Good Bordeaux On Tuesday

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March madness is winding down with a flurry of tastings. On Tuesday I stopped by at a couple of them.

The first event of the afternoon I attended was the spring portfolio tasting of David Bowler Wines. The event was held at the Metropolitan Pavilion, the venu of choice for many tastings in town. I decided to concentrate on California and New World wines at this tasting.  My first stop was at Cold Heaven Cellars. Last year during my Santa Barbara wine tour, I along with my travelling buddy had stopped by the unassuming tasting room in Buelton. He was a club member and we were given the “A” tour and I remember enjoying the wine. Today I enjoyed the 2010 “Nevertell” Pinot Noir, it was dark purple with a nose of blueberry with chewy, bright dark fruit and nice balance. The 2010 “Queenscup” Pinot Noir was dark red to black with a asian spices on the nose with dusty red cherry fruit with a touch of acid on the finish. I next stopped at Porter Creek Vineyards. The 2010 Russian River Valley “Timbervine Ranch” Syrah was dark red to black with a nose of herbs and red cherry with bright fruit and notes of oregano on the finish. They poured a couple of library wines that weren’t listed in the tasting book, the 2005 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir poured from a magnum was tasty, medium red with brambly, dried herbs on the nose with light velvety fruit and good balance. The 1997 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir was amber to brown in color with a pretty nose of leather and red licorice with tight fruit and brown leaf notes on the long finish.

I decided to get to one more tasting that day and I headed to the BNP Spring portfolio tasting which was held at Rouge Tomate restaurant at 10 East 60th Street. I wasn’t familiar with this distributor but I was told they had a nice Bordeaux portfolio. They weren’t kidding. They had a large portfolio of Premier and Grand Cru wines. Not only were they pouring some of the top wines  in the world, but they were showcasing older vintages as well. Usually, at a distributor event they will pour the new releases, in this case that would be the 2010 and 2009 vintages. That’s understandable since the point of the tasting is to show the current releases to the industry people who would buy the wines. But they wines haven’t come together at that stage and you know the wines are a shell of what they can be. To drink a Bordeaux with some maturity or at it’s peak is an experience you won’t forget and there was some really good juice here.

The wines were grouped according to the appellation. Some of the wines I enjoyed:

I started at Saint-Emillion and had several nice wines from there. The 2006 Chateau Angelus was dark red to black with a nose of black fruits, tar, and leather, velvety with great balance on the long finish. The 2000 Chateau Canon was dark red with an amber robe with a nose of cherry leather, medium dark fruits with great balance on the long finish. The 2000 Chateau Faugeres was black with a nose of stewed black cherry, tight velvet with silky tannin on the long finish. The 2006 Chateau Bea-Sejour Becot was black with a big perfume of dark red roses with some toasty notes and dark cherry fruit on the tight balanced finish. I had a trio of vintages from Chateau Simard. The 200o was dark red with a brown robe with a nose of cooked fruit and medium fruit with velvety tight tannins. The 2001 was medium red with a dusty, green pepper nose and camphor nose, it was tight with black licorice fruit and firm. The 2004 was dark red with toasty, green pepper on the nose with good dusty fruit.

At Pessac-Leognon, I was too late to try the Chateau Haut-Brion but the 1999 Chateau Haut-Bailly was tasty with dark red color and a nose of camphor, tar and leather with silky fruit and a long finish.

At Margaux. the 2004 Chateau Rauzan-Segla was black in color with a closed nose and black fruit. The 2008 Chateau Palmer “Alter Ego de Palmer” was black in the glass with a slightly closed nose of black fruits and was chewy with firm dry tannins at the end. The 2004 Chateau Giscours was black with a big perfume of black plum and camphor with deep, silky fruit and a dusty and long finish, I thought it was drinking beautifully now.

At Saint-Julien, the 2004 Chateau Leoville Barton was black with a brambly, black licorice nose, velvety fruit and great balance on the long finish. A another nice wine.

At Pauillac, the 2006 Pauillac de Latour by Chateau Latour was black with a nose of toasted nuts, silk with toastiness on the firm, tannic finish.

At Saint-Estephe, the 2000 Chateau Calon-Segur was dark red to black with a nose of dried herbs with dusty velvety fruit with a balance, long finish. The 2006 Chateau Montrose was dark red to black with a toasty nose with very tight fruit and firm tannin on the finish.

At Pomeral, the 1999 Chateau Gazin was black with a pretty nose of leather, smoke and camphor with nice chewy fruit and firm tannin on the finish.

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Some Nice White Wine

Sometimes the best wine tastings aren’t necessarily the biggest ones with the most wines. On Monday I attended a small tasting that had some outstanding juice with some pretty tasty appetizers.  Maison Louis Latour had a tasting of their red and white 2011 Burgundy. The event was held at A Voce restaurant in Columbus Circle and I was able to enjoy the wines with a nice view of Christopher Columbus.

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I started with the whites which included the hierarchy of Burgundy wines that included village wines, Premier Cru and Grand Cru wines. It was a great opportunity to drink a horizontal of wines from the same producer. The highlight of the tasting was the opportunity to sample a four vintage vertical of Corton-Charlemagne. All of wines with the exception of the  Corton-Charlemage, were barrel samples from the 2011 vintage.

I started with the village wines which include the entry level Beaune then on to the Meursault, the Puligny-Montrachet, and the Chassagnes-Montrachet.  The 1er Cru I sampled include the Meusault “Blagnay”, the Meursault “Genevrieres” which was gold in color with a nose of honey and pineapple with steely and mineral notes on the finish. I continued with the Pugliny-Montrachet “La Garenne”, the Pugliny-Montrachet “Les Folatieres”, the Chassagnes-Montrachet ‘Cailleret” and the Chassagnes-Montrachet ‘Morgeot” which was gold in color with great mouth-feel, balanced fruit and a tight miniral finish.

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Next up were the Grand Cru. I sampled the Batard-Montrachet and then the vertical of Corton-Charlemagne. The non barrel samples included the 2010 which was light gold, toasty and tight, I didn’t think it was the most balanced of the vertical. The 2009 was beautiful, light gold with a nose of nutmeg with medium fruit with some oak notes on the nice finish. The 2007 was gold in color with a nose of honey and toasty peaches with great balance and a long finish, a really nice glass of wine that I think is at its peak.

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After the whites the red were a little anticlimactic and I think the 2011’s really needed some more time for the flavors to round out. The wines I samples were the Santenay, the Beaune, the Pommard, the Aloxe-Corton, the Gevrey-Chambertin, the 1er Crus of Aloxe-Corton “Les Chaillots”, the Volnay “En Chevret”, and the Beaune “Vignes Franches”. The Grand Cru wines were the Corton Close du Roi, the Corton Grancey, and the Chambertin.

It was a tasty afternoon of some excellent Burgundy.

La Paulee de New York

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La Paulee is a series of Burgundy-centric seminars, tastings and wine-paired dinners held in New York at the end of February and early March. The original La Paullee was a lunch celebrating the end of the grape harvest in Burgundy. This Friday I was lucky enough to attend the La Paullee vertical tasting event which was held at Colicchio & Sons restaurant at 85 10 Avenue in the Meatpacking District. I couldn’t think of anything better to do on a snowy afternoon than to drink verticals of some really good juice.

Started the tasting with some whites:

Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Chassagne-Montrachet “Les Caillerets” 1er Cru. 2010, 2009 and the 2008 which was light gold with a nose of tropical fruit and earth and nicely ballanced.

Maison Champy Corton Charlemange Grand Cru. 2009, 2008, and the 2002 which was poured from a mangun and was gold in color with a nose of meat and bacon with rich, earthy fruit.

Domaine Larouche Chablis Les Blanchots “Reserve de l’Obedience” Grand Cru. 2009, 2008, and the 2007 which was gold in color with a ripe nose of wildflowers, rich mouthfeel with some toastiness on the finish.

Domaine R&V Dauvissant Chablis “La Forest” 1er Cru. 1999, 1995, and the 1990 which was very ripe with a floral nose and ripe fruit.

Then on to the reds:

Domaine Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Clos de la Chapelle 1er Cru Monople. 2005, 2006, and the 2009 which was light in color with silky fruit but hard acid on the finish.

Domaine Jean-Marc Bouley Volnay “Clos des Chenes” 1er Cru. 2002, 2005, and the 2009 which was medium red with a nose of red cherry with smoky, meaty fruit.

Domaine Michel Lafarge Volnay “Clos du Chateau des Ducs” 1er Cru. 1999, 2002, and the 2006 which had an amber color with a closed nose of dried herbs with tight fruit and high acid at the end.

Domaine Chandonde Briailles Pernand-Vergelesses “Ile des Vergelesses” 1er Cru. 1999, 2005, and the 2001 which had an amber color with a nose of cooked fruit and licorice with a good mouthfeel of silky fruit and nice balance.

Domaine Faiveley Corton “Clos des Cortons Faiveley” Grand Cru. 2007, 2009, and the 2010 which was medium red with a nose of black cherry with velvety tannin and great balance.

Maison Louis Jadot Corton-Pougets Grand Cru. 2006, 2007, and the 2009 which was medium red with a closed nose, bright fruit and crisp acids.

Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits-Saint Georges “Les Chaignots” 1er Cru. 2009, 2008, and the 2007 which was dark red with a nose of wild mushrooms and earth with a silky long finish.

Domaine d’Eugenie Clos-Vougeot Grand Cru. 2009, 2008, and the 2010 which was dark red with a nose of black cherry with velvety black cherry fruit with nice balance and a dusty, meaty finish.

Maison Remoissent Clos-Vougeot Grand Cru. 2010, 2008 and the 2009 which was medium red with a nose of dusty black cherry, velvet fruit and a nice, firm finish.

Domaine Fourrier “Les Petits Vougeot” 1er Cru. 2010, 2007, and the 2009 which was medium red with barnyard and roasted meat on the nose with bright fruit and a crisp finish.

Hospice de Beaune Corton “Cuvee Charlotte Dumay” Grand Cru. 2003, 2005, and the 2009 which was dark red with asparagus and rubber on the nose with a long mouthfeel of velvety, dusty fruit.

Domaine Hudelot-Noellat Romanee-Saint Vivant Grand Cru. 2005, 2009, and the 2008 which was medium red in the glass with a classic nose of barnyard and black fruit with velvet leather on the balanced finish. I think this was the tastiess red I had of the night.

Domaine Dujac Vosne-Romanee “Aux Malconsorts” 1er Cru. 2009, 2008, and the 2006 which was medium dark with toasty flavors on the nose with sweet, velvet fruit and silky tannin.

Domaine Georges Mugneret Ruchottes-Chambertin Grand Cru. 2005, 2006, and the 2007 which was medium ren with a close nose of mushrooms and stewed fruit with silky, bright fruit on the finish.

Maison Joseph Drouhin Griotte-Chambertin Grand Cru. 1999, 2002, and the 2009 which was medium red with roasted nuts on the nose with balanced, silky fruit and meaty flavors.

Domaine Georges Roumier Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru. 2005, 2007,  and the 2006 which was light red and a floral, delicate nose with mouth-filling silky fruit and a long finish.

It was a nice tasting.

March Madness

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When it comes to wine, one of the advantages of living in one of the largest wine markets for fine wines in the world such as New York City is that there is always some importer or distributor or government trade association holding a trade wine tasting. A couple of times a year the city is teeming with tastings. This is that time of year and it’s pretty much non stop tastings for a few weeks. On Monday I attended a few of those tastings.

I began the day with the UbiFrance tasting which was held at Hearth restaurant in the East Village.  Unfortunately, the wines that were to be poured hadn’t made it to the restaurant yet so I decided to make my way to the Sherbrooke Cellars portfolio tasting. There was some nice juice to be had.

I started the tasting sampling several red Burgundy from Rene Bouvier. I liked the 2010 Fixin which was medium red and had an aromatic nose. The 2009 Marsannay Rouge “En Ouzeloy” was medium red with a nose of dried mushroom with silky fruit. The 2010 Gevrey-Chambertin “Racines du Temps” was medium red with a nose of black cherry and forest floor with very silky fruit and nicely balanced.

Going over to Italy, I had some nice juice from Aldo Conterno. The 2009 Lange Rosso was dark in color with a nose of bright cherry cough drops, silky with bitter almonds on the nicely tannic finish. The 2009 Langhe Nebbiolo “Il Favot” had an amber to dark  color with cigar-box on the nose and chewy dark leather notes on the balanced finish. The 2008 Barolo was dark amber in color with a nose of cigar-box and leather with nice chewy fruit and balance. The 2008 Barolo “Colonnello” was dark red with a nose of cigar-box and black cherry. The 2005 Barolo “Granbussia” was amber in color with a classic nose of pencil shavings and cigar-box with dusty fruit and very firm tannin.

Another Italian I enjoyed was the 2008 Barolo from Mauro Molino. Amber in color with a nose of pencil shavings with velvety dusty fruit on the long finish.

A couple of Cali wines that I enjoyed were the Hoopes 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon “Oakville”. Dark purple in the glass with a nose of red roses, red licorice and dried herbs with tight fruit and silky tannin on the finish. Liparita 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon “Oakville” was medium dark with a nice nose of roses and dried herbs.

I left the tasting and headed downtown for the Empson Importers tasting of the Barolo, Barbaresco, and Brunello portion of their portfolio. It was a small event in the basement of a restaurant. I decided to concentrate on Piedmont and some well-know producers such as Macarini, Einaudi, Ca’ Rome, Bongiovanni and Conterno Fantino were offered. These producers poured wines from the newly released 2009 vintage which has been rated as an excellent one. After trying several of the ’09’s all I can say is “hard as nails”. None of the wines came close to being aproacable and are going to need a long time in the cellar to come around. I’m going to make it a point to try the ’09’s at the upcoming tastings to see if that is how the vintage is turning out. A non Piedmontese wine that I tried was the 2008 Cignale from Tuscany. A Super Tuscan comprised of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot, the bottles come with six different label designs of the namesake wild boar created by the owner of the winery. It was medium dark with tight fruit with some smoke and barnyard notes and firm acidity on the finish.

From the Empson tasting I made my way downtown to Il Buca Alimentari restaurant for a small tasting event featuring the wines of Sagratino from Umbria.

West Of West

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Last Tuesday I attended the West of West wine festival held at City Winery. It was the first West of West wine festival to be held in New York City and was sponsored by the West Sonoma Coast Vitners. They featured wines from the far west of Sonoma which is west of the more familiar Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys. These subdistricts of Sonoma included Annaplolis, Freestone, Occidental, Sebastopol Hills, Fort Ross-Seaview and Green Valley. I attended the trade event in the afternoon and they had a consumer event later that evening as well with the usual cheese, bread, and salami.

Most of the reds poured were Pinot Noir with a few Syrah thrown in and a some whites, mostly Chardonnay and one Rose.

I started with some whites, I enjoyed the 2010 Ramey Wine Cellars Chardonnay, light gold with honey and mango on the nose, nicely balanced with honey and pineapple on the finsih. From Sonoma Coast Vineyards an unusual but tasty wine was their 2010 “Laguna Vista Vineyard” Sauvignon Blanc.  Aged sur lees it was light gold with a big nose of papaya and mango, very creamy with some grassiness on the finish. From Freeman Vineyard & Winery their 2011 Rose of Pinot Noir was medium red and easy drinking.

Some of the reds I enjoyed: from 32 Winds Wine Co., their 2010 “Maestro” Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast was medium to dark red with a classic Burgundy nose  of barnyard with delicious fruit with approciable acids on the long finish.

From Zepaltas Wines, the 2009 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir was medium red with a big nose of forest floor and black cherry, chewy fruit and balanced tannin and acid on the finish.

From Cobb Wines the 2008 “Rice-Spivak Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast was light to medium red with a big nose of dark leather with medium fruit and some toastiness on the finish.

A couple of wines from Sojourn Cellars that I enjoyed, the 2011 “Silver Eagle Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast had a nose of warm black fruit with a velvet long balanced finish. Their 2010 “Rodgers Creek” Pinot Noir was velvety with great balance on the long finish.

From Macphail Family Wines, their 2010 “Dutton Ranch” Pinot Noir Green Valley had some nice silky and dark fruit with a sea-air tang on the balanced finish.

From Flowers Vineyard & Winery the 2010 “Sea View Ridge” Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast was dark red with a nose of cola and forest floor, chewy for a Pinot and nicely balanced.

From Freeman Vineyard & Winery the 2011 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast was medium red with a nose of dried herbs with luscious fruit and a balanced, toasty finish.