Holidays 2017

Tasted December 31, 2017 by pgb67 with 235 views

Flight 1 - PortParty 2017 (6 notes)

We once again hosted a wine-tasting party during the holidays, which was originally started over 5 years ago as a port tasting (hence the name). This time I set the lineup to showcase one of my favorite regions (Tuscany) and two of my favorite mailing list wineries (Carlisle & Saxum).

Red
2013 Casaloste Inversus Toscana IGT Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
94 points
I need to drink more merlot-based Super Tuscans (if I could afford it!). This one was “reasonably” priced and shined at the tasting. Elegant with refined flavors of plum, currant, and bell pepper supplemented by sophisticated cedar and rosemary notes.
Red
2009 Lisini Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
93 points
A crowd pleaser, especially for the folks with an Italian wine orientation – very classic sangiovese with notes of smoky cherry & cherries in syrup, with accents of fig, tobacco, leather. More earthy than fruity which I considered a nice thing.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2007 Bodegas y Viñedos Maurodos Toro Viña San Román Spain, Castilla y León, Toro
94 points
A very polarizing bottle (but not wine, this brand has a following I’ve come to learn - I thought it was a discovery of mine alone!) – it opened wonderfully with a perfumed bouquet of violet, a long, elegant mouth, and a satisfying palate of cherry and tobacco. But over time it became denser and even picked up a cardboard nose (more apparent to the sensitive tasters (corked?)), yet hours later it returned to its original form. I will rate it on its good hours and forget about the bad times.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2014 Carlisle Zinfandel Saitone Ranch USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
91 points
This was a very pleasing Carlisle, as always. This bottling was heavy on the savory notes – sage, Asian spice, black olive – along with the usual nice berry components. Structured, flavorful, balanced. One criticism, although always good when alone, Carlisles don't ever stand out for me in broader tastings.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2007 Saxum Broken Stones USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
89 points
Served late in the game on a boozy night and seemed a bit tired and lacking pop. Maybe circa 5 years is the best window for the brawny Saxums.
Red
2007 Penfolds Shiraz St. Henri Australia, South Australia
89 points
The last bottle in the lineup and thus suffered from tasters’ palate fatigue. I chose it to anchor the lineup because I think it might be potent and special but alas it was fairly mundane and slightly overextraced. Maybe should have polished it off a few years ago.

Flight 2 - Christmas Eve 2017 (5 notes)

We went all-French this year.

White
2014 Henri Bourgeois Sancerre La Côte des Monts Damnés France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Sancerre
92 points
Possibly the WOTN on Christmas Eve. Golden apple, honey, with a hint of steel and a strong mineral core. Tasted great cold and at a cellar temp.
Red
2005 Jacques Cacheux & Fils Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Suchots France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru
90 points
Sleek and refined, with an approachable sappiness. More earthy & spicey than fruity but shows some nice raspberry flavor laden with rose petals. Probably not worth the freight, however, at the end of the day.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2012 Pierre Gaillard Côte-Rôtie France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie
88 points
Maybe needed time to open up but seemed a bit light on its feet and wanted something more bacon-y and Rhone-y. Cellar for a while longer.
Red
2005 Château Clerc Milon France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
90 points
This was in a good place and tasty enough but not sure it really held up to the food and got lost in the shuffle between the rib roast, side dishes, competing wines, Christmas presents etc. Nevertheless, very classic Bordeaux: dark fruit, cedar, pencil lead.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2010 Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
92 points
This wine, on the other hand, was a perfect foil for a big Christmas dinner. Sophisticated and elegant yet powerful, long and robust. Such a good combination of food friendliness with the stuffing to stand alone as well. Spicy mix of black and blue fruits, with some floral and mineral notes coming through.
1 person found this helpful Comment

Flight 3 - Other holiday wines (5 notes)

In between office parties and neighborhood get-togethers, here were some other highlights.

White
2016 Domaine Weinbach Pinot Blanc Reserve France, Alsace
89 points
Because I love Alsatian food and the region in general, I always think I need to drink more Alsatian wine, but alas it never really pleases me. It's more austere than my favorite German whites and not as mineral as my favorite Loires. This one was no exception - it takes a step towards sweetness but has too much marzipan and bitters, and it could use a bit more acidic pop to offset the ripeness. Nevertheless, there is quality here and perhaps I just don't understand it.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Off-dry
2015 Markus Molitor Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett (Green Capsule) Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
92 points
This was just the style I like in a riesling – aromatic, with high-toned fruit and zesty acidity - yumbang! White peach, ripe yellow peach, sea salt, with a hint of baked pears.
Red
2007 Fratelli Seghesio Barolo Vigneto la Villa Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
88 points
Seemed closed to me (or over the hill?), which was a disappointment because I’ve loved this wine in other vintages. Tar and menthol overwhelming any fruitier, riper elements.
Red
2010 Rivers-Marie Pinot Noir Occidental Ridge Vineyard USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
92 points
Very drinkable and showing more stuffing than the Sonoma Coast although I tend to prefer the carefree enjoyment of that cheaper bottling. Dark cherry & cinnamon characteristics most prevalent with a hint of pomegranate on the palate and pleasant tobacco on the nose.
Red
2010 Wild Duck Creek Shiraz Springflat Australia, Victoria, Central Victoria, Heathcote
94 points
When it’s humming, Australian shiraz can be one of my faves. And this wine was terrific with ripe (but not overripe) plum flavors with hints of berry and a pleasing eucalyptes component to complement the fruit. An amazing closeout deal at $20ish.
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