Matter of Taste New York 2018

 

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Wine critic and writer Robert Parker’s wine magazine, the Wine Advocate, hosts a series of global wine events throughout the year “bringing iconic wines of the world to Advocate’s members”. They host walk-around tastings, Master Classes and Dinners. In 2018 the journal hosted events in London, Singapore, San Francisco and on November 10th, their 40th anniversary addition of Matter of Taste New York City. The event was held this year as in last at the Conrad Hotel  located at 102 North End Avenue down the block from the Freedom Tower in lower Manhattan.

This wine event is one of, if not the best consumer wine tasting of the year. The walk-around tasting featured a staggering amount (over 300) of some of the best wines from the wine producing countries of Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the United States.

At these mega-tastings, there are far too many wines to try to sample in one afternoon or at least sample all and still be standing by the end of the afternoon, so I did what I usually do at these huge events and focused my tasting. That meant meandering around the Bordeaux and California tables and stopping to sample outliers at Spain and Italy. I was able to attend one of the interesting master classes as well. I tasted a lot of good juice this afternoon.

Some of what I sampled:

 

New World

2014 Kistler Vineyards Chardonnay “Kistler Vineyard” (Sonoma Valley) Light gold, dusty nose with gun-metal notes on the moderate fruit.

2014 Mount Eden Vineyards Chardonnay “Estate” (Santa Cruz Mt) Dark gold, juicy tropical nose with tropical fruit and lime notes on the finish.

1996 Ridge Vineyards “Monte Bello” (Santa Cruz Mt) Dark brick with a pretty perfume of sweet fruit and dark chocolate, chewy and dusty fruit with firm acids.

2002 Joseph Phelps Vineyard “Insignia” (Napa Valley) Black in color, roasted coffee and dried leaf on the nose, chunky with some cooked fruit notes on the fruit, still has good balance.

2007 Crocker & Star Winery Cabernet Sauvignon “Stone Place” (Napa Valley) Opaque dark red with dark red fruit on the nose, chunky and juicy with silky, firm tannins.

2008 Ramey Cellars “Pedregal” (Napa Valley) From a 3 acre plot, black in color, dried leaf and black licorice on the nose, chewy and thick with herb notes on the finish.

2013 Continuum Estate Red (Napa Valley) Dark red, barnyard and crushed red fruit on the nose with chewy, barnyard fruit.

2013 Donelan Family Syrah “Obsidian Vineyard” (Sonoma Valley) Medium red with dusty barnyard on the nose, thick and chunky with smoky, dusty fruit on the balanced finish.

2014 Opus One (Napa Valley) Opaque black, warm crushed black fruit on the nose, tight and concentrated with a silky, tight finish.

2014 Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Dancing Bear Ranch” (Napa Valley) Dark red, barnyard notes on the nose, dark chocolate on the fruit, firm tannins.

2014 Diamond Creek Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Red Rock Terrace” (Napa Valley) Opaque dark purple, floral herbs on the nose, chewy with a nice grip on the balanced finish.

2014 Brion Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Moon Mt” (Napa Valley) Deep black in color, crushed red fruit on the nose, thick dark chocolate fruit, balanced, long finish.

2014 Harlan Estate “Harlan Estate” (Napa Valley) Dark red with dusty crushed red fruit with some barnyard notes on the finish.

2014 Krupp Bros. Cabernet Sauvignon “Stagecoach Vineyard” (Napa Valley) Dark red to black, crushed black fruit on the nose, chunky and chewy black licorice on the fruit, balanced.

2015 Pahlmeyer “Proprietary Red” (Napa Valley) Dark red in color, toasty red fruit on the nose with dusty red fruit.

2015 Gallica Cabernet Franc (Napa Valley) 96 cases made, medium red, dusty plums on the nose with concentrated dark red fruit with a dusty finish, balanced.

2015 J. Rochioli Vineyard Pinot Noir “West Block” (Sonoma Valley) From old vines (1869), Medium purple with dark fruit and a touch of pine on the nose, tight, chewy fruit with some tart notes on the finish.

 

Old World

2014 Domaine Jean Chartron Chevalier Montrachet “Clos des Chevaliers” (Burgundy) Light gold, dirty nose with lime notes on the finish.

2005 Chateau Mouton Rothschild (Paulliac) Dark brick with an amber rim, crushed dark fruit, mint and some barnyard on the nose, chewy dark chocolate on the fruit, moderate tannins and acids, long finish.

2005 Chateau Trotanoy (Pomerol) Dark red to black with an amber rim with a floral perfume, chewy with bell pepper notes on the tight and tannic finish.

2008 Chateau Pape-Clement (Pessac-Leognan) Black in color, dark chocolate on the nose, tight with frim tannins and acid.

2009 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou (St-Julien) Dark purple, closed nose of mint and bell pepper, silky tannins.

2010 Chateau Pavie (St-Emilion) Black in color, dusty red fruit on the nose with slate notes on the fruit, silky tannins.

2010 Chateau Figeac (St-Emilion) Dark red, toasty crushed black fruit and dark chocolate on the nose with dusty slate notes on the finish.

2015 Chateau Canon (St-Emilion) Very dark amber, warm cooked black on the nose with tight, silky tannins.

2007 Marchesi Antinori “Solaia” (Tuscany) Black as tar with silky red fruit, tight finish goes long.

2013 Marchesi Antinori “Tignanello” (Tuscany) Dark red, green herbs on the nose with very tight fruit.

2013 Tenuta Guido “Sassicaia” (Tuscany) Medium red, warm dried leaf on the nose, tight, moderate juicy fruit with firm acids.

2004 Vega Sicilia “Unico” (Ribera del Duero) Dark red to black with dusty, dried leaf notes on the nose, dusty fruit.

2014 Pingus “Pingus” (Ribera del Duero) Dark purple to black with an amber rim, slate notes on the nose, tight with gun metal notes on the dusty finish.

 

Master Class: A Preview of the 2016 Bordeaux Reds

From what I’ve been reading, the 2016 vintage in Bordeaux was weird. The first part of the year saw massive rains which worried the owners and wine makers that the vintage would be a washout, but then the rest of the year was bone dry which seems to have balanced things out and many are calling it an excellent vintage. At this seminar I was able to sample one white and thirteen reds, many of which were recently bottled. At this stage they haven’t had a chance to settle in, with that I found a lot of concentrated red fruit with robust tannins. These wines are built for aging, I would love to try this tasting again ten years from now.

Smith Haut-Lafite Blanc                Smith Haut-Lafite

Pape Clement                                   Leoville Barton

Pontet-Canet                                     Rauzan-Segla

Canon                                                 Peby Faugeres

Troplong Mondot                             Valandraud

Belair-Monage                                  La Fleur-Petrus

Trotanoy                                           La Conseillante

 

 

 

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Wine Spectator’s NY Wine Experience 2018

 

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Wine Spectator magazine held its 38th annual New York Wine Experience on October 18-20. It was three days of sit-down seminars, wine pairing lunches, a critics’ choice Grand Tasting and a Grand Award banquet. Proceeds from the event go to support the Wine Spectator scholarship foundation.

The Grand Tastings were held on Thursday and Friday evening. They were one of the best if not the best wine tastings of the year. It was two floors of over 269 participating wineries/chateaus pouring wines that have been rated 90 points or higher on the Wine Spectator ratings scale. Many of the owners and wine makers were on hand to pour and to talk about their wines.

The event was held at the Marriott Marquis hotel in the heart of Times Square, Manhattan at 1535 Broadway. This was a mega tasting that one day of sampling didn’t do it justice but one day was what I had, I attended on Friday night. With so many great wines available I had to narrow my focus on what to drink. I decided to forgo white wines and Champagnes and narrow the tasting to Bordeaux and Napa Valley reds for the most part. Even with that I wasn’t able to get to all but I did my best. I drank some very, very nice juice.

The #1 wine of 2017 selected by Wine Spectator was the 2014 Duckhorn Merlot Three Palms Vineyard from Napa Valley.

 

New World

1993 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars “Fay” (Napa Valley) Medium brick, dusty nose of rusted metal, dried leaf notes on the good fruit and a long finish. Holding up well.

2008 Ridge Vineyards “Monte Bello” (Santa Cruz Mts) Opaque dark red to black, pretty perfume of fresh herbs, mint and red candy, chewy and chunky dark chocolate on the firm finish.

2008 Hall Cabernet Sauvignon “Jack’s Masterpiece” (Napa Valley) Black in color, roast nuts and crushed red fruit on the nose, thick, syrupy, dark chocolate on the fruit.

2009 Dominus Estate (Napa Valley) Red blend, opaque dark brick, tar, paint thinner on the nose, concentrated smoky fruit, tight, nice finish.

2010 Carter Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon To Kalon Vineyard “The OG” (Napa Valley) Thick black in color, crushed raspberry on the nose, thick and chewy, nice tannins.

2012 Harlan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Opaque medium red, roast nuts on the nose, chewy with silky firm tannin on the long finish.

2013 Kerr “Reserve” (Napa Valley) Black in color, crushed back fruit and ripe plum on the nose, thick, syrupy dark chocolate on the fruit, moderate finish.

2014 Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon “Oakville” (Napa Valley) Clear dark purple, dark fruit on the nose, dusty, chewy red licorice on the fruit, moderate finish.

2014 Dariosh Cabernet Sauvignon “Darius II” (Napa Valley) Dark red to black, deep concentrated with chewy black licorice on the firm, balanced fruit, long finish.

2014 Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon “Lot 1” (Napa Valley) Black, crushed black berries on the nose, chewy, minty with big acidity at the end.

2015 PlumpJack Cabernet Sauvignon “Oakville” (Napa Valley) Dark purple, purple rim, crushed red cherry on the nose, thick, juicy and toasty on the fruit.

2015 Joseph Phelps “Insignia” (Napa Valley) Black in color, toasty red berries on the nose, tight and concentrated with dark chocolate on the firm finish.

2015 Peter Michael “Les Pavots” (Knights Valley) Opaque dark red, crushed red fruit and red leather on the nose, concentrated with green herb notes on the fruit, balanced.

2015 Continuum “Sage Mt Vineyard” (Napa Valley) Black in color with a purple rim, crushed black fruit on the nose, thick and juicy with firm tannins at the end.

2015 Sinegal Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Black with a purple rim, crushed black fruit and dark chocolate on the nose, very chewy and concentrated, a big wine with a lip smacking finish.

2015 Staglin Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Opaque dark red, sweet black cherry and roast nuts on the nose, red cherry fruit.

2016 Bergström Pinot Noir “Bergström Vineyard” (Dundee Hills) Light red, toasted nuts, bacon on the nose, black cherry on the fruit, tight finish.

 

Old World

2003 Chateau Mouton Rothschild (Pauillac) Dark amber, ripe plums, tar and leaf notes on the nose with oak notes on the balanced finish.

2005 Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere (St-Emilion) Cloudy dark red, roasted tar and crushed red berries on the nose, starts juicy, tightens up at the finish.

2005 Chateau Montrose (St-Estephe) Cloudy black in color with a brick rim, herbs, roast meat and forest floor on the nose, finishes tight and hard.

2005 Chateau Pichon Longueville (Pauillac) Black with a red rim, crushed red berries and toasted nuts on the nose, very tight fruit that drops off, thought it was unbalanced.

2006 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion (Pessac Leognan) Dark purple, sweet black cherry and turpentine on the nose, tight and chewy sweet fruit, firm tannins on the finish.

2008 Chateau Lafite Rothschild (Pauillac) Medium red, with sediment, green herbs on the nose, tight, light. Disappointing.

2008 Chateau Margaux (Margaux) Medium brick, toast and roast meat on the nose, tight with silky tannins on the finish.

2010 Chateau Pavie (St-Emilion) Opaqe dark red to black, mint and red leather on the nose, chewy with firm and silky tannins.

2011 Chateau Haut-Brion (Peassac Leognan) Dark amber, crushed dark fruit on the nose with sweet, dark fruit.

2011 Chateau Cheval-Blanc (St-Emilion) Opaque dark red, toast, roasted nuts on the nose, silky red fruit, firm, long finish.

2012 Bouchard Pere & Fils “Vigne de L’Enfant Jesus”(Burgundy) Light amber, ripe red fruit and mint on the nose, light cherry fruit, balances.

2012 Chateau Angelus (St-Emilion) Moderate red, toasty and green herbs on the nose. moderate fruit, nice balance.

2014 Chateau Canon (St-Emilion) Moderate purple, roasted bacon on the nose, tight, bright fruit, crisp finish.

2015 Chateau Pontet-Canet (Pauillac) Dark red with a purple rim, barnyard on the nose, chewy red fruit with a long finish, nice balance.

2015 Chateau Lynch-Bages (Pauillac) Dark red to black, closed nose of roasted nuts, starts thick and chewy then drops to tight tannins.

2015 Clos Fourtet (St-Emilion) Opaque dark purple, vanilla on the nose, thick and chewy with good balance on the dark fruit.

***

2006 Vega Sicilia “Unico” (Ribera del Duero) Amber in color, toasty red cherry on the sweet dusty fruit with a moderate to long balanced finish.

2009 Tenuta dell Ornellaia “Masseto” (Tuscany) Medium brick, crushed cooked berries on the nose, starts chewy, finishes tight, long finish with some heat.  

2011 Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino “Tenuta Greppo Riserva” (Tuscany) Light brick in color, red cherry on the nose, cherry leather on the fruit.

2013 Gaja Barolo “Sperss” (Piedmont) Light brick, roasted nuts on the nose, dusty, roasted meat on the light fruit, balanced.

2014 Pio Cesare Barberesco “Il Bricco” (Piedmont) Medium brick, tar, cherry leather on the nose, medium dusty, dried leaf on the fruit, ending with big acids.

 

 

 

Wine Spectator Grand Tour 2018

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Wine Spectator magazine held their 17th annual Spring Grand Tour wine tasting event. The tour travels to three cities in the Untied States and this year the tour stopped in Las Vegas, Washington DC and in New York City on April 24th. While not to be confused with the Spectator’s New York wine experience held in October which is three days of tastings, seminars and dinner, the Grand Tour still offered the opportunity to taste over 200 wines rated 90+ on the Spectator scale. Plenty of good juice to be sampled, too many for one evening but I tried my best.

The event was held at the Marriott Marquis hotel in the heart of Times Square at 1535 Broadway.

Some of what I tasted:

 

New World

2005 Heitz Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Martha’s Vineyard” (Napa Valley). Moderate to dark cloudy red, nice perfume of pencil shavings and tar, cherry mint on the fruit with a long finish. Tasty.

2013 Hall Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Kathryn Hall” (Napa Valley). Inky black, crushed red fruit on the nose, thick, dark cherry fruit with mint notes on the finish.

2014 Adobe Road Winery Cabernet Sauvignon “Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard” (Napa Valley). Dark red to black, black cherry on the nose, chewy dark chocolates on the juicy fruit, moderate finish.

2013 Beaulieu Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Georges de Latour Private Reserve” (Napa Valley). Black in color, roasted meat and dark chocolate on the nose, concentrated dark fruit and mint on the chewy fruit, moderate tannins and acids.

2013 Crown Point Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Happy Canyon” (Santa Barbara). Black with a purple rim, green herbs on the nose, silky tannins with juicy dark fruit and black licorice notes.

2014 Guarachi Family Wines Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Inky black, vanilla and crushed black fruit on the nose, big juicy black fruit with dark chocolate on the finish.

2010 Rodney Strong Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Brothers Ridge” (Alexander Valley). Inky black, cooked meat on the nose, chunky, mint fruit ending with firm acids to balance the fruit.

2014 Round Pound Estate Cabernet Sauvignon “Reserve” (Rutherford). Dark red, red cherry and roasted meat on the nose, bright cherry fruit, moderate finish.

2015 Fess Parker Pinot Noir “Bien Nacido Vineyard” (Santa Maria Valley). Medium red with nice earth notes on the nose, silky, chewy fruit with cola notes on the balanced finish.

2015 Domaine Della Pinot Noir “Keefer Ranch” (Russian River Valley). Medium clear red, spicy cinnamon on the nose, spicy red fruit, moderate to low acids at the end.

2009 Col Solare (Columbia Valley). Inky black, cooked fruit and mint notes on the nose, dusty and tight.

2015 Penfolds Cabernet-Shiraz “Bin 389” (South Australia). Black with a red rim, crushed ripe berry on the nose, juicy and ripe with cedar and cooked fruit notes, moderate finish.

2013 Cheval des Andes (Mendoza). Dark red with earth notes on the nose, tight with dark slate on the fruit, firm, long finish.

 

Old World

2012 Chateau Haut-Brion (Pessac Leognan). Medium amber in color, green peppers, sweet herbs and cherry mint on the nose, dusty, silky fruit, great balance with dark chocolate on the finish. Tasty.

2011 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion (Pessac Leognan). Medium red, toasty nose, silky red fruit finishing with firm tannins.

2005 Chateau Calon-Segur (St-Estephe). Dark brick with a beautiful perfume of violets and crushed red fruit, silky fruit with green pepper and dark chocolate notes, nice balance and a long finish.

2011 Chateau Angelus (St-Emillion). Medium red, black olives on the nose, dusty dark fruit, moderate to long dusty finish.

2011 Chateau Brane-Cantenac (Margaux). Dark red in color, pretty perfume of earth and violets, chewy red fruit with firm tannins.

2009 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande (Paulliac). Medium brick, roasted sour pickles? on the nose, dusty black fruit with moderate tannins.

2014 Chateau Talbot (St-Julien). Dark red to black, crushed black fruit and dark chocolate on the nose, tight, concentrated fruit, slate notes on the moderate finish.

2012 Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany). Clear medium brick, pretty nose of violets, tar and leather, silky red fruit, great balance with moderate tannins and acids at the end.

2012 Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino “La Casa” (Tuscany). Clear medium red, dried leaf and dark plums on the nose with chewy red leather fruit.

2011 Fattoria Dei Barbi Brunello di Montalcino “Vigna del Fiore” (Tuscany). Medium brick, dried leaf and roasted meat on the nose, velvety fruit with some cinnamon notes on the finish.

2013 Mazzei “Tenuta Belguardo” (Tuscany). Clear dark red with a perfume of violets and roasted meat, big dark chocolate fruit followed by firm acids.

2004 Paolo Scavino Barolo “Bricco Ambrogio” (Piedmont). Light red in color, tar and red cherry on the nose, tight red fruit with pencil shavings on the finish, moderate acids.

2013 Pio Cesare Barolo (Piedmont). Brick in color, cherry tar on the nose, moderate chewy, red licorice fruit, moderate tannins and acids at the end.

2013 Aldo Conterno Barolo “Bussia” (Piedmont). Medium amber, tar and petroleum on the nose, dusty tight fruit, firm finish.

2010 Bodegas Bilbainas “Vina Pomal Gran Reserva” (Rioja). Medium red, stinky damp earth on the nose with dusty tart fruit.

2011 CVNE “Imperial Gran Reserva” (Rioja). Dark red to black, roasted bacon on the nose, concentrated dark fruit with mint notes, firm finish.

 

 

Planet Bordeaux NYC

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Planet Bordeaux is a French trade organization that represents the wineries of the Bordeaux AOC and Bordeaux Superieur appellations from the world’s largest fine-wine vineyards. Bordeaux is justifiably famous for its grand cru wines from the famous Chateaux. Those wines are also very expensive but these off the radar regional wines, which are over half the production of the Bordeaux appellation, are more accessible in both price and style.

In February and March the organization held various trade and consumer tastings of its member wineries around New York City. On Sunday evening March 4th, they held a tasting for members of the trade. That tasting was held at O’Cabanon restaurant located at 245 West 29th street in Manhattan.

They poured sparkling wines, whites and several reds, many from the excellent 2015 vintage but from other vintages as well. I wasn’t familiar with many of the producers but there were some nice drinking wines that didn’t break the bank.

Some of what I sampled:

 

2010 Chateau Montlau

2012 Domaine del Ile Margaux

2014 Domaine del Ile Margaux

2012 Chateau La Rose du Pin

2014 M de Monsegur Reserve Cabernet Franc

2013 Chateau Boutinet

2014 Chateau Donjon de Bruignac

2014 Chateau de Seguin Cuvee Carpe Diem

2014 Chateau La France Cuvee Gallus

2015 Chateau Grand Jean

2015 Chateau Lauduc

2015 Chateau Lauduc Grande Cuvee

2015 Chateau Montlau

2015 Chateau de Bel

2015 Chateau Tayet Cuvee Prestige

2016 Chateau Haut Favereau

2016 Ipsum Carmenere

 

Grand Crus de Bordeaux New York 2018

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The Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux is an organization of 135 estates of the Bordeaux wine region of France and whose mission is to promote its members to foreign countries. They do that by travelling to 15 countries and 65 cities during the year to showcase whatever current vintage has been bottled and ready to be released.

The North American tour began on January 18th in Toronto and would stop in Montreal, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco. On January 22 the tour arrived in New York City for a trade tasting in the afternoon at Cipriani restaurant at 110 East 42nd street in Manhattan and for a consumer tasting that evening at Sotheby’s auction house in Manhattan.

The 2015 vintage was poured. I always take vintage reports with a grain of salt but the general consensus was that the vintage was a very good one. After attending the trade tasting in the afternoon and working my way through many of the wines, I found many of them hand characteristics that I don’t normally associate with Bordeaux wines. I was getting a lot “jammy” notes both on the nose and on the fruit as well as higher alcohol notes on a few of the wines. With that fruit, many had firm silky tannins that will age well and some had softer tannins that are ready to drink soon. It was a very enjoyable tasting.

 

Saint-Emillion

Chateau Canon-La-Gaffeliere: Dark red, dried herbs on the nose, thick and chewy black licorice fruit, moderate dusty tannins, drinking nicely now.

Chateau Pavie Macquin: Dark red, sweet perfume of tar, silky fruit with tar notes on the dusty finish, firm tannins.

Clos Fourtet: Opaque dark red, toasty sweet fruit and black licorice on the nose, chewy black fruit with silky, firm tannins.

Chateau La Couspaude: Medium brick, big perfume of sweet tar with sweet tarry fruit and dusty tannins on the finish.

Chateau Canon: Opaque medium red, tar and dark cocoa on the nose, bright silky fruit with silky tannins on the finish.

Chateau Dassault: Opaque dark red, big perfume of sweet cherry, chewy cherry tar fruit with firm tannins at the end.

Chateau La Gaffeliere: Dark red, strawberry jam on the nose, dusty red fruit finishing with bitter cherry notes.

Pomerol

Chateau Clinet: Medium red, smoky tar on the nose, chewy green herbs on the fruit, moderate tannins and acid.

Chateau Gazin: Medium to dark red, crushed red fruit and tar on the nose, tight with silky tannins on the firm finish.

Chateau Le Bon Pasteur: Dark red, toasty tar on the nose, chewy and thick with firm tannins on the finish.

Saint-Julien

Chateau Leoville Poyferre: Dark red to black, black tar on the nose, chewy, tarry, silky tannins on the firm finish.

Chateau Talbot: Medium red, tar and cigar box on the nose, sweet, black berry on the fruit, moderate tannin, some heat.

Chateau Beychevelle: Clear dark red, tar notes on the nose, chewy black fruit, moderate tannins and acids, drinking nicely now.

Chateau Gruaud Larose: Clear medium red, toasty, smoky nose, bright fruit with firm acids.

Paulliac

Chateau Pichon Baron: Dark red, cherry jam and herbs on the nose, thick, chewy with firm silky tannins on the mouth coating finish.

Chateau Clerc Milon: Dark red with toast and crushed dark fruit on the nose, moderate fruit with mouth coating tannins at the finish.

Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtese de LaLande: Medium red, jammy and turned earth on the nose, tight with oak notes on the firm finish.

Margaux

Chateau Lascombes: Black, toasty black fruit on the nose with chewy ,silky crushed black fruit, firm finish, nice balance.

Chateau Cantenac Brown: Dark purple, mint and roast meat on the nose, bright fruit with dusty dark chocolate and firm tannins on the finish.

Chateau Prieure-Lichine: Dark red, crushed red berry and roast meat on the nose, chewy and silky fruit, nicely balanced with a long finish.

Chateau Brane-Cantenac: Cloudy dark red, tar and cigar box on the nose, chunky with tar and green vegetable notes on the fruit, bitter black cherry on the finish.

Chateau Malescot Saint-Exupery: Medium red, strawberry mint on the nose, chewy minty fruit with bitter red candy notes on the finish.

Haut-Medoc

Chateau Cantermerle: Dark red, cherry candy on the nose, tight, bright red fruit, balanced.

Chateau Coufran: Opaque medium red, dusty cherry on the nose, tight cherry candy on the fruit, crisp finish.

Chateau La Lagune: Opaque medium red, tar and cigar box on the nose, dusty graphite fruit with moderate tannins and acids.

Pessac-Leognan

Chateau Pape-Clement: Dark red, crushed dark fruit on the nose with chunky, silky fruit and firm tannins. Coming in at 16% alcohol.

Domaine de Chevalier: Medium red, perfume of sweet tar, moderate dusty, bright fruit.

Saint-Estephe:

Chateau Phelan Segur: Medium red, sweet tar on the nose, bright, light fruit.

 

 

 

Wine Spectator’s NY Wine Experience 2017

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The 37th annual Wine Spectator New York Wine Experience was held on October 19-21. It was three days of sit down seminars, wine pairing lunches, critics choice grand tastings ending with an awards banquet on Saturday night. The event was held at the Marriott Marquis hotel at 1535 Broadway in the heart of Times Square, Manhattan with all of the net proceeds going to the Wine Spectator’s scholarship fund.

Over 2,000 people attended the Grand Tastings each night on Thursday and Friday evenings which featured over 250, 90+ wines from some of the best wine regions in the word. I attended on Friday night.

What can I say, it was an embarrassment of riches with such an impressive choice of high-end juice that would take days to try them all. Unfortunately  I had one night so I had to focus my tasting. I decided on reds from Bordeaux and California Cabernet with the Italians at the end of the evening for a chance of pace.

California

 

2006 Hall Exzellenz “Sacrashe Vineyard” (Rutherford): Dark red to black, complex nose of crushed green herbs, red fruit, chewy dark chocolate fruit with green olives, coffee and dark chocolate on the firm but balanced finish.

2007 Heitz Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Martha’s Vineyard” (Napa Valley): Medium red to black, tar and mint on the nose, silky fruit, moderate tannins with herbs on the long finish. Delicious wine.

2007 Ridge Vineyards “Monte Bello” (Santa Cruz): Dark red with an amber rim, crushed sour cherry on the nose, chewy, black licorice and dark chocolate on the fruit, good grip.

2007 Ramey Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Annum” (Napa Valley): Amber in color, big tarry nose, cherry, tar and mint on the chewy fruit, nice balance.

2011 Diamond Creek “Red Rock Terrace” (Napa Valley): Dark red to black, green olives on the nose, tight, bright tarry fruit, good balance, long finish.

2012 Carter Cellars “To Kalon Vineyards” (Napa Valley): Black in color, crushed black fruit on the nose, chewy black fruit, juicy with firm tannins.

2012 Mt. Brave “Mt. Veeder” (Napa Valley): Black, crushed black fruit on the nose, chewy mint notes on the fruit, juicy and balanced.

2012 Ernest & Julio Gallo Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate” (Sonoma): Black, sweet cherry on the nose, concentrated red cherry fruit, nice balance.

2013 Louis Martini “Monte Rosso” (Sonoma Valley): Black with crushed black fruit on the nose, chunky, chewy, juicy, mint notes on the fruit, balanced.

2013 Duckhorn Merlot “Three Palms Vineyard” (Napa Valley): Dark red to black, roasted coffee and dried red berry on the nose, chewy ending with firm, bright fruit.

2014 Opus One (Napa Valley): Medium dark red, crushed dark berries and earth on the nose, chewy, dusty dark chocolate on the fruit with silky tannins.

2014 Lewis Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Reserve” (Napa Valley): Dark black, crushed red fruit on the nose, chewy dark chocolate on the fruit, moderate finish.

Bordeaux

 

2002 Chateau Lafite Rothschild (Pauillac): Black in color, closed nose of mint and red cherry, concentrated with chalk notes and roasted coffee on the fruit, hot acids on the finish.

2005 Chateau Mouton Rothschild (Pauillac): Medium amber, black olives on the nose, tight with coffee notes and silky tannins on the firm, balanced finish.

2006 Chateau Margaux (Margaux): Medium amber, sweet tar on the nose, tight, tarry with mouth coating tannins, some tartness on the finish.

2006 Chateau Haut-Brion (Pessac-Leognan): Dark red, tarry earth notes on the nose, tight silky fruit with silky tannins ending with a nice grip.

2000 Chateau Leoville Las Cases (St-Julien): Black, green olives on the nose, tight, silky tannins with green olive notes on the finish.

2004 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion (Pessac-Leognan): Dark red to black, green olives and herbs on the nose, silky fruit, balance, long finish, a beautiful wine.

2006 Chateau Leoville Barton (St-Julien): Dark red to black, smoky, black fruit on the nose, tarry with firm tannins, lingering finish.

2008 Cos D’ Estournel (St-Estephe): Dark red to black, roasted coffee on the nose, concentrated bright red fruit, green herbs on the finish, good balance.

2009 Chateau Montrose (St-Estephe): Black in color, tarry, strawberry and roast coffee on the nose, a little chunky with a big, silky mouthfeel and firm tannins.

2009 Chateau Canon-La Gaffeliere (St-Emilion): Dark red, crushed sour cherry nose, tight, red cherry fruit, firm tannins.

2009 Chateau La Fleur Petrus (Pomerol): Medium amber, closed nose of toasty dark chocolate, chewy fruit with mint and fresh herb notes, good balance.

2010 Chateau Figeac (St-Emilion): Black in color, green olives on the nose, chewy fruit with mint notes, firm with a lingering finish.

2011 Chateau Clerc Milon (Pauillac): Dark red, tarry cooked cherries on the nose, concentrated black fruit, juicy and balance with a good grip.

2012 Chateau Pavie (St-Emilion): Black, roasted coffee on the nose, concentrated red fruit with good balance.

2014 Chateau Pichon-Longueville (Pauillac): Dark red, black olives on the nose, dusty dark chocolate on the fruit with nice balance.

Italy

 

2000 Allegrini  Amarone “Classico” (Veneto): Dark red with an amber rim, roasted nuts on the nose with ripe plums and good acidity on the fruit.

2007 Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino “Madonna del Plano Riserva” (Tuscany): Amber in color, big tarry nose, chewy fruit of tar and mint, chewy finish with a nice balance.

2010 Masseto (Tuscany): Medium amber, tar and leather on the nose with chewy dark chocolate fruit and firm acids.

2013 Gaja Barberesco “Sori Tilden” (Piedmont): Medium amber, very closed nose of black cherry with dusty red cherry fruit and silky tannin. Atypical Barberesco.

2013 Tenuta San Guido “Sassicaia” (Tuscany): Medium red, roasted nuts on the nose and on the fruit with balanced tannins and acids.

 

 

Union Des Grands Cru De Bordeaux 2017: Philadelphia

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The Union des Grands Cru des Bordeaux is a French organization established in 1973 to promote and introduce the Cru wines of Bordeaux. These are the top-tier of the wine hierarchy of the 10,000 Chateau in the 57 appellations of the Bordeaux wine region. Every January they travel to the United States to various cities conducting tastings for the trade and consumer showcasing the current vintage that’s being released. This year that would be the 2014 vintage. While the wines are still young at this stage, it’s a great opportunity to taste how the that particular vintage was.

In New York City they hold their trade and consumer tastings on the third Monday in January. The last year I was able to attend was in 2014 and I would not have been able to attend the event this year. Fortunately for me this year, for the first time they held a tasting on Sunday afternoon, January 22 in Philadelphia. I did not want to miss this opportunity so it was time for a road trip to Philadelphia to visit historical sites such as the Liberty Bell and Constitution Hall, eat a cheesesteak for lunch then spend the rest of the afternoon with some good Bordeaux. The tasting was held at The Rittenhouse hotel located at 210 West Rittenhouse Square.

I didn’t do research on the 2014 to influence my tasting. No one would have confused this tasting with a tasting of Napa Valley Cabernet. After trying most of the wines, I would have guessed that 2014 was a very cool and wet vintage for Bordeaux. In general the wines had pretty aromas but tight fruit with sour cherry notes, crisp acids and mouth coating tannins. I know the wines are way too young now and would love to sample in ten years but they are hard as nails now.

 

Pomerol

Chateau La Cabanne: Medium red with a brick rim, sweet red candy and cooked asparagus on the nose, tight and dusty, finish drops.

Chateau Clinet: Dark red, perfume of sweet fruit and fresh herbs, crisp acid, finish drops a bit.

Chateau Gazin: Dark red, sweet fruit with barnyard notes on the nose, silky, moderate fruit, moderate finish.

Pauillac

Chateau Clerc Milon: Dark red with a purple rim, pretty perfume of violets, tight with oak notes on the fruit with firm tannins and acids at the end.

Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste: Dark red, turpentine on the nose, tight.

Chateau Lynch-Bages: Black red, purple rim, crushed black fruit on the nose, tight, firm finish, some heat at the end.

Chateau D’Armailhac: Dark red to black, warm fresh herbs on the nose, silky red cherry fruit, nice balance. One of my favorites of the night.

Margaux

Chateau Cantenac Brown: Dark red, crushed dark fruit on the nose, tight and tart.

Chateau Desmirail: Dark red with a sweet perfume with notes of tree bark, tight, tannin with citrus acids.

Saint-Julien

Chateau Beychevelle: Dark red with a perfume of sandalwood, tight, with oak notes on the silky fruit, smooth tannins on the moderate finish.

Chateau Gruaud Larose: Medium red, smoky dark fruit on the nose with oak notes on the fruit.

Chateau Talbot: Black in color, crushed black fruit and mint on the nose, nice balance.

Chateau Leoville Poyferre: Dark red to black, nice perfume of violets, silky red cherry fruit followed by a mouthful of tannin.

Chateau Gloria: Dark red to black, toasted notes on the nose, tight, concentrated fruit.

Saint-Estephe

Chateau Phelan Segur: Dark purple, burnt wood notes on the nose, tight, tart.

Chateau Cos Lobory: Dark purple, dusty, crushed black fruit on the nose, dusty, oak notes on the fruit and finish.

Saint-Emilion

Clos Fourtet: Dark red to black with a purple rim, closed nose of tree bark, red cherry fruit, moderate finish, crisp acids.

Chateau Canon La Gaffellier: Dark red, perfume of violets and Asian spices, silky toasty fruit, moderate to long finish.

Chateau Canon: Dark red, purple rim, closed nose, tight, moderate fruit, balanced finish.

Pessac-Leognan

Chateau Haut-Bailly: Medium red, tar and pencil shavings on the nose, tar notes on the tight fruit.

Chateau Malartic: Black with a purple rim, smoky cooked vegetables on the nose.

Chateau Pape Clement: Dark red to black, perfume of sweet fruit with concentrated red fruit, moderate finish.

Chateau Olivier: Dark red with red melon and tea notes on the nose, red cherry and earth on the moderate finish.

Haut-Medoc

Chateau Coufran: Dark red, closed nose, sour cherry fruit, tannic.

Chateau La Lagune: Dark red, red cherry, pencil shavings on the nose, tart red cherry fruit, mouth coating tannin.

Chateau Cantemerle: Dark red, purple rim, chocolate on the nose, tight fruit, big tannins on the finish.

Chateau de Camensac: Dark purple, sweet perfume of cigar box, moderate fruit, nice grip.

Listrac-Medoc

Chateau Clarke: Dark red to black, barnyard notes on the nose, dense, silky fruit, nice grip at the end finishing with mouth coating tannin.