Skinny Bottle Tasting at Graileys

By: Ryan Tedder

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With the blazing summer heat of Texas in full effect last week we did our first “Skinny Bottle” Tasting of German, Alsatian and Austrian wines at Graileys. This was a personal affair as well because I love Riesling of all styles and I used to live in the middle of the German wine country in a town called Worms in the Rheinhessen for 2 years. The wines proved difficult to find as only a handful of cases are ever brought of these timeless small production wines. A small group of acid heads come together in the back for an educational and thirst quenching exploration into the slender wonders of this part of the wine world.

We broke the regions into small flights and flashed maps and shots of the vineyards and bottles. It was a grand time. We broke the Riesling of Germany into 3 different Spatlese from 3 distinctly different regions: the Mosel, the Rheingau and the Nahe. The wine we drank started with the 2011 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Spatlese from Mosel. Mr. Haag is an iconic producer of the region and his vineyards wines were written about Thomas Jefferson among others. The 2011 vintage is a classic year and the wines have air airy, weightless feel to them. This wine clocked in at 7.5% abv and there was a good amount of RS balanced with nervy acidity and a fruit cocktail nose of peaches, white cherries, lush tropical fruit and light citronella. There was also wax, honeycomb, exotic flowers, jasmine and starfruit. This was really exotic juice with a precise, long finish. This will age for 20 years easily. Next we went to the Rheingau and the 2011 Spreitzer Winkeler Jesuitengarten Spatlese. Another delicious wine with more mineral, green apple, green plum, melon, pineapple, pencil eraser, white flowers and chalkiness. The wine was a touch weightier but still light on its feet at 8% abv. Probably my #3 in the subgroup but a great wine nonetheless. Lastly we drank the legendary 2012 Donnhoff Oberhauser Brucke Spatlese from the Nahe. This was my top here and this producer is certainly one of the finest in all of Germany and the world. The wine was only 8.5% abv but the intensity, density, range of flavors and electricity on the palate was breathtaking. 2012 was another cool here in the small region tucked Southeast of the Mosel and Southwest of the Rheingau. The wine literally reminded me of Pop Rocks on my palate. There were notes of white and yellow peaches, cantaloupe, candied pear, white cherry, subtle cinnamon and lemon oil notes with tart tropical notes as well. The wine was subtly creamy with charming sweet berry fruit flavors. The precision and minerality were top notch and the finish was intoxicating. Bravo!

Next up we traveled to Austria and tried two superlative examples of the more serious wines that are made there. One was a single vineyard Grand Cru Gruner Veltliner from the Kamptal and a Smaragd Riesling from the oldest producer in the country in the Wachau. The 2011 Schloss Gobelsburg Lamm Vineyard Gruner Veltliner from Kamptal was poured from half bottle with the hopes this young wine would show more quickly. This is a personal favorite bottling for me. It needs another 2-3 years in bottle to be truly open knit and it should drink well for another 10 years after that. This Gruner receives some new French oak treatment and the wine has impressive dry extract, glycerin and power. The fruit were in the lemon oil, yellow grapefruit, tart tropical and sweet citrus camps. There were loads of floral aromas with a faint hint of white pepper on the finish. Although the wine needed a bit more time to be ready to drink, this wine still held its own at the tasting. Another smoking wine was the 2008 Nikolaihof, Von Stein Riesling Smaragd from Wachau. This vineyard literally looks like the terraced vineyards of Hermitage formed by the Romans. Smaragd Riesling is the highest ripeness level of Riesling in the Wachau and it equivalent to Auslese Riesling in Germany. This was far drier and weightier than any German Riesling. There was distinct bottle variation on this wine and the second bottle showed more opulently. That is always one of the worries with extremely old school, dirty cellar wineries. The nose was full of musky floral and elder flower notes; a juicy, buoyant, polished palate generously gave us white peach and grapefruit, suffused with floral and sweet herbal essences while the mid-palate showed a shimmering array of mineral nuances and a dynamic, uplifting, and refreshing finish. Quite the ethereal wine to say the least.

Last we finished in Alsace with three of the best producers and three completely different, although completely enjoyable wines that where , as a group, the best wines of the night in my opinion. I hypothesized that the additional bottle aging on two of thee wines probably helped and the 2012 Pinot Gris was amazingly forward and rich. The first wine was the 2006 Trimbach Riesling Frederic Emile. This is a wine I have enjoyed every year that I have ever tried. This particular year had a waxy, chamomile tea and honeyed nose with loads of peach, apricot, nectarine and yellow apple, with hints of guava and dried papaya. Refreshing acid and a medium bodied dry, minerally mid palate with wet stones, smoke and spice notes with a lingering finish. Next up was the 2012 Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Clos Windsbuhl and it was my #3 for the night. The opulence of generous yellow peaches, nectarines, bananas, and even pineapple. There was a buttercream, jasmine, exotic spice nose that just got better as it stayed open and the richness and almost sappy weight of the wine was impressive. Definitely a wine that would age for a while too as there was nice acidity and a slight crushed rock minerality. The last wine of the flight and the night was my favorite of the night without a doubt! The 2008 Marcel Deiss Altenberg de Bergheim Grand Cru was head-spinning good and certainly a wonderful introduction to this biodynamic proprietary field blend style of wine production. This blend of Grand Cru varietals from one of the benchmark Grand Crus of Alsace. This was layered, dense and exotically perfumed and the palate had a density and a mouthcoating texture that few wines have matched. The wine was lively and layered on the palate as well with everything from Citrus to Tropical fruit, a myriad of flowers, wonderful spices, chalky mineral and crushed rock notes with mushrooms and hay. Certainly a Tour de Force of flavor that made me an instant believer in this rock star of Alsace. A producer to seek out for sure!

As often happens at Graileys a wild night of great wine drinking followed:

Skinny Bottle Blog - Rest of the night

Wines from the session:

2009 Arnaud Ente Meursault village

1999 Groffier Chambolle Musigny les Sentiers 1er Cru

2001 Domaine Saint Laurent Chateauneuf-du-pape

2011 Morlet Les Passionment Red

2010 Jones Family Cab

2010 All Great Things Cab

2010 Shafer One Point Five Cab

1998 Trapet Chapelle Chambertin GC

2009 Favia Cerro Sur 

1995 Chateau Latour

2009 Moone Tsai Cab

2008 Fantesca Cab

2009 Renato Ratti Marcarasco Barolo

Great times had by all!

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A Tasting With Raj Parr in Lompoc

By: Simon Roberts

Friday was a good day, a trip down South on the 101 from San Francisco had Greg and I visiting the interesting little town of Lompoc, California. We headed down the coast to visit Rajat Parr at his winery nestled behind the Santa Rita hills. Raj has been making some very impressive wines at Sandhi and Domaine De La Cote in recent vintages so it was great to taste the 2013 out of barrel, get a smell of the 2014 vintage and also taste a few others around the table with Raj and winemaking team over lunch.

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The winery was a hive of activity upon arrival as they were nearing the end of harvest. The warehouse was full of trays loaded with just picked grapes, vats and a working Press. Raj was manning the grill and making  lunch for his team when we turned up. He graciously downed tools and showed us around the concrete vats where the wine was sectioned into vineyard designate vats that had been fermenting for the past week. The crop looked to be plentiful for the 2014 vintage, with Raj commenting on how good the fruit was, it looks like they have two great vintages in a row.

 

We headed off and tasted the 2013 vintage out of barrel, Raj was liking how the 2013 vintage was tasting and Greg and I were in full agreement.

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Both Pinots from Domaine De La Cote were really expressive. The 2013 Domaine De La Cote Bloom’s Field was well balanced out of barrel showing great structure and ripe fruit. I think this wine is coming together beautifully and will be rocking by the the time it hits the bottle. We also tasted the 2013 Domaine De La Cote Santa Rita Hills Pinot from barrel and again the balance was spot on, with a prominent cherry nuance on the nose, and savory notes and light spice on the palate. Finally we tasted the 2013 Sandhi Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir which was more powerful for me than the Cote wines. The balance of fruit and acidity in the wine was again impressive and judging by these barrel samples, 2013 will be a great year for the winery.

At lunch we sat with Raj’s team and his lovely fiance Jessica. We were waited on by Juliette, the delightful six year old daughter of Winemaker Sashi Moorman, Sashi also sat down with us after the last vat was filled. We tasted some local wines from Jim Clendenon, Lutum and Talley Vineyards East Rincon, all from the 2012 vintage. It was interesting to see the team discuss the vineyards and wines from around the area. We also tasted a 2011 Sandhi Encantada Pinot Noir that was drinking very well. It is always interesting to see what a couple of years in bottle do to the wines and this Pinot grew in the glass as we tasted. It was one I kept going back to throughout the lunch and one I will be tracking down if there are any left!

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After lunch Raj took us up to the Domaine De La Cote Vineyards. Standing at the top the vineyard and looking down over the valley in the afternoon sun had me wondering how you just pick  a slope and plant a vineyard on it. I asked Raj the question and he told me Sashi was driving along the road one day and thought that the slope where we stood might work. 6 years later the vineyard is vibrant with closely planted vines and producing some really well balanced wines. I guess sometimes you have to have courage in your convictions!

This was a cool visit and this will definitely be a project that we will be supporting at Graileys.

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Water and Fire, Foley and Michel Noellat

By: AJ McClellan

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We had a lively group in yesterday, with several restaurant owners and a great group of passionate wine drinkers. The night started with a delightful bottle of the 2000 Dom Perignon Andy Warhol millennium bottling (the yellow one). This bottle has really come into its own softening the acidity that once was overwhelming in this wine and bringing out the soft stone fruit and lovely minerality. A slew of other wines follow the bubbles but two of my favorites were the 1978 Michel Noellat Echezeaux and the 2008 Foley Howell Mountain Cabernet. These two wines could not be more different as the Noellat was full of earth and was so light it took all of your concentration to pick up on the subtle earth and fruit nuances. While the Foley was a blockbuster Cab that showed massive black fruits that and tannins that were barely out of their shell. I must say the Noellat was probably my wine of the night and out of the three bottles I have had of this wine it was my favorite.

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Other wines of the night were NV Villmart,2008 Evesham Wood Pinot Noir, 2002 Nicolas Potel Echezeaux, 2008 Nicolas Joly Coulee de Serrant, 1993 Jadot Clos st Denis, 2007 Arnaud Ente Meursault, and 2002 Delamotte Champagne.

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LA’s Going Away Party

By: AJ McClellan

Friday was a very sad day for Graileys. One of our longtime family members and good friend – LA Perkel is leaving our Dallas location to take up residence in New York. However, it is not all bad news, fortunately LA will be staying in the company and we got to have an awesome party in her honor!

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Now the multitude of wines that were opened on Friday is far too numerous to talk about each on in turn so I will hit the highlights and leave the rest up to your imagination… We started strong with a bottle of 1982 Dom Perignon right out of the gate. The Dom was fantastic and still full of life showing apricot, honey, and wild flowers with a sourdough finish. Next, was a Duo of Sine Qua Non – the 2003 SQN Papa, and 2005 SQN Atlantis Grenache. Both were great bottles of wine but they were very different. The Papa was powerful and rich with black fruits and loads of pepper, leather, and meaty notes. The Grenache was very powerful as well but not quite as dark as the Syrah and showed more blue fruit than the deep black of the Papa.

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Another great wine that was opened was the 1992 Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill Cabernet. I have long been a fan of these wines and every time they are opened they surprise me with how fantastic the bottles are and how fresh the wines taste. The fruit was still ripe and full of bright red fruit, there was a pleasant mineral notes on the end of the palate and the finish was very long lasting. This was a fun bottle to taste next to the 1978 Michael Noellat Echezeaux which while still very good was at the opposite end of the spectrum with dried fruit and loads of earth.

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The wines of Bordeaux made a great appearance as bottle after bottle were opened, each wonderful in its own way. 1989 Clinet, 1988 Mouton, 2003 Pavie, 1999 Ducru Beaucaillou, 1990 Pichon Baron, and 1983 Pichon Lalande were the stars of the Bordeaux wines that were popped around the table. I particularly had an affinity for the 1989 Clinet which despite its age is showing incredibly fresh fruit and tannins that are still full and strong on the palate. The 2003 Pavie was another wine that was fun to try as it almost always reminds me of a great bottle of Harlan.

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Out of all the wines that were opened, I must say that the 1992 Hudelot Noellat Richebourg might have been my wine of the night. It was tough picking between all the great bottles but this one just stood out to me with its elegance and stunning crushed limestone notes combined with great fruit and silky tannins. Although, I feel that I must also mention the 1952 Remoissenet Clos Vougeot that was showing just great!

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2011 Denis Mortet Gevrey Chambertin VV, 1999 Jadot CLos st Denis, 2003 SQN Papa Syrah, 1978 Michae Noellat Echezeaux, 2006 Guigal Ex Voto, 2005 SQN Atlantis Grenache, 2007 Crocker & Starr Stone Place Cab, 1987 Beringer Private Reserve, 1992 Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill, 2002 Pahlmeyer Red Blend, 2008 BV George de Latour, 2008 Verite Le Desir, 2011 Barbour, 2010 Jones Family Cabernet, 1990 l’Evangile 375ml, 1989 Clinet, 1983 Pichon Lalande, 2000 Pichon Lalande, 1989 Latour, 2003 Pavie, 1988 Mouton, 1990 Pichon Baron, 1990 Les Tourelles de Longueville, 2000 Monbousquet, 1990 Lagrange, 1999 Ducru Beaucaillou, 1999 d’Armailhac, 2002 Forts de Latour 1.5 Liter, 2009 Arnaud Ente Meursault, 2009 Arnaud Ente Meursault Goutte d’Or, 1952 Remoissenet Clos Vougeot, 1992 Hudelot Noellat Richebourg, 1969 Remoissenet Chambolle Musigny, 1993 JF Mugnier Les Fuees, 2002 Domaine Cempier Bandol, 2010 James Cole Cab, 2011 Schloss Gobelsburg Gruner Veltiner, 2008 Roederer Rose, 2010 Niepoort Redoma Blanc, 2010 Goldeneye Pinot Noir, 2010 Aegerter Chassagne Montrachet, 1955 Gould Campbell, 1983 Gilette, 1982 Dom Perignon, 2009 Renato Ratti Marcenasco Barolo, 2008 Niepoort LBV, 2010 Radio Coteau Alberigi Pinot Noir, 2012 Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris, 2009 Foley Purple Label Cab, 1999 Chateau Moulin Saint Georges, and 2007 Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona Brunello

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TexSom Takes Over The Four Seasons

By: Ryan Tedder

This last weekend the largest gathering of Master Sommeliers, Masters of Wine, Industry Folks and Wine Enthusiasts gathered at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Colinas for the 10th Annual Texsom Conference. This is the largest such event in the USA and the brainchild of Master Somms James Tidwell and Drew Hendricks to bring people of the wine faith together to one place to literally geek out to some of the coolest, most thought-out tastings and elbow rubbing around. There is also a shadow competition going on during this madness pitting the best young sommeliers from around the state against one another for the chance to win a full scholarship to take their Advanced Exam with the Court and the official title of “Texsom” for the year. Winning Texsom 2012 was one of the coolest wine experiences of my life.  Needless to say, this past weekend was an endurance match for the wine lover and I can honestly say I learned more in 2 days than the last 6 months about some items that had been causing me much consternation. Anything for the pursuit of knowledge. Now to let my liver relax a bit…

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The event started out with a master class on the nuances of oak aging presented by the master from Taransaud. Sometimes once I move past the oak spices, smoke, toast and chocolate notes, the textural sensations and markers for oak have confused me in the past. We lined up the same exact wines in these flights with different oak changes to hone in on the differences of the wines. We spoke about “Seasoning” the oak and the terroir of the lumberyard as well as oak stave stacking techniques. Then we explored toasting differences and the amount of time spent in oak and its effect on tannins. We learned about all of the species of oak that make barrels and how they are constructed. Needless to say it was quite enlightening and I walked away feeling much more confident with my relationship with oak-all by 10am-That’s one hell of a breakfast!

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We proceeded to a a nice lunch with Napa wines and then a class on the History of Napa. With my man Ivan the Fiver by my side we rolled the competition in this class and I actually won the grand prize-a bottle of 2010 Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. I don;t have any photos of the class-after they said we won a prize, I zoned in on the “free wine” part.  Next we went to the hardest ticket to score for the whole tasting, the Burgundy’s Last Decade of the Last Century – ie 90s Red Burgundy Tasting. Graileys friends, I must tell you, we drink better wine every week than this tasting could supply. It was quite a treat to hear Fred Dame, Paul Roberts and Jay Fletcher talk about the wines but the vintages left some in the room wondering-why no 1993? 1996? 1999? Even 1992 is drinking like a stud right now. We had 2 superlative wines-1995 Fourrier Clos St. Jacques 1er Cru-the Burg of the Tasting-and a bottle of 1990 Camille Giroud Clos Vougeot that was just waking and a triumph of old school wine making. The other 2 1998s and 1997 were just good. Really nothing to write home about. We started with a bottle of 2011 Domaine Leflaive Meursault sous d’Ane because they could not find a bottle of white burg in enough quantity that was not premoxed from the 90s. This begged the question: “Have they fixed the problem with Premoxed White Burg?” To this question, much thrashing about and talking in circles ensued, but no actual definitive answers and a dismissive now it’s fixed… I guess we get spoiled drinking Burgundy at Graileys…

Texsom Germany Tasting

Texsom Germany Vineyard RobotThe hospitality suites were fun for the night – Kudos to Favorite Brands, Wassermann and Empson for all the smoking wines! We did an 80s party to Dallas and then had a foggy meal at Gemma. Quite the night! The next day started bright and early at 9:15am with a tasting of German wines! If you know me, you know I love German wines and Germany in general. This was an awesome tasting as well as a “State of the Union” address on German Wines Today, the Grand Cru System and the movement to dry wines and Pinot Noir. I learned that there is more Pinot Noir in Germany than in Burgundy. Also that they make some of the best dry Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc in the world as well as owning Riesling. Needless to say I was in heaven They also showed off a new German robot with spiked wheels to tend by remote control the high altitude, steep vineyards on the Mosel and the Rhein rivers. I put a picture above because I could not believe it myself. Do not be surprised if we have a random Gross Gewachs tasting at Graileys soon-these wines were fantastic!

Texsom RiojaAfter a nice lunch with Chilean wines (wow the prices have gone up!) we went to a Rioja tasting looking at 10 great wines from 5 wonderful producers. I was very impressed with the Artadi wines as well as the La Rioja Alta. The Murrieta Rioja Blanca was also a treat. I walked away feeling that I need to drink more Rioja! We headed to the Syrah master class after that and then off to the Grand Tasting. i was in a wine induced haze at that time and no photos would have helped. It was grand time has by all and not to be missed again next year!

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First Week at Graileys

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My first week at Graileys and I am blown away not only by the impressive labels being opened, but by the warm welcome from our members, clients, and the Graileys’ team.  As the temperature is going up and the children are trickling their way back to school, this week has been a little quiet in Graileys.  But that’s not stopping Graileys from opening great bottles!  Two bottles stood out to me: a vibrant vintage Champagne Rose and a strong 14 year old 5th Growth Bordeaux from Pauillac.

2008 Louis Roederer Brut Rose from the steep, clay and limestone slopes of Cumieres showed bright, ripe strawberries with a touch of citrus zest. The structure of this Champagne in its majority Pinot Noir blend was what really impressed us all. With an intense creamy texture and vibrant bubbles; counter balanced by the delicate fruit, fresh rose petals, and a touch of salinity, this is a perfect Champagne Rose to pair with the 100+ degrees of Texas heat!

The 2000 Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste was drinking impressively, showing deep black fruits with a profound richness in the mid-palate and multiple layers of savory goodness.  Dried herbs of sage and thyme, then notes of cedar, old leather and a touch of dill, followed by a layer of roasted pepper spice had us all talking! Not to mention the earth and mineral undertones adding yet another layer to this bottle! The tannins were still gripping and with another five years, will integrate very well with the long savory finish this vintage has to offer.

Other labels that have been quite popular this week:

2012 William Fevre Chablis Premier Crus Fourchaume

2009 Arnaud Ente Meursault

2009 Renato Ratti Barolo “Marcenasco”

2010 Switchback Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon

….And this is only the beginning….

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Battle of the Torbreck!

By: AJ McClellan

What makes a true Graileys night? Well, there needs to be wine, good times, and most of all good friends to share the bottles with… Last night was a Graileys night! We had a plethora of wines that were popped around the table. One of the cool comparisons was the 2001 Pichon Lalande vs the 2003 Cos d’Estournel. The Pichon showed better out of the bottle with bright fruit a light green note on the back end (after much deliberation we called it celery root) and subtle earthy notes. The Cos was bigger and a little closed down out of the bottle but as time went on the wine blew up in the glass! Dark berries with Bordeaux graphite and fresh earth were exploding from the wine. Simon nailed this one blind calling it either 05 or 03 Cos!

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 Another cool wine was the 2002 La Pousse d’Or Corton Bressandes GC. Corton Rouge can be such a great time but I find that more times than not it is disappointing. This bottle was perfect! As a member put it “dirty toenail clippings” the wine had plenty of funk but it is the kind of funk that you find in great jazz… The fruit was light and crisp backed by searing acidity and a rocky minerality held the wine in excellent balance.

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All of these wines however were just an opening act for the two bottles of Torbreck that you know who opened! The 2010 Torbreck Les Amis and Magnum of 2006 Torbreck Laird were simply stunning. We have been fortunate enough to have the Laird in here a few times, one of the rarest bottles to come out of Australia, but to have it in magnum was a true treat. The mouth coating tannins were soft and supple with layers of blackberry, plum, tobacco, and leather. It was hard to tear myself away from the glass but once I did I got into the Les Amis. A 100% Grenache, the Les Amis was a BEAST! Reminding me of a great bottle of SQN this wine was so floral I thought I smelled a bed of roses with lilies an violets sprinkled in… The fruit was softer then the Laird but still very pronounced. All in all these two bottles will be remembers for quite some time for the Graileys cru…

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Other bottles of the night included 2006 Draycott, 2010 Chapter 24 Pinot Noir, 2006 Quill Diamond Creek Cabernet, 2007 Arnaud Ente Meursault, 2010 Jones Cabernet, 2011 Fritz Haag, 2002 Leitz, and 1989 Leoville Barton.

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Friday Wine Roundup

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Graileys has been abuzz with great wines this past week and Friday was very much on theme. We all thought we were off to an enviably good start as a bottle of 1986 Margaux made its way down the table. But lo and behold, this particular bottle was flawed showing excessively oxidized characteristics – raisiny, jammy fruit with hints of hazelnuts– with forest floor and underbrush. In the mouth, it showed some richness in the middle but was short on the finish. Very one-dimensional; the flavors were driven by the raisiny fruit. The only Margaux-like elements in the wine seemed to be the soft and elegant tannins. But never one to be discouraged, Simon was quick to unearth and pop the cork on a 1986 Pape Clement which was really expressive on the nose showing a rich bouquet of scorched earth, barbecue smoke and undergrowth; consistent flavor profile on the palate with a nice core of blackberries and hints of licorice and earth. This is definitely a wine showing its maturity and in my opinion, drinking at peak.

I was nursing my glass of Pape Clement when Ryan handed me a glass of white. “A blinder,” he says. Pale and brilliant lemon yellow in appearance with a pale, green hue. Tropical aromas along with ripe peach, pear, and grapefruit jumped from the glass. On the palate, it was medium-bodied with a nice richness; high-acid and mineral-driven. The wine’s ripe tropical fruit and medium-plus alcohol led me to the New World. I thought with the structural elements (high acid, medium-plus alcohol,) and the fruit profile, perhaps Australian Riesling? This turned out to be a 2011 Schloss Gobelsburg Gruner Veltliner ‘Lamm’. Darn, where was the white pepper spice or the herbaceousness? And what’s up with the upfront tropical fruit? Tricky, tricky wine.

Next up was the utterly amazing and memorable 1995 Cos d’Estournel! I have had a few bottles of 95 Cos in the last 12 months and this wine has had a consistent showing. In my opinion, this is in a perfect drinking spot. Gorgeous nose of tobacco, cedar, roasted espresso beans balanced by a core of blackberries and black currants. Full bodied and richly structured, some tannins on the finish but very harmonious and well-integrated. Remarkable finish marked by sweet, black fruits and coffee beans. This is my kind of wine and I think that after 2.5 years at Graileys, most members are now on to me. They know when I’m having a wine moment because I nose the wine 10 times before I take the smallest of sips.

A bottle of 2009 Renato Ratti Barolo ‘Marcenasco’ was opened next and shared around the table. I love this old-school style of Barolo, the rusticity takes me to Italy every time. The wine opened with pronounced eucalyptus and menthol aromas. As I let the wine sit in the glass, notes of licorice, dusty cherry, tar and floral hints became evident as well. Impressive complexity in such a young wine. The flavors may be rustic but the tannins were quiet polished. Great freshness and persistent length.

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Other wines in the line-up:

1999 Cristal

2010 Favia Cabernet Sauvignon

2011 Barbour Cabernet Sauvignon

2010 Robert Foley Merlot

2010 Guado al Tasso

2006 Turley Rattlesnake Ridge Petite Syrah

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Nicolas Joly Coule de Serrant is Rocking!

By: AJ McClellan

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It was an easy night last night. We tasted a few good wines, but one in particular stood out to me. The 2008 Nicolas Joly Coule de Serrant was a real treat to taste. Planted in the year 1130 these vines bring a whole new meaning to the term “Old Vine”. We tasted the bottle after it had been open for a full day and believe me; it could have used another day to open up. The nose started with warm apple pie and a slight petrol note and then went into a quince and slate nuance. The palate was full and boisterous with a thick mouth feel and tons of beautiful stone fruits. I did not keep the wine in my glass long, it was such a pleasure to drink but I know that with a decade or so in the bottle this wine will be a true stunner!

Some other wines of note that we tasted were the 2000 Dominique laurent Clos st Denis , 2013 Donnhoff Trocken – a fun 100% dry Riesling – and a 2010 d’Ardhuy Bourgogne Blanc

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Let’s Talk About Meursault Yo

By: Ryan Tedder

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It is jaw dropping how high the quality of our July’s wine drinking has been! Just a random Monday this week and then BAM! 2 Bucket List White Burgundies and the next rock star of Meursault-they all blew my white wine loving mind! After the wines were drank and the dust had settled, I can tell you that Arnaud Ente is the next rock star of Meursault,. Last night we drank though the undisputed kings of Meursault- Coche-Dury Les Rougeots 1996 & Domaine Roulot Les Perrieres 1992and the 2009 Meursault from Arnaud Ente. The Coche-Dury and the Roulot were both perfect, non-premoxed, uber-rich and layered yet balanced. 2 of the best Chardonnays made in the world and 2 “Bucket List” Wines. I can say with confidence: Arnaud Ente more than held his own at this tasting. We all agreed that his wines are stunning and will age and improve for 15 years easy.   Arnaud Ente learned his craft as the winemaker at the now famous Coche-Dury, whose wines are impossible to find and are priced out the reach of several. Ente is a meticulous winemaker. He pays top dollar for the best corks in the market picking them by hand and even custom designed his own hoses in the winery to eliminate oxygen transfer. He does not make prem-ox wines. Simply put: These White Burgs are the real deal. 

As it always happens, several other stunning wines were enjoyed:

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The List of Stunners Included:

1982 Pichon Lalande

2005 Guigal La Landonne Cote-Rotie

1966 Remoissenet Gevrey-Chambertin Lavaux-Saint-Jacques 1er Cru

2002 Billecart Salmon Cuvee Elisabeth Salmon

2000 Laurent Mazis Chambertin

1989 Chateau de Beucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape

1999 Chateau Ausone

2010 Ornellaia Masseto

1994 Hartwell Reserve Cab

1993 Colgin Herb Lamb Cab

2009 Favia Cerro Sur

Great times were had by all!

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