Month in Wines (and Whiskeys and …) – November 2013
Talking about wines, there were two clear standouts – Pinot Noir from South Africa and white Burgundy, but generally, there were quite a few good wines. Here we go:
2010 Clos du Val Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley (13.5% ABV) – nice round fruit, good acidity, hint of cassis on the nose and palate, soft tannins, light and balanced. 8-
2009 Chamonix Pinot Noir Reserve Franschhoek South Africa (13.5% ABV) – phenomenal. Muscular, powerful, intimidating – it attacks you with the dark smoky fruit right from the first sniff. An extremely pronounced gunflint, which has an effect of the light on the moth – you just can’t stop smelling this wine. Dark power on the palate, intense, dense, structured, full bodied and shameless. 9-
2008 Basel Cellars Merriment Estate Red Wine Pheasant Run Vineyard Walla Walla Washington (14.57% ABV) – Nice Bordeaux-style blend. Lots of depth, dark fruit, firm structure, good acidity and balance overall. 8-
2007 Mount Palomar Charbono Temecula Valley, California (13.2% ABV) – Mount Palomar is one of my all times favorite producer from the Temecula Valley. This wine was probably at it’s peak. Perfect nose of ripe raspberries. Raspberries and blueberries on the palate, dark chocolate, medium to full body, overall welcoming and heart-warming. Perfect. 8+
2011 Siduri Pinot Noir Sonoma County (13% ABV) – nice and clean. Beautiful nose of light cherries with a touch of herbal notes, a sage profile. Light, perfectly integrated fruit on the palate – fresh cranberries and tart cherries, nice underpinning of a touch of mint and sage. Easy to drink and delightful. 8
2010 Cala de Poet Maremma Toscana IGT, Italy – total surprise from Trader Joe’s considering the price of $5.99. Dark plums and herbs on the nose, tart raspberries, eucalyptus and dark chocolate on the palate, firm structure and nice tannins, very balanced. 8-
2012 Cecilia Beretta Brut Millesimato Prosecco Superiore Coneglian Valdobbiadene DOCG, Italy (11% ABV) – another surprise from Trader Joe’s – tiny refreshing bubbles, notes of fresh apple on the nose, round and roll-of-your-tongue on the palate with more of the fresh apple and yeast notes. Excelllent sparkling wine (and a great value at $9.99). 8-
2013 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau (12% ABV) – Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau literally gets better and better every year. Young, fresh and inviting on the nose, with lots of juicy cherries. Very concentrated on the palate, with good, tightly knit, firm body, fruit and acidity fully in check, excellent balance. 8-
2004 Jade Mountain Syrah Napa Valley (14.6% ABV) – this was a total surprise. It was my last bottle from the case, and couple of the previous bottles were hinting that they are getting past prime. When I saw this bottle (unexpectedly) on the wine cabinet’s shelf, the first thought was “oops”. The first sniff and the first sip immediately proved me wrong. Fresh, dark fruit on the nose, same on the palate – nice, round, supple blackberries, dark chocolate, touch of espresso, full body, integrated tannins, overall excellent balance. Now I wish I had more left. 8
2003 Neyers Cabernet Sauvignon Neyres Ranch – Conn Valley Napa Valley (14.5% ABV) – one of my favorite cabernet Sauvignon wines. A classic, cassis nose with a touch of bell peppers. Dark fruit on the palate, more cassis with some blackberries, round, warm and supple. Full body, acidity and tannins are in check. Excellent balance. 8
2006 Clos Pepe Estate Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills, California (14.5% ABV) – Dark garnet color, nice touch of smoke on the nose, cherries. Classic California Pinot Noir. Fresh cherries on the palate, medium to full body, round tannins and acidity. Drinkability: 8
2005 Domaine Laleure-Piot Pernand-Vergelesses AOC, Burgundy (13% ABV) – I have no idea how this bottle ended up in my cellar. I also had no expectations, as previously I had bad luck with older white Burgundies. Boy, what a treat this wine was! Pale yellow in the glass, hint of an apple and gunflint on the nose. Touch of vanilla and more fresh apples on the palate, round, inviting, effervescent but perfectly present. Delicious! 8+
Whew, done with wines!
Regarding the whiskeys – I already had a separate post about them, but I want to specifically include them here:
Catskill Distilling Company Wicked White Whiskey – this is six-grain (corn, wheat, buckwheat, rye, smoked corn, malt), un-aged whiskey. Absolutely spectacular nose and flavor – complete impression of delicate single-grape grappa with round sweet fruit and all around delicious. You have to taste it to believe it.
Catskill Distilling Company Most Righteous Bourbon (70% corn, 20% rye, and 10% malt) – round, clean, caramel, butterscotch, all perfectly balanced together. One of the best bourbons I ever tasted.
Catskill Distilling Company One and only Buckwheat (80% buckwheat, 20% small grains) – unique and different. Nose is absolutely unusual, reminiscent of sun flower oil. Viscous, roll-of-your-tongue delicious concoction. Great complexity, another drink you have to taste to believe it.
Last but not least – Gin! Yes, I know – if you ask an audience of 10 “who likes Gin”, you might be lucky if you will get one enthusiastic “yes”. However, this Gin was truly something else.
Caledonia Spirits Barr Hill Gin, locally produced in Vermont, made out of Juniper berries and honey – absolutely spectacular on the nose and the palate, with the refreshing scent of juniper berries and a touch of honey sweetness. Perfect balance. Ability to convert people – two of the gin haters became gin lovers after they tasted this nectar. If you will have an opportunity – find it and taste it for yourself, and let me know if you will become a convert too.
And we are done here. If you tasted any of the wines and spirits I mentioned – don’t be shy, and comment away. And just as a feature preview, the next up in the “best wines” posts is my personal Top Dozen wines of 2013. Don’t miss it… Cheers!