TN: First taste of 2010 Brunello (plus others)

Some recent notes.

Shared with my parents. I liked it very much, but they weren’t sure quite what to think of it. This is the Napa venture of JCP Maltus (of Chateau Teyssier in St. Emilion). Basically the kind of wine Cab Franc haters will hate:

World’s End, Against the Wind, Cabernet Franc, Reserve, Napa Valley 2009
Dark ruby with a hint of purple. Lovely nose, rich, ripe blackberry, roses, herbaceous tobacco leaf, and milk chocolate, with sweet suede and earth; excellent depth and richness; somewhat low key at first but becomes increasingly aromatic as it opens. Similar notes on the palate, with wonderful blackberry and chocolate, tobacco leaf, and earth; herbaceous and peppery; very long finish of sweet fruit and spice. Huge body, incredibly rich in texture, with sweet, slightly succulent fruit, and good acid tone; the texture is rather enthralling. Extremely impressive quality and exceptionally polished, this is like velvet. Extremely food friendly, especially given its weight. The spicy, herbaceous, dark fruit is a joy for Cab Franc lovers (but if you don’t care for Cab Franc, this probably isn’t for you). Love it! 10 - 15 solid years ahead, will be alive in 20. 4 Stars. [2/26/17]

A colleague generously brought this back from Portugal for me:

Casa Ermelinda Freitas, Dona Ermelinda Reserva, Palmela 2014
From the Peninsula de Setubal. Impressive color, deep, gem-like ruby. Excellent nose of rich, lush fruit, with aromatic tones and nice, earthy depth. On the nose and palate, fleshy black cherry upfront, followed by black raspberry, black currant, and touches of aromatic tobacco leaf and roses, then very nice dark chocolate notes, with lots of earthy mineral and sweet tannin on the finish, all overlaid with dried dates and spice. Intense body and very rich, almost port-like, with a wonderful, sweet, succulent, and mineral-laden texture. Exceptionally nice, and impressive quality, polished but with a nice rustic edge to it. I like this very much! Very young still, benefits a great deal from breathing (decanting for 30 min certainly won’t hurt); should evolve nicely over the next 5 - 8 years. Castelao, Touriga Nacional, Trincadeira, and Cabernet Sauvignon (the back-end structure is strongly influenced by the Cab Sauv). 3.5 Stars [3/4/17]

Excellent QPR here, for the $20 price point. This estate is owned by Domaine de Chevalier:

Clos des Lunes, Lune d’Argent, Bordeaux 2015
70% Semilon, 30% Sauvignon Blanc, from Sauternes. Light platinum yellow. Wonderful nose, such depth and richness, with loads of stone, dark, rich tropical fruits (papaya, guava), deep citrus rind, and overtones of grass/herbs. Similar notes on the palate, with loads of deep citrus rind, pineapple, papaya, guava, all upfront, followed by apricot and plum, then hints of grass/herbs, and loads of stoney mineral depth. Big body, impressive richness and depth, and prominent acid tone. Surprising in that it behaves more like a Sauvignon Blanc, but also has a much darker fruit character than either of these grapes usually produces. Monolithic at first, but opens beautifully. Wonderful, with 5 - 8 years ahead. 3.5 Stars [ 3/10/17]

First serious Argentine Malbec I’ve had in quite a while:

Bodega Tacuil, Vinas de Davalos, Salta 2010 (Argentina)
80% Malbec, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Bottle opened for breathing a few hours earlier. Medium ruby, heading toward garnet. Subtle but rich and deep nose and palate, with loads of brambly fruit (fresh raspberry and blackberry), and plum, all with tart but wonderfully succulent red cherry/cranberry, and loads of dense, earthy, slightly chocolatey mineral, and toward the finish, hints of tobacco leaf and roses. Full bodied but graceful, with abundant, grainy, slightly spicy tannin. Mature, with some rather lovely fruit, but still has some grip. Very, very nice, excellent quality. Drink in the next few years. 3.5 Stars [3/11/17]

This note is lengthy, in part because I got to spend a lot of time with it, but also because there was just so much to say:

Tenuta di Sesta, Brunello di Montalcino 2010
Decanted 3 hours in advanced, hit its stride after 5 hours, and was still improving when finished off at around 6.5 hours. Warm, medium garnet. Beautiful nose, with so much going on: deep, slightly pungent black cherry, with macerated raspberry and blackberry, notes of fleshy red plum,a touch of tobacco leaf, just a hint of roses, plum tomato, orange rind, and sweet earth, all with minty herbs and lots of lovely incense notes; some gamey notes too; aromatic and wonderful. On the palate, dark, tart but rich pie cherry upfront, followed by meaty blackberry notes, juicy red raspberry/strawberry/plum, tomato paste, citrus, fresh tobacco leaf, violets/roses, all with overtones of blueberry (that emerge with air), and toward the finish sweet, mineral-laden earth with loads of fine tannins and notes of spice, and with notes of sweet/succulent red currant lingering on a very nice, medium-long finish. Full bodied and penetrating with considerable spicy grip; awesome texture, sweet and succulent but with a pungent/savory edge; exquisite balance, with big acid providing incredible tension; sits deceptively lightly upfront, but then becomes expansively potent. In terms of texture, this is the Brunello equivalent of a 2005 Bordeaux, but in personality, flirts with Cotes de Beaune (Burgundy); the most singularly unique Brunello I’ve had (I think that’s partly the vintage and partly Tenuta di Sesta’s style). If you prefer classical elegance, it doesn’t get much better than this. Either give this at least 5 more years, or give it 5 - 6 hours in the decanter - it starts out thin, but gains weight to a remarkable extent. 15 to probably 20 years ahead, perhaps more. Wines like this are why Brunello is one of my great loves! 4.5 Stars [3/12/17]

Just did a little quick research on World’s End, it’s owned by JCP Maltus of Chateau Teyssier: