Saturday, December 3, 2016

Wine Reviews: Grab Bag from Chile and France

This post first appeared on the daily wine blog Terroirist. 

We’re back with a grab bag of wine samples from all over the world. This report includes a bunch of wines from Chile’s Concha y Toro (always a reliable producer), including the heralded Don Melchor Cabernet. We’ve got some Champagne, a perfect holiday Port, and some exciting wines from Roussillon.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2014 Concha y Toro Chardonnay Marqués de Casa Concha - Chile, Limarí Valley
SRP: $22
Golden yellow color. Aromas of green and yellow pears, apricots, almond, honey butter, white flowers. Creamy palate but precise acidity, this vibrant Chardonnay shows a nice mix of bruised yellow pear with tart green apples and limes. Nougat and peanut shell notes matched by chalk and lingering minerals. Crisp throughout, but enough richness for fans of bolder Chards to enjoy. Long, lip-smacking finish. Aged 11 months in French oak. (89 points)

2014 Concha y Toro Carménère Marqués de Casa Concha - Chile, Rapel Valley, Peumo
SRP: $25
Deep purple color. Aromas of tart black currants, blackberry and juicy plums, along with grilled green herbs, tar and campfire smoke. Plush and juicy texture on the palate, a kicking balance between fleshy tannin and medium acidity. Smoky earth, tobacco, anise, vanilla and coffee coat the black cherry and deep black currant fruit. Complex earth and pine forest notes come out with time. Delicious now, should get prettier over the next two or three years. Includes 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged 16 months in French oak. (88 points)

2014 Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon Marqués de Casa Concha - Chile, Maipo Valley, Puente Alto
SRP: $25
Medium purple color. Aromas of smoky charcoal, scorched earth and sweet pipe tobacco blend nicely with black and red currants. Medium/full-bodied with saucy tannins and rich fruit, but the wine maintains a fresh tang. Flavors of black currant and black cherry mix with coffee, charcoal, cigar lounge, rounded out with vanilla and clove on the finish. Ready to go but could age for a few. Includes a combined 8% Cab Franc, Merlot & Syrah, aged 16 months in French oak. (88 points)

2013 Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon Don Melchor - Chile, Maipo Valley, Puente Alto
SRP: $125
Medium purple color. Dense at first, but it opens up nicely as air coaxes out these waves of black cherries, dark currants, and lots of loamy soil, roasted herbs, graphite, coffee, and some tar and mineral notes – wow. A young wine with moderate grip to the tannins, there’s plenty of refreshing acidity that completes this wine and makes it delicious to drink young. The fruit is like a fresh blend of blackberry, dark plums, currant and blended with anise, charcoal, dense chewing tobacco, coffee grounds, vanilla, cedar planks, mint – holy smokes this is complex. Lots of vanilla and wood but enough other elements to balance it all out. 2013 was a very cold year, and it shows, as this is a much less compact, and far more fresh and tangy iteration of this classic Chilean Cabernet. Not as age-worthy as more classic vintages, but I love this fresh vintage signature. Includes 9% Cabernet Franc, the wine is aged 15 months in 2/3 new French oak. (92 points)

N.V. Forget-Brimont Champagne Premier Cru Brut Rosé - France, Champagne
SRP: $50
Bright strawberry/copper color. Smells of red apples, strawberries, kumquat and some biscuits and chalk. Crisp and tingly on the palate with flavors of red apples, white cherries and strawberries. Notes of white flowers, chalk and shell add some moderate complexity. Light and refreshing. Not too complex or deep but it’s straightforward, good stuff that’s put together well. (87 points)

2015 M. Chapoutier Côtes du Roussillon Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Blanc - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Côtes du Roussillon
SRP: $15
Light yellow color. Aromatically, we’re dealing with juicy peaches, pineapple and some tangy lime notes along with white flowers and a hint of ocean breeze. Light, fresh and zippy on the palate but there’s a pleasantly waxy texture that makes it a lot of fun. Creamy peaches, pineapple, lime, with dollops of sea salt, cut flowers and honeyed tea. Crisp, clean finish. A very solid and reliable wine for the price. A blend of Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Macabeu and Vermentino. (87 points)

2015 M. Chapoutier Côtes du Roussillon Villages Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Rouge - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Côtes du Roussillon Villages
SRP: $15
Medium ruby color. Juicy black cherry aromas with dusty earth, pepper, clove, sage and bay leaf notes. Medium-bodied on the palate with soft tannins and medium acidity. Black and red cherry fruit, some pomegranate, with a good mix of earth, charcoal, grilled herbs and pepper. Smooth, fresh, fruity but earthy, this would be fun with all sorts of food. A high quality bistro kind of wine. A blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan. (87 points)

2010 Agly Brothers Côtes du Roussillon - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Côtes du Roussillon
SRP: $38
Very dark color. Smells of jammy black cherries, deep blueberries, and a complex mix of graphite, anise, charcoal, dark soil and tobacco. Full-bodied with dry, structured tannins and some moderate acidity, this is a massive wine (15.5% alcohol) but it shows mystique underneath. Blueberry, blackberry, rich saucy fruit, lots of earthy complexity (soil, leaves, scorched earth, wood shavings) with some spicy anise and tobacco. Bold and boisterous but tight-fisted with lots of cellar potential. A blend of equal parts Carignan, Syrah and Grenache. Fermented in concrete, aged about 20 months in used French oak, followed by 18 months aging in concrete and 1 year in bottle before release. This is a cooperative project between Ron Laughton of Australia’s Jasper Hill and Michel Chapoutier. (91 points)

N.V. Warre Porto Otima 10 Year Old Tawny - Portugal, Douro, Porto
SRP: $26/500ml
Rich amber color. Aromas of roasted figs and apricot marmalade, caramel and brown sugar oatmeal. Rich texture on the palate but lots of vibrancy. Flavors of yellow raisins and apricot jam, along with dark chocolate with orange peel, honeycomb and roasted nuts. Delicious and rich but shows pleasant acidity and lightness despite the weight. Bottled 2015. (89 points)

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