Wednesday, January 12, 2011

January 2011 S'mores: 14 Tasted of 14

Crystalline Spruce...
Back to playing guessing games with mostly the Shopping Lists from Vintages  although I've had good results being in the high 80's and even the 90's a long as I use a smidgeon of thought.

I’ve enjoyed Anakena Viognier: a super 2007 tasted in April last year and, since a tasting in September 2010, the 2009 has been decorated with a Best in Class award. The Pasión 4 Merlot 2007 tasted and rated 90-2 in 2009 so curiosity made me pick up the similarly priced Pasión 4 Malbec from the January 8th Release.   Also I’ve referred to my last notices from WineAlign , tweets from Anthony Gismondi (aka @thespitter) and the WineoftheWeekend.

Cheers, Ww

THE LINEUP - grouped by reds, whites, sparkles and other:

and our...
  • Domaine de la Bastide les Figues Côtes de Rhône 2009, 92-3  --  V, Rhône, France,  #194852  $13.95
  • Majella the Musician Cabernet/Shiraz 2008,  92-2  --  V, Coonawara, Australia, #142018  $19.95
  • Arboleda Syrah 2007,  90-2  --  V, Aconcagua valley, Chile, #172247 $18.95
  • R. J. Vinedos Pasión 4 Malbec 2008,  88-2  --  V, Valle de Uco, Argentina, #194399 $11.95
  • Tolloy `Vigneti delle Dolomiti`Pinot Noir 2008,  86  --  V, Alto Adige/Trentino, Italy, #193441  $15.95   
  • Flying Kiwi South Island Pinot Noir 2009, 85  --  G, Christchurch, NZ, #184572 $15.95 
  • D'Arenburg ‘The Stump Jump’ Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre 2009,  82  --  G, McLaren Vale, Australia,  #173294  $14.05   

    ...feathered friends.
  • Domino del Plata Crios de Susana Balbo Torrontés 2009, 93-3  --  V, Mendoza, Argentina, #001834 $11.95 
  • Anakena Single Vineyard Viognier 2009, Rapel Valley,  91-2   --  V, Chile, #045138  $13.95
  • Domaine du Vieux Chai Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine sur lie 2009,  89-2 -- V, Loire, France, #200048  $13.95
  • Les Costières de Pomerol Beauvignac Viognier 2009,  84  --  V,  Pays d’Oc, France, #525295  $12.95
  • Le Meridiane Pinot Grigio Vendemmia 2009,  84  --  V, Trentino, Italy, #627042 $15.95 
  • Clay Station Unoaked Viognier 2008, 83  --  V, Lodi, California, #025411  $16.95 

  •  François Lurton Mas Janeil Maury 2005, 88  --  V, Roussillon, France, #175224 $15.70 (375mL)

(G - General Listing, V - Vintages, r-v - Rating-Value)

TOLLOY ‘VIGNETI DELLE DOLOMITI’ PINOT NOIR 2008,  Alto Adige/Trentino, Italy, 12.5% D, #193441  $15.95  (Tasted January 15, 2011) CS

A Vintages release on January 8, 2011 described anonymously (undated) as “… Alto Adige has proven to be one of the best-suited Italian regions for this temperamental variety. There are lots of blackberry notes here, some peppercorn spice and some lovely earthy tones too. The palate is dry, medium bodied and engagingly fruity. The tannins are soft and well integrated… ”  My notes:  A WineoftheWeekend selection. A deep see thru’ ruby with the scent sniffed when walking through wild raspberry brambles on a hot day.  A polite sipper with fine tannins, light flavours of crushed blackberries, some cherries along with a touch of earth tones. A swirl brings a thin film with lots of fast tears showing some of the silk in the first bright sip. Reserved acids come midway through the finish. A flavour of crushed cherries and a dryness ends the sip. Overall an interesting sipper and a companion for a honeyed ham slice or honey and vinegar slopped pork ribs. Too polite for cellaring - a drink now.  86

R J VIÑEDOS PASIÓN 4 MALBEC 2008,  Valle de Uco, Argentina, 14.0% D, #194399 $11.95  (Tasted January 16, 2011)   CS

A Vintages release on January 8, 2011 described by the Vintages panel (March 2010) as “Raúl Jofré and his 4 daughters have been crafting high-quality wines in the Uco Valley since 1998. A rich plum is the lead aroma of this Malbec, followed by blackberry, blueberry, vanilla and herbs. There are many lovely replays on the palate, followed by a smooth, lightly spicy finish with good length… ”  My notes:The Pasión 4 Merlot 2007 (#059287, $11.95) tasted in September 2009 was a ‘delicious sipper’ rated 90-2. The Malbec has a deep ruby colour and a firm film with many slow tears. A soft aroma of plums and berries with a slight spice and touch of wood in the nose then full in the first sip along with polite tang. Well balanced, medium-bodied, noticeable tannins and modest fruit provide interest as a sipper as well as the long finish blending herbs with berries. Deep enough for rack of lamb or a stuffed loin pork braised and roasted. Cellar for a few years or drink now - very nice.  88

ANAKENA (Terroirs) SINGLE VINEYARD VIOGNIER 2009, Rapel Valley, Chile, 13.5% XD, #045138  $13.95  (Tasted January 12, 2011)  CS

A Vintages release on January 8, 2011 rated 89 by Tony Aspler (Who He?)  and described (Sept 14, 2009) as “Very pale with a green tint; peach and honeysuckle nose; sweet peachy fruit, lively acidity. Full-bodied.”  My notes: First tasted when released in January 2010 and rated 89-2. Now there’s a Best In Class medallion on the side of the label. Will this repeat the 93-2 of the 2007 tasted in April last year?  Opening the ‘envelope’ we have the answer… This has the perfumed scent of clover honey adding a suspicion of spice. Sweet on the lips but a tart fruit flavoured taste: pear, lime zest and straw edged. The fruit fades slowly leaving a prominent herbaceous ending. Interesting as a sipper - may need another sip, an hors d’oeuvre or bruschetta piece to pair with the ending. Have with cold or hot seafood dishes, vegetarian pizza or a bowl of curried mussels. Cellaring a year or two may pull everything together but drinking well now.  91

MAJELLA ‘THE MUSICIAN’ CABERNET/SHIRAZ 2008, Coonawara, Australia, 14.5% XD, #142018  $19.95  (Tasted January 21, 2011)  CS

A Vintages release on January 8, 2011 rated 94 by James Halliday  (Who He?)  (July 2009) and described as “Good hue; delivers as much as ever, with an abundance of blackcurrant and blackberry fruit supported by ripe tannins that give excellent balance. Drink [until] 2015. Special Value.”  My notes:A firm film with long legs that run slowly then stick to the sides of the bowl, a royal ruby colour and aromas of peppery blackberries, dense and warm. Firm tannins combine with an immediate penetrating tang giving memory to the first sip then continue through a long, hot, cedary finish - no subtlety. By itself this could be the wine for Scotch drinkers … or have with a 3 meat pizza with chili peppers, Texas chili, a marinated sirloin or a rare Barbarian rubbed T-bone. Soft in texture but having substantial roughness to carry the acid.  Cellar for several years for a depth suiting its current breadth.  92 (Cellar)

DOMINIO DEL PLATA CRIOS DE SUSANA BALBO TORRONTÉS 2009, Mendoza, Argentina, 13.5%  D, #001834   $11.95  (Tasted January 14, 2011)  CS

A Vintages release on January 8, 2011 rated 90 by Jay Miller  (Who He?)  (Aug 2009) and described as “The 2009 Torrontés remains one of Argentina's benchmarks for this variety. Sourced from 31-year-old vines in Cafayate (where the finest Torrontés grows), it displays a fragrant bouquet of spring flowers, honey, and tropical aromas. Medium-bodied and dry on the palate, it has ample fruit backed by vibrant acidity leading to a lengthy finish. Drink it over the next 2 years. My notes: A selection from Anthony Gismondi A light golden colour with a perfumed scent of wildflowers, grapefruit zest and light honey. A full-bodied first sip, honey smooth and flavoured, but not overly sweet, some peach and melon carried along a dry, tart seam. The dryness gradually fades to a mild citrus and chalk. An intriguing sipper with enough brightness for flexible pairing: sole and risotto, roasted chicken breast sliced with scalloped potatoes.  Stock up! 93
LES COSTIÈRES DE POMEROLS BEAUVIGNAC VIOGNIER 2009,  Pays d’Oc, France, 12.5% XD, #525295   $12.95  (Tasted January 21, 2011)  CS

A Vintages release on January 8, 2011 described by their Panel (April 2010) as “… There are lovely peach, honey-suckle, ripe apple and citrus notes, as well as pretty florals that give the nose a delightful and delicate complexity. The palate is dry and medium bodied, with a balanced acidity. The aroma replays on the palate are wonderful and leave you with a soft honeyed note on the medium-long finish… ”  My notes: A clean mid gold colour and a film cascading a lacy edge and level of scent not arousing my sensor. The first buttery sip has a well established tang. Flavours of mild citrus and melon come behind and lead to a long smooth finish of lighter citrus and some lanolin. Interesting for its difference but without a substantial Viognier floral and flavour profile. A dry, medium-bodied social mixer for a buffet table of cheeses, hummus and crackers, seafood snacks or bacon stuffed mushrooms.  A drink now.  84

DOMAINE DU VIEUX CHAI MUSCADET DE SÈVRE-ET-MAINE SUR LIE 2009,  Loire, France, 12.0%  D, #200048   $13.95  (Tasted January 29, 2011)  CS

A Vintages release on January 8, 2011 described by their Panel (May 2010) as “Aromas of poached pear, binned apple, citrus and mineral with a nice additional complexity provided by the lees treatment (hence, Sur Lie). The palate is dry and round, with consistent aroma replays, with lime really coming to the fore. The lees ageing adds a nuanced texture that works beautifully in harmony with the crisp acidity. A flavourful, medium-long finish closes out the refreshing experience.”  My notes: A light gold with a delicate but noticeable spritz accumulating on the glass. A delicate cream and a cleansing tang in the first sip. Flavours of pineapple, apple and lime blend together so not one is prominent. The finish is long, light and dry ending with luscious citrus. This is a medium-bodied and crisp sipper suitable for any selection from a seafood menu. Have with fresh oysters, mussels grilled or steamed with sweet curry or chicken pot pie with pearl onions and veggies.  Cellar for a year or two but a bright white now.  89

ARBOLEDA SYRAH 2007, Aconcagua valley, Chile, 14.5%  D, #172247  $18.95  (Tasted January 19, 2011)  CS

A Vintages release on July 10, 2010 rated 89 and described by Jay Miller  (June 2009) as “… The 2007 Syrah is from cool-climate Aconcagua. It offers up an enticing nose of black raspberry, blueberry, and gamy/smoky notes. Smooth-textured, balanced, and long, it closely resembles a top quality Crozes-Hermitage.”  My notes:  A deep purple tinted ruby and aromas of a mellow blackberry-blueberry blend plus an earthy pungency.  A swirl brings a firm film with many fast legs suggesting the smooth richness of the first sip. Soft blackberry, a deep satin texture, hot, full tannins and balanced acid in an ebb and flow of character makes this an interesting sipper.  The finish sets in quickly with a mineral component as the spicy fruit fades. A full-bodied starter or a red to pair with broiled beef, bbq’d ribs or prime rib.  Drinking well now and could cellar four to six years.  90 

CLAY STATION UNOAKED VIOGNIER 2008, Lodi, California, 13.5% D, #025411  $16.95 (Tasted January 25, 2011)  CS

A Vintages release on July 24, 2010 described anonymously (undated) as “Clay Station is dedicated to producing wines from grape varieties that are somewhat untraditional for California - like this fragrant Viognier. Many Cali producers add a touch of oak to Viognier, but Clay Station avoids the wood in order to allow the grape's wonderful aromatics to come to the fore. As this full-bodied, floral- and ripe peach-scented wine shows, their decision was wise.  My notes: A Delicato Vineyards wine with a light blond colour.  There’s a floral in the glass perhaps ‘peach scented’ but hard to determine for its lightness. A well balanced tang and smoothness with the texture thinning quickly leaving the tang and a touch of lime and chalk.  Personally, for such a light Viognier ’a touch of oak’ would have been welcome. A medium body and delicate almost null flavour gives this white a gentile citrus personality. Pair with grilled white fish, shrimp, scallops or a veal cutlet - OK as a sipper. A drink now. 83
LE MERIDIANE PINOT GRIGIO VENDEMMIA 2009,  Trentino, Italy, 13.5% XD, #627042  $15.95  (Tasted January 21, 2011)  CS

A Vintages release on December 11, 2010 described by the Vintages panel (Feb 2010) as “The Le Meridiane Pinot Grigio offers an ethereal nose with pear and melon most apparent, accompanied by an underlying minerality that adds a nice complexity. Dry, medium bodied and silky on the palate with nice fruit and mineral replays, leading to a crisp and refreshing medium-long finish.”  My notes: There’s a just perceptible tawny edge to the light golden suggesting a touch of peach and a suspicion of kiwi and tart apple on the nose. Scalloped edges recede showing slow tears and lacework on the glass. Creamy smooth, medium-bodied, combine with acid to waken the buds and brighten subtle flavours of Granny Smith apple. As the cream lightens apple turns to an ‘ethereal’ mineral note, still quite tangy. Interest fades as a sipper unless accompanied by mixed mild cheeses, warmed canapés or bruschetta. A drink now.  84

DOMAINE DE LA BASTIDE LES FIGUES CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2009, Cotes du Rhone, France, 14.0%  XD, #194852  $13.95  (Tasted January 24, 2011)  CS

A Vintages release on January 22, 2011 described by their Panel (April 2010) as “60% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 20% Carignan. A fresh raspberry jam nose makes way for sweet and spicy flavours of fig, plum, dried prune, redcurrant and black pepper. There's a stony minerality here, but with a sweet core, and a delightfully fruity finish… ”  My notes:  Winner of a Gold Medal at the Concourse des Grands Vins France, Macon, 2010.  A deep purple ruby colour with a well established film and tiny slow tears on the bowl hint of the smoothness to come. Pepper, plums and redcurrants, develop gradually and accompany a full-bodied, full flavoured unexpected burst of fruit and delicate tar. Flavours fade on an anise note ending with an interesting dry liquorice - tannins leave the palate chalk dry and mild acids brighten faint dried fig remnants. Cellar up to four years.  92

D'ARENBERG THE STUMP JUMP GRENACHE SHIRAZ MOURVÈDRE 2009, McLaren Vale, Australia,  14.0% D, #173294   $14.05  (Tasted January 26, 2011)  CS

A General listing described anonymously (undated) as “clear ruby colour; red cherry, berry and oak spice aromas; dry, medium body; ripe fruit flavour and fine tannins, medium finish.”  My notes:This has a see through ruby colour with a pinkish hue at the rim, an edge of nail polish, nicely sharp, full blackberry and plum aromas and a firm film with short slow tears. The smoothness is separated from an acid bite with the fruit, blackberry and red currant, coming up the middle. The nail polish returns to accent a smooth red currant finish. A thinnish medium-bodied, dry red with soft tannins having appeal as a sipper although chemical aspects may detract. Have as a buffet sipper or pair with grilled beef, pepperoni pizza or leg of lamb. A drink now.  82

FRANÇOIS LURTON MAS JANEIL MAURY 2005,  Roussillon, France, 15.5% MS,  #175224 (375mL)  $15.70  (Tasted January 27, 2011)  CS

A Vintages release on July 24, 2010 described by the Panel (January 2010) as “Mas Janeil's Maury is a Vin Doux Naturel. It's a vibrant, sweet, grapey wine with aromas and flavours of raisins, cherry, spice, and coconut, with hints of chocolate.”  My notes: Made from old black Grenache vines and has an appealing roughness when served off chill. A clear black cherry skin colour and clean aromas of black plums. The sweetness is restrained, balanced by mild tannins, light acid and fresh fruit. A smooth sipper for a summer day paired with vanilla sorbet or solo relaxing in the shade. A straightforward drink now or cellar two - may not have longer - years for a deeper character.  88   

FLYING KIWI SOUTH ISLAND PINOT NOIR 2009, Christchurch, NZ, 13.0% D, #184572  $15.95  (Tasted January 27, 2011)  CS

A General listing for which the back label claims “rich cherry and raspberry aromas with ripe plum and toasted oak on the palate to produce this elegant wine with a long lingering finish…” My notes:  A St Helena Wine Estate product from winemaker Alan McCorkindale. A see through black cherry skin colour and aromas of beet root and crushed strawberries. A thin film with fast flowing legs and a silky smooth first sip light on tannin and acids showing flavours of matchstick, a touch of raspberry and of cherry leading to a finish that fades into a soft musk. An unusual combination of flavours limiting general appeal. I‘d guess, half will and half won’t enjoy this as a sipper. A lightish bodied pinot to pair with roasted salmon filet, petit pois and white rice. A drink now.  85


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