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The Salon's first lab

Mirabelle Restaurant Austin, Texas

Tasted December 9, 2009 by austinwinesalon with 665 views

Introduction

After fourteen salons where the great wine regions of the world were discussed and sampled, by a group of sommeliers, wine and food professionals, and gourmands, we decided to change formats and go straight into a series of tastings, in small groups. Let the wines speak for themselves for awhile. We began with a series of unrelated flights of great wine to celebrate the holiday season, and our wine and food, as usual, was quite fine: a pheasant dish by James, cheese from Paula, sundry delights from Mirabelle, meat balls from Brian.

Flight 1 - 25 years of Montelena (4 notes)

Red
1976 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon North Coast USA, California, North Coast
94 points
Probably the favorite of the 24 wines tasted at this wine salon, it surprised everyone about how well it drank-- full and bright with black and red fruit, some raspberry and currant, high tannins, some cedar and mint. It was indeed remarkable in its structure and long finish. "Would steal it" a veteran server said.
Red
1992 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon The Montelena Estate USA, California, Napa Valley
91 points
Montelena's 20th anniversary wine, this was a debated wine: some thought it lacked balance and had a glycerol mouth feel, others liked the tannins and the red and black fruit flavors This might improve but the tannins overpower some of the fruit that tasters enjoyed in our other Montelena vintages.
Red
1996 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon The Montelena Estate USA, California, Napa Valley
93 points
Had a perfume nose, with rose petals, its tannins were resolved with good structure and lots of pretty dark fruit and spices; a bit chewy as it is still young. Impressive in its balance and flavors but needs time.
Red
2001 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon The Montelena Estate USA, California, Napa Valley
92 points
Thjis was decanted for 5 hours, and we should have decanted the other Montelenas. Quite tannic and a classic Napa cab, was masculine, solid and a bit harsh; had good acid, much wood, over-ripeness, with notes of leather, coffee, earth, and plum. Needs years and to be left alone, but could develop into a classic, aged Montelena (like our 1976?)

Flight 2 - Cab Francs (4 notes)

Red
1989 Olga Raffault Chinon Les Picasses France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Chinon
91 points
Showed very well, was quite seedy, herbal, and tart, with some ash and dustiness, black olive, leather, prunes, sour cherry. With high acid, it was a beast in its day and may still improve.
Red
1992 La Jota Cabernet Franc USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain
91 points
This drank well, with simple but good fruit, some chcocolate and dried/lush dark fruit, dry tannins, a pleasant nose, perfect oak, a balanced palate, and a medium finish.
Red
1998 Le Petit Cheval France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
90 points
Needed decanting, somewhat dumb, with soft tannins, weird earth, red berry, green, some prune, tar,and dustiness. This has more cab franc than cheval blanc in 1998 and after four hours it drank very well and softened considerably.
Red
2001 Le Macchiole Paleo Rosso Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
92 points
Had dark fruit, earthiness, some tobacco, blackberry, cherry, even cranberrry fruit. Was balanced, big, and bold, a bit rustic but full-bodied and a mouthful - a favorite of the salon.

Flight 3 - 2002 middle Mosels (4 notes)

White - Off-dry
2002 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
A favorite of a 2002 middle Mosel flight, with a lean nose, some bright acidity, notes of green apple skin, lemon rind, mild honey; was crisp, slightly diesel, and gave a long slate finish.
White - Off-dry
2002 Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Had some effervescence initially with quince and citrus on the nose, and medium acidity. Notes of ripe grapefruit, cantaloupe, and some mango with a long sweet finish and high residual sugar.
White - Off-dry
2002 Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese * Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Was very savory and spicy, with thai, basil, lemon/limeflavors. It had low acidity for a riesling, some diesel and mineral notes. It was the most evolved of a group of 2002 middle Mosels tasted.
White - Off-dry
2002 Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spätlese #9 Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Had bright, tropical fruit and less viscosity than expected. Some tasters were surprised how well it drank, with spicy apricot, quince, key lime peel,and very ripe fruit notes, with sweet, high acidity at the back-end.

Flight 4 - 2002 red Burgundy, region to grand cru (4 notes)

Red
2002 Domaine Georges Mugneret-Gibourg Bourgogne France, Burgundy, Bourgogne
89 points
A simple, good dinner wine, with good structureand notes of cherry and plum. Pleasant but not much finish, a very good Bourgogne.
Red
2002 Domaine Dujac Chambolle-Musigny France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny
94 points
How can a village wine better a grand cru......well, if it's a Dujac..... A favorite of the twelve tasters and an over-achiever, a village wine that ages well, with a very nice bouquet, and floral. Balanced, round, elegant, with a soft mouth feel, it seemed feminine. Had notes of cherry fruit with some spice, nice acid and tannins. Still developing but enjoyed by all.
Red
2002 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Clos des Porrets St. Georges France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru
93 points
Another favorite of the dozen tasters, this is classic Nuits,with good fruit and grip. It had some cola and herbal notes along with dark fruit, some smokiness, was well-balanced and still young. Might be better in six years, though it had good length now.
Red
2002 Domaine Newman Latricières-Chambertin France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Latricières-Chambertin Grand Cru
93 points
Was light and elegant, with flavors of tart cherry, pure fruit, some mushroom. This should improve with age, as it was complex but a bit shut down. Should have been decanted.

Flight 5 - Blind tasting of merlots (4 notes)

Red
2001 Avignonesi Desiderio Italy, Tuscany, Cortona
93 points
Had low acidity and good balance, with flavors of stewed fruit, olives, and hay. Some of our dozen tasters liked this a lot, and others disagreed. The stewed fruit component was probably the differentiator in the debate.
Red
2001 Leonetti Cellar Merlot Columbia Valley USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
93 points
Did not have much nose but had great structure and elegance, with soft, ripe dark fruit and high acidity. It needs time so seemed a bit austere, and identified by all as young new world. Tasted blind.
Red
2000 Château La Gomerie France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion
91 points
One of only two "major" Bordeaux wines that is a single grape (in ths case, merlot with the other producer La 'Fleur de Gay), this was tasted blind in a group of merlots. Way too young now, this wine improved greatly after four hours. Initially it was dry, and oaky, with graphite and mineral notes. It tasted more like a Pomerol than St. Emilion, though has bell pepper and vegetable flavors. Rustic, though well balanced and with much promise.
Red
1998 Pahlmeyer Merlot USA, California, Napa Valley
94 points
Tasted blind, a favorite of many tasters as it drank well now. With a fruity nos and quite, ripe, it had notes of sweet black and red fruit, dark chocolate. It was a classic merlot with good acidity as it coated the mouth with cherry cola flavors. A nice food wine and the surprise favorite of this merlot flight, though it probably is at its prime and will not improve.

Flight 6 - Classic dessert wines (4 notes)

White - Sweet/Dessert
1997 Isole e Olena Vin Santo del Chianti Classico Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Vin Santo del Chianti Classico
89 points
The lleast favorite of four dessert wines in a flight, this might need time and definitely needs some bischotti. It had a caramel nose and flavors, with notes of apricots, Valencia orange, honey, and almonds. A bit heavy and hot, it might need more time to meld and balance out
White - Sweet/Dessert
2001 Alois Kracher Cuvée Eiswein Austria, Burgenland, Neusiedlersee
93 points
A favorite of the salon, and quite a bargain. It was the lightest of four dessert wines, with, good acidity and brightness. Well-balanced, it had a pretty, floral nose and notes of mango/pineapple/agave nectar, ripe apricot, and honeysuckle. Though the finish was rather short, it was refreshing, and would be wonderful at the beginning or end of a meal, with or without food.
White - Sweet/Dessert
1990 Château d'Yquem France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
Controversial as some thought this wine was oxidized, some did not. For its fans, it had coconut on the nose, and notes of crème brulee, honey, sweet and savory, and some citrus. This was somewhat oxidized and other 1990's have shown much better; it had off-tones, less on the nose and more on the palate and finish. Still a treat to drink alongside vin santo, eiswein, and tokai.
White - Sweet/Dessert
2003 Royal Tokaji Wine Co. Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos Hungary, Tokaji
92 points
Bright, tropical fruit, with less viscosity than expected. Some tasters were surprised at how well it drank Had flavors of spicy apricot, quince, key lime peel, was very ripe fruit and sweet, with high acidity at the back-end.
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