Martin Scott Portfolio Tasting 2008

East Side of Central Park, NYC

Tasted September 8, 2008 by RajivAyyangar with 977 views

Introduction

Earlier in the day I was tasting the lineup at Vias Imports with Joe and Julius. Joe got a call from the Premier guys (store in Buffalo) about the tasting they were at - Martin Scott. Having tasted most of the stuff we were interested in at Vias, we hopped in a cab and headed over here. For me it was a huge shock. Vias was large and all - about 24 tables. To put things in perspective, Martin Scott had 100 large tables, and two floors (we only checked out the top floor). It was like a college gymnasium filled with wine. My main complaint was that there was no bread - just cheeses and various vegetables and fruits. Thankfully Joe and I had brought bread sticks from Vias (which had a superb spread of charcuterie, bread, fresh parmigiano, and artisanal olive oils , and I'd brought my own bottled water. The glasses they provided were not quite ideal tulip shapes, but they weren't horrible either. There was an interesting mix of people there, as at Vias - some looked more serious, taking copious notes and spitting, while other people were in evening gowns, chatting.

Flight 1 - Spain: The Killer Row (13 notes)

Immediately beyond the entrance was a row of Spanish wines. Joe helped me to tease apart the fruit and oak flavors, and for the first time I recognized and appreciated superb oak treatment. These were powerful, delicious, layered wines - many of which are under $20 retail!

Red
2006 Bodegas Exopto Rioja EXOPTO Big Bang Spain, La Rioja, Rioja
82 points
Med+ acid, med body, med tannins. Dark fruit. Some oak treatment. Nice intensity. Good for a sub-$20 rioja.
Red
2006 Bodegas Vizcarra Ramos Ribera del Duero Roble Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
84 points
Dark color. 'b/c this is Ribeira del Duero, you're going to get a little more extraction, lower yields, higher elevation, higher acid, higher alcohol, riper fruit, more oak'
Palate: oak treatment - lingers on the finish. [before this point in my tasting career I always had trouble identifying oak. this row of killer Spanish wines will both teach me to recognize it in red wines, and really make me fall in love with oak treatment, if well done, in tempranillo].

90 JM, 88 ST
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2004 Bodega Matarredonda Toro Juan Rojo Spain, Castilla y León, Toro
85 points
Dark in the glass. N: dark fruit and oak. 'Classic toro, meat, chocolate, fruit, lots of oak, big alcohol, big tannins, med acid.' In the mouth: Big, bold, oaky, roasted nuts, coffee.

st90
jm91

80 yr old vines, Tempranillo
Red
2004 Bodega Matarredonda Toro Libranza Spain, Castilla y León, Toro
86 points
Dark. Nose: 'beautiful toro nose, roasted nuts, coffee' toasty oak on the nose, coffee notes, like a dark stout, roasted nuts, very nice! Delicious in the mouth.

100-140 yr old prephylloxera vines!!!

94jm
91st
Red
2004 Bodegas Hornillos Ballesteros Ribera del Duero Perfil de Mibal Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
92 points
Absolutely delicious on the nose: Coffee, roasted nuts, a very interesting hint of blue fruits 'tempranillo on steroids, man!'
In the mouth: chocolate, coffee, roasted nuts, toast, but with beautiful fruit! Super ripe, chewy tannins, this is absolutely awesome. Super plush, rich, mouthfeel. Finish lasts aeons.
Retails for ~$70.

st90
jm91
Red
2006 Señorio de Barahonda Monastrell Spain, Murcia, Yecla
85 points
N: Strawberry jam! smokiness, blueberry and darker fruits. P: Not super long. Some oak, a little green stickiness on the tannins. Retails under $10!!!!! Super QPR.
Red
2005 Señorio de Barahonda Yecla El Principio Bellum Spain, Murcia, Yecla
87 points
Beautiful stewed nose, hints of animal cage bedding, dusty. I love the stewed plums on the nose. Nice oak.

89 jm
Red
2005 Señorio de Barahonda Yecla Providencia Bellum Spain, Murcia, Yecla
85 points
14 months in barriques, decanted before serving at the tasting.
Nose is a bit light, but very pretty. Palate: simple but good.
Red
2005 Bodegas Diaz Bayo Ribera del Duero Nuestro Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
90 points
Bod. Diaz Bayo, Crianza 'Nuestro', RdD 2005.
Very dark. Blue fruit, coffee, oak, baked spices, roasted nuts, dark fruit. Great in the mouth, long finish, tannic. Not super ripe tannins, but the flavor sticks around a long time. Great oak integration.
'All these wines: ripe, balance and length, fruit and oak.'

I agree with JM?!:

90 pts: Deep crimson in color, it has a fragrant nose of cedar, pencil lead, spice box, and blackberry. This is followed by a wine with a forward personality, ripe, spicy fruit, sweet tannins.
Red
2006 Bodegas Licinia Vinos de Madrid Licinia Spain, Madrid, Vinos de Madrid
88 points
Syrah-Cab-Tempranillo blend.
Dark. A little raspberry, blue fruit. Good oak integration. Great palate.

jm91, st92
Red
2005 Melis Priorat Elix Spain, Catalunya, Priorat
88 points
Dried fruit on the nose, coffee, strawberry.
'all these spanish wines show great length, balance, and integrity... we'll see some new world wines, and a lot of times they smell great but just fall off in the mouth.
This is really full in the mouth.
Red
2005 Melis Priorat Spain, Catalunya, Priorat
93 points
This wine was so delicious it made my mouth water from more than just acidity. It also was so complex and layered in the mouth it sparked a torrent of descriptors. I quote verbatim from myself:
"Oh that's really, really amazing... great acidity, great tannins, absolutely delicious structure...round, full, savory... wood... the wood is integrated, you get nutty, coffee, you know, hints of buttery toast, red fruit, dark fruit, dates..." Just an awesome wine. The experience of drinking it was so intense, it was faintly painful, in a good way.
White - Sparkling
N.V. Casteller Cava Brut Spain, Cava
80 points
Ok. Nice.

Flight 2 - Mostly Italy (21 notes)

After a quick cava to rinse our palates, we moved to the rows on the left side of the building that were dominated by Italian wines, including a large selection of indigenous varietals. The one exception was a rather uninspiring Cotes du Rhone Villages from Tardieu-Laurent. I found these wines difficult - probably because we had just come from a mostly-Italy tasting, and my palate was somewhat battered from the high acid high tannin nebbiolos. Still, there were some very interesting wines.

Red
2005 Fattoria Petrolo Torrione Toscana IGT Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
86 points
Sangiovese.
Nice and light. I said 86
Red
2005 Fattoria Petrolo Galatrona Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
83 points
Merlot.
baking spices. Ok. I said 83.
Red
2004 Luciano Sandrone Barolo Le Vigne Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
med in the glass. Very tight. Needs to be decanted. I can't even rate this. Med+ body, med acid, not a lot of flavors on the nose or palate. Strong tannins.
Red
2004 Tenimenti d'Alessandro Syrah Cortona Il Bosco Italy, Tuscany, Cortona
A lot of oak treatment, chocolate. Really tight, really tannic. Should have been decanted. Not much on the palate. I can't rate this.
Red
2006 Enrico Santini Bolgheri Poggio Al Moro Italy, Tuscany, Bolgheri
84 points
Supertuscan blend: syrah... and others.
Some dark fruit, oak treatment. A little bloodiness/savoriness.
Red
2003 Enrico Santini Bolgheri Montepergoli Italy, Tuscany, Bolgheri
90 points
Cab, merlot, sangio, syrah blend.
Some sulfur. Some wet dog - brett. Burnt match - hydrogen sulfide.
Dark, deep flavors. Savory, meaty, cured meat, wet dog. The other aromatics should blow off with decanting.
Red
2006 La Massa La Massa Toscana IGT Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
82 points
Declassified, used to be Chianti.
Nice nose. Good sangiovese character. Not great but nice.
Red
2004 La Massa Giorgio Primo Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
88 points
Declassified, used to be Chianti.
Nice earth, a little brett on the nose.
Everything in balance. A little tomato-like, bloody character, ripe, ripe tannins. Very nice.
Red
2004 Podere La Cerreta Rio de' Messi Toscana IGT Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
84 points
Dark in the glass. Some olive on the nose, quite a bit of pyrazines. Nice in the mouth: big, plush, ripe tannins, good acidity.
Red
2004 Podere La Cerreta Solatio della Cerreta Toscana IGT Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
82 points
Sangio-Cab-Merlot blend.
Nose: some blood. Simple, nice, some pyrazines.
Red
2005 Montecappone Rosso Piceno Montesecco Italy, Marche, Rosso Piceno
85 points
Gorgeous. 'One of my favorite reasonably-priced regions in the world. Usually $15 and under"
Red
2006 Terre di Balbia Balbium Rosso Calabria IGT Italy, Calabria, Calabria IGT
Dark in the glass. A little poutpourri on the palate, but the rest of the note is unintelligible. Must not have been extraordinary.
Red
2004 Terre di Balbia SerraMonte Calabria IGT Italy, Calabria, Calabria IGT
86 points
Lighter floral notes on the nose. Really nice. Rich.
Red
2006 Tardieu-Laurent Côtes du Rhône Villages Les Becs Fins France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône Villages
80 points
Medium in the glass. Nice, juicy, almost like a white wine in the mouth, very weird. Really nothing much going on.
Red
2005 Giancarlo Ceci Nero di Troia Rosso Italy, Puglia, Castel del Monte
Blend of Nero di Troia, Montepulciano, aglianico.
Stewed fruit on the nose. Oak treatment - nutty. Smelled a little oxidized. Good structure.
Red
2004 Fiorenzo Nada Barbaresco Manzola Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
Smelled oxidized.
Red
2001 Rascioni & Cecconello Maremma Toscana Poggio Ciliegio Italy, Tuscany, Maremma, Maremma Toscana
80 points
100% Ciliegiolo.
Nice.
Red
2005 Agricola San Felice Chianti Classico Riserva Il Grigio Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Classico DOCG
85 points
A little brett, rich nose. Really nice. Good acidity. Full, great tannins. Very nice. Savory, meaty.
Red
2004 E. Pira & Figli (Chiara Boschis) Barolo Cannubi Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
80 points
Picked up some forest floor on the nose, not a lot. It's nice, but a little closed on the nose. Ian said it's probably going to close down according to Julius.
Red
2003 Capanna Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
Tasted with JoeG. It was young, but I can't understand my tape well enough to tell whether it was young and drinkable or young and tight.
Red
2003 Gianni Masciarelli Iskra Italy, Abruzzi, Colli Aprutini IGT
flawed
IsKra, by Marina Cvetic (Gianni Masciarelli's wife).
100% Montepulciano d'Abruzzo.
JoeG: "Ripe, modern, oak aged. Declassified to IGT". Smelled Oxidized to me.

Flight 3 - The Center Row (5 notes)

Moving back toward the Spanish row, we went up the center aisle, tasting a couple lackluster Bdx before meeting Aldo Vajra (whom I talked with the very next day at the Corkscrew tasting) and tasting some of his wines, and an Elio Grasso (which I had in my cellar at the time).

Red
2005 Château Le Cros France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion
80 points
The label claims St-Emilion Grand Cru status... and yet there's virtually no info on this wine online, it doesn't show up in any classifications, and CT didn't have an entry. Most puzzling.

If it were under $20 it would be good, if 30+, not so good. Decent but nothing too inspiring. I mentioned that it's a Grand cru, so probably expensive but according to Joe, "It's St. Emilion though, Grand cru status doesn't immediately signify higher prices."
Red
2005 Château Fleur de Jean Gué France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Lalande de Pomerol
80 points
Some brett, some pyrazines, med body, med acid, med alcohol. All right, but not as much power/extraction/length as the spanish wines. Medium, medium, medium. All right.
Red
2004 G.D. Vajra Barolo Albe Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
flawed
Oxidized.
Red
2006 G.D. Vajra Langhe Nebbiolo Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Langhe DOC
89 points
strawberries, brighter fruit, nice aromatics. It's clean, fresh, good fruit, tasty palate with good acid. Hard not to like.
Red
2007 Elio Grasso Langhe Nebbiolo Gavarini Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Langhe DOC
A little tight. Can't hear the rest of my notes. I think I liked it, though.

Flight 4 - Excursion with the Dude in the Suit (2 notes)

Joe introduced me to a friend of his, I'll call him Suit Dude, who was recently promoted to some high-up position in Martin Scott. Learning that this was my first really big tasting, he promptly took me on a whirlwind tour of his favorite wines. We dashed all over the room, and I only recall two of the wines in any detail (they were all delicious) before rejoining JoeG over at the white burg table (on the far right of the room).

Red
2004 Quinta do Noval Douro Portugal, Douro
85 points
Tried with Joe's friend in a suit (who's apparently a big shot at MS now). Very nice fruit, some complexity, good structure and length. 85+
White
2006 Kumeu River Chardonnay Maté's Vineyard New Zealand, North Island, Auckland, Kumeu
86 points
Nice, clean, not especially high acid, but then again, my palate had been pummeled for nearly 4 hours at this point. Not too rich, but elegant and stony. Pleasant. Chablis-like? (from what I've read, at least, since I don't have much experience with chablis). Tasted with dude in suit.

Flight 5 - Tasting Burgs, Cali, and Alsace with Joe and Suit Dude (9 notes)

After the quick tour, we joined JoeG at a rather eclectic row on the far right side. With the variety of wines here, I felt like someone had rubbed fog off of my glasses - I was all of a sudden able to distinguish the wines (or some of them) with reasonable clarity. In particular, the Gewurztraminer aromatics hit me like a spray of cold water in the face - in a good way.

Red
2004 Poderi Aldo Conterno Barbera d'Alba Conca Tre Pile Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Barbera d'Alba
earth, chewy tannins. can't hear the rest of my notes.
White
2006 Henri Boillot Bourgogne Blanc France, Burgundy, Bourgogne Blanc
85 points
Nice fruit, beautiful fruit. Range: 85-90?
White
2006 Domaine Bernard Moreau et Fils Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Champs-Gain France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru
90 points
Really nice! Creamy, really good. Like drinking rain water. 90+ (91 burghound I think)
White
2006 Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Calcaire France, Alsace
91 points
Smells super sweet, smelles spiced, a little genmai (toasted brown rice). Very nice. Really sharp acidity. Really good wine!!
White
2006 Zind-Humbrecht Gewurztraminer Hengst France, Alsace, Alsace Grand Cru
84 points
I love this nose! - dead on lychees and rose petals. I could smell this all day long! In the palate, though, it finishes dry, a bit hot, and with the usual Gewurz bitterness.

Joe: "In wines like this, and Torrontes, I'm not a big fan when they smell like this but finish dry and high alcohol/hot. I would rather they had a little residual sugar, lower alcohol, and zippy acidity"
-I think I agree. This wasn't as much fun to drink as it was to smell.
White
2006 Zind-Humbrecht Riesling Heimbourg France, Alsace
85 points
Medium straw in the glass. Lemons, candied oranges on the nose - nice. Good fresh acidity.
Red
2005 Bacio Divino Pazzo USA, California, Napa Valley
Blend:
73% Sangiovese
14% Cab
7% petite sirah
4% viognier
1% muscat

Some pyrazines. Can't hear the rest of my notes, unfortunately.

rp91
Red
2004 Bacio Divino USA, California, Napa Valley
17% Sangio, mostly Cab.
Pretty good? Can't hear my notes too clearly. Nothing crazy.
Red
2005 Bacio Divino Cabernet Sauvignon Janzen Cloudy's Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
Straight cab, napa valley single vineyard. Nice cab. No particular notes. At this point Joe's friend left us.

Flight 6 - More Cali, sans Dude (4 notes)

At this point, Joe's friend took leave, and we continued a bit along the row. Neither of us are really fans of Cali wines, and furthermore I think we were both feeling serious palate fatigue, but we pressed on for a bit.

Red
2006 Howell Mountain Vineyards Zinfandel Bear & Lion Old Vine USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain
75 points
I'm just getting bitterness and alcohol.
Red
2006 Howell Mountain Vineyards Zinfandel Black Sears Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain
75 points
mushrooms, not a lot of fruit.
Red
2005 Howell Mountain Vineyards Zinfandel Beatty Ranch USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain
75 points
A little barnyard. Can't hear the rest of my notes, but I wasn't that excited about it.
Red
2005 Oakville East Cabernet Sauvignon Exposure USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
87 points
Some pyrazines, olive tapenade, really nice!

Flight 7 - I Met Chris Ringland!!!!!!! (2 notes)

As a final stop we hit the Aussie table. Who should be behind the counter but Chris Ringland, surrounded by an army of wines under his "R" label. I didn't know what to say, so I just introduced myself and babbled on about the wine club. Chris was very nice, and it was surreal meeting a winemaker whose name I've seen hundreds of times on bottles. In terms of meeting Mr. Ringland, and the huge wines he makes, we definitely went out with a bang!

Red
2006 Shirvington Shiraz Australia, South Australia, Fleurieu, McLaren Vale
84 points
JoeG "Classic McLaren vale shiraz, very Northern RHonish, white pepper, white peach, minerality, blueberries, one of my favorites"

Not an overpowering nose - "McLaren is the feminine to Barossa's masculine." Very Acidic - acidified. Has some tannins, and fruit. It's all there.
Red
2006 R Wines Shiraz Strong Arms Australia, South Australia
60 points
Really strong acidity. Sweet. Painful actually - it hurts my tongue. Pretty much just oak. Some green flavors - why in Aussie Shiraz? When it's really really really hot, it can interfere with flavor ripening. Stunts photosynthesis? --> pyrazines.

I'm not sure how to score this. On one hand, I don't like it - it's characterless, over-oaked (24 or 34 months in Fr and Amer according to Ringland), has super-fake acidity (it actually felt like the acid was in a different country than the rest of the wine, very separate), and really has no complexity. On the other hand, it's undeniably delicious and has balancing acidity to deal with the porty sweetness. Objectively I'd have to say in the high 80's or even 90's if you like that style. For me personally I'd like to go 60 on this, just cause it rubs me the wrong way.

Closing

All in all a tremendous tasting, and a tremendous day! While my impressions were rather vague, especially towards the end as my palate became stiff from acid and tannins, this was an invaluable lesson in tasting large numbers of wines. In particular, I fell in love with Spain, learned to pick out oak influence, and learned to identify fake acid.

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