Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Weekend of <$25 Wines

I taste a lot of wine, and inevitably I come across some disappointmenting bottles. This weekend contained no such wines. I tasted a slew of mostly old world wines at home and with some wine nerd buddies at Weygandt Wines this weekend. Bacchus was with us, because every bottle had something to show me. When you keep an open mind, taste everything, you find some goodies.

By the way, an added bonus: all of these wines were purchased at or retail for less than $25.


2010 Domaine les Aphillanthes Côtes du Rhône Blanc Clementia - France, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône
Pretty peach-gold color in the glass. At first, not much going on here aromatically. Yellow apple and honey, some white flowers. It opened up with about an hour. On the palate, the first thing I notice about this wine is its ripeness, lots of cantaloupe melon, yellow apple and a hint of apricot. There’s enough acid to balance the ripe fruit, and it’s not goopy. But it is not a lean wine. Some nutty and buttery notes add complexity and weight. This wine makes me crave chicken alfredo or linguini with white clam sauce, something rich that could stand up to this wine’s boldness. A blend of equal parts roussanne and viognier with about 10% clairette. 86 points

2008 Weingut Dr. Siemens Serriger Würtzberg Riesling Kabinett feinherb - Germany, Mosel Bright gold color in the glass. On the nose, this is classic Mosel riesling, but it also does its own thing. Lots of green apple and lime aromas mix with clover honey, nougat and a whiff of oil. On the palate, I really like where this wine is in its evolution. Acid attacks and sticks around the entire time, providing a laser-like backbone. The fruit flavors are refined and sexy: lime, Granny Smith apple, papaya, a hint of quince. The minerality in this wine is really kicking, like mountain stream water and slate rock. Combined with the acid, it’s almost like a tickling sensation on the palate. This wine is tangy, zesty, but showing signs of maturity in the hints of nougat, honeycomb and lemon oil. Delicious stuff, especially for the price. As with most rieslings I drink, I want to taste this again in five years.  91 points

1997 Christine Woods Chardonnay Estate Reserve - California, Mendocino County, Anderson Valley
The label, capsule and cork were in pristine condition, like this wine was newly released as opposed to 15 years old. Medium gold color in the glass with thin legs. Interesting aromas, predominantly orange rind, lemon zest and hazelnut. Pretty aromas, demonstrating that this wine is by no means dead or dying, and surprisingly not oxidized. Lots of lemon curd and baked apples on the palate, along with a flavor that is a dead ringer for boiled peanuts. It tastes smooth and nutty, slightly sherry-like from age. A bit of toast accents the fruit, but it’s so subtle. What I like is the kick of acid that sticks around throughout. There’s a waxiness and mineral aspect that reminds me a bit of chenin blanc, believe it or not. Apple sauce notes linger on the finish. The 12% alcohol means this wine is quite light on its feet, which I really enjoy. (Why don’t many people make 12% alcohol California chardonnays anymore?)  It’s a really fun wine that was probably meant to be consumed ten years ago. But, hey, it’s still going. Considering my expectations were extremely low, I ended up enjoying this wine. I brought it for some friends, and they all commented that it was still youthful. 87 points

2010 Domaine Michel Juillot Bourgogne Blanc - France, Burgundy
Aromatically, this is the picture of freshness: green apple, lemon, white flowers and honeysuckle aromas. Lots of acid on the palate, flavors of lemon-lime, a hint of grapefruit, and a kick of minerals. This is such a pure chardonnay, with a tingly finish. Yum. 87 points

2005 Luneau-Papin Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Semper Excelsior - France, Loire Valley, Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine
I tasted this blind and its minerality, high acid and creaminess led me to guess it was a 2010 Chablis. Bright yellow-straw color. Aromas of green apple, whipped cream, sweet tarts and slate. Very tangy on the palate, with a streak of minerals and lime. Very precise and focused. I was very surprised to see this was from 2005, as it tastes incredibly young. It really reminds me of a young Chablis. It's frankly beautiful, and I'd love to try this again in five years. 90 points

2010 Domaine de l'Ecu (Guy Bossard) Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Expression d'Orthogneiss - France, Loire Valley, Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine
Light straw color. Lots of tropical fruit on the nose, papaya, mango and honey, but somehow it's still really bright. Super creamy on the palate with intense acid. Lots of body, but tons of minerals and acid for balance. A very impressive muscadet that would be great to taste again in ten years. Tasted blind, guessed it as a 2009 muscadet. 89+ points


2011 Daniel Bouland Côte de Brouilly - France, Beaujolais, Côte de Brouilly
Vibrant cherry-ruby color. Bright aromas of black cherries, dark loamy soils, hints of bitter chocolate. The palate has a lot of tangy acid, along with grippy tannins. Flavors of pure cherries, minerals, cocoa and graphite. It's very complex and could age for ten years easily. Solid stuff! Daniel Bouland is a master with the gamay grape. 89 points

2010 Jacques Puffeney Trousseau Arbois - France, Jura, Arbois
I tasted this blind and guessed it only as a Jura red. It just has that Jura red mystique: the light cherry color in the glass; aromas of sour cherries, cranberry, white pepper and raspberry bushes, a hint of black tea. The palate is really tangy with lots of minerality. Fine-grained tannins combine for an almost mouth-puckering feeling, reminiscent of a 2008 Burgundy. A hint of soy and herb lingers on the finish. Gorgeous, and I imagine this will be even better in two years or so. 90 points

2010 Château Des Roques Vacqueyras - France, Southern Rhône, Vacqueyras
This is a more restrained and elegant wine than the 2009, and it's frankly one of the best bargains I've seen in a long time. Dark cherry colored. Blackberries, fig paste, hints of braised meat on the nose. The palate is pure silk. Fresh cherries, blackberries and cranberries glide in on a wave of acid and fine tannins. Notes of pepper, cocoa and minerals linger on the finish. This would be beautiful with a pot roast. 88 points

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