A Few Recent Tastes XCII - Offline Edition

Got together with a group including some new people joining in which was fun. Best was an appearance by an old drinking buddy whom I hadn’t seen since probably around 2007, hard to say. Catching up with him and making sure the new participants mingled interfered with the only reason I gather people together — to plop myself in a corner and type tasting notes all day.

We ended up with, err, a LOT of wine. I spent more time with some, less time with others. Wines presented here in a rough ideal order but not even close to how actually sampled.

NV Gonet-Médeville Champagne, Rosé Premier Cru Extra Brut. Very pale salmon pink to onion yellow, great sparkle, fine pétillance, quite pretty. The nose unfolds strawberry, raspberry, lemon curd, chalk dust, big and blowsy and in a happy mood. Medium-bodied, strong fizz, for an extra brut there’s an abundance of juicy red fruits. Even as it does end up in a clean, dry finish. Big crest in the middle. Quite lemony. The chalkiness weaves in better. This is what I like, sort of old school but not necessarily all that toasty. 70% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir. (80% 2017 base; May 2021 disgorgement)

1988 Krug Vintage Champagne (en magnum). Light fizz on the pour. Deepening gold but by no means close to amber, minimal visible fizz, full rims. Fresh nose of citrus, yeast, chalk, peach cobbler, even some cherry, muscular lift, it’s texturally shapeshifting which keeps your interest level high. Medium-bodied, racily tight with a sharp toastiness. Green apple, strawberry, apricot, the fruit bouncy and vibrant until the end. Which adds to an overall sinewy texture. Nice touch of honey at the end. Touches all the bases and absolutely what it is supposed to be. When it’s in your mouth why waste time with a tasting note. Unspecified percentages of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier. 1.5 liter bottle.

2012 Ceritas Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, Porter-Bass Vineyard. Semi-bright golden color, not displaying much age, flatter rims. Smoky and toasty nose, lime to lemon citrus, hint of caramel, kiwi, mango to peach scents, there’s cut and an aged, relaxed quality at once. Light to medium-bodied, the punch is admirable and the acidity takes it all the way to the finish. Powdered sugar on lemon meringue, spice. The semi-tropical fruit stays placid throughout, adding to its classy profile. Surprisingly youthful, and if this bottle is representative, then no rush at all.

2018 Beau Rivage Chenin Blanc, Central Valley, Clarksburg. Moderate shine with good pooling into the glass, pale golden straw. Soft, round nose with admirable fullness, floral next to lemon citrus, light waxiness, peach, apricot, pear fruit scents. Medium bodied, squarish with blunt acidity. The fruit remains in orchard vein, any sweetness gets to the mid-palate. Small glimmer of yeastiness and that’s it. While on the simple side, would be a nice sipper with cheese, similar stuff to supplement it.

2021 Frog’s Leap Chardonnay, Napa Valley, “Shale and Stone.” Bright golden color, good depth in the glass, weakens at the rims. Oak toast, lime, sourish pear, apple, peach scents, some florality like an air freshener, do appreciate the directness and lift to it. Medium-bodied, less toasty here and a bit yeasty (which may attributed to the sur lie aging in concrete). Acidity good for the type. Can’t shake the feeling that everything about it leans towards a bigger, expected style but they took the same grapes and made a “low oak” wine more out of intent than natural inclination. The pear, apricot, melon fruit gets clipped during the mid-palate. Lime and lemon citrus, clove. If you put a gun to my head I’d say someone in their marketing department said they need a wine like this in the marketplace.

2002 Roche-Aux-Moines (Nicolas Joly) Chenin Blanc, Loire, Savennières, Coulée de Serrant Clos de la Coulée de Serrant. Dull and cloudy amber, full to the rims. Slightly reduced nose, apricot paste, peach cobbler, wax, oil slick, no funk, if anything it is more youthful than I’d have expected, no sign of over maturation nor oxidation. Full-bodied, serious layers on the tongue, great pressure down into the tongue. Orange reduction, lanolin, dried honey, thick apricot, peach fruit with a tropical edge. Drinking well and youthfully, this just keeps rolling across the tongue, even if the finish is on the abrupt side. No sense in not drinking it now, will hold but probably not get better.

2003 Domaine du Clos Naudin (Philippe Foreau) Chenin Blanc, Loire, Vouvray, Demi-Sec. Layered dark golden color without showing all that much age, not a a lot of shine, visually looks good. Rolling, thick nose of peach, apricot, honey, sweet citrus, brown sugar, not wasting any time on subtlety. Full-bodied, honeyed, more brown sugar, pear to peach to apricot fruit of notable layering. Smoky caramel in a grill smoke way. Acidity plugs away until the end. For all of the aforementioned, it is not excessively sweet nor unctuous. Thus, in the end I accepted it as a Demi-Sec. Probably time to pop the corks on this one unless you think more age might have it shed weight.

2020 Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris, Alsace, Clos Windsbuhl, Indice 1." Great shine, bright hay color, light loss at rims. Taut nose of light nuttiness, mixed citrus, pineapple, green apple, pear fruit, given the older rep the producer possesses it has an unusual dryness to it, nothing “over the top” about it. Medium-bodied, firm, broad shouldered acidity. Curiously toasty and yeasty, a little too tight to release the fruit. Citrus gains explosive power here. Never too dry but, again, this isn’t the type of wine people once associated with the producer. Punctuated finish. Would be happy to drink again any old time.

2017 The Hilt Estate Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills, Radian Vineyard. The purple core is dark but not wide which allows for broad crimson red rims, clarity is fine and average luster. The nose strikes you first with sour cranberry, blackberry fruit as well as a “clean” barnyard floor if that makes sense, some spice along the lines of clove and coriander, there’s close to zero lift, very little sense of movement in the nostrils. In the mouth it’s medium-bodied, offers a consistent oscillation between sweet and our. Palpable lavender and citrus peel element, there’s a relaxed and sort of almost “cellar aged” quality to it. Acidity is average at best and tannin just about absent. But it is not like it comes across as spineless. Has an upright demeanor. The berry fruit here here deepens into cherry and close to red currant. No real experience with the producer but this seems like a Pinot for Bordeaux fans, delicacy sacrificed in the name of oomph.

2020 Extradimensional Wine Co. Yeah! Sonoma County, “Innervisions Red.” Standard violet to ruby color, on the dark side, flushed rims, average clarity and shine. Raspberry, blackberry, to strawberry crest first in the nose, undercurrent of maple to caramel scents, floral paste, up in your face so you soak in it. Medium-bodied, on the sweet side, tannin and acidity are sufficient but nothing to suggest a deeply structured wine made to go the long haul. Fruits mostly red with some blue, mostly frontloaded and then trails off at the end. Tasty “kitchen sink” style wine that kind of reminds me of the old Bonny Doon wines made in this style. 75% Primitivo, 10% Grenache, 10% Chenin Blanc, 3% Carignane, 2% Barbera. (Composite Cork: SUBR F7)

2003 Nicolas Potel Pinot Noir, Burgundy, Chambertin Grand Cru. Purple to garnet core, rims show some bricking but it is actually pretty youthful in appearance. Low grade funk to the nose, uncommonly rich fruitiness (except perhaps for the vintage), moves on to finer spice, tea leaf, cedar accents, wiry lift, great staying power. Light-bodied, acidic and has moved into an ideal place. The fruit is there, maybe the structure is a little lacking but that is a quibble. Beyond that spiciness not really getting clear messaging on tertiary development. So, nowhere near profound but damn tasty. Drink them up, no need to wait.

2022 Domaine Camille Thiriet Pinot Noir, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits-Villages, Clos Magny. Violet to ruby, bright and lively, a sleek surface. In the nose it’s juicy to the point of gushing raspberry, strawberry, blueberry fruit, floral mist, white pebbles, lifts but it’s a sort of wispy lift. Light-bodied, immediately laser focused, the acidity cushions as a much as pushes. The berry fruit spreads widely, never too ripe nor dry. Lemon, tea leaf notes. Light touch through the finish, no bumps in the road. So nice. Except the price.

NV Maison Leroy Pinot Noir, Burgundy, Bourgogne, En Hommage à l’An 2000 et au Troisième Millénaire. Cloudy black purple core, rust red to orange rims, surface a touch dull. Funky and throws you back on its heels, volatile, layered plum, cassis, cherry, not what you expect, you can imagine it’s Pinot but that’s a push. Full bodied with a sort of plop into the mouth. More black fruits, low acidity and tannin, rolls forward on weight. Not as funky as the nose. Part of me wants to say this is getting tired and not being consumed at its best, giving the producer the benefit of the doubt. Who knows.

2014 Domaine Le Petit Saint Vincent Cabernet Franc, Loire, Saumur-Champigny, Les Clos Lyzières. The purple core is dark then segues to scarlet and brick red hues, rims clear and transparent. Nice tautness to the nose, no extra words, bell pepper spine so not for the averse, bright blackberry, raspberry to cherry scents, blends in clay, leather, plenty of scrubbing sensations. Medium to full-bodied, does a good job of shedding weight as it moves forward thus here too staying on point. More stony here, tannin has pop so the fruit comes off a bit drier. The bell pepper takes a good many steps back and gets woven in well. There’s a certain aggression to the wine which to me suggests food rather than more casual sipping.

2014 Domaine de l’Ecu (Guy Bossard) Cabernet Franc, Loire, Vin de France, “Invictus.” Filmy purple to brick red coloration, surface shiny enough but overall it seems on the older side visually. The nose isn’t volatile but it ain’t exactly placid either, salami, leather, clove, and witch hazel, sort of all over the place, any fruit an afterthought and has to sneak in to be registered, credible staying power. Medium-bodied with a lighter finish, here it hits you with peanut shells, leather, ripe vegetal matter and a general funk, pretty much “natty” as they say these days. The cherry, currant fruit enunciates better here and at no time does it seem underfruited. The lack of any crisp bell pepper notes makes one wonder about he cépage but there it is. Acidity fares better than any tannin, neither makes a strong impression. Would be pretty darn hard to peg as Cabernet Franc blind. In some ways kind of its own thing, full stop.

2001 Domaine Ogier Syrah, Rhône, Côte-Rôtie. Good bit of purple left in the core but overall it’s a blend of sunset reds and oranges, mostly transparent and clean. Salty, saline nose filled with black olive, beef jerky, tar, and animal fur nuances, quiet red fruits, all-in all neither sauvage nor civilized. Surprisingly light-bodied, almost nimble. The iodine, meat, olive flavors press cheek to cheek and create a bountiful inner mouth perfume. Tannin polished away by time, acidity has pep. Pleasingly sour red currant, blackberry fruit, the tang pushes it towards the finish. At or just passing peak to my taste, was always a lighter styled wine and not a bruiser and wouldn’t want age to wash away the subtleties.

1996 Sociando-Mallet Bordeaux, Haut-Médoc. Fully opaque black core, thin dried blood red rims, has a murky appearance but really not throwing much sediment. Aggressive nose of pencil lead, bell pepper, cedar, clove with a sort of stewed black fruit quality, not pruny but not fresh either. Full-bodied and layers itself heavily on the tongue. Quite spicy during the mouth entry with supplementary cooking herbs and that herbaceous bite. Plum, black cherry fruit, more distinguishable here. Tannin fully resolved and feels like it adds to the coating effect. Tobacco leaf, cedar, milder tar. Prolonged finish. This bottle is showing great. Unspecified percentages of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot.

2005 Eredi Fuligni Sangiovese, Tuscany, Brunello di Montalcino. Black to rust red, close to yellow outer edge, clean enough, looks like an aged wine. Leather and shoe polish introduce the nose, peanut shells, certainly some volatility, the black fruits heavy if not yet at the dried fruit stage, touch of lavender, little here wants you to keep sniffing. Full-bodied, feels anchored in place on the palate. Tannin sluggish if not now and then clumpy. Fruit makes a big initial surge before sliding down to the end. Leather, menthol, violets, then the darn peanut shells. Seems like the kind of wine that had some wow factor right out of the gate and should have been consumed then.

2012 Granja Nuestra Señora de Remelluri Tempranillo, Rioja, Lindes de Remelluri Viñedos de San Vicente. The purple core comes close to inky vividness, opaque, the rust red rims frame it well and it doesn’t look anything more than advancing in age. The nose starts taking you in different directions, plum, vanilla extract, leather, meadow scrub, some lactose notes, has a squat feel in the nostrils. Medium-bodied, a volte face as it is smoother and much more fluid than the nose suggests. Expected oak with vanilla and dill accents, a minor player. The tannin is not dry but definitely shapes its contours. Plum, blackberry fruit, suggests more juiciness than delivers. The mouth feel isn’t soft while it does let you recline back into it. In the end it is enjoyable but does not take any kind of stand, no flag planted like here I am. Which leaves it as a more or less neutral introductory wine.


Interesting that you had the Ceritas. I had a 2012 (or was it 2013) Ceritas Chard a couple of weeks ago, and was also surprised at how fresh/youthful it was.

I have only had three Ceritas wines, all from 2012 or 2013. Not much of a sample set.

The Leroy was very funky and quite different from the other bottle I have had, so much so that I would call it a flawed bottle.