Capezzana Vertical


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I attended an excellent tasting held by Villa di Carpezzana, a wine estate in Carmignano, Tuscany. The Carmignano appellation is West of Florence and the wines are not Chianti. An important distinction between Carmignano and Chianti is that historicaly in Carmignano the wine laws permitted the use of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend so they were using Cab long before the Super Tuscan’s got into the act.

The event was held in a loft in the West Village, the type of apartment we all wish we had and the Chef was in the open kitchen furiously preparing tasty appetizers for use to nibble on with the wines. Not only did they pour their current portfolio of wines, they  poured a vertical of their Villa di Capezzana, five wines from five decades. It’s exciting to drink older wines and I never pass up the opportunity to taste a verticlal of wine, it’s always interesting to see how a wine evolves over time or if a wine was age-worthy in the first place. All the wines of the vertical were drinking beautifully and I enjoyed the experience and was the only wine event I participate with no shoes on.

Villa di Capezzana 2008 (80% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon) Dark red to black, concentrated with notes of slate and dried herbs and tight at this point.

Villa di Capezzana 1998 (80% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon) Dark red to black with a big perfume of black licorice and slate, dry with notes of roasted meat on the finish.

Villa di Capezzana 1988 ( 70% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Canaiolo, and 5% Others) My favorite of the flight, it was dark amber with a beautiful perfume of black licorice, roasted coffee and bacon and was silky with great balance.

Villa di Capezzana 1977 (65% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Canaiolo and 10% Others) Dark amber with an amber robe with a nose of stinky roasted coffee with notes of roasted nuts and coffee on the great balance.

Villa di Capezzana 1968 (65% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Canaiolo, and 10% Others) Dark amber with a nose of roasted meat, great balance, silky with notes of bacon, meat and licorice on the finish, still drinking nicely.

From the new releases: The 2007 Ghia della Furba (60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Syrah) was black with a dark red robe with a nose of stewed fruit and roasted coffee and was chunky with firm tannin and acid on the finish.

The 2007 Trefiano (80% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Canaiolo) was dark red to black with a nose of dusty, black fruit and wet earth and was concentrated and tight with notes of black licorice with firm, accesable tannins.


Cali Road Trip Tasting

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It seems that this September Is California wine month. The Wine Institute of California is sponsoring a travelling road show featuring the wines from nine regions of California and they held an event Monday afternoon at the Astor Center which is located at 399 Lafayette Street. It was a small event compared to many mega-trade tastings being held around town and the crowd was light but that was because the gatekeepers at the door were a little too zealous with their job and turned away many people that normally go to the trade events.

I began with some whites, the 2012 Bernardus Vineyards “Griva” Sauvignon Blanc (Monterey County) was light yellow with greenish tint with a nose of dried flowers with grapefruit on the medium body and nice acidity on the finish.

The 2010 Brewer-Clifton Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills (Santa Barbara) was nice. Gold in color with a nose of mango and tropical fruit with good mouth-feel and nice acidity on the finish.

The 2011 Kenneth Volk Chardonnay “Jaybird” Santa Maria Valley (Santa Barbara) was light yellow with a greenish tint with a nose of honey and pineapple with peaches on the fruit with firm acidity.

With the reds I started with some Pinot Noir, the 2009 Ampelos Cellars Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills (Santa Barbara) was medium red with a big nose of smoky cinnamon, vanilla and crushed black berries with moderate fruit and great balance. Tasty.

The 2009 Fiddlehead Cellars Fiddlestix “728” Pinot Noir (Santa Barbara) was medium red with a nose of stinky crushed strawberry and was very tight with firm acidity.

A couple of Italian varietals done very nicely, the 2010 Palumbo Family Vineyards “Bella Vigna” Sangiovese (Temecula) was medium red with a nose of crushed blueberries, spices and cinnamon and was chunky with notes of black licorice and good balance. Nothing like an Italian Sangiovese but not a bad glass.

The 2011 Thornton Winery Nebbiolo (Temecula) was dark red with a nose of juicy pencil shavings and was chewy and plummy and notes of graphite on the balanced finish.

Ended the day with the Cabs. The 2009 Alexander Valley Vineyards “Cyrus” Bordeaux Blend (Sonoma County) was dark red to black with a nose of mint, cigar-box and crushed blueberries and was concentrated, silky and dusty with a balance, long finish.

The 2007 Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards “Test Pilot F-16” Bordeaux Blend (Santa Cruz) was medium red with an amber robe with a nose of stewed fruit, herbs and slate and was tight and silky with notes of mint and dried herbs on the excellent balance.

The 2010 Blackbird Vineyards “Arise” Red Blend (Napa Valley) was dark red to black with oak, bell pepper, mint and black berries on the nose and was velvety with firm tannis and a long finish.

The 2010 Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) was dark red with some barnyard on the nose and was lean and velvety with great balance.

The 2006 Marketta Winery Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) was dark red to black with a big nose of mint and black berries and was concentrated and tight, with black licorice on the balanced and long finish.

Martin Scott And Wildman

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Several tastings this week and I began the fun on Monday afternoon at the Martin Scott Grand Portfolio tasting. The tasting was held at the David Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, it was a huge event as Martin Scott has a large portfolio.

The lobby area of the theater is huge and very elegant. Since there was so much juice to try, I decided to focus on high-end California wines from small boutique wineries. My opinion is that in general, many of the wines were the stereotypical big, fat, juicy fruit bombs that people expect to come out of California.

Some that I enjoyed included:

Perfect Season 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Knights Valley”, Napa Valley. Very small production of 250 cases. It was dark purple with a nose of dried herbs and was dusty and velvety with a long finish.

Saint Helena Winery 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Reserve “Sympa”, Napa Valley. It was dark purple with a nose of bacon smoke and black berries and was concentrated and velvety with excellent balance. The 2009 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon was nice as well, dark purple with oak and spice on the nose and was chewy and dusty fruit on the nice balance.

Cimarossa Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon “Riva di Ponente Vineyard”, Howell Mtn. It was black in color with black cherry notes on the nose and was concentrated and silky with mouth coating tannins.

Barbour Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Helena. It was dark purple with black berry and cinnamon on the nose and was thick and chunky with some toasty oak on the finish.

Kamen 2009 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma Valley. It was black with a robe of dark purple with a nose of crushed strawberry and black licorice and was chewy with dusty plum on the balanced finish.

Casa Piena 2009 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Yountville. This was dark purple to black with red candy notes on the nose and was thick and silky.

Snowden 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Napa Valley. It was dark red to black with barnyard on the nose and was tight with firm, silky tannins on the long finish.

Janzen 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley. This was black in color with dusty  black fruits on the nose and was concentrated with good balance.

Getting away from all that Cab, the Breggo 2010 Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley was nice. Dried mushroom and earth on the nose with velvety fruit with earth notes on the long, balanced finish. Very tasty.

The next day I attended the Frederick Wildman portfolio tasting which was held at Gustavino’s restaurant at 409 East 59 Street under the Queensboro bridge and is always an impressive venue to hold a tasting. Wildman’s portfolio is a little weak on the Italian wines but strong on US and French wines. It was another huge tasting and unfortunately at the end of the event I grabbed the wrong tasting book (doh!) so my notes disappeared.

The wines I enjoyed, from the Old World: Domaine Christian Moreau 2012 Chablis and the 2009 Chablis Grand Cru “Vaudesir”, Chateau Fuisse 2010 Pouily-Fusse “Les Brules”, Casteninau de Suduiraut 2007 Sauternes, Paul Jaboulet Aine 2007 Hermitage “La Chapelle” and Domaine Armand-Rousseau 2007 Clos de la Roch Grand Cru.

From the New World: Hanzell Vineyards 2012 Chardonnay “Sebella”, Merry Edwards 2010 Pinot Noir “Coopersmith”, Bond Estates 2009 “Quella” Red Wine, Heitz Cellars 2004 & 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon “Martha’s Vineyard” and Chappellet 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon “Signature”.

Cotes De Bordeaux And Others

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This week is the start of the Autumn trade wine tasting season which means for the next couple of months I will be drinking copious amounts of good juice.

On Tuesday I attended a tasting sponsored by the Union of Cotes de Bordeaux which promotes Bordeaux wines from the lesser known appellations of Blaye, Cadillac, Francs and Castillon. They are also trying to fight the perception that Bordeaux is only about high end trophy wines for the wall street crowd and that they are not accessible to most people or more importantly to younger wine drinkers who get their wine excitement from other wine regions. Since Bordeaux is France’s largest wine region, there is plenty of wine in all price ranges.

The event was a sit down tasting of eleven wines and was held at Hearth restaurant at 403 East 10th street in the East Village along with colorful commentary by the owner of the restaurant on the wines.

The 2009 Chateau Moulin de Clotte (Castillon) was dark red with a purple robe with a nose of smoky plums and black fruits and was dusty amd tight with moderate tannins and finished with some tartness.

The 2010 Chateau Tetre de Belves (Castillon) was black with a dark purple robe and I was getting pixie stix and red licorice on the nose, it was concentrated and silky with a tight finish.

The 2010 Chateau de Lardiley (Cadillac)  was dark red with bell pepper and slate on the nose with silky fruit and tannin and wet rocks on the balanced finish.

The 2009 Chateau Suau (Cadillac) was one of my favorites and was dark in color with a big perfume of stinky earth, violets and black cherry and was chewy, juicy and tight on the long finish.

The 2010 Chateau Lamothe de Haux (Cadillac) was black with a nose of stewed fruit and dried herbs and was tight with big acids on the finish, I thought it was unbalance.

The 2010 Chateau La Rame la Charmille (Cadillac) was dark purple with a closed nose and was astringent and unbalanced.

The 2010 Chateau Monoconseil Gazin (Blaye) was dark purple with a toasty nose, chewy and oaky with a firm grip and tight fruit.

The 2009 Chateau Morange (Blaye) was another favorite of mine, it was dark purple with some brown notes on the robe with a nose of black fruits, good fruit with a balanced grip of tannin and acids with notes of slate on the finish.

The 2009 Lalande du Chateau Tifayne (Francs) Another favorite, dark red with a purple robe with a candy nose and some stinkiness at the back-end, silky fruit with a firm and balanced finish.

The 2010 Chateau Puygueraud (Francs) was black to dark red with a nose of sweet cherry and was chunky with mouth puckering tannins and some heat on the finish.

I attended another tasting by alt./pour wine importers held at L’Apicio restaurant in the Bowery. Several importers and distributors were at the event and the restaurant put out some tasty appetizers. I had some good juice including Flavio Roddolo’s wines from Piedmont. He had a couple of nice Dolcetto’s including the 2009 Superiore and the 2011 which did not taste like a typical Dolcetto to me. It was dusty, earthy and rustic but tasty. A couple of nice Barolo were the 2006 Barolo “Ravera” which was dark amber with the classic nose of cigar box with silky fruit with notes of tar and cigar box on the balanced finish. The 2006 Barolo “Bricco Appiani” was excellent. It was dark red with a nose of black cherry and leather and was chewy and silky with tar notes on the finish. Big fruit for a Barolo.

I had some nice juice from the Burgundy producer of Domaine Coudray-Bizot. They poured some older vintages of their wines including the 2001, 2004 and the 2006 of the Puligny-Montrachet “Les Comettes”. The ’06 had a big nose of mushrooms and forest floor with some toasty mouth coating fruit and a long finish. Very tasty. The reds I enjoyed were the 2001 Nuites-St-George “Au bas de Combe” which had some cloudiness to it with hints of earth on the nose and great balance. The 2001 Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru “La Croix Rameau” was light red with barnyard on the nose with smoky fruit and a long finish. The 2003 Echezeaux Grand Cru “En Orveaux” was medium red and slightly cloudy with the classic barnyard nose and was silky with notes of forest floor and sour cherry on the long finish.