Thursday, December 15, 2005

Poker Night

Quinta do Noval 40 Year Tawny Porto ($130) -- Portugal. Bottled in 2004 from wines in oak for more than 40 years. Having reviewed the faxed wine list from the Club for the annual poker night with the boys, I decided to BYOB a few bottles of Cab (1998 Wightman and 2002 Waterstone) and a special treat for dessert.

I had a few bottles left over from last year's Hyde Park Port Club Dinner, so I thought what the hell, what better group to share some good old Port.

The Tawny showed better age than me. The color was more faded than the deep red of a vintage port, and had a honeyed nuance. The finish was long and over the two hours that it was opened, the finish grew longer. Great stuff!

The best part was that most of the boys were more interested in cards than this wine (I had been tapped out quickly), so they mostly ignored the Porto. And even better, having polished off about half the bottle personally, I had dreaded the next morning, but here I am blogging away and filling Christmas orders.

Now if I can only get the cigar odors out of my suit jacket! Don't tell the Fire Department, but they actually disconnected the smoke alarms in the card room due to the dense haze.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

What's In a Name?

Interesting story from on two wineries with similar names for some of their wines. Sound familar? I like the quote at the end, "We intend to be generous and agreeable."

My hat's off to you Mr. Portteus !

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Bad Vintage or Poor Storage

2000 Finca Luzon, Altos de Luzon, Jumilla ($17) -- Monastrell/Cabernet Sauvignon/Tempranillo (50/25/25) from Jorge Ordonez. I loved the 2002, have not tasted the 2001, and missed out on getting any of the 400 cases of 2003 as they blew through the warehouse last week in an hour after the Wine Spectator #44 rating.

I stumbled on this orphan in Hyde Park as a mark down (I think from the current vintage price of $20) and took it home to test.

The cork was slightly wine stained on the outside third, while the tip was only slightly saturated suggesting that maybe some heated storage conditions. Upon opening, the nose was a subdued earthy aroma with a muted fruit flavor and disjointed, slightly astringent, tannins and a short finish.

I hoped that after an hour it would improve, but rather it declined.

So, here are my questions:
  • Would three years of warm, 72 plus degrees storage conditions in a retail shop affect the quality of the wine?
  • Or is this just a dumb phase, the wine and not me?
  • Would you buy a 1997 DRC Montrachet for $1,000 from the same store? (I felt privledged to be able to hold it and roll it around in my hands as this is supposedly a pretty rare specimen as only 200 cases were produced!)
  • Does your car get good gas mileage?

The answers are below:


Biltmore Estate

NV Biltmore Estate Wines -- I just tasted through 4 of the Biltmore wines and quickly pointed out to the rep that they were all NV, which to me was a negative, but then I quickly remembered that we are talking North Carolina here. At first I thought it was the Biltmore Hotel in Miami, Florida, which has a great public golf course, but I never saw any vineyards when I lived down there. The pool in Miami is I think the largest in the State or Universe or something. Late night bar is good too! Anyway, back to North Carolina.

If these were NV California wines I would pass as unremarkable at the price point ($10 to $15), but for North Carolina (actually American AVA; I don't have time to research if NC has an AVA; it's Christmas damnit!) they are very drinkable and pleasant. The Chardonnay was a bit overdone on the oak and butter (Meridian-like) but the Pinot was varietally correct, the Merlot was tasty, and the Cab very pleasant with some nuances.

I couldn't find much on the website as far as production notes, but I am led to believe that the wine is estate bottled. Also, supposedly with 900,000 visitors each year it is the most visited "winery" in the country although I am not sure if they mean the Hotel or the "winery". The wines have been for sale at the Hotel in the past and online, but have just recently been offered through the local distributor. Look for them on the shelves!


Monday, December 12, 2005

2002 Arcadian La Genisse

2002 Arcadian, "La Genisse", LaFond Vineyard Syrah ($18) -- Santa Ynez Valley. Tasted today in a quick review of four wines at Salt of the Earth with the owner and a couple of reps. A great Syrah for $18. Big nose, full fruit and longish finish. I bought a case on the spot.

The production notes on the website are for the 2000 vintage, but mention that the yeast source is from the Cote Rotie region which may explain the elegance. A lovely wine.

This ain't no heifer!

(Ed. Note: For you purist, I did not have time to research whether La Genisse is the feminine for heifer, and whether the "heifer" in the pic is male or female. I'm betting male however!)

Chateau Mazeris

2002 Chateau Mazeris, Canon Fronsac ($20) -- Imported by Dreyfus Ashby. I opened last Saturday for the weekly tasting with mixed reviews more due to the fact that some people prefer a more fruit forward style (I am one!) but the wine geeks who visited proclaimed it to be a good wine with plenty of fruit and a reasonable value.

This Monday night it is still going strong for the football game, and I may be one of the few in America drinking Bordeaux during Monday Night Football. I love the beer commercials, it's the product I can't stand!

The Dreyfus website details the Chateau and its vineyards but not the varietal make-up of this particular vintage. I am guessing mostly Merlot and some Cab Franc with a small production of 5,000 cases.

It is dark red, fruit aroma, full fruit with tannins present and a medium finish. It is not big (like a 300 lb. tackle), it is French! Not that there is anything wrong with that!