Archive for ◊ October, 2009 ◊

29 Oct 2009 Barrel tasting the remaining 2008 vintage wines

I did barrel tasting from the remaining 2008 wines in barrel with some wine club members on Tuesday.  The wines tasted were: 2008 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast; 2008 White Hawk Vineyard, Sangiovese, Santa Barbara; 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Coombsville Vineyard, Napa Valley; 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Rafael Vineyard, Napa Valley.  All of the wines are tasting very good! :)

I was quite happy at how all of the wines showed.  Here are some tasting notes:
The 2008 White Hawk Vineyard, Sangiovese was tremendous!  It has great concentration with aromas and flavors of blue fruit (blueberry, boysenberry) and cherry.  The wine is not as classic as the 2007 Sangiovese is but I think a bit of blending with Sangiovese from the Stophlman vineyard will bring in a the lovely sour cherry flavor one looks for in Sangiovese.  Also, a bit of Cabernet Sauvignon will give it a long and lovely finish.

The 2008 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, which has had its primary blend done already is very similar to the 2007 Pinot Noir with the exception of more smoke, earth and hints of spice.  The acidity on the wine might need a slight tweek just before bottling but seems very good during my quick taste.  If you liked the 2007 Pinot Noir, I think you will enjoy the 2008 version very much.  I will be doing the final blend of the 2008 Pinot Noir to have it bottled in time for Christmas but not Thanksgiving. 

The two Cabernet Sauvignons are amazing!  The wine is concentrated, rich and complex.  The fruit flavors of the Coombsville vineyard is quite striking — lots of cassis with some nice middle-palate fruit and a long finish.  The Rafael Vineyard fruit tastes of dense raspberry jam.  It is not typical for Cabernet Sauvignon to have a raspberry flavor but the combination of the two wines will be very good.  I will be looking to blend in some petite verdot to add complexity with a spicey and tannic element and some Cabernet Franc for aromatics.  The resulting blend will be powerful wine with some nice aging potential.

22 Oct 2009 Georgian Wines…7000 years and going strong!

Archeologists have found evidence of wine production carbon-dated to around 5000 BC in the country of Georgia.  The word, wine, comes from the Georgian word “gvino” which the Greeks and Romans shortened to vino which the French then changed it to vin.  Georgia has over 500 unique grape varietals.  38 grape varietals are officially allowed for commercial viticulture.  The approved varietals include: Saperavi, Rkatsiteli, Tsolikouri, Tsitska, Chinuri, Goruli, Mtsvane, Kakhuri Mtsvane, Odzhaleshi, Orbeluri Odzhaleshi, Aladasturi, Obchuri Dzvelshavi, Aligote, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Usakhelouri, Alexandriuli, Mudzhuretuli, Otskhanuri Sapere, Krakhuna, Chkhaveri, Tetra, and Khikhvi.

Georgia geography is basically a valley located between two mountain ranges and the Black Sea.  Most of the valley is planted with grape vines.  It is the same latitude as parts of France, Italy, Spain and Northern California.  So, it has the potential to produce great grapes and should start to be taken seriously in the West.  Georgia has five viticultural zones: Kakheti, Kartli, Imereti, Racha-Lechkhumi, and the humid subtropical zone.

Georgia has become known for its sparkling wine.  The sparkling wine has been nearly completely consumed by Russia and former Soviet Union states  until the armed conflict between Russia and Georgia.  Russia has started to boycott Geogian products, so Georgian wine producers have started to export their still and sparkling wines beyond Russia. 

The wine distributor that I work for has started to carry the Bagrationi 1882 sparkling wines from Georgia.  If you have an opportunity to try these sparkling wines, I suggest that you do.  The wines are made from varietals only available in Georgia resulting in a unique flavor profile somewhere between Champagne and Cava.  The methode champenoise produced sparkling wines are produced from the Chinebuli, Mtsvane and Tsitska varietals.  Chinebuli is a rare varietal from the Kartli region of Georgia.  The charmat method sparkling wines are non-vintage with some variable % of  Chinebuli, Mtsvane and Tsitska varietals depending on the specific lot.

18 Oct 2009 Wine & Spirits top 100 – October 14, 2009
 |  Category: Wine Review, Wine event  | Leave a Comment

I attended the Wine & Spirits annual top 100 wines tasting event held at The Galleria at the San Francisco Design Center on October 14, 2009.  It is a very well attended event; this year I would estimate the attendance at roughly 550 – 600 people.  The event is well worth your time to attend next year!  I highly recommend it. 

The purpose of the event is allow people to try the wines from top 100 wineries from the year in one place.  It is a great experience to get an understanding of what the wine critics of Wine & Spirits are giving high scores, what varietals are in favor, learn about new wine regions and the specific wine styles of those regions.  The wines being poured were in the following categories: sparkling wine, Crisp white wines, floral whites, rich whites, sherry, pinot noir, Austrian, Italian, Iberian, Rhone family, Cabernet family, Zinfandel and Port.  It is a bit of an odd classification but it helped to have the wines grouped on the tasting floor.

I tasted quite a few wines so the rating (out of 5 stars) and comments are very limited.  Disclaimer: your mileage may vary due to the number of tastes:

Sparkling:
Roederer Estate, 2002 Anderson Valley L’Ermitage Brut – 4 stars [W&S:93, $45]
Roederer Estate, NV Champagne Brut Premier – 3.75 stars
Schloss Gobelsburg, NV Kamptal Brut Reserve – 4.25 stars (a lovely blend of Gruner Veltliner, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay)

Crisp whites:
Boutari, 2008 Santorini — 3 stars (Assyrtiko — fresh cherry, mineral, sea shells)
Gaia, 2008 Santorini Wild Ferment Assyrtiko — 2 stars (aged in acacia wood, too much wood and mineral and lack of fruit) [W&S:94, $35]
Gaia, 2008 Santorini Thalassitis — 2.5 stars (mild cherry, mineral)
Schiopetto, 2006 Collio Sauvignon — 3.5 stars (grapefruit, high acidity) [W&S: 95, $30]

Floral Whites:
Sheldrake Point, 2007 Finger Lakes New York Dry Riesling — 3.5 stars overall, 4.5 stars nose (smells like a high-end Mosel riesling, palate comes across as too dry for the aromas)
Sheldrake Point, 2007 Finger Lakes New York Dry Magdalena Vineyard Riesling – 4 stars (balanced flavors, aromas, intensity with botritysis elements).
Kilikanoon, 2007 Clare Valley Mort’s Reserve Watervale Riesling — 2.5 stars [W&S:93, $35]
Dr. Loosen, 2007 Mosel Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese — 4 stars
Dr. Loosen, 2007 Mosel Erdener Pralat Riesling Auslese GoldKapsel — 4.75 stars (not cloying, good acid with great Mosel characteristics (floral, petrol, stone fruit)
Joh. Jos. Prum, 2007 Moswel Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese — 3 stars
Nigl, 2007 Kremstal Kremsleiten Riesling — 3 stars (mild floral, light stone fruit)
Nigl, 2003 Kremstal Kremsleiten Riesling — 2.75 stars (mineral, white floral)

Rich Whites:
Marcel Deiss, 2004 Alsace Grasberg — 4.25 stars to 4.5 stars (lovely lush Edelwicker style Alsace blend — very balanced, good concentration with sufficient acid to last many years) [W&S: 94, $67]
E. Guigal, 2005 Hermitage Blanc — 3 stars (noticable oak is distracting from excellent aromas and palate flavors)
E. Guigal, 2007 Condrieu — 2.75 stars (wet wood, hint of humus)

Pinot Noir:
Anthill Farms, 2007 Mendocino County Comptche Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir – 4.25 to 4.5 stars (lovely delicate and refined Pinot Noir) [W&S: 96, $46]
DeLoach, 2007 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir — 3 stars  (medium concentration, red fruit)
Flowers, 2006 Sonoma Coast Andreen-Gale Pinot Noir — 3.75 stars (medium intensity aromas, light floral, red fruit)
Peay, 2007 Sonoma Coast Scallop Shelf Pinot Noir — 3.5 stars (floral, light, red fruit) [W&S:95, $52]
Peay, 2006 Sonoma Coast La Bruma Syrah — 3.5 to 4 stars (fennel, ansise, black pepper) [W&S: 95, $45]
W. H. Smith, 2007 Sonoma Coast Maritime Pinot Noir –3 stars (earthy, dark fruit, classic sonoma coast profile)

Austrian:
Moric, 2007 Burgenland Blaufrankisch — 3.25 stars (blueberry, boysenberry)
Moric, 2006 Burgenland Alte Reven Neckenmarkt Blaufrankisch — 4 stars (blue fruit, soft tannins, medium + concentration — a lovely wine) [W&S:93, $95]

Italian:
Elvio Cogno, 2004 Barolo Vigna Elena — 3.5 stars (old style of Barolo before recent adoption of more modern winemaking techniques)
Elvio Cogno, Barolo Ravera — 4 stars (modern style of Barolo — a bit more fruit driven)
Poderi Luigi Einaudi, 2004 Barolo Nei Cannubi — 3 stars (violets, dried red fruit)
Poderi Luigi Einaudi, 2007 Dolcetto de Dogliani Vigna Tecc — 3 stars (fresh red fruit — slight bitterness (tannins) on the finish)
Vietti, 2005 Barbaresco Masseria — 3 stars (high acid, slight bitter tannins, very dry finish)

Iberian:
CVNE/Conino, 2005 Rioja Graciano — 3.5 stars (red currants, grapey)
CVNE/Conino, 2005 Rioja Reserva — 3.5 stars
Buil & Gine, 2005 Montsant Baboix — 3.5 stars (Smoky, earth, red fruit w/ hint of earthiness
Buil & Gine, 2008 Rueda Nosis — 3.5 stars (Verdelho — red grapefruit, great acid)
Quinta do Noval, 2007 Porto — 4.25 stars (excellent port would have scored higher but slight note of latex paint)

Rhone Family:
Delas Freres, 2005 Hermitage Marquise de la Tourette – 3 stars ( Frances Ferrier cooperage – spicy )
Delas Freres, 2006 Crozes-Hermitage Les Launes — 3 stars
Qupe, 2005 Santa Maria Valley Bien Nacido X-Block Syrah — 2.5 stars (dry and bitter notes — aged in hermitage cooperage)
Qupe, 2007 Santa Maria Valley Bien Nacido Hillside Estate Roussanne — 2.75 stars (dry, mineral)
d’Arenberg, 2006 McLaren Vale The Ironstone Pressing — 4 stars (very similar to Lionheart 2007 Dry Creek Valley Syrah)
Leeuwin Estate, 2006 Margaret River Art Series Shiraz — 4 stars (restrainted, balanced old world style syrah) [W&S: 94, $35]
Leeuwin Estate, 2006 Margaret River Prelude Vineyards Chardonnay — 4.5 stars
Yalumba, 2006 Barossa Valley The Scribbler Cabernet-Shiraz — 3.75 stars (rich, complex, balanced)

Cabernet Family:
L’ Ecole N’ 41, 2006 Walla Walla Valley Perigee Seven Hills Vineyard — 3.5 stars (noticable fine-grained tannins but pleasant)
L’ Ecole N’ 41, 2006 Walla Walla Valley Apogee Pepper Bridge Vineyard — 3.5 stars (needs more time in the bottle and will improve)
Saviah, 2005 Columbia Valley Laurella — 3.5 stars (super tuscan sangiovese – rich and complex) [W&S:94, $36]
Beaulieu Vineyard, 2005 Napa Valley Tapestry Reserve — 3.25 stars (a bit thin, drying tannins)
Beaulieu Vineyard, 2005 Napa Valley Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cab. Sauv – 3.75 stars
Beringer, 2005 Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon — 3.5 stars (rich but expected more from the wine)
Diamond Creek, 2005 Red rock Terrace Cabernet Sauvignon — 4 stars (violets, red currant, concentrated) [W&S:98, $175]
Diamond Creek, 2005 Volcanic Hill Cabernet Sauvignon — 4 stars
Louis M. Martini, 2004 Sonoma Valley Monte Rosso Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon — 3.5 stars (spicy, red currant)
Ridge, 2005 Santa Cruz Mountains Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvginon — 3.5 to 3.75 stars (floral, cassis, red currant, slightly drying tannins — needs more time in the bottle) [W&S:97, $145]
Ramey, 2006 Napa Valley Annum Cabernet Sauvignon — 3 stars
Skouras, 2006 Greece Synoro — 4.5 stars

Zinfandel:
Dashe, 2006 Alexander Valley Old Vine Todd Brothers Ranch Zinfandel — 3 stars (slight acetal  acetate notes) [W&S:96, $32]
Dashe, 2006 Dry Creek Valley Old Vine Louvau Vineyard Zinfandel — 3 stars
Storybook Mountain, 2006 Napa Valley Eastern Exposures Zinfandel — 3.75 stars
Storybook Mountain, 2005 Napa Valley Seps Estate Cabernet Sauvignon — 3.25 stars

Port:
1991 Porto Colheita — 4.5 stars (walnut, sherry, hint of aldehyde)