Friday, November 30, 2018

La Conseillante: 16 Vintages of Exceptional Pomerol

Vineyards in Pomerol's Chateau La Conseillante. Credit: La Conseillante 
If you know anything about Bordeaux, you know Petrus and Cheval Blanc. The names of these iconic Pomerol chateaux may conjure up memories of epic tastings (if you're wealthy or lucky enough to have sat at the same table with a bottle). For most people, however, these wines are firmly in the "absurdly expensive wines I'll probably die without tasting" category.

Sandwiched between these world-renowned Right Bank properties is the small Pomerol estate La Conseillante. These are not "inexpensive" wines in the clearest sense of the word. But, given the incredibly high prices of their neighbors, La Conseillante is impressive. Some of the lesser-heralded vintages can be found for $50, while the exceptional vintages can be found for $175-$200. And, as a recent 16-vintage vertical tasting demonstrated, the quality is really exceptional.

La Conseillante dates back to 1871, when the Nicolas family bought the estate. It's still controlled by the same family, now in the fifth generation. Bertrand Nicolas and Jean-Valmy Nicolas are co-managing directors, and, since 2015, Marielle Cazaux has served as the estate manager. Comprising about 30 acres divided into 18 plots, the estate is planted to about 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. The soils here are rich in clay, where Merlot thrives, while Cabernet Franc is planted in the soils with more gravel.

I had never tasted a wine from La Conseillante before, so I jumped at the chance to attend a massive, 16-vintage vertical tasting. Organized by Bordeaux whiz
Panos Kakaviatos, the tasting was held at the French embassy, and estate manager Marielle Cazeaux was there to present the wines. This was quite the introduction to this estate, to say the least!

Across the board, the wines were beautiful. Some vintages (2005, 2015) were mind-bogglingly good and seem to have the stuffing for decades of glorious evolution. As the older vintages show, these wines can age wonderfully. Out of the entire lineup, I only found one wine (2008) that didn't pop out and wow me completely. Most of these wines would benefit from more years in the cellar or a serious amount of time in the decanter. But even the very young-tasting wines showed gorgeous balance, depth and flavor.

My notes on the 16 vintages of La Conseillante are below...

1990 Château La Conseillante
With all the really young wines, it was nice to taste this vintage to see how it has aged - wonderfully, is the answer. Love the nose: mulled fruit mixed with musk, leather, anise, black tea. Silky, fresh, tangy on the palate, dusty tannins. Crunchy red cherries mixed with seriously detailed elements of black tea, earth, mineral, fallen leaves, pepper, old leather couch, soy, herbs. Lovely, refined, so pretty. (96 points)

1998 Château La Conseillante
Loved this vintage and where it is in its evolution. Tart cherries, black currants on the nose, with violets, anise, cedar, tobacco. Silky, tangy, fresh and vibrant on the palate but still a solid core of tannins. Tangy currants and plums mix nicely with a host of complex spice, soy, pepper, leather, black tea and dark chocolate notes. Still time ahead, but it's balanced and smooth at the moment. (95 points)

1999 Château La Conseillante
Nose shows tangy dark currants, along with violets, leather and soy elements. Dusty tannins, bright acidity, this is a refined vintage with currant and plum compote. Notes of violets, spiced tea, leather, soy. Vibrant, approachable, crisp, fresh, with an herbal, spicy finish. Drinking nicely now. (93 points)

2000 Château La Conseillante
Very exciting stuff. Lovely nose of plums mixed with earth, leather, tobacco, pine forest and coffee grounds. Suave and rich, structured with a solid tannic backbone, fresh acidity, the balance is lovely. Cherries, currants and plum topped in beef drippings, black tea, pepper, tobacco and mineral notes. Balanced, lovely depth, showing wonderfully now but plenty of life and evolution ahead. (95 points)

2001 Château La Conseillante
Lovely crushed currants on the nose, with menthol, sage, leaves, still boasting fruit but those complex secondary elements are starting to pop quite a bit. Structured well still, with a backbone of fine tannins and fresh acidity. Concentrated plums and currants still, with earth, leaves, tobacco, mint. Complex, vibrant, showing well right now but no rush. (94 points)

2003 Château La Conseillante
So dark on the nose. Plums and deep, dark currants with violets. Rich, chewy, deep on the palate with concentrated fruit. The notes of earth, cedar and mint are a bit muted. So much fruit, but it's not raisined or sweet. However, this vintage was a stylistic outlier for sure. Maybe another five or ten years will coax this wine out? Delicious, still, no doubt. (92 points)

2004 Château La Conseillante
Aromas are deep and concentrated, this seems young, but showing some violets, earth and smoky subtleties. Built well on the palate, dusty but fresh. Dark currants and plums mix nicely with elements of pepper, earth, spiced tea, soy. Still time ahead, but approachable, this is a spicy, earthy vintage. (93 points)

2005 Château La Conseillante
Well, this was my wine of the night. What a total beauty. I kept a glass off to the side to revisit at the end of the night, and it was glorious from the start, but mindblowing with time and air. So much crunchy but rich fruit on the nose, laced with inviting violets, earth, cedar, mint, so much going on here. Gorgeous concentration on the palate, the balance is beautiful between tannins and acidity. Deep, profound fruit (plums, currants, black cherries), and complex elements of cedar, violets, mineral, loamy earth, smashed rocks, dried leaves. Pure, lively, elegant. This has so much time ahead but I was really impressed with how expressive it is already. (98 points)

2006 Château La Conseillante
This showed gorgeous, deep fruit on the nose, along with cedar, leather and cigar shop. Plush, chewy, deep, tannic on the palate, but shows lovely velvety feel, too. Plums, currants, plush fruit, a bit primal still but the fruit is absolutely delicious. notes of cedar and earth. This is really powerful and delicious, but needs a bunch of years I think. (94 points)

2007 Château La Conseillante
Wow, this was shockingly good, far more so than I expected. Gorgeous depth of fruit on the nose, lots of complex non-fruit aromas: cigar box, a bit of everything from the spice rack, mint, cedar. Pure and plush on the palate with vibrant acidity and smooth but structured tannins, a really silky feel. Currants, plums, velvety fruit mixed with charcoal smoke, mint, menthol, herbs, anise. Drinking very well right now. (94 points)

2008 Château La Conseillante
A good wine, it was just an outlier in a lineup of excellent ones. The director had tasted all wines before and deemed them correct, and while this was not flawed in any way, it was just muted and less expressive, by far, than the other vintages. Spicy, dark, peppery, earthy nose. Closed on the palate, shut down, the dusty tannins show themselves strongly, while the other elements hide underneath. Maybe another ten years will bring this one together. (88 points)

2009 Château La Conseillante
Stunningly beautiful wine. So deep and dark on the nose (concentrated plums and black cherries) with notes of incense sticks, mesquite, anise, fallen leaves. Plush yet rich, dense but expressive at the same time, the balance is on point, and while this is young and deserving of much more time, I loved how it showed. Notes of coffee, anise, dark chocolate - a lot more to come out for many years. (96 points)

2010 Château La Conseillante -
This was less expressive than the 2009, but, at the same time, just stunning. Darker and needs more coaxing aromatically, but there is a lot of pretty fruit and earthy, floral goodness deep in there. Tannic and young on the palate, with concentrated but beautiful red and black cherries and currants. Deep notes of earth, mineral, leaves, cedar, dark chocolate. So young (I'd bury this for 15 years), but so, so good. (96 points)

2012 Château La Conseillante
Deep aromatics of concentrated plums, currants, with some violets and herb tones showing from underneath. Rich, young, built like a truck but freshness is there, too. Plums galore, so juicy and rich, with some earthy, spicy, coffee elements. This needs 5-10 years to show its best, but very nice stuff. (93 points)

2014 Château La Conseillante
Deep, dense fruit on the nose (plums, plums, plums), with notes of smoke, earth and graphite. Tight and young on the palate but fresh acidity, too. Deep fruit mixes with saucy, savory, earthy elements. This needs at least five years, I'd wager, but showing a lot of promise. (93 points)

2015 Château La Conseillante
Wowee, this is great but will only get better. Rich but suave fruit on the nose, along with violets, earth, coffee, graphite. Pure, vibrant, balanced even at this young age, structured tannins and lively acidity are framed so nicely. Core of pretty red and black cherries and plums, along with mineral, graphite, charcoal, scorched earth, anise. Wow, this is beautiful, but I almost felt guilty tasting it so young. Almost. (96 points)

Saturday, November 24, 2018

New Releases from Australia

When I first started getting into wine, I fell hard for Australian stuff. Inexpensive, fun, reliable, yummy, it allowed me to explore different regions and grapes without a lot of effort or money. While my wine purchases have moved away from Australia over the years, I never outgrew my love for Australian wine.

And that’s thanks to producers like Wakefield, and many others, make wines that are much more than just fruit and alcohol. I’ve reviewed Wakefield wines before (check them out
here and here), and this crop of new releases reinforces my respect for this producer.

The Taylor family kicked off their winery in 1969, after purchasing a 430-acre vineyard near the Wakefield River in the Clare Valley region. These wines are known as Taylor’s in Australia but, due to trademark restrictions, they’re labeled as Wakefield in the Northern Hemisphere.

The Clare Valley wines all come from the Taylor family estate, where vineyards at more than 1,100 feet above sea level vineyards get plenty of sun but receive the benefit if large diurnal temperature swings. The St. Andrews wines come from the estate fruit grown in their terra rossa soil, while the Jaraman wines are blended with fruit from other sites. For this report I also tasted two vintages apiece of Wakefield’s flagship Cabernet, the Visionary, and Shiraz, the Pioneer. They’re expensive, but so, so good.

I’ve also included four other Australian wines, from Jansz, Tyrell’s, Torbreck and Chambers.

All of these wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2017 Wakefield Chardonnay - Australia, South Australia, Mount Lofty Ranges, Clare Valley
SRP: $17
Vibrant medium yellow color. Aromas of lemon curd, yellow apples and key lime pie, with sea spray, limestone and toasted nut notes. Plush but crisp acidity, deep and honeyed texture, with plenty of yellow apples, limes. Notes of salty minerals, ginger, cream and toasted bread, this is rich and flavorful but precise, with impressive depth and minerality. (88 points)

2016 Wakefield Chardonnay St Andrews - Australia, South Australia, Mount Lofty Ranges, Clare Valley
SRP: $40
Medium yellow color. Nose shows lemon curd, a burst of limes and white peaches, along with saline, white flowers, chalk, and subtle almond and honey butter. On the palate, this is pristine and vibrant, medium-full-bodied with crisp acidity. I love the lemons, limes and white peaches, matched with hay, saline, dandelion, along with nougat and honey. A very pretty, vibrant, compelling Clare Valley Chardonnay. Aged 10 months in 80% new French oak. (91 points)

2016 Wakefield Chardonnay Jaraman Clare Valley/Adelaide Hills - Australia, South Australia
SRP: $25
Deep yellow color. Smells of lemon curd and orange marmalade, along with notes of honey, salted almond and freshly-baked biscuits. Plump texture but moderating acidity, along with plenty of apricot, bruised pear and apples. Notes of cinnamon, almond, sea salt and ginger snap add complexity. Richly flavorful but vibrant, too. This spends eight months in 60% new French oak. (88 points)

2017 Wakefield Riesling - Australia, South Australia, Mount Lofty Ranges, Clare Valley
SRP: $17
Light yellow color. Lovely notes of peaches, limes, apricot, along with complex floral, honey and chalky notes. Crisp, dry and so zesty on the palate on a light/medium-bodied frame. Pleasantly plump peach meets zesty limes and green apples, and I get notes of crunchy sea salt, honeysuckle, floral perfume. Juicy and fruity but brisk and fresh, too. (87 points) 

2017 Wakefield Merlot - Australia, South Australia, Mount Lofty Ranges, Clare Valley
SRP: $17
Light purple color. Bright but juicy on the nose with sweet raspberries, red and black cherries, along with some violet petals, cola and coffee. Full but smooth with soft tannins and medium acidity. Juicy black cherries, tangy plums, raspberries, the fruit is juicy but fresh and mixed in with some coffee, violets and coffee. Smooth, easy-drinking, accessible, but well-made and vibrant. Aged in a mix of French and American oak, 10% new. (87 points)

2017 Wakefield Shiraz - Australia, South Australia, Mount Lofty Ranges, Clare Valley
SRP: $17
Medium purple color. Aromas show sweet plums, blackberries and blueberries, with some eucalyptus, mint and violets. Full-bodied, smooth tannins, surprisingly fresh acidity. Crisp and juicy with blackberries, blueberries and black cherries, which fit well with the espresso, mint, dark chocolate, black pepper and vanilla tones. Delicious but vibrant, this has quite a bit of complexity at this price point. Aged 12 months in American oak. (88 points)

2013 Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon The Visionary - Australia, South Australia, Mount Lofty Ranges, Clare Valley
SRP: $140
Dark purple color. Deep, wafting aromas of blackberries, boysenberry and blueberry, rich but crunchy, with mint, anise, wet earth, cedar forest, some vanilla and warm cocoa. Full-bodied with serious grip but the tannins show some velvetiness, too, and the acidity is great and the mouthfeel is lovely. Tart black cherries, black currants, plum skins, along with cocoa, anise, coffee, and complex tobacco, graphite, earth, forest floor. Beautiful, a fresher feel than the 2014, expressive in youth, although this can also age for quite some time. Aged 20 months in French oak. (93 points)

2014 Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon The Visionary - Australia, South Australia, Mount Lofty Ranges, Clare Valley
SRP: $140
Rich purple color. Nose boasts tangy, concentrated currants, black cherries, blueberries, along with complex floral and earth tones, lots of clove and coffee and cinnamon sticks. Full and rich on the palate, but lively as well, with fine-grained tannins, moderating acidity, and plenty of tart black cherries, cassis, dark plums. Complex elements of violets, clove, bay leaf, earth, sweet vanilla and coffee. Serious time ahead for this one. Seems more structured and could use more cellar time than the 2013. Aged 20 months in French oak. (93 points)

2013 Wakefield Shiraz The Pioneer - Australia, South Australia, Mount Lofty Ranges, Clare Valley
SRP: $140
Deep purple color. Aromatically, I get waves of deep, dark fruit (blackberries, blueberries, black cherries) and complex bursts of eucalyptus, black pepper, espresso, violets, anise. Big and full on the palate, built well with tannins but the edges are fine and the acidity here is really inviting and refreshing. Suave blackberry, blueberry, black currant, mixed with coffee, anise, dark chocolate, eucalyptus, with an earthy, peppery finish. Long time ahead but beautiful young. Aged 20 months in French oak. (93 points)

2014 Wakefield Shiraz The Pioneer - Australia, South Australia, Mount Lofty Ranges, Clare Valley SRP: $140
Deep purple color. Gorgeous fruit, blackberries and blueberries, juicy and ripe, with espresso, pepper, anise and earth, but I get deep floral complexity here compared to the 2013. Plump, rich, yet velvety, acidity provides some nice balance to the bold blackberry and blueberry fruit. Complex elements of violets, clove, earth, anise, black tea, dark chocolate, and there are lots of savory, earthy tones as well. Velvety but vibrant, this has many years of lovely evolution ahead. Aged 20 months in French oak. (93 points)

N.V. Jansz Wine Company Premium Rosé Brut - Australia, Tasmania
SRP $29
Pale copper color. Super floral on the nose with roses, daisies and honeysuckle, along with plenty of red apple, pomegranate and lemon fruit, some chalky notes thrown in as well. Crisp, so tangy and focused on the palate, but it has the depth to balance it out. Red apples, raspberries, strawberries, crunchy red fruit mixes with musky cologne, white pepper, rose hips, chalk dust, slight biscuits. Crisp but some residual sugar, harmonious, gluggable but complex, too. Champagne method bubbles made from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. (89 points)

2017 Tyrrell's Sémillon - Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley
SRP: $25
Medium straw color. Bursting aromas of lime, apricot, topped in sea salt, this is also highly floral with magnolia petals, honeysuckle and white ta. Light and brisk on the palate, this is fresh and accessible with a mix of lime, green melon, apricot and white peach. Notes of cut flower stems, honeysuckle and baby’s breath. Fun, summery and fresh, a light-on-its-feet appeal, but some nice complexity and depth. (88 points) 

2017 Torbreck Shiraz Woodcutter's - Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley
SRP: $25
Medium purple color. Nose boasts blueberries and saucy black cherries, topped in pepper, barbecue sauce and smoke, some vanilla. Full but smooth on the palate, with chewy tannins and medium-low acidity. Delicious blueberries and blackberries, juicy and saucy, mixed with pepper, black olive brine, espresso, mint and sweet cocoa. Full, forward and smooth, but balanced and well-made stuff to drink over the next few years. All Shiraz, 15% alcohol. (88 points)

N.V. Chambers Rosewood Muscat - Australia, Victoria, North East, Rutherglen
SRP: $16/375ml
Deep apricot, light brown color. Deep and inviting aromas of clover honey, graham cracker, crème brulee, orange marmalade. Rich and sweet on the palate with a velvety, creamy feel, but some medium acidity that keeps it from feeling too heavy. Flavors of apricot jam, orange marmalade, clove, graham cracker. Lovely depth and spice, a reliably delicious Aussie sticky. 17.7% alcohol, 233 grams/liter of residual sugar, this is aged solera style in old oak casks. (89 points)

This post first appears on the daily wine blog Terroirist.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Wine Reviews: New Releases from Around the Globe

This week’s report covers wines from all over the globe, including Chile, France, Israel, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

The new vintage of Concha y Toro’s Don Melchor (the 2015), is a real stunner, while the Chilean producer Odfjell offers less expensive but exciting wines.

I cover a few wines from the Abruzzo region of Italy, along with the perennially value-driven wines from M. Chapoutier’s Bila-Haut brand. Yarden offers up a delicious Champagne method bubbly from Israel, while the Spanish region of Navarra (keeping with tradition) comes through with some solid buys.

These wines were all received as samples and tasted sighted.

2017 Odfjell Carignan Orzada - Chile, Maule Valley
SRP $23
Medium purple color. The nose is vibrant but bold with black cherries, red and black currants, and a great mix of black pepper, leather, grilled steak, with some nice floral undertones, too. Full-bodied (15%) with a velvety feel, and the solid tannins align well with medium acidity. Rich but tangy fruit (black cherries, dark plums, saucy black currants), backed up with a mix of leather, roasted herbs, rose petals, anise, charcoal and earth. Loving the depth and complexity here, and I’d like to age this 3-5 years. From 20- to 80-year-old, dry-farmed, Carignan vines. (89 points)

2013 Odfjell Aliara - Chile, Central Valley
SRP: $44
Rich purple color. So spicy on the nose, with a mix of menthol, mint, roasted herbs and pepper on top of black currants and cherries. Full-bodied, nice grip to the tannins but not harsh, this is a smooth and nicely balanced wine with medium acidity. Black cherries and currants are topped in loamy, rocky, earthy notes, as well as black pepper, roasted red pepper and mushroom. This makes me crave steak! Complex, long, this could use a few years of cellar time. A blend of 65% Carignan, 20% Syrah and 15% Malbec from vineyards in Cauquenes, Lontué Valley and Maule Valley. (90 points)

2015 Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon Don Melchor - Chile, Maipo Valley, Puente Alto
SRP: $120
Rich purple color. The aromas show rich tobacco, pepper, scorched earth, grilled herbs, on top of tangy black currants, dark plums, cocoa and cedar. Full-bodied on the palate with serious grip on the tannins but vibrant acidity, the balance is impressive for a wine this young. Crunchy plums, black currant, rich but fresh fruit laced with complex earth, pepper, chewing tobacco, mint, charcoal, tar, coffee. Wonderful depth and balance with a long finish full of graphite and minerals. So young, with many years ahead, but classic Don Melchor stuff, an excellent vintage of this wine. 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. (94 points)

2017 M. Chapoutier Côtes du Roussillon Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Blanc - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Roussillon, Côtes du Roussillon
SRP: $15
Pale lemon color. Aromas of lemons, pineapple and kiwi, bright yet rich fruit, along with yellow flowers, honey and sea salt. Rich texture, lovely honeyed and waxy notes but fresh acidity and a crisp feel, too. Flavors of lemon, kiwi and pineapple mixed with flower petals, sea salt, honeyed tea. Plush but crisp, this is fun but serious, and would be so good with a diverse array of foods. A blend of Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Macabeo and Vermentino, this is a perennially awesome value. (88 points)

2017 M. Chapoutier Côtes du Roussillon Villages Les Vignes de Bila-Haut - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Roussillon, Côtes du Roussillon Villages
SRP: $15
Light purple. Nose shows bright raspberries mixed with juicy black cherries, along with rhubarb, black pepper, leather, sweet eucalyptus and rose petals. Fleshy texture on the palate, light and dusty tannins with crisp acidity, lots of red and black cherries, raspberries and plums. Notes of smoke, lavender, charcoal, black pepper and rose petals. Lovely, vibrant, delicious stuff, as usual, seriously delivering for the price. Syrah, Grenache and Carignan. (88 points)

2010 Golan Heights Winery Yarden Blanc de Blancs - Israel, Galilee, Golan Heights
SRP: $33
Light gold color. On the nose, this is breezy and floral, with chalk dust, sea salt and slight biscuit notes on top of lemon, lime and green melon. Crisp and bright on the palate with fine bubbles and a zesty appeal. Lime, lemon, green apple, topped with white flowers, crushed chalk, sea salt. Some light biscuit notes, but this is a bright, light (11.5% alcohol) Chardonnay-based sparkling wine that would be great with salads and sushi. (88 points)

2017 Citra Trebbiano d'Abruzzo - Italy, Abruzzi, Trebbiano d'Abruzzo
SRP: $10
Light yellow color. Aromas of lemons, white peach, along with floral perfume and honeysuckle. Fresh and bright on the palate, this is plump and peachy but shows nice acidity as well. Lemon, apples, simple, pleasant and fun with notes of honeysuckle, cucumber slices and sea salt. Good for the price. (85 points)

2017 Citra Pecorino Ferzo - Italy, Abruzzi, Terre di Chieti IGT
SRP: $26
Light yellow color. Aromas boast white peaches, green melons, along with flowers, perfume, so bright and vibrant, too. Crisp acidity on the palate with fleshy texture, almost waxy, and the balance and depth is impressive. Melon, lemon, apricot, along with deep floral and mineral tones, some stony, chalky complexity. A juicy and fun-loving wine, this would work nicely with so many different types of foods, but it has a lot of complexity as well. (89 points) 

2016 Citra Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Ferzo - Italy, Abruzzi, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo
SRP: $26
Light purple color. Aromas of black cherries, plums, dark and fruity with elements of spiced tea, espresso and grilled herbs. Medium+ bodied with tangy, refreshing acidity and moderate tannins. Dark plums and cherries, deep but crunchy fruit, along with some pepper, loamy earth and espresso. Enough grip and depth to age for a few; this could stand up to some hearty grilled meats as well. (88 points)

2012 Dow Porto Late Bottled Vintage - Portugal, Douro, Porto
SRP: $24
Rich purple color. Nose of roasted fig, sweet plums, blackberry and black cherries, saucy and jammy, with coffee and clove and anise. Full and sweet but fresh, with accessible tannins, moderating acidity, and flavors of juicy black cherries, roasted figs and plum cake. Notes of clove, vanilla, sweet fig cookies and violets. Accessible and fun, but not simple, this delivers a lot of complexity for the price – great cold weather, holiday party choice in LBV Port category. (89 points)

2016 Castillo de Monjardín Navarra La Cantera - Spain, Navarra
SRP: $12
Deep ruby color. Smells of strawberry and black cherry jam, smoky tobacco, herbs, clove and vanilla. Fresh and bright on the palate with light tannins and juicy raspberries, strawberries and red plums. Flavors of tobacco, mint, cola and vanilla add some complexity. Fresh and fun, accessible but balanced, too. Nice for the price. 85% Garnacha and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. Stainless steel-fermented, aged six months in old French oak. (87 points)

2016 Bodegas Nekeas Garnacha El Chaparral de Vega Sindoa - Spain, Navarra
SRP: $14
Light purple color. Smells of raspberries and jammy plums, saucy and smoky, with tobacco and anise notes. Light tannins, full-bodied, yet medium acidity helps it balance out. Black cherries, plums, this is a juicy, ripe and plush wine with a nice mix of violets, tobacco, espresso. Fun, crowd-pleasing, value-driven stuff. All Garnacha aged five months in French oak barrels. (87 points)

2010 Bodegas Ochoa Navarra Reserva - Spain, Navarra
SRP: $33Light purple color. Nose boasts dark plums, currants, blackberries, mixed in with a hefty amount of charcoal, leather, coffee grounds and grilled herbs. Dusty tannins but nice grip, velvety feel but bright acidity, and the balance is nice. Tart black currants and tangy plums, I get a lot of deep earth, graphite, leather, violets and soy. Complexity is impressive, this is ready to drink now or hold for a few years. Tempranillo with 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot, aged 18 months in new American and French oak, aged 36 months in bottle before release. (89 points)

<85 points
2017 Citra Montepulciano d'Abruzzo - Italy, Abruzzi, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo
SRP: $10 
Medium ruby color. Nose shows raspberries, red cherries, rhubarb and white pepper. Medium-bodied on the palate with dusty-light tannins and tart acidity. Cherries and raspberries mix with notes of spiced tea, coffee and earth. Simple, fun, crowd-pleasing, pizza-friendly wine.

This post first appeared on the daily wine blog Terroirist. 

Thursday, November 15, 2018

New Jersey Winemakers Team Up to Create Delicious "Open Source" Chardonnays

I’m used to defending my home state of New Jersey to outsiders. As a kid born on the Jersey Shore, surfing Jersey waves was my first passion in life — it still is. When I started traveling for surf, I’d hear dismissive comments from others. “There’s no surf in New Jersey.” That’s changed quite a bit over the years, as the Jersey surf scene has exploded. But utter “New Jersey wine” among some oenophiles, and I’ll bet you an Italian sub you’ll see some eyes roll. 

A group of conscientious winemakers is aiming to change that. Four Garden State wineries teamed up to for the Winemakers Co-Op in 2015, with the stated goal of promoting fine Jersey vino. In 2016, these producers (Working Dog, Unionville, Beneduce and William Heritage) combined their skill, and grapes, to pull off something unique and pretty damn cool.

Each participating winery contributed some 1,000 pounds of their own estate Chardonnay to William Heritage winery. There, all of the grapes were all pressed together. That comingled juice was they divvyed up equally among the four winemakers. Each winemaker then crafted their own wine separately. The finished product is four “Open Source” Chardonnays. These wines were promoted through trade tastings and other events, such as an online Twitter tasting I participated in a few weeks ago. 

I tasted all four of these Chardonnays side-by-side, and found the process delicious and fascinating. The wines do all share an underlying commonality, as they should — each winemaker started with the same juice. But each also had unique signatures, different scents, flavors and textural elements, like slightly different guitar leads built on the same basic riff.

I’m also excited about where this project is headed in the future, as Cape May-area winery Hawk Haven (I’m a fan) has joined the Co-Op this vintage.

My notes on the wines I tasted are below. And, for more information on the Winemakers Co-op, you can check them out here. The wines, if still available, are sold only at the wineries themselves. All the more reason to get out and visit one of these wineries if you live in or are visiting the Garden State.

2016 Unionville Vineyards Chardonnay Open Source - USA, New Jersey
On the nose: yellow apples, pears, apricot, along with almond skin, white flowers and sea salt. Rich texture on the palate but really fresh acidity, a nice and velvety texture. Yellow apples, pears, lemon curd, the fruit is matched with graham cracker, ginger, honey and butter, sea salt. Rich but nuanced, totally delicious. This spends nine months in old French oak with maloactic fermentation mostly inhibited. (90 points) 

2016 Working Dog Winery Chardonnay Open Source - USA, New Jersey
On the nose, I get yellow and green apples, along with honey, butter, sea salt, some ginger and graham notes. Crisp and fresh on the body but a velvety, creamy mouthfeel. Impressive depth of flavor: yellow apples, lemon curd, apricot, along with honey, white tea, almond skin, saline. Plump but also really fresh and inviting. Aged six months in third-year French oak, inoculated for maloactic fermentation. (88 points) 

2016 Beneduce Vineyards Chardonnay Open Source - USA, New Jersey
Fresh and floral on the nose with yellow and green pears and apples, a creamy, honeyed element too, with some sea breeze. Crisp but juicy on the palate (creamy apples and pears, apricot), but the acidity keeps it balanced nicely and the lack of maloactic fermentation keeps this wine brisk and bright. Flavors of nougat, honey and white tea mix with sea salt and some floral perfume. Lovely balanced style. Aged eight months in third-year French oak. (89 points)

2016 Heritage Vineyards Chardonnay Open Source - USA, New Jersey
I am loving the burst of floral aspects on the nose, all sorts of pear and apple blossoms, in top of pears, apples, honeysuckle, some ginger and honey. Precise acidity frames the palate so nicely. This is the lip-smackingest of the bunch, but also boasts plump pears and apples. Notes of honey, white flowers, chalk, sea salt and minerals add depth. Pure, vibrant, really impressive. Aged eight months in third-year French oak, not inoculated for maloactic fermentation. (90 points)

Monday, November 12, 2018

Wine Reviews: New Releases from California

It’s time for another roundup of California new releases, and this one has some beauties.

I found two exciting wines from Paso Robles, from producers doing things a bit differently. Frank Family comes out with some impressive reds. Napa stalwarts Robert Mondavi and Shafer have some exceptional new releases in this report. And The Merlots from Napa’s Chris Carpenter are also something to behold.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2015 Lucas & Lewellen Toccata Classico - California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County
SRP: $29
Light purple color. Bold aromas of raspberries, plums, black cherries, along with herbs, coffee, roses, sweet eucalyptus On the palate, this is velvety, with smooth tannins and moderating acidity. Flavors of juicy black cherries, raspberry jam, along with cola, violets, clove, mint and eucalyptus. Fun, fresh, food-friendly, this is lovely, vibrant stuff. 50% Sangiovese, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Freisa, 5% Petit Verdot, aged 18 months in French oak. (88 points)

2017 Barton Family Winery Clairette Blanche Holiday - California, Central Coast, Paso Robles Willow Creek District
SRP: $32

Light yellow color. Interesting aromas of lemon, orange and lime peels, along with honeysuckle, dandelion, hay and clean laundry. Medium-bodied, vibrant and crisp but a pleasantly creamy texture. Nice balance between orange and limes mixed with crunchy, zesty elements of seashells and sea salt. All sorts of floral nuances and minerals linger on the finish. Fascinating and vibrant stuff, it’s almost like a less oceanic Muscadet with punchier Paso fruit. Love it. 13.4% alcohol, this goes through partial maloactic fermentation and spends a few months in old oak. (90 points)

2016 Thacher Winery Working Holiday Cass Vineyard - California, Central Coast, Paso Robles Geneseo District
SRP: $28
Pale ruby color. Wow, aromatically this pops with red apple, raspberry, crunchy dark plums, a lot of floral and spice elements (violets, rhubarb, white pepper). Lively acidity frames this wine from start to finish. Dusty tannins provide structure, and the fruit is crisp and refreshing (red apple, strawberry, tangy red currants, and a complex blend of black tea, rose petals, clove, white pepper, lavender. Just a vibrant, refreshing style done so well. 13.4% alcohol, a blend of 47% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 23% Mourvedre aged in old oak. (91 points)

2015 Frank Family Vineyards Zinfandel - California, Napa Valley
SRP: $38
Light purple color. Rich black cherries on the nose, with raspberries, dark plums, mixed with incense and violets. Full-bodied and velvety on the palate with some grip and structure and moderating acidity, lovely balance. Tart black cherries, red plums and currants, smooth but tangy fruit. Smoky, herbal, black tea, sweet cola, roses and clove notes add complexity. This is rich and smooth but complex and structured, too. I’d love to see what this does over the next three to five years. Includes 11% Petite Sirah, aged for 16 months in 33% new French oak barrels. (89 points)

2015 Frank Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon - California, Napa ValleySRP: $58
Rich purple color. Lovely, deep, enticing aromas of black currants, lush blackberry and dark plums, with eucalyptus, sweet coffee, violets, chewing tobacco. Rich and chewy but the acidity underlying the fruit is vibrant and keeps it fresh. Black currant, blackberry, dark plums, mixed with mint, espresso, dark chocolate and cedar. Structured but smooth, this is delicious young but could do some interesting things in five years, too. Includes 9% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc, aged 20 months in 33% new French oak. (90 points)

2015 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Franc - California, Napa Valley, OakvilleSRP: $45
Light purple color. Juicy, dark aromas of black currants, dark plums, some mint and eucalyptus notes meets dark chocolate and coffee. On the palate, this is full-bodied, mouthfilling, with velvety but structured tannins, and the refreshing acidity frames the wine really nicely. Black cherries and currants galore, mixed with dark chocolate, chai tea, clove, some black pepper and cedar. This is delicious now but could improve with a few years or a good decant. All To Kalon vineyard fruit, with 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, this spends 20 months in all new French oak. (91 points)

2015 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve To-Kalon Vineyard - California, Napa Valley, Oakville
SRP: $175
Rich purple color. Aromas of black currants, plums, black cherries, rich but vibrant fruit, with cocoa, tobacco, earthy-charcoal notes, graphite, even some mushroom and pepper. Full and serious grip on the palate, but not harsh, the acidity is vibrant, too, lovely balance. Blackberries, black cherries, dark plums, crunchy, delicious fruit. Complex elements of cigar box, cedar, leaves, cocoa, anise, some mushroom and pepper subtleties. Big but so pretty, this will be so beautiful in 8-10 years. Includes 7% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, aged 20 months in new French oak, 14.5% alcohol. (95 points)

2015 Mt. Brave Merlot - California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
SRP: $80
Rich purple color. Gorgeous aromatics of crunchy red and black currants and cherries, along with warm mulling spices and complex elements of cedar, graphite, minerals and loamy soil. Full-bodied with suave but structured tannins and fresh acidity — lovely balance. Black cherries, plums, currants, lovely depth of fruit but it’s crunchy and fresh, too. Complex flavors of earth, tobacco, sage, graphite and clove, some savory mushroom notes underneath. Gorgeous depth and complexity, I would love to cellar this for a decade. All Merlot, aged 22 months in 95% new French oak, from vines planted at 1,7000 feet in elevation. (93 points)

2015 La Jota Merlot - California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain
SRP: $85
Rich purple color. Lovely depth of fruit on the nose (fresh blueberry, juicy black currants, tangy black cherries), along with complex elements of graphite, mint, eucalyptus, pipe tobacco and vanilla, along with mossy rocks and forest floor. On the palate, this is full but suave with solid tannic backbone, but vibrant acidity keeps it so fresh. Gushing black cherries, tangy red and black currants, blueberries, the fruit is tangy and vibrant and laced with mint, coffee, dark chocolate, along with earth, charcoal and incense sticks. Lots of savory elements to come out with time, this needs a serious decant or, preferably, five to ten years in the cellar. Exquisite stuff. Includes 10% Petit Verdot aged 22 months in French oak, from vines planted at about 1,800 feet in elevation. (94 points) 

2016 Shafer TD-9 - California, Napa Valley
SRP: $60
Light purple color. Lovely nose of red and black cherries, blackberries, suave and dark, and packed with violets, rich earth, graphite, cocoa powder and clove. Full-bodied, with a velvety almost chewy feel to the tannins, but the acidity underlying the wine balances it really nicely. Waves of red and black cherries, fresh plums, mixed with eucalyptus, clove, earthy, forest floor notes, and coffee. Up-front and pretty but this will improve with five+ years in the cellar. Merlot with 26% Cabernet Sauvignon and 16% Malbec, aged 20 months in all new French oak. (91 points)

2015 Shafer Relentless - California, Napa Valley
SRP: $95

Rich purple color. Deep core of blueberries and blackberries on the nose, along with violets, coffee grounds, black pepper glaze, black olive brine, and earthy, paved road notes. Full and rich on the palate, as expected, but some serious grip, and the acidity is really pleasant and refreshing, keeping it balanced despite its heft. Concentrated core of blackberries, blueberries and currants, along with violets, asphalt, black pepper and black olives. Charcoal, vanilla and coffee notes woven in expertly. Long finish, this has serious cellar potential. Five years+ of cellar time will reward the patient, or decant for a good few hours. Includes 10% Petite Sirah, this is aged 30 months in all new French oak. (94 points)

2014 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select - California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District
SRP: $295
Deep purple color. Deep and complex and dark on the nose, with black currants, plums, blackberries, mixed in with a dark, earthy, mineral elements with coffee, anise, vanilla, cedar. A massive wine, this is so young and concentrated, but it’s depth and purity of fruit is wonderful. Blackberries, blueberries, dark plums, crunchy and dark, laced with charcoal, graphite, espresso, mint, anise. The complexity in here is lovely, but the wine is so young, it really needs air, preferably a decade in the cellar. An awesome follow-up to the 2013 vintage, which I loved, and this stands shoulder-to-shoulder. 100% Hillside Estate Vineyards Cabernet, aged 32 months in all new French oak, 15.5% alcohol. (95 points)

2016 MacPhail Pinot Noir The Flyer - California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
SRP: $50
Medium ruby color. Aromas of soft cherries, red apple, raspberry jam, along with crunchy rhubarb, white pepper, lots of rose petals. Full-bodied (14.5%), with chewy tannins and medium acidity, this has a velvety feel but stays fresh, too. Red apple, sweet raspberry and black cherry fruit play off of rhubarb, cola, sarsaparilla, white pepper, bay leaf. Friendly and delicious but complex, juicy and fruit but vibrant, floral and spicy, too. This spends 11 months in 30% new French oak. (90 points)

2017 Lucky Rock Wine Co. Pinot Noir - California

SRP: $20
Medium ruby color. Aromas of sweet and sour cherries, along with spiced tea, cinnamon candies and cola. Full-bodied with light tannins and medium acidity, along with plump black cherries, raspberry jam and juicy plums. Cola, coffee and rhubarb notes, too. Fun stuff, has some depth and balance for a California Pinot at this price point. The fruit is sourced from San Benito, Monterey and Sonoma Counties and aged 10 months in French oak. (86 points)

This post first appeared on the daily wine blog Terroirist.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Exceptional New Releases from Oregon's Troon Vineyard

I’ve been tasting the wines of Oregon’s Troon Vineyard for a few years now, and their new releases continue this winery’s tradition of excellence.

All Troon wines come from estate grapes in the cool Applegate Valley appellation of South Oregon. The winery sits at 1,400 feet above sea level, on a high bench above the Applegate River. Surrounded by the Siskiyou Mountains, the Applegate and Rogue rivers allow cooling Pacific breezes to flow into the valley in the afternoons, which helps keep the diurnal temperature shifts high.

The Troon team has been making a lot of effort in the vineyard of late, as the 2018 grapes were farmed organically and biodynamically. They expect their first Demeter certification with the next vintage. The wines are generally picked with brix measurements between 21 and 24, and the acidity really shines through in all of these wines. In the winery, all the wine are crushed by foot, fermentation is done with native yeasts, there’s no correcting for acids or sugars, and the wines don’t see any new oak.

Their range of releases is wide, from Skin-fermented Riesling, to Rhone whites, to Cabernet, Zinfandel, Syrah and Vermentino. In this new batch of Troon wines, I found, yet again, excellent wines at exceptional prices.

2017 Troon Vineyard Roussanne - Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
SRP $30
Medium yellow color. Apricot and white peach aromas, with lots of floral perfume, baby’s breath and lilies. Light-bodied, only 11% alcohol, which is kind of crazy for a Roussanne but this totally works. Texture is rich and waxy and dusty but acidity is there and keeps it fresh. Apricot and lime peel mix with yellow flowers, raw almond, and some flinty, stony notes. Complex, texturally fascinating, a very unique Roussanne. Barrel fermented, aged for 6 months in mature oak. (90 points)

2017 Troon Vineyard Kubli Bench Blanc - Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
SRP $30
Rich yellow color. Wow, aromatics pop with apricot, pineapple, orange marmalade, and complex elements of lamp oil, raw almond and herbal extract kind of thing – unique and interesting. 11.8% alcohol but texturally deep, creamy, chalky, with moderating acidity. The flavors are delicious (apricot and orange marmalade, mango, notes of salted almond and sweet white flowers), but the mouthfeel is just so lovely, and the most fascinating aspect of the wine. Really cool stuff. 52% marsanne 48% viognier barrel co-fermented, aged for 6 months in mature oak. (91 points)

2017 Troon Vineyard Vermentino - Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
SRP $18
Light yellow color. Pretty aromatics of salted lemon and lime, orange peel, along with floral, spice, herbal complexity. Lovely texture and balance with fresh, crisp acidity and a smooth and vibrant mouthfeel. Apricot, lemon, pineapple and orange, along with sea salt, crushed shells, honeyed white tea. A brighter, leaner version of the Whole Grape Ferment, but still plenty of depth and texture here. Insane value for the price. Barrel fermented, aged six months in mature oak, 12% alcohol. (91 points)

2017 Troon Vineyard Vermentino Whole Grape Ferment - Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
SRP $25
Medium yellow color. Fascinating aromas of apricot, orange and lemon pith, sea salt, white tea, hay, freshly cut flowers. On the palate, this is pristine and crisp, but crunchy and full of textural depth as well, with lovely balance. Apricot, lemon pith, along with complex elements of saline, crushed shells, white tea, bamboo and white pepper, seriously cool stuff going on here. Texture and mouthfeel on this wine is glorious. Barrel fermented and aged six months in mature oak, 12.6% alcohol. (92 points)

2016 Troon Vineyard Malbec Cuvée Cot - Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
SRP $35
Light purple color. Aromas of warm plum and blackberry compote, tart wild blueberries, and a cool mix of lavender, violets, black tea and warm clay. So vibrant and tangy on the palate, but structured tannins provide some grip. The black cherry, plums and blueberry fruit is tart and tangy, and laced with a complex mix of incense sticks, lavender, violets, loamy soil, black tea and tar. This is delicious now, but has the acidity, structure and fruit to age quite a while. 18 months in mature oak, 13.4% alcohol. (91 points)

2017 Troon Vineyard Zinfandel Kubli Bench - Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
SRP $20
Vibrant purple color. The aromas really pop with aromas of red cherries, strawberries, pomegranate, with notes of roses, pepper, lavender, some cola, I love this fresh, bright appeal. Suave and medium/full-bodied with crisp acidity and fleshy, velvety tannins. Crisp red and black cherries, pomegranate, strawberries, lots of fruit but an airy, more restrained feel. Complex elements of spicy tobacco, pepper, leather and a whole lot of red flowers. So pretty, so delicious. Zinfandel co-fermented with 3% Petite Sirah, aged 12 months in mature oak, 13.6% alcohol. Applegate Valley Zin, who knew? Not me, but this is eye-opening stuff. (91 points)

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Vibrant, Exciting Champagne from Champagne Lombard

I had not tasted the wines of Champagne Lombard before. After going through some of their Champagnes, I am now a fan.

Stylistically, these Champagnes generally have a lower dosage (or none at all), and a dry, zesty, bracing appeal. The house makes about 15 different cuvees, and I only tasted six, and was especially wowed by the single-vineyard wines.

The house sources grapes from more than 100 hectares of vineyards, farmed by growers throughout the various Champagne regions. They get Chardonnay from Grand Crus Mesnil-sur-Oger, Chouilly, Avize and Cramant, along with various Premier Cru villages, while the Pinot Noir is sourced largely from the east of the Montagne de Reims. The Grand Cru wines are aged at least 48-60 months before being disgorged, the Premier Cru a bit less.

The house can trace its roots back to Robert Andrieu (grandfather of the current owner), who founded the Société Anonyme de Magenta-Epernay in 1925. Phillipe Lombard took over in 1960 and expanded the winery and cellars in Epernay in 1987. The company is now run by Thierry Lombard.

The Premier Crus are really solid, and a great introduction to the house’s style. I found that the Grand Crus offer a whole lot of personality and depth. These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

N.V. Lombard & Cie Champagne Rosé Premier Cru Brut - France, Champagne
SRP: $50
Rich salmon color. Aromas show fresh red cherries, strawberries, red apples, and a floral burst of rose and magnolia petals, over some chalky, biscuity notes. Focused, dry and fresh but concentrated but tart red fruits (strawberries, red apples). Musky-floral complexity mixes with a spiced tea and herbal note, and some chalk and bread crumbs. Deep and concentrated yet fresh. An even split between Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but 10% of the Pinot Noir is Grand Cru Verzenay fruit vinified as still red wine. Disgorged April 2017. (90 points)

N.V. Lombard & Cie Champagne Blanc de Noirs Premier Cru Extra Brut - France, Champagne, Champagne Premier Cru
SRP: $50
Light gold color. Lovely aromas of lemon, quince, apricot, wild strawberries, along with chalk, saline, musky cologne and fresh biscuits. Dry, bracing, precise, with tart lemon, orange pith, apricot pit, along with loads of briskness, saltiness and mineral qualities. Crushed shells, ocean spray, white tea, musky cologne, fresh bread dough. Complex, intense, lots of depth here. All Pinot Noir from Montagne de Reims, this was disgorged in October 2016. (90 points)

N.V. Lombard & Cie Champagne Grand Cru Verzenay Brut Nature - France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru
SRP: $80

Light gold color. Wow, aromatically, this bursts with perfume, flowers, tart green apples, lemons, some strawberries, complex, evolving minerals, salty, shells, chalk dust. Brisk, dry, almost bracing, but lots of depth, too. Lemon, green apples, apricots, with a complex host of chalky, saline-infused, shell-crushed goodness. Almost austere if not for the depth of dough, honey and floral complexities. Pretty, deep, bracing stuff. 80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay, aged 48-60 months before disgorgement (this was disgorged June 2017). (92 points)

N.V. Lombard & Cie Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut Nature - France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru
SRP: $80
Deep yellow color. So bright on the nose, with daisies, honeysuckle and orange blossom, with lots of chalks and sea salt, limestone dust, on top of lemon curd and apples. On the palate, pristine acidity, a bracing and dry appeal, with lots of up-front minerals, chalk and limestone dusty, mountain streams. Bright lemons and limes and green apples mix with complex ginger, sea salt, floral perfume and freshly-baked biscuits. Lots of depth but so lively. A blend of Chardonnay from Mesnil-sur-Oger, Chouilly, Avize, and Cramant, this was disgorged in June 2017. (92 points)

N.V. Lombard & Cie Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Mesnil-sur-Oger Brut Nature - France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru
SRP: $80

Light gold color. Aromas shows rich biscuits and bread crumbs, but lots of dusty minerals, like a fine powder of sea salt, limestone, chalk and crushed shells, along with flowers, raw almond, honey, all on top of lemon curd goodness. Precise and focused on the palate with zesty acidity but a lovely depth and richness of texture. Lemon, yellow pears, lime, apricot, this is racy and complex with intermingled flavors of bread crumbs, sea salt, crushed shells, mountain stream, salted almonds. Really, really, good, this is bracing yet packed with depth and flavor. (93 points)

2008 Lombard & Cie Grand Cru Brut Nature - France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru
SRP: $140
Light gold color. Toasty, salty, deep, complex aromatics, with wildflowers, lemon curd, wild strawberry, shaved ginger, crushed sea shells, a ton going on. So precise and dry on the palate but packed with flavor. Lemons, limes, green apples, topped with bread crumbs, cheese rind and candle wax. Complex elements of saline, limestone, honeysuckle and minerals. Young, deep concentrated, a long life ahead but this is already elegant and beautiful. 80% Chardonnay (from Mesnil-sur-Oger and Avize) and 20% Pinot Noir (from Ambonnay), this is aged 84 months in bottle and disgorged in May 2017. Long life ahead. (93 points)

This post first appeared on the daily wine blog Terroirist.