TN: A slow few months

Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
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Ryan M
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Location: Atchison, KS

TN: A slow few months

#1 Post by Ryan M » May 11th, 2020, 9:54 pm

Hello folks! I hope this finds you all healthy and with more bottles of wine than rolls of toilet paper in your houses. Until just recently the spring had been rather slow wine-wise, but I think you'll find some fun and nerdy stuff from all over in this batch.

Golan Heights Winery, Mount Herman Red, Galilee 2018
Cab Sauv and Merlot, with a small amount of Cab Franc. Lovely color, deep ruby, hinting at plum. Ripe and lush but juicy nose of fresh blueberry, cassis, with slightly herbaceous tobacco leaf (from the Cab Franc), a touch of peppercorn, dusty earth, and leather. On the palate, blueberry, tart cherry, cassis, and plum, with tobacco, peppery spice, earth, mineral, and puckery tannin. Medium bodied, lush but juicy and slightly tart. Ripe and somewhat international in style but with its acid and fruit character pointing to its Mediterranean origin; blind, I probably would have guessed Italy. 2 Stars [2/1/20]

Schloss Lieser, Riesling Trocken, Mosel 2016
Pale straw-yellow with a suggestion of green. Deep, exceptional nose of petrol, salty mineral, and citrus rind, with rich pineapple and plum/apricot, all with undertones of honey and flowers. On the palate, this wine is absolutely packed with rich, dense, penetrating, acid-driven fruit; plum, slightly bitter citron rind, and fresh pineapple, with peppery spice, loads of slate / salty mineral, all of lots of rich honey. Full bodied, rich, and intense, with exceptional depth, and a long finish, all driven by potent, slightly steely citrus acidity. The depth of quality here for under $15 is extremely impressive. 5 - 10 years ahead, probably longer given that it’s under screwcap. 3.5 Stars [2/8/20]

Thymiopoulos, Xinomavro, Young Vines, Naoussa 2017
Translucent, medium-deep ruby, pink then clear at the rum. Very good nose with excellent depth, combining Nebbiolo-style leather, forest floor, mushroom, and cocoa-powder, with Pinot Noir-style meaty cherry and juicy blueberry, all with smokey stone/mineral; sweet and juicy, with nice earthy depth. On the palate, lush and juicy but meaty cherry, blackberry, and blueberry, green tobacco-leaf-like notes, chocolate, pepper and spice, with loads of mineral/stone and sweet but spicy tannin lingering on the finish; some more savory, plum-tomato-like hints emerge with air. Medium-full bodied with fresh acidity, the fruit sits lightly, but underlying that is some good density and grippy, spicy structure. Very food friendly. Fans of Italian wines and/or California Pinot Noir will enjoy this one. The quality is very good, and while you can definitely tell that this is from younger, more exuberant vines, I expect they will produce wines with considerable density and complexity in the future. Has the structure for 3 - 5 more years, but I would drink it now. 3 Stars [2/16/20]

Roku, Gewurztraminer, Monterey 2018
Medium-light straw yellow. Low key nose of orchard fruit, a touch of melon, tropical fruits, honey suckle, peppercorn, and stone. On the palate, honeyed pear upfront, then nectarine/plum, pineapple/tropicals (a hint of guava?), with a driving vein of lime, white pepper and green peppercorn, and generous stoney mineral. Medium-full bodied, with rich, honeyed fruit, medium-sweet but balanced by generous, citrusy, slightly steely acidity; mineral and potent spice linger on the finish. This is very much in the German/Alsatian style, but with more prominent acidity than Gewurztraminer typically has, and with riper fruit. Very nicely done. Drink now or in the next 3 - 5 years. 2.5 Stars [2/25/20]

Simi, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley 2016
Very nice color, dark ruby. Exceptional nose of fresh, dark berries, loamy earth, mineral, and generous spice, all with tobacco leaf, cedar, cocoa powder, and Alexander Valley’s signature evergreen notes; fresh and yet rich and dense, a classical Cabernet nose, lovely. On the palate, loads of fresh, rich, dense black cherry, blackberry, black currant, and plum, with a touch of tobacco leaf, dark chocolate, undertones of liqueur-like fruit, and fine, all infused with generous peppery spice and mineral that linger on a medium-long finish along with with abundant, fine, leathery tannin. Medium-full bodied, rich and dense, savory and succulently fleshy, but sits lightly and elegantly due to excellent, fresh acidity. A more classically styled Cab Sauv (but with some attractive modern-style fruit); Cab Sauv like this is why I prefer the style of Alexander Valley over Napa; I wish more Cali Cab Sauv was just like this. And the quality for the under $25 price is extraordinary. With the completeness and balance of its components, this can age nicely for another 5 - 10 years, and I’d be interested to what it is like in 15. 3.5 Stars [2/27/20]

Aubert Vignobles, Heritage de La Couspade, Bordeaux Superieur 2016
85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc. Not a second label of Chateau La Couspade, but rather from the family’s vineyard holdings in Entre-Deux-Mers. Dark ruby/garnet. Excellent but low key nose of dark berries, tobacco, spice, and loads of tarry earth and mineral; becoming rather lovely as it opens. Tight on the palate, with loads of fresh, tart blackberry, some cassis, tobacco leaf, loads of potent spice, loads of stone/mineral, and huge tannins, with savory fruit on the finish. Dense and intense, on the light side of full bodied, with big, fresh acidity. Not ready yet, either decant it for 1 - 2 hours, or give it another 5 - 10 years, and then drink from 10 - 20 years. 3.5 Stars, possibly 4 Stars with time. [2/29/20]

Proa, Brut, Cava NV
Light but rich yellow. Low key but nice, fresh nose of orchard fruit, mineral, and toast. On the palate, ripe, sweet apple upfront, some peach/apricot, perhaps even a touch of pineapple, all with lime/citrus, lots of mineral, some spice, and toast. Medium-full bodied, richly textured with some yeasty creaminess; a bit of lingering, unbalanced bitterness holds this back from being truly excellent, but this is still a very nice, satisfying Cava, with some nice depth. 2.5 Stars [3/7/20]

Field Recordings, Skins, Central Coast 2018
40% Chenin Blanc, 25% Pinot Gris, 25% Riesling, 10% Verdelho. Orange-gold, with a hint of red. Extraordinary nose, unlike any white wine I’ve experience; a core of apricot with meaty, dried cherry, orange blossom / flower nectar, and nutmeg, all with earthy tannin, and lots of stone/mineral; a fragrant, somewhat Sauternes-like nose, but also heady like a red wine; absolutely fascinating, love the nose! On the palate, just a hint of Sherry-like yeastiness upfront, then apple cider, fresh peach and fleshy apricot (almost plum), some pineapple, all with clementine/orange citrus, and cherry/raspberry lingering on finish loaded with spice, mineral, and tannin. Full bodied, with wonderfully rich, ripe fruit supported by prominent, fresh acidity, and the substantial tannin; rather fat, even somewhat oily, in texture; excellent sense of depth, and extraordinary balance. This is extremely impressive, and I am rather smitten by it. With its tannic structure and balance, this has a solid 10 years ahead of it, perhaps as much as 20, and I wouldn’t be shocked to find it alive beyond that. 4 Stars [3/14/20]

Camille Benitah, Agile, Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles 2018
Good color, medium-dark ruby, with a hint of purple. Exceptional nose of fresh, deep, dried cherry, blackberry, and cassis, with tobacco/evergreen, sweet, cocoa-laden earth, and generous stone; wonderful nose, a bit like an Alexander Valley Cab Sauv. On the palate, fresh, juicy, meaty dried cherry, black raspberry, and cassis, all wonderfully tart, with lots of sweet/spicy tannin and red fruit lingering on the finish. Full bodied with impressive presence, with fresh, acid-driven balance, and with a fleshy-savory texture. A wonderful Cab Sauv. 5 - 10 years ahead. 3.5 Stars [3/15/20]

Fontanafredda, Bricc Tondo, Barbera, Piemonte 2017
Medium ruby with a hint of purple. Very nice, sweet, savory, juicy nose of dark cherry, plum, plum tomato, a touch of orange rind, dark earth and stone with a touch of cocoa powder, leather and herbaceous tobacco; heady, dark fruit with nice earthy depth; Italianate, but with Bordeaux-like firm fruit and fine minerality; very expressive on the nose. Same notes on the palate; dark cherry and plum, perhaps a touch of raspberry as well, orange rind, a bit of plum tomato, and then an herbal/minty/tobacco note before a finish with lots of stone and dark earth, and lingering sweet, juicy berry notes. Medium bodied, savory with delightfully sweet and juicy fruit, driven by prominent acidity, and with nice depth and undertone. Very food friendly, perfect wine for your casual Saturday night pizza or spaghetti. This is made in an approachable, friendly style, but there is respectable underlying quality and it is well made. Drink now. 2.5 Stars [3/28/20]

El Coto, Blanco, Rioja 2018
Pale but lustrous straw-yellow. Delightful, fresh, inviting nose of ripe stone fruit, melon, and generous lemon, all with lush honey, beeswax, and mineral. On the palate, loads of ripe peach, lemon, and honeydew, with a touch of fleshy plum, all with lots of honey and mineral, and some lingering notes of white pepper on the mid-length finish. Medium-full bodied, with a fleshy, lush, slightly fat texture, driven and supported by generous citrusy, slightly steely acidity; excellent presence. Mostly Viura, according to the back label, and I suspect there is a substantial amount of Garnacha Blanca, given the fatness of texture and the character of its acids. This is a delightful white with excellent substance that will appeal to a wide range of white wine lovers. Will pair well with Asian cuisine, seafood, and salads. Drink now, but will hold up well for 3 - 5 years, and might be very interesting when more mature. 2.5 Stars [4/5/20]

Bending Branch Winery, Tannat, Texas 2017
Impressive color, inky ruby, almost black. Extraordinary nose, loads of rich, dense, black fruit, cured tobacco and tons of leather, generous peppery spice, tar/asphalt, graphite, and chalk; reminds me a of a classed-growth Pauillac (Bordeaux). On the palate, big, intense, rich, dense black cherry and cassis, liqueur-like notes, loads of peppercorn (black, green, and white), leather, lots tarry earth/mineral, and huge tannins, laden with mineral and spice, lingering on the medium-long finish. Full bodied and intense, with big acid to balance its rich fruit and huge tannins, savory and slightly succulent in texture; in spite of its massive components, its balance is more refined than rustic, and it sits on the palate unexpected albeit rustic poise. This could put even biggest Napa Valley Cab Sauv in its place. Simply put, this is extremely impressive, probably the finest Tannat I have had from anywhere in the world, and an achievement for Texas. And its high acidity makes it very food friendly. Note that on day 2, the fruit pulls back, and it is a bit over-breathed (even under vacuum, curiously enough), but in the way of a good port, it takes the oxidation more or less in stride) 10 - 15 years ahead, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find it alive and well in 20. But also remarkably approachable now, if you don’t mind its youthful intensity. 4 Stars [4/11/20]

Raymond Lafon, Sauternes 2013
Lovely color, medium golden with a hint of orange. Exceptional, fragrant, deep, complex nose of apricot, something like dried mango, a hint of raspberry, fresh honey, floral honey suckle, a faint whiff of something herbal, a touch of hazelnuts, all with a cantaloup / musk melon not, vanilla, generous beeswax, even a touch of coconut, and allspice, all underlaid by wet stone; very nice! On the palate, apricot, a touch of macerated raspberry, clover honey, raw hazelnut, a touch of celery / grassy herbs, and vanilla, all laden with potent allspice notes and with lots of stone/mineral that linger on the medium-long, honeyed finish; a note of orange marmalade emerges toward the finish in the last drop. Full bodied, luscious, and very spicy. Much better on day two (left re-corked an not evacuated overnight), when its bitter spice has integrated, and it grows and grows with air. This is a baby still, with lots of upside potential, and I suspect it has layers and layers to reveal. Give it 5 - 10 more years; 20 - 30 years ahead. 3.5 Stars for drinking now, 4+ Star potential. [4/13/20]

Les Allees de Cantemerle, Haut-Medoc 2016
Lovely color, dark but translucent and very pure ruby; gemlike. Exceptional nose, lots of juicy, dark fruit (black cherry, blackberry, cassis, plum), cigar tobacco, spice, cedar, earth, and graphite/mineral; deep and fragrant. On the palate, meaty black cherry upfront, blackberry, cassis and tart red currant, and then a hint of tobacco, with loads of savory tomato-like notes, and then boatloads of spice, mineral and tannin that linger on an very good, medium-length finish. Very full bodied, with racy, fresh acidity; it sits deceptively lightly upfront before revealing huge tannin underneath all of the lush, juicy, dark fruit; savory and spicy in texture. Drink now or in the next 5 years. 3.5 Stars [4/19/20]

Kim Crawford, Rose, New Zealand 2018
93% Merlot, 3% Malbec, 3% Syrah, and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon. Very nice color, lustrous, medium salmon (pinkish orange). Subtle but rich and dense yet fresh nose of savory cherry, blackberry, and cassis, with earthy undertones and some hints of flowers and citrus. On the palate, rich, savory black cherry, fresh blackberry jam, black currant, and plum, all with overtones of strawberry, with sweet lemon/orange citrus, mineral and spice that linger on a savory, slightly earthy finish. Full bodied, remarkably rich and dense, fresh and sweet and yet also somewhat meaty, all driven by citrusy acidity. This is a very substantial rose of very good quality. Will do very well with pork, salmon, and tuna dishes (it is not a picnic rose). Drink now or in the next few years. 3.5 Stars [4/26/20]

Ondine Chattan, Chardonnay, Russian River Valley 2018
Light straw yellow. Lovely, aromatic nose, with sense of rich depth; lots of honey, orchard fruit, citrus rind, flowers, stone, and a very nice touch of oak; fresh and clean. On the palate, honeyed pear up front, then nectarine, all with loads of lemon and overtones of white flowers, and with excellent stone/mineral depth, with nice touches of oak and spice on the finish. Full bodied, rich but fresh, with excellent acidity; I love the honeyed texture, rich, fleshy fruit, and mineral depth. Clean and elegant, this is very much in the Burgundian style, but with Californian richness; excellent quality and very well made. Very food friendly, and delightfully easy to drink. 5 - 10 solid years ahead, and given its balance and substance, I would be interested to see how it evolves beyond that. A lovely wine, and an impressive effort. 3.5 Stars [5/3/20]

San Zenone, Rosso, Toscana 2015
Nice color, medium ruby/garnet. Lovely, aromatic Tuscan nose of black cherry, raspberry, currant, plum, violets, tobacco, orange rind, earth, and smoke. On the palate, cherry, black raspberry, plum, tobacco leaf, orange, spice, and earth. Medium-full bodied with respectable density, juicy, savory, spicy, pleasantly tart but lush. Chianti-like, but probably has some Cabernet Sauvignon. Very Nice. 3 Stars [5/2/20]

Le Mas de Collines, A et C de Taxis, Gigondas 2007
Medium, translucent garnet. Exceptional, dense and rich nose of black cherry, black currant, black raspberry, 2007’s fig notes, lavender, dried Provencial herbs, olive, tobacco leaf, white pepper, tar, smoke, barnyard and earth. On the palate, black cherry with tones of blackberry, some cassis, red raspberry, fig, tobacco, leaf, orange rind, and olive, with loads of white pepper, lavender, and tarry/smokey earth/mineral. Very full bodied, potent, rich and dense, very spicy, and somewhat lush; a long, spicy finish. Definitely a ripe style, but 2007s overt ripeness has resolved; the complexity toward the finish was so satisfying. So good! Showing maturity (may even be too mature for those who preferred the riper style of its youth), this is the perfect time to drink it. 4 Stars [5/2/20]

Loxton, Port, Sonoma Valley 2015
Excellent color, inky ruby. Excellent nose, dense, rich, and sweet, with black cherry, blackberry, black currant, fig, tobacco, tar, mineral, and earth; fragrant, rich but fresh, with peppery spice that you feel in your nose. On the palate, loads of blackberry, black raspberry, and black currants, fig, tobacco leaf, chocolate, tarry earth, lots of mineral and spice. Full bodied, rich and dense fruit, with compote-like sweetness; sweet and attractive, but with some potent structure. Nonetheless, very easy to drink. Probably Cabernet Sauvignon-based; very nicely done. 5 - 10 strong years ahead, and will last beyond that. 3.5 Stars [5/2/20]

Markham, Zinfandel, Napa Valley 2015
Nice color, translucent medium ruby. Lovely nose of currants and black raspberry, with leather/cured tobacco, liquid smoke, wonderful dusty earth / cocoa powder, all with loads of spice and warm red raspberry jam; very Napa, and very Zinfandel. On the palate, meaty, dark currant/cherry, loads of blackberry, raspberry, and plum, with tarry earth, orange rind, sweet tobacco leaf, and lots of spice that lingers on the long finish of lovely red raspberry with a touch of lemon. Medium-full bodied; on the savory side, warm and lush, but with lovely juiciness due to its generous acidity; lovely and elegant, but spicy, warm and ripe. Extremely well made; this is what Zinfandel can be, but almost never is. 5 - 10 years ahead given its excellence balance, and its maturity should be stunning, 3.5 Stars [5/10/20]
R y a n M a d e r a k

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