Monthly Archives: May 2013

Château Lafitte Marcellin 2009 Côtes de Bordeaux

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Appellation: Côtes de Bordeaux
Varieties: 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot.

This wine came via WTSO.com – Wines til Sold Out.  At a cost of $12.00 per bottle including shipping I could not resist this Côtes de Bordeaux or its highly regarded 2009 vintage.  The Château Lafitte Marcellin is also the third 2009 Bordeaux I write about in the last year or so.  First came the Wine Spectator 90 pt. rated 2009  Chateau de Macard Bordeaux Superieur followed by the 87 pt. rated 2010 Kirkland Signature [yes Costco!] 2010 Bordeaux Superieur.

One would think I am on a search for the perfect budget Bordeaux.  In fact I have probably been swayed by raves for the 2009/2010 vintages and am really just looking for good wine.   I’ve lucked out with my three choices thus far.  But at the same time I have not felt the urgent need to return to them either.  I am quickly realizing  my search will just have to continue. Hard work I know.

In the case of the light bodied Château Lafitte Marcellin my opinion is that it is still too young to show its true colors. Upon opening I immediately detected very tight aromas on the nose with slight fruit detectable at first.  This started to change almost immediately from just sweetness to more of a dark fruit scent. But still not powerful or forward at all.  I noted the lack of wood [this wine not aged in wood] and also a mustiness that appeared after about 10 minutes of decanting.

On the palate I noted very dry/tight unripened fruit.  At 40 minutes after decanting; dry fruit became more obvious on the nose with the addition of anise. As we passed the 60-90 minute mark the fruit scents continued to open along with a pepperiness that was not evident before.  But it did not develop much more even after 2 hours. Of course I could have been more patient but at that point there was just no more wine to let breathe 🙂

My verdict: An additional 2-5 years may tell a different story and luckily once again I have a couple more bottles in my cellar to let sit a spell. This is where I remind myself that patience is still a virtue…   ¡SALUD!

Winemaker information:

This 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot blend is made in
stainless steel tanks with a pre-fermentation maceration lasting
5 days, followed by fermentation for 10 days, under controlled
temperatures. The wine is then aged in vats before being bottled
on the estate.

The 35-acre vineyard of Chateau Lafitte Marcellin is nestled in the heart of rolling hillsides along the Garonne River, in the commune of Soulignac (20 miles SE of Bordeaux), with some plots located right on the slopes. This particular topography allows for maximum sunshine on dry soils with a welcome wind blowing from the banks of the Garonne. Such a micro terroir and its specific alchemy give this Cote de Bordeaux its unique attributes: a deep nose of dark berries, welcome smoothness, vibrant fruit, and firm end-of-mouth tannins.

Not far from the property, in 1946, the “Soulignac treasure” was discovered by a family ancestor. This treasure, discovered on the locality of Marcellin, consisted of a large earthenware pot containing about 65 pounds of bronze and silver coins from the Roman era, bearing the effigy of Roman rulers… They are now to be found in the Bordeaux Musee d’Aquitaine. Local legend has it that the finder cried out: “With such a treasure, we are richer than Laffite!”

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Joel Gott Zinfandel – 2011 vs. 2009

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A SIDE by SIDE taste test immediately started screaming in my head!  – as I wrote my original 2009 JOEL GOTT piece which I am  including below.

Unfortunately that event never came to pass because the 2009 vintage quickly sold out.  That said I was soon afterwards able to buy their 2011 Zinfandel. So although we may not be having an actual side by side tasting it’s time to finally compare 2009 versus 2011!

This 100% Zinfandel 2011 vintage comes to us via California’s; Lodi, Russian River, Dry Creek, Mendocino and Shenandoah Valley’s wine-producing areas. At 14.3% alcohol this wine was barrel  aged in 25% new American oak and attained a Bronze Medal at the 2013 SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE WINE COMP. – Easy-to-like, the red-berried ’11 Joel Gott Zinfandel is light and easy on the palate; finishes with a berried touch.

2011 wine growing notes:

Late spring rains and a cool summer meant a smaller crop and longer time on the vine for fruit during the 2011 harvest. The largest component of our blend for this vintage is old vine Zinfandel from Lodi. Fruit there was picked before the rains hit California well into harvest, and the longer than average hangtime in Lodi made for wines with better concentration than those from other appellations. Fruit from Sonoma, Mendocino and the Shenandoah Valley in Amador maintained the spice and red fruit characteristics that they’re known for. Blended, the various appellations produce a balanced, yet jammy and rich, Zinfandel.

My notes

I was pleasantly surprised at being able to differentiate the two vintages almost immediately even though our taste test was not occurring side by side.  The 2011 vintage came across as more controlled in nose and palate. The sweetness of the 2009 had been reigned in. Making this wine truer to what I would expect from a Zinfandel.

On the nose I detected sweet dark fruit [blackberry], tar, black pepper and an herbal earthiness. On the palate the addition of dark cherry, cocoa and the aforementioned controlled sweetness which I would best describe as fruity versus sweet.

2009? Or 2011? Which one would I choose?  Individually these are both fine choices and I must admit neither lasted very long once opened. But, put to the test I would pick the 2011 Joel Gott Zinfandel vintage.  Fruity over sweet wins me over.  The 2009 is what some would describe as a [sweet] fruit bomb. The controlled 2011 I would describe as jammy.  A slight difference in description but one that made all the difference to me.   ¡SALUD!

Winemaker tasting notes:

The 2011 Joel Gott Zinfandel has aromas of raspberries, blackberries and blueberry jam. Dense and rich on the front of the palate with bright acidity on the mid-palate, and a long finish.

Joel Gott – 2009 Zinfandel

Life without Zin finally caught up to me. That, and the great sale price of $9.99 from $18.99.  I find I am not alone since I just ordered another case for our store this week.  It is interesting how sale prices draw attention to wines one might not know. Once discovered our customers keep coming back for more whether on sale or not for the most part, but of course more so with a deal to be had.

As a lover of Zinfandel, per my many posts on this varietal,  I  had my eye on this one in particular for a while.  Once the sale was announced I had no excuse.  Even better I enjoyed it and have recommended it to our customers ever since. Therefore our diminishing inventory 🙂

The 2009 vintage, released September 2011,  is 100% Zinfandel from various areas in California: Napa Valley, Amador, Lodi, Dry Creek, Mendocino and Russian River.  Barrel aging was done in 30% new American oak and comes in with an approximate alcohol level of  14.5%.

My notes:

Dark fruit on the nose such as; plum, prune and raisin. In addition I  sensed green pepper, grass and cedar/oak. On the palate the addition of cherry [red fruit]  may explain why I was surprised to note a strong sweetness I usually do not note on this varietal, but this faded nicely to the background as the wine breathed and expanded. An hour into the drinking experience I also noted an earthiness of dirt/soil and Kirsch [again cherry].

We truly enjoyed adding this wine to our repertoire and am already looking forward to trying it again. Conveniently the 2011 vintage has now arrived at our store and SIDE by SIDE taste test immediately started screaming in my head!  Ahh..the things I must do for The Love of Zin.  ¡SALUD!

Winemaker tasting notes:

The 2009 Joel Gott Zinfandel has aromas of sweet cherries, plums, blackberries and vanilla spice. The wine is juicy and full of red fruit, with a soft mid-palate and a bright, lingering raspberry finish. Drier in style than most Zinfandels.

2009 Wine growing notes:

Throughout California, 2009 was an exceptional harvest—touted by many as the best vintage of the decade. Moderate temperatures across the state allowed the fruit to ripen slowly, creating good quality fruit with great flavor and depth. Dry farmed, old-head-trained vines in Lodi and Amador produced dark, intense, structured fruit, while fruit from the Napa Valley harvest added power and complexity. The cooler climates of Dry Creek, Mendocino and Russian River produced fruit with classic, peppery Zinfandel aromatics, good acidity and great fruit flavors. Bringing together fruit from these varied regions helped to create a balanced Zinfandel.

Winemaker information:

While running Palisades Market in Calistoga in the early 1990s, Joel Gott noticed a growing need for quality, value wines. Having worked at Kenwood Winery in Sonoma County, and with a family history in the business, Joel felt sure he could fill this void in the marketplace.

In 1996, Joel purchased a few tons of Zinfandel from family friend and grape grower Tom Dillian. With the help of then-girlfriend—and winemaker at Joseph Phelps—Sarah, Joel produced his first vintage of Dillian Ranch Amador County Zinfandel. The wine received praise from Robert Parker and Wine Spectator, which was all the encouragement Joel needed to produce additional varietals.

Creating quality, balanced important wines continued to be important, and in 2005 the 815 California Cabernet Sauvignon won a Food & Wine American Wine Award. Two years later the California Zinfandel would do the same. Joel Gott Wines continues to grow and receive accolades for delivering a great product at a value price point.

Argentina’s Innovacion Torrontes-Pinot Grigio 2010 by Santa Julia

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Interesting how almost a year to date after discovering this wine at a local Whole Foods Market I am now employed as their Specialty Beverage Buyer in the beautiful new store in North Miami Florida. I was very excited to see this wine in our set and will be recommending it to our white wine drinkers. This is a perfect Spring and Summer choice for those who prefer a dry white. SALUD!

 

Whine And Cheers For Wine

Santa Julia Innovacion Torrontes-Pinot Grigio  2010

I discovered this wine last year while shopping at Whole Foods Market.  Three things made it jump out at me;

The fact that it was a Torrontes blend. The price, on sale at $10.99. The size, it is packaged in; a 1 litre bottle instead of the usual 750ml or 1.5 litre.

Appreciating everything wine from Argentina I had not yet come across a Torrontes blend. I actually still have not seen any others but I admit I have not gone out of my way to search them out either. Over the last year we have taste tested various Torrontes and I must admit that for me it is a varietal that I am learning to appreciate. In other words not love at first pour.

The taste is different from any other wine I have ever had. I would describe it as having substantial minerality, some…

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