Saturday, April 30, 2011

TN: Ironstone 2007 Sierra Foothills Cabernet Franc Reserve

The Ironstone 2007 Sierra Foothills Cabernet Franc Reserve was about what I expected it would be: a typical $15 reserve style wine. So your basic simple $10 wine, but pumped up in ripeness and oak treatment. Actually for the price it's a good wine. I think this would challenge many more expensive wines aiming for this style. But in my mind that really points to how overpriced many wines are when they can be easily imitated. If something is fungible, then it is simply a commodity. And this a solid reserve-style commodity wine.
  • 2007 Ironstone Vineyards Cabernet Franc Reserve - USA, California, Sierra Foothills, Calaveras County

    Decent wine for drinkin', not thinkin'. Ripe jammy berry nose and flavor with a lot of oak influence (toast, tannin). Does retain some of the Cab Franc herb/cedar. But pretty standard international style wine--could be from Chile, coastal CA, who knows.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

TN: Chateau Aney 2007 Haut Medoc

The Chateau Aney 2007 Haut Medoc is another Kermit Lynch import. If you are familiar with Lynch, you probably know he doesn't import much Bordeaux. The problem being that Bordeaux is a sort of vinous pyramid scheme. Typically an importer cannot purchase direct from the cellar because negociants insure the wine passes through middle men along the way, sometimes several sets. Every penny is squeezed out of buyers along the way.

Cheateau Aney (see Lynch's tech sheet here) is an exception, a Bordeaux producers not tied into the cartel of cynical schemers known as negociants. They make wine, good, elegant, drinkable wine, and sell it at a fair but not cheap price. It certainly drank very well now, though perhaps I am not giving it enough credit for potential. While it is elegant and enjoyable, perhaps the overall balance will bode well for development.
  • 2007 Château Aney - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc

    Gets better and better with air. Leather, tobacco, black currant and pomegranate. Creamy mouthfeel with medium acidity and mild tannin. Well-structured for near term consumption. Some chocolate and earth on the finish. Savory. Yum.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

TN: Chateau La Roque 2004 Pic St. Loup Cupa Numismae

The Chateau La Roque 2004 Pic St. Loup Cupa Numismae is good. And it cost under $15. What more can you ask for? Based on the lot number printed on the label ending in 11, I'm guessing this wine had been sitting in the producer's cellar since around 2005. Cheap, aged and good. Again, what more can you ask for?!?

Well, it does have nice varietal Syrah and Mourvedre character, plus a silky texture. Every Chateau La Roque wine I've had has been good to excellent. They are a bit modern in style, I'd say, but never lose their grounding in a top terroir in Languedoc. There is a sense of place in an accessible, clean style. Imported by Kermit Lynch.
  • 2004 Château La Roque Coteaux du Languedoc Pic St. Loup Cupa Numismae - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Coteaux du Languedoc Pic St. Loup

    Picked up a couple, L1.3.11. Wonder if these came direct from cellar, labeled this year??? At any rate, a nicely evolving S. Rhone blend of Syrah and Mourvedre. Very gamey, bacony nose. Mid-weight on the palate with silky tannins. Lively acidity. Not heavily extracted--perfect mix of fruit, herb and earth. Seems to have some good quality, well-integrated oak. Super QPR for the price!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

TN: Cabot 2006 Humbolt County Syrah Aria's Vineyard

A quick one here--Cabot 2006 Humbolt County Syrah Aria's Vineyard. While this was a delicious, excellent wine that compares well to any region, what really stands out is its AVA. It's from Humboldt County, a region better known for a different cash crop. The lesson: be open minded. There are excellent Syrahs from all over California, even in regions with little reputation for wine growing. Throw this wine in blind with Carneros, Santa Barbara and other temperate to cool regions and it will more than hold its own.

I believe this had a bit of Viognier blended. If so, no doubt this added to the aromatics while rounding out the wine. Others might like their Syrah pure, but I like the feminine edge Syrah gets with a bit of Viognier.
  • 2006 Cabot Vineyards Syrah Aria's - USA, California, North Coast, Humboldt County

    Excellent--silky texture with fine tannin and juicy acidity. Very typical Syrah aromas with dark fruit, smoke and bacony goodness. A bit of floral aroma. Round mid-palate, not too fruity, not too earthy, none of the bitterness and excessive smoke of some Syrahs. Finishes clean and long.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

TN: Domaine de la Butte 2005 Bourgueil Mi-Pente

The Domaine de la Butte 2005 Bourgueil Mi-Pente is absolutely awesome wine. While it's undeniably Old World Cab Franc, the structure in some ways reminds me of a high end Nebbiolo. The structure is immense.

Of course, I have to harp on the terroir. This is from the mid-slope (i.e. mi-pente) of a limestone based soil. That's the best exposure of the best soil type in the Loire. And 2005 was an excellent vintage. I suspect this wine can only get better as the structure integrates.
  • 2005 Domaine de la Butte Bourgueil Mi-pente - France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Bourgueil

    Whoa, this is great Loire Franc. Only drink this now if you can handle some firm, ripe tannins. Nose of walnuts, menthol, celery, violets and macerated black cherries. High acid, big tannic structure--this is built to age. Very fresh red and black fruit up front, then turns more chalky with a peppery undercurrent. Definite minerality and a pleasant bitterness on the finish.

    Opened up with decanting over several hours--needs about an hour to hit its stride though there's a lot of interesting funk as it opens up to enjoy.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

TN: Foxen 2006 Tinaquiac Vineyard Cabernet Franc

I've been too busy to post recently, but will try to catch up in the next few weeks with a few interesting wines. One of them is the Foxen 2006 Tinaquiac Vineyard Cabernet Franc. The fruit is sourced from a dry-farmed vineyard in Santa Barbara County, or more specifically the Santa Maria Valley AVA. This falls stylistically in with a lot of CA Pinot Noir, which shouldn't be too surprising given the producer's track record with Pinot. Still, the profile is all Cab Franc, and on the earthy side. Didn't seem like a long ager, but it had character.
  • 2006 Foxen Cabernet Franc Tinaquaic - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley

    Very Cab Franc in character--not a given in CA Franc. Black cherries and tobacco nose, same flavors. Has a fair amount of oak, but the earthy finish meshes well with it. Plenty of fruit, plenty of earth. Structure about on par with a mid-level Pinot Noir, mild yet not formless. Finishes long.