Boston Wine Expo 2014 Sunday

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I had a very nice tasting at the Vintners Reserve Lounge on Saturday and today, Sunday I concentrated my time in the main tasting area as well as attending a couple of seminars. There were plenty of wines to sample from many countries, I began my tasting in the North America section of the convention hall and made my way to the California wines and was able to attend a couple of excellent seminars.  For a huge consumer event, the Boston Wine Expo poured some very drinkable juice.

Clos du Val 20011 Chardonnay (Carneros). Medium gold with big pineapple/tropical fruit on the nose with moderate, dusty fruit with some tartness on the long finish.

Clos du Val 2011 Pinot Noir (Carneros). Medium red with a nice perfume of earth and roasted meat with meaty and dried mushroom notes on the fruit with good balance.

Grassini Family Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon (Happy Canyon). Dark purple to black with a big perfume  of roasted meat and dark plums and was chewy with black licorice flavors on the finish.

Dylan’s Ghost 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon “Hell Hollow” (Napa Valley). Small production (400 cases) from a producer have never had before, dark red to black in color with a very dusty nose with dusty black plums on the fruit with a nice balance.

Dylan’s Ghost 2010 Red Blend “The Beast” (Napa Valley). Black with a nose of concentrated forest wood with concentrated black cherry fruit and moderate balance. A big wine.

Rombauer Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Dark red to black with a nose of black licorice and crushed black berries and was thick and juicy with coffee and crushed berry fruit.

Fess Parker 2010 Pinot Noir “Ashley’s” (Sta. Rita Hills). Dark red spice and red cherry notes on the nose with chewy cola and black cherry fruit on the balanced finish..

Piandacco 2010 “Mairem” Rosso di Toscano (Tuscany). Dark red with mint on the nose, concentrated and tight with firm balance with sweet slate notes on the finish.

Altesino 2008 Brunello di Montelcino (Tuscany). Brick red, stinky nose and was velvety with great balance and a good grip.

Seminars                                                                                                                                                    Rioja Today

An excellent seminar given by Ana Fabiano, Trade Director, Rioja USA, we sampled seven wines from Rioja.

2012 Sierra Cantabria Rosado. Dark salmon pink in color with and earthy, forest floor nose with very good structure for a rose.

2010 Bodegas LAN Crianza. Medium to dark red with sweet basil and pickle juice on the nose with velvet fruit and dried herbs and wet stone notes on the long finish. Great balance.

2009 Marquis de Caceres Crianza. Dark red with hints of barnyard and pickle juice on the nose and was a little rustic and chunky with some heat at the end.

2011 Luis Canas Crianza. Dark red with a beautiful nose of tobacco, crushed rocks and crushed black berries with sweet black berry, wet stone and herbs on the fruit, nice grip and great balance. Delicious.

2008 Baron de Ley Reserva. Dark red to black with a big perfume of sweet plums and was juicy and velvety, balanced with good grip. Tasty.

2004 Bodegas Ontanon Reserva. Black in color with smoky tobacco on the nose and was very dark and chewy and concentrated. I though it had some corkiness notes at the beginning but my colleague’s to the left and right of me disagreed.

2004 CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva. Black in color with a beautiful perfume of tobacco and smoky bacon and was very deep and concentrated and chewy followed by mint, tobacco and silky tannin on the long finish.

Matching Cheese with Wine

The local cheesemonger, Wasik’s Cheese Shop presented this seminar where they paired ten really excellent cheeses with six wines. The cheese plate alone was worth the price of the seminar. Piave Extra Vecchio (Veneto), Bijou Goat Cheese (Vermont), Mt. Vully (Swiss Alps), Brie de Lyon (Lyon, France), Pawlet (Vermont), Brie Traditional (Brie, France), Beecher’s Flagship Reserve (Swiss Alps), Humbolt Fog (California), Madaio Canestrato (Italy) and Colston Bassett Stilton (England).

Wines in the pairing that I enjoyed included the 2011 Chateau St. Jean Chardonnay “Robert Young Vineyard”, the 2011 Etude Estate Pinot Noir, and the 2011 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon “Knight’s Valley).


Boston Wine Expo 2014 Saturday

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This past weekend I made my annual pilgrimage to the Boston Wine Expo which was held at the Seaport World Trade Center. I Usually make it a one day affair and take the bus up and back later that evening which makes for a very hectic day. This year I decided to spend the weekend in town which made for a more relaxing experience. I and was able to get to Boston Saturday morning before the anticipated snowstorm hit and I  got to attend the events on both days so I was able to cover a lot of ground. The Expo was a consumer event but they had trade only hours before the event was opened to the public. The expo consisted of the “Grand Tasting” which was the main tasting event and was held in the warehouse size convention center, and the high-end “Vintner’s Reserve Lounge” tasting which was held along with the seminars in the hotel next door. On my first day, Saturday, I spent the day in the Reserve Lounge. Some nice juice and food including very tasty grass-fed beef from Uruguay which I heartily enjoyed. Some of what I sampled:


Bonny Doon 2011 Le Cigare Blanc (Arroyo Seco). A blend of Grenache Blanc and Roussanne, it was medium gold with notes of white flowers on the nose and was medium bodied with mouth-watering, crisp acids on the finish.

Bonny Doon 2011 Le Cigare Blanc “Reserve” (Arroyo Seco). Same blend of Grenache and Roussane, unfiltered and cloudy, aged in demijohns with white flowers on the nose and notes of dried mushroom on the somewhat chewy fruit, nice balance.

Bonny Doon 2010 Le Cigare Blanc “Reserve” (Arroyo Seco). Grenache Blanc and Roussanne, unfiltered but clear, medium gold with an interesting nose of roasted meat and saffron with moderate mouth filling fruit on the nice balance with a long finish. Very tasty.

Littorai 2008 Chardonnay “Charles Heintz Vineyards” (Sonoma Coast). Very ripe nose of tropical fruit juicy but not overdone with good balance.

Phillippe Colin 2011 Chassagne-Montrachet (Burgundy). Light gold in color with moderate fruit with some tropical notes on the nose with some lemon tartness at the end but nice balance.

Domaine Borgeot 2010 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot (Burgundy). Medium gold with white flowers on the nose with moderate tropical fruit followed by lime notes on the finish.

Captain Gagnerot 2011 1er Cru Ladoix (Burgundy). Medium gold with a nose of sweet flowers with nice mouth feel with lemon/lime notes on the finish.


Bonny Doon 2008 Le Cigare Volant (Central Coast). Medium to dark red in color with a nose of rip vegetables and dried herbs and was silky and dusty with herb notes on the fruit with a long finish and nice balance.

Boony Doon 2008 Le Cigare Volant “Reserve” (Central Coast). Medium dark with a nose of ripe vegetables and cigarette smoke and was juicy with a big hit of tannin at the end.

Winderlea Vineyards 2011 Pinot Noir (Dundee Hills). Light red in color, closed nose of earthy leather and was tight with very smoky fruit.

Winderlea Vineyards 2010 Pinot Noir (Dundee Hills). Medium red with a nose of red licorice with more fruit than the 2011 with tart cherry notes on the finish.

Alexana 2011 Pinot Noir “Revana Vineyard” (Dundee Hills). Medium red with a floral and bright leather nose with smoky leather on the moderate fruit with a bit of heat at the end.

Revana Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Dark red to  black in color with a nose of stewed fruit and black cherry with notes of roasted meat and plums on the velvet fruit and was firm and balanced at the end.

Le Saffre 2009 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast). Medium to dark red with dried leather on the nose with red cherry fruit and good balance.

Le Saffre 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley). Black in color with a nose of stewed prunes, black cherry and camphor and was silky with forest floor notes on the balanced fruit with a long finish. Tasty.

Emmollo Winery 2011 Merlot (Napa Valley). A producer I’ve never tried before, it was black in color with a nose of dried herbs and black fruit and was dense and chewy with balanced tannin.

Caymus Vineyards 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon “Special Select” (Napa Valley). Very black and very concentrated with mint notes on the balanced finish. I thought it was drinking great at this stage.

La Spinetta 2008 Barberesco  “Vigneto Gallina” (Piedmont). Medium to dark amber in color with a nose of dark fruit and cigar box on the velvet fruit with nice silky tannin on the firm finish.

La Spinetta 2005 Barolo “Vigneto Campe” (Piedmont). Medium to dark red with an amber robe with pencil shavings on the nose, silky fruit and silky, mouth filling tannins on the nice balance. One of my favorites of the night.

Ruffino 2004 Toscana Romitorio di Santedame (Tuscany). A blend of Colorino and Merlot, it was dark red to black in color with pencil shavings and black cherry on the nose with velvet fruit and hints of cigar box, great balance and a long finish.

La Serre Nuove dell Ornellaia 2010 (Tuscany).  The second label from Ornellaia, a Bordeaux blend with a nose of toasted oak, dark chocolate and dried herbs and was chewy and chunky with dusty fruit with mint notes and great balance.

Casino Tasting

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Sunday afternoon I attended the SunWineFest grand tasting held at the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut. The event was held for two days and was open to the consumers. I know that these large-scale consumer events will have a boatload of mid-level wines but I thought it would be an enjoyable way to spend a Sunday afternoon. It was a huge event with a broad range of wines, some of which were drinkable. The event also featured cooking demonstrations but I spent my time with the wine. The event also had a separate beer room which was quite popular with the crowd. Some of what I sampled:

Markham Vineyards 2011 “Cellar 1879 Blend” (Napa Valley). Something I havent’ tried from Markham, a red blend that changes with each vintage, it was dark red with a nose of cinnamon and crushed red fruit and was tight and velvety with some tartness on the finish.

Chimney Rock 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon “Stags Leap District” (Napa Valley).  Dark red with a closed nose of black cherry, balanced and velvety. My favorite red of the night.

The Californian Vintager 2007 Red Blend (Napa Valley). A producer I never had before, this on is a blend of Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah and was dark red to black with notes of roasted coffee and bacon on the nose, deep and chunky and juicy with some mint on the finish with nice tannin mouth feel.

The Californian Vintager 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma Valley). Black in color with a nose of sweet red licorice with medium and I thought it lacked some character.

Maray 2011 Pinot Noir Reserva (Chile). Medium red with a nose of roasted meat with black cherry and leather on the fruit which dropped at the end.

Carpineto 2009 Chianti Classico Riserva (Tuscany). Medium red with cherry tar on the nose and was chewy and tarry with nice firm tannin on the finish.

Pine Ridge 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Medium to dark red with a sweet nose of black cherry with sweet fruit and moderate tannin.

Duckhorn 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Medium red to dark red with a nose of roasted vegetable and was deep with black licorice fruit with some lightness on the finish.

Ca’ Momi 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Another producer that I’ve never tried before, dark red with hints of mint and crushed berries on the nose and was concentrated with excellent fruit and balance.

Two Angels Winery 2008 Petite Sirah. (High Valley). Black in color with a nose of sweet dried herbs and cherry and was chunky with notes of dried herbs on the finish.

Serralunga d’Alba 2008 Barolo (Piedmont).  Amber in color with notes of tar and red roses on the nose with tar on the fruit and silky tannins on the finish.