Recent TNs and brief impressions (I know, catchy title)

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Andrew Demaree
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Recent TNs and brief impressions (I know, catchy title)

#1 Post by Andrew Demaree » December 30th, 2011, 9:20 pm

It's been a while since I posted any notes, so it feels like time to do that. All of these were consumed in the last 6 weeks or so. Would love to hear others' impressions of the wines, too, if anyone's up for it.

Happy (almost) New Year!

  • 2001 Etude Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley (12/30/2011)
    Very different beast than the '04 Larkmead Solari drank immediately before it. This shows even darker fruit, less overt sweetness, and a pleasing savory aspect on the finish. Reminds me of the '97 Karl Lawrence in profile. Long finish. Feels like this is just at the front of its window, with many years of fine drinking ahead. (93 pts.)
  • 2001 Cavallotto Barolo Bricco Boschis - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo (12/30/2011)
    Suave barolo on the cusp of full maturity. Lovely nose of roses and cherries. Red fruits and a lithe mouthfeel on the palate, with nicely balanced tannins and acidity. Smooth, clean finish. Very well made. This was a great pairing with venison in a cognac & lingonberry sauce. (92 pts.)
  • 2004 Larkmead Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Solari (Reserve) - USA, California, Napa Valley (12/30/2011)
    Incredible nose on opening. Rich, dark fruit; sweet, full, and velvety. Only thing missing was some of the complexity seen other vintages, even in the normal cuvee cab. I'm not sure this will develop that way, but holding a few more years wouldn't hurt and might answer the question. (92 pts.)
  • 2006 Neal Family Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley (12/30/2011)
    Could use more time on its side, as it's showing a little too much polish from its oak for my tastes. Not over the top, but needing to evolve a bit more to develop some complexity. At the moment, it's simply a pleasant glass of cab that neither requires nor inspires contemplation. (89 pts.)
  • 2005 Il Poggione (Proprietá Franceschi) Brunello di Montalcino - Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino (12/23/2011)
    Beautiful perfumed bouquet of spring flowers, talcum, and red licorice. Medium-full in the mouth, with good accessibility even at this early stage in its development. Graceful on the mid-palate with a good balance of acidity, tannin, and fruit. Finish is clean and a touch short. Lots to like here, and a wide window in which to enjoy it. (92 pts.)
  • 2007 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva - Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Classico (12/23/2011)
    Starting to sound redundant, but I really like this wine. Ready to go with minimal air, but also showing some underlying tannin tonight that suggests it has a good decade of fine drinking ahead of it. (90 pts.)
  • 2007 Marchesi de' Frescobaldi Chianti Rùfina Nipozzano Riserva - Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Rùfina (12/23/2011)
    Drank against two other '07 chianti and this was the unanimous third place wine. A traditional style with a rustic, herbal note on the nose that continues on the palate. (88 pts.)
  • 2010 Vindemio Côtes du Ventoux Imagine - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Ventoux (12/22/2011)
    Nice fruit and texture, but this is currently disjointed and needs a year or two to come together. 87 for current drinking, with several points possible if it works out the kinks. That said, this won't ever be a mid-90s wine to my palate. (87 pts.)
  • 1996 Paradigm Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville (12/20/2011)
    Started off a bit simple, suggesting it was a little over the hill. However, this really blossomed with an hour or so of air, developing a more compelling nose and adding baking spice & white pepper notes to the smooth black cherry fruit. Medium(+) body and finish. Quite a bargain for about $30 at auction. (91 pts.)
  • 2007 Fontodi Chianti Classico - Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Classico (12/20/2011)
    Beautiful, traditional chianti that is approachable early in this vintage. Doesn't have the oomph or potential longevity of the '04, but it sure is tasty right now. (89 pts.)
  • 2007 Hall Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley - USA, California, Napa Valley (12/20/2011)
    Very nice modern styled cab, with lush dark fruit and a hint of oak spice without being over the top. A significant step up from the '06. (89 pts.)
  • 1997 Turnbull Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville (12/16/2011)
    Nice mature fruit, but with some air a note of barnyard makes an appearance, which is not a draw for me. (87 pts.)
  • 1995 Robert Craig Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain - USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain (12/7/2011)
    Too earthy for me, which is pretty unusual. Also felt it was a little tired, but this was an auction bottle so provenance is unknown. (88 pts.)
  • 2010 Château Pesquié Côtes du Ventoux Terrasses - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Ventoux (12/7/2011)
    Like my first bottle last month, this is fairly tannic and not in balance (at least not yet). It also seemed to have elevated acidity in a way that is uncharacteristic for this cuvee, which I've had 6 other vintages. I'm not sure this will become as enjoyable as I'd hoped but I have 10 more to find out. Right now, I'd happily trade it for any other vintage of this I've tasted. (86 pts.)
  • 2005 Fountainhead Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford (12/1/2011)
    Sweet red fruit and a smooth texture with a lengthy finish. There was a bit of milk chocolate that I don't remember from my previous bottle. Definitely modern Napa style. (90 pts.)
  • 2005 Switchback Ridge Merlot Peterson Family Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley (11/27/2011)
    I was going to write a note and then realized I'd basically be repeating the 9/11/11 note made by another taster. Probably the most enjoyable CA merlot I've had and, at $45, still a good buy. Stylistically, it reminded me of the '02 Larkmead merlot, which I also loved in its prime. A definite repeat buy. (93 pts.)
  • 2004 Podere Poggio Scalette Il Carbonaione Alta Valle della Greve IGT - Italy, Tuscany, Alta Valle della Greve IGT (11/27/2011)
    Much more approachable and smoother than I'd expected. Very nice Sangiovese in a sleeker style than I remember from the '95 I had two years ago. Great nose. (91 pts.)
  • 2001 Rudd Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Grown Oakville - USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville (11/25/2011)
    Great nose, reminding me that there's a decent splash of cab franc in the blend. Full, round and engaging in the mouth, with dark roasted coffee, dark chocolate, and plums. Tannins are nicely woven through the lengthy finish. This is really just a young adult of a wine, with plenty of time ahead of it. Excellent. (93 pts.)
  • 2009 Stefania Haut Tubee - USA, California (11/22/2011)
    Opens with an expressive nose of juicy red fruit, which is mirrored on the palate. As noted by another reviewer, there is a touch of green present but I find it a nice accent note vs. a sign of under-ripeness. Medium-bodied with a mild sweetness that tells you there's plenty of zin in the blend. A bit disjointed on the spicy/tangy finish, which should cone together with more time in the cellar. A fun bottle for $20. (89 pts.)
  • 2005 Bisceglia Aglianico del Vulture Gudarrà - Italy, Basilicata, Aglianico del Vulture (11/20/2011)
    Started off really muddled but turned into a charmer with 45 minutes of air. Nice combination of warm red fruit, old leather, and medium roast coffee notes. Probably at peak, with no hurry to consume. (91 pts.)
  • 2007 Audelssa Estate Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Valley - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley (11/20/2011)
    Has made great strides since my last bottle, and is now lovely. Terrific fruit matched by sweet and savory herb and earthy aspects, with moderate structure and a smooth finish. Wish I had more, as this is a definite winner at $30. (91 pts.)
  • 2007 Garric Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley (11/20/2011)
    Gave it an hour of air and it seemed a bit bretty, which I hadn't expected and have not experienced on a Napa cab. Opened up more and the brett note receded moderately (but was still present) at two hours. Black fruit and spicy oak, with a nice richness that reminds me of bitter cacao. Full in the mouth, with a lingering oak and spice note in the finish. I hope my others don't show any brett, as I think this will otherwise be a lovely wine in 3-5 years when the oak integrates. (90 pts.)
  • 2004 Seavey Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Caravina - USA, California, Napa Valley (11/10/2011)
    Fantastic bottle that's drinking better than two years ago and is probably at peak, although I expect it will hold here for some time. Terrific balance of mature purple & black fruits married to a rich damp earthiness, sweet & savory spices,, and a whisper of wood smoke. Excellent. Serve it blind and no one will guess it's a second cuvee. (92 pts.)
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Re: Recent TNs and brief impressions (I know, catchy title)

#2 Post by Ken V » December 31st, 2011, 5:59 am

Howdy neighbor. You've been busy! The one wine I've had recently from your list is the Cavallotto. I would say "suave" is an excellent word to describe this wine, and the Cavallotto style in general.
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Re: Recent TNs and brief impressions (I know, catchy title)

#3 Post by Andrew Demaree » December 31st, 2011, 6:22 am

As you well know, Ken, we have to drink to keep warm here in the north country. :)

As for the Cavallotto, it was my first barolo from them - a gift from my wife several years ago. Certainly won't be my last, though, as I really like that style. I've enjoyed their dolcetto a few times, as well, and wonder if they produce a barbera (which I usually prefer over dolcetto). Do you know?

Best,
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Re: Recent TNs and brief impressions (I know, catchy title)

#4 Post by Markus S » December 31st, 2011, 8:10 am

I recently tried the basic Bisceglia, from 2007 I believe. Well made, especially for the price.
The last time i tried to buy that Cavallotto, it was sold out from under me. Sounds like something I'd like.
Thanks for the notes!
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Re: Recent TNs and brief impressions (I know, catchy title)

#5 Post by Ken V » December 31st, 2011, 8:28 am

Andrew Demaree wrote:As you well know, Ken, we have to drink to keep warm here in the north country. :)

As for the Cavallotto, it was my first barolo from them - a gift from my wife several years ago. Certainly won't be my last, though, as I really like that style. I've enjoyed their dolcetto a few times, as well, and wonder if they produce a barbera (which I usually prefer over dolcetto). Do you know?

Best,
Andy
They make 2 Dolcettos and a Barbera. It's a single vineyard Barbera d'Alba Vigna del Cuculo.

Their style is distinctive because of the unusual combination of largely traditional techniques except for the use of a rotofermentor. This seems to yield a very traditional flavor profile, but with an unusually silky texture, or as you put it a "suave" Barolo.
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Re: Recent TNs and brief impressions (I know, catchy title)

#6 Post by Bob Hughes » December 31st, 2011, 8:47 am

Andrew, another cool wine by Cavallotto is their Freisa. I think I like it even better than their Dolcetto.

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Re: Recent TNs and brief impressions (I know, catchy title)

#7 Post by Andrew Demaree » December 31st, 2011, 12:09 pm

Interesting, Ken. Who would you recommend in a similar style?

Thanks, Bob. I've never had a Freisa. How would you describe them?

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Re: Recent TNs and brief impressions (I know, catchy title)

#8 Post by Bob Hughes » December 31st, 2011, 12:41 pm

Andrew, other folks can comment better than I because Freisa can be made in different styles - I gather (but I've never personally tried it) that G.D. Vajra makes one called Kye that can literally age. I've only tried Cavallotto's version, which is done in a dry, medium- to light-bodied style that is made for early consumption, and to me can be just as interesting (and used in the same fashion) as one of their dolcettos. Availability can be hit or miss, but according to Wine Searcher the Saratoga Wine Exchange has the 2009 for $19 a bottle if you want to check one out.

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Re: Recent TNs and brief impressions (I know, catchy title)

#9 Post by Andrew Demaree » December 31st, 2011, 1:17 pm

Hmm...looks like they don't have it in stock but can order it (like many of the wines on their website). I'll have to add a bottle the next time I put an order together there. Thanks for the heads-up!

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Re: Recent TNs and brief impressions (I know, catchy title)

#10 Post by jeffruggels » December 31st, 2011, 2:10 pm

andrew - agree re: 2001 etude (both in terms of quality and long life ahead). FWIW, had the 1996 recently and it was beautiful and only reaching its peak

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Re: Recent TNs and brief impressions (I know, catchy title)

#11 Post by Michael Hafitz » March 24th, 2012, 5:30 am

Hi Andrew:
I popped a bottle of the Vindemio last night. Agree that it is too early, although in a few hours, the seductive nose of roasted meat and savory spices won me over. I am putting a "DO NOT TOUCH UNTIL XMAS 2013" note on the box.
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Re: Recent TNs and brief impressions (I know, catchy title)

#12 Post by Andrew Demaree » March 24th, 2012, 7:55 am

Probably a good time to check in again. By the way, my dad is a huge fan of the Vindemio as is. Different strokes...

On a related note, I'm still looking for recommendations of Barolo in a style similar to Cavallotto. Anyone have any suggestions?

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Re: Recent TNs and brief impressions (I know, catchy title)

#13 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » March 24th, 2012, 10:38 am

Andrew Demaree wrote: [*]2010 Château Pesquié Côtes du Ventoux Terrasses - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Ventoux (12/7/2011)
Like my first bottle last month, this is fairly tannic and not in balance (at least not yet). It also seemed to have elevated acidity in a way that is uncharacteristic for this cuvee, which I've had 6 other vintages. I'm not sure this will become as enjoyable as I'd hoped but I have 10 more to find out. Right now, I'd happily trade it for any other vintage of this I've tasted. (86 pts.)
Uncle Bob turned me on to this wine a very long time ago, and it has always been a reliable QPR. So when this vintage rolled out, and Bob went Lady Gaga on it, I naturally bought a case pre-arrival. I happened to find a bottle elsewhere in the meantime, so picked it up to try. Was terrible. Worst vintage for this wine in a long time. I immediately cancelled my order and switched it to something else.

I think he rated it 94.

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Re: Recent TNs and brief impressions (I know, catchy title)

#14 Post by Andrew Demaree » March 24th, 2012, 5:42 pm

Yep...and the review is every bit as appealing as the score. Unfortunately, the wine significantly under-delivers, at least to my palate. I haven't yet found a '10 Rhone I've really fallen for.

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Re: Recent TNs and brief impressions (I know, catchy title)

#15 Post by F.Daner » March 25th, 2012, 4:02 am

Andy- agree on the 01 Etude. Have several i picked up after my supply ran out and haven't popped one yet but the last one in 09 took about 4 hours to really shine.

Had an 03 Solari last night and prefer the 03 and the 05(my favorite) over the 04. Have had the 04 several times and agree with your note. I've gotten drying tannins on the finish with every bottle. it's seems to be fading from the last time tried but does take away a bit on how it performs. The 05 for me is off the charts.
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Re: Recent TNs and brief impressions (I know, catchy title)

#16 Post by Sherri S h a p i r o » March 25th, 2012, 5:31 am

Very nice notes. Loved reading about the Audelssa . . . terrific wine and very reasonably priced.

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Re: Recent TNs and brief impressions (I know, catchy title)

#17 Post by Andrew Demaree » March 25th, 2012, 2:41 pm

Fred - I don't have an '05 Solari but will keep my eyes out, given your high praise. Our palates seem pretty much in sync, from my reading of your notes here and elsewhere. Always appreciate hearing your take on wines I haven't yet had, for that reason.

Sherri - I really liked that most recent bottle of Audelssa and can't think of many cabs I've enjoyed that much in that price range. A west coast retailer was selling it for $20 at one point...that's a crazy price and I should've cleaned them out but was well over my wine budget for the month and trying to show some restraint. In any case, I'm glad to have a few more.
Am I correct in thinking that fruit now goes into the Akoma Zoume "Apollo" cab ($65/bottle)?

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Re: Recent TNs and brief impressions (I know, catchy title)

#18 Post by F.Daner » March 28th, 2012, 1:24 am

Andy-took an 04 solari to dinner last night in Tampa. 1 hr decant and the wine was singing. No drying tannins like I've experienced in the past. I'd rate it a touch higher. It could have been a bit more complex but it had great balance throughout. Really has transformed over the last 2 years so I'll let my remaining ones go another year or two.
Fred

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Re: Recent TNs and brief impressions (I know, catchy title)

#19 Post by Jane Crabill » March 28th, 2012, 7:44 am

I enjoyed your notes--keep them coming. I've liked the Etude and Larkmead Cabernets I've tasted and have some 2007 Larkmead awaiting my attention.
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Re: Recent TNs and brief impressions (I know, catchy title)

#20 Post by Andrew Demaree » March 28th, 2012, 7:15 pm

Glad to hear your '04 Solari showed so well, Fred. I look forward to hearing how it evolves...keep us posted!

Thanks for the compliment, Jane. I'm a huge fan of Larkmead. I'm sitting on my '07s for the time being as I work my way through some older vintages (drinking '02s, '03s, and '04s most recently) but I expect great things down the road. If you open one soon, please post a note!

Andy

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