June 2012 Wine Tasting Notes

{Ed. Note: As always, I recommend using Wine Searcher to find retailers who have any of these wines to ship to you. In hot climates, do not have wine shipped to you when it is summer!}

June brought two fantastic and reasonably inexpensive wines to my attention, the 2007 Fattoria Viticcio Chianti Classico Riserva and the 2007 Domaine de la Pépière (Marc Ollivier) Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie Vieilles Vignes Clos des Briords, both of which are two of the top QPR’s (Quality to Price ratio) I have had this year, or any year. If you like wine, track these down.  If you think you do not like wine, try these! The rest was mostly ho-hum, though I always enjoy Cayuse and the Prosecco below is another excellent bargain you should add to your summer drinking list. I am concerned on high end California Pinot, which seems to be getting a bit monotonous, one size fits all. Perhaps it is just my mood?

Two Great Wines! The 2007 Fattoria Viticcio Chianti Classico Riserva and the 2007 Clos des Briords

2007 Fattoria Viticcio Chianti Classico Riserva (Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Classico): Exceeded my expectations. Great wine and even better QPR. Nice red fruit, dusty tannins, minerality, good acidity, lots of secondary flavors and aromas. Wow! Medium bodied, great with food, or to sip independently. In a great spot with years to go. A masterpiece of a wine at a price point that is amazing for the quality ($24). Wine Spectator gave this a 93, Wine Advocate a 91. I would go 93, and with that am probably being stingy.  Track this down and buy a bunch. Highly recommended. Has years to go, with some  improvement ahead.

2007 Domaine de la Pépière (Marc Ollivier) Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie Vieilles Vignes Clos des Briords (France, Loire Valley, Pays Nantais, Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine):  Simply fantastic. One of the great QPR’s and a must for summer drinking. Remains zippy and quenching, promising many, many years of further fantastic drinking. Great minerality, nice line/lemon hints, some saline and sea shore notes. Has years and years to go. Buy a truck load of this if you can find it. At under $15 a bottle, a steal. Highly rated by everyone, I would give it a 92+.  $15, really? White wine drinkers, forget Chardonnay, drink this.

2009 Cayuse Syrah En Cerise Vineyard (USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley): Too young, but promising. Funky earth and mushroom, along with dark fruit, on the nose. Structured and tight on the palate, with a good finish. Probably fantastic in a couple years, right now only hinting at what may be. Cayuse is one of the best Washington producers (in fact, one of the best in the U.S.) — I find their wine always interesting, sometimes great. $55 on release, about $100 in the secondary market. I would give this a 91 with upside.

N.V. Sorelle Bronca Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Extra Dry (Italy, Veneto, Prosecco di Valdobbiadene):  Wonderful acidity frames nice apple and melon flavors, lots of minerality. Dry, with lots of fruit. Wonderful with food. More proof that good Prosecco is one of the world’s great QPR’s and remains a fantastic alternative to expensive Champagne. Wine Advocate gave this an 89, I would give it a 91. At $15, highly recommended for a warm summer day. These are not meant to age, so drink up.

2009 Bodega Virgin de las Vinas Ribera del Duero Tierra Aranda (Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero): Pleasant, easy drinking. Young. Good fruit, with hints of cocoa and earth. Decent minerality. For under $15, a great deal. Will drink well for a number of years, and may in fact improve. I would give it an 89+. Recommended.

2010 Kutch Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast (USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast): Raw ingredients seem to be there, yet….bland. I assume it is just too young and needs some time in bottle to flush out. Very pure and fresh, tart, good fruit, though  without much nose or flavor profile yet. I am optimistic this will win me over with a bit more time under the cork, but we’ll see. Wine Advocate gave this an 89-91, I would go 88 for now, but with upside.  At $39, not a bad deal.

2010 Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Russian River Valley (USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley): Kosta Browne is very popular with many, and is a darling of Wine Spectator, always garnering great scores. I sometimes like their work (especially Kanzler vineyard fruit), but often am disappointed. This one has gobs of raspberry and blackberry type fruit, cola, maybe a bit of allspice. What is becoming somewhat normal for me, in all to many wines, is they do not get more interesting over time. The last glass is not better than the first, in fact, usually is worse. The first sips hit you as good, especially the fruit, but then it gets monotonous. This one suffers from that — first sips were probably 92 in my mind, but by the time I had my last glass….not so much!  $58 on release.

2007 Roar Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard (USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands): I like Roar, and this has excellent up front fruit….but another one I find to be somewhat monolithic; the first glass is good, beyond which it gets a bit boring. Well made, decent finish, big for a pinot, maybe a bit hot. Fun, good, not great. $50 on release.  Wine Advocate gave this a 96, Wine Spectator a 91. I would go 88. Still seems to have some life ahead of it, but it is not going to improve.

2009 Château Tour Maillet (France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol): Time will help this one, though I am not sure it will dull the oak enough to give it better balance. Lots of tannins, decent fruit and acidity with hints of tobacco. Pretty enjoyable for the cost, though once again over-use of oak stops it from being outstanding. Wine Spectator gave this a 93-96 barrel tasting score, Wine Advocate gave it 86-88. I would go 87 with some upside. At $26 or so for a great vintage Pomerol, I would go ahead and recommend.

2009 Braida (Giacomo Bologna) Barbera d’Asti Montebruna (Italy, Piedmont, Asti, Barbera d’Asti): All flowers and fruit, which is nice, but gets monotonous. Still good purity and acidity, good with food. If you look hard, some minerality and herb hints can be found. Nice for the price ($20). Wine Advocate gave this a 91, I would go 87.

2010 Cantine Colosi Nero D’ Avola Sicilia IGT (Italy, Sicily, Sicilia IGT): Simple. Was nice to drink in terms of taste of fruit and a bit of minerality, but this does not hold much else. I like Nero D’ Avola a lot, for the price, often the best QPR around, especially when it gives you a strong sense of Sicilian place…This one did not carry much sense of place with it; not much to ponder when drinking. However, cannot argue with it having some enjoyment factor and is easy to drink. About $15. I would give it an 86, being a bit nice.

3 thoughts on “June 2012 Wine Tasting Notes

  1. I had actually been looking at and considering the Viticcio. I have to admit to a bit of a prejudice against Chianti. Whenever Spectator gives a strong review to a Chianti, I always assume that it will be one dimensional and not distinguishable from any other fruit forward red. Like you, I enjoy Italian reds that show an individual character of place. I would almost never reach for a Chianti over a Nero D’avola, but now I am intrigued.

    Chardonnay is a noble grape that gives us some of the very best in the world, but a significant part of wine’s intrigue for me lies in the search and discovery of new regions, grapes, and producers. My wine-drinking life would be quite boring without Gewurztraminer, Muscadet, Furmint etc…

    Also appreciate the Prosecco find. I like to explore, but Champagne is my home base. I always return to it. Occasionally having Prosecco instead of Champagne truly frees up funds for other things. That said, if you are interested in what I believe to be a good deal on a vintage Champagne, there is currently some 2006 Marc Hebrart for sale for just under $40. It’s on one of the sites we both use, but for whatever reason I feel a bit awkward about making a direct plug for it. I couldn’t find it on wine searcher, but it’s findable on vinopedia.

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