Monday, April 23, 2007

2004 Chateau Turcaud Entre-Deux-Mers

The property of Chateau Turcaud is located in the Gironde area, in the heart of the “ Entre-deux-mers” (Between two seas), only 30 kilometers from Bordeaux and 20 kilometers from Saint Emilion.

This producer makes 5 wines:
2 whites (Entre deux mers ,Bordeaux Blanc "Cuvée Bois")
2 reds (Bordeaux Rouge, Bordeaux supérieur "Cuvée majeure")
1 rose (Bordeaux rosé)
Of all these 5 wines, only the Entre-deux-mers and the Bordeaux Rouge are readily availble in this country.

Price paid: $9.99

The Entre-Deux-Mers SEC is composed of 50% sauvignon, 45 % sémillon, 5% muscadelle. Imported by Petit Pois Corp., NJ.

Tasting notes:

Nose: Sweet green apple, grapefruit and slightly floral notes.

Palate: The green apple nose follow throughs on the palette. As it warms up, pear and more concentrated citrus flavor is more evident.

Body: Light but good mouthfeel.

Finish: Crisp and clean. Short to medium finish. A slightly bitter aftertaste though not off-putting.

Comment: Excellent as both sipping or food wine. Had it with roasted cod with dill sauce; great match. Refigrated over night, the wine still holds well and developed a much rounder body.

Monday, April 9, 2007

1999 Chateau La Roque Cupa Numismae

This wine is one of the leading cuvees of the property with a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Mourvèdre. Bought from a Long Island wine shop for $17.

Chateau La Roque may not be the most notable property in Pic St. Loup appellation of Languedoc but their wines are always well made and well priced. Sad thing is that wines from this property are a quite hard to find in this country, especially New York City. Not a surprise due to the relatively small quantity produced.

Tasting notes:

Nose: Beautiful nose of smoked meat, sweetness of ripe fruit, faint herb. Very concentrated.

Palate: The nose carry through to the palette. Exhibiting waves of warm fruit. Mostly plum with red berry (most likely raspberry). Very concentrated. Not very complex but satisfying. With air, notes of herb, earth and spice round out the flavors.

Body: The beauty of this wine is in its balance. Full body and smooth. Tannins well integrated. Enough acidity to keep it interesting.

Finish: Medium long.

Comment: Had this over Easter dinner. Served with racks of lamb. Excellent match. This wine is drinking beautifully now that it was rare for us to finish the bottle in the same evening. This wine is still fresh and should be able to hold up until 2009-2010.

Side notes: Wine Spectator gave the 2004 regular bottling 88 points and selected it as wine of the day on 1/1/2007 with this notes:
"A creamy-tasting, seductive red, with loads of raspberry, plum and spice flavors. Plush texture, with plenty of mocha notes and hints of chocolate. Drink now. 4,000 cases made."

Saturday, April 7, 2007

2002 Guenoc Petite Sirah, Lake County

Guenoc Petite Sirah has been dear to my heart. Years ago, my wife and I bought and drank this Californian beauty quite often without much knowledge of grape variety, definition of nose and palette. However we were always pleased with the richness and smoothness of this wine.

Fast forward to 2007, I decided to visit this 'old friend' and picked up a bottle of 2002 Guenoc. Surprised to see its label has changed to a more non-descriptive image. With further research, I found out that 2001 is the last vintage that carries the Lillie Langtry portrait.

Label aside, the 2002 Guenoc Petite Sirah still offers good QPR for a wine that cost around $16. This wine is smooth, rich and well rounded for a Petite Sirah at this price range.

Tasting notes:
Nose: Oak and plum with some alcohol upon opening (this wine does carry a 14.5% alcohol). After 1 hour decanting, notes of spice and some floral scent become more notable.

Palate: Blueberry and plum surrounded by hints of vanilla and spice. Although quite one-dimensional, it is balanced and powerful without being overbearing. The alcohol smooths out over the course of dinner and the fruit and underlying spice become more pronounced.

Finish: Long with a chocolate aftertaste. Pleasant.

Comments: Served with broiled rib eye steak and portabella mushroom. Fairly good match.

Friday, April 6, 2007

1994 Domaine de Vallouit Saint-Joseph

1994 was a difficult year for most of the Northern Rhone vineyards. Extremely high summer temperature followed by sustained September rain causing rotting of the grapes.

Domaine de Vallout was an estate built up by the former racing driver Louis de Vallouit. This estate has since be purchased by the giant firm Guigal.

Found this wine at the 'end bin' section of a local wine shop for $5.99. What? $5.99 for a 1994 Saint Joseph? Bottle was in decent shape. Foils turned easily. The liquid was not cloudy. Took a chance a purchased a bottle.

There wine showed browning at the rim but the core still maintained an overall ruby/garnet body. Upon opening, cork is intact. Shows no sign of past seepage.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Faint Sherry scent. Telltale sign of past oxidization (probably from heat damage). Decanted for 1 hr, fruit emerged with mostly red fruit and herb with some bacon fat.

Palate: Dominated by sour cherry (probably because of heat damage). Underneath the cherry, there was some floral notes mixed with sweet dark fruit and some leather lurking around. Surprise to see some gripping tannins left after all 13 years.

Body : Light to medium.

Finish : Short to medium.

Comment : This is not a complex wine to start with. Had this wine been stored properly, it would be an interesting experiment to see how it would have held up after all these years. Drank it with homemade chicken noodle soup and surprising paired fairly well. This wine fell apart after 2 hours in the glass. But for $5.99, what the heck!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

2004 Excelsior Paddock Shiraz

Wine maker's notes:
This Shiraz comes from well drained lime rich land on which the De Wets once raised their horses. This wine is deep burgundy red in color with inviting aromas of vanilla and mocha. The palate rewards with lingering flavors of liquorice and ripe black cherries, supported by soft tannins reminiscent of the fragrance of the Orient.

Tasting notes:
1st day:
Nose: Oak, dark fruit, vanilla, initial heat.
Palate: Simple jammy dark fruit, cherry, licorice, coffee.

Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Medium/short finish. Light tannat present.
Acidity: Decent.

2nd day:
Nose: alcohol smooths out. Oak and vanilla subsided. Fruit slightly muted.
Palate: less jammy, more cherry notes. Dark fruit persistent as 1st day. Still drinks well.
Body: Medium to Full

Finish: same as 1st day.
Acidity: Similar as 1st day.

General comment:
This wine hit you in the face with fast jabs of high alcohol content (14.5%). Rich and quite smooth. Typical feel of new world Shiraz. Not a bad QPR for $7
Wonder how this wine settles in 1 or 2 years?