Is Kirk leaving? (With Photos)

Sips Restaurant in Southwest Harbor, ME

Tasted May 2, 2010 by Kirk Grant with 909 views


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.

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.

Rosé - Sparkling
N.V. Billecart-Salmon Champagne Brut Rosé France, Champagne
91 points
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 really was something quite special. Everyone at the gathering really enjoyed this as we started off the night.
White - Sparkling
1996 Poul-Justine Champagne Premier Cru Brut France, Champagne, Champagne Premier Cru
91 points
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.

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

Scott's White

2007 Monastero Suore Cistercensi Coenobium Rusticum Lazio IGT Italy, Latium, Lazio IGT
88 points
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.

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 we had a chance to taste through these samples thanks to him.

2007 Marco Martin Nus Lo Triolet Coteau Barrage Italy, Valle d'Aosta, Nus
88 points
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'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 Italy, Valle d'Aosta
89 points
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
2007 Marco Martin Fumin Valle d'Aosta Lo Triolet Italy, Valle d'Aosta
91 points
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.

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.

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...
1998 The Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Noir Reserve USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills
91 points
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.

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

Eamonn and Scott shared some wines that were all a surprise when the bag was pulled away.

2003 Poggio Amorelli Oracolo Toscana IGT Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
90 points
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.
2001 d'Arenberg Cabernet Sauvignon The Coppermine Road Australia, South Australia, Fleurieu, McLaren Vale
90 points
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.
2004 Le Piane Boca Italy, Piedmont, Northern Piedmont, Boca
86 points
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.

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...

1997 Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
92 points
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.
2003 Paolo Bea Sagrantino di Montefalco Secco Italy, Umbria, Montefalco, Sagrantino di Montefalco
93 points
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 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.

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.

2002 Vincent Dauvissat (René & Vincent) Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis Grand Cru
93 points
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.

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...

2002 Rampa di Fugnano Gisèle Toscana IGT Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
90 points
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.
2001 Tenuta dell'Ornellaia Le Volte Toscana IGT Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
91 points
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.

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.

1986 Chateau Musar Lebanon, Bekaa Valley
98 points
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.
1967 Chateau Musar 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.

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

Both wines were vibrant and was my treat to open these to bring the night to a close..

White - Sweet/Dessert
2005 Domaine des Baumard Quarts de Chaume France, Loire Valley, Anjou-Saumur, Quarts de Chaume
95 points
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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White - Off-dry
1976 Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
97 points
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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