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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Domaine des Perdrix Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Aux Perdrix

Domaine des Perdrix

Domaine des Perdrix is a small estate with vines covering numerous appellations within the Cote de Nuit. The two that draw the most attention and interest from most burgundy lovers being the wine coming from a large parcel of Grand Cru Echezeaux and the monopole of Aux Perdrix in Nuits-St-Georges. Gamecock garnet is rather appropriate to describe the vibrant colour of this burgundy. A chocolaty floral nose grabbed our attention followed on the palate with concentrated yet acidic dark cherry, berry and coco. New oak is integrating nicely, providing a window for classic burgundian secondary development characteristics.

Domaine des Perdrix Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Aux Perdrix 1998:
A rich colour, vibrant garnet red with good intensity of hue. Very ripe on the nose, with primary aromas of dark summer berries, predominantly blackcurrants, with some cocoa-rich chocolate and mushroom notes. Quite full on the palate, with a firm, muscular texture, strong acidity and some good tannins. There's lovely, fresh, acidic fruit as well. Overall fairly simple at present, but structured, well balanced and displaying plenty of promise. I have previous vintages of this wine cellared, including the superb 1996.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Clos du Chene vert 2004 Charles Joguet Chinon

Clos du Chêne vert 2004

The attack is straightforward and ample; the mouth, somewhat austere for the moment, reveals a well present tannic structure, with fruit masked by the imposing structure.
The still biting tannins need training time.
Impressive presence and persistence in the mouth, with a spicy finish complete with hints of menthol.
Some time in the oak will refine this robust substance.
Dated April 29, 2005

Tasting advice
Keep it quiet in a good cellar until 2010-2012.
Will keep until 2015.

Comment on the vintage and the 2004 harvest
Rarely has the word “balance” described a vintage so perfectly as it does the 2004: the sugar/acid duo reached what is almost an ideal level, thanks to a very generous month of September that excelled itself, as it often does, to make up for a very rainy August.
For the Cabernet Franc, the 2004 harvests kicked off on October 1, ending on October, 18.
Harvesting took place in excellent conditions the first week, although some sporadic cloudburst followed, making life a bit harder for our fifty harvesters, who finished their work in rather difficult conditions!
The quality of the harvest remained intact: it was even almost perfect, with potential degrees oscillating between 12° and 13.5°, depending on the plot.
The harvest is uniform, with yields around 48 hl/ha (or 1 950 litres per acre), appreciably more than last year.
Overall, the harvest is thus significant in volume and of excellent quality: it brings to mind 1990 in terms of quantity and maybe even 1996 for balance, with doubtless more density than these last two great vintages.
The Chenin Blanc of Clos de la Plante Martin was harvested on October, 18, the very last day, and in one pass, as the weather was deteriorating, leaving no hope for any over-ripeness. This will thus be a traditional dry wine, a lovely and classic Loire Chenin.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Selene sauvignon Blanc Hyde vineyard 2004

Selene Wines
USA, Napa Valley

Varietal Composition:

100% Sauvignon Blanc (Musque selection)

Hyde Vineyards is located in the Carneros Region of Napa between Highway 12 and Old Sonoma Road. This is a relatively warm part of the Carneros, since it’s further from the cooling influences of fog and wind from nearby San Francisco Bay. It also has good elevation above sea level, making the soils lighter in clay with better drainage. Selene has been sourcing grapes for this wine from Hyde Vineyards since 1992.

In 2004 Napa enjoyed an early, warm spring. More often than not, vintages with early, consistently warm springs turn out to be really good ones. In other words, when you’re in shorts for most of March and April, things are setting up for a very nice vintage. Our Sauvignon Blanc set a particularly small crop and we began picking ripe, concentrated Sauvignon Blanc from the two 1103 Paulsen Blocks in late August. We finished up with the Own-Rooted Block in early September.

Grapes are whole-cluster pressed and the juice is transferred into both new French oak and stainless steel barrels for fermentation. The wine remains there on primary lees, gaining complexity, until March, when it is racked and bottled. We make no acid additions and the wines undergo no malolactic. Just that pure juice flavor straight to the bottle.

Tasting Notes:
This vintage definitely has a stone fruit bent to it, with lots of apricot, nectarine, and peach. The aromas also show ripe pear and Granny Smith apple, along with the usual suspects, honeysuckle, and stony mineral character that evolve with time in the glass. The flavor concentration and intensity come through very clearly in the mouth, with the wine showing the rich viscosity and good acidity that wine drinkers have come to expect from Selene Sauvignon Blanc.

“Smooth, rich and plush, with layers of fig, melon, citrus and hay flavors, all sharply focused and finishing with excellent depth and concentration.”

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Chateau de Beaucastel red wine

Chateau de Beaucastel
Chateauneuf du Pape

The result of the effort and innovation of three generations of the Perrin family is clearly evident when one has the pleasure of tasting a good vintage of Chateau de Beaucastel at its peak. If one word can describe the red wines of Beaucastel it must be "pure": pure because they are the natural expression of the earth and the grapes from whence they came. In this case the vineyard is a patchwork of all 13 permitted grape varieties, 70 hectares in all. The soil is the same porous, aerated blanket of Alpine diluvium (rounded stones) on a base of Miocene marine limestone that exists elsewhere on the estate. The vines are on average 50 years old and yields are never more than 30 hectolitres per hectare and often much less. It is a vibrant and healthy vineyard due to years of organic cultivation and close monitoring of the needs of each vine.

The red wine of Beaucastel as with Coudoulet de Beaucastel is a structured, intense yet lean drink, thanks in part to the large percentage of Mourvedre - about 30% - in the final cuvée. Its austere tannic backbone and resistant to oxidation help Beaucastel age gracefully. Grenache (30%) contributes a warming sensation of ripe fruit and a velvety feeling in the mouth. Syrah at 10% and Muscardin and Vaccarese with around 5% each add colour, spicy aromatics and increase the wines ageing potential.

5% Cinsault is added for softness and its special bouquet. The remainder is made up of small quantities of the seven other varieties permitted in Chateauneuf du Pape. They are the grace notes that add the extra level of complexity which make Chateau de Beaucastel such an extraordinary wine. Once the flash heating method, as described on the first page of the brochure, has been accomplished, Beaucastel Rouge follows a more or less classic vinification. Most of the varieties are fermented separately until the malolactic is completed at which point they are "assembled" after exhaustive tastings.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Champagne Jacquesson Avize Grand Cru 1996

Avize Grand Cru 1996


Lying at the heart of the Côte des Blancs on the lower slopes of the Grand Cru village of Avize can be found the lieux-dits of La Fosse, Némery and Champ Caïn. Jacquesson's three parcels on these south-east facing sites were planted to Chardonnay between 1962 and 1983.

Here, Campanian chalk, made up of calcite granules coming from the skeletons of marine microorganisms, rises almost to the surface, above which the very shallow topsoil is permeable and prone to frost. Additionally, the poor nature of the soil necessitates the occasional addition of nutrients, which, as always at Jacquesson, are organic.

The climatic conditions in 1996 were marked by a rapid succession of highly contrasting weather patterns. Severe winter frosts, reaching close to -20ƒC in February, were followed by a grey, cold month of March, record high temperatures and sunshine hours in April, frosts and hailstorms in May, giving way to excellent weather in early June to start the flowering which finished after a brutal cold snap that ran from the 19th onwards. The months of July and August witnessed repeated bouts of fine weather, thunderstorms and hot and humid weather, all propitious to the development of botrytis, mildew and other diseases. Fortunately a persistent wind came to rescue the meticulous efforts of our vineyard team by preventing this humidity from lingering, thereby allowing the grapes to grow under good conditions. The same north wind dried the grapes during the mid-September rains with the result that the sugar content of the berries increased in a spectacular manner. Picking took place on 25th September in sunshine. Such an atypical year could only produce atypical must: the balance between alcohol and acidity was without precedent, combining 11 degrees of potential alcohol with an acid reading of 10 gr/l.

Vinified partly in 40 and 75 hectolitre oak casks and partly in tanks, the assemblage of our three parcels was bottled on 2nd and 3rd June 1997 to become Avize Grand Cru 1996. Disgorged at regular intervals, this wine receives a minimal dosage of 3,5 gr/l and creates a perfect match of the minerality of the terroir of Avize with the exceptional ripeness of the 1996 harvest.