Is Kirk leaving? (With Photos)

Sips Restaurant in Southwest Harbor, ME
Tasted Sunday, May 2, 2010 by Kirk Grant with 882 views

Introduction

The "Usual Suspects" gathered on the island to send me off with a good gathering as I'm planning to move away now that grad school is done. There were some really great wines...and all in all I could not have asked for a better group of friends who have all impacted my wine drinking experience. It will be hard to find another group like this...

ALL WINES WERE TASTED BLIND (accept for the Musar and Champagne's) and this was a pot-luck style meal as well.

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Flight 1 - Champagne Starters (2 Notes)

The Billecart-Salmon was purchased in 2002 or 2003 so it was fun to see how well a NV wine from a good producer can age. The Poul-Justine was actually tasted later as a palate cleanser...but was a great wine that seems to be doing well.
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  • NV Billecart-Salmon Champagne Brut Rosé 91 Points

    France, Champagne

    Purchased in 2002

    Color: Orange/Peach

    Smell: Caramel, baked apples, and fresh bread.

    Taste: macintosh apples and a light lingering caramel note that stretched out across a long finish.

    Overall: I wish I had more of this...it really was something quite special. Everyone at the gathering really enjoyed this as we started off the night.

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  • 1996 Poul-Justine Champagne Premier Cru Brut 91 Points

    France, Champagne, Champagne Premier Cru

    Color: Bright yellow

    Smell: Baking bread, apple, caramel, and green pea.

    Taste: Caramel, apple, candied apple, and cinnamon.

    Overall: Still a very interesting and well made Champagne. It's starting to show some more aged notes and flavors. Still has more life in it than I thought the last time I had it.

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Flight 2 - The lone white wine... (1 Note)

Scott's White

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  • 2007 Monastero Suore Cistercensi Coenobium Rusticum Lazio IGT 88 Points

    Italy, Latium, Lazio IGT

    Color: Hazy yellow/copper

    Smell: Maderized nose of apples, wet animal, copper penny, and forest floor.

    Taste: A difficult wine to describe that comes off as a cross between some off the wall Chennin and Musar Blanc. Flavors of baked apples, dominate the palate with an off woodsy flavor of oak and copper.

    Overall: I enjoyed it, but would not want to drink this on a regular basis. Not a "yummy" wine, but could be an interesting wine for the nerdy type who want to stump people in a blind tasting.

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Flight 3 - Tasting a new producer in our state. (3 Notes)

Scott has been looking for some wines from the Valle d'Aosta for his shop...so we had a chance to taste through these samples thanks to him.
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  • 2007 Marco Martin Nus Lo Triolet Coteau Barrage 88 Points

    Italy, Valle d'Aosta, Nus

    Color: Violet

    Smell: Lavender, dark fruit, vanilla, blueberries, and lilacs

    Taste: A strong presence of oak leads into flavors of blueberries, anise, plum, char, and blackberries.

    Overall: A more "international" style of wine. It's got a bunch of heavy oak treatment and lush fruit...it's very tannic, with brisk acidity but does not speak of a place or varietal. Not worth the price of admission.

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  • 2006 Marco Martin Fumin Valle d'Aosta Lo Triolet 89 Points

    Italy, Valle d'Aosta

    Color: Ruby/Violet

    Smell: faint with hints of red fruits

    Taste: strawberries, cranberries, cherries, and raspberries all linger nicely on the palate supported by brisk acidity.

    Overall: A wonderful wine that offers a wonderful introduction into what one might expect from wines in the Valle d'Aosta

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  • 2007 Marco Martin Fumin Valle d'Aosta Lo Triolet 91 Points

    Italy, Valle d'Aosta

    Color: Ruby/violet

    Smell: Faint hints of earth and red fruits

    Taste: A melange of red fruits and clove.

    Overall: Such a wonderful and interesting wine that offers great acidity, light weight, and a long lingering finish. A wonderful food wine that is quite lively and refreshing for a red wine.

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Flight 4 - This is HOW old? (2 Notes)

Hago's Mouton was showing quite well and there were guesses from the 80's and 90's for the vintage. The Eyrie really showed more like a well aged Burgundy...a great surprise.
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  • 1970 Château Mouton-Baronne-Philippe

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    Color: Ruby at the core with a faint rusted ruby at the rim

    Smell: Moist earth, moss, dried red fruits, cigar box, mushrooms, eucalyptus, tobacco, and leather

    Taste: Soft and subtle notes of cherries, strawberries, cedar, and cranberries

    Overall: This was a bottle of impeccable provenance...bought on release by a friend and stored perfectly. The fill was still in the neck, and this just seemed like a wine that was so very young compared to other 1970's Bordeaux's i've had in the past. This is the sort of wine that would be a great find on a restaurant list...

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  • 1998 The Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Noir Reserve 91 Points

    USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills

    Color: Ruby red at the core with a peach tone at the rim of the glass.

    Smell: Lilacs, cement, earth, delicate notes of roses and wild strawberries.

    Taste: A melange of red fruits linger nicely in a delicate and subtle fashion.

    Overall: A stellar bottle that reminds me of a Côte Chalonnaise in it's style and grace. I think this is the sort of wine that many might not enjoy if they are looking for an "American" styled Pinot Noir...but for us with our food it was a wonderful pairing.

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Flight 5 - Mixed Bag... (3 Notes)

Eamonn and Scott shared some wines that were all a surprise when the bag was pulled away.
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  • 2003 Poggio Amorelli Oracolo Toscana IGT 90 Points

    Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT

    Color: Garnet/Ruby

    Smell: Wet dog, anise, and dried red and black fruits.

    Taste: Dark fruits framed by firm tannins, blueberries, and spice.

    Overall: A well made wine that is showing well. The tannin is pretty dominant, but also has good acidity. I hope this doesn't fall prey to the doomed heat of most 2003's that I'm noting...but only time will tell. If you open this now give it a 2-4 hour decant....and serve with a fatty meat to cut the tannin.

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  • 2001 d'Arenberg Cabernet Sauvignon The Coppermine Road 90 Points

    Australia, South Australia, Fleurieu, McLaren Vale

    Color: Garnet/ruby

    Smell: Sweet red fruits, earth, cassis, smoke, and cedar.

    Taste: Cherry, raspberry, cigar, and blueberries.

    Overall: Not anything about this wine had me thinking Cabernet Sauvignon as I tasted it. However, It was still an enjoyable wine.

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  • 2004 Le Piane Boca 86 Points

    Italy, Piedmont, Northern Piedmont, Boca

    Color: Ruby with a light rusted ruby rim

    Smell: Red fruits and alcohol

    Taste: Red fruits, dried cherries, and earth

    Overall: A very tannic wine that just is not in a good place right now. Hard to believe this is a Tre bic.

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Flight 6 - Derrick's '97 and an introduction to Palo Bea for the "Suspects" (2 Notes)

Derrick's '97 went perfectly with the lamb sausage he brought...the Palo Bea showed well but the heat is starting to show in the wine...
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  • 1997 Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino 92 Points

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Color: Garnet at the core with a ruby rim

    Smell: Earth, manure, smoke, leather, olive, cigar box, faint hints of bloody meat.

    Taste: Black berries, blueberries, black cherries, and hints of cedar.

    Overall: With a nose I could smell for hours...and incredible tannic grip after 13 years in the bottle I think it's safe to say that this wine still has quite a bit of time ahead of itself.

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  • 2003 Paolo Bea Sagrantino di Montefalco Secco 93 Points

    Italy, Umbria, Montefalco, Sagrantino di Montefalco

    Color: Ruby/Garnet

    Smell: Brown sugar, red fruits, earth, black berries, and amaretto

    Taste: Raspberry, Boysenberry, vanilla bean, blueberry, spice/clove, and a hint of heat on the tail end.

    Overall: A well made wine that is quite large in stature. It's bold on both the nose and the palate and has a long lush mouth coating finish that just seems to last 30+ seconds. Unfortunately I think this wine is starting to show the heat of the 2003 vintage...so I'd drink this sooner than later. With that said this could be something classic if it was possible to get around the heat and the alcohol.

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Flight 7 - Daniel's White... (1 Note)

Arriving late...but still in style Daniel brought a white that fit in perfectly amongst all the red wines...truly a lovely bottle of wine.
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  • 2002 Vincent Dauvissat (René & Vincent) Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses 93 Points

    France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis Grand Cru

    Color: Pale yellow

    Smell: Floral, perfume, sweet pea, and flint

    Taste: Vibrant and lively the palate was in a constant state of flux that made it difficult to identify anything other than the lasting persistence of crushed rocks, green apples, and honey. Possibly one of the more profound experiences I've had with Chablis.

    Overall: A magical bottle of Chablis that reminds me I need to be buying more of than I have been. Compelling, delicate, powerful, graceful, and intoxicating. With good storage this bottle has 5-10 years ahead of it.

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Flight 8 - Shane's Blinds (2 Notes)

Shane's passion for "old world" wine makes is easy to get a rough idea of where his wines will come from in a blind tasting...but these were both firing on all cylinders that night. What a treat...
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  • 2002 Rampa di Fugnano Gisèle Toscana IGT 90 Points

    Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT

    Color: Ruby

    Smell: Earth, cedar, funk, coffee, tobacco, and dark fruits.

    Taste: Red fruit, red vines licorice, and hints of clove.

    Overall: A very interesting wine that shines in what it offers. Great acid/tannin/fruit structure that could easily last another 5+ years with proper storage.

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  • 2001 Tenuta dell'Ornellaia Le Volte Toscana IGT 91 Points

    Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT

    Color: Garnet/Ruby

    Smell: Funk, earth, faint floral tones, an overlay of smoky meats, and dark fruits.

    Taste: Blackberry, blueberry, black cherry, and tobacco...

    Overall: This is one hell of a wine for the price. I'd gladly buy more of this if I were to stumble onto it. Still just a toddler this can go another 5+ years with proper storage.

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Flight 9 - Chateau Musar (2 Notes)

The '86 is probably my favorite bottle of Musar to date. I couldn't have picked a better group of guys to open my bottle with. I was a little crushed that the '67 didn't survive.
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  • 1986 Chateau Musar 98 Points

    Lebanon, Bekaa Valley

    Color: Light ruby red with a peachy clear meniscus.

    Smell: Earth, cement, dried red fruits, gingerbread cookies, and a kaleidoscope of scents that simply could not be identified as this was a wine in a constant state of transition.

    Taste: Cherries, strawberries, cranberries, shitaki mushrooms, and so much more that just could not be identified. Much like the nose this wine had a finish that seemed to last forever and was constantly changing.

    Overall: I can't think of many red wines that I have had that I have enjoyed as much as I did this. I am a huge fan of this producer and hope to eventually taste a majority of these wines given the time and ability to locate them. They are so singularly unique and interesting that nothing could honestly be compared to them. Perhaps the best bottle from this producer I have had to date.

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  • 1967 Chateau Musar Flawed

    Lebanon, Bekaa Valley

    Sadly this wine was maderized beyond the point of any hope to see or understand what this wine might be capable of.

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Flight 10 - Kirk's Stickies... (2 Notes)

Both wines were vibrant and fresh...it was my treat to open these to bring the night to a close..
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  • 2005 Domaine des Baumard Quarts de Chaume 95 Points

    France, Loire Valley, Anjou-Saumur, Quarts de Chaume

    Color: Bright yellow

    Smell: Passion fruit, caramel, brown sugar, clementine, lemon, and spice

    Taste: Tangerine, peach, star fruit, passion fruit, and a kaleidoscope of constantly changing flavors

    Overall: Such an interesting wine. I can't begin to say how expressive and exciting this wine is. It really is a "show stopper" that turns heads wherever I've brought it. I'd gladly buy more of this at the release price.

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  • 1976 Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel 97 Points

    Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer

    Color: Golden

    Smell: Caramel, petrol, mothballs, earth, peach, dill, nectarines, and so much more that I just could not identify. This really was a difficult wine to pin down as it constantly was changing.

    Taste: Lemon, baked apples, cinnamon, clove, poached pears, and just as the nose was; this is a wine that was in a constant state of flux and transition.

    Overall: Such a complex and difficult wine to understand that provides absolute pleasure and intrigue. I think my scoring on this might be conservative as this is a "birth year" wine for me. Yet it was the perfect wine for us to end the night on...

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