Saturday, February 3, 2018

2015 Sancerre Rouge- Welcome to the Old World

Relatively new in the New York City area market, this rare 2015 Sancerre Rouge by Domaine Jean- Pierre Vacher and son Jérôme is textbook Old World style wine. Most of the vineyards in this Loire Valley commune are planted with Sauvignon Blanc- making the world-famous noble wine wine of this area. On occasion, a few of the properties will plant Pinot Noir, making both rosé and red wines. This is similar to the village of Chassagne-Montrachet in the Beaune area of Burgundy. The majority of the vineyards are planted with the world-renowned Chardonnay grape, which makes the most intense expression of this varietal as White Burgundy. Only a tiny amount of Pinot Noir is grown among these white noble grapes. So as with most Old World sites, unique terroir comes into play. Since the Pinot Noir in the Sancerre vineyards is grown on limestone and chalk soils, due west and slightly north of the majority of Burgundy, the expression of this wine is different than most Red Burgundies. These Sancerre Rouge wines are generally lighter with less-obvious fruit notes and more mineral components than most of their Burgundian counterparts. Here are my tasting notes:

Color: Very light, vibrant red, with a pale rim. You can actually see through the wine.

Nose: Muted fruit notes, with wet stone/mineral notes. Forest floor component, with slight eucalyptus scents. Rustic- Old World.

Palate: Tart cherries with mineral notes. Subtle herbaceous quality, slight pine and clove flavors. Fruit is ripe, but subtle. A note of tar on the compact finish.

Again, a typical Old World style Loire Valley Pinot Noir. No "fruit bomb" by any means. Balanced and clean, a food-friendly wine, for lighter meats, cheeses, and creamy sauces.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Loire Valley Wines- Spring To Loire 2016 New York City

The Park Restaurant
April 5th, 2016

On a sunny but chilly day back in April, a major Loire Valley wine event was held for the trade and press. I systematically tried to taste just about every wine on the floor, making notes along the way. In general, what I found in this picturesque, atrium-like (see pic above) setting, was a room filled with vibrant, fresh wines, each brimming with character. All wines were well made (with the small exception of some that I felt were "over-produced"); there were some wines that needed more time to show better (as usual), but the potential of most wines showed well. I will list the exceptional wines of that day below, with retail prices  (where mentioned) and small reviews from my notes. Please feel free to reach out for contact information for any of these Importers:

Apollo Fine Wines

2011 Domaine Hervé Seguin AOC Pouilly Fumé (Sauvignon Blanc)
Dry, crisp, with melon notes. Some citrus as well.

2012 Domaine des Béguinneries "Réserve de Satis" AOC Chinon (Cabernet Franc)
Organically grown, spending 12 months in barrel. Great spicy fruit, with good acid balance.

Boutique Wine Collection

2009 Petit Métris "Clos de la Marche" AOC Savennières (Chenin Blanc) ($29.99)
Rich, round, ripe, aromatic wine, with a hint or oxidation and butterscotch.

Bradley Alan Imports

As with most wines he imports from other regions, all of his wines showed well, and were at a reasonable price point* Here are some highlights:

2014 Gitton Père et Fils "Les Crilles" AOC Sancerre (Sauvignon Blanc) ($20)
Fresh, crisp fruit, with some minerality- great balance.

2013 Domaine de Loye AOC Menetou-Salon Morogues (Sauvignon Blanc) ($16)
Vibrant, elegant citrus fruit. Well-made; distinctive character.

2014 Domaine de Cézin AOC Jasnières (Chenin Blanc) ($19)
Round mouthfeel; well-balanced, ripe fruit.

2013 Domaine de Cézin AOC Coteaux du Loir (Chenin Blanc) ($15)
Beautiful fruit, with an interesting sour note. Great balance.

NV Domaine des Varinelles- Daheuiller AOC Crémant de Loire (Sparkling Chardonnay) ($16)
Crisp, refreshing, well-balanced with a slight butterscotch note.

2015 Domaine de Cézin AOC Coteaux du Loir (Rosé Pineau d´Aunis) ($12)
Full character ripe, rich fruit. Well made!

2011 Domaine des Varinelles- Vieilles Vignes AOC Saumur Champigny (Cabernet Franc) ($20)
Gamey nose, very dry, but good mouthfeel. Food-friendly wine.

Cape Classics

2012 Clos du Gaimont "La Monaco" AOC Vouvray (Chenin Blanc) ($18-19)
4 Hectares (small) Demi-sec. Candied fruit. Very well-made!

2014 Domaine Vincent Caréme "Spring" AOC Vouvray (Chenin Blanc) ($19)
As the wine above, grown on clay/limestone soils. No new oak used. Fresh acidity with vibrant fruit.

2015 Domaine Paul Buisse AOC Touraine (Sauvignon Blanc) ($14)
Great expression of Sauvignon Blanc- the typical "grassy" component present as well.

2015 Le Roi des Pierres AOC Sancerre (Sauvignon Blanc) ($28)
Another impressive expression of Sauvignon Blanc. Again, that classic "grass" component with vibrant fruit and minerality.

2015 Le Roi des Pierres AOC Sancerre (Rosé Pinot Noir) ($28)
25/35 year old vines. Major strawberry component. Great expression!

2014 Domaine Grosbois "La Cuisine de ma Mère" AOC Chinon (Cabernet Franc) ($18-19)
Old World character, with hints of barnyard on the nose. Rustic fruit. Ripe tannins.

Cognac One

2014 Domaine Gilles Chollet AOC Pouilly Fumé (Sauvignon Blanc) ($23.95)
Pure fruit with smoky hints of mineral (chalk).

2015 Domaine de la Tourmaline AOC Muscadet Sèrve et Maine (Melon de Bourgogne)
Crisp, full mouthfeel (Sur Lie for 6 months).

2012 Xavier Flouret Rouge Noir AOC Menetou-Salon (Pinot Noir) ($20.95)
6th generation owners. Spicy, aromatic, "Old School" Pinot Noir. WOW!!!

2013 Domaine du Raifault AOC Chinon (Cabernet Franc)
Aged 10 months in French Oak, very stylish and elegant expression of Cabernet Franc.

More To Follow

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Tre Bicchieri 2015 in NYC!- My Highlights

Hello everyone. There was a major wine tasting event last night (February 5th) in New York City- Tre Bicchieri 2015  The Gambero Rosso Italian Wine Guide is the most comprehensive review of the Italian wine market- a team of 70 tasters tried 45 thousand wines in over 5 months this year! The award- "Three Glasses" is the highest ranking (Excellent), with two "Two Glasses" (Due Bicchieri) categories (Very Good to Excellent) as well. This year, they awarded 423 wines with the highest ranking. At the New York event, there were a massive 180 stations, with many having up to three wines each! So to have less than 3 hours to try and assess all of these wines would be nearly impossible. It would have been better to spread it out over a weekend or 3 days (like the New York Wine Expo at the Javits Center). Nevertheless, I will share some highlights with all of you.

2013 Agostino Vicentini Soave Superiore Casale (Veneto)

This was one of the 5 Three Glasses-rated wines presented by Entoria Wine Imports. They handpick smaller producers with hand-crafted techniques, and practitioners of sustainable agriculture. This 100% Garaganega wine from old vines was a profound example of Old World, rustic styling. In the Burgundian shaped bottle, this wine had a beautiful straw yellow color. The nose exploded with mineral and floral notes ("lime and wet limestone")- more aromatic than most Soave. On the palate it was racy and full of the same floral/fruit and mineral notes. But the most interesting flavor was one of a fine hand-crafted beer! That would obviously come from some unique wild yeasts. This whole flavor profile, as out of control as it sounds, was all packed into a very balanced and elegant mouth feel. This wine would be the perfect compliment to any seafood or shellfish dish.


2012 Cavalchina Custoza Superiore Amedeo

From a province of Verona, this historic wine (a blend of 40% Garganega 30% Fernanda 15% Trebbianello 15% Trebbiano Toscano) has a yellow glow with subtle highlights of green. The aroma was one of delicate floral notes interspersed with a limestone/mineral quality. Well-balanced and complex on the palate, this was a special wine. (Marc DeGrazia Imports)

2013 Tenuta Di Tavignano Verdicchio del Castelli di Jesi Cl. Sup. Misco

Hailing from the Cingoli (province of Macerata) in Marche, this single vineyard Verdicchio offers a brilliant straw/yellow appearance. Flowers, ripe fruits (citrus), and a slight mineral note are present on the nose. The palate is greeted by a ripe fruit blend, with the mineral note present. Rich but not heavy, this is an elegant example of this varietal. (Marc DeGrazia Imports)

I will post this to get started, and keep adding the other highlights. These are all wines to be on the lookout for- as the make their way to the US market.