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Chapoutier, Leonetti, Grahams, Shafer, Fox Creek


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Monthly blind tasting notes:

1997 Tyrells Vat 1 Semillon (Hunter Valley) – much better bottle than the last one I had. Some vanilla in the nose, and some coconut and citrus, smooth on palate and quite crisp. Hold or drink.

2002 Chaddsford Chambourcin Seven Valleys Vineyard – absolutely no clues as to the non-vinifera hybrid nature of the grape. Made in Pennsylvania, this wine had the colour of a pinot, the nose of a syrah (bit spicy), and was very presentable if a bit puzzling when tasted blind.

1994 Chapoutier Cornas – while I have some of the slightly better 1995 (and I mean that in terms of structure and ageability), this 1994 was a very pleasant surprise. We narrowed down to Cornas pretty quickly. The blood and green olive nose and dark colour along with a slightly rustic feel sent us in that direction. Now fully mature but no rush.

2000 Quinta do Crasto Reserve – it took a little floundering to get to Portugal. I am delighted to have tasted this as I have a case waiting for prime time use. Purple with a sweetish ripe nose, featuring berry scents, smooth on palate and medium long. Very nice and will hold – just hitting prime time.

2004 Quinta do Vallado – also a Douro wine, this was simpler with a fresh youthful nose, and sweeter with spice on palate. At a quite low price it is one to buy by the case.

1984 Shafer Hillside Select – the owner was worried about how this would have held up but there was no problem. Pale edges, lovely mature nose, lots of acidity, and the tannins were still there but well resolved. Fully mature, enjoyable and the acidity not quite high enough to be a problem.

1994 Leonetti Merlot – sweet vanilla and cocoa nose lead the tasters (it was my wine) to merlot pretty quick and the structure headed some toward Washington. Very good flavour intensity, good length, the tannins well resolved and a significantly better showing than the 1993 has been.

1997 Tenuta la Palazza Graf Noir – a new one on all of us from Italy. 55% sangiovese, 15% cab franc, and 30% uva longanesi (never heard of this one). fairly young with tannins and acidity about equal, dry finish, bit of chocolate. Nice but nothing special.

1998 Fox Creek JSM – named after the owners’ kids, the blend is shiraz, cab sauv and cab franc. Still dark, with a nice mint and raspberry nose, lots of concentration and sweet and hot in the finish, which had good length. I keep saying I must find mine in the cellar (I have a case and a half) and now I really MUST find it as this wine is drinking so well right now!

2001 RBJ Vox Populi – an Oz wine made mostly from Grenache, this was showing surprising age in both colour and in the mouth. A couple of people swore it was corked yet failed to detect any hint of TCA. Smoky, oily nose, medium weight, lots of wood.

1991 Grahams Port – this one fooled me – I thought it was showing the maturity to be a 1985 and I swore it wasn’t a Grahams as it lacked the typical sweetness. Dark with a sweet hot nose that didn’t show any particular fruit, and pretty well integrated, especially for this vintage. I find I have a half case of this as well and will make a mental note (sop easily misplaced) to consider it for drinking.

Scholtz Hermanos Malaga ‘Lagrima’ 10 year old – my experience with Malagas has been limited and unfavourable – simple cloying wines made from PX and Moscadelo. This one was definitely fun, though. Can’t recall a wine that was brown with green edges before! he colour and consistency of treacle, it was luscious rather than cloying and had a finish that had sufficient acidity to balance out the no doubt high residual sugar.

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Re: 2002 Chaddsford Chambourcin Seven Valleys Vineyard

I live in southeastern PA and all of the wines, both red and white, from area wineries seem to have a characteristic minerality about them. So much so that I can usually pick a Southeast PA wine out of a group and I can't do that (identify regional characteristics) with many other wines.

I haven't had the Chaddsford Chambourcin. Did you notice anything distinctive about it other than a lack of typicity?

[Edited for clarity][Further edited to spell "clarity" correctly!]

Edited by doviakw (log)
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