearty, masculine, rustic reds…..from some of our favorite standout American winemakers.

2009 Carlisle Zinfandel  “Carlisle Vineyard”  02

Carlisle vineyard was planted in 1927 in the Olivet Lane area of the Russian River & is organically farmed.  This is owner/winemaker Mike Officer’s Cru Zin, which he says is ‘serious stuff”—produced from an old vine vineyard  which has considerable stuffing, & vinosity yet with wonderful texture, balance & site specific character. 

0a82008 Tritono Malbec “Mendoza”

A terrific Argentinean, grown high up in the foothills of the Andes Mountains (the core—planted in 1926) & crafted by Pinot superstar, Steve Clifton of Brewer Clifton fame.

2009 Behrens Family  “Sainte Fumee”  0a7

A sassy, spicy endeavor—rich, intense, extracted, gutsy, tannic, a powerhouse—36% each of Grenache & Syrah as the base. This is only Les Behrens’ 3rd Sainte Fumee bottling. 

0b42012 Reynvaan Syrah “The Contender”

A dramatic, explosive 96 to 98 pointer from Washington state & phenom Matt Reynvaan, which shows the innate potential the Syrah grape variety has in Washington State.

 

Categories : General, Red, Wine
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Feb
09

A trio of “Library” wines 01-15-15

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Our first winetasting of 2015!  We begin the year with a trio of slightly aged French classics, produced in a style reminiscent of the old days.  It is a homage & a remembrance of the way wines used to tasted or aspired to be like……Yes, PRE-fruit bombs, PRE-Robert Parker.

Again, it is a friendly reminder of estate grown wines, where the owners are vested in their land & their wines from the ground to the bottle.

Where, they look for heritage/heirloom vines rather than scientifically propagated material.  Where they farm sustainable & therefore have a living vineyard.

Where, the winemaking is the way it used to be, much less scientific & much more about the way their ancestors taught them.

PLUS, because each wine has some bottle age, one can better experience what the vineyard wants to say.  Yes, this definitely a different kind of tasting……at least for these times.

Just, another opportunity to learn!

04211997 Catherine & Pierre Breton Bourgueil  “Les Perrieres”

Their best parcel—1 hecatare, a limestone hilltop of 50+ year old vines, organically & biodynamically farmed.  This is Bourgueil, NOT a Bordeaux or Californian wannabee & the Cabernet Franc therefore manifests itself very differently.  NO bigness or showmanship.  Wildly rustic character with refinement, etherealness & structure throughout.  We tend to think wines of an appellation, like Bourgueil, to all be representative of the appellation.  While that is a noble thought & while many producers certainly try, it just doesn’t end up that way.  Bourgueil is located in France’s Loire Valley & over the centuries, I am sure it was greatly influenced by the ocean at one time or another, as well, as the powerful Loire river.  These 2 factors had to affect the soils.  Hence, the sandier soils from the flat parcels would certainly result in a different Bourgueil than those grown on the rockier hillsides & their strong limestone influences.  This is a more masculine Bourgueil, with a wildly rustic, intriguing, provocative, dark nuances & lots of structure.  The 17 years of bottle age has done wonders in harmonizing the components.  AND, it has way more verve & vitality than the 1993, 94, 95 & 96 I have tasted recently.

2000 Chateau Gombaude Guillot  0420

Located on the Pomerol plateau of Right Bank Bordeaux.  Mostly Merlot with a dash of Cabernet Franc, grown in gravel/flint/clay soils (rich in iron), organically & biodynamically farmed.  The results—a classic reflection—rich, supple, yet with grace & finesse & a deep, gravelly minerality & structure.  This is done in style reminiscent of Bordeaux in the 70’s & before.

04222002 Domaine de Cherisey Blagny Premier Cru “Genellottes”

The village of Blagny lies between Meursault & Puligny Montrachet, slightly offset & higher in the hills.The higher elevation & the high percentages of marl in the soils create very different wines than those of the lower vineyards.  This Premier Cru parcel is only 1/3 of a hectare & was planted in 1934.  Domaine de Cherisey is a stalwart of classic wines of intensity, structure & integrity rather than showiness & fashion statements.  I am always amazed at how ethereal their Pinot is.  It reminded me how pretty, intricate, sheer & haunting a Cotes de Beaune Pinot Noir can be.  Wow!

Categories : General, Red, Wine, Wines Revisted
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Feb
03

Aged Cornas

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Cornas  AAA2

In January of 1991, I had the good fortune to visit France’s northern Rhone for the first time & walked away with a real fascination for the Syrah grape variety, & its iconic home turfs–Hermitage, Cote Rotie & especially Cornas. Cornas is a small appellation, & the best parcels are on the steep, mostly granitic hillsides rising above the town. Cornas is 100% Syrah, very masculine in character, chunky, sultry, wildly rustic & so intriguingly provocative. The 3 finest maestros of this appellation, each of whom I visited, are–Noël Verset (now retired), Auguste Clape (now run by his son Pierre Marie & grandson Olivier) & at a later date, Thierry Allemand.

b6 b7Auguste Clape Cornas

Inexplicably over the years, Cornas, especially Clape Cornas, has not garnered the prestige & clamour it deserves, which I never could understand. I guess I should be thankful that one can still get some & at prices a fraction of those of the top echelon Syrahs from Chapoutier & Guigal. The Clape Cornas wines are so personal, have such sincerity & soulfulness as these 2 wines (1996 & 2000) clearly reminded me of. In both instances, these wines are really vin de terroir oriented, meaning they showcase the Cornas hillside character, rather than the Syrah grape variety or the opulence of a sun rich vintage. While they both may never get HUGE scores & accolades, I found both wines to be so fascinating, soulful & full of old vine vinosity & the true character of a special piece of earth. (Tasters should not expect BIG, opulent fruit, eventhough both wines are quite masculine & vin garde).

2000 Noël Verset Cornas b5

I fell in love with Noël Verset Cornas on first taste. They were so masculine, rugged, hearty & sinfully rustic & sauvage in their youth, yet intricate, nuanced, provocative & UN-heavy. I always thought I was a minority for these wines, until I noticed the skyrocketing, meteoric rise in their prices recently. Although I am sure alot has to do with the scarcity of the wines (since 2006 was his last vintage), but at the same time, I believe there are wine lovers out there who appreciate good old fashion tradition, staunch, passion driven authenticity of a world-class wine & site which really is like no other. With Verset Cornas, I would always get green peppercorn, andouille sausage/raw meat, musk character, which I later discovered must have come from his old vine Sabarottes parcel. (Clape bought some of the parcel, which we tasted & found it to have a similar character). Cornas is a VERY different slant on what Syrah can be, AND Verset was a pillar of what it was traditionally like. I am sad to say that the number of his bottles are dwindling. I am also happy to say tasting this 2000, at this time of its life, is a memory I will cherish forever. Thank you for sharing.

Categories : General, Red, Wine, Wines Revisted
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Jan
28

A Taste of Older Bordeaux 01-03-15

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We had a wonderful opportunity to sample some Bordeaux wines which had some bottle age recently.  As always, we are thankful to all who brought them & shared.

1981 Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou  b3

This has been a property, which for me over the years, has been hard to predict what you will get in terms of true quality for the dollar.  Being a Second Growth, when they hit the nail on the head, the resulting wine can be unforgettable (1959 & 1961 were like that).  However, there are many other years, where the dollars warranted by its Second Growth status seems to be over priced.  Still, there is a reason why this property garnered a Second Growth status.  One can smell it in the wine, even in this fully matured 1981.  Yes, it is very light, approachable AND VERY mature (perhaps pre-maturely aged), but the nose had the pedigree, intricacy & character, albeit a bit washed out & therefore vague.  A pretty wine nonetheless.

aa042000 Chateau Leoville Barton

This wine sure got a lot of hype upon its release & ending up with a 97 point score from 1 publication & 95 from the other.  Today, this wine still shows a lot of stuffing, ripe fruit & structure, which has been surprisingly slow to evolve, considering it is now 15 years old.  Some would say this is a vin de climat, as it certainly benefited from a generous amount of sunshine & it will have a lot to say once it really opens up again.  I just hope that as opulent, lavish & intense the stuffing of this wine is, the terroir & Second Growth qualities are too.

2000 Chateau Lynch Bages  aa06

What a huge contrast in comparison to the 2000 Leoville Barton, we tasted just before it.  Graphite, pencil lead, camphor, tobacco, cedar–lots of classic Pauillac character AND more masculine then the Leoville.  This wine, too, has depth intensity & structure for much longer cellaring.  It actually made me appreciate the 2000 Leoville Barton even more.

b142000 Chateau La Conseillante

This was a very eye catching wine, probably because it was much more open & strutting its stuff.  The fruit is ripe, dense, classy, provocative with lots of finesse, elegance & class.  My wife added the words….absolutely delicious.  VERY impressive, to say the least!

1970 Chateau Latour  011

This wine brings back so many wonderful memories, as it was one of the first Grand wines I had ever experienced.  I was absolutely floored by this wine on first taste.  It was immense, incredibly intense, masculine, powerful & grand.  This was a monument!  & built to last.  Black & murky.  Although I adored the ’70 Lafite’s incredible perfume, ’70 Palmer’s class & the innate grandeur of the ’70 Petrus, the 1970 Latour was for me the wine of the vintage in Bordeaux.  Furthermore, I have been fortunate to taste it, a surprisingly amount of times over the years since & therefore it really is one of those I have watched evolve through its various stages.  I was very apprehensive to try the 1970 today.  I had put this wine on a pedestal, so how could any wine live up to such high expectations.  Yes….it did.  I loved the maturity….still with grandeur, sophistication….a classic……timeless.  Thank you,. thank you, thank you.  Michael also graciously opened a 1982, which sadly was corked.  The wine’s wonderful ripeness & amazing depth, however, clearly showed this wine has a VERY long way to go.

Chateau Cos d’Estournel

For Carl’s birthday, a bunch of friends showed up, armed with a whole slew of venerable wines from Champagne to solera Montilla to the evening’s piece de resistance–a vertical of Chateau Cos d’ Estournel.      aa08

 

 

 

……1973…1983…2 x 1985….1988…1989….1990….1995….1996….1997….1998….1999…2000.
What a golden opportunity!  Thank you all for sharing.  The highlights?  The second bottle of 1985–much fresher with a solid core & great structure.  1990–really quite closed, but it certainly has all of the right stuff.  1995–again, another wine really quite closed, but one to watch out for.  1996–along with the 1985, probably showed the best on the night.  But, who’s choosing?  The overall experience was really amazing!

 

Categories : General, Red, Wine, Wines Revisted
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Jan
19

Aged Rustic Reds

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Yes, we have been tasting quite a slew of aged wines lately.  Thank you to all who come by to share!

b101998 Elio Altare Barolo “Brunate”

Although quite modern in style, I find Elio Altare’s Barolo wines are much more elegant & refined than those from other contemporaries such as Paolo Scavino or Domenico Clerico & certainly Angelo Gaja & some tasters (even knowledgeable/experienced ones) may be underwhelmed at first because of Altare’s style.  This 1998 was quite a stylish, classy, highly refined, majestic red with superb elegance & balance.  Having said that, I would also say the pedigree of this bottling was surprisingly muted, even after considerable time of being open.  Let it sit in your cellar.  I really think with 25 or so more years, this will be a glorious, wonderfully perfumed aristocrat, which tasters will wish they had put away more bottles.

1998 Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape  aa2

I remember being wow-ed when the 1998 was released, by its immensity, sun drenched depth & prolific structure & tannins.  Yes, it was a monster.  It’s really nice to see now, however, the breed & stoniness of the La Crau vineyard making its way back to the forefront, both in the nose & the taste & all of the parts are starting to resolve & harmonize.  Make no mistake, this is an infant with quite a ways to go, but one can now get a better feel for where it is headed.

0141999 Alvaro Palacios L’Ermita

There is no doubt that Alvaro Palacios is one of Spain’s true game changers in the wine arena.  His is a fascinating story, as he left his family’s domaine in Rioja to first study abroad, including an eye opening, imagination stirring stint with Christian Mouiex at Chateau Petrus, before founding his own winery in Priorat, Spain.  Although his first major acquisition was Finca Dofi in 1990, it really was the later acquisition of L’Ermita, a higly revered, steep, northfacing 4 acre parcel of well drained schist soils, which would position him to shoot for the stars.  L’Ermita (planted in 1900 to 1940) is not only one of Spain’s most iconic superstar wines, its meteoric rating, accolades & considerable pricing would create, along with Pingus, a whole new niche for wines in his country, similar to what Sassicaia & Angelo Gaja had done in Italy.  And, like what Sassicaia has done for Bolgheri & the Tuscan coast, L’Ermita (& Pingus) has inspired a boom of vineyard & winery growth in the Priorat appellation.  I must say, however, I think it is too early to make a true qualitative call on this phenomenon & specifically L’ Ermita, given that 1993, or so I was told, was the first vintage.  My quandry?  Although the winemaking is top notch, I wonder if that is what the hoopla is more about.  Granted, L’Ermita is mainly old vine Grenache with small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon & perhaps Carignane blended in, BUT I don’t seem to get the depth of character, vinosity or breed of other red wines in this upper echelon. Since I have such limited experience tasting L’Ermita, having had only the 1995, 1998, 2001 (3 times) & this 1999 (4 times), I guess only time will tell.

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Nov
29

A Tasting of Four 2007’s

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Again, one of our goals for 2014 is feature more & more good wines……those which others can be compared to.  This will help, tasters create a solid base to work from as their tasting adventures continue.  It is not as easy as one would think.  Here are 4 standouts from the superb 2007 vintage!   Yes, just another really good opportunity to learn!  Wines like this just don’t happen along!

00a32007 Chignard Fleurie

Back in the late 80’s, 9 artisan producers from Beaujolais caught my eye.  Please keep in mind, this was still a time when Beaujolais wine was not taken seriously.  I find it truly remarkable that despite the fact that many years have passed, & I have tasted & found so many new wines, from all parts of the world, my list of tasty, interesting, artisan Beaujolais has NOT changed!  This is one of those standouts…….from the Cru village of Fleurie.  Now 7 years old, the wine has evolved in the bottle & offers us new dimension, which has emerged with age.  A must to try!!!!

2007 Albino Rocca Barbaresco  “Brich Ronchi00a1

Albino Rocca has been one of our all time favorite Barbaresco producers.  We, in fact, visited him in 2007, walked his vineyard with him & tasted some of his “library” wines to get a better idea of how special his vineyard, Brich Ronchi is & how truly talented Angelo was as a winemaker.  It was one real eye opening visit, believe me.  We were subsequently very saddened to hear of his untimely passing.  We taste his benchmark 2007 on this night as a tribute to his incredible winemaking gift & his fierce passion for his craft.

00a22007 Meo Camuzet Fixin Premier Cru  “Clos du Chapitre

There is no doubt, Meo Camuzet is one of the iconic, contemporary producers of Burgundy’s modern era.  Here is your chance to taste one of his Premier Cru wines from the 2007 vintage.  One really needs to be patient with this wine.  It really does need some time.

2007 Reinhold Haart Riesling Kabinett  “ Piesporter Goldtropfchen”  00a4

When you see this panoramic, truly breathtaking vineyard you will be awe struck.  There are very few majestic, magnificent sites like this in the wine world.  Thankfully, the resulting wines are equally majestic & breathtaking.  There is a reason why Theo Haart was selected as “2007 Gault Millau Winemaker of the Year” & here is your chance to see why.

Categories : General, Red, Wine, Wines Revisted
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