Chablis, Melville Clonal Blending and The Round 3 Let 'Er Rip

My House In The South OC

Tasted July 24, 2010 by Frank Murray III with 746 views

Introduction

About 25 of us gathered to chow down so persian food from Hatam in Mission Viejo, along with three flights of wines. The first flight was a hommage to my desire to gain some better understanding of Chablis. We then followed that with wines that Chris S, Chris F and I built from our Melville clonal selections to which we used for a blending and component tasting from the 2005-2007 pinot vintage from their estate. We then ended with what I called a Round 3 Let 'Er Rip, which was a no rules open what you want. We pulled a few Saxums and Carlisles from my cellar to help close out the night.

Flight 1 (12 notes)

White
2008 Vincent Dauvissat (René & Vincent) Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru
Lemon and grapefruit, with what seemed early on to be a pile of river rock being the dominant note. The decant time was maybe an hour in bottle, too. The minerality/rockiness I liked very much.
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White
2006 Domaine Vocoret et Fils Chablis France, Burgundy, Chablis
Generous, with softer tones and a broader palate than some of the more laser-like Chablis what was arrayed around this. Not overly complex but nice.
White
2004 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis 1er Cru Montmains France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru
Full of sea shell, mineral and a long and intense finish, supported by some green apple, too. Very nice.
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White
2007 Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis 1er Cru Mont de Milieu France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru
Lemon-lime, richer styled than some of the other Chablis, even Brocards, we were pouring with it. What I thought about when I tasted it was the candy that used to be around some years ago. I'm referring to the lime wedge confection that had the sugar crystals on top, and it was soft and chewy in the shape of a lime wedge (they also came in other versions like orange slice, etc). I'm not saying the wine was that sweet but the flavor and richness the wine imparted made me think of this.
White
2007 Domaine Billaud-Simon Chablis France, Burgundy, Chablis
Pure crushed rocks with a good dose of saline and lots of grapefruit. Of the many Chablis we tasted along side this wine, this bottling had a lot of intensity and expression.
White
2007 Gérard Tremblay Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru
I enjoyed this wine a lot, putting a star next to my notes. What stood out for me was a spicy thread running through it, something I underlined to create emphasis. Green apple, sea shells and mineral, like wet stones. Lime like acidity and lots of spicy character.
White
2007 Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis 1er Cru Vaulorent France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru
My notes show I started off with the comment "California-like", in reference to the rich core and palate this wine showed--it had a creaminess to it. Lime, lemon, salinity and it left me with the impression of 'bigness'. Attention grabber.
White
2007 Maison Albert Bichot Chablis Grand Cru Moutonne Domaine Long-Depaquit France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis Grand Cru
Briny and tight, with lots of complexity underneath the structure. Yet, there is also some smoothness to the wine and a sense of polish. I suspect this wine will be quite something once it has time to settle in, given the raw components that were there.
White
2006 Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis Grand Cru
Even and balanced with lime and slight hint of sweetness. Classy.
White
2006 Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru
Richer and leaning towards a fuller bodied expression. Almost sweet to me. Perhaps some fennel or black licorice, too? Just seemed ripe to me and not characteristic of the other wines arrayed around it. I believe I have a recent note already entered for the 2007 version, which was much better than this 2006.
White
2006 Clos Pepe Estate Chardonnay USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
This wine appeared later in the flight, with really no decant. Was pop and pour and the contrast here I have to offer is that I tasted it right after I had just flighted through 15 or so Chablis in front of it. How's that for a match up, Wes! What differs in this CP from the other Chablis is texture--the weight was plusher, heavier (listed alcohol of 13.5% if you are wondering). Not much more to offer here, as my notes stop with the textural comparison. Would have liked to have spent some more time unwrapping this wine a bit more but had to help set up dinner.
White
2007 Diatom Chardonnay Clos Pepe Vineyard USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
So I pulled this bottle for comparison, having just tasted the 2006 Clos Pepe Estate chard right before it, which was preceded by about 15 various bottles of Chablis. I wanted to see how the Diatom would contrast. It was glycerine-like, heavy and seemed too much given what was around it. Pineapple, too. Listed alcohol of 16.5% and while this wine was done in only stainless, the ripeness and texture seems a bit much for me. In looking back at my note on this same wine from just over a year ago, it's curious how my focus for texture and expression in wine is changing. Having some some additional reference for Chardonnay now through the lens of Chablis over the past few months, this Diatom just seems too much now. I wonder what this wine would offer if say Greg made it more in the style of Wes, say at 13 percent and change?

Flight 2 (8 notes)

Red
2005 Melville Pinot Noir Estate Clone 9 USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
Popped and poured, tasted immediately as I prepare for the blending party later this afternoon. Metal shaving and pipe tobacco. Blackberry, blueberry, a fennel note, lean but still with energy. After open about 20 mins, retaste and it gets more spicy, juicy with menthol and a jam note.
Red
2005 Melville Pinot Noir Estate Clone 828 USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
Popped and poured, tasted immediately as I prepare for the blending party later this afternoon. Earth, black cherry, dark roasted plum and tobacco. Zingy finish with a tart ending. After 15 mins, as I poured another sample, the tartness fades, the wine softens up.
Red
2006 Melville Pinot Noir Estate Clone 459 USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
Popped and poured, tasted immediately as I prepare for the blending party later this afternoon. A front and mid palate wine. Cherry and dark raspberry, zingy like the Clone 9 in the finish. With another 20-30 mins of aeration, picks up some juiciness, as well as stem notes and hard red candy.
Red
2006 Melville Pinot Noir Estate Clone 2A USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
Popped and poured, tasted immediately as I prepare for the blending party later this afternoon. Tastes like an SRH wine. Dark plum, orange rind, spice but also maintains some earthiness, a soil note, with a nice finish.
Red
2006 Melville Pinot Noir Estate Clone 114 USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
Popped and poured, tasted immediately as I prepare for the blending party later this afternoon. Generous and expansive with lots of blue fruit, again a higher acid feel with roasted fruit edges and more ripeness than the other clonal selections I tasted around it, including the 2A and 459, both of the same vintage. With air, it gains some astringence and the finish start to tighten up with some tannin.
Red
2007 Melville Pinot Noir Swan Clone Estate USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
Popped and poured, tasted immediately as I prepare for the blending party later this afternoon. Plush with blue fruit, orange rind, cherry and a hint of root beer. With air of about 20 mins time, starts to acquire some black cherry, becomes a little lighter and more expansive. Be interested to see what this bottling does in about 2 hours.....one of the few clonal selections I was able to re-note, this about 5 hours after opening. Black cherry, spicy, good acidity and life. Very nice, showing also some blueberry and whole cluster. The best clonal bottling of the 9 we opened.
Red
2007 Melville Pinot Noir Mount Eden Clone USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
Plump, broad shouldered and very sexy in tone. Big core of darker fruit but did not come off syrupy to me. Pulled off the flavors and expression quite well.
Red
2007 Melville Pinot Noir Clone 115 Indigène USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
A big wine but also fairly complete. Blueberry jam, raspberrry and a cool purity but of the three 2007 clonal selections, for me the biggest.

Flight 3 (6 notes)

Red
2001 Switchback Ridge Petite Sirah Peterson Family Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
Last tasted this wine just over a year ago, when I remarked it was like a barrel sample and could go another 4-5 years. So, last night's bottle we opened we dumped into a broad bottomed decanter and let it rip. Some of the comments made were 'port-like', 'raisined', etc. I'd not go that far and I am sure I'd get a good amount of disagreement but indeed this wine is big, it's dark and surely ripe. My notes say iron, chocolate and dark berry. This is a big wine and what I will amend is my comment to let this wine age. Actually, I will say to drink now, as I don't think that letting this wine go longer in the bottle will add anything more to it. I do own one bottle more and will drink it this year, as I do think the tannins and structure is softened enough.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2001 Pride Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, North Coast, Napa / Sonoma
I don't think this had any decant, was a pop and pour. Currant, black cherry and the Pride forwardness. Yet, for me, smooth and still quite youthful with just a hint of tobacco in the background. Some discussion was made between a few of us about ageability, oak, etc. My comment was that I do think the wine will age and given the relative balance of the wine, I see no reason why it can't sit another few years to let some of the secondary notes emerge. However, don't mistake this for an old world styled bdx wine, it is not.
Red
2004 Carlisle Two Acres USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
No decant, although we did pour to a decanter immediately to start drinking it. Given the amount of people around the table, most of it drained off pretty fast and I never got to retry it again later on so my note is based on minimal air time. What I did note down was a wine that was still quite fresh and youthful. Lots of fruit and good structure. I wonder if that structure fades with air but I was not able to find out. The comments about the wine all seemed to be favorable. My only 2004 so no chance to revisit in the future.
Red
2007 Saxum James Berry Vineyard USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
I still have one more bottle so the next time I drink this, which will be my final bottle, I willd decant it thoroughly and then form a final impression. As to this bottle noted here, was pulled from my cellar, poured to a decanter and then the discussion ensued. The air it started to pull in did seem to help but my impression I took from the short aeration it saw left me again not as impressed as others. I would note my previous bottle did get a decant, a good sized amount I'll add, and my impression on that bottle was similar. Gerry Frayer, who I do respect for his palate, commented that he thought this wine would get much better, underneath some of the youth. For me, aside from the decanting commitment I will do again the next time, I just think Justin has made wines of equal or better stature and I don't see what Parker saw.
Red
2005 Carlisle Syrah Dry Creek Valley USA, California, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley
Opens with a smoky, leather nose. One of the comments was reduction. Not sure, but I liked the aromatic it added. So, to the rest of the note. Well, a poor note on my part here but I never got back to this wine, as this was the last Round 3 bottle we yanked from the cellar. The wine seemed to be in good shape and several comments were positive but I can't nothing more to add, other than the bouquet comment!
Red
2005 Saxum Heart Stone Vineyard USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
Pulled and dumped into a decanter, to which we then enjoyed at the end of a long night of tasting. god, I don't remember much without notes. This is where I wish someone else had been taking notes, as this HS as been a wine I wanted to track over time. Good fortune I have one left!
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