TNs: Gimmonet, Roederer, Jacquesson, Rivers-Marie +

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Frank Murray III
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TNs: Gimmonet, Roederer, Jacquesson, Rivers-Marie +

#1 Post by Frank Murray III » June 6th, 2019, 3:11 pm

Another weeknight, another survived. Thanks to Steve Nordhoff for being the host of this session, all the wines selected from his cellar, served blind across 3 flights. Thank you for the generosity, Steve, and the delightful evening.

WEEKNIGHT WINES BLIND - (6/6/2019)
  • 2009 Louis Roederer Champagne Brut Nature Cuvée Starck - France, Champagne
    Served blind next to 4 other champagnes (also blind). Lime, green apple, and a big cut of citrus that goes right through the wine. Finishes with slate and saline, lime skin and excellent structure. A genius wine, damn good.
  • 2002 Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Champagne Special Club Millesimé de Collection - France, Champagne
    Served blind next to 4 other champagnes (also blind). 4th time I have had this wine since release, and it was my least favorite of the flight. Disgorged September 2011. Kind of oxidative and nutty, with a caramel candy chew note that I picked up on. Never had that sensory note go off in my head in tasting wines but last night the wine just flashed that picture in my head. Cool experience. Also some grapefruit here, but all together this didn't in total engage me like the others in the flight.
  • 2008 Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Champagne Special Club Millesimé de Collection - France, Champagne
    Served blind next to 4 other champagnes (also blind). Have drank a bunch of these the past several years and finished my final bottle a few months ago. Disgorged March 2015. I just can't store these things in my cellar, as the bottle shape is a PITA. Clean, green apple, lower dosage, pure flavored. Bright acids with a leaner edged palate. The fruit and weight is a nice counter to the acidity. This oughta age well as the guts and material is here already for a great wine.
  • 2012 Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Champagne Special Club Grands Terroirs de Chardonnay - France, Champagne
    Served blind next to 4 other champagnes (also blind). First time trying the 2012, and of note, this was in the same flight with the 2002 and 2008. Disgorged May 2017. Softer in tone, especially after tasting the energy of the 2008 that preceded it. Yellow apple, and deceptively red berry, although this is a Chardonnay composed wine so go figure. Found this wine nice, but for me not of the complexity of the 2008, nor the 2009 Roederer Starck.
  • 2002 Jacquesson & Fils Champagne Dizy Corne Bautray Extra-Brut - France, Champagne
    Served blind next to 4 other champagnes (also blind). Disgorged February 2011, so this spent some good time in bottle. No dosage. Yellow apple, tangy, some herb and a good presence of grapefruit. I enjoyed the energy and the concentration here, too. I do though have to say that on this night, this wine was beat out by the 2009 Roederer Starck for me.
  • 2014 Dominique Laurent Clos de la Roche - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Clos de la Roche Grand Cru
    Served blind next to 3 other US Pinot Noir wines (also blind). Aromatics on this kept shifting. At one moment, funky, brett-like, with a few people early on suggesting it was corked but I didn't have that perception. What I really dug about this wine was the purity of the cherry, aligned with the mineral/spine of the structure. It reminded me of the best stuff that Jamie Kutch as well as that of Rhys. It's the transparency that comes through, that purity that is cool. Lovely wine with a good life ahead of it.
  • 2007 Rivers-Marie Pinot Noir Old Vines Summa - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    Served blind next to 2 other US Pinot Noirs (which also happened to be other vintages of Summa OV) and one Burgundy (also blind). I had this same vintage just about one year ago and the wine tastes pretty identical to that previous note. Has the cloudy look, the orange rind, jammy strawberry (I suspect the vintage coming through) and some earth. This is continuing to age well, and despite the riper vintage as its base, there is nothing tired here so keep on aging some more if you like.
  • 2004 Rivers-Marie Pinot Noir Old Vines Summa - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    Served blind next to 2 other US Pinot Noirs (which also happened to be other vintages of Summa OV) and one Burgundy (also blind). This particular bottle showed a tangy, soy quality along with red berry and some older shadings starting to come through, such as with a little caramel in the palate. Finishes with some blue fruit and enough energy to let it persist. Like with the 2007, this is holding up fine but it's more advanced for me than the 2007.
  • 2009 Rivers-Marie Pinot Noir Old Vines Summa - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    Served blind next to 2 other US Pinot Noirs (which also happened to be other vintages of Summa OV) and one Burgundy (also blind). I finished my last bottle from my own cellar on NYE 2017, so it was cool to see this be revealed when we discussed the flight. Of note, this was the final wine of the flight, preceded by the 2007 and 2004, along with the 2014 Dominique Laurent CdlR GC Burg. This vintage of 2009 for me shows a lot of cool complexity, as in the meaty/sauvage note. Fresh red berry, a but jammy too but this is 2009, a vintage that has often showed more open textured and riper with other producers I enjoy. Finishes citrusy. A terrific vintage for Summa OV.
  • 2015 Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT - Italy, Tuscany, Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT
    Served blind as part of a 4 bottle red wine flight (also blind). Tobacco leaf, chewy, herb, spice and powerful and intense in concentration. There is acidity embedded in the wine, making it even more intense. So, all together, with the new wood, acid and fruit, this needs a pile of aeration, more aging, most likely both. I like what is here for the power.
  • 2015 Fattoria Le Pupille (Elisabetta Geppetti) Maremma Toscana Saffredi - Italy, Tuscany, Maremma, Maremma Toscana
    Served blind as part of a 4 bottle red wine flight (also blind). Smells of tobacco, spice box and what I thought was elevated alcohol. Dark, with leather, yet plush fruit that is tinged with cocoa, what reminded me of fresh ground cocoa nibs, imparting the sense of chocolate yet the acidity that has the same intense quality. This wine seemed very youthful to me, not nearly on the same plane for me as the 2015 Fontodi Flacianello Pieve we had preceding it.
  • 2015 Azienda Agricola Montevertine Le Pergole Torte Toscana IGT - Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
    Served blind as part of a 4 bottle red wine flight (also blind). Currant, cherry, cedar and lots of red fruit, framed by moderate acid. Then, finishing tannic. This was pretty coiled to me, the hardest to get my head around.
  • 2008 Sherwin Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate - USA, California, Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District
    Served blind as part of a 4 bottle red wine flight (also blind). Dark coffee aroma, some alcohol, too. Has a molten quality, dark chocolate, spice box. Modern with lots of fruit, dense black cherry and a big wine for me. I don't dislike these kinds of wines but I am not sure I want to drink a lot of them anymore as they just seem a bit big for me.
  • 1994 Romano Dal Forno Amarone della Valpolicella - Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Amarone della Valpolicella
    Served blind. This was corked although the fruit intensity here was still something cool to try. Raisiny, creamy. Never had one of these so I guess I will reserve any more comment due to the TCA and also my shift away from sweeter wines. NR (flawed)
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My WOTY candidates for 2019:
2014 Marie Courtin Eloquence BdB Extra Brut
2017 Rivers-Marie PN Platt SC
2017 Kutch Pinot Noir SC PN
2009 Roederer Cristal Brut
2017 Carlisle Zin Mancini Ranch RRV

My best wines of 2018:
2017 Kutch Falstaff Sonoma Coast PN
2012 Marguet La Grande Ruelle Ambonnay

Kindness matters.

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Re: TNs: Gimmonet, Roederer, Jacquesson, Rivers-Marie +

#2 Post by K John Joseph » June 6th, 2019, 3:58 pm

2009 Louis Roederer Champagne Brut Nature Cuvée Starck - France, Champagne
Served blind next to 4 other champagnes (also blind). Lime, green apple, and a big cut of citrus that goes right through the wine. Finishes with slate and saline, lime skin and excellent structure. A genius wine, damn good.
I have mixed feelings about this wine. I've had it twice now and each time have decided that there are parts of it that I like and others that I don't. I like the big citrus cut, firm acidity, and hint of slate (what I'd call a chalky note), but I want a bit more richness on the palate to offset the blast of acidity and citrus. I sought this out and then tried it again because I'd hoped that 09 from this producer would be ideal for the zero dosage. But every time I drink this I think that it would have been a better, more giving wine with even a low dosage.

From what I can tell, the critics disagree (consensus that it's a very good wine), and I certainly appreciate your palate and depth of tasting experience on champagne. This just does not quite get me across the finish line.
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Re: TNs: Gimmonet, Roederer, Jacquesson, Rivers-Marie +

#3 Post by brigcampbell » June 6th, 2019, 7:49 pm

When I get out of rehab I'll post my thoughts.

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Re: TNs: Gimmonet, Roederer, Jacquesson, Rivers-Marie +

#4 Post by Dav1d S@wyer » June 6th, 2019, 8:02 pm

Had the '15 Flaccianello last week and agree with your notes. Lots of potential but shrouded by the new wood. Needs a lot of time.

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Re: TNs: Gimmonet, Roederer, Jacquesson, Rivers-Marie +

#5 Post by Anton D » June 6th, 2019, 8:04 pm

Wow! Great notes! 497 points!
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Re: TNs: Gimmonet, Roederer, Jacquesson, Rivers-Marie +

#6 Post by Frank Murray III » June 7th, 2019, 8:21 am

K John Joseph wrote:
June 6th, 2019, 3:58 pm
2009 Louis Roederer Champagne Brut Nature Cuvée Starck - France, Champagne
Served blind next to 4 other champagnes (also blind). Lime, green apple, and a big cut of citrus that goes right through the wine. Finishes with slate and saline, lime skin and excellent structure. A genius wine, damn good.
I have mixed feelings about this wine. I've had it twice now and each time have decided that there are parts of it that I like and others that I don't. I like the big citrus cut, firm acidity, and hint of slate (what I'd call a chalky note), but I want a bit more richness on the palate to offset the blast of acidity and citrus. I sought this out and then tried it again because I'd hoped that 09 from this producer would be ideal for the zero dosage. But every time I drink this I think that it would have been a better, more giving wine with even a low dosage.

From what I can tell, the critics disagree (consensus that it's a very good wine), and I certainly appreciate your palate and depth of tasting experience on champagne. This just does not quite get me across the finish line.
JJK, dosage addition is key, and I have become better at spotting it, as well as judging the use of it in a wine I am drinking. My judgment is of course subjective and what is lean or too acidic to others might be the very thing about that particular wine that is compelling for me. With the Starck this week, it was the acidity, balance, the structure that really spoke to me. I found all of the parts working well, and so the addition of even low dosage to that wine for me could have changed my answer.

Thanks for your closing sentence, too. I pursue learning and tasting Champagne now with the same energy I did for CA wines years ago. It's been fun and it continues to be something that gives me real joy these days.
My WOTY candidates for 2019:
2014 Marie Courtin Eloquence BdB Extra Brut
2017 Rivers-Marie PN Platt SC
2017 Kutch Pinot Noir SC PN
2009 Roederer Cristal Brut
2017 Carlisle Zin Mancini Ranch RRV

My best wines of 2018:
2017 Kutch Falstaff Sonoma Coast PN
2012 Marguet La Grande Ruelle Ambonnay

Kindness matters.

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Re: TNs: Gimmonet, Roederer, Jacquesson, Rivers-Marie +

#7 Post by Blake Brown » June 7th, 2019, 9:17 am

As with Brig, I'm in a rehydrating phase and will post notes in a few days as well. As always, it was such a treat to be in the presence of Steve, Frank, Sean, Chris, Viet, Brig, Andrew, Chuck and Windell. This group is truly dedicated to sharing the passion and in exploiting the nuances of everything wine. It was a fabulous evening and I'm honored to have been a part of it.
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Re: TNs: Gimmonet, Roederer, Jacquesson, Rivers-Marie +

#8 Post by Neal.Mollen » June 7th, 2019, 9:19 am

Frank Murray III wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 8:21 am
K John Joseph wrote:
June 6th, 2019, 3:58 pm
2009 Louis Roederer Champagne Brut Nature Cuvée Starck - France, Champagne
Served blind next to 4 other champagnes (also blind). Lime, green apple, and a big cut of citrus that goes right through the wine. Finishes with slate and saline, lime skin and excellent structure. A genius wine, damn good.
I have mixed feelings about this wine. I've had it twice now and each time have decided that there are parts of it that I like and others that I don't. I like the big citrus cut, firm acidity, and hint of slate (what I'd call a chalky note), but I want a bit more richness on the palate to offset the blast of acidity and citrus. I sought this out and then tried it again because I'd hoped that 09 from this producer would be ideal for the zero dosage. But every time I drink this I think that it would have been a better, more giving wine with even a low dosage.

From what I can tell, the critics disagree (consensus that it's a very good wine), and I certainly appreciate your palate and depth of tasting experience on champagne. This just does not quite get me across the finish line.
JJK, dosage addition is key, and I have become better at spotting it, as well as judging the use of it in a wine I am drinking. My judgment is of course subjective and what is lean or too acidic to others might be the very thing about that particular wine that is compelling for me. With the Starck this week, it was the acidity, balance, the structure that really spoke to me. I found all of the parts working well, and so the addition of even low dosage to that wine for me could have changed my answer.

Thanks for your closing sentence, too. I pursue learning and tasting Champagne now with the same energy I did for CA wines years ago. It's been fun and it continues to be something that gives me real joy these days.
Lately I have been less entertained by non-dosage wines. I like bone-dry champagne but it seems as though most of the zeros I drink lack depth and complexity I get from low dose wines. Maybe I am going through a phase
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Re: TNs: Gimmonet, Roederer, Jacquesson, Rivers-Marie +

#9 Post by Keith A k e r s » June 7th, 2019, 9:44 am

Neal.Mollen wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 9:19 am

Lately I have been less entertained by non-dosage wines. I like bone-dry champagne but it seems as though most of the zeros I drink lack depth and complexity I get from low dose wines. Maybe I am going through a phase

I think it depends on what you're drinking. I'm generally a bigger fan of non-dosage wines that are made from Meunier or Pinot Noir than I am of ones made with Chardonnay. For me, the Chard non-dosage wines can get too steely.

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Re: TNs: Gimmonet, Roederer, Jacquesson, Rivers-Marie +

#10 Post by Doug Schulman » June 7th, 2019, 9:51 am

Keith A k e r s wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 9:44 am
Neal.Mollen wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 9:19 am

Lately I have been less entertained by non-dosage wines. I like bone-dry champagne but it seems as though most of the zeros I drink lack depth and complexity I get from low dose wines. Maybe I am going through a phase

I think it depends on what you're drinking. I'm generally a bigger fan of non-dosage wines that are made from Meunier or Pinot Noir than I am of ones made with Chardonnay. For me, the Chard non-dosage wines can get too steely.
While there are some zero dosage Champagnes that I really enjoy, the vast majority seem like they would be better with some dosage for my taste. Neal's comment about lacking depth is spot on for me.
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Re: TNs: Gimmonet, Roederer, Jacquesson, Rivers-Marie +

#11 Post by Justin S » June 7th, 2019, 10:05 am

The '09 Roederer Starck is pretty darn lean and tastes more shrill that zero dose wines I've had from Laherte and Bouchard (the latter two feeling as natural as a still white wine). By contrast, the Starck is definitely a bit enamel stripping, but tolerable. I liked it with sushi, especially since it really brings out the natural sweetness in the fish. That said, towards the end of the meal it became a bit tiring.
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Re: TNs: Gimmonet, Roederer, Jacquesson, Rivers-Marie +

#12 Post by Keith A k e r s » June 7th, 2019, 10:06 am

Doug Schulman wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 9:51 am
Keith A k e r s wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 9:44 am
Neal.Mollen wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 9:19 am

Lately I have been less entertained by non-dosage wines. I like bone-dry champagne but it seems as though most of the zeros I drink lack depth and complexity I get from low dose wines. Maybe I am going through a phase

I think it depends on what you're drinking. I'm generally a bigger fan of non-dosage wines that are made from Meunier or Pinot Noir than I am of ones made with Chardonnay. For me, the Chard non-dosage wines can get too steely.
While there are some zero dosage Champagnes that I really enjoy, the vast majority seem like they would be better with some dosage for my taste. Neal's comment about lacking depth is spot on for me.

Absolutely! I think Chard-based low dosage wines can be great, but that bit of sugar really helps round things out

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Re: TNs: Gimmonet, Roederer, Jacquesson, Rivers-Marie +

#13 Post by Len Stevens » June 7th, 2019, 11:37 am

The OV Summa is by far my favorite RM cuvee, though I admit to liking them all. I had the 2013 approx a month ago and, though youthful, was absolutely singing!

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Re: TNs: Gimmonet, Roederer, Jacquesson, Rivers-Marie +

#14 Post by Merrill Lindquist » June 7th, 2019, 1:17 pm

I enjoyed this read, Frank. Thank you for the notes.
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Re: TNs: Gimmonet, Roederer, Jacquesson, Rivers-Marie +

#15 Post by Steve Nordhoff » June 7th, 2019, 1:42 pm

Justin S wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 10:05 am
The '09 Roederer Starck is pretty darn lean and tastes more shrill that zero dose wines I've had from Laherte and Bouchard (the latter two feeling as natural as a still white wine). By contrast, the Starck is definitely a bit enamel stripping, but tolerable. I liked it with sushi, especially since it really brings out the natural sweetness in the fish. That said, towards the end of the meal it became a bit tiring.
The first few bottles of the Starck that I had could easily be described as screechy, although I liked them even with being very lean. I am not sure if it was bottle age or something else, but this one showed very well and bested all of the Gimmonets (but not the Jacquesson for me).
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Re: TNs: Gimmonet, Roederer, Jacquesson, Rivers-Marie +

#16 Post by Justin S » June 7th, 2019, 2:13 pm

Steve Nordhoff wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 1:42 pm
Justin S wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 10:05 am
The '09 Roederer Starck is pretty darn lean and tastes more shrill that zero dose wines I've had from Laherte and Bouchard (the latter two feeling as natural as a still white wine). By contrast, the Starck is definitely a bit enamel stripping, but tolerable. I liked it with sushi, especially since it really brings out the natural sweetness in the fish. That said, towards the end of the meal it became a bit tiring.
The first few bottles of the Starck that I had could easily be described as screechy, although I liked them even with being very lean. I am not sure if it was bottle age or something else, but this one showed very well and bested all of the Gimmonets (but not the Jacquesson for me).
Good to know. My comments are based on tasting one bottle in the Fall of 2018. I plan to hold my last bottle until 2021. Maybe by then there will be a '12 Starck.
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Re: TNs: Gimmonet, Roederer, Jacquesson, Rivers-Marie +

#17 Post by brigcampbell » June 8th, 2019, 11:40 am

Interesting story about the Roederer/Starck. When Steve revealed the wine and started telling the story I thought "I've had this wine before" so I looked in CT and nothing. But that ugly cartoon label... I know I've seen it before. Last year I was in Budapest in a wine bar which I picked up a couple of very interesting bottles which I have shared with this same group. I was "shopping" with the owner because I said "have anything interesting or odd?" and he immediately went to the Roederer and told me the story about Roederer and his architect/artist friend did this bottling and they only do it when they think they can make a great wine. I looked at the label and it put me off. Can't judge a book by the cover, my loss.
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Re: TNs: Gimmonet, Roederer, Jacquesson, Rivers-Marie +

#18 Post by Blake Brown » June 9th, 2019, 8:17 am

Finally, I got it together to do some notes on this wondrous evening. I'm including the entire format I use for my email list, but first want to give a big shout out to Steve Nordhoff who creatively orchestrated the wines and venue on this night:

After having met some wonderful folks online in the WineBerserker forums, it became obvious that I needed to branch out and do some out of area wine related events/ dinners. As a result, I’ve immensely enjoyed recent ventures down to Orange County to connect with a great group of wine centric guys to share an evening of fine wine, food and fellowship.

The most recent journey involved being added as a guest to the core group`s every 6 weeks or so blind tasting dinner which one member heads up and provides all of the wines and arranges for the venue.

This one was held at The Winery in Newport beach. It is a fabulous choice for wine oriented events as they not only have great ambience located on the back of Balboa Bay, but also have private dining rooms upstairs where we were situated and could do our own thing without disturbing any others..

Our generous host wrapped all 14 bottles in aluminium foil and we had 1 flight of 5 and 2 flights of 4 plus a dessert wine. He put a lot of thought into the wine selections and chose many based on some of the members own preferences and personnel connections with the wine and or producer.

After tasting through each wine and making our own notes, we then discussed each one and then voted for our favs. Our leader provided great commentary with details about the producers, styles, vineyard sources, etc. Some members added more to the dialogue and it made for quite an informative and educational occasion which I cherished.

Once poured, the first flight served blind was obviously 5 champagnes/ sparkling wines:

2019 LOUIS ROEDERER BRUT NATURE STARCK- this is the 2nd release after the 2016 of this no dosage wine whose label was created by Philippe Starck, the well-known French designer; I’ve enjoyed quite a few of the 16` version and a few of this most recent release, the last time being at Wally`s Grande Marque champagne tasting last Sunday; the fruit sourced comes from biodynamic farmed estate vineyards and they claim this gives rise to higher ripeness and better mouthfeel; what’s truly unique and atypical about this is all 25 acres of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir were harvested on the same day, then pressed and vinified together; I have to agree, the ripe citrus fruit provides a taste treat accentuated by a streak of spice and the lush texture does indeed give an extraordinary soft and creamy feel; it has bright acidity and expands in the glass; in no way did this come off as a no dosage, light weight bubbly; this is a lovely, fulfilling wine and eventually my fav of the flight. Stay tuned: they will release a Brut Nature Rose later this year.

fullsizeoutput_2447.jpeg
2002 PIERRE GIMONNET BLANC de BLANC BRUT SPECIAL CLUB- The Gimonnet family has been growing grapes in the region since the 18th century, but did not start bottling their own Champagne until 1935; The Special Club was started in 1971 by 12 producers then called Club de Viticultures Champenois and today there are 28 members dedicated to promote the concept of terroir and estate bottled, or grower Champagne; once approved for release via the peer review process, they are then allowed to bottle in the special made bottle that distinguishes them from all others {unless it is wrapped in aluminium foil}; our bottle was replete with toasty stone fruit notes from the nose through the tail; it was full bodied, rich and buttery enhanced by a hit of butterscotch; it had a yellow gold color denoting some maturity; disgorged September, 2011 at 6 gpl.

2008 PIERRE GIMONNET BLANC de BLANC BRUT SPECIAL CLUB- disgorged March 2015; no way did i get this as being from the same producer as the above wine with similarly sourced fruit; this bottle started out really light and somewhat understated, but in time, it opened up and gave a bit more with elegance as its hallmark; honeyed citrus and green apple notes prevailed throughout; this is probably the least forward Special Club of any I`ve had.

2012 PIERRE GIMONNET BLANC de BLANC BRUT SPECIAL CLUB- disgorged in May, 2017 @ dosage of 5 gpl; for me, this was my least fav of the flight in that the nice early on fresh citrus notes gave way about mid palate just dried out; later on, I returned only to discover the fruit strayed on longer and provided a more complete satisfying finish. My first thought was this might be a candidate for decanting if any champagne is to be.

2002 JACQUESSON BLANC de BLANC EXTRA BRUT- disgorged in February 2011; yellow gold color; no dosage which is shocking because this is a big wine with caramel, butterscotch, stone fruit with peach and apricot most prevalent and a toasty accent as well; it was rich and full on all the way through; almost overwhelming for me, but I handled it.

fullsizeoutput_243a.jpeg
the champagnes from right to left
The next flight of 4 served blind was obviously Pinot Noir as immediately detected by the color and nose:

2014 DOMINIQUE LAURENT CLOS de la ROCHE VIEILLES VIGNES GRAND CRU GEVRY CHAMBERTIN- 1 of the 5 grand crus produced by the commune of Morey-Saint-Denis on the Côte de Nuits (including Bonnes-Mares, which lies midway between Chambolle and Morey); the color was a very youthful bright red and the nose emulated its youthfulness with fresh and bright red cherry fruit; on the palate, Asian spices, talc and sandalwood accents backed up the red cherry which continued on finishing like it had started; although good now, it is so young and fruit dominant; it needs time; some found a flaw in the nose and I just never detected any sign of Brett, TCA or any other issue. As with the first flight, the first wine was my fav.

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2007 RIVERS-MARIE SUMMA VINEYARD OLD VINES SONOMA COAST PINOT NOIR- 13.2% abv; this was partially selected because our provider knows co-owners Thomas Rivers Brown and Genevieve Marie Welsh and he knew my love for all Pinots by Burt Williams including those sourced from Summa; following the dark red color came aromatics of serious cranberry and a red cherry flavor really came on to prevail thereafter; it was full bodied, very rich and long; it expended with time in the glass and had we not moved on to another flight, I would have saved this to explore later expecting considerable evolution for even more pleasurable nuances such as the common trademark of cola and sassafras often found in Summa fruit. A no show here.

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2004 RIVERS MARIE SUMMA VINEYARD OLD VINES SONOMA COAST PINOT NOIR- 14.1% abv; initially the nose was full of VA and I didn’t think it wold blow off, but indeed it did and gave way to some real treats including red cherry/ berry and a touch of blueberry along with a dollop of spice, but again after revealing the wine, no cola/ sassafras notes.

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2009 RIVERS MARIE SUMMA VINEYARD OLD VINES SONOMA COAST PINOT NOIR- 13.2% abv; super ripe red fruit dominated the nose and taste profile with red raspberry and wild red cherry being most prominent with an emphasis on the wildness; it had good weight and mouthfeel, but stopped short on the end. And yes, devoid of cola/ sassafras??? Maybe I have missed something here about that trait from Summa.

The 3rd flight of 4 served blind had all Bordeaux shaped bottles:

2015 FATTORIA LE PUPILLE {ELIZABETH GAPPETTI} SAFFREDI MAREMMA TOSCANA- I was impressed some got this as Italian which was certainly feasible in that it had Cabernet and Merlot type characteristics with loads of blueberry, blackberry and plum, but the pronounced earth tones suggested more Bordeaux like to me; nonetheless, I liked it overall; there was a streak of spice throughout to compliment the nice fruit profile and it was delivered in a smooth texture all the way to the back end; 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot.

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2015 MONTEVERTINE LE PEGOLE TORTE TOSCANA- I lost the Bordeaux frame of mind with this one after getting spicy graphite laden blackberry, black cherry and especially black raspberry; it had some degree of elegance and was in beautiful balance; the finish just wouldn’t quit which was appreciated; lovely wine which turns out to be 100% Sangiovese.

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2008 SHERWIN FAMILY VINEYARDS CABERNET SAUVIGNON SPRING MOUNTAIN NAPA- 100% Cabernet Sauvignon; I liked this wine a lot as it gave up treasures after treasures including ripe blueberry and black cherry without any sweetness, just pure ripe fruit; it had soft tannins which led to a silky smooth texture; accents of leather and mild chocolate embellished the fruit profile. Now I have 2-3 favs to choose from in this flight.

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2015 FONTODI FLACCIANELLO DELLA PIEVE TOSCANA- lots of wood spice, herbal black fruit highlight the nose and taste in this rich and full bodied beauty; it had serious depth and complexity, great mouthfeel and a subtle hint of hear past mid palate; in its youth, it exudes significant power and needs time to balance out the oak influence and add some finesse; great potential as well as enjoyable now especially with the black raspberry finish; 100% Sangiovese.

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The final wine from our host was selected for a dessert treat:

1994 DAL FORNO RAMONO della VALPOLICELLA AMARONE- the first nose on this was a clearly defined hit of TCA and it stayed throughout the course of the evening; venturing further, the taste profile was quite pleasing with its sweetened black currant and blackberry fruit darting back and forth with the wet cardboard.

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Our table bought a substitute dessert wine:

2015 INNISKILLIN NIAGARA ESTATE CABERNET FRANC ICE WINE NIAGARA PENNINSULA- candied red cherry and strawberry here served up in a thick honeyed like texture; a little spoonful was all I needed.

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Thanks so much to Steve Nordhoff who orchestrated the wines and to Chris Seiber who arranged for me to attend and give a strong recommendation for a dinner locale the next night. Notes forthcoming on that one.

This was such a fun event with a lot of educational input I always appreciate from blind tasting formats. To hang with this fine group of guys is the ultimate treat and made for a grand evening.

Cheers,
Blake

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Steve, Frank and Sean
"In victory you deserve Champagne. In defeat, you need it".
Napolean Bonaparte

“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!” – Winston Churchill

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Blake Brown
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Location: Santa Barbara

Re: TNs: Gimmonet, Roederer, Jacquesson, Rivers-Marie +

#19 Post by Blake Brown » June 10th, 2019, 7:51 am

Adding a pic:
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Chris, Brig and Viet with Balboa Bay in the background
"In victory you deserve Champagne. In defeat, you need it".
Napolean Bonaparte

“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!” – Winston Churchill

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