TN: Recent tastes


2005 Dom. de l’Ecu, Muscadet Expression de Garanite:
Very bright, juicy and fresh fruit smells and flavors backed with a peppery spice and mineral backbone; all delivered as though on the snap of a whip. This is a tremendous bottle of wine, has lots of years to go but shows beautifully now. 12% alcohol and about $17, on release.

2005 Tribut, Chablis Côte de Lechet:
Has richened and become more strongly flavored since the end of last year. Steely aromatics but more depth and complexity in the mouth; immense length. I’m guessing this is just starting to reveal its core of concentrated fruit. Very energetic and excellent with grilled chicken. About $26, delivered.


1996 Dom. de Montgilet, Anjou Villages:
After 13 years, this has finally become drinkable – actually, more than that – its a smooth, balanced expression of Loire cabernet franc that has good depth of flavor and some richness. For years this wine was nothing but green pepper juice – now, that element is but a hint and the fruit has come around very nicely. But that’s too long to wait for a wine to become drinkable and, while I enjoyed this bottle (my last) tonight, I’ll not be buying more from these folks. 13%alcohol and about $20 on release.

Very brief impressions of wines at lunch and at a tasting:

2003 Marcassin, Pinot Noir:
Spicy and balanced but without complexity and very slightly hot on the finish. Pleasant; no more.

Marcassin, Chardonnay (vintage and vineyard unknown):
All vanilla all the time. Not for me.

1982 Château Ducru-Beacaillou:
A somewhat musty nose (not TCA) but fairly fresh fruit, some grip and a decent finish. Not special but pretty good.

1999 Produtorri del Barbaresco:
Beautiful, feathery wine with sustain and presence. Almost Burgundy-like in weight and texture. Drinking very well.

2006 Bevan Cellars, Syrah:
Too much new wood at this stage of its life for my taste but the concentration and flavor profile are just plain yummy.

2005 Bevan Cellars, Syrah:
Much more complex and with much less oak than the 2006; graceful despite remarkable intensity. Quite good.

1996 Dom Pérignon:
Oh my! Without question, the most delectable and impressive Champagne of my life. Thanks Kevin.

We also had a Paul Hobbes, Cabernet (vintage unknown) that supposedly got 100 points from Mr. Parker. I found it nicely balanced and showing some complexity but having little varietal character and being a little hollow at mid-palate. Then we compared it to the 2006 Bevan Cellars, Cabernet and I found the Bevan to have more character, be more identifiable as cabernet and much more concentrated.

At the end of the night, somebody poured a recent vintage Colgin, Cabernet which smelled like a pickle barrel – I never got any farther than the nose and didn’t want to.

Best, Jim

Nice job Florida Jim.

I agree with your take on Marcassin.
I have the same aversion to it.
The whites have too much oak now for me. I did have an older one that was pretty good.
For that kind of money, it should walk on water.
The reds are too extracted for me.
Oh well. More for others.

Glad to see you post on a couple of Russell’s wines. I have only had the Dry/Grey Stack wines from him.
I would like to give his Bevan Cellars a go.

Hope your project is coming along.


I have been trying to get a handle on Russell’s wines as I get to taste them more than most folks. I think, that as he gets more and more experience with his grape sources and their vintage variability, he is starting to adjust his barrel program accordingly. That will mean more balanced wines as the years unfold.
Of course, they will be big, concentrated, yummy wines that are, in my mind, meant more for the cocktail hour than the dinner table. But Russell seems to have morphed from an “everything, all the time” apporach, to a much more intuitive and vintage sensitive approach - within that given style.
And just wait until you try the Westerhold Family syrah which Russell makes and which will be bottled soon. If there is one wine in CA that I can say with certainty has its own, very individual character, its Westerhold’s stuff. He uses a single clone (Alban 1), on a single piece of unique terroir that he farms so meticulously it is difficult to imagine and Russell makes the wine in much the same manner as his own. His barrel program his set and his aging regimen is, too. These will be wines that will not only show their place but their vintage variation and will do so with power and intensity. They should be immense fun to watch develop in the cellar.
I look forward to much more from Russell and his client’s in the coming years.
Best, Jim

Thanks for the heads up.

Thanks for the notes as always Jim. I bought some Tribut Chablis from Garagiste though it is not yet delivered. You note sounds a bit mixed. Value? Cellar worthy?

I’m surprised to see you post positive notes on Russell’s Syrahs. They are definitely full throttle. I do like them more than his Cabs though. Big yummy wines.

Definitely cellar worthy. Excellent value as well.

I’m surprised to see you post positive notes on Russell’s Syrahs. They are definitely full throttle. I do like them more than his Cabs though. Big yummy wines.

Such wines are not the style I like best but I have a lot of experience with the bigger style and I think I can see the quality in the wines and make comparisons among the competitors in that style.
As I say, these are not the wines I buy but they sell well and lots of people love them. The world does not revolve around me.
Best, Jim

The world does not revolve around me.
Best, Jim

Ferchrissake Jim, you’ll never make a good moderator with that kind of attitude. [rolleyes.gif]

Thanks for the notes.

The world has plenty of moderators, don’t you think?
Best, Jim

Was the DP96 still on the flower/citrus side of things, or already in the butter/yeast phase?

Best, Jim

'96 Dom is a great champagne.