Evolucio Furmint ~ one of my favorite wines from the tasting
The next tasting for The Boarding House wine list was scheduled with David Read of Pure Wine Company. David and his lovely wife Sarah were amongst the first group of people I met when I moved to Chicago. I lost touch with them over the years so it was nice to spend time with David catching up and tasting through selections from his portfolio.
NV Domaine Collin Cremant de Limoux -- Limoux is a small town and appellation located north of Catalonia in Southern France. For centuries – well before Champagne came along – the region has been devoted to the production of wines that would sparkle naturally after a second fermentation kicked in during the spring (a process known as methode ancestrale). The traditional grape here is Mauzac used to make Blanquette de Limoux. In 1990, the Cremant de Limoux appellation was created and relies more heavily on Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc to favor a more international style. Philippe Collin is originally from the Champagne region of France and he makes a rather unique Cremant de Limoux more in style with his Champagne roots by using 30% Pinot Noir along with Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay for the blend. Fresh and lively nose of green apples and honey. Palate features a soft mousse with tangy acidity. A nice option as a value sparkler.
NV Drappier Carte D'Or Brut -- Mostly Pinot Noir based Champagne showing pleasant green apple notes with a slight toasty quality on the palate. Fresh, lively and perfectly charming.
NV Huber Hugo Sparkling Zweigelt Rose Austria -- Zweigelt (a crossing of Blaufrankisch and St. Laurent) was developed Dr. Zweigelt in 1922 and today represents Austria’s most popular red grape. Zweigelt produces easy-to-drink wines filled with notes of juicy tangy red berries, cherries and soft tannins. I’ve also had versions of Zweigelt with deep concentration and aging potential. Here we have a sparkling Zweigelt (along with a splash of Pinot Noir) with notes of strawberries, watermelons, raspberries and a finish showing a perceptible amount of residual sugar. Could make for a fun BBQ wine if you wanted to get creative with pairings for ribs and such.
2011 Gateway Vinho Verde, Portugal -- I’ve gotten to know Vinho Verde quite well as a good portion of my early twenties was spent memorizing its subregions for my Master Sommelier exams. Vinho Verde means green wine, a reference to the youthful state in which the wine is sold. It can be white, red or rose – in fact the vast majority of Vinho Verde is red. No matter the color, Vinho Verde is not terribly complicated and should be consumed within a year of purchase. This wine fulfills the duties of what Vinho Verde should be – crisp, clean, fresh and lively with a slight bitterness along the lines of radicchio. The blend here is Arinto, Loureiro, Trajadura and Azal.
2010 Marchetti Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi -- This appellation is located a mere 20 miles from the Adriatic Sea and understandably the simple, lemon and citrus notes would pair nicely with seafood. I tend to prefer the neighboring Metalica wines as they’re bit fuller and more concentrated but as a simple sipper and perhaps as a Pinot Grigio alternative, the Jesi version gets the job done.
2010 Monte Tondo Soave, Italy -- I’ll admit that whenever I come across a bottle of Soave, the Rico Suave song immediately pops up in my head. This Garganega based white is straightforward, simple and clean.
2011 Hermann Moser Gelber Muskateller Niederösterreich -- Muskateller is German for Muscat and Gelber Muskateller is the gold-skinned version. Muscat based wines always seem to remind me of geraniums and this wine is no exception with added notes of honeysuckle. On the palate, the wine is dry, fresh, crisp and clean. Because of the floral notes, dry Muscat can be tough to pair with food, which is why I like to present it as an aperitif wine.
2011 Hermann Moser Gruner Veltliner Per Due, Kremstal -- Weingut Hermann Moser is run by Martin and his wife Carmen Moser. The estate is 300 years old and is located in the village of Rohrendorf in the Kremstal wine-growing region in Lower Austria. Per Due comes from a single vineyard called Wolfsgraben, the "wolf's ditch'. I find Gruners often fall into two camps: tropical fruit driven with a fat texture or more crisp and lean with lemon-lime citrus notes. The Due falls into the latter category with classic notes of white pepper, peaches, stone fruits, white flowers and green apples.
2011 Hermann Moser Gruner Veltliner Karmeliterberg, Kremstal -- This is a richer style Gruner with more weight and texture on the palate. Notes of white pepper, slight pithy bitterness, citrus oil, peach pit, honey and cilantro.
2011 Macherndl Gruner Veltiner Kollmutz Federspiel Wachau -- Federspiel wines are second on the three-tier classification system (Steinfeder, Federspiel and Smaragd) developed by the Vinea Wachau association for its dry wines. Federspiel designated wines require a minimum must-weight of 17° KMW and 1.5-12.5% abv. The name refers back to the times of falconry, when this favorite form of noble hunting was practiced in the Wachau. Erich Jr took over in 1998 and has become a dynamic representative of the younger Wachauer generation. Kollmutz vineyard produces a style with more richness on the palate balanced with notes of peaches, green pears, fresh mint and just a slight hint of grapefruit skin.
2009 Macherndl Gruner Veltliner Steinwand Smaragd Wachau -- The Smaragd designation indicates the ripest and most concentrated dry wines of Vinea Wachau-members. The alcohol content begins at 12.5% by volume. Smaragd refers to the emerald-colored Idex lizards often found on the terraced vineyards of the Wachau. Dry but with full-blown tropical notes of mango skin, pineapples and honey with classic white pepper flavors and a touch of bitterness on the finish.
2009 Lo Triolet Pinot Gris Valle d'Aosta -- Lo Triolet is named after the lucky three-leafed clover known as Trifoglio in Italian. Surrounded by the northern Alps along the border to France and Switzerland, the Valle d’Aosta is Italy’s smallest region (in terms of both production and size). The region also boasts some of the highest elevated vineyards in Europe. The geographical crossroads results in a diverse array of grapes planted in the Vallee d’Aosta including Gamay, Pinot Noir, Dolcetto, Nebbiolo, Freisa, Fumin, Vien de Nus, Petit Rouge and Blanc de Morgex. This Pinot Gris came from vineyards planted at a staggering altitude of nearly 3,000 feet above sea level. Features crisp green apple notes of cool climate Pinot Grigio from Italy but also the honeyed tropical fruit notes of an Alsace or Oregon Pinot Gris.
2011 Evolucio Tokaj Furmint Hungary -- Furmint is used to produce dry wines as well as the famous Tokaji – the legendary sweet wine from the Tokaj-Hegyalja region in northeastern Hungary. The name Furmint is taken from the word ‘Froment’, for the wheat gold color of the wine it produces. The grape is susceptible to noble rot but also has the ability to maintain high levels of acidity. The Evolucio is dry Furmint at its best -- bright, tart green apple notes, cantaloupe, candied orange zest and a crisp lemon-lime finish. Falling somewhere between the style of a Sauvignon Blanc and a rich Pinot Gris, I’m absolutely obsessed with this wine!
2009 Dierberg Chardonnay Santa Maria Valley -- The Dierberg Vineyard is located in the near-extreme Western part of the Santa Maria Valley AVA, one of the coolest vineyards in the appellation. And like many other producers in California, the wines are inspired by Burgundy. Very well balanced style with menthol notes, roasted hazelnuts, caramel, golden delicious apples and lemon curd. Offers a nice balance between oak, fruit and acid. Primary fermentation takes place in larger 400 liter barrels for less oak influence and less than ten percent of the wine goes through malo to retain lively acidity.
2009 Ken Forrester FMC Chenin Blanc South Africa -- I find most South African Chenin Blanc to be crisp, simple and somewhat reminiscent of Sauvignon Blanc. The FMC is Ken Forrester’s pet project to demonstrate South Africa’s potential to produce marvelously rich and complex Chenin Blanc to rival those of the Loire Valley. Medium gold in color, rich, fat and creamy texture with off-dry with notes of honey, sweet baked apples, spices, peaches and apricots. There’s a fair amount of residual sugar here making this wine an easy pairing for stinky, creamy cheese or a lightly sweetened fruit dessert.
2011 Chateau Virgile Costieres de Nimes Rose -- This is a family-owned domaine by two brothers, Serge and Thierry Baret, who along with their father, cultivate 35 hectares of vineyards located less than ten miles from the Mediterranean Sea. Costieres de Nimes is part of the Rhone as the climate soil and topography of the vineyards are so similar to those of the Southern Rhone located just over the river. Bottles of Costieres de Nimes bear the symbol of the Roman settlement at Nimes, a crocodile chained to a palm tree. Made from a blend of 90% Grenache and 10% Syrah, the grapes are hand-harvested at night to preserve their freshness, and then 100% de-stemmed before undergoing a short 12-hour maceration in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. The result is a wine with a blush pink hue with flavors of red fruits, sour cherries, orange zest, and more savoriness on the palate as opposed to the sweet watermelon notes of more deeply colored roses.
2008 Montinore Estate Parson's Ridge Pinot Noir Willamette Valley -- This was my first wine from this producer. Parsons’ Ridge is a 25-year-old vineyard block certified biodynamic by Demeter. Light garnet color, nose shows more age progression with notes of dried cherries, dried herbs and baking spices with tea like tannins.
2006 Chehalem Pinot Noir Reserve Willamette Valley -- I’ve always been a big fan of Chehalem and this was a fun opportunity to try a somewhat older vintage from them. Shows medium concentration, moderate acidity and notes of black cherries, red plums, clove and vanilla.
2009 Three Saints Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley -- The second wine from Dierberg is named after the three “Saints” of the region: Maria, Rita and Ynez. Slight spritziness on palate with green herbaceous notes. Grippy tannins with a bright and tangy finish.
2010 Pali The Bluffs Pinot Noir Russian River Valley -- Pali was founded by entrepreneurs Tim Perr & Scott Knight in 2005. They named the winery after their hometown of Pacific Palisades located on the coast of Southern California. Sourced from low-yielding fruit, this is a big juicy Pinot Noir with notes of sweet cherry liqueur, roasted beets, clove, cinnamon and warm vanilla. Alcohol clocks in at 15.3%
2009 Tantara Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County -- Tantara was the name of a horse owned by Tantara founder Bill Cates some years ago. This is a big fruit bomb with loads of sweet ripe cherry fruit, clove, licorice and vanilla.
2008 Dierberg Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley -- well made and technically precise Pinot Noir with black cherry fruit, baking spice notes and hints licorice and mocha. Just like Dierberg’s Chardonnay – it’s well balanced.
2010 Capiaux Pinot Noir Chimera Sonoma Coast -- The Chimera is a blend of Pinot Noir from nine vineyards. Moderate plus concentration on the palate with, sweet ripe black cherry notes, cola spice, dark fruits and purple flowers. This is another big Pinot Noir.
2010 Sottimano Langhe Nebbiolo Italy -- Huge change-up after tasting those fruit forward Pinot Noirs. The Langhe Nebbiolo is produced in the Basarin cru in Neive. The vines are still very young and therefore Sottimano, always in favor of quality over volume, declassified from Barbaresco DOCG to Langhe Nebbiolo DOC. Classic Nebbiolo here: garnet, slight orange color, aromas of smoke, melted tar, animal and leather. Palate shows sour cherries, bright acidity and firm tannic finish. Good value in lieu of a Barbaresco.
2007 Meroi Nestri Colli Orientali del Friuli Italy -- made from 100% Merlot. Flavors of orange rinds, green bell pepper but not entirely herbaceous, slight leather component but gamey on the finish. Considering Paolo Meroi owns a little restaurant in northern Italy, Trattoria al Parco, I’m guessing this wine would pair quite nicely with food, grilled meat in particular.
2009 Jemrose Foggy Knoll Grenache Bennett Valley Sonoma County -- Satsuma oranges, raspberries, white pepper, poultry spice and firm tannins on the finish.
2007 Domaine de Trevallon Vin de Pays des Bouches du Rhone -- Declassified Les Beaux de Provence (due to a higher than permitted amount of Cabernet Sauvignon). Whatever you want to call it, this 50/50 blend of Cab Sauv and Syrah is certainly impressive. Medium plus concentration with flavors of black fruit liqueur, cloves, cinnamon, spices, black plums and dry dusty tannins. Not inexpensive but a pleasurable wine worth seeking out.
2007 De Trafford Cabernet Sauvignon Stellenbosch South Africa -- For some reason, many South African reds taste smoky to me and this is no exception with additional notes of bell pepper, black olives and cassis.
2008 Shane The Unknown Syrah North Coast -- With stints at Torbreck, Copain, Gaillard, Paul Hobbs and Kosta Brown – there’s no arguing Shane Finley’s resume is certainly quite impressive. Experience is the best teacher and it shows with his take on Syrah. Showing a style clearly influenced by the great wines of the northern Rhone with notes of black plums, violets, smoke, bacon fat, crushed minerals, black pepper and fleshy tannins. Only 500 cases produced.
2009 Areola Anjali Priorat Spain -- Anjoli is the name of the adopted daughter of Rose Galceran, one of the partners of Celler Ardevol. Made from a blend of 40% Garnacha, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah and 20% Merlot. This is pretty juicy for Priorat with gobs of ripe raisinated fruit, figs, black plums and sweet tobacco spice. An easy-to-drink style and a good introduction to the Priorat.
2009 Priest Ranch Napa Valley -- Priest Ranch was originally settled by James Joshua Priest in 1847 and was known as Priest Ranch for over 100 years. Classic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon of black cherries, mocha, vanilla and a soft supple
2008 Caravina Cabernet Sauvignon Seavey Vineyard, Napa Valley -- Seavey was on the wine list at a restaurant I worked at in 1995 and it was one of my favorite Cabs to recommend to customers. This is their second label now in it’s 10th vintage. Very well made with fleshy tannins and that signature blueberry fruit that I get from their flagship wine but at nearly half the price.