October 2011 Wine Tasting Notes

Attended one formal tasting last month, beyond which enjoyed a number of wines at home. Nothing completely amazing, but some good values, along with a couple disappointments.

2007 Castello di Bossi Chianti Classico (Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Classico): This is the best sub $20 bottle of wine I have had in years. Equally as good as the same bottling I had this past March, I wish I would have bought a case of these. Leather, herbs and red fruits dominate the nose and palate. I love when wines like this perform this well; blind this would kill many at 5x its price. Wine Advocate gave it a 90+, I would say 93.

2006 Maybach Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Materium (USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville): I liked this better than the 07 from a couple months back. Lost of dark fruit (blueberry, plum, blackberry), spice, and oak well in check. Just a tad thick on the palate, but the components have come together well. Good finish. Wine Spectator gave this a 96, Wine Advocate a 95. I would say 92. $125+.

N.V. Krug Champagne Grande Cuvée Brut (France, Champagne): Krug remains my favorite non-vintage champagne, though at over a $100 it is not exactly an inexpensive pleasure. Very likable, goes down way too quickly. Nice toasty biscuit, with apples and pear. Love it served real chilled, gets more average as it warms up. Still very good stuff. Wine Spectator says 94, Wine Advocate 90, I will split the difference and give it a 92.

2009 Domaine des Terres Dorées (Jean-Paul Brun) Fleurie (France, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Fleurie): Another in a string of outstanding 2009 Beaujolais. What great, great values from this region and vintage. This one has great fruit, though the minerality is what makes it special. Also, some light spices, beef blood and floral elements add significant complexity and interest. Good acidity. In a great spot. Wine Advocate gave this a 93, Wine Spectator an 88. I would give it a 92 and a big recommendation at $20.

2009 Jean-Marc Burgaud Morgon Côte du Py (France, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Morgon): What a great vintage. Very similar to six months ago, just better. Nice violet color, some minerality, spice, gum and raw meat components. Light on the palate, very pure cherry and cranberry flavors, nice finish that went down a bit too easy. Still evolving. Good acidity. Becoming an excellent QPR. Wine Advocate gave this a 92/93, I would say 90+.

2007 Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Russian River Valley (USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley): Certainly better than the same bottling I had last year, but this will never resolve itself as the alcohol stands out making this a bit too hot. Good flavors, just in need of more nuance and a bit more pinot typicity. Wine Spectator gave this a 92, I would go 89.

2009 Kapcsandy Family Winery Rosé State Lane Vineyard (USA, California, Napa Valley, Yountville): I have had this four times in the last year. A decent rose, though not quite quenching enough. Dropping off a bit from months ago; still lots of structure, but the freshness is a bit subdued. I would give it an 87.

2007 Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett (Germany, Nahe): Donnhoff is typically my favorite German producer of world class riesling. Much more sweet than I expected, was hoping for more of an easy drinker. Decent structure, could use more acidity. Good flavors. Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator gave this a 91, I would go 87.

2007 La Maialina Chianti Classico Riserva (Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Classico): I had this in January 2011, and then one again just a week or two ago. Pretty reticent, not giving much up even after a few hours. Pretty light on the palate, good smokey cherry nose and flavors (though maybe the smoke aspect is a bit much), along with some earthy components. Not bad, not great, but for $17 a fair drink. Wine Advocate gave it a 92, i would say 86.

2006 Marcassin Chardonnay Three Sisters Vineyard (USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast): From superstar winemaker Helen Turley, Marcassin is “the wine” to collect for high end American Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. As for this bottle, same as the last I had six months ago. Either way too young, or I do not get it. Pale yellow/green, a bit murky. Nose and palate dominated by butter and lemon. Perhaps just too young. Big, but pretty well balanced, somehow held together pretty well. Just too much right now, no delicacy. Wine Advocate says 96, Wine Spectator says 93, I say 85. $75 if on them mailing list (a many year wait), twice that in the open market.

2002 Martinelli Pinot Noir Blue Slide Ridge (USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast): Also from Helen Turley, this was pretty damn good four years ago, now…not so much. 4 years ago, this was huge, but somehow came together nicely. Now, not so much. I would not be so rude to call it a big alcoholic mess, but I would say the alcohol stands out, I would say it is disjointed and it is not small. Still okay, but heading down fast. Wine Advocate gave this a 95, Wine Spectator a 94. I agreed with that years ago, but this bottle I would give an 82. Around $100, an easy pass.

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