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Wine Tasting Notes 2002


A Balic
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(Moderator's Note: Topics from 2001 concerning wine tasting have been merged into this topic.)

Here a few more unusual non-Parker reviewed wines that I have tasted in the last twelve months.<p>Pfaffenheim Pinot Blanc 2000:

Never liked this varietal, until this wine. Rich, lemony great with pheasant galantine. <p>Malaga Oro Viejo Hijos Suarez Villalba NV:

Great fortified wine, much better then the majority of Malaga avalible.<p>Montilla NV:

Sherry like (Fino, PX and Amontillado styles) from around Cordoba, natural alcohol (no fortification). Excellent if you like Fino.<p>Morellino di Scansano '97:

Lovely Sourthern Tuscan red (Sangiovese), good value, wild cherry flavours.<p>Others to follow.

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OK Adam, so Moris Farms produces TWO really great Morellini di Scansano :)

I've never been a particular fan of Bordeaux, but last week at Foliage in London I was steered by the sommelier to a St Julien Chateau Gloria 1985. Superb. I'm now planning on revisiting the Bordeaux pages on the Cartes des Vins :biggrin:

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I haven't seen any of the '97 by Moris Farms in awhile now, but used to enjoy it for less than ฤ/bottle.  More plum than berry, nice and rounded. I'll look around this weekend and see if I can find another bottle for a more informed tasting.

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  • 2 months later...

These two were in the bins at Astor Place Wines & Spirits and since I hadn't had either wine, I couldn't resist picking them up to try them.

1999 Domaine Fourrier Griottes-Chambertin - Year after year Fourier's Griotte is an excellent bottle. Though I had heard that the '99 Burgs have been shutting down due to their being in bottle, this was nice and open. Good roasted quality. Maybe a hint of overripness. Tart cherry flavor and pretty thick for a pinot. I went back and bought more 92+ points

1999 Hubert Lignier Clos de la Roche - Blech. I took this bottle to dinner at Pietro's with such high expectations. A number of people told me how great this wine was. I even heard of someone who had bought an entire barrel from the Domaine. Well the wine was horrible. It was an oak bomb of atomic proportions. It was like someone took a Sonoma Pinot Noir, aged in new oak barrels, threw oak chips into the wine and then added a spoon of highly concentrated oak juice to each bottle before corking. I really couldn't understand it. I'm usually tolerant of oak but there was more oak here than wine. I couldn't drink the wine and left it over. 84 points and only because I could sense there was nice wine underneath all of that wood. Maybe someday the oak will evaporate. I wonder if the European bottling was vinified the same way, or is this a Rosenthal special for the American market.

1982 Aldo Conterno Barolo Gran Bussia - I picked up two bottles of this from a London dealer about three years ago (who in turn had brought them in from Italy.) I tried a bottle when it first came in and it was completely shut. Hard as nails. Then while scavenging around the cellar on Thursday night looking for a bottle to bring to dinner with a friend, the other bottle was staring me in the face. The bottle was in perfect condition. The first pour showed lots of promise and I asked the restaurant to decant it. Well the next pour found a blockbuster of a wine. Intensely meaty. Like concentrated baked ham with cherries, cloves, sage. Over the next hour and half it kept changing and getting more intense. Each new sip found a better wine and a comment from myself or my dining companion about how fantastic the wine was. This is an old school wine with amazing power but with the finesse of a modern style wine. In five years this will be an even greater wine but I think this will continue to improve and drink for another 25 years. 98 points

My family forced me to go with them to Las Vegas for a long weekend last month. What I didn't realize before I went was that the restaurants there allow BYO. So we asked the Concierge at the Venetian where we might find a liquor store that sells premiuim wines and they recommended a place called Lee's Liquors about 2 miles east of the hotel. Well Lee's has a temperature controlled cellar in the back of the store with lots of goodies in there, some pretty well priced. I picked up the following;

1996 Marc Morey Chassagne-Montrachet Les Vergers - This was the best bottle of white wine they had by far, other than some straight Montrachet in the $300 neighborhood which I wasn't buying. I ended up buying a bottle of this to drink

the first night at Prime and it was so enjoyable I went back the next day and picked up two more bottles. Slightly weightier than a middle weight white burg. Drinking well for a '96. I have had a few that were painful to drink. Pretty crisp acid here. Nicely balanced fruit. Easy to drink and lots of yums all around the table. We drained the three bottles without a problem 90 points and bottle age could yield a point+ down the road.

1998 Ornallaia - I couldn't resist buying this WS Wine of the year which I never had. We brought it to Picasso for dinner. It was surprisingly excellent. I was expecting a bust compared to the hype. I don't know about wine of the year but it's good to see those guys get something right on occassion. Good chalky quality to the wine. Chock full of minerals. A pretty massive wine that really attacked the palate but appeared balanced. Worth laying 2-6 bottles away. 95+ points

1995 Lynch Bages - We brought this to dinner at Prime and enjoyed it so much I went back and picked up a second bottle to bring to Spago two nights later. I heard that '95 Bordeauxs are drinking well and I recently ordered a '95 Haut Brion which I was disappointed in. This was drinking much better. Some of the reviews characterize this wine as lighter in weight but I found it fairly robust. Not generally being a fan of LB, this wine exceeded my expectations. Of course it had all the cassis and cedar one could ask for in their Bordeaux 92 points

An aside about the Vegas restaurants, I found them fine enough but basically generic. That they all need to fly in their ingredients prevents any of them from really developing a personality through a specific taste profile that one would associate with ingredients that come from a specific region. But I would say that Prime is a B, Picasso a B+ and Spago a C+. But they are a big improvement over places like Nick's Fishmarket which is what you would find in a place like Vegas in the old days.

At the delicious La Trompette in Chiswick, England;

1997 Raveneau Chablis Vaillons - What a delight to find this on their list. Having never had a '97 Raveneau, I was eager to see how they were drinking. Well it didn't have a hell of a lot of fruit. Closed or just not ripe enough? I will bet on the latter 86 points

1985 Lynch Bages - At 140 pounds this was hard to resist. A wine I haven't had in years but one that people are always touting. Well it showed acidic on this night. Despite a terriffic nose that seemed to preview a well rounded wine, it just didn't have enough mid-palate oomph for me. I like my Bordeaux to hit you in the face. Give me the '85 Haut Brion anyday 89 points

At Jacques Maximin in Vence;

2000 Domane de Ladiere Bandol Blanc - The best choice on a dread awful wine list. This wine fooled us with its syrupy viscosity. In the past I've found Bandol Blanc to be hard and acidic. Not this. Packed with fruit and a long finish. I had heard that this was usually a good bottle. Do they have a vineyard site with a cool breeze? 88 points and a perfect wine with a plate of Moules Provencal.

1993 Henri Gouges Nuit-St-Georges Porets

St. George - Again the best of a dismal list. We were expecting a hard acidic '93 that wasn't anywhere near drinking. What we found was an open, highly drinkable wine with lots of toasty fruit. Not much teroir here and it sort of got boring as time went on 87 points

At the delightful Jarnac in Greenwich Village;

1986 Leflaive Chevalier-Montrachet - Bad bottle here. I'm not a fan of the '86 vintage as it is (okay Ramonet) but for some reason, Leflaive's wines haven't held up at all. An acid bath and a sour one at that 85 points

1989 Louis Latour Batard-Montrachet - I really dislike the Latour wines. This one for some reason didn't offend me as much as other bottlings have done in the past. Maybe because the Leflaive was so poor and it made it look good. Good weight to it. But not at Batard level if you ask me. Still had a faint hint of the taste that I associate with Latour 88 points

1990 Domaine Marcoux Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vielle Vignes - One sip and I immediately commented that was like an Australian wine with the adddition of terroir. In fact, it was somewhere between Astralis and Blewitt Springs. Not my cup of tea but a great wine in that style. I'm a bit schizo about it and I would say that if I had any I would sell it and buy wines I prefer. But being objective about it, if you like that style it's a great wine94 points

1995 Rene Rostaing Cote Rotie La Landonne - Ah this is more like it. '95 not a huge vintage and this wine was drinking fairly well. I don't usually find that Rostaing styles his wines to be big wines. Feminine is too strong a word but maybe the best word considering how so many of the other Cote Rotie producers make such masculine wines. I don't think this will be the longest lived wine. Maybe 5-6 years more. 90 points

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Glad to hear the Vegas restuarants are coming around.  3 years ago, Picasso wouldn't do it (although Olive's did).  Now all we have to do is convince the French.

Re: the Morey, I've had more expererience with Bernard than Marc.  Any comments on comparisons between the two (if they are comparable?).

Also, I noticed a 96 Marc Morey Chassagne-Montrachet Les Caillerets in my "drink this summer" section.  Any thoughts on Les Caillerets vs. the Les Vergers you had?

PS Old Barolos rule!

beachfan

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Steve, great notes.  I am interested in your comments regarding the Rostaing CR. I have found '95 to be a nice vintage, but requiring time.  In fact, every bottle of '95 that I have opened seemed to be nowhere near ready to drink.  The one exception was Jasmin, which was soft and delicious after a couple hours open on the table, but that is what I like about Jasmin.  I have not had the '95 Rostaing, but recently purchased his CR from '93 through '96.  I have heard that '96 is drinking earlier than '95. Any thoughts on this?

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Ron-Haven't had any of the Rostaings except the '95 La Landonne and Cote Brune. I found the Cote Brune overrated, and the La Landonne preferrable. As for vintage characteristics, I thought it was a softer vintage than '90 or '91. I havnt' tried the '98 and '99 Rostaings although I own wines from both vintages.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't drink much Bordeaux - prefer Rhone and Burgnundy usually - but I have the opportunity to acquire L-B 89 at what I'm persuaded is a favourable price. Does anyone have any tasting notes they could share?

cheers

Adam

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Mogsob - Where have you seen it for $60 or $75?  That would be a great buy.

I based my retail estimate of $150-250 on the NY State wholesale price of $100/btl or $1200/case.

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  • 1 month later...

At the recommendation of my nephew, a budding professional oenophile, I tried a 1999 Pesquera. Shipper, Classical Wines rom Spain. A big, powerful and rich red wine that will hold its own with any dish. Fills the mouth with flavor, fat and fruity with undertones of plums, little tannin and smooth with a fat mouth feel and dry finish. Drank this with a well charred double rib-eye and marinated tuna steak. Perfect with either. This being my first taste of this grape I'd be appreciative of any recommendations others may have, information on vintages, growers, ec.

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Spanish wines, still a great value, are beginning to rise in price considerably. That said, I've enjoyed two great wines that are widely available (as is the Pesquera that is the subject of this post, and also excellent). One, the 1994 Gran Reserva from Montecillo is a fine example of a Rioja from a very good year. The 1994 Gran Reservas were released last fall, so many remain. It was priced at $12-14 before the WS gave it 93 points. Now, it is more commonly found at about $20. The 1997 Alion is also magnificent and far more complex. At $25, it is comparable, in my mind, to $50-75 wines from France, Italy and Napa, but with a Spanish character that makes it more unique.

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Jaybee - Pesquera is a inexpensively priced wine from the Ribera del Duero region of Spain, which is in the north central portion of the country. It is made from the tempranillo grape and aged in American oak casks. Tempranillo is the same grape used to make Rioja, but as opposed to the style if wines made in Rioja which is more Burgundian and floral, the wines from Ribero always seemed more Bordeaux like to me. In fact, in recent years a few of the new wineries in the region are growing cabernet sauvignon and making bottlings that are either exclusively CS or blends with tempranillo.

Pesquera is an inexpensive producer that makes a good quality wine given the price point (around $20 a bottle.) Certain people criticize the wine as not being of sufficient quality, but I have had 25 year old bottles that have aged beautifully and were delightful to drink. In better years they make a Reserva (about $35 a bottle), and a Gran Reserva ($75 a bottle) and in perfect years they make a super luxury bottling called Janus ($100+) a bottle.

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I love the wines of Ribera,

These are a couple of my favorites that can be found in better stores

Bodegas alejandro fernandez

(pesquera de duero)

Bodegas ismael arroyo

(sotillo de la ribera)

Bodegas y vinedos vega sicilla (my favorite)

(valbueno de duero)

Hacienda monasterio

(pesquera de duero)

The wines from Cigales,Vega sicilia, Pesquera and Pingus are all great bets for quility wines.

sometimes the Tempranillo grape is known as

Tinta del pais, tinto fino,Cenibel and Ull de liebre

Turnip Greens are Better than Nothing. Ask the people who have tried both.

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  • 1 month later...

Sunday night, with a succulent roast leg of lamb, we opened these two promising bottles from our cellars. The '61 St. Emilion Grand Cru was laid down in 1974. The labels on the bottles washed off in a cellar flood several years ago and the bottles were covered with a layer of dried mud. The cork and capsule were intact and undamaged. On opening, the wine showed good red color and clarity. It was surprisingly closed, even after decanting, for about 30 minutes, when in the glass the flavor began to bloom, It is subtle, but very good fruit. Overall a small wine but enjoyable. I will have to drink up the remaining bottles, as it won't get any better.

The '82 Cos, raved about by Parker, was even more closed and required nearly an hour to show any real bouquet and flavor. It is a big wine, strong, fruity and dark. It has a slight astringency, but reveals different layers of taste as it goes down. I think this wine wil benefit from at least five to ten more years in the bottle and will be very good.

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  • 2 months later...

The wife and I just finished a bottle of stellar Cotes du Rhone from Les Grandes Vignes Du Roy. This unfiltered beauty was from 2000 and went well with garlicky roasted red peppers, goat cheese and olive bread (Caputo Bakery in Bklyn rules!!).

It offered a mouth full of fruit and tannin that raised a humble meal into a feast.

It can be had at Heights Chateau on Atlantic Ave for $12.

Enjoy!

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I can highly recommend the Janasse 2000 Cote du Rhone Village. The vineyard is just a stone's throw (gallette?) from the Chateauneuf du Pape appelation, and tastes better than 70% of the CdPs. I goes for $13.99 in Woodland Hills Wine Co., a great price since Madame Janasse charged me $12.99 at the winery.

beachfan

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