Friday, February 5, 2016

Marques de Grinon, Caliza Red, 2010

Following the CUNE Rioja and the paella (see below), this Marques de Grinon beauty was served to accompany puchero, a traditional Spanish stew. The smells and flavors of both the wine and the stew still linger in my memory.

Caliza is from grapes grown on limestone soil, 70% Syrah and 30% Petit Verdot with maybe a bit of Graciano. It's a beautiful wine.

Deep and purplish. Oak is a big part of Spanish wine. The Petit Verdot aromas are entrancing--intense but elegant. Black fruits and dark chocolate. Very deep and comlex. The alcohol level is 14.5% but the wine carries it well. In fact, it may bring out the aromas with greater intensity. This is another wine I want in my cellar.

CUNE Crianza Rioja, 2011

Last summer, as a treat for my son-in-law and daughter who had bought me a fine bottle of Rioja as a Father's Day present, I dug into the cellar to dig out a couple of Riojas from the 1970s--a 1978 CUNE Crianza and a 1975 Vina Turzabella Gran Reserva from Ramon Bilbao. Both were beautifully complex. And, surprisingly, the CUNE Crianza was showing as well as the Gran Reserva beside it. Crianza is the lowest level of Rioja, aged for the shortest period in oak, while the Reservas and Gran Reservas are made for aging (and even more aging.)

I made a mental note to buy some current bottles of CUNE. And, after tasting this 2011 at a wine dinner hosted by Cosmo's Cucina Restaurant and D&W Market in Kalamazoo, I have done so.

Deep ruby color. I'm sure it has seen more new oak than the 1978. Deep, deep scents and flavors of cherry and red berries. I can taste the oak but it's subtle and well integrated with the concentrated fruit flavors. I thought I smelled Garnacha, but I learned later that it's 100% Temperanillo. How will this wine taste in 35 years? I probably won't be around to find out, but I suspect that it might.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Domaine de l'Oratoire St. Martin Cuvee Prestige, 2001

This is an old favorite of mine that I don't get a chance to drink as often as I did during the early and mid-1990s because the price has finally caught up to the quality. From 100-year-old vines in one of the best sites of Cairanne, this is a special wine. And 15 years after the vintage, this 2001 is showing exceptional fruit presence.

The color is a deep ruby, and there are glorious Cairanne scents of small red berries, flowers and minerals. Not as peppery as some vintages but very forward fruit for a wine of this age. I finished my 1998s several years ago, and they were all more advanced than this 2001. Medium bodied and a rather elegant demeanor. 13.5% alcohol is just right for this wine. A long finish; my taste buds tingle for minutes.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Boskydel Vineyards Leelanau Peninsula Vignoles, 2009

I had some Boskydel Vignoles bottles from 1982 that were drinking quite well in their second decade, and winemaker/owner Bernie Rink's response was, "Of course." I firmly believe (and Bernie believes even more firmly) that white wines from Michigan's Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas have the acid and fruit stuffing to age long as they are not overly manipulated.

This 2009 Vignoles has matured nicely with broad aromas and flavors of green apple, citrus and minerals. But it has turned to a medium deep color, and I'm inclined to drink my last bottle sooner rather than later.

Debbie Simpson, owner of Good Harbor Wines a few miles away from Boskydel, told me that her Chardonnays seem to do very well after about five to seven years. That strikes me as a good drinking window, and I have one more bottle of the 2007 Good Harbor Chardonnay to test that hypothesis later this year. (Oops, now we're talking nine years, and I'm sure that the wine will past the test.) Sorry, but I just can't wait on the 2012 Pinot Grigio I bought at Good Harbor last summer; it's too good, right now.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Domaine Sainte-Anne Cotes du Rhone, 2004

Many Bordeaux wines seem to become sweeter as they age, and that's a good trait. Domaine Sainte-Anne Cotes du Rhone wines go in the opposite direction, becoming more savory as the initial bold fruitiness fades away. That, too, is a good trait, in my opinion.

Deep ruby. Raspberries, blueberries, aromatic herbs and flowers. A nose that enchants. Fruit acids and tannins are still strong on the palate. Somewhat Pinot-like. Brighter than the 2001 at this stage but not quite as complex.

Jacobs Creek Barossa Reserve Shiraz, 2007

I know there are Jacobs Creek wines--Shiraz, Cabernet, Chardonnay--on the shelves right now selling for $5.99 or less. They are worth that price (although not much more). This bottle is a Reserve Shiraz that received a good review from Wine & Spirits Magazine a few years back. I bought one bottle at Binny's in Chicago for $12 and put it away. Glad I did.

Deep and dark. This wine has seen plenty of oak, but it's pretty well integrated at this point and showing well. Blueberries, blackberries, anise and dill weed. More acidic than I expected from a Barossa Shiraz, and that is a plus. Good fruit focus and concentration on the finish with a sweetness that provides a nice counter to a spicy chili.

Jean Descombes Morgon, 2005

Based on my experience, Jean Descombes Morgon always ages very well. And at 10 years of age, this 2005 is just hitting its stride.

Some garnet tones along with the deep ruby. And some sediment at the bottom of the bottle. But no other signs of advancing age. Bright strawberry/cherry fruit with spice tones. Very much like a good cool climate Pinot Noir, like those from Northern California. Vivid fruit acids. Just the right amount of ripeness. Good grip on the finish. Secondary and tertiary aromas and flavors are just beginning to add some complexity. I'd like to see what develops over the next five years, but the flavors are just too good to pass up right now.