Baucusian Frenzy: Tasting Some Great Wines!
By Kerry Winslow
Some days or weeks are better than others, and this week was very very good as it relates to wine anyway, even it was not as good for weather, which was foggy hell in San Francisco, and not for cars, mine, brake master cylinder, but that aside the vino was as good as it gets with magical experiences including Cedric Bouchard Champagne, Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage, Calera Pinots, Luc Morlet’s Chardonnays, Montevertine, Dragonette, Clos Lalfert and a fantastic Corton Grand Cru Burgundy just to name a few! This was pure hedonism for wine professionals, and I thank all those that shared these wonderful selections with me, friends, co-workers, employers, wine reps, this was like all the stars aligning and I am truly thankful of such a Baucusian Frenzy!
Here is a quick recap, with full reviews to follow soon!
2008 Clos Lalfert, Rouge Vin de Pays de L’ Herault, Languedoc, France.
A lovely and elegant wine made by an ex-Burgundy winemaker showing that there is glory beyond the Cote D’ Or with this pretty and richly flavored red made from Carignan and Syrah. Violets, cinnamon, red berries, plums and refined tannins.
($40 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive
2010 Domaine Pierre Guillemot, Corton “Le Rognet et Corton” Grand Cru Red Burgundy, France.
Near perfect example of Grand Cru Cote de Beaune, Guillemot’s Corton shows fine details, grand fruit and sublime balance with glorious red currant, plum and a intense core or cherry fruit while crushed stones, briar and flowers add complexities. Transparent, vivid and full of elegant intensity.
($100 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive
2009 Montevertine, Montevertine Rosso IGT, Radda, Tuscany, Italy.
This non-classified Chianti Classico from the hills of Radda in Chianti, Montevertine is a tuscan masterpiece that is without question an Italian treasure! This firm and youthful Sangiovese storms the palate with blackberry, plum and red fruits while tobacco leaf, dried currants, mint and black licorice all play roles in this seductive wine.
($50 Est.) 94+ Points, grapelive
n.v. Cedric Bouchard, Brut Champagne, Inflorescence “La Parcelle” Blanc de Noirs, No Dosage, Celles-sur-Ource, France.
This one man show, by the artisan bubbly maestro Cedric Bouchard, is hard not to fall in love with, no doubt this tiny handcrafted Champagne is nothing short of brilliant with vibrant intensity and layers of pleasure. Made from 35 Year Old Pinot vines, with severe selection this Blanc de Noirs is unique and joyous showing grip, roundness and depth. Lemon, brioche, white cherry, mineral and nutty toast.
($100 Est.) 94+ Points, grapelive
2001 Giuseppe Quintarelli, Ca’ del Merlo, IGT, Valpolicella, Veneto Red, Italy.
From the late great Giuseppe Quintarelli, this spicy sweet red has dried currants, compote, mocha and tea spices with hints of fig paste, plum sauce and raspberry notes.
($79 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive
2010 Booker “Ripper” Grenache, Paso Robles.
Young and devine, this 100% Grenache is a forceful expression with lots more to come in the next few years, The Booker “Ripper” comes on with powerful Chateauneuf like red fruits, baked cherry, raspberry, boysenberry, grenadine and liqueur like thickness. Should be even better with a few years of clearing, be patient…
($60 Est.) 92-93 Points, grapelive
2009 Capiaux, Pinot Noir “Pisoni Vineyard” Santa Lucia Highlands.
Sean Capiaux is turning out awesome wines these days and while all of his Pinots sing with quality and charms, this 2009 Pisoni is really coming into its own now with massive, Grand Cru like fruit, richness and life! This vineyard continues to show magic, and Capiaux is more than talented in getting everything right, this wine shows terroir, boldness and is held together by smooth tannins and subtle acidity. Blackberry, Bramble, sweet herbs, truffle, mocha and lengthy cherry fruit all flow across the mouth filling palate. While not shy, this is a Pinot lovers dream, enjoy for another 5-7 years.
($55 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive
1981 Château Coutet, Premier Grand Cru Classé 1855, Barsac “Cuvee Madame” Sauternes, Dessert Wine, France.
A super rare treat, especially for me, as I don’t come across mature Sauternes too often, I found this lovely Barsac an interesting example with less Noble Rot elements, but non the less a joyful dessert wine with lemon and orange fruit and rind, sweet peaches, candied pineapple, a touch of vanilla bean and dried Apricots.
($300 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive
2009 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave, L’ Hermitage Blanc, Rhone Valley, France.
One of the greatest white wines in the world, and one that blew away even my high expectations, the 2009 Chave Hermitage Blanc, a Marsanne and Roussanne blend is utterly mind-blowing with amazing textural richness and fantastic length showing mineral spice, butterscotch, clove and wet stones before opening up to pretty white flowers, peach, apple and nectarine. Words just don’t do it, this really is a special experience, one that sadly doesn’t come often enough! I have been luck to have tried a few vintages of Chave and Chapoutier Hermitage Blanc and never was left wanting, these white Rhone wines are true legends!
($340 Est.) 97+ Points, grapelive
2009 Calera, Pinot Noir “Mills Vineyard” Mt. Harlan.
While not the Jensen, this 2009 Mills is a gem, and a super wine to behold, Josh Jensen is one of California’s most celebrated Pinot Noir masters, and his latest wines are rock star quality, don’t miss them! The Mills shows loads of ripe fruit, loamy earth, game, red spices, smoky subtle oak and a mix of dried flowers with currant, cherry and strawberry layers framed by firm tannins and nice acidity.
($48 Est.) 92-93 Points, grapelive
2009 Calera, Pinot Noir “Ryan Vineyard” Mt. Harlan.
The 2009 Ryan by Calera shows plenty of earthy and briny elects, almost savory to start before a flow of raspberry, plum and tangy cherry fruits come to the fore. Of all the latest Calera this might be my least favorite, but still it is a quality wine with lots going on, I might suggest putting a few away and see how it develops, I think it might become of more friendly Pinot with some cellar time, and with Calera’s great track record for extended aging, it looks a safe bet this wine will reward patience.
($45 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive
2009 Calera, Pinot Noir “De Villiers Vineyard” Mt. Harlan.
Of Calera’s great Pinot selections, a wonderland of terroir driven Pinots, this De Villiers is my personal pick to drink now and often, it is a lovely fruit forward Pinot from Josh’s Mt. Harlan estate. Plus, for a single vineyard Calera, it is a steal! Racy and sexy, this easy Pinot shows ripe plum and black cherry fruit, peppery spices, sweet oak notes and nice acidity. Look for 3-5 Years of drinking pleasure, a perfect way to enjoy an evening, the De Villiers is a fun wine.
($36 Est.) 92+ Points, grapelive