Tag Archives: Rousseau

Premiere Napa Valley 2013

Premiere Napa Valley is a trade only wine auction scheduled in February each year. Local producers pour special auction lots of their unique blends and best barrels. It is a great opportunity to taste an early preview of the upcoming Napa Valley vintage. In this case, 2011. Several of the events we attended follow.

For Santa Rosa Fine Wine, the tastings are invaluable and give us a very strong sense what we will purchase in the coming years and advise to our customers. As with other tastings of this nature, pours are small and we are tasting a lot of wine, identifying top wines should be put into the proper context. That said, all wines listed below are the top 5 tasted at each event. They left the strongest positive impression, listed best to very good. We tasted a lot of great wine not listed!

First Taste of Yountville – Held at the Historic Barrel Room in Yountville, and put on by the Yountville Appellation Association, it was the first event we attended. One of the appellations we regularly track, top wines are listed. A special note should be made concerning Casa Piena. It is the third year we tasted their wine, and considered them outstanding! This is a producer we regard and give high praise for properly hitting an excellent balance of fruit, structure, complexity and age worthiness.

2009 Casa Piena Cabernet
2008 Grgich Hills Yountville Selection Cabernet
2010 Dominus
2009 Charles Krug X Clone
2009 Gemstone Estate Cabernet

St Helena Appellation Tasting – Hosted at Charles Krug Winery, another tasting we attend nearly every year. It was a pleasure to run into Ted Edwards of Freemark Abbey, a long time wine maker we respect for consistency and quality at all levels. His talents are evident in one of their newer labels, Josephine!

2009 Freemark Abbey Josephine
2009 Revana Cabernet
2010 Ehlers Estate 1886 Cabernet
2009 Vineyard 29
2009 Trinchero Central Park West Cabernet

Open that Bottle Night – Hosted by Cliff Lede Winery, it is a BYOB Party where the generous host sets a high bar! This year, they opened Magnums of First Growth Bordeaux. The night is centered around attendees bringing a nice bottle from their cellar to share with others. The event is catered by Rosso in Santa Rosa, outstanding Pizza! Our palate is decidedly French, so not a surprise to see an all French Top 5.

1993 Rousseau Chambertin
1991 Ponsot Latricieres Chambertin
1988 Chateau Latour
2001 Chateau Latour
2001 Chateau Mouton

Rudd Center Retrospective Tasting – First time attending this event, it was a multi-vintage tasting of the same wine from 2008, 2009 and 2010 blind in Cabernet and 2009, 2010 and 2011 in Chardonnay. We rated all the wines and at the end, were given a key to analyse. In terms of Cabernet, our palate overall leaned toward enjoying 2009 best, followed by 2010 and 2008. In terms of Chardonnay, it went 2009, 2010 and 2011. Chardonnays were poured on the cold side, a little more challenging to evaluate.

Hudson Vineyard Chardonnay
Pine Ridge Vineyard Chardonnay
Stanton Vineyard Cabernet
Titus Family Estate Reserve Cabernet
Truchard Vineyard Chardonnay

Atelier Melka Portfolio Tasting – The second year for us attending this tasting, was impressed with the overall high quality of wine. Similar to the Casa Piena, think the wines by Kristine Ashe Vineyards (Entre Nous) were outstanding, significant standout wines. It is a producer relatively new to us, but strongly think they are worth keeping an eye on based on the last two years, highly recommended!

2010 Entre Nous Cabernet
2009 Cliff Lede Poetry
2009 Metisse Jumping Goat Cabernet
2009 Brand Cabernet
2010 Gandona Estate Cabernet

House of Cab Stags Leap District – The final event of the pre auction tastings, Pine Ridge Vineyards hosts a fun event. In a lounge type environment, you enjoyed good food, wine, music and conversation! It was a pleasure to meet with winery principles including the delightful winemaker of Clos du Val, Kristy Melton. A relatively new talent to the Clos du Val team, look forward to her future releases!

2010 Silverado Cellars SOLO Cabernet
2009 Cliff Lede Poetry
2005 Chimney Rock Cabernet
2001 Stags Leap Winery Cabernet
1993 Clos du Val Cabernet

We went away from the event still of the view, the more structured 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet was showing better than the more fruit forward 2008. Furthermore, that 2010 in general showed better than 2011. And for a few new friends, 1997 better than 1998!

Congratulations to the organizers of PNV 2013, a fantastic well put together event!

Nick Wittman
Santa Rosa Fine Wine
www.santarosafinewine.com

Double Blind Burgundy Dinner

Recently, we organized a Double Blind Burgundy Dinner with California ringers at the Fifth Floor Restaurant in San Francisco. While we do not typically enjoy blind or double blind tastings, as organizer, it was fascinating to observe the table discussion and what drove folks to think a wine was Burgundy vs California, not to mention discussions around personal preference.

As a result of the dinner, a few observations. First, despite notes from professional reviewers that say a California wine is made in a Burgundian style, nearly everyone pegged all ringers as distinctly California! The most challenging ringer was the 1998 Stony Hill Chardonnay. Second, some of the wines that expected to show best did not, and those with lower expectations showed surprising well. The double blind format removed any hint of label bias. Finally, the biggest surprise, given 15 bottles of wine among 7 people, two folks started the dinner with a beer and martini!

None of the wines were decanted, and given the number of folks attending the dinner, pours were good sized to allow a full evaluation of the wine over time. Before reveal at each flight, we guessed California vs. Burgundy, and ranked the wines in order of personal preference. Wines are sorted in the order of my personal preference.

Top White Wine:
1998 Domaine Leflaive Batard Montrachet

Top Red Wine:
1990 Jadot Bonnes Mares

Flight 1

2010 St Francis Intatto Chardonnay – Lemon, cream, round, a nice wine that should be opened young. This was a highly afforable unoaked Chardonnay that I enjoyed more than the group as a whole. Half the group thought it Burgundy, half California.

2004 Fevre Clos – Moderate browning in color and heavily oxidized. Have tasted this wine 3+ times in the past year or so, and nothing remotely similar to this bottle. Expected tight acidity, this bottle was completely flawed. Very surprised how poorly it showed.

Flight 2

1998 Domaine Leflaive Batard Montrachet – Easily the top wine of the flight for everyone. Young in color and style, highly reduced, flinty, tar, this was a gorgeous wine that did not move from opening through the next three hours. More masculine than the 1998 Domaine Leflaive Chevalier Montrachet previously tasted. Nearly everyone guessed it blind as Leflaive.

1998 Stony Hill Chardonnay – Light browning, but surprisingly firm acidity. Chablis like in style, combined with a floral quality, thought it was very nice. Several folks thought it was oxidized. While certainly mature, thought it showed to expectations. A good mature California Chardonnay.

1998 Remoissenet Montrachet – Butterscotch, hint of acidity, tea, more browning than the Stony Hill, and more advanced. It was drinking less than expectations. Having tasted the wine three plus times, this bottle showed just ok.

Flight 3

1999 Jadot Clos St. Jacques – Game, leather, excellent balance and complexity. A beautiful wine with nothing out of place. Very good drinking wine right now, not minding a wine on the younger side, could easily age for many years.

2003 Kistler Vineyard Pinot – Bright candied red fruits, front and mid palate strength, not much on the finish. It was a good wine from a great California Pinot vintage, easily identified as California by nearly everyone.

1999 Jadot Estournelles St. Jacques – Corked. The underlying material appears to be very nice. Reminiscent of the 1999 Jadot Clos St. Jacques but more earthy and coarse.

Flight 4

1999 Rousseau Charmes Chambertin – A nice ripe wine, cherry liquor, first impression was it had no finish. Initially thought it was just an ok wine, with time in the glass, improved considerably. The vast majority thought this was the wine of the flight.

1996 Ponsot Chapelle Chambertin – Game meats, sweaty leather, nice balance. Initially thought this was the wine of the flight, but in time, came to think the Rousseau showed better. The Ponsot and Rousseau both rated in the 85 point range by Burghound, they were both appreciated more than the 93 and 92 rated wines that follow.

2000 Dugat Py Charmes Chambertin – Youthful, somewhat barrel sample like, but with a highly distracting bandaid brett. Expected this to easily be the top wine of the flight, turned out to be a disappointment. Highly anticipated tasting this wine, unfortunately it did not show well.

2006 Rhys Alpine Hillside Pinot – Quickly identified by everyone as distinctly California Pinot Noir, it was not a strong showing. Youthful and barrel sample like, clean and bright fruit, did not find anything particularly appealing about the wine, nor did the rest of the group. It did not show well.

Flight 5

1990 Jadot Bonnes Mares – Fantastic! This was a great wine! Thought it very young with rich ripe fruit, excellent structure and bold in style. If there was a Burgundy that showed more California like, this was the wine. Still a good bit of upside to further cellaring. Wine of the night!

2006 Marcassin Blue Slide Pinot – Blue fruits, barrel sample like, too young and unresolved. Difficult to tell where this wine is going in the long term, not particularly expressive or dense right now, a good wine to revisit with age.

1999 Joblot Givry 1st Cru Cellier Aux Moines – Gamey, light body, not a long going on, but all together not unpleasant either.

Nick Wittman
Santa Rosa Fine Wine
www.santarosafinewine.com

Eclectic Burgundy Tasting

This past Friday, got together with the Sonoma Burg Team for an eclectic tasting of some interesting wines. Over the past year, the tasting group has been very fortunate to have opened relatively few off bottles. As luck would have it, there were a record number of flawed wines this night!

Two white wines were premoxed, one red wine was corked, and another red wine was off from some undetermined cause. One additional wine showed some Brett, which if significant, would be considered a flaw, however in this case, it was relatively minor, and only an issue if sensitive. Brief observations of all wines opened follow:

White Wine of the Night:
2004 Domaine Leflaive Les Folatieres

Red Wine of the Night:
1996 Armand Rousseau Clos St Jacques

Starter Wine

2004 Dumol Chloe Chardonnay – A little pre Burgundy Chardonnay, the Dumol was a nice and distinctly California wine. Sweet, leesy, ripe, orange peel, a very pleasant drinking wine from a solid Chardonnay producer.

White Burgundy Flight

2000 Bouchard Corton Charlemagne – Premoxed! The wine was immediately identified as flawed by the group. Disappointing and far more oxidized than another premoxed bottle tasted this summer, a 2000 Bouchard Chevalier Montrachet La Cabotte.

2004 Domaine Leflaive Les Folatieres – Another awesome Leflaive, white wine of the flight and night. Heavily toasted oak and scorched earth with a very long finish. In time, became more nutty, yet retained considerably power and intensity.

2007 Jean Noel Gagnard Les Caillerets – Tight, lemon, oily, restrained but with definite potential. Put on weight and became more floral in time. Noted a slight wet cardboard characteristic later in the evening, but not altogether unappealing.

Burgundy Flight 1

1981 Philipe Leclerc Gevrey Chambertin Combe Aux Moines – Rich, big, and spicy, had a sappy almost liquor like quality to the wine. With firm acidity and exceptional balance, this was unexpectedly the wine of the flight.

1990 Albert Morot Beaune Teurons – A light and lean wine, was dry and noted some faint leather. Over time, noted brett, which was not over powering, but certainly existed. Did not find this wine particularly enjoyable.

1993 Remoissenet Mazis Chambertin – An excellent wine, thought it a close second to the 1981. Cola nose, clean blue fruits, and celery. Initially liked the nose better than the palate, but in time, became a beautifully balanced and elegant wine.

1993 Laboure-Roi Lavaux St. Jacques – A funky unusual wine initially, very quickly picked up predominately baked fruits and sherry. Color had some light browning, appearing far older than a 1993. Went downhill quickly, an off wine on both the nose and palate.

Burgundy Flight 2

1996 Armand Rousseau Clos St Jacques – An awesome wine of the flight and night! Was smoky, funky in a good way, and exotic with red fruits, meat, earth, minerals and game. Perfectly balanced, this was a great wine in a nice sweet spot.

1998 Robert Arnoux Clos De Vougeot – Another excellent wine in the flight, noted clean and pure raspberry and cherry fruits. In time, became a little grassy, but subtle. A very nice drinking wine, and second best of the flight.

1999 Louis Remy Clos de La Roche – Corked! The third of four off bottles! Attempted to decant thinking maybe it was not corked, perhaps something odd that might blow off, but turned out the initial identified flaw was indeed correct.

2002 Comte Armande Auxey Duresses – Bright strawberry initially with a light body, the wine became more muted and green in time. In tough company next to the Rousseau and Arnoux, it did not show as well.

Burgundy Flight 3

2000 Esmonin Charmes Chambertin – Primarily blue and black fruits, had a barrel sample like quality to the wine. Decanted, it showed good overall structure, but remained youthful tasting after revisiting a few times through the evening.

2000 Nicolas Potel Vosne Romanee Les Gaudichots – Initially the second wine of the flight, thought it best in time. Barnyard, asian spice, tea and cola, became far more expressive with patience. As a female guest aptly put it concerning the wine, “Treat it like a woman.”

2001 Robert Chevillon Les St Georges – Initially impressive and wine of the flight, noted aged leather, iron, sweet earthiness, and game meats, it was very interesting. Opposite to the Nicolas Potel however, the wine declined over time, not as structured or ageworthy.

Some of us went to dinner afterward, and several more wines were opened, two of note. First was a premoxed 1996 Ramonet Les Ruchottes, the forth flawed bottle of the night, and completely undrinkable. Second, and a much better experience was a 1998 Meo Camuzet Hospices de Beaune Corton. While not flawed, it was impossibly shutdown and unapproachable, even after an hour plus decant and plenty of swirling in the glass. Suggest not opening this wine for another 10 years. When it does finally come around, should be a very nice drinking Burgundy!

Cheers to less flawed wine in the future!

Nick Wittman
Santa Rosa Fine Wine
http://www.santarosafinewine.com/