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Ryan M

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WTN: Holiday Wines (Clos Vougeot and friends)

by Ryan M » Wed Jan 01, 2014 7:57 pm

The holidays thus far has brought two of the best wines I tasted this year, plus several other treats. Plus, there's an ale that deserves a shout-out: Boulevard Smokestake Series Tank 7: a rich, aromatic, slightly hoppy Saison, great stuff. Any of you who haven't tried one of the Smokestake series ales needs to - every one I've had has been outstanding. After the holdiay notes, a round up of unposted notes from the past 3 months, and there are some nice ones there as well.

Santa Alicia, Malbec, Reserva, Maipo Valley 2010
Lovely, sweet, aromatic nose of briar fruit, game, roses, orange rind, and herbs. Similar notes on the palate, with tart, sweet, red berries, dark berry notes, generous orangey acidity, herbs de provence, mint, gamey notes, lots of mineral, a touch of earthiness/tobacco leaf. Medium-full bodied, with grip. Lovely, captivating stuff. Drink now or in the next 5 years. 3 stars [12/21/13]

Domaine de la Vougeraie, Clos Vougeot 2009
Awesome, deep nose of black cherry, game/meat, matchstick, cloves, flowers, and mineral. Similar notes on the palate, with sweet fruit and orangey acidity; warm and ripe. Quite young, realtively inexpressive, and a bit thin and austere, but still medium-full bodied and penetrating. Wonderful texture and a long finish. Awesome with food and needs it at this stage. Remarkable that it can be this fabulous and yet so young and reserved. Needs 5 to 10 more years, and will last for 15 to 20 years from now. What a treat! 4.5 Stars [12/22/13]

La Chapelle de Lafaurie-Peyraguey, Sauternes 2004
Golden. Excellent, deep, dense, rich nose, loaded with apricot, fresh orange zest, honey, white flowers, some petrol, and mineral, all with a sense of poise. On the palate, apricot, pineapple, citrus rind, a hint of raspberry, loads of honey, barley sugar, possibly a hint of hazelnut, and mineral. Full bodied and creamy. This has improved considerably since I had it nearly 3 years ago. Approaching maturity, this is in a nice place now, and will be best over the next 5 to 10 years. 4 Stars [12/22/13]

Andre Brunel, Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2009
A classic Chateauneuf! Black raspberry, currant, cherry, tobacco, black olive, and cocoa powder. Medium-full bodied and graceful; very food friendly. Still young, with 10 to 15 years ahead of it. 4 Stars [12/23/13]

Segla, Margaux 2003
2nd wine of Rauzan-Segla. Lovely Margaux nose of gravel, rose perfume, a nice touch of 2003 roasted herbs, a touch of tobacco and sweet, dark berries; dense and aromatic, and a little stinky in a nice way. Similar notes on the palate, with lovely, sweet, succulent red fruit, tart red currant, and dark berries. Has 2003's warmth and richness in the best way. Captivating texture, with a long finish of sweet and slightly chalky tannin. Aromatic and full bodied, with lovely balance. An example of 2003 done right, and of Margaux at its finest. Great stuff, I love it! From a half bottle with 10 solid years ahead; full bottles could have up to 20 years ahead of them. 4.5 Stars [12/23/13]

E. Guigal, Cotes-du-Rhone (blanc) 1993?
Exact vintage unknown (due to the vintage label having fallen off), but known to be between 1988 and 1993. Possibly mildly corked. Healthy, youthful golden yellow. Ripe stone fruits, some pome fruits, citrus, honey. Takes a long time to open, but becomes more fresh and rich. Medium-full bodied and slightly fat. Quite fresh for a 20+ year old wine, and can hold at this level for another 5 years. 2.5 Stars [12/24/13]

Domaine Laleure-Piot, Chorey-Les-Beaune 2008
Beautiful, deep, perfumey nose. On the nose and palate, accentuated blueberry, cherry, floral perfume, and cloves. Medium-full bodied, delicate but deep. A year ago this was rather shy, but now it is full and expressive. Very good quality. Will drink nicely over the next 3 to 5 years. 3 Stars [12/26/13]

Dry Creek Vineyard, Chenin Blanc, Clarksberg 2012
Ripe pome fruits, apricot, citrus, ample slightly steely acidity, and mineral. Dry, full bodied, and deep. An impressive Chenin Blanc in the Loire style. Will last at least 5 years more, perhaps much longer given that its under screwcap. 3 Stars [12/30/13]

Sanchez Romate, Cream Sherry, Jerez NV
From a bottle estimated to be 20 to 30 years old. Dark mohagony with hints of caramel; about the color of cola. Very good nose. On the nose and palate, fig, caramel, citrus, raspberry, candied apricot, a touch of chocolate, and nice warm spirit. Full bodied, with medium-full sweetness perfectly balanced by acid and spirit. Exceptional stuff, I like it! Apparently indestructable, but given this bottle, the spirit pulls forward and the sweetness subsides with substantial bottle age. 4 Stars. [12/30/13]


And now a roundup of wines from October to early December:

Pierre Boniface, Les Rocailles, Apremont, Vin de Savoie 2009
Light golden with a hint of green and bronze reflections (gives the impression of some darkening). On the nose, fresh grape skins, with low key fruit, maybe some floral notes, but with an odd, salty, sherry-like note; has nice qualities but is not altogether attractive. On the palate, some nice rich fruit, with a note of melon, tart lemon juice notes, perhaps some floral tones, salty mineral and steely acidity, with a clean but slightly fat texture, medium-full bodied, with some penetration, but also delicate. Has some very nice qualities, but its balance is in an odd place, with sherry-like hints. Clearly a quality wine, but I'm not sure if I like it. 2 Stars [10/5/13]

Paritua Vineyards, Stone Paddock, Isabella, Late Harvest Semillon, Hawkes Bay 2006
Golden color. Low key but excellent nose Sauternes-like nose of apricot, flowers, honey, with hints of hazelnut and botrytis; some depth, and rather lovely. A touch of super-ripe pear upfront on the palate, followed by burnished apricot, white peach, lots of citrus zest, raspberry, a hint of floral nectar, honey, barley sugar, hazelnut, lots of mineral, and lots of boytritus/mace. Generously sweet but balanced by a vein of citrusy acidity. Full bodied, with an excellent, penetrating texture. Very nearly like a Sauternes, but less rich, though cleaner. At least 5 years ahead. 3.5 Stars [10/13/13]

La Bodega de Pinoso, Vermador, Alicante 2008
100% Monastrell. Excellent, dense nose with a lot going on: black cherry and meaty currant, smokey mineral, tar/a hint of fig, citrus, a whiff of flowers, a hint of tobacco, a hint of apricot, all with overtones of black olive, cocoa powder, and black pepper. A similar personality on the palate with tart red fruit. Big and dense with a meaty/fleshy texture, spicy, penetrating, with generous acid providing balance and freshness. A refreshing take on Monastrell, and an outstanding value. Drink now or in the next 3 - 5 years. 3 Stars [11/8/13]

Domaine de la Chanteleuserie, Cuvee Alouettes, Bourgueil 2010
Very good nose, deep and dark, with some perfume, and fleshy red fruit. On the nose and palate, a personality of fleshy, somewhat juicy red fruit, underlayed by notes of dark fruit, with deep notes of citrus rind, floral notes, lots of cedar, green tobacco notes, some chocolate, and earthy stone. Not huge, but dense; very savory. The way it interacts with food is fascinating. Very interesting wine. On day two, much more perfumey and gravelly, with deep and lovely nose, with additional notes of meaty currant, arugula, and peppercorn. An aromatic, deep, and expressive wine, but with an intriguing herbacious streak. Almost like a Margaux aromatically. Has 10 years or more ahead of it. 3.5 Stars [11/15/13]

Chateau Desclau, Bordeaux Superior 2006
Needs time to blow off some funk and open. Has a rather lovely, perfumey nose of dark fruit (very 2006). On the palate, succulent red fruit with dark fruit undertones, perfumey violets, some orange rind, and gravel/earthy mineral. Medium bodied. Lovely little 2006. 2.5 Stars [12/7/13]

Sheldrake Point, Riesling, Finger Lakes 2011
Peach, lime, pineapple, apricot, guava, floral notes, petrol, and lots of mineral. A little spritzy. Medium sweet with generous supporting acidity; medium-full bodied, with nice presence. I like the style. A very good effort. 2.5 Stars [12/7/13]

Brancott, Pinot Grigio, South Island 2008
On night one, nice upfront, but no back palate; rather dissappointing. On night 3, creamy pear, pineapple, citrus rind, raspberry, perhaps a touch of almond, and mineral. Rich and full with a slightly fat texture, but with generous acid keeping balance. The alcohol is a bit exposed, though it is only 12.5%. Overall, a satisfying wine. 2.5 Stars [12/8/13]
Last edited by Ryan M on Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
"The sun, with all those planets revolving about it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else to do"
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Andrew Bair

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Re: WTN: Holiday Wines (Clos Vougeot and friends)

by Andrew Bair » Thu Jan 02, 2014 8:54 pm

Thank you for the notes, Ryan.

Although I haven't had the 2010 Alouettes, the couple of Chanteleuserie Bourgueils that I've tried have tried have been quite nice, and were also very good values. The 2009 Alouettes was very good a couple of years ago.

Interesting to read about your others as well, especially the Guigal CDR Blanc and the Sanchez Romate Sherry.
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Ryan M

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Re: WTN: Holiday Wines (Clos Vougeot and friends)

by Ryan M » Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:26 pm

Hello Andrew, and your welcome for the notes - always nice to know that they're appreciated!

The Alouettes was actually the first Bourgueil I've had, but I was very impressed by the quality, and it seemed to me that it must have been an exceptional vintage.

The Guigal CdR blanc came from the cellar of a former professor of mine, who inherited the collection from his father, and we've had a number of surprisingly good oddities from that collection over the years. I this sample certainly supports that idea that white Rhones can and do age nicely for decades.

The Sanchez Romate had been sitting in my parents basement for about 10 years (just to be clear, it was unopenned), and it had come in a batch of old wines and liquors that had been sitting in a relative's basement for 20 years or so. It seems to provide a counter example for two often stated expectations: (1) that fortified wines not meant for aging do not last indefinitely, and (2) that they don't evolve or improve after bottling.
"The sun, with all those planets revolving about it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else to do"
Galileo Galilei

(avatar: me next to the WIYN 3.5 meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory)

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