Saturday, December 17, 2011

Friday Night Blind Tasting With Good Friends

Back in my the late 1990s, Stephen, Ian and I lived at the same dorm at a German boarding school. They were my best bros. Over the years, we've kept in touch. It had been ten years since the three of us had been together, so we were in the mood to celebrate. It just so happened that my wine tasting group was having a pre-holiday tasting.

So we wrapped all the wines in paper bags and met at good ol' Weygandt Wines in Cleveland Park. We served all wines blind and unveiled them at the end. There were very few non-stellar wines. The tasting was just phenomenal, and nearly every wine was interesting, complex and good for starting conversation. Pizza was served as well, which worked with the reds we were tasting. It was great to have Ian and Stephan stop in on such a great tasting. Tooch, you were missed.

Palate Cleanser

White Flight

  • 2009 Eric Morgat Savennières L'Enclos - France, Loire Valley, Anjou-Saumur, Savennières
    Golden color. Aromas of apple, wax and hazelnut. Pulpy pear fruit on the palate, with nuts and golden raisins. The acid is intense, which keeps it balanced. I could tell this wine had some oak, which I don't find too much in Savennieres, but I still guessed it as a Loire chenin blanc. This is my first time with Morgat, and I've never heard about this producer before. But this style of zingy acid and minerality, combined with dried fruit and some nutty oak is really working for me. Absolutely delicious, and I think this would improve with a few years in the bottle. (91 pts.)
  • 2001 Zind-Humbrecht Zind - France, Alsace, Alsace AOC
    Dark golden colored. Nose shows explosive honey, pistachio nut, and lychee. The palate is fresh with plump fruit, and high acid. There's some sweetness that reminds me of riesling, but an olive oil flavor that makes me think of some sort of strange Italian white wine. After much internal debate, I guessed this as an Alsace riesling. I think this does have some riesling in it, but I was had this feeling that there was just something Alsatian about this wine. (89 pts.)
  • 2005 Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Vergers - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru
    Light gold color It was love at first sniff: gala apples, popcorn, marshmallow and then a rush of lemon. The palate is rich and creamy, but the acid is right on. Big, but balanced, with lots of hazelnut on the finish, which is really long. I guessed it as a 2009 chassagne-montrachet. This was my first time with this producer, and I was very impressed. (93 pts.)
  • 2009 Cameron Chardonnay Blanc Clos Electrique - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills
    Medium yellow color. Aromas of flowers, lemon cleaner, tangerine rind. Very complex nose. The palate is gorgeous, and heavy on the fruit. But there's delicious high acid. It starts really plump with lots of honeycomb, then transitions to fresh, lemon and floral flavors. Incredibly long finish. It got better with air, and it was clear tasting this blind that it was too early to be drinking this. I was happy to see it was a Cameron Clos Electrique, which has become one of my favorite domestic chardonnays. The 2008 I had recently showed better, but I really think the 2009 has a long, increasingly complex life ahead of it. (93 pts.)
  • 2005 Domaine Bernard Defaix Chablis Grand Cru Vaudésir - France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis Grand Cru
    Medium yellow color. The nose shows popcorn, pear and a distinct aroma of brie rind. The palate is bold and intense, and there is some butter and oak here. Tasted blind, we're clearly in chardonnay territory. What's unique about this wine is the distinct flavor of limestone and seashell that made me think Chablis. I was glad to see this was a Defaix, as I've enjoyed this producer for years. It was really delicious, and I like the combination of flavors. Thanks, Bob, for popping this. I loved it. (91 pts.)
  • 2009 Crowley Chardonnay Maresh Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills
    Light gold color. The nose showed lots of honeydew melon, like pure, concentrated honeydew. Absolutely intoxicating. Also aromas of apricot and rich apple. It almost reminded me of a white rhone blend on the nose. The palate is a confluence of intensity and freshness that is just delicious. Coconut, cream, marshmallow, lemon, yellow apple. It's absolutely delicious, and I guessed it as a Sonoma chardonnay. Go Willamette Valley! This is an excellent chardonnay that really impressed me. It got more expressive with air, and it has years ahead of it. Thanks, Brett, for again reminding me that Oregon produces some blissful chardonnays. (94 pts.)


  • 2001 Domaine des Lambrays Clos des Lambrays - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru
    I'm not going to score this wine, because once it was unveiled I, and the other tasters, thought this was not a full-quality bottle. Maybe it was stored badly or just an off bottle. It was drinkable, just not at all as good as I know this wine is. Bright red color with a hint of amber. It smells like meat and red cherries. The palate shows dense tannic grip. Something tastes burned in this wine, like someone threw a bunch of cherries onto a grill. It doesn't taste of oak, just ash. Short finish. I thought it was a messed-up syrah. I scored it 82 blind.
  • 2008 Uwe Schiefer Blaufränkisch Szapary - Austria, Burgenland, Südburgenland
    Bright red color in the glass, just vibrant and clear. Aromas of sour cherry and hemp. It seriously smells like cranberries wrapped in dried seaweed. The aromas on this wine are nothing short of ecstatic. The palate is really silky and juicy, with ripe brambly fruit, solid acid, and a kick of tannins. Tasted blind, I was guessing all over the map. It wasn't dark and dense enough to be new world, but I couldn't place it in the old world. I was thrilled to see it was an Uew Schiefer. I've loved his blaufrankisch before, and this one was just exceptional. (91 pts.)
  • 2010 Daniel Bouland Morgon Vieilles Vignes Corcelette - France, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Morgon
    The color and nose on this wine are classic cru Beaujolais. Vibrant red color, and you can see your fingers through the glass. The aromas are bright and lively, cherry, some vanilla. The palate has surprisingly grippy tannins. Lots of plush currant fruit, but it maintains a lightness and sexiness. Tasted blind, I guessed this as a 2009 cru Beaujolais. I'm excited about the 2010s, and this was a solid example. Thanks to Stephen for this contribution to the tasting. (89 pts.)
  • 2003 Louis Jadot Nuits St. Georges - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Nuits St. Georges
    I tasted this wine blind and loved it. I was really surprised to see it was a basic, village-level Burgundy. This wine outperforms its appellation. The color is ruby, with just a hint of brown. The nose is very focused on earth, mushroom, bacon and loam. I absolutely love the nose. The palate is full, with lots of tannins. Flavors of olive tapenade are mixed it with sour cherry. It's a big wine, expressing the heft of the 2003 vintage, but it maintains a feminine mystique. Absolutely delicious. (93 pts.)
  • 2004 Domaine de Baron'Arques Limoux - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Limoux
    The nose smelled very unique on this wine. It was off-putting for some at the tasting, but I enjoyed it. I got a distinct note of sardine, also white pepper and some cherry and rhubarb. Really strange nose, but I like strange. The palate has gritty tannins, dense black and red fruit. There's a flavor on the finish that reminds me of curry, maybe a little bit of allspice? I guessed mourvedre, just because I knew it was going to be something a little bit out of the ordinary. Turns out it's a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Grenache, Syrah and Malbec. It's a kitchen sink of grapes, but it's a solid wine that will surely start up some academic discussion. (89 pts.)
  • 2009 Domaine Monpertuis (Paul Jeune) Vin de Pays du Gard Cuvée Counoise - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Vin de Pays du Gard
    I tasted this blind and was excited to find out it was only twelve dollars! It really overdelivers for the price. The nose shows fresh cherries and some earthy aromas. The palate is really lush and delicious, with a soft and round feel to the wine from beginning to end. I wondered if it was pinot noir, but there was something in this wine I couldn't recognize. For the price, this is a really solid wine that has some complexity. (88 pts.)
  • 2009 Reynvaan Family Vineyards Syrah Stonessence - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    Wow. This is a really unique wine. The aromas are amazing: sour cherry, rare steak, plum skins and a distinct note of green pepper. Smelling this blind, I was wondering if this was some sort of crazy cabernet franc. But the palate is something else entirely. It's big, bold and rich, but maintains a beautiful freshness. The plum fruit and meat flavors glide over the palate. I love this producer, and even when tasted blind these wines wow me. Apparently this 100% syrah is only made in certain years. It's a beautiful interpretation of syrah. (94 pts.)
  • 2009 Rivers-Marie Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    The nose on this wine is heavenly: strawberry rhubarb, licorice, rose petal and orange rind. On the palate, this wine is fresh and fruity, but balanced with delicious cranberry fruit. There's a distinct orange rind flavor that I absolutely love. It tastes so fresh and pure. This is an absolutely gorgeous wine. Tasted blind: 94 points. I was a bit tipsy at this point of the night, but it wasn't just that. Everyone loved this wine and it was several people's wine of the night. (94 pts.)


  • 2001 Château Lamothe Guignard - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
    This was my contribution to the tasting. It's golden honey colored in the glass with lots of viscosity. The nose is textbook Sauternes: apricot, botrytis, a bit of nail polish. The palate is full of honey, apricot, candied peach, but there's also some chalk and minerals on the finish. The acid isn't very high, but I found it delicious. It's a solid, classic Sauternes. (90 pts.)
  • N.V. Broadbent Madeira Five Year Reserve - Portugal, Madeira
    Beautiful caramel color. The nose shows almond shell, caramel, and a bit of red apple. Very gushy on the palate. Thick, but not too much. Lovely nutty, honey finish, which is long. (88 pts.)

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