Home > Experiences, Wine Tasting > Dozen of Personal Favorites From Michael Skurnik Portfolio Wine Tasting

Dozen of Personal Favorites From Michael Skurnik Portfolio Wine Tasting

Thousand bottles of wine (this is not a mere matter of speech, but- more or less an exact count, give or take a hundred bottles). 4 hours. Come up with the list of 12 most favorite wines. What do you think about a task like that?

Whether you think it is easy or hard, this was my experience at the Michael Skurnik 25th Anniversary wine portfolio tasting few weeks ago in New York (selecting 10 wines was not the goal, of course, but tasting many great wines was).

”Overwhelming” would be an under-representation of the experience. Sip, swish for a second, think for a second, spit. Take a mental note, or may be a quick mark in the book. Move on to the next wine, then to the next table. Get through the crowd with your glass. Repeat until your palate is completely locked down by the amount of fresh tannins. Have a sip of fruity white to unlock and refresh. Continue and repeat until fully exhausted. Leave happy.

Above is a quintessence of the experience. Below, I would like to give you mostly a photo report with some comments on the most memorable wines. The list is not prioritized at all – if anything, it may be coming out in the order we tasted the wines. Here we go.

2009 Peter Michael ‘L’Esprit des Pavots’ – clean, gorgeous, elegant, balanced, approachable – this is Bordeaux-style red which you can drink now or cellar for next 20-30 years:

2009 Paul Hobbs Winery Chardonnay, ‘Ulises Valdez Vineyard’ – best non-French Chardonnay I tasted. Elegance and perfection of balance – acidity, hint of vanilla, hint of butter, hint of tasted oak – all in a perfect medley:

2009 Martinelli Syrah ‘Vellutini Ranch’ – full-bodied, luscious and well balanced, with nice dark fruit and spices. Outstanding Syrah:

2007 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Kronos’ – I was really looking forward to trying this wine after Joe Roberts, a.k.a. @1WineDude, called it “Black Panther” in his review. I’m not sure I personally met the panther, I rather discovered a mystery. This wine is impossible to understand in the format of the standard trade wine tasting. It says “let’s dance a little longer, shall we”? When you take a sip of this wine, it is asking you to think – there is no flavor attack, no particular taste element standing out – instead, there is a perfectly balanced, thought-provoking, mysteriously delicious substance. This wine needs double time – time in the cellar, and time in your mouth – then you might stand a chance of solving the mystery:

2009 Domaine Newman Mazis-Chambertin – exemplary Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir by the book – whatever way you want to call it, this was one of the most elegant Pinot Noir at the tasting – perfect balance of earthiness, fruit, acidity and power:

2010 Clusel-Roch Condrieu – beautiful full-bodied white, powerful and structured – great example of Viognier from the most classic Viognier Appellation:

2010 Domaine Saint Prefert Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc ‘Cuvée Speciale Vieilles Clairettes’ – fresh, elegant, beautiful white fruit, perfect acidity – definitely one of the best white wines in the tasting. Unfortunately, equally rare and hard to get:

2009 Domaine Allary Haut-Brion Pessac-Léognan – classic Bordeaux from classic vintage. Perfect wine – you can drink it now, or wait for 30 years – the choice is yours:

2010 Boyer-Martenot Meursault 1er, ‘Perrières’ – absolute elegance ( yes, if you think that I’m abusing the word “elegant”, I agree with you, but I can’t find a better word to express my thoughts about these wines, so bear with  me, please) – outstanding Chardonnay, great balance of white fruit, acidity, earthiness and tannins:

2011 Domaine du Moulin Méthode Gaillacoise – personal sparkler favorite at the tasting – bright, fresh, full-bodied, with apple and toasted bread perfectly showing on the nose and on the palate. Lots of pleasure:

2005 Cavallotto Fratelli Barolo Riserva, ‘San Giuseppe’ – trying Barolos at the such tastings is always fun – you need to build your impressions quickly, before tannins will completely numb your palate. This wine had enough power to get through everything else I tasted before and deliver plums and dark cherries and outstanding balance of spices which make Barolo a King of the Wines. Truly an outstanding wine:

2007 Hendry Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon and 2007 Hendry Vineyards Red Wine (Meritage Blend) – one of my biggest surprises in the tasting. I never heard of Hendry name before – they mostly had being known as a grape growers for all other prestigious winemakers. But then at some point they started making wines, and I can tell you – it was very hard to pick only one favorite out of the outstanding lineup of wines. This is why you see two red mentioned here – both are very elegant, balanced and varietally correct (and reasonably priced!):

This concludes our journey through the great tasting of Michael Skurnik wines – there were hundreds of other wines worth mentioning, but – sometimes I have to sleep too, right? Thanks for reading and cheers!

  1. April 13, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Very nice wines there! Looks like a great tasting!

    • talkavino
      April 13, 2012 at 10:15 am

      Thanks for the comment! Yes, there were lots of great wines there – it was very hard to select just 12 out of many.

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