Archive for November, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

img_07711These are the wines I poured for Thanksgiving this year. We celebrated in the new house with my mom, her friend Mike and our friend Kate. The wines included a bottle from the brillant Didier Dagueneau who left us much to early in a tragic accident this year, as well as a Viognier from McPrice Myers and a bottle of Whispering Angel Rosé. The wines and our food were all wonderful, but the true highlight was to be able to celebrate with good friends and loved ones — and being able to say I am truly fortunate and thankful for so much. A summary of my previous notes follow with some notes from Thanksgiving.

Didier Dagueneau Blanc Fumé de Pouilly 2004
This wine includes some fruit from Didier Dagueneau’s famed Pur Sang, Buisson Renard and Silex cuvees. It is barrel-fermented and aged half in stainless steel and half in large, neutral barrels. On the nose, lemon, citrus, white flowers, fresh hay and some mineral notes. On the palate, sharp acidity with rich and creamy lemon and butter components with nice minerality. A clean, persistent finish. There are some similarities to the Pur Sang, as others have noted it is softer — and does not hit the same mark in terms of minerality, complexity, structure or focus. I previously wrote about the 2006, which I do recall being a bit more vibrant than the 04. View full post on the 2006.

McPrice Myers Viognier Larner Vineyard 2006
I saw his Larner Vinyeard Viognier weighed in at 15.6% alcohol. Fortunately, I was in for a pleasant surprise.

Golden straw in color. An exotic and enticing nose of nectarine, peaches, apricot, honey and floral notes. On the palate, stone fruits, pear tangerine, cut grass, honeysuckle, wet stone and a hint of vanilla. Rich, lush, creamy and a bit oily with nice viscosity. Loaded with fruit, but very well balanced. Good acidity and a prolonged, crisp and clean finish. Surprisingly well integrated with no significant heat on the nose or palate. I would have never pegged this wine above 15% alcohol. Everyone was in agreement that this wine was the highlight of the evening. Great fruit, minerality, acidity and creaminess — really an outstanding example of Viognier. View complete post.

Chateau D’Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé 2006
This wine is a blend of Grenache and Rolle. Very light pink in color, truly vin gris in color. An aromatic nose with herbaceous plants and flowers. Strawberries, lavendar, minerals on the palate with a dry, clean finish. Provence in a bottle – and a text book expression of rosé. Beautiful, elegant and seductive.

This was my favorite rosé from 2006 — and may have been one of my 10 favorite wines for the year. A wonderful food wine — a great pairing with seafood, white meats (an outstanding selection for any holiday with turkey or ham), Indian or Asian cuisine — or any light spring or summer fare.

This wine seems to have lost some of it vibrancy and was a bit of a disappointment, still a very nice rosé — but not good as I had hoped and expected. Not sure if it was just this specific bottle or that the 06 just isn’t showing as well as it had been. View complete post.

Broke out the Germain-Robin “Select Barrel XO” Alambic Brandy to end the evening, which is always a great closer. Hope your Thanksgiving was just as wonderful……

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img_07472005 Collioure Puig Oriole a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah. The wine is produced in the town of Collioure, a commune in the Pyrénées-Orientales department in southwestern France.

Domaine La Tour Vieille was established in 1982 , when two family estates merged, one situated in Collioure and the other in Banyuls. The Collioure estate is run by Vincent Cantié which covers 12 hectares of steep, Mediterranean hills, exposing the fruit to the influences of heat, altitude and wind.

Deep violet, ruby in color. Black raspberry, kirsch with a bit of licorice and earthiness on the nose. On the palate, spiced plum and dark cherry with some pepper, dark chocolate and garrigued, herbal notes. Medium body, but meaty with great depth and structure — and a solid mineral/tannic backbone that supports and balances the fruit.

This wine has gotten a lot of great press — and it is certainly well deserved. As a result, it is now not the easiest wine to find. I bought this at the Wine Exchange (now out of stock) for about $20 a bottle. It is an extremely good bottle of wine and very good value.

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img_0744Tablas Creek Vineyard was founded by the Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel and Robert Haas, the longtime importer and founder of Vineyard Brands.

Tablas Creek is dedicated to the production of wines made from Rhône grape varietals. All of their wines are made with grapes from their 120-acre certified organic estate vineyard. Each varietal is hand-harvested and fermented separately using native yeasts.

The Côtes de Tablas Rouge 2006 is 72% Grenache, 11% Syrah, 9% Mourvèdre, 8% Counoise. The wine showcases the fruit from the Grenache, with some meatiness from the Syrah and earthiness from the Mourvèdre and Counoise.

Ruby red in color. A very Grenache inspired nose of black cherry, strawberry, kirsch, pepper, bacon fat and some floral notes.  On the palate, medium body with pure, fleshy fresh fruit. Loaded with raspberry, currant, pepper, graphite, with a touch of rare meat, licorice and earth. Silky tannins and good acidity — very approachable and enjoyable.

This wine evoked memories of Bonny Doon’s Clos de Gilroy at the height of its powers in the late 1980s — very Grenache-driven (fleshy raspberry, pepper and spice) and Nouveau-like fruit. This is a lot of wine for $18 a bottle. 14.8% alcohol. 3500 Cases produced. Strongly recommended.

I also really liked the Tablas Creek Vineyard Côtes de Tablas Blanc 2006, but would give a slight edge to the rouge — though both are very well made.

Related posts:

Tablas Creek Grenache Blanc 2006
Côtes de Tablas Creek Vermentino 2008
Tablas Creek Vineyard Côtes de Tablas Blanc 2006

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img_0740The Bougrier Vouvray is a Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley. Light golden straw in color. Pineapple, pear, jicama on the nose. On the palate, juicy with green apple, citrus, honey and almond — with some underlying minerality and sea foam.

Good viscosity and acidity with a crisp finish. Off dry, but perhaps more than just a bit of residual sugar — a touch too sweet for my palate (I read the 06 was sweeter than previous vintages).

For my palate, this would be best served as an apéritif. It would also pair well with oysters, mussels or clams. Given the season it would make for a nice sipping wine while preparing the Thanksgiving meal (if moscato wasn’t my traditional standby). Quaffable at 12% alcohol and under $12 a bottle.

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almavivaAlmaviva is a joint venture between Concha y Toro and Baron Philippe de Rothschild. The wine is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Carmenere and 3% Cabernet Franc.

A captivating nose, dark cherry, currant and cassis with some cedar, mint, vegetables and infused with a slight hint of petrol/motor oil.

On the palate, raspberry, plum, cranberry, cassis, dark fruit compote, notes of iron and minerality as well as some smoke and spice. A touch of leather, licorice and earth. Powerful, structured and focused, but at the same time it is elegant, plump, plush and silky smooth. Loaded with fruit, but by no means a bomba de fruta.

I thought this was a great bottle of wine. It is showing extremely well, soft and open but with enough tannins and structure to put down for another 3-5 years. Given the state of the economy and adjusting to life with a mortgage, I would be inclined to buy 4 bottles of Cuvelier de Los Andes 2005 for the same price as a single bottle of Almaviva. That being said, in a blind tasting one might assume this is 1st or 2nd Growth Bordeaux costing twice as much.

Value aside, I savored this bottle of wine and regret there is only one more bottle hiding in my collection — and it ranks as one of the top 5 wines I have had from South America. Recommended.

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