NC Cindy Tasting. "Baller Night"

NC Wino's Stately Wayne Manor
Tasted Saturday, March 31, 2012 by Phredd with 404 views


Bill was kind enough to host following the completion of his deck, and he invited along his friends Marvin and Melodie. Unfortunately, Beth was slaving away while we partied. We called this one "Baller Night" in honor of Ashley, and the mission was for everyone to bring a top-tier offering. In general, this seemed to work, as we posted many more hits than misses.

Flight 1 - Intoductory Sparkler (1 Note)

  • 2009 Naveran Cava Brut 89 Points

    Spain, Cava

    A blend of 50% Xarello, 30% Macabeo, and 20% Parellada, this is light yellow in the glass with a hint of a greenish tinge and nice, small bubbles. The nose is delicate, but pleasant, showing green apples, yeast, and a very slight rubbery overtone. It is quite mineral-driven on the palate, with slate and a slightly metallic edge over more of that tart apple, some under-ripe pear and just a squeeze of lemon. It has a medium-long finish, which I find somewhat surprising for a Cava in the $14 range. This is a really nice wine at that price.

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Flight 2 - Dry Whites (3 Notes)

  • 2009 Domaine Bernard Defaix Chablis 1er Cru Côte de Léchet Reserve 85 Points

    France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru

    Light yellow in the glass and surprisingly viscous for a Chablis, the nose is solid, with rich apple, pineapple and a decided note of cream. On the palate, this was quite oily in texture, more like a Rhone blend than a pure Chablis. There is more of that rich, almost extracted apple flavor, with a little bit of lemony acidity. This has virtually no mineral aspect, it has a bit of heat on the finish, and just doesn't have the complexity or verve I want from a Chablis. This is probably the victim of the extraordinarily warm vintage. Although it only cost about $20, this was still a QPR fail for me. I'm just not a fan. I'm taking Viking60's word that this was the reserve and not the standard cuvée.

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  • 2007 Deux Montille Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Sous Frétille 90 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru

    The same light yellow as the preceding Chablis, this 1er Cru Burgundy had a much lighter nose, with delicate apple and pear tones, but with also a pleasant mineral oil aspect even on the nose. On the palate, this was very much mineral-driven, with loads of blue stone, slate and limestone, over delicious lemon and a touch of lime. This was very tart but also very vibrant, lively and even tense, with a decently long finish. Four and a half years down the road from the vintage, this tastes like it was bottled yesterday. It certainly seems as though it could last another good long while. It performs well at its just-under-$30 price point.

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  • 2009 Mandrarossa Fiano Sicilia 88 Points

    Italy, Sicily, Sicilia

    Slightly darker yellow than the wines that preceded it, the nose was vastly different, with grilled pineapple, some freshly cut grass, snap peas and a notable sweetness. The mouthfeel is fairly oily, but the rich tropical flavor carries through as the grilled pineapple is joined by some mango and melon. The snap pea aspect continues, as well, although this is a touch hot on the mid-palate, at 13.5% alcohol. The finish is medium at most, but this is still a good wine at the declared $13 price point.

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Flight 3 - Transitional Rosé (1 Note)

  • 2011 Arnot-Roberts Touriga Nacional Rosé Luchsinger Vineyard 92 Points

    USA, California, North Coast, Red Hills Lake County

    Beautiful salmon orange-red through the clear glass bottle, not too intense, the nose is big! This has rich, thick cherry; blood orange; good florals; and even a touch of Pinot-like cola smells. The palate is mouth-filling and full, with more of that dark orange flavor, some smooth cherry pie filling, pink grapefruit and a touch of cream, with a sprinkling of spice. The wine fills the mouth and is impeccably balanced, with solid acid, medium or better body, and even a pretty good shot of tannin. This is the best rosé I've ever had, with a depth and deftness that is hard to put into words. My one major complaint is that the finish is at best only medium in length, but any problem that is cured by another sip is pretty minor. Not cheap for rosé at $26 delivered ($20 plus expensive shipping), this was worth every penny. I liked this wine a lot. I would be interested in seeing if this has any aging potential, but I can tell you right now that I'll be lucky if my remaining bottles last me until Thanksgiving dinner.

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Flight 4 - Dry Reds (4 Notes)

This and dessert wines were the original focus of the event. All good wines, although the Pahlmeyer was perhaps a little questionable for the purchase price. The Oreno was a surprise as both the dry Wine of the Night, and also a relative QPR.

  • 2004 Brancaia Il Blu Toscana IGT 92 Points

    Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT

    Dark in the glass, but not completely opaque, the nose really pops with sweet, rich cherry as the dominant note. There is also a bit of blackberry and maybe even a touch of cassis and thick vanilla frosting, along with some secondary aroma of new leather. The palate begins just like the nose with sweet and rich black cherries. The mid-palate is very big, but not at all harsh and resolves to fresh light plums and tasty spice box. This wine is quite drinkable now, but still quite young, with a finish that is only medium in length - a bit disappointing for a bottle of this caliber. As I have said before, though, any flaw that is fixed with another sip isn't too bad. This wine is very, very good, and probably will be even better in another year or two.

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  • 2005 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red 90 Points

    USA, California, Napa Valley

    Again, dark, but not completely opaque in the glass. The nose is powerfully fruity, even after a two-hour decant. It is all blackberry jam reduction and big cassis extract. There is a little bit of almost Syrah-like pepper on the nose as well, but absolutely nothing secondary at all. On the palate, the wine is huge fruit with an immense wall of somewhat chunky tannin. There is a little bit of green, but like the nose, there's no secondary development at all. The 15.2% ABV is unfortunately a bit out of balance, with a good deal of raw heat on the finish. Despite that significant problem, though, this wine is actually quite good. All that fruit would go fantastically well with barbeque. I have to say, though, that although this wine is very good, it isn't quite worth the $67 price point. The saving grace is that the wine is still very young and primary, and it still has the chance to integrate and improve. I'll make every effort to wait for a good long while (~5 years) before opening my last bottle.

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  • 2006 Carpineta Fontalpino Dofana Toscana IGT 91 Points

    Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT

    Nearly opaque in the glass with a tiny bit of purple at the edges, this is a blend of 85% Sangiovese and 15% Petit verdot. The nose is more subtle than I was expecting from the rich color, showing delicate notes of balsamic vinegar with delicate plum and just a hint of spice. The palate was astringent, but with many of the same notes, including the balsamic vinegar, ripe but not too rich berries, spice, and cinnamon. The finish was solid but not extraordinary. It was good, but not a blow-me-away wine for the $75 price point. Looking at the other notes, I wonder if this wine is partially shut down, as the notes from a year or so ago are other-worldly, where more recent experiences are more like mine. I'd be interested to try this again in another three to five years.

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  • 2007 Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno Toscana IGT 93 Points

    Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT

    Extremely dark in the glass and completely opaque, the nose on this leaps from the glass in comparison to the previous wine. It showed both blue- and blackberry, plum, and a scent similar to a freshly soaped baseball glove. The palate is really big, even after the four hour decant, showing big berries with solid structure, plus brown sugar (though the palate is not really sweet) and a bit of forest floor. The finish is long, if a tiny bit hot and lacking just a touch of elegance. That's not too surprising, given the 14.5% listed ABV, and everything else about this wine is in very good balance. The blend is 75% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet sauvignon and 5% Cabernet franc, the latter grape being more of a silent partner. This was good enough to be declared the dry wine of the night, and it's a relative bargain at the $50 purchase price. There's plenty of life ahead of this wine, but it is really nice right now.

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Flight 5 - Dessert (3 Notes)

Only top-tier wines to finish things out. Wow.

  • 2002 Château d'Yquem 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes

    From a split. A good full yellow in the glass, this was plenty viscous. The nose was relatively light, with a bit of honey, a little perfume, some dish soap, and some tropical fruitiness. The nose is frankly just a little disappointing, given the producer. On the other hand, the palate is much stronger, with rich pineapple and big, full, raw wildflower honey. There is also a balancing acidity with gives rise to orange peel and tangerine flavors. The length is solid, but not spectacular, and this doesn't linger the way I would hope, although there is some chance that it will improve with age. Overall, I'm not sure this is worth the hefty $130 tariff, but then again, this was from the poor 2002 vintage. I doubt there are many producers from that year who made wine even close to this caliber. It's an excellent wine by any measure.

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  • 2001 Château Rieussec 98 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes

    From a split. Much darker than the Yquem that came immediately prior, this one pretty much blew the big-name wine out of the water: On the nose it was loaded with rich, smooth honey; vibrant orange; rich creaminess; a hint of the inevitable perfumed soap; ripe peaches and apricots; and room-filling tropical notes. The nose was positively stunning. The palate was almost as good, with grilled pineapple and more of that thick, rich honey. There was also some of that great crème brûlée character that I love, with delicate sweet cream on top, rich pudding tones in the middle, and the sweet bitterness of the browned crust underneath. Again the acidity came through with plenty of orange flavors, although there was a just little touch of distracting bitterness of the peel hidden in there on the very end, as well. The finish, though, was very long and well-balanced. Overall, this was probably the second-best Sauternes I've ever had, coming in just a hair behind the 2001 Suduiraut for my tastes. The palate on this wine was not quite up to the incredible depth standard set by that wine, and while this wine had an extremely long finish, the length on the Suduiraut was mind-blowing. On the other hand, the nose on this wine was considerably better than the Suduiraut, bursting from the glass and getting richer over time. There's very little to find fault with here, and this is more than worth the $62+ for a split that you'll find as the CT average value. Current Searcher prices put this just over $100 for a split, but if you're willing to pay $130 for a split of 2002 Yquem, you should be more than happy to land this bottle, instead. It's considerably better. 2001 was a magical year, and this is a great wine that should last 25 more years easily.

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  • 1982 Poças Porto Colheita 93 Points

    Portugal, Douro, Porto

    Our host generously opened and poured this wine for us at the end of the evening, but I freely admit that I was caught up in the Sauternes and gave this wine - which I love - short shrift and did not take detailed notes. Suffice it to say that this wine still impresses, despite the cloudy appearance that comes from this particular bottling (2005, if prior notes are correct). It has a really expressive nose and a vibrant nutty palate, and it is a wine absolutely worthy of detailed tasting. I wish I'd been able to spend more time with it, but I was concerned that it would overpower the Sauternes which I had not yet finished, and I have a different bottling of this exact Port at home. Sorry, Bill, and thanks for opening it for us. I'll make it up to you at a later tasting. The score is based on a quick perception, but right in line with where I have placed this in the past.

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It was a pleasure to meet Marvin and Melodie, and I hope we haven't scared them away. It would be great to have them at future NC Cindy events (whenever we can manage to get them scheduled). Thanks to Bill for hosting, and to JohnR for breaking out the incredible pair of Sauternes.