Tag Archives: Sine Qua Non

Wine Check In

Santa Rosa Fine Wine often attends smaller trade related tastings where we sample wine prior to purchase. It gives us a good sense of provenance and storage of private collections prior to potential purchase. In this particular tasting, we tried everything early in the evening, and toward the end, revisited the ones that made the strongest impression. Detailed notes are not taken, just a quick check in of wines that caught our attention. Top wine of the tasting was easily the 1993 Jadot Estournelles St Jacques. A stunning, if not perfect wine! Highly noteworthy was the 1987 Diamond Creek Volcanic. Have tasted lessor examples of this wine, this particular bottle was very well stored!

Exceptional wines:

1975 Heitz Martha
1987 Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill
1987 Chateau Montelena Cabernet
1993 Jadot Estournelles St Jacques
2003 Abreu Thorevilos
2007 Brocard Les Clos

Very good wines:

1978 Leoville Las Cases
1987 Heitz Martha
1988 Leroy Pommard Les Vignots
1993 AF Gros Le Grand Maupertuis Clos Vougeot
1997 Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet
2000 Dujac Morey St Denis
2001 Morey Puligny Montrachet Pucelles
2004 Quilceda Creek Cabernet
2006 Sine Qua Non Raven Grenache
2007 Sine Qua Non Labels Syrah
2007 Sine Qua Non Body and Soul

Some ok wines included 1981 Dunn Howell and 2009 Littorai Savoy Pinot and disappointments in 1978 Ducru Beaucaillou, 2003 Chapoutier Ermitage Les Greffieux, 2005 Janasse CdP Vieilles Vignes, and 1990 San Giusto a Rentennano Chianti. Numerous California Pinot showed ripe and not particularly complex, more every day drinkers not listed.

For more detailed notes of wines we sample, generally over the span of hours, visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/santarosafinewine.

Nick Wittman
Santa Rosa Fine Wine
www.santarosafinewine.com

 

 

Buckeye Roadhouse Wine Dinner

This past week, we attended a dinner with a very saavy group of wine drinkers at Buckeye Roadhouse in Mill Valley. The theme was flights of Chardonny, Pinot, Rhone, Cabernet and Dessert Wines all served double blind. Despite the very good planning to make it a challenge to identify specific wines, the group proved effective at accurately guessing nearly every region on all flights, and in a few cases, guessed the producer or vintage. It was a fun dinner and the vast majority of wines enjoyable. Brief observations follow. All wines were served pop and pour with a fresh glass provided after each flight. Wines are sorted in order of personal preference pre reveal.

Flight 1 – Chardonnay

2005 Henri Boillot Clos de la Mouchere – Wine of the flight and white wine of the night, the Boillot was easily identified as White Burgundy. Firm acidity, lemon/lime, some subtle oyster shell, perfect balance, a very well made and youthful wine.

2009 Rochioli Rachel’s Vineyard Chardonnay – Distinctly California Chardonnay, thought it had a young Peter Michael profile with clean candied fruit and some residual sugar apparent. Was surprised it was a Rochioli Rachels, which in our opinion is one of the best Chardonnay made in California. On reflection, think the wine was opened too young, and expect it to show significantly better in 3 to 5 plus years.

2006 Marcassin Three Sisters Chardonnay – Initally guessed the wine as anything but California Chardonnay or White Burgundy. Thought it had a toned down, if not muted style. As it sat in the glass, was somewhat dirty and funky, not a clean stony mineral quality I tend to get with Marcassin Chardonnay. The wine did not show well.

Flight 2 – Pinot Noir

2002 Chevillon Nuits St. Georges Saint Georges – Quickly identifed as Burgundy by all. It was earthy, mineral, gritty, with notable barnyard and animal notes. In time, more rugged and rustic. A very well made wine and standout among the three Pinot Noirs.

2004 Rhys Family Farms Pinot – With stemy blue fruits, initially thought it was a Burgundy, but after a little time in the glass, the wine lacked complexity, showing more simple dried cherry plum notes. Correctly guessed the wine as a Rhys! The wine had good weight, but overall was not a great showing.

2005 Marcassin Blue Slide Pinot – Ripe, raspberry, plums, prunes, sweet palate, dense but unresolved and spritzy, thought it might be a young Aubert Pinot. On reveal, was surprised it was a Marcassin Blue Slide. This wine needs to be aged for many more years before enjoying. The wine also did not show well.

Flight 3 – Rhone

2008 Sine Qua Non The Line Grenache – The red wine of the flight, and night, thought this was an outstanding wine. Nothing out of place, big red clean candied fruit, correctly guessed it as a Sine Qua Non Grenache! A touch lighter on its feet than the Atlantis Grenache, a great drinking wine! Would expect it to age gracefully for years.

2004 Greenock Creek Alices – Guessed this wine as a California Syrah, compact dark fruits, it showed very well, but quite different than the Grenache. Normally not a big fan of Austrailian Shiraz, but this wine was very enjoyable. Did not spend as much time with this wine over time as others who thought it less impressive.

2007 Usseglio Mon Aieul – Correct guested the wine as French, thought it was just ok. Not a lot going on in the wine. The group as a whole did not particularly find the wine appealing. It may have suffered being in a flight with two other big powerful wines!

Flight 4 – Cabernet

1998 Pavie Macquin – The wine of the flight, enjoyed the Pavie a great deal, it was easily identified as Bordeaux. Started out green and tannic, very similar to what I get with the 1998 Pavie, in time, this wine lost some of the greeness and became more red and black exotic fruits. Thought it was a gorgeous wine, more so than the overall group!

2001 Araujo Eisele Cabernet – Initially did not like this wine, had a good bit of vanilla which I generally dislike in California Cabernet, and a simple style. However, this was an example of a wine that improved considerably with time in the glass, full bodied, and held up well to the meat course.

2003 Noon Reserve Cabernet – A very ripe wine, minty, thought this might be either from California or Australia. It was a pretty good wine, but not particularly a standout. Was really enjoying the Pavie in this flight, and spend less time on the other wines as we approached the end of the evening.

Flight 5 – Dessert

1990 Raymond Lafon – The only wine I correctly guessed the exact vintage, the color immediately lent itself as a 15 to 25 year old bottle, and oddly reminded me of a 1990 Sauternes in my cellar. This was an excellent age worthy dessert wine.

1986 Climens – The Climens did not show as age worthy as the Raymond Lafon. A nice wine, but overshadowed by its peer. Neither of these wines came across as California. A nice wine to end the evening.

The Mill Valley tasting group is made up of some of the most delightly folks we have had the pleasure to drink with over the past few years. Sophisticated palates, no question, a friendly group where you always go away learning something new. A great time where we highly enjoyed the food, wine, and conversation!

Nick Wittman
Santa Rosa Fine Wine
www.santarosafinewine.com

 

San Francisco Trade Tasting

Attended a trade tasting in San Francisco recently where several nice wines were poured. Having tasted many of them in the past, was a good opportunity to revisit how the wines were aging. In a few cases, was surprised by a high quality wine we have never had before. In particular, referring to an awesome 1989 Vega Sicilia Unico and 1989 Penfolds Grange!

Pours at this particular tasting were relatively small, and only revisited a few of the wines later in the tasting. As a result, no attempt is made at detailed notes, nor ranking the wines in order of personal preference. Nearly all wines showed well, with special mention to the 1995 Krug, 1990 Latour, 1989 Penfolds Grange, and 1989 Vega Sicilia Unico! Brief observations follow.
Champagne

1995 Krug– Crisp, nutty, butterscotch and hazelnut, this was a gorgeous complex and youthful Krug that should be exceptional with a decade or more age.

White Wines

1991 Chapoutier Ermitage Cuvee de l’Oree – Some diesel notes, a flat mouthfeel, and relatively fat on the palate. A fully mature good drinking wine.
2002 Leroy Meursault – Light bodied, some pleasant sweetness, little bit of flint, thought the wine was just ok, expected a little more from this solid producer.
2004 Pahlmeyer Chardonnay – Silky, intense citrus, moving toward a more creamy texture in time. A powerful and well put together Chardonnay.
Red Wines
1990 Chateau Latour – Initially orange rind, sweet, well rounded fruits, revisited later, and shutdown, showed far more tannin. A wine that will continue to improve with age.
1996 Chateau Margaux – More open knit and approachable than the Latour, black cherry fruit, floral, put on weight later in the tasting.
2005 Clos de Papes Chateauneuf de Pape – A very nice wine, big concentrated raspberry fruit, was drinking very well. Far more enjoyable than the Pagau.
2003 Pegau Chateauneuf de Pape Reserve – Have had this wine at least three or four times, have never found it enjoyable. Ripe concentrated plum and prune.
1997 Lisini Brunello di Montelcino Ugolaia – A disappointing wine, grassy, not a lot going on. Did not leave a positive impression.
1989 Vega Sicilia Unico – A young perfectly balanced wine, did not revisit later but suspect it could have easily rivaled any other wine in the tasting in time.
1990 Dominus – Soft, resolved, slightly green, but focused with pleasant mineral and dark fruits. A highly enjoyable well made wine.
1990 Opus One – Have had this wine 5 or 6 times, and this was one of the best showings, thick, ripe, cherry and raspberry fruits, showed far more open than on previous ocassions.
1998 Shafer Hillside Select – Huge wine, mint, black cherry, excellent balance, nice structure and continuing to age beautifully.
2000 Joseph Phelps Insignia – Big wine, similar to the Shafer Hillside, though not as complex. A nice wine with a strong mid palate presence.
1989 Penfolds Grange – Interesting transition on this wine, initially grassy, wheat, cherry and mint, not a thrilling wine, in time, big blue fruits and became exceptional.
2004 Sine Qua Non Covert Fingers – Candied bright red fruits, concentrated, thick full bodied Pinot, showed better on this occasion than other times tasted.
Sauternes
1990 Chateau d’Yquem – Peach, orange, and honey, this sweet, but nuanced wine showed very well, better than the 1986 in the same tasting, but not quite up to the 1988.
1986 Chateau d’Yquem – Orange rind, concentrated and age worthy, the 1986 tasted far younger than the 1990. Continue to age this wine.
Cheers to a very nice wine lineup!
Nick Wittman
Santa Rosa Fine Wine

San Diego Sine Qua Non Dinner

This past weekend, visited wine drinking friends in San Diego. During our trip, we were fortunate to attend two special dinners. The first was focused around the wines of Sine Qua Non, and the second, a blind California Dinner.

At the time of both dinners, minimum wine tasting notes were taken, however as is so often the case, recollect a few impressions of the wines opened. The following is a summary of the first dinner. All wines were served pop and pour, and sorted in order of personal preference by flight.

Champagne Opener- This was a lovely wine. Having had a 1996 Philipponnat Clos des Goisses, one of the top Champagnes we have tasted, was surprised and excited to see this on the table. It was young, no question, but lovely pear, crisp, and nutty style. Really good structure that will allow this wine to age gracefully for years!

1999 Philipponnat Clos des Goisses Brut

Pre Dinner Rose – This was only one of two Sine Qua Non wines tasted to date that was completely disappointing. Have liked other Sine Qua Non Rose in the past, so would not say it was stylistic, but the wine was spritzy, and lacking any sort of character. If I recall correctly, in the bottom two of everyones list.

2007 Sine Qua Non Strips and Stars Rose

White Wine Flight – Preferred the Hoo Doo Man over The Boot. A young wine, the Hoo Doo Man showed tropical fruits and a nice acidity level. The wine should age well and improve over the next several years. In contrast, The Boot was mature, some butterscotch, hazelnut, and buttery texture. Expected it to be past maturity, but actually showed fully mature.

2006 Sine Qua Non Hoo Doo Man
2000 Sine Qua Non The Boot

Pinot Noir Intermission – A very nice intermission after tasting a few interesting white wines. Thought the A Capella Pinot was the 3rd best wine of the evening behind the 17th Nail and Into the Dark. First time having had this wine, was pleasantly surprised. Recall a gritty, earthy, mineral based wine, with a forest floor nose. A really good drinking Pinot.

2000 Sine Qua Non A Capella Pinot Noir

Grenache Flight – The Into the Dark was a beautiful wine, second favorite of the night. Candied boysenberry fruit, beautifully textured, full bodied, one of the top Sine Qua Non Grenache tasted to date. The Raven was consistant to previous bottles tasted. It was similar to the Atlantis, though far more toned down fruit. A good wine.

2004 Sine Qua Non Into the Dark Grenache
2006 Sine Qua Non Raven Grenache

Syrah Flight – The 17th Nail in the Cranium was the wine of the night. A huge concentrated, and quite approachable Syrah. A pleasant mix of blue and black fruits, had a super long finish, and excellent balance. The Raven Syrah was tight and lacked depth next to the 17th Nail. A good drinking wine, no question, but not in the same league.

2005 Sine Qua Non 17th Nail in the Cranium
2006 Sine Qua Non Raven Syrah

Sweet Finish – My least favorite wine of the evening, the Mr K Strawman was a one dimensional thick sweet wine. Probably not fair to open the wine at such a young age, did not show much in the way of complexity and character.

2006 Sine Qua Non Mr K Strawman

Cheers to our San Diego friends and a very fun dinner filled with lots of laughs, great wine, and wonderful food!

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