Thursday, April 21, 2005

Torbreck is no joke

I attended Morell profile tasting.
Morrell is this slightly more expensive store where you stop an hour before a tasting and they find you the perfect bottle in 5 minutes. No deception included, never, ever, except for...their portfolio tasting.

Sorry to report that the wine selection was really disappointing...downhill from any store tasting or any bottle purchased at this great retailer.

Who tasted the Italian selection!!! Dude, I didn't know vinegar could be sold for $22 and called Avignonesi 2001.
Biale Zinfandel Old Crane Saint Helena 2002 is great for illustrating the IMBALANCE of sweetness in Red wine. The problem is the price point, $45 a bottle. Too expensive to showcase as TOO SWEET at the 101 wine tasting. Oh, RP 93, who is RP again !

Well let's say that if you didn't attend, no regrets. Take your $40 and buy one of the following.

For best of the show, I would put Chateauneuf Clos des Papes 2002. ($35) as the runner up, good producer, bad year. The wine has a generous nose and a nice backbone but not enough flesh. I will taste this one in 2001, a much better year, and report asap.

For third place, I would say Marques de Tomares Crianza Rioja 2001 ($19). It's no pretension but a nice balance, good finish and some finesse in the red berry flavors. My Juan Gil (see previous post) can take him any day, even with an higher alcohol content. (I wish Juan would buy in Rioja).

Astrales Ribera del Duero 2002 ($55) was too young for winning but the red berries flavors, wild strawberries, blackberries and raspberries are delicious, the attack is soft and the texture coats your mouth with a delicious touch. The Rio Tinto grape doesn't structure the wine so it flows nicely during the tasting. The tannin at the finish will disappear, please give him time.

Torbreck, I read about you, you convinced me. The wine is forward with light fine chocolate, some caramel and berries. Where the Marquis Philippe hits and run with its barrel flavors, Torbreck The Steading 2002 ($35) develops, nuances, lingers and says goodbye. The alcohol content is not overwhelming and the mid palate is convincing. Marquis will stay marquis and Torbreck the count.
Torbreck / Marquis, a nice face-off. (I offer 2/3 for Torbreck).

Tuesday, Madame Leroy tasting at Acker. The best Burgundy can make. My best bottle are from Bordeaux. Will she get in and downgrade my best memories, Calon Segur 95 or some old Croix Figeac 1975? Scared to face the assault...Answer Tuesday nigth.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Juan Gil king of Spanish value

Juan came to Union Square Union telling people 'try this, it's great'.
You are right Juan. I love the blackberry and the earthy taste. The balance is really good.
Yes, slightly tannic but it's a 2002. A leg of lamb would relieve them.
Hey Juan, how much do I owe you for this Juan Jill 2002 ?
$15 at USQ, you must be kidding me...
Juan's website should be tranlated in English very soon. For now, it's in original version at

Sunday, April 10, 2005

South Africa offers you Syrah

After a long wine dinner including 18 wines from South Africa, our conclusion was "open your heart to Syrah".
Aside of the Hamilton (cf last post), we were pleasantly surprised by five bottles of Syrah.

Solitude Fairview 2002
Beacon Fairview 2002
Ridge Syrah
Flagship Syrah 1999

My notes are very light on the first two wines. However the last two strike me as been very well balanced. The common nose was toastiness and smoke. The Ridge is showing more fruit, more blackberry when the Flagship is woody, it's also the oldest vintage in the line-up. Unfortunately, at $30 they are well priced.
Another surprise, none of the Cabernet Sauvignon made the cut. The famous Paul Sauer wasn't included.
The next tasting will be Argentinean reds, I am truly scared.

A Pinot from far south, Hamilton Russel 2002

The unami and tariness in the nose and the palate is very delicate.
Acidic enough even though it's coming from a warm climate.
The wine is well made and carries different flavors from a typical Pinot Noir from Burgundy.
A far cry from those international Pinot...

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Smith Haut Laffite 2002 (white)

I got the bottle for my birthday. Disappointed by the cheap entre-deux-mers tasted in France, I decided that only white Burgundy mattered. However, I had some doubts as the best Bordeaux chateaux are still producing white.

The bottle had a strong nutty nose, very flowery. It reminded me of a Viognier with a ridiculously small yield but an elegance I never experienced.
The palate was also strong, the flavors of wax, fine wood and nuttiness were all intertwined. So packed that I had to wonder if they wouldn't need few years to unfold like a Chinese range. As in most Bordeaux wine, the balance is impeccable. The wine is smooth and perfectly integrated. It doesn't allow you to notice any excess acidity, sweetness or alcohol. It's not the case of most red Pessac Leognan and their strong grip.

Very surprised by such a powerful and such well crafted wine. As Ben of the says "It was an eye opener". Attending Bordeaux white tasting at Acker & Merril on May 24th would allow to gain more prospective on this wine. I will keep you posted.