Thursday, July 30, 2015

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Pair of Excellent White Northern Rhônes from Jamet and Perret

White wines from the Northern Rhône are not always easy to understand. In part, I think this may be due to the fact that they do not travel well. But additionally, they usually are low in acidity, something that we do not expect from white wines. Nevertheless, even if you are someone who has had difficulty with whites from the Northern Rhône in the past, I urge you to try these wines, from two of the region’s greatest producers, should you manage to come across them. (Continue reading here.)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Three Reds from Northern Burgundy

Unlike wines from the Côte d'Or, the Côte Chalonnaise, and the Mâconnais, red wines from some appellations in the north can include a grape other than Pinot Noir, namely the César, believed to have Roman origins and to be related to Barbera. As near as I can determine, the presence of César adds some spiciness and perhaps a little extra body to the wine. 

In the past, reds from Northern Burgundy seldom were of interest, but with global warming and also the interest of producers as talented as Vincent Dauvissat, they can be worth looking for. (Continue reading here.)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Miscellaneous Northern Rhônes recently sampled II

The producers are enthusiastic about all three of the 2012, 2013, and 2014 vintages, and these wines back them up. 

As has been the case for some time, your best values are from less prestigious appellations where you can get wines that are not far from the top wines of the Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie appellations and better than many, if not most, wines from those two appellations. Nevertheless, when you get a top Hermitage or Côte-Rôtie (or Cornas), such as Faurie's Hermitages below, the experience can be magnificent. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

LOPEZ DE HEREDIA -- Recent releases (Rioja)

My knowledge of Spanish wines in neither broad nor deep, but I can feel confident in saying that you’ll find no greater estates in Spain than Lòpez de Heredia and Vega Sicilia.

These are current releases, tasted on two different continents, and so not entirely matching what you’ll find in stores on a single continent. Alas, for the moment, there is no Rosado (rosé) available, although I understand that one will be coming not far off – it is my favorite wine from the estate, no  small compliment. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

La POUSSE D'OR -- 2012 Côte de Nuits wines tasted prior to bottling in November 2013 (Volnay)

Harvesting at the estate began on 22 September (which, I believe was on the Côte de Beaune; I do not have a Côte de Nuits date). Malolactic fermentations were a bit later than usual, beginning in May and June and finishing over the summer (a few of the wines I tasted in early November still had not fully finished). As usual, no whole cluster fermentation here. Quantity in 2012 is a little more than in 2011. Premiers crus see about 30% new oak, 30% 1-year barrels, and 30% 2-year barrels. Grands crus see about 40-45% new oak. (Continue reading here.) 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

La POUSSE D'OR -- 2012 Côte de Beaune wines tasted prior to bottling in November 2013 (Volnay)

Quantity overall (that is, including the Côte de Nuits wines) was actually a little higher here than in 2011. The oak regiment for premiers crus is 30% new, 30% one-year, 30% two-year (and, presumably, 10% older than two years). For grands crus, it’s 40-45% new oak. The barrels are François Frères and Séguin-Moreau medium toast. For the white, the new wood varies, but the tendency has been to use less new oak than previously. Malolactic fermentation for the reds were a little later than usual, beginning in May-June and ending over the summer with traces still left in a few wines when I tasted in November 2013. There was no whole cluster fermentation in 2013.

These wines recall 2003 in terms of their density. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, July 3, 2015

Michel LAFARGE -- 2012s tasted from cask in autumn 2013 (Volnay)

This abbreviated list is indicative of what happened to Côte de Beaune producers as a result of the hail. What had become a rather lengthy tasting because of the new vineyards that Lafarge had added over the years is cut back again significantly because many of the vineyards did not produce sufficient grapes to make a separate wine. Overall, production was down 80% in 2012; 2013 was somewhat higher in quantity, and 2014, while still substantially below normal, is more than either 2012 and 2013.

Harvesting began on 20 September, and after one day stopped until the 24th. What there is, is of good quality, although stylewise, Frédéric Lafarge says the wines don’t resemble anything seen in the last thirty years, due no doubt to the concentration from the low yields. Malos for the whites were late; for the reds, they finished in April and May, not late. Alcohols are about 12.8-13º.

We see the lack of quantity immediately in the whites, where instead of two Aligotés and two Meursaults, there is but a single one of each. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, July 2, 2015

FOLLIN-ARBELET -- 2012s tasted from cask in November 2013 (Aloxe-Corton)

Although word is slowly filtering out, this estate still is not as well-known as it deserves to be. Franck Follin-Arbelet said he began harvesting on 20 September. Whole clusters constitute 10-20% of the wines, depending on the cru. He chaptalized very little in 2012 as the grapes were very ripe; the only sorting necessary was for sunburned grapes. Malolactic fermentations were quite late, and in fact, a few had not finished when I tasted at the estate in November 2013, making the wines difficult to taste.

I tasted the 2012 Aloxe-Clos du Chapître from bottle when I tasted the 2013s from cask in November 2014, and it is reviewed here. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Pascal BOULEY/Réanne et Pascal BOULEY -- 2012s tasted from bottle and cask in November 2013 (Volnay)

This domaine alternately goes by the names Pascal Bouley and Réanne et Pascal Bouley. It is located just by the church in downtown Volnay and is a quality source of Côte de Beaune wines, primarily Volnay, but also including neighboring villages.

In 2012 Bouley, used a vibrating sorting table to take out the hail-damaged grapes, and everything was completely destemmed. Malolactic fermentations finished in spring. For the entire estate, yields were a pitiful 15 hl/ha!

All wines below are red. (Continue reading here.)