Friday, March 17, 2006

Low Carb Wines -- RIP

2002 One.9 Merlot & 2003 One.6 Chardonnay -- Last week the local distributor was blowing out the remnants of this foray into "low carb" wine. I picked up a few cases for sale at $30 a case as a lark. That's Two Buck Chuck pricing! Originally these wines sold for $10 retail per bottle.

These wines were made at Brown-Forman's Valley Oak winery in Hopeland, Mendocino County. More than 200,000 cases were ordered within two weeks of the product announcement, but now production has ceased.

Some wine reviewers gave the wines some passing marks when tasted blind. One reviewer guessed that the dry, tart style (necessary to get the low carb/low sugar levels) might not play well to the American palate that talks "dry", but likes "sweet".

I have not tasted these wines (and am pretty backed up with wine samples so it may be a few weeks or so before I get around to sampling), so I have no tasting notes. One customer grabbed a couple cases for a party he is throwing.

If I get the invite, I will be BYOB'ing!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Peter Lehmann Clancy's

2003 Peter Lehmann, Clancy's ($16) -- Barossa Australia; Shiraz (42%), Cabernet Sauvignon (41%) and Merlot (17%). Lehmann has been producing wines since 1979 and in 2005 crushed about 21,000 tonnes. The website is full of useful information.

Clancy's 2003 wine was sourced from various Barossa vineyards and spends 12 months in new and old French and American oak.

Dark fruit aromas and well balanced fruit, tannins and acids overall. Medium finish. Pleasant quaffer and would be good with food.

I liked this wine last month on sampling with the wine rep so I bought a case as I thought $16 was a good value. At the South Beach Wine Festival one night I went to a hot South Beach restaurant that had it on the list for more than $80. $80!

Chateau Lyonnat

2001 Chateau Lyonnat, Lussac-Saint-Emilion ($23) -- Grand Vin de Bordeaux. Mis en Bouteilles au Chateau. The D. Milhade & Sons Company, founded in 1938, distributes Estate wines for Chateau Boutisse, Chateau Lyonnat, Chateau Sergant and Chateau Recougne.

The vineyard is made up of 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc. The wine is fermented in vats with natural yeasts and then transfered to new oak barrels for 18 months.

On the nose I found complex aromas of fruit, earth and pencil shavings (?). The flavors are full-fruit and extracted with a long finish. Very good to the last glass!

E Guigal Cotes du Rhone

2003 E Guigal Cotes du Rhone ($14) -- The website was a bit misleading, but I believe the wine is Syrah (55%), Grenache (35%) and Mourvedre (10%) from 35 year-old vines, aged 18 months in oak foudres. 250,000 cases produced.

Medium aroma and warm soft fruit flavors with medium to long finish. A delicious quaffer and would go very well with food.

You can tell from the photo that most of this bottle is gone!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Saint Gregory Pinot

2002 Saint Gregory, Mendocino Pinot Noir ($17) -- By the Graziano Family of Wines. 1,500 cases produced; 18 months French oak, 35% new.

Medium nose of ripe cherries and toasted oak. Elegant and Burgundian in style. Full mouth feel, tannin structure, long finish. Well balanced. Good before dinner and with dinner. Serve at 65 degrees. Drink now or hold for a few years.

The Graziano family has been growing grapes in Mendocino County since 1918. They produce wine under four different labels concentrating on the Italian varietals. At the high end they offer a wine called "Coro", a Mendocino Red Blend of Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Dolcetto and Barbera. The "Coro" is a collaboration of 8 Mendocino vintners who set the blending and aging parametes for the wine. Each winery creates its indivudual blend and a panel of experts review the wine. Each winery personalizes the common label and bottles the wine in a uniform bottle.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Moulin de Duhart

2001 Moulin de Duhart, Pauillac ($35) -- Second label of Fourth Growth, Chateau Duhart-Milon. Acquired by the Rothschild family in 1962. Imported by Pastenak Wines.

A Cabernet blend (50%) with Merlot (46%) and Cabernet Franc (4%). Hand picked, fermented in stainless steel vats, aged in oak barrels, made by the cooper of Lafite, 33% to 40% new. 12,000 cases produced.

Enjoyed this wine on Monday at Pho Paris at half-priced wine night. Full fruit aromas and a long finish that just slid over my whole tongue and lasted more than a minute. Very smoooth!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Clos du Marquis

2002 Clos du Marquis, Saint-Julien ($50) -- Bordeaux. Clos du Marquis is the "second label" of Chateau Leoville Las-Cases, a Second Growth, although since 1989 it has been regarded as a separate entity.

This wine is mostly Cabernet with Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The aroma is a big complex fruit with full fruit flavors and a long finish. Tannins are present but subdued. Many consider this the best "second" wine in Bordeaux. Very drinkable now but will age well.