Monday, January 01, 2007

Best red wine 2007

My best red in 2006 was 20 years old.
Tasted during a mini 1986 horizontal at Shelly's steack house with NYC Wine Club Gruaud Larose was nothing short of superb. The wine was fleshy in your mouth and developping fantastic tertiary flavours of underwood, mushrooms, french oak and tobacco with a super long length. Need to be decanted two hours to soften the tannins. A steal at $140 retail price.

Best white wine of 2006

2006 saw the creation of this blog. Unfortunately, some awesome bottles opened this year didn't make it online. Therefore I am happy to post on my best white of 2006; It was by far Silex 2002 from Didier Dagueneau. Made in the Sancerre region it is so much more than what the appellation is known for. The palate is very large and the flavours numerous. The wine starts with fall fruits, apples, quince, pears, switch to minerality and then is calling in buttery notes and creme brulee. This bio-dynamic producer made something huge in 2002. Worth the price (over $100) on this specific vintage.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

An elegant Primitivo

What I love with Italy is the endless wine varietals. If France has endless terroirs, its varieties are limited. Italy has more than hundred varietals grown in very specific regions. Today, I highly recommend Villa Santera, Primitivo di Manduria 2004. The nose was close to the plums reminding me of a Merlot. This full body wine boasting 14% has a fresh acidity, smooth tannins and an elegant presence in your mouth. I also picked up balsamic, cinamon and black pepper.
The finish was long on dry raisins.
And since no one knows about Primitivo, it's only $13. So go for it!!!!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Two Sancerres to look for


Sancerre is usually flinty and grassy so after tasting a dozen, you are focusing on other characteristics. That's how Remy Pannier under the varietal Sauvignon Blanc Vin de Pays (2002) and Yves Martin (2004) sub-appellation Chavignol stood out in our last Sancerre tasting.

Remy Pannier is offering a Sauvignon Blanc with some Southern accents for $22. The nose had some menthol and the palate tasted pesto. This intriguing flavor profile was completed by a chalky/minerally flavors giving this Sancerre an unusual profile. When grassiness shifts to Mediterranean herbs, hold tight your glass of Sauvignon. Chances are this large negociant trying to appeal to the export market is looking for those atypical flavors.

In a purer style, Yves Martin from the sub-appellation Chavignol was also drawing some inspiration from the South but no further than Macon. This wine was the most "Chardonnay-sque" Sauvignon I ever tasted. Yellow apples and minerals on the nose were completed by a round palate with chalky flavors. Think Chablis from good vintage. This wine highly touted by Crush is a keeper, especially under $20. Chavignol wine can age and I would bet this one would create a stir when tasted blind among white Burgundy in 2008-2010. Easy to remember Chavignol, the goat cheese (pix upper left) has the same name.
This producer is also making a Sancerre Rose available at Appellation and Chamber Street. Check this one out...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Wine Wednesday is scheduled for September 13th

Becks & Posh



Wine Wednesday has been posted on the becks & posh website.
Our host's favorite is Champagne so send her your comments before September 13th.
I kept missing this event, but I will definitely post on this date.
A couple of small producers standing very tall against some of my Vintage could be an interesting choice.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Wine Ratings Might Not Pass the Sobriety Test - New York Times

Wine Ratings Might Not Pass the Sobriety Test - New York Times

Great article from the New York Times showing that:
You don't sell your wine if it get less than 90
Parker and Wine Spectator have the same taste for full-body, over-extracted monsters
The scale never works for lightly flavored grapes (Riesling, Chenin, Pinot)
It's time to trust the tasting notes and not the score.

So next time you like a wine, try to find the tasting notes. After a couple of notes, you will find out that the same adjectives are coming back. You are on your way...

Poor show, 2 good finds

I attended the tasting of the double gold medalist in New York this Tuesday. I was there two years ago and like two years ago, not much came out of this tasting. This year brought the same conclusion; very average wine in general and only a few good picks.

Among the white, Hosmer Cayuga Blend had a good showing. It’s already recognized as one of the best Riesling in the Finger Lakes (New York) so no surprise here. The bottle they entered was Cayuga Lake 2004; a blend of white grapes on the property; Riesling, Pinot Gris, Seyval. The flavor concentration is medium but this bottle strikes a good balance between acidity and alcohol. A bargain at $8.
I will always remember this winery since I biked there to taste their wines and ended up on the side of the road repairing my flat tire for 30 minutes under a baking sun.

And for the Merlot addicts, there was Northstar Winery Merlot from Columbia Valley in Washington States. This state always had a good rep for their flavorful Merlot, rich with a restrained structure. The Washington Cabs are always showing high alcohol and rough tannins corrected with severe oak flavors.
The texture and the flavors are showing some good winemaking techniques. With fresh cocoa and coffee aromas, the texture was creamy and the tannins very ripe and soft.
Unfortunately, the winemaker knows it since he retails at $40 a bottle. Talking about the winemaker, his name is John Steel. He is the winemaker at Northstar but also run his own show at John Steele Wine. Definitely a name to look for. Did you ever have it?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Nebbiolo makes a great rose


Piedmont doesn't have a rose tradition. In the heat of summer, Torino and Milan are drinking frizzante (semi-sparkling) red wine. Made with the fruity Fraisa and Bonarda, those wines needs to be served chilled because of their residual sugar. To get residual sugar, just stop fermentation before all the sugar becomes alcohol.

So no rose tradition in Piedmont but Polaner imports a great Rose "El Mimo" from the Ghemme region. This wine is made with Nebbiolo grapes which is the noble grape of Piedmont. You may not know Nebbiolo but you surely tasted Barolo or Barbaresco made from this varietal. Nebbiolo produces wines with strong scents of rose and tar (at best) with rough tannins and acidity. Yes they need a lot of ageing in the bottle…
That’s the subject of another post.

With a 24 hours fermentation, Il Mimo collects the floral aromas and the acidity of the varietal, avoiding the rough tannins. So in the bottle, you are getting strawberry flavors, a nice acidity and some light tannin allowing the wine to get this "grip" in your palate. This grip combined to the acidity makes the fruits linger longer and give you a good mouthfeel.

A great rose with or without food. Perfect with kebob or grilled chicken.

I am still looking for a minerally rose on the US market. Any idea?

Apologies to my readers

First I would like to apologize to all my readers.
My last post is from March and it's totally unacceptable.
I didn't give up on wine, indeed I go so much into it that writing this wine blog was overwhelming.

So I studied Unit 3 of the Diploma of WSET from January to June, organized the wine Meetup during the first half of the year and then went on a wine tour in Bordeaux. Unfortunately, tasting wines for the exam one night, tasting wine in my study group the next and tasting wine with the club was borderline excessive.
I know understand the blasé attitude of my classmates working in the trade.
Maybe I should stick to finance; I am never blasé when talking about stocks.

So back to a more normal tasting pace, I will keep updating you with on great wine experiences. But after this intensive first semester, I will expand to tasting techniques and will strive to relate the taste of the wine to the winemaking (Viniculture) and the winemaking (Viticulture). Describing a wine in length is like guessing the nutritional content of a bottle. Relating the tasting notes to the process of making wine helps you understand its pedigree.

So welcome back.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

A good Chianti...Classico


Sorry folks

I didn't post much but amazingly enough I never tasted so many wines. Every Tuesday since January is the Diploma wine class and six wines to taste. The following day, some of the students are joining together to taste another 8 wines. By Thursday, I am done and don't feel like writing or talking about wine. But it looks like my mind is getting to it and you could expect one post per week very soon.

From last month NYC Wine Club’s event, I picked what was my best bottle of Chianti ever. Quality level in the category is going down so this bottle was a standout. The winery is Roccadelle Macie, owned by a retired boxer, and the bottled is coming from a single vineyard; Saint Alfonso.

Tenuta Sant' Alfonso Chianti Classico 2001 Roccadelle Macie is still a medium to medium high body wine but the oak flavors are very integrated and the extraction isn't crazy.
A good quality Chianti for $20.