Home > rare grapes, wine, wine information, wine recommendations, Wine Tasting > Wine, Wine, Wine – Notes from Martin Scott 2018 Grand Portfolio Tasting

Wine, Wine, Wine – Notes from Martin Scott 2018 Grand Portfolio Tasting

November 6, 2018 Leave a comment Go to comments

Martin-Scott is one of the largest wine wholesalers (distributors) in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, with a very extensive portfolio well representing all major winemaking countries of the world. I had a pleasure to attend Martin-Scott portfolio tastings in the past, and they were always great with a lot of delicious discoveries. When I had an opportunity to attend the portfolio tasting about a month ago, I was very happy to be able to include it into my schedule.

I wrote about trade portfolio tastings many times in the past. They might seem a bit overwhelming, as you are presented with about 1000 wines and only 4-5 hours of time to taste them. At the same time, the range is incredible and you get an opportunity to expand your wine horizon and always find new favorites.

Here are my general impressions from the tasting:

  1. I know this is my pet peeve, and I keep talking about it at every occasion, but I have to say it again – new vintages of California reds are using way too much oak. There were lots of California reds from the 2015-2017 vintages which were literally not drinkable due to very high tannins content, to the point of your whole mouth getting numb. Unfortunately, some of the bigger Washington producers follow suit and also make over-oaked red wines. I really don’t understand this trend. Yes, using lots of new oak makes wine more expensive. But it doesn’t make it more enjoyable, for sure when it is young.
  2. White Burgundies are amazing. I rarely get to drink those wines for the variety of reasons, so I was literally blown away by the beauty and finesse of most everything I tasted. You will see this love expressed in the ratings below.
  3. South Africa produces some spectacular wines. Check the full list below to see what I really enjoyed.
  4. There are some excellent spirits made in … Sweden. You really need to taste them to believe them.
  5. I was able to add one more new (rare) grape to the collection – the grape called Souvignier-Muscaris from France.

Before I will inundate you with my brief notes, just a reminder for the trade tasting ratings I use. Considering the amount of time versus amount of wines, there is no way I can do much of the thoughtful analysis for a hundred plus wines I manage to taste. Thus I use the “+” signs, with “+++” meaning excellent. When I came up with this system, I really didn’t plan to go beyond “+++”, but you will see now “++++” and even “+++++” (very rarely – maybe one in the whole tasting) – you understand what it means. I also use “-|” as a half-point. The list below only includes wines with at least “+++” rating. As these are all new releases just coming into the stores, essentially all the wines on the list represent a “buy” recommendation – whatever you can find and afford. All prices below are an approximation of the suggested retail prices. I’m sure that the actual store price might be lower for many of those wines.

Now, I will leave you to it. Cheers!

 

Reds

Italy

2013 Michele Castellani Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Colle Cristi DOCG ($50, Corvina, Veronese, Corvinone, Rondinella, Molinara) – +++
2013 Michele Castellani Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Cinque Stelle DOCG ($70, Corvina, Veronese, Rondinella, Molinara) – +++-|
2010 Falchini Campora Toscana Rosso ($45, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot) – +++
2013 Elio Grasso Barolo Gavarini Chiniera DOCG ($65) – +++

Australia

2015 Elderton Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Barossa Valley ($22) – ++++, clean, classic
2013 Elderton Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Ashmead Barossa Valley ($70) – ++++
2015 Elderton Wines Shiraz Estate Barossa Valley ($22) – +++
2015 Elderton Wines Shiraz Command Barossa Valley ($85) – ++++, Smokey, beautiful

California

2014 Acumen Cabernet Sauvignon Mountainside Napa Valley ($52) – +++
2016 Cult Winery Cabernet Sauvignon California ($20) – +++, Lodi style with cloves and cinnamon
2015 Waterstone Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley ($32, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot) – ++++, superb, soft, approachable. Still, the rumor about the portion of Harlan fruit stands (was not passionately disproved).
2014 Caduceus Cellars Nagual de la Napa, Cochise County ($42, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon) – ++++, needs time!
2015 Ghost Block Cabernet Sauvignon Single Vineyard, Yountville ($80) – +++, needs time
2016 Ghost Block Zinfandel Pelissa Vineyard Oakville ($30) – ++++, clean, cloves, wow!
2014 Oakville Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Estate ($45) – ++++, can drink now
2013 Paloma Vineyard Merlot Spring Mountain Napa Valley ($55) – +++, nice
2015 Pride Mountain Vineyard Merlot Napa and Sonoma Counties ($52) – +++-|, nice, approachable
2014 Rudius Cabernet Sauvignon Savory Estate Vineyard Howell Mountain Napa Valley ($110) – +++, 200 cases produced
2014 Rudius Mourvèdre Bedrock Vineyard Sonoma Valley ($35) – +++-|
2015 Klinker Brick Cabernet Sauvignon Mokelumne River Lodi ($22) – +++
2013 Klinker Brick Zinfandel Old Vine Marisa Vineyard Mokelumne River Lodi ($32) – +++, excellent
2015 Old Ghost Winery Zinfandel Old Vine Mokelumne River Lodi ($40) – +++-|, dark, concentrated
2014 Smoking Gun Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley ($38) – ++++, excellent, round, great fruit, best CA wine in the tasting
2013 Fort Ross Pinotage Fort Ross Vineyard Sonoma Coast ($35) – +++, very nice!

France

2016 Domaine Jean et Gilles Lafouge Auxey-Duresses Rouge ($30) – +++
2014 Domaine Jean et Gilles Lafouge Auxey-Duresses Rouge 1er Cru Climat du Val ($32) – +++
2016 Maison Chanzy Rully Rouge En Rosey ($20) – +++, sage, rocks
2016 Maison Chanzy Mercurey Rouge Les Caraby ($28) – +++, rich
2015 Domaine de Montille Beaune 1er Cru Les Sizies ($65) – +++
2014 Domaine de Montille Corton Clos du Roi Grand Cru ($75) – +++
2015 Domaine Michel Gros Hautes Cotes de Nuits Rouge ($30) – +++-|
2015 Domaine Michel Gros Nuits-St. Georges ($55) – ++++, beautiful
2015 Domaine Laurent Pere et Fils Bourgogne Rouge MCMXXVI ($35) – ++++-|, might be my most favorite Red in the tasting

Other:

2015 Barboursville Vineyards Cabernet Franc Reserve Barboursville, Virginia ($25) – +++, nice, clean, restrained
2014 Quinta do Crasto Douro Red Reserva Old Vines ($35) – +++
2016 Hogan Wines Divergent Red Swartland South Africa ($40, Carignan, Cinsault, Cabernet Sauvignon) – ++++, clean, old world Bordeaux blend
2013 Sadie Family Wines Columella Syrah Mourvèdre Swartland South Africa ($85, Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Cinsault) – +++
2016 Bianchi Famiglia Malbec Mendoza ($18) – ++++
2015 Enzo Bianchi Red Blend Mendoza ($50) – +++-|, needs time

Sparkling:

2013 Gusbourne Estate Blanc de Blancs Kent, England ($60) – ++++, very good, crisp
NV Champagne Le Mesnil Brut Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs ($35) – +++, excellent, complex
2009 Champagne Leclerc Briant Extra Brut Millésime ($60) – +++-|
NV Champagne Leclerc Briant Brut Rosé ($60) – +++-|

White:

California

2015 Wilson Foreigner Albariño Rorick Vineyard, Sierra Foothills ($30) – +++-|, perfume, closer to Viognier, not to Albariño
2016 Fiddlehead Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Goosebury Happy Canyon Santa Barbara ($30) – +++
2016 Pride Mountain Vineyards Chardonnay Napa Valley ($38) – +++
2017 Klinker Brick Albariño Mokelumne River Lodi ($15) – +++

South Africa

2017 De Wetshof Estate Chardonnay Bon Vallon Robertson ($18) – ++++, beautiful, clean Chardonnay – a steal at the price
2016 De Wetshof Chardonnay Bataleur Robertson ($28) – ++++, another beautiful Chardonnay
2015 Savage Wines White Western Cape ($40, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Chenin Blanc) – ++++, wow! Gunflint, exceptional, a class of its own
2016 Hogan Wines Chenin Blanc Swartland ($45) – +++
2014 Sadie Family Wines Palladius White Blend Swartland South Africa ($80) – +++

France

2015 Domaine La Colombette Souvignier-Muscaris ($9) – +++, great value, and a new grape – Souvignier-Muscaris
2016 Domaine Jean et Gilles Lafouge Auxey-Duresses Blanc Les Hautes ($40) – +++
2016 Maison Chanzy Rully Blanc En Rosey ($20) – +++
2016 Maison Chanzy Mercurey Blanc Les Caraby ($28) – +++, nice, complex
2015 Maison de Montille Rully Blanc Le Champonniere ($30) – +++-|, gunflint, acidity!
2015 Maison de Montille Montagny 1er Cru Les Coeres ($34) – ++++, gunflint, acidity!
2015 Maison de Montille Saint-Romain ($32) – ++++, gunflint, nice, softer than the previous two
2015 Domaine Jean-Noel Gagnard Chassagne-Montrachet Blanc 1er Cru Les Caillerets ($100) – ++++-|, wow, might be my most favorite white of the tasting
2015 Domaine Jean-Noel Gagnard Chassagne-Montrachet Blanc 1er Cru Morgeot ($45) – +++
2016 Domaine Patrick Javillier Meursault Les Tillets ($55) – ++++, beautiful
2015 Château de Puligny-Montrachet Bourgogne Blanc Clos du Château de Puligny-Montrachet Monopole ($30) – +++-|, nice, clean
2015 Château de Puligny-Montrachet Puligny-Montrachet ($58) – ++++, great acidity
2015 Château de Puligny-Montrachet Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Folatieres ($100) – ++++
2015 Domaine de Montille Bourgogne Blanc ($30) – +++-|
2015 Domaine de Montille Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Le Cailleret ($125) – ++++, excellent
2017 Pouilly-Fumé Château de Tracy ($25) – ++++
2017 Domaine Hubert Brochard Sancerre Tradition ($25) – +++
2016 Domaine Hubert Brochard Sancerre Aujourd’Hui Comme Auterfois Non-Filtré ($20) – +++
2016 Domaine Laurent Cognard Montagny 1er Cru Les Bassets ($35) – +++, acidity!
2016 Domaine Laurent Cognard Montagny Clos de Vieux Château 1er Cru ($45) – ++++, nice
2016 Domaine Blain-Gagnard Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot Blanc 1er Cru ($80) – ++++
2016 Domaine Gagnard-Delagrange Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru La Boudriotte ($80) – +++
2016 Domaine Xavier Monnot Meursault Les Chevalières ($65) – ++++
2015 Domaine Xavier Monnot Meursault 1er Cru Les Charmes ($90) – ++++, acidity and butter

Spirits:

Darroze Armagnac Domaine de Couzard-Lassalle 1998 ($85) – +++, excellent
Domaine du Coquerel Calvados VSOP ($40) – ++++
Spirit of Hven Organic Navy Strength Gin ($55, grains) – +++, excellent
Spirit of Hven Organic Summer Spirit ($35, wheat, elderflowers, rhubarb, bitter orange, apples, botanicals) – +++, delicious
Spirit of Hven Organic Swedish Aquavit ($45, wheat, caraway, botanicals) – +++, one of the biggest surprises – never been a fun of Aquavit, but this was one delicious spirit
Spirit of Hven Swedish Single Malt Whisky ($100, chocolate, peated and lager malt) – +++-|, another big surprise – it tastes like a classic Speyside malt. Superb.

  1. November 6, 2018 at 9:29 am

    I’m always impressed by your ability to take notes, rate in such quick format. Summary is very helpful too! Cheers!

    • November 6, 2018 at 9:30 am

      You are very kind, my friend. It is fun! Hope we would do it together one day!

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s