Saturday, November 16, 2013

2012 "Los Colinas del Ebro" Syrah/Grenache (Terra Alta, Spain)

This 80% Grenache/20%Syrah (with the name Syrah listed first on the label to try to fool people into thinking that's the predominant grape varietal since Syrah is trendy and Grenache isn't) is a very good value.  Nice ripe fruit and minerality, well-balanced and smooth.

Rich dark ruby color.  Medium intensity nose of ripe blackberry and black raspberry fruit, along with hints of sweet baking spice and smokey stones (almost like the smell of a recently ignited caps for toy guns, if anyone can remember what that smells like).  Bone dry, with squeaky clean black raspberry fruit and loads of clean stony minerality.  Clean, medium-long, clingy finish.  Not super complex, but really nicely put together.  B+.  Was $12 at Whole Foods in Arlington in Clarendon.  Imported by Grapes of Spain (Aurelio Cabestreros) of Lorton, VA.

(The label depicted is for their white, but the Syrah/Grenaches's label is virtually identical.)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

2011 Domaine Guy Mousset COTES DU RHONE (Southern France)

Meh.  A CDR made to imitate a Beaujolais.  It's well made, but was purposefully crafted to hide the characteristics it was born with.  80% Grenache, 20% Syrah.
Medium dark ruby.  Loads of ripe, juicy, grapey/plummy fruit on the nose.  Fairly loose-limbed in the mouth, with average concentration, though the straightforward fruit is pleasant enough.  Fairly full-bodied.  Finish clean and short.  C+.  Was $11.99 at Total Wine in McLean, VA,  imported by Saranty Imports, White Plains, NY.

Monday, November 11, 2013

2011 Tres Ojos GARNACHA (Calatayud, Spain)

This wine packs a wallop, though it is quite simple.  Hard to quibble, however, at $7.99.

Very dark ruby with violet overtones.  Nose features lots of black raspberry skins and dark cherry fruit.  Some stony mineraliness as well.  Highly extracted (for a Grenache), it blasts the palate with tannins and bone dry, slightly bitter black cherry fruit.  Very full bodied.  Finish leaves lots of puckery tannins.  This wine tastes very young and blunt right now.  It actually may soften a bit over the next 18 months, though I wouldn't keep it longer than that, as the high alcohol may start to burn through the fruit.  B-.  I got this a Whole Foods in Arlington.  Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils, Winchester, VA.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

2010 Louis Boillot CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET Blanc (Burgundy, France)

 This wine took me on a surprise journey.  When I first opened it, it looked suspiciously dark gold.  And it smelled kind of flat, and felt flabby and tired in the mouth.  We finished off half the bottle without much enthusiasm the first night, although, over time the first night, it tightened up a bit, and the color lightened.  I put it under a Vacu-vin closure and stuck it back in the fridge.  Two days later, it was much, much improved.  I think this wine just needs a couple of years in the bottle.  If you open it now, I would actually recommend decanting it a few hours ahead of time -- which is usually unnecessary for a white.  Stick the decanter back in the fridge in the meantime.

The following notes are from 48 hours after opening.

Bright, luminescent medium light, brassy gold.  Wonderfully vibrant nose:  pristine apple fruit, a squeeze of lemon, a little whiff of light honey and toast, and a very clean, hay/limestoney earth note.  Lean, but with excellent flavor persistence, this wine has excellent acids (a characteristic of the 2010s from Burgundy).  Flavors of green apple, pear, and straw last a long time and leave on a very faint hazelnut note that lingers and lingers.  This wine kept getting better through the last sip.  That suggests this needs time and air.  By the end, I gave it a A-.  (Don't ask about when I first opened it.)  Was $24.99 from  Imported by MHW, Ltd., Manhasset, NY.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

2010 Quinta de Ventozelo DOURO (Portugal)

This is the antithesis of the overripe, overoaked, new world red style.  It's very defined, lean, and very stony/minerally, with lots of acidity, but not under-ripe at all.   I like it, but for those who demand jammy fruit and plushness, it's probably not gonna fly.

Gorgeously youthful-looking dark ruby.  Very unique nose, with crisp plummy fruit, a streak of rhubarb, and tons of stony minerals, along with a very subtle note of something kinda like, but not quite like, cinnamon.  Bone dry in the mouth, it's got good weight.  Flavors kind of like a blenderized mixture of rock dust and black cherry skins.  Lengthy, lean finish slows turns  a bit iodiney and bitter (but in a good way), and it's got very good acids.  Quite a unique character, this one.  B+.  Imported by Saranty Imports, White Plains, NY, I got this for $13.99 at Total Wine in Mclean, VA.

This will age nicely for 1-3 years, and will go with a wide variety of foods.

(Sorry, 2008 shown.)

2012 Masson-Blondelet POUILLY-FUMÉ (Loire Valley, France)

Strangely, Pouilly-Fumé seems harder to find these days than its kissing cousin, Sancerre.  Back in the very early 80s, when I was first learning about wine, Sancerre was dead.  Pouilly-Fumé was everywhere.  It had to do with the popularity of Robert Mondavi's "Fumé Blanc," as Cali Sauvignon Blanc was popularly called back then.  I find Sancerre to have more depth, but I'm overgeneralizing.

This is a good, reasonably-priced, entry level Pouilly Fumé.  A little on the lighter, herbal side, but very fresh and clean.

Extremely pale silvery-gold.  Very herbal, citrus pith nose, with the herbs tending toward the "cat pee" level of pungency initially, then calming down a bit on day two.  A very clean, precise gooseberry fruit element shoots through it.  Very crisp in the mouth, with mouthwatering acids.  Very nice green apply, gooseberry fruit, and a very clean finish.  Very little of the pierre-à-fusil (gun flint) smokiness that is characteristic of this appellation, but it's still quite enjoyable, particularly at $14.99, from  B.  Imported by Votto Vines, Hamden, CT.