Tasting Notes for Wine Guild of Charlottesville

(28 notes on 28 wines)

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Red
Wine Guild of Charlottesville Epic Burgundy Tasting (Charlottesville, VA): OK, so this was my favorite of the evening but how could it not be? We were glad to have the new Veritas Vineyards sommelier there last night (thanks Thomas!) whose knowledge of many of the vineyards explored during this evening was quite helpful and who explained to me the significance of the Hospice de Beaune labeling on the bottle. In short it is the wines submitted to the famous Hospice de Beaune auction every year that set the price for the wines in the given vintage, thus it behooves each producer to submit their best. This was a fantastic Corton! The nose was that of an aged Burgundy: Anise, even licorice, purple and black fruits, soy and yes a dose of that funk and earth that some call barnyard and others the very soul and being of the harmony of earth and wine. An inner sap from a medium weight and finish. I believe that this wine will improve for the next 5 years but it is certainly one to approach even now, A perfect "great bottle" for Thanksgiving and the holidays!
Red
Wine Guild of Charlottesville Epic Burgundy Tasting (Charlottesville, VA): The #1 red of the evening for the majority of tasters. Beautiful and classic Gevrey fruit that, for me, took a little while to develop in the glass. When it did I understood this to be an excellent Gevrey that will need a full 5-7 years to become the obvious beauty that it is. The flavors given were of cassis and dusty cocoa with mixed berry fruits and a green tea quality to the tannins. Medium in weight but long in palate, I found this to be a refined style for what I expect to be a more rough and rugged area and was pleased by the education in elegance. A fine cellar pick maturing in 5-7 years but capable of much more.
Red
Wine Guild of Charlottesville Epic Burgundy Tasting (Charlottesville, VA): The Vosne Romanee took the entire day to open up in a decanter. The nose is beautiful, perfumed and some how light and dark at the same time. There is plenty of classic purple fruit with thick skinned black grape and spice and a rose petal quality to the acidity. For all it's virtues this was a difficult wine to judge as I believe it was a bit closed down. What was there was beautiful but I can not attest to the intensity, the flavors it offered are what I like best about a Burgundy and I can not help but put a couple of these in my cellar to taste in another 7 years. One for the cellar.
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Red
Wine Guild of Charlottesville Epic Burgundy Tasting (Charlottesville, VA): A smokey bacon and sappy rich fruit nose unlike anything I would expect from a Volnay delighted me in that I have often not enjoyed the over delicate style of many wines from this area. This is a Volnay on steroids. As the wine opened up notes of toasted sesame became predominant in the nose and the intensity of fruit here was sharp and classic light cherry and spice notes but with a lot of white wine type fruit. This is almost a new world style Burgundy and I highly recommend it for Pinot Noir fans of every sort, it will definitely take on some complexity with age but can be enjoyed for its intensity immediately.
White
Wine Guild of Charlottesville Epic Burgundy Tasting (Charlottesville, VA): It is difficult, as a man of humble means, to evaluate a wine like this. I'll stick to the facts. The nose and palate both strongly express flavors of Honey Butter, Coconut and Fois Gras without any stretch of the mind, other tropical notes also preside but the honey butter is king. The wildness and intensity of these flavors leaves one feeling that the wine has all the guts to age into a top flight Burgundy. A fantastic wine that will need age to mellow its intense parts into a complex whole but certainly a wine that will achieve the greatness of its vineyard.
White
Wine Guild of Charlottesville Epic Burgundy Tasting (Charlottesville, VA): Now many believed this to be the finer of the two. The first thing to note is that it is a 2004 which was a pretty classic vintage in Burgundy for white wines. Thus, the wine showed pretty classically. A much softer nose revealing the dusty mineral and lemony richness of the wine. Age has brought together the mineral structure and rich honey-lemon fruit given it a tone of toasted nuts and the result is an almost complete integratration and harmony. A fantastic wine for drinking now with some potential for development over the next 3-5 years.
White
Wine Guild of Charlottesville Epic Burgundy Tasting (Charlottesville, VA): This wine and the next were found to be the two favorite whites of the evening and for some, of the night. The Puligny has a classic, rich and expressive nose. A million times over I would have guessed this one in a blind tasting as Puligny, it is everything you want out of the wine. Full bodied with a creamy chalk minerality, buttery acidity and a fatty, light smoke note with rich yeasty toast qualities. Just a fantastic wine showing a power now that many thought needed to harmonize with a few more years but of which all agreed was the excellent stuff of this region. A great buy for the cellar, maybe 3-7 years, but a powerful drink now Burgundy for those who like the intensity of flavor.
White
Wine Guild of Charlottesville Epic Burgundy Tasting (Charlottesville, VA): I found this wine to be extremely well integrated, combining the light use of oak, yeasty, rich Meursault flavor and clean minerality. A composed style with a classic nose and elegant follow through of medium length. For those who like a fine white with delineated flavor, acid and minerality as opposed to the fat, lactic, unbalanced oak styles that need to be aged long periods of time to harmonize, this is a Meursault to enjoy now and over the next 3-5 years.
Red
Epic Bandol Tasting with the Wine Guild of Charlottesville (Guild Office): For current consumption, this was the wine of the night for me. The Rubrum Obscurum is composed of 70% Grenache, with the remainder split evenly between Mourvedre and Carignan. Big and juicy on the nose, this had a broad, deep and complete palate with chocolately notes and a rich finish. This can be joyfully consumed now or over the next 10 years.
Red
Epic Bandol Tasting with the Wine Guild of Charlottesville (Guild Office): Grenache and Mourvèdre make up 60% of the red cuvée. The remainder is a rag tag collection of other varieties, including the usual suspects; Syrah, Cinsaut, Carignan, for instance, but also some rarities such as Castet and Manosquin. This wine showed incredible class and depth, but was wound up tighter than a drum despite having been open for 8 hours prior to the tasting. It needs lots of time in the cellar (5+ years), but will certainly reward those with patience -- if you can wait that long, this will be the wine of the night.
Red
2001 Domaines Ott Bandol Mourvedre Blend, Mourvedre (view label images)
Epic Bandol Tasting with the Wine Guild of Charlottesville (Guild Office): When Will opened this up Wednesday morning, he said that it was all black Niçoise olives. By the time the rest of us got to it, it was all dried fruit---like a port without the sweetness...or the depth. This may have once been a powerful, interesting wine, but it simply has not fared well if it was. We kept going back to it, giving it chance after chance...and while it's certainly a big beast, it's not worth the price tag as far as I'm concerned.
Red
Epic Bandol Tasting with the Wine Guild of Charlottesville (Guild Office): An instant classic! Pradeaux is one of the major, well-known houses in Bandol, up there with Tempier, et al. This wine is precisely why that's the case...and the nose/palate run the gamut in terms of what you tend to expect from "typical" great Bandol. More than anything else, there is the gaminess: grilled animal with tons of Provençal herbs and black pepper and savory grittiness with a nice smokiness in the background. I can think of few wines that would better complement grilled red meat (especially lamb, as we found out). Beyond the grilled meat, there were little pockets of interest all over...like tart berries, raisins/prunes, fresh salami, barnyard funk, a little oak, and this character that I can only describe as "lush forest in the springtime". All of this played back and forth with the bright acidity and big round tannins (both of which will help this wine age for 20 years), and it wrapped up with a long, tight finish. It was a pleasure to get to try this wine right now, but even at 6 years from the vat, I think it's still young. Buy some, lay it down, forget about it for a decade...you will thank yourself.
Red
Epic Bandol Tasting with the Wine Guild of Charlottesville (Guild Office): This was a perfect bellwether for the red lineup: even though it was opened early and decanted, this wine underwent changes over the course of the evening that were simply astounding. At first, it was all nerve and alcohol. Bright, acidic, hot, jumpy. However, by the second bottle, around 7:00, it started to suddenly blossom into a calmer, more focused wine. The alcohol hotness disappeared, and the nervy acidity softened up considerably. In addition, there developed a very clean-cut, precise profile with bright fruit, more new oak than the other wines, and clear potential. Definitely the cleanest of the night, not displaying any of the funky earthy barnyard qualities.
Red
Epic Bandol Tasting with the Wine Guild of Charlottesville (Guild Office): Talk about a sea change---same producer, different year, select grapes---magic! This was one of my top picks of the night (for the money, it's at the top). Huge, complex, leaping out of the glass with classic Mourvedre aromas of...sage, rosemary, graphite, dry earth, hot stones, grilled meat, old caves, must, cassis, figs...I could go on. There's so much for everyone in this wine, and what's more, it really didn't have any discernible flaws on the palate. The mouthfeel and weight was almost overwhelming, with bright acidity and grippy tannins to balance the big fruit. And while it's a very precise, delineated wine, it is by no means squeaky clean---there's plenty of rustic funk, especially on the nose. For me, this is the total package. Value of the night, hands down!
Red
Epic Bandol Tasting with the Wine Guild of Charlottesville (Guild Office): After being floored by the 2004 version of this wine at our Potomac tasting last year (on South Street Inn's veranda), I had high expectations, and this simply did not live up to them. Now, granted, it certainly got better by the time the night was over, but it just didn't seem to have that classic structure and depth that the '04 had in spades. I certainly wouldn't turn it down if someone pushed a glass my way, but it seemed a bit one-dimensional. All in all, it was just well-made, but unexceptional wine.
Red
Epic Bandol Tasting with the Wine Guild of Charlottesville (Guild Office): Several days earlier, I tried this wine with Kevin and we were both thoroughly convinced that it was, if not all, then almost all Mourvedre. It had that classic garrigue character that the grape (when grown in provence) is famous for, and a dusty, yet rich and inviting, aura that screamed Bandol. Funny, then, to find out that there's not a drop of Mourvedre in it! Instead, it's almost equal parts Cabernet and Syrah. Nonetheless, it is a very impressive wine, with great balance and an electric nerve that makes me think it will only get better over the next 5 years. Huge dark fruit follows through from the start, with that dusty garrigue note and distinct blueberries to finish. A touch of used oak softens it up, but that electricity is what makes this wine great.
Red
Epic Bandol Tasting with the Wine Guild of Charlottesville (Guild Office): What a way to start this epic red lineup! 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Carignan, 20% Grenache, and 9% Syrah...and it held its own to the very end up against the following onslaught of monster wines. The color is very dark bluish-red, intimating already that it doesn't fool around. Aromas of brambly fruit like blackberries and raspberries covered the up-front, which soon took a backseat a to sappy, extracted, rustic middle and a mildly acidic (and impressively composed) finish. Little to no tannic bite; what grip there was, was rather pliable and served mainly to keep everything intact for a long finish. What was most impressive, though, as noted above, was the ability of this inexpensive bottle to hang with the big boys. After making my way through the rest of the lineup, I went back to this several times, and each time, it showed great poise, strength and depth. A steal!
Rosé
Epic Bandol Tasting with the Wine Guild of Charlottesville (Guild Office): Far and away the top chilled wine of the evening. I was so ticked off that I could only find one Bandol Rose for this night but I was ecstatic that it was this wine. I must confess that I have purchased and enjoyed two or three bottles this year already and it has been a show stopper for everyone I have opened it for, most importantly for myself. The Pibarnon is a must have for fine White and Rose lovers, as it really is an epic bottling (I have already tried the Tempier Rose this year - not as good, but still awesome). A beautiful sunset color with fatness of fruit and a long, long finish. The wine is weighty with unique Bandol Rose flavors that somehow remind me of peaches without tasting peachy at all. In short, my only descriptors can be that it is a fine wine with great length and complexity.
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Rosé
Epic Bandol Tasting with the Wine Guild of Charlottesville (Guild Office): Now this one worked. This wine was to Rose what the Cassis was to white wine. A very light and delicate wine with a gorgeous light pink-gray color in the glass. Again this Rose is very much a food wine and so classic to the region. I would recommend the same menu of light Med. style fish dishes and herbed goat cheeses. The delicate strawberry fruit notes are balanced by that dry seltzer mineral quality; I am certain the wine maker intends for this wine to be had with food and so it must.
Rosé
Epic Bandol Tasting with the Wine Guild of Charlottesville (Guild Office): At first I thought there was some Sauv Blanc in this Rose, it had that grassy, light bell pepper and slightly tropical/passion fruit thing going on delicately in the front and mid palate. A very light Rose and frankly based on the supper star wines coming from this estate I was hoping for a bit more. A perfectly fine Rose and if you liked it, it is listed at half price from the distributor and decent at the price but I have two or three other Provence Rose's up my sleeve for this summer that I like better at this price point that we will send out as they come in. So if you can, hold on a bit.
White
Epic Bandol Tasting with the Wine Guild of Charlottesville (Guild Office): "Cassis produces aromatic, flavoursome whites that are the perfect foil to fruits de mer, as fresh as they can be." This wine is a rare and special thing and I feel, like an intricate ornamentation on a grand cathedral, that it was lost in the grandness of this tasting. I loved this wine but I understand that it is a wine that needs context. As I explained to many last night, this is not a cocktail wine and therefore does not show powerfully on its own in a tasting setting. Get a bottle, just one to try the experiment (you can go back for more latter), the next time you grill fish with herbs and garlic or sear fish in a pan with garlic, good olive oil, fennel seed and tomatoes or try any Mediterranean light meal try it with this wine. Then you will say, 'ah yes, now I grasp the wonderful subtlety, this beautiful detail'. The almost saline minerality and delicate crisp fruit will transport you to a small coastal village every time. The Bagnol is an excellent example of good Cassis white wine and a must have for Coastal and Island junkies who are doomed to vacation this summer in their own backyard. alas...
White
Epic Bandol Tasting with the Wine Guild of Charlottesville (Guild Office): Think coastal Chablis or more specifically, Saint Bris. No, really! Crisp, Dry with tight, precise fruit fattening out a long finish of mineraly lemons only at times brightening to grapefruit (a flavor we thought must be from Sauv Blanc and were surprised to find none in the blend, 60% Clairette, 35% Rolle & 5% Ugni Blanc) all of which is very understated and integrated in the purity of this delightful white wine. To put it short, tart and clean with a great back bone of acid and fruit enjoyable from cocktails to Frenchy fish dishes. A new favorite white of mine and one of the two most popular of the evening's chilled wines.
Red
Republic wines -- mostly CA cabs (Guild Office): Solid nose of chocolate, coffee and cherries. Palate is rocking -- with creamy cherries, chocolate and toasty oak. Great purity of flavor and balance. There's structure here, but an opulence as well. Outstanding! $45 retail.
Red
Republic wines -- mostly CA cabs (Guild Office): Soft cherry fruit on the nose. Palate of rich cherries and milk chocolate. Lush mouthfeel. This is nice, soft ,straightforward cabernet and ready-to-drink now
Red
Republic wines -- mostly CA cabs (Guild Office): Nose of coffee ground, roasted red fruit, and a touch of heat. There's fruit on the palate, but it seems a touch "green." Very tight and tart on the finish. With time this opens up and softens, and becomes pretty appealing in a classic Napa cab way.
Red
Republic wines -- mostly CA cabs (Guild Office): Nose of nice dark fruit and oak. Palate was candied cherries. Finished kind of tart and tight. This is easy to drink and enjoy. $35 retail.
White
Republic wines -- mostly CA cabs (Guild Office): My riesling experience is quite limited, but I thought this was nice. Dry style. Nice fruit and good balance, though not particularly distinctive for me. $15 retail.
White
Republic wines -- mostly CA cabs (Guild Office): Nice, easy sauvignon blanc with telltale NZ characteristics. Jalapeno pepper, gooseberry and grassy flavors, enlivened with vibrant acidity. Solid stuff. $15 retail.
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  • Tasting Notes: 28 notes on 28 wines
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