A Few Recent Tastes XVI

2018 Tement Sauvignon Blanc Südsteiermark. Fully transparent yellow-green straw color, close to hueless. Crisp but not taut nose of leafy green matter, pulverized minerals, lemon, with a soft underbelly of melon, apricot, cherry fruit, once in awhile a whiff of crème fraîche. Medium-bodied, firm with energetic acidity, the type of roughhouser it’s getting rarer to find. More tangerine, pink grapefruit presence here, noticeably citrusy. Dusty minerality dries out the mid-palate in the face of well ripened orchard fruit, pineapple flavors. Not as herbaceous here as the nose might lead you to believe. Very good array of flavors but it’s the texture which is most impressive. Better half says buy more. (Glass Stopper)

2009 Johann Bäuerl Riesling Wachau Ritzling Federspiel. Mostly matured gold color, can’t really call it translucent but it’s not glassy, watery rims. Smells like holding a wet Spauldeen ball before moderates into blood orange zest, damp kindling wood, oil slick, given the space the rubber element takes up it’s a struggle for the apple, peach, pineapple scents. Medium-bodied, while coiled and compact it manages to saturate the full palate. The acidity more a blanket than a blade. Honey coated papaya, mango, pineapple fruit and grapefruit, almost concentrated to a vanishing point. The rubber remains ever present but doesn’t become tiresome. Have to suspect that the fruit has trailed off and all you’re left with is chewing on your mouth guard. (Screwcap)

2018 Bedrock Dolinsek Ranch Heritage. Heavily saturated and glowing purple to magenta, not opaque yet fills the glass completely. Nose of crushed mixed berries, eucalyptus, wet meadow grass, very fresh and youthful, suggestion of fresh butter at first which blows off with time. Medium-bodied, drier mouth feel than expected, still no ripeness issue in the blackberry, boysenberry, blueberry fruit. No sure if its tannin and/or a little phenolic underripeness. Mint and menthol, here the oak more consistently present, another sign of youth. Nicely tangy finish, citric bite and pucker. A few more years in bottle should bring it together well. Predominantly Zinfandel, remainder Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet, Barbera, Syrah, Black Muscat, Palomino, etc. (My first experience with Dolinsek was via Charles Mara and his wines, Charles was a great guy, lost touch over the years and hope he’s well.)

2015 Fogline Zinfandel DCV Grist Vineyard. Reddish purple core of moderate density, more red magenta to scarlet rims, no lack of coloration. Feels like an expanding balloon is your nose, keeps pushing outward with a hollow middle, raspberry, green apple, blackberry fruit scents, wicked strong eucalyptus, butterscotch, admire the lift. Medium-bodied, starting smooth out and gain fluidity. Tannic yet, good structure. More grill smoke, meat fat here, spicy albeit may just be heat. Ratchets up into plum, cherry territory here with blackberry, blueberry trailing, retains that green apple bite. Caramel, vanilla to cedar wood tones. If the fruit can hold on for a little longer to mask the heat and allow further oak absorption should hit its apex in the next year or so.

2015 Ketcham Estate Pinot Noir RRV Ketcham Vineyard Savannah & Nick’s Cuvée. Gauzy plum red core wanders off into brick red and a bit of orange, looks extracted for maximal coloration. Plump nose of gingerbread, eucalyptus, anise with languid cherry, blackberry scents, becomes a little more openly knit with air, however, never shows a subtle hand. Full-bodied, sort of velvety, sort of clumpy, certainly not refreshing. The plum, cherry fruit hints at stewed tomatoes. Suggestions of citrus, spices but it’s mostly about the thrust of the fruit. All that said, you’d think it sucks but for what it is it’s alright. I’d guess that it matched the vision of the person(s) who made it. Brand new it was probably a hit in the tasting room.

2017 Jean-François Jacouton Saint-Joseph Pierres d’Iserand. Reddish violet core switches to a bright red magenta hue further out, vividly hued. Pure, youthful lift to the nose, crushed and juicy mixed berries, violets, pine forest breeze, suggestion of grill fat around the perimeter but it’s just about all freshly pressed fruit. Medium-bodied and close to light, very sleek and moves at the pace of a greyhound. For the most part outruns the tannin but there’s enough structure for at least the medium haul. Tingly, not short on the acidity either, breathes life into the blackberry, raspberry, blueberry fruit, can see it darkening with age. Tangerine zest melds with the violets, lilacs. Just about everything about it aims at pleasure, this without sacrificing said structure. Like it. (Composite Cork: Diam5)

2012 Maxime Magnon Corbières Rozeta. Clear if saturated ruby-violet, shiny glow in the glass, looks like it just got bottled. The merde and rubber funk a momentary distraction, as it evolves in the glass you get a lot more strawberry, raspberry fruit, pastille, violets, spring meadow grasses. Medium-bodied with a fine polish, glides through the mouth without seeming slick. Mandarin orange to tangerine citrus lends spark while an underlying stoniness reminds you it’s from a certain place. Sweet and sour blueberry, raspberry to strawberry fruit flavorful without a trace of overripeness. Again, it has this outdoorsy quality like a summer hike, not funky but you don’t come back devoid of sweat. Really good wine. 40% Carignan, 30% Grenache, 30% Cinsault.

2014 Château La Croix Chantecaille Saint-Emilion. Transparent, the light purple core yields to red clay, rust hues, rims noticeably bright. The nose filled with crushed berries, menthol, cedar and a vague earthiness, primary, the oak is proportionate, zero complexity. Medium to light-bodied, fluid and smooth, its polish obvious from the start. Blueberry, boysenberry, black cherry fruit, good sourness. Suggestion of stone, dry earth, for the higher percentage of Cabernet Franc not that much herbaceousness. The tannin only registers at the end, squeezing sensation after you swallow. Nice wine, drinking well but suspect 3-4 more years would soften it more, not sure worth holding out for tertiary development. 65% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc.

2016 Christophe Billon Côte-Rôtie Les Elotins. Glowing purple core, strong crimson rims, opaque with above average saturation. Compact nose restrains some juiciness in the ripe blueberry, cherry, blackberry fruit, baking spices, violets, matted straw, inert character, makes you wonder if it is in the process of shutting down. Medium-bodied, smooth in spite of the tannic brawn, you get the sense throughout that the winemaker wanted a certain polish on things. The violets deeper here, stone and mildly earthy, minerally. Not much, if any citrus present. Sour and sappy blueberry, boysenberry, cassis fruit. Kind of amorphous right now, not sure where it might go down the road. But have a couple bottles laid down to find out.

2015 Pascal Aufranc Chénas Vieilles Vignes de 1939. Gauzy purple to plum red color, saturated in a darker register. Nose of pastille, Choward’s violet candy, pulped oranges, tart red cherry, raspberry scents, mocha powder, feels a bit matted down like the scents have been pressed into each other, perhaps a sign of being in a more awkward phase. Close to full in body, sappy texture with minimal acidity and maybe some tannin under the baby fat yet. Mixes baking spices into the white grapefruit, meadow grasses background. The fruit is close to overripe yet not that sweet, more sourness in the blueberry, rhubarb, boysenberry fruit. Certainly stains the palate but right now it seems clumsy and marred by a short finish. One bottle is in storage so we’ll see what the future holds.

2010 Château de Malengin Montagne Saint-Emilion. The purple core yields swiftly to a glowing sunset red, really vivid. Sluggish and overripe nose, plum and close to prune, currant jam, cherry liqueur, this crushes the cedar, oak toast elements, in fact it’s quite difficult to register anything beyond the torpid fruit. Medium-bodied, there’s enough tanning hanging in there to if not structure things at least sop up the excess. Mixes in a smattering of potpourri, leather but it’s still the prune juice, currant jam, cassis rule. Thisclose to stewed tomato character. Have to assume the right elements were they at the start but they got massaged into a borderline grotesquerie. 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.

1997 Le Petit Chambord (François Cazin) Cour-Cheverny Cuvée Renaissance. Just short of bronzed, glowing yellow gold, full to the rims, average shine at best. Rubbery, tarry nose, muddy earth, smoky edge to the pineapple, pear, green melon fruit scents, sort of clipped. Full-bodied, on the dry side even though there’s a dense core of sweetness. That tarry, earthy element nagging and refuses to go away. Pink grapefruit, dried honey, rose water bring dimension, can’t tell if the nectarine, papaya, pineapple fruit has faded or been messed with. Acidity is okay, maybe. Doesn’t dance like it did on release back in 2001. To be fair, the cork was fairly nasty and the fill slightly low so this particular bottle may not be representative. The only one I had stored so probably never know.

NV? Les Crètes Syrah Valle d’Aosta Vino da Tavola Coteau La Tour. Crystal clear, retains a purple core with wide and vibrant red rust rims, intense appearance. Likewise, the nose super-focused with a swift, linear lift, barnyard mud, herbaceous, stone, tar, sour Italian plum, blackberry fruit, no-nonsense and from the start defies you to keep up. In the mouth it’s highly acidic, close to light-bodied, no excess flesh at all. Leather, flirts with feral, more damp earth and stone. You have to wait for the final lift to register the white grapefruit and dried flowers. Tangy plum, boysenberry, blackberry fruit given laser-like zip by that acidity. Been close to 20 years since I’ve had one of these and that’s regrettable. [Label said L. 12-A05 but not sure if that denotes 2012 as the vintage.]

2004 Merum Priorati Ardiles. Clear, mostly purple core, more magenta to scarlet further, wouldn’t call it bricking per se and doesn’t look all that aged. When first opened the nose is marred by creamy oak, slowly fades away into menthol, mint, grill smoke, wet cowhide and respectable blackberry, black cherry scents, not close to brighter red fruits. Medium-bodied, while it tends to unravel a little around the edges, the acidity remains strong. Powdered vanillin, caramel, potpourri, and cedar evidence of the oak’s staying power. Gamey, stony, the roasted quality to the raspberry, blackberry, blueberry fruit saps it of purity. Fruit has held up, doesn’t feel more dried out than you’d expect at its age. Just doesn’t break away from the pack. 43% Grenache, 34% Carignan, 18% Syrah, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Just remind me next time we get together when this mess is over and I’ll pull my last bottle.

Great notes Marc!

That Dolinsek sounds delicious already! Thanks for posting

I had my last one a couple of years ago. It was pretty mature, but I don’t think it would have declined this much in so little time.

The 96 is epic!