Back to Back: 2 nights out, and a lesson in bacteria

Some how, I am a better sales man than I thought. I was able to talk my wife in to letting me out on back to back nights (we have an agreement that I won’t do that), but she did come out with me on Sunday night.

Sunday night was Lorena’s in Maplewood (easily my favorite NJ restaurant) with Russell Bevan and his fiance Victoria. We tasted through his line up of 2007s, along with some older CDPs and a bottle of port.

Food note- If you go to Lorena’s, you have to try the smoked salmon tartare, it’s other worldly. The mushroom and crab crepe is also a show stopper.

Bevan Merlot 2007- This was a bit tight when it was first opened, but really came around rather quickly. Very pure and clean, with a good finish. If the alcohol was a little tamer, I would have liked it. My wife’s WOTN.

Bevan Red Blend 2007- My favorite of Russell’s line up. Great complexity with some nice green-ness, and that classic texture Russell’s wines are known for. This is a great bottle of wine to cellar.

Bevan Syrah Bennett Valley 2007- Holy smokes, literally. This smells and tastes like a Wendy’s Baconnator. This was fun, but the fruit is just a little too reserved right now. Ironically, this was by far the lowest alcohol wine at 13.3% (Gotta love that Bennett Valley micro climate!)

Bevan Cabernet 2007- This is the show stopper. Huge fruit, huge texture, huge finish. I know it’s not cheap at $150 a bottle, but I really like this a ton, and think it’s every bit as good as the more expensive cult stuff.

And from the other side of the pond…
89 Beaucastel CDP- WOW, was this bottle off. I am convinced it was not only full breted out, but was also suffering from a rather severe case of VA. It reeked of acetone, and had so much gun metal flavor on the palate it was giving me lock jaw. One of the single most flawed bottles of wine I have ever had.

98 Vieux Donjon CDP- This was another odd ball. It smelled like a vinyl shower curtain, but that did dissipate as time went buy. The fruit was right there, but I think this bottle wasn’t a true representation. The bottle I had last October rocked so much it won an 18 bottle show down of 98 CDPs. It was raging with lavendar, this one, plastic.

77 Fonseca- What a great bottle of wine. This has incredibly complexity, and really wasn’t that sweet. It drinks much closer to a table wine. Love the earl grey tea notes a lot.

So last night was at a great Italian place in Montclair called Fascino. The food is dynamite, and it’s always well prepared, and non-complicated. It’s a good place to eat if you are bringing a hodge podge of wines (like we did) and just want a great meal. Everything was served blind.

04 Marcassion Zio Tony Chardonnay- I knew right away this was Cali. Way too much oak for my taste. As massive as the wine is, the oak really shows on the nose, and all the way through the palate. Since there really isn’t any kind of earthy flavors, it’s a very “on the surface” kind of wine. Good, just not worth the price of entry. (I guessed 2001 PM Chard)

88 Pichon Baron- This was a great bottle. The color and aromas were very deceiving, as we had this pegged as a much younger wine. I kept thinking it was something St. Estephe, and 96. It had a really deep herbal, sweet green bell pepper note on the nose, and the fruit was rather dark, young and still a little tight. This would have been much better with a decanter, or a few more years.

97 Gaja Conteisa- So, dummy me, I grabbed the wrong bottle, and didn’t catch it. I also have Sperss at home (which is what I thought I grabbed), and brought this instead. This bottling isn’t really my style, but it’s a nice bottle of wine for sure. Drinks more Bordeaux-like, with really good texture, and subtle underbrush-type earthiness. This didn’t really wow me, but it was a nice wine to serve blind for sure.

02 Paul Hobbs Cuvee Augustina Pinot Noir- WOW, is this NOT my cup of tea. Everyone guessed Cab, even the guy who brought it! This was way to massive for Pinot. Really over the top, but showed good balance. I would be curious as to where this wine goes though. It could last another 10 years, or it could fall apart.

99 Greenock Creek 7 Acres Shiraz- This was very good. It showed much more like a domestic Syrah, or possibly even a bigger French Syrah. Great texture, with a long finish. Great clean fruit, with little hints of grilled meats. This and the Pichon were my 2 faves.

04 Negly Clos des Truffiers- I sell this, so I will keep my notes short. I like truffles, a whole bunch. This wine is loaded up with them.

04 Turley Roussanne dessert wine- Out of whack and way too much sugar for me. Everyone else liked it though. Gimme 77 Fonseca instead.

And a glass of bubbles to finish off.

All in all, a great two day feast and plenty of good wines.

Ian, you da man!! All those wines for 4 people??

Russell (or Ian), what’s the SRP for the Red Blend?

Sunday was 7, and last night was 5. Woops!

I think the red is $150 too.

Tasted bevan lineup at russells over turkey day. Awesome wines. Recently cracked 07 merlot and really liked it. Not cheap at $150 per but given the competition fairly priced.

Ian, I just had dinner at a Brazilian/Portuguese place in Maplewood called Churrasco on Springfield Avenue. Probably not as good as some of the places down in Ironbound, but as I recall, this is right down the street from you guys, so if you haven’t been, you might consider it. Interestingly enough, I believe all three wines we consumed at dinner were “courtesy” of WL [wink.gif] .


Tell me more about 2004 Truffiers. I stopped buying with the 2003, as it became more and more difficult to get this stuff, since Jeffrey Davies cannot get the stuff into this country with ease.

I love Negly.

Next time, for dinner, I can bring a 1997, if you have never had it!

Hook Dunnuck up with one for his Languedoc report!

Since there was 5 of us, and 8 bottles, there was a considerable amount of Gaja and Negly left, so I snagged them to see where they might end up.

Gaja was considerably more aromatic the next day, and really complex. The palate had more richness to it, but was still rather muted compared to the nose. The edgy tannins started popping out too. Curious if this will ever come around fully.

The Negly really mellowed out and was very Cote Rotie-esqe. Very silky and balanced with lots of nuance and great aromatics. This is a very versatile wine. It’s great for the hedonist on day 1 (loads of truffles, chocolate and big fruit with almost zero tannin) or for the purest on day 2. I think if you can get past the zip code and price, this is a stellar bottle of wine. I wish I had more disposable income.

Would love to try the 1997, I think they oldest one I had was 1998.

He should cover more than just Negly!

Ian and Tony,

Thank you for your thoughts on the wines. They are a labor of love and we dream about the day we can work for Bevan Cellars full time.

We have finalized our distribution in NYC and NJ, just three retail outlets and three restaurants, unfortuniately the wines are a month out so I don’t want to go into details.

To answer the pricing issue our Red Blend and C.S. are both $150 and the Merlot and Syrah are $70.

We are off to run through Central Park in the snow the city is just amazing this time of year.

Happy Holidays,
Russell Bevan
Bevan Cellars
707 332 2918

Nice stuff Ian. Lousy bit of luck with those CndPs. Agree completely with your Marcassin Chard and Paul Hobbs Pinot assessments. Hobbs makes the most Cab-ish Pinot I’ve ever tasted.

Had an enjoyable visit to Chateau de la Negly a few years ago and did some barrel tasting including their Truffiers and Porte du Ciel. Stuff was selling out fast after all the late 90s and early 00s WA love. Very ripe and heady. I enjoyed the 05 Falaise at the winery but a year later, found it too hot. The 07 Porte du Ciel reportedly has an “eye-popping” (DS) alcohol of 17%. Yipes.