Grand Crus De Bordeaux 2014

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On Monday afternoon the Union de Grands Crus de Bordeaux held their annual tasting of the newest Bordeaux vintage to be released, in this case the 2011’s. I think this is one of the best tastings of the year to have the opportunity to try so many Grand Cru Bordeaux in one place and to get a handle on how the current vintage is tasting. The event was held at the Waldof-Astoria hotel which is always a nice venue to have a tasting.

I did some researce into the 2011 vintage and the consensuses is that it was not one of the better years and certainly not as good as 2009 and 2010. The Wine Spectator in it’s evaluating said to “pick and choose” amoung the better estates. After the tasting I have to agree. In a so-so vintage as 2011 I was expecting wines to be hard as nails, instead I tasted a lot of feminine, elegant wines with beautiful aromas from some of the top producers, though they still needed some more time in the bottle to smooth out the rough edges. The lower tier wines didn’t do as well.

Pauillac 2011

Chateau Batailley. Medium red with a beautiful nose of warm mushroom and was concentrated with tight acids on the finish.

Chateau Lynch-Bages. Medium red with a beautiful nose of pencil shavings and tar with tight and dusty fruit and very accessible.

Chateau Pichon-Longuevelle. Medium to dark red in color with tar and pencil shavings on the nose with silky tannins but the fruit lightened up at the end with notes of bitter almond on the finish. A little unbalanced.

Chateau Pichon-Longueville Comtese De Lalande. Medium to dark red with a nose of warm black licorice and was concentrated and chunky with moderate tannin and finishing a bit short.

Chateau Lynch-Moussas. Clear, medium dark with a big perfume of roses and dark chocolate, tight with firm acids.

Chateau Clerc Milon. Medium red clear with a nice perfume of pencil shavings and black cherry with moderate black cherry notes on the fruit with a firm finish.

Chateau Grand-Guy-Lacoste. Medium dark in color with a nose of sweet cherry and tar with tight black cherry notes on the tart fruit.

Saint-Julien 2011

Chateau Leoville Poyferre. Dark red to black in color with a big perfume of black cherry and was chunky with firm, dusty tannins on the finish.

Chateau Talbot. Medium to dark red with a warm dusty nose of herbs and red candy and was tight and concentrated with moderate tannin at the end.

Chateau Leoville Barton. Medium red with a big perfume of dark roses and mint.

Chateau Gruaud Larose. Medium red with toasty oak and crushed black fruit on the nose and was very tight with citrus acids on the finish.

Chateau Beychevelle. Medium red with a perfume of dried mushroom with moderate fruit with big acids at the finish. I thought it was unbalanced at the end.

Chateau Branaire-Ducru. Medium to dark red with a nose of warm forest floor and some toastiness with oak flavors on the fruit with moderate tannin and acid.

Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2011

Chateau Canon-la-Gaffeliere. Medium dark in color with a nose of warm black cherry and cigar-box and was chewy and chunky with a firm but balanced finish. Very nice.

Chateau-Figeac. Medium red with a toasty nose, tight and concentrated with dusty tannins on the finish.

Chateau Grand Mayne. Dark red to black in color with a nose of violets and red roses with silky, firm tannins on the balanced finish.

Clos Fourtet. Dark red to black in color with ripe vegetable notes on the nose and was tight with sour cherry tartness on the finish.

Margaux 2011

Chateau Brane-Cantenac. Medium red with a closed nose of roasted coffee, thin green fruit with a big hit of tannin at the end.

Chateau Giscours. Dark red to black in color with barnyard and black cherry on the nose with a big hit of tannin on the finish.

Chateau Cantenac Brown. Medium dark with toasty oak and mint on the nose and was tight with light and toasty notes on the fruit.

Chateau Malescot. Dark red to black with a nose of dried herbs and toasted oak and was concentrated and chewy with toasty notes on the finish and was firm but accessible.

Chateau Lascombes. Dark red to black with a nose of dirty diapers, black cherry and toasted oak, was chunky and concentrated with silky, mouth filling tannin at the finish.

Chateau Prieure Lichine. Dark red with a nose of warm dried herbs and dark berries and was concentrated and chunky with some tartness at the finish but not a bad glass.

Pomerol 2011

Chateau Gazin. Medium to dark red with a stinky nose that blew off as the wine sat in the glass followed by black cherry notes on the nose and was chewy with pencil shavings on the finish with firm tannin and low acids. I thought the finish dropped a bit at the end.

Chateau Le Bon Pasteur. Medium red with roasted meat and coffee on the nose.

Saint-Estephe 2011

Chateau Phelan-Segur. Medium red with mushroom and black licorice on the nose and was chewy and silky with black licorice notes on the finish, good balance and a long finish.

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Pinot Days

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Last Saturday afternoon I attended the Pinot Days wine event held at City Winery which is located at 155 Varick Street. I’ve been to many wine events at this venue and it’s a real winery complete with barrels and big tanks of wine aging in the back room. Pinot Days are Pinot Noir-centric events that were held or will be held in Chicago, Los Angles and San Francisco. Saturday was New York’s turn. The event featured mostly California Pinot Noir though a couple of Oregon wineries made an appearance as well as one table of New Zealand wines. The event was open to the trade for the first two hours and then the doors were swung open to the public later that afternoon. It was a fun tasting with some nice juice though I have to say there wasn’t a wine that blew me away. Some of what I sampled:

Gros Ventre Cellars “Campell Ranch” 2012 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast). Medium red with a nice nose of earth and black cherry with bright cherry fruit.

Loring Wine Company 2012 Pinot Noir (Sta Rita Hills). Medium red with a nose of smoky, black cherry.

Loring Wine Company 2012 Pinot Noir (Russian River). Bright red in color with velvery fruit and bright cherry cola flavors.

Inman Family Winery 2009 Pinot Noir “OGV” (Russian River). Beautiful perfume on the nose with barnyard notes on the silky moderate to light mouth filling fruit with a long finish.

J Vineyards 2012 Pinot Noir (Russian River). Medium red with an interesting nose of dried herbs, some barnyard and cherry cola with chewy fruit and a firm finish.

J Vineyards 2011 Pinot Noir ” Robert Thomas Vineyard” (Russian River). Medium to dark red with toastines and black cherry flavors on the nose.

I tried a trio of interesting Biodynamic wines from Benziger Winery poured by the winemaker himself,  Mike Benziger.

Benziger de Coelo 2012 Pinot Noir “Quintus” (Sonoma Coast). Medium red with a nose of ripe red fruit with moderate to light fruit on the palate.

Benziger de Coelo 2012 Pinot Noir “Terra Neuma” (Sonoma Coast). Medium to dark red with notes of warm dark berries and dried herbs on the nose with leather notes on the finish. A nice glass with some heat peaking through at the end.

Benziger de Coelo 2012 Pinot Noir “Arbore” (Sonoma Coast). Bright medium red with stone fruit on the nose with some chewiness and was light and tart on the finish.

Another trio of interesting wines from Belle Glos.  I enjoyed the wines but not typical Pinot Noir at all.

Belle Glos 2012 Pinot Noir “Dairyman” (Russian River). Dark red in color, juicy with notes of dried herbs on the fruit.

Belle Glos 2012 Pinot Noir “Los Alturas” (Santa Lucia Highlands). Very dark in color with notes of black cherry and earth on the nose, very juicy.

Belle Glos 2012 Pinot Noir “Clark & Telephone” (Santa Maria Valley).  Almost black in color with dusty crushed berries on the nose and was juicy with good balance.

Hillard Bruce 2011 Chardonnay (Sta Rita Hills). One of the few whites I had at the event, tight nose of mango with tight fruit with ripe fruit notes on the finish.

Hillard Bruce 2010 Pinot Noir “Sun” (Sta Rita Hills). Dusty, medium red color with some chewiness on the fruit and cola notes on the good balance.

Fess Parker 2010 Pinot Noir (Sta Rita Hills). Clear, medium red color with ripe fruit, silky finishes with some tart notes.

Fess Parker 2011 Pinot Noir (Bien Nacido).  Clear, medium red with a closed nose, silky, tight fruit with bright cherry notes on the finish.

Kenneth Volk Vineyards 2009 Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley).  Medium red with black cherry and dried herbs on the nose with tight, smoky fruit and good balance.

Kenneth Volk Vineyards 2010 Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley). Clear, medium red color with red leather on the nose with bright red fruit.

Saintsbury 2010 Pinot Noir “Stanly Ranch” (Carneros). Medium to dark red with bright barnyard notes on the nose and was tight and silky with a firm but balanced finish.

Saintsbury 2010 Pinot Noir “Brown Ranch” (Carneros). Medium to dark red with leather and barnyard on the nose and dark leather fruit with crisp acids on the finish.