The Wine Cellar Insider http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com Bordeaux Wine Guide, Wine Blog, Wine Tasting Notes, Wine Reviews, Wine Food Pairings, Winery Profiles, Buying tips, Images Fri, 24 Oct 2014 18:52:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9 2014 Bordeaux Harvest for Red WIne Grapes Taking Place Now http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/2014/09/2014-bordeaux-harvest-red-wine-grapes-taking-place-now/ http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/2014/09/2014-bordeaux-harvest-red-wine-grapes-taking-place-now/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 03:53:18 +0000 http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/?p=39389 This post first appeared in The Wine Cellar Insider

The 2014 Bordeaux vintage could be another year that was saved by Indian Summer conditions experienced in September.

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2014 Bordeaux Harvest

The 2014 Bordeaux harvest for the red wine grapes has officially kicked off. Growers in the Medoc and Pomerol are starting to harvest. I’m headed to Bordeaux. I’ll be in Bordeaux from Sunday, September 28, through Saturday, October 5. That is after a short stop in Barcelona to dine at one my bucket list restaurants, Celler con Roca! I am already counting the days.

OK… Back to our 2014 Bordeaux harvest report.

2014 Bordeaux could be another vintage that was saved by the belle of September, also known as an Indian Summer. July was wet and cool. August was not much better. But September 1 brought smiles to grower’s faces as they thrilled to see 10 straight days of unabated, warm, sunny weather. The warm weather helped dry the vineyards to some extent as rain once again dampened the region. By the middle of September, another week of warm, sunny dry weather came just in the nick of time. However, September 17 brought more rain. In Pomerol, more than 50mm of rain fell, (which is 2 inches for us Americans) over a 48 hour period.

In Pomerol, growers are harvesting their young Merlot vines. Some rain fell today. More rain is possible to fall tomorrow. From that point forward, for the rest of the week, conditions are better. Growers are looing forward to moderate temperatures and conditions at close to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, 21 Celsius, during the day. They are excited about the nice cool nights that drop to 49 degrees Fahrenheit, 9.5 Celsius. Grapes develop more acidity with the cool night temperatures. Although, with 2014 Bordeaux, growers are hoping for more sugars to develop, as the acidities are still a bit too high at the moment.

Bordeaux harvest picker with basket

Perhaps, the old “ask and you will receive” axiom is in play with 2014 Bordeaux vintage? Right now, growers in the Pomerol appellation are looking forward to the weekend when temperatures are forecast to deliver warm, sunny conditions with highs in the low 80’s Fahrenheit, 26 degrees Celsius. Most chateaux in St. Emilion are waiting for more ripeness to develop. Pomerol almost always harvests before St. Emilion, especially those growers with the cooler clay St. Emilion terroirs.

In the Left Bank, pickers are busy everywhere with their young vines. To the south, harvesting is taking place in Margaux, through St. Julien, Pauillac and even Montrose in St. Estephe is working on their young vines. Conditions are slightly better in the Medoc than in the Right Bank for the moment. There is no rain falling this week. Temperatures and conditions forecast for later in the week show that starting Saturday, several days of warm, sunny weather with highs in the low 80’s, 26 Celsius and nights in the range of 55 degrees Fahrenheit, 12.7 Celsius are predicted.

Most of the white wine harvest in Pessac Leognan is completed as estates are bringing in the last of their Semillon vines. Every wine maker we have spoken with is quite happy with their 2014 White Wine Grapes. But time will tell. Pessac Leognan chateaux are also busy bringing in their young Merlot vines as well.

It’s far too early to say how the 2014 Bordeaux vintage is going to turn out. The next week of warm sunny weather could really help add ripeness and increase sugar levels. Is it enough to overcome the moderate conditions experienced during the summer?

Besides, if we knew the quality and style of the 2014 Bordeaux wines now, what fun would the April tastings be?

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Manfred Krankl of Sine Qua Non Winery Improving After Motorcycle Crash http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/2014/09/manfred-krankl-owner-sine-qua-non-winery-severe-motorcycle-accident/ http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/2014/09/manfred-krankl-owner-sine-qua-non-winery-severe-motorcycle-accident/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 23:22:44 +0000 http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/?p=39405 This post first appeared in The Wine Cellar Insider

Manfred Krankl, the beloved owner and winemaker of Sine Qua Non has been severely injured in a motorcycle accident. Fortunately, his condition is improving every day.

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manfred Krankl Sine Qua Non Motorcycle

World famous winemaker, Austrian born, Manfred Krankl of Sine Qua Non was severly injured in a motorcyle accident. The accident took place September 18, 2014 in the Rose Valley area of Ojai California. No other vehicles were involved in the accident. Manfred Krankl was rushed by helicopter to the closest hospital suffering from severe, traumatic, head injuries. Manfred Krankl remains in critical condition. He is in a coma. According to comments from his wife Elaine Krankl, Manfred Krankl is stable and fortunately, he is expected to make a full, albeit slow and steady recovery.

In a post written September 24 on the website of Robert Parker, Elaine Krankl stated; “Manfred and I are deeply grateful for the outpouring of support and well wishes from our friends and loyal patrons across the globe. Manfred has been involved in a serious motorcycle accident, he is currently stable and improving. We are looking forward to Manfred making a full recovery.”

That good news brought smiles to many well wishers across the globe.

Manfred Krankl is one of the most talented, interesting winemakers there is. This is such sad news. I am more than certain, that thousands of his friends, supporters, customers and wine lovers all wish him, and his family the best.

Manfred Krankl is quite well-known as a long-time, serious and passionate motorcycle enthusiast. His love for motorcycles dates back years. In the Oak View, California area, where he and Elaine Krankl call home, Manfred can often be found on one of his Ducati bikes, featuring the number 62. He is also fond of racing bikes on the Laguna Seca race tracks.

Manfred Krankl, for the few of you that are not familar with him, is the best winemaker of Rhone grape varietals in America. He is also producing a stunning Chateauneuf du Pape with Philippe Cambie, “Chimere”.

What Manfred Krankl and Elaine are doing with Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre and other Rhone varieties at Sine Qua Non is nothing short of amazing. To keep things interesting, Sine Qua Non is about to release their first Petit Sirah! If that is not enough, Manfred Krankl is putting the finishing touches on a book, featuring all the artwork he has created for the dozens of unique bottles he has produced at Sine Qua Non since their debut release in 1994.

Their wine, Sine Qua Non is now so popular, the wait list to buy their wine takes years to get a spot. For those not fortunate enough to be a customer yet, their friendly brown postcards letting people know they care is a step beyond what other wineries do. The letters that accompany the twice a year offerings are some of the best wine writing out there.

I find reporting this news to be incredibly sad and honestly, I’m truly sorry to report this. However, Elaine and Manfred Krankl touch so many people with their wine and kindness, I am sure a lot of their friends and fans will want to know.

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International Grenache Day Celebration September 19 http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/2014/09/international-grenache-day-celebration-september-19/ http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/2014/09/international-grenache-day-celebration-september-19/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:00:45 +0000 http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/?p=39288 This post first appeared in The Wine Cellar Insider

On Grenache... "If Grenache doesn’t get FULLY ripe, it holds no interest. One can make some skinny-ass Syrah, which is en vogue among some. Syrah under those conditions might still hold some odd interest. But that is not the case with Grenache."

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Grenache Grapes on the vine

Friday September 19, 2014 is International Grenache Day. That means it’s time to pop a cork on a Grenache based wine you have been saving for something special. Not that you should need International Grenache Day to open a bottle of wine. I know I don’t. By the way, September 19 is not only for International Grenache Day. It’s also talk like a Pirate day! I wonder how many people will combine wine with Pirate talk? Talk about a paring. I suppose with a few bottles opened, this could happen more than we think. OK everyone, you are on notice. Not only should you open a bottle of wine for International Grenache Day, try and blend that with talk like a Pirate day too!

One of the great things about wines made with Grenache is that most of those wines drink well at all points in their life too. This is perfect for today’s world. But Grenache needs to be phenolically ripe, which is something Manfred Krankl of Sine Qua Non agrees on.

Manfred Krankl “If Grenache doesn’t get FULLY ripe, it holds no interest. One can make some skinny-ass Syrah, which is en vogue among some. Syrah under those conditions might still hold some odd interest. But that is not the case with Grenache.

I love Grenache! There, I said it. And not just because it’s International Grenache Day. After Bordeaux, Chateauneuf du Pape is the wine region I spend the most time in, and on. I am also a fan of Grenache from California. Any taster can easily see the differences between the wines produced from each country. I could endeavour to explain the differences with my fingers perched precariously about the keyboard at the moment. But with Manfred Krankl available, why not ask him? He should know as he not only makes what many consider the best Grenache wine from California, he is also involved in producing perhaps the most in-demand new wine from Chateauneuf du Pape, “Chimere,” (which is made from Mourvedre) in a partnership with Philippe Cambie plus Vincent and Pascal Maurel from Clos Saint Jean

According to Manfred Krankl, it all starts in the vineyard with the soils, climate and farming techniques for the grapes.

Manfred Krankl “The soils tend to be very different. There are the famous gallets (large stones) in Chateauneuf that are nowhere to be found in California that I know of. Although there are also many areas in the Chateauneuf appellations that do not have the famous rocks. Some soils have quite a bit of clay and others have a lot of sand. Then we have of course relatively different climates, albeit people tend to think they are fairly similar.”

Grenache is the world’s second most widely planted grape varietal used to produce wine. Grenache grows well in Spain, Australia, Languedoc-Roussillon and California. For me, even though Grenache is quite successful in many wine regions, Grenache reaches its best expression in Chateauneuf du Pape. Grenache, with its think skin and tight clusters is perfect for the hot, dry, sand and stone soils of the Southern Rhone Valley appellation of Chateauneuf du Pape. In the Southern Rhone Valley, there are numerous wines and winemakers to chose from making outstanding Grenache based wines in a myriad of styles:  Chateauneuf du Pape Wine Producer Profiles

Philippe Cambie, one of the most important and influential figures working in Chateauneuf du Pape knows Grenache. But what does Philippe Cambie look for in a wine?

Philippe Cambie – “At its best, Grenaches must express the black fruit, cherry, licorice and especially a beautiful oiliness. The wines can be kept for 20 years, and always keep these notes of spice and white pepper.”

Grenache Day International

Baptiste Grangeon from Domaine de Cristia, a well-known, popular producer in Chateauneuf du Pape seeks elegenace in the wines he prefers. He finds that quality not just in Chateauneuf du Pape either.

Baptiste Grangeon – Domaine de Cristia “The signature of Grenache is the sweetness, elegance and finesse in the wines. Even with high level of alcohol, we always get the balance in the mouth, especially in Chateauneuf du Pape. As for Grenache wines from other areas, I also like the wines from Spain, Roussillon and maybe California, some are unbalanced.”

Jeb Dunnuck is the only taster out there, skilled enough, and with the necessary amount of temerity to take over from Robert Parker in the Rhone Valley. Jeb Dunnick writes about all things Grenache as the new reviewer for Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. Jeb seeks hedonistic and intellectual gratification. Two imperative qualities I want in a wine as well.

Jeb Dunnuck – The Wine Advocate “I look for wines that have fantastic aromatic complexity as well as rich, voluptuous textures that never come across as heavy or cumbersome. To me, Grenache has the rare ability to deliver both hedonistic and intellectual gratification. The fact that it can be relatively approachable in its youth and has a broad drink window is just icing on the cake.

CNDP 5

Grenache as you know is successful all over the world. But it really shows its best in Chateaneuf du Pape. Of course that is made possible by the terroirs, which are in part, created by the climate. As Manfred Krankl produces wine in the “Golden State” and the Southern Rhone Valley, he is the perfect person to explain the differences in the climatic variations between both regions.

Manfred Krankl “Both areas are warm and sunny, but Chateauneuf has much longer daylight and thus more sun accumulation on a daily basis accompanied by warmer evenings and nights. This means that typically that Grenache in Chateauneuf is harvested earlier than in many places in California. On the other hand Chateauneuf seldom gets the potentially extreme heat spikes we experience in California, with 2003 being a notable exception of course. Put all this together and the grower has to work quite differently with his vines. Virtually all Grenache in Chateauneuf is head trained bush vines, whereas in California most Grenache is still trained via a cordon. Grenache in California tends to be harvested very late, often at the end of October and not too infrequently even into November. This means we have to have sufficient leaves to get us through that long hang time. In California, we need to irrigate quite unlike what takes place in Chateauneuf. In most growing seasons, we don’t get a single drop of rain. In California, we are often concerned with the potential of extreme heat as well as eventually getting poor weather at the end of the growing, ripening season.”

With all that in mind, how does that manifest itself in the fruit between what is harvested in Chateauneuf du Pape versus California?

Manfred Krankl “How this all manifests itself in the fruit and eventually in the wine is difficult to say. Each producer has his/her own style or system. But let me just say this, I am not and have never been concerned about how much our Grenache might be like a Chateauneuf du Pape. I think of it as California Grenache and I hope that it expresses itself that way. I am a huge fan of Chateauneuf du Pape and think many of the greatest wines are made there. But I also love what California Grenache can be. It’s just cloaked in a different robe.”

Domaine Giraud in Chateauneuf du Pape has been on fire since 2007. The wines keep getting better and better. 2010 Giraud Les Gallimardes is one of the best 2010 Southern Rhone wines I tasted. They also produced some of the top 2012 wines in my recent tasting report we just published. According to Marie Giraud, Grenache is not an easy grape to work with.

Marie Giraud – Domaine Giraud “Grenache is a demanding grape. It can be quite difficult to control. When the berries are ripe, the wines are powerful, fine and complex with a lot of fruit.”

Marie Giraud is of course partial to Chateauneuf du Pape for Grenache, but according to Marie, that is no the only area where Grenache shines.

Marie Giraud “I really like the Grenache based from Priorat in Spain and Paso Robles in California as well.”

The ability for Grenache based wines to express themselves in their precocious youth, as well as with bottle age is part of their charm. That quality is not shared with most other grape varietals, not even Pinot Noir, according to Manfred Krankl of Sine Qua Non.

Manfred Krankl – Sine Qua Non “The line I have used a thousand times, somewhat sarcastically of course is, ‘Grenache delivers what Pinot Noir promises’. To me, a great Grenache, maybe particularly so from California, has these gorgeous, fruit forward, perfume(y) aromatics – somewhat reminiscent of a great Pinot Noir. It has a feminine, silky texture – also somewhat akin to a top flight Pinot. But unlike many Pinot Noirs, Grenache also has this full, mouth-coating, all enveloping and long palate presence. In other words the nose and the palate are in synch delivering a cascade of pleasure. That is, or perhaps SHOULD be, the character of California Grenache. It doesn’t just wink at you, but then NO DICE. It delivers the goods.”

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2012 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Speciale Wines Offer Nice Surprises http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/2014/09/2012-chateauneuf-du-pape-cuvee-speciale-wines-offer-nice-surprises/ http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/2014/09/2012-chateauneuf-du-pape-cuvee-speciale-wines-offer-nice-surprises/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 13:06:11 +0000 http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/?p=39234 This post first appeared in The Wine Cellar Insider

Every vintage offers surprises and 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape is no exception. There are some true gems with a few wines that are so good, they transcend the vintage.

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The 2014 Chateauneuf du Pape harvest is in full bloom. Growers are picking all over the Southern Rhone Valley. The conditions for picking have been good so far. It’s been sunny and warm until recently in Chateauneuf du Pape. Some rain started to fall which turned into a minor rain storm as gorwoers were close to finishing their harvest. It looks like temperatures are going to drop a bit over the next few days. On the positive side, one thing we know for certain is growers will have a lot more wine with the 2014 vintage. 2014 could be the biggest cropfor the region since 2007. After 2013, this is welcome news. But, as the old saying goes, it’s not over until it’s over. And it ain’t over yet! In other words, it’s far too soon to discuss the 2014 vintage as the grapes have not even fully arrived at the cellars. While it’s too early to know much about 2014, it’s not too early to talk about the recently bottled 2012 Chateauenuf du Pape wines I tasted in late June.

Drinking wine is fun. Tasting wine is almost as much fun. But trust me on this, tasting a single vintage in one day is a lot of work. It’s taxing on your palate and concentration. Often, it’s the surprises encountered during the tasting that keep you awake and focused becuase those wines really stand out. I really like the style of 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape wines with thier freshness, clean, silky fruits and forward personality. Some domaines were not as successful as I had hoped. Others made strong wines and a vew producers turned out sublilme efforts.

With the 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape wines, alcohol levels for most producers were in the 14%-14.5% range instead of 15% and over. For tasters that did not enjoy the richer, more alcoholic wines from 2009 and 2010, this is vintage they should enjoy. The wines are easy to drink and even easier to like. While they lack the concentration of years lke 2010, they are fresh, pure and charming. My previous report from last week looked at the regular 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape wines. There were definitely some wines that merited buying. In this report, there are also wines well worth taking a look at. At their best, there are estates that made 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape wines that transcend the vintage. In fact, a few wines really stood out and made an impression, due to their supple, open style and character. As you will see, there are definitely some 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape wines worth taking a serious look at.

The following 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape wines were tasted in June during a visit to the region.

2012 3 Cellier Eternelle – A hint of wood, kirsch and spice are coupled with silky textures and the essence of fresh, sweet cherries. The wine was produced from 100% old vine Grenache. 92 Pts

2012 3 Cellier Cuvee Privilege – Produced from a blend of 54% Syrah, 29% Grenache, 11% Counoise, 4% Mourvedre and 2% Vaccarese, the wine reached 15% alcohol. Medium bodied, silky and smooth, the freshness in the red berries and soft textures carries through. 90 Pts

2012 Barroche Pure – Kirsch, kirsch and more kirsch are tasted in the waves of sweet, ripe, luscious, silky layers of fruit. From almost 100% old vine Grenache. 93 Pts

2012 Bastide Saint Dominique Secrets de Pignan – Plush, polished and pure, this spicy, fresh wine leaves a sweet, impression of concentrated kirsch on the palate. Made from 100% old vine Grenache. 93 Pts

2012 Bastide Saint Dominique Les Hesperides – Finesse driven in style, showing sweet fruits with a solid depth of flavor in the red berry dominated wine. Produced from a 50/50 blend of Mourvedre and Grenache. 91 Pts

2012 Beaurenard Boisrenard – Burnt wood, spice, incense and kirsch notes create the nose. The soft, round fruits and crisp, smoky berries on the palate make it even better. While the blend is mostly Grenache, the wine features various amounts of all 13 varietals. 93 Pts

2012 Berthet Rayne Cuvee Fut de Chene – Medium bodied, fresh filled with spicy black raspberries, the wine was produced from 65% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre and 5% Counoise. 89 Pts

2012 Berthet Rayne Cadiac – With a mineral driven core of fruit, the wine is fresh, expansive and rich in texture. 90 Pts

2012 Bois de Boursan Cuvee des Felix – Floral, black cherry and licorice notes, silky textures and a blast of ripe, sweet, fresh, polished red fruits shine through the round textured finish. From a blend of 65% Grenache, 25% Mourvedre, 5% Cinsault and 5% Syrah. 91 Pts

2012 Bosquet des Papes Chante le Merle Vieilles Vignes – Sensuous layers of sweet red fruits, spice and kirsch lay the groundwork for the elegant, ripe, spicy, round finish. Using 85% Grenache, 10% Syrah and 5% Mourvedre, the wine reached 14.5% alcohol. 95 Pts

2012 Bosquet des Papes A la Gloire de mon Grand-Pere – With a good depth of plum and kirsch on the mid palate, the spicy finish follows through. From mostly old vine Grenache, 2% Cinsault was added in for good measure. 93 pts

2012 Brotte Secrets de Barville – Medium bodied, peppery plums and garrigue deliver a fresh presence on the palate. 90 Pts

2012 Boutiniere Grande Reserve – Sweet, round, long, spicy and fresh, this bright red berry wine will be best to drink young. 88 Pts

2012 Caves Saint Pierre La Tiare Imperiale – Soft, silky, sweet and fresh, the peppery dark cherries stand out. 92 Pts

2012 La Celestiere La Croze – Fresh and fleshy, with a sweetness to the dark, peppery red fruits, the wine lingers and refreshes. Made from 100% old vine Grenache, the wine reached 15% alcohol. 90 Pts

2012 La Celestiere Les Domaines – Polished and peppery, the fruit is deep, sweet, ripe, spicy and rich. The wine was produced from a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Mourvedre. 91 Pts

2012 Cellier des Princes Les Hauts des Coteaux - Medium bodied and easy to like, the wine was made in a soft, early drinking, open, finesse style. This is the top wine from the Chateauneuf du Pape cooperative. 88 pts

2012 Clos du Caillou Les Safres – Lots of ripe, round textured, peppery, black raspberries, kirsch and spice are found from start to finish in this rich wine. With Grenache making up most of the blend, 2% Cinsault, 2% Syrah and 1% were added for good measure. 91 Pts

2012 Clos du Caillou Les Quartz – With freshness in its character, the ripe, red and juicy black fruits stand out with their spicy qualities and polished textures. There is no sensation of heat in the 15.5% alcohol finish. The wine was produced from a blend of 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah. 93 Pts

2012 Clos du Caillou Reserve – There is a purity of fruit that leaves a long impression here. This is made even better with the freshness, length and silky tannins that push along the spice and ripe berry driven finish. This will be fun to age. The blend of 60% old vine Grenache and 40% Mourvedre reached 16% alcohol with no sensation of heat. 95 Pts

2012 Clos du Mont Olivet Cuvee du Papet – Charming in every way, the fruit has a polished texture and freshness that never seems to dissipate or lose its fresh, lush qualities. Produced from a blend of 75% old vine Grenache, 15% Mourvedre and 10% Syrah, the wine reached 15% alcohol. 93 Pts

2012 Clos Saint Michel Cuvee Reservee – Soft red fruits, medium bodied, forward and approachable. 89 pts

2012 Charbonniere Mourre des Perdrix – Soft, elegant and refined kirsch and spicy finish came from a blend of 70% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre and 15% Syrah. 92 Pts

2012 Charbonniere Les Hautes Brusquieres – Good color, with silky tannins, freshness, and ripe, zippy, pepper black and blue fruits are already open and ready for business. From 60% Grenache 39% Syrah and 1% Counoise. 92 pts

2012 Charbonniere Vieilles Vignes – Supple, soft fruits with intensity and depth, sweet, ripe tannins and a spicy, lush character in finish. From a blend of 90% Grenache and 10% Mourvedre, the wine reached 15.5% alcohol. 93 pts

2012 Cristia Vieilles Vignes – Notes of vanilla bean, juicy ripe berries and fennel create the perfume. The silky tannins and a long, spicy, black and blue fruit ending make this a treat. From 100% old vine Grenache, the wine reached 14% alcohol. 92 Pts

2012 Duseigneur Joanna – Medium bodied, polished and smooth, the wine focuses on its fresh, spicy, kirsch and fresh herb personality. 90 Pts

2012 Eddie Feraud Cuvee Les Raisins Bleus – Supple, clean and fresh, there is a sweetness in the ripe kirsch and licorice finish that stands out. With 95% old vine Grenache and the remainder of the wine coming from different varieties, the wine reached 15% alcohol. 91 Pts

2012 Fontavin Terre d’Ancetres – Medium bodied, spicy red fruits and good freshness are found in this forward styled wine that was produced from a blend of 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah. 90 Pts

2012 Fontavin David et Goliath – There is a blast of oak in the nose that is made better by the lusty, plush, supple fruits on the palate that was produced from a blend of 95% Grenache and 5% Syrah. 91 Pts

2012 Font de Michel Etienne Gonnet – Using 70% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre and 15% Syrah produced a wine with sweet red fruits, garrigue, pepper and spice, turning this into a silky, forward, charmer. 92 Pts

2012 Font de Michelle Elegance de Jeanne – From 100% old vine Grenache, the wine is balanced and elegant, with soft, layers of ripe red berries that shine through. This is very sweet and refined. 92 Pts

2012 Fortia Cuvee du Baron – Ripe kirsch, freshenss and spice continue into the peppery, cherry finish. From a blend of 44% Grenache, 44% Syrah and 12% Mourvedre. 90 Pts

2012 Gardine Cuvee des Generations – Polished and supple, with soft tannins and a rich, velvety, cherry and kirsch center. Using an almost equal blend of Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah, the wine reached 15% alcohol. 92 Pts

2012 Gigonan Cardinalice – Spicy, candied red berries, polished silky textures and freshness leaves a solid impression. Made from a blend of 90% Grenache, 5% Mourvedre and 5% Syrah, the wine reached 14.5% alcohol. 91 Pts

2012 Grand Tinel Alexis Establet – Refined, polished and silky, with freshness in its kirsch core that really stands out in the finish. Made from 100% old vine Grenache. 92 Pts

2012 Giraud Les Grenaches de Pierre – Silky, clean and pure, the fresh peppery kirsch notes of the 100% old vine Grenache expand in the lush textured, pure finish. One of the stars of the vintage. 95 Pts

2012 Janasse Chaupin – Silky, polished and fresh, the fruit is sweet, ripe and supple in texture, with a vibrant quality. Made from 100% old vine Grenache, the wine reached 15.5% alcohol. 94 Pts

2012 Janasse Vieilles Vignes – With a serious depth of flavor, the wine is rich, long and deep, finishing with layers of ripe, sensuous, peppery, sweet black raspberries and pepper. This is a very good wine in any vintage, but it’s a real superstar in 2012! From a blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre and 10% Syrah, the wine reached 15.5% alcohol. 96 Pts

2012 Juliette AvrilCuvee Maxence – Medium bodied and all about its sweet, fresh, kirsch quality and silky textures in the forward finish. Produced from 100% Grenache. 90 Pts

2012 L’Or de Line Cuvee Paule Courtil – Silky, lush and long, there is sweetness and depth of flavor in the ripe, spicy fruit filled core. From a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Mourvedre, the wine reached 15% alcohol. 91 Pts

2012 Marcoux Vieilles Vignes – Purity and elegance are seldom paired together as well as this. The fruit is ripe, sweet and fresh, with the right amount of spicy tannins in the mix. This stellar wine was produced from 100% old vine Grenache which reached 15% alcohol. 96 Pts

2012 Mas Saint Louis Louis Arpents des Contrebandiers – With a good depth of color, the spicy, kirsch filled wine is complicated by licorice, pepper and plum in the finish. 91 Pts

2012 Le Mas Saint Louis Grande Reserve – Spicy, clean and fresh, this modern styled cuvee delivers a blast of juicy freshness in the finish. 90 Pts

2012 Mathieu Vin di Felibre – Crisp, peppery and fresh, the deep kirsch core is really singing. 91 Pts

2012 Mathieu Marquis Anselme – Supple and polished, the wine is rich, soft and velvety in texture. With 85% old vine Grenache, 8% Mourvedre and the remainder of the wine coming from a field blend of different grape varieties, the wine reached 15% alcohol. 90 Pts

2012 Maucoil Esprit de Maucoil – Silky, fleshy, sweet and long, there is a nice quality to the melange of kirsch and dark red berries in the wine. 91 Pts

2012 La Nerthe Cuvee des Cadettes – Oaky, supple and rich, there is good sweetness, flesh and charm in the modern styled, lush, polished, smoky fruit. This should be better once the oak integrates. Produced from a blend of 39% Syrah, 37% Grenache and 22% Mourvedre. 91 Pts

2012 Ogier Heritages – Plush and polished, there is a wealth of sweet, ripe berries and jam in every sip and swallow. Blending 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre and 5% Cinsualt, the wine reached 15% alcohol. 91 Pts

2012 Panisse Revelation – Smoky, truffle scents, polished, rich textures and a deep, ripe, dark, sweet, fruit filled finish. From 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah, the wine reached 14% alcohol. 90 Pts

2012 Pere Caboche Elisabeth Chambellan – Sweet strawberry jam, plum and silky cherries make their presence known and remain from start to finish in this medium bodied charmer. 90 Pts

2012 Peres de L’Eglise Heritage – Fleshy fresh, clean and packed with sweet, juicy kirsch, licorice and herbs. 91 Pts

2012 Ronciere Flor de Ronce – Fresh, soft and polished, dark, red fruits and silky tannins make this a very nice wine. 90 Pts

2012 Saint Paul Cuvee Jumille – Medium bodied, forward, finesse in style with good freshness and textures in its delicate, cherry finish. 89 Pts

2012 Saint Prefert Reserve Auguste Favier – Juicy kirsch notes, silky textures and sweet, spicy fruits in the finish. Produced from a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Cinsualt, the wine reached 15% alcohol. 93 Pts

2012 Serguier Revelation – Spicy, sweet, black raspberries are concentrated and deliver a ripe and fresh sensation. 91 Pts

2012 Solitude Barberini – Long, fresh, spicy, ripe and sensuous, with depth a flavor on the long finish. Slightly modern in style, but I liked it. 90 Pts

2012 Tour Saint Michel Cuvee du Lion – Black cherry liqueur, rich textures and a wave of licorice coated, black cherries in the sweet, finish. Made from a blend of 75% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 5% Mourvedre, the wine reached 15% alcohol. 92 Pts

2012 La Tour Saint Michel Feminessance – Deep in color, with a touch of wood and ripe dark berries, creates a fleshy, sexy, plush, concentrated wine that lingers in the finish. From 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah, the wine reached 15.5% alcohol with no touch of heat. 93 Pts

2012 Pierre Usseglio Cuvee Mon Aieul – Sweet, peppery goodness, ripe, juicy plum, kirsch and licorice notes stay with you. This 100% old vine Grenache wine is just going to get better and possibly even better from here. 94 Pts

2012 Raymond Usseglio Cuvee Imperiale – Peppery, dark red berries, kirsch and ripe, black and blue fruits on the palate deliver their luscious goods. The wine was produced from 90% Grenache and assorted other allowable grape varietals. 93 Pts

2012 Raymond Usseglio La Part des Anges – Deep in color to match the depth of flavor, this rich, concentrated wine is packed with supple, ripe and super ripe black cherries. From a Mourvedre dominated blend, the remaining 30% is made from 20% Grenache and 10% Syrah. 94 Pts

2012 Vaudieu Val de Dieu – Elegant, polished, sweet and fresh, the wine serves up a richly textured, spicy, peppery, kirsch finish. Blending 75% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre and 10% Syrah produced a wine that reached 15% alcohol. 91 Pts

2012 Vaudieu Amiral G – Earthy in character, the wine is all about the sweet, soft and spicy, fresh core of fruit and licorice. With lusty textures and layers of sweet fruits, the wine is long, clean and fresh. This 100% old vine Grenache based wine will be better with a few years of age. 93 Pts

2012 Vieille Julienne Reserve – Deep in color, with a floral, earthy, dark red berry perfume. Elegant in style, with a long, fresh, ripe finish that brings its plumy notes all the way through from start to finish. This is a compelling example of Chateauneuf du Pape that has to be a contender for the wine of the vintage. 97 Pts

The post 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Speciale Wines Offer Nice Surprises was originally published in The Wine Cellar Insider.

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2012 Chateauneuf du Pape Tradition Regular Cuvees Already Showing Well http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/2014/09/2012-chateauneuf-du-pape-tradition-regular-cuvees-already-showing-well/ http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/2014/09/2012-chateauneuf-du-pape-tradition-regular-cuvees-already-showing-well/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 10:32:15 +0000 http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/?p=38813 This post first appeared in The Wine Cellar Insider

2012 Chateauneuf du Pape wines are lush, forward, open, elegant, silky and stylish. They deserve to be tasted and enjoyed while waiting for some of the more recent big vintages to come around.

The post 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape Tradition Regular Cuvees Already Showing Well was originally published in The Wine Cellar Insider.

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This post first appeared in The Wine Cellar Insider

2012 Chateauneuf is a good, but not great vintage. The style of wines however, is a turn on. They are not massive, super ripe, highly alcoholic or intensely tannic, concentrated wines. Instead, they are lush, elegant charmers with good color that will drink well young. There is a freshness and purity in the fruit that really comes through. You can enjoy them while you wait for the 2010′s to come around.

The first wine of any tasting gets you going. To some, it gets the juices flowing like the smell of napalm in the morning. This is a good thing because unbeknownst to me, ona warm day in June, I was faced tasting close to 200 Chateauneuf du Pape wines in one day. If that sounds like a lot of wine to you, trust me on this, it looks even scarier when the corks are popped and that army of bottles stands in front of you. By 9:30 in the morning, after my one and only espresso kicked in, I dug in and started tasting wine.

I have close to 75 more 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape wines to report on. Those are the high end, cuvee especiale wines. I should have that published in a few days. There are some very nice wines in that report and a few outstanding wines that 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape wines that transcend the vintage.

2012 DOMAINE LA BARROCHE SIGNATURE – Peppery kirsch, with good freshness, juicy fruits and a supple textured, spicy, black raspberry finish. From a blend of 65% Grenache, 16% Mourvedre, 13% Syrah, 5% Cinsault and 1% other varietals, the wine reached 15% alcohol. 92 Pts

2012 BARVILLE BROTTE – Soft and sweet, there is a spicy quality to the lush black raspberry filled wine that keeps you focused. 90 Pts

2012 Bastide Saint Dominique – Soft, elegant and approachable, there is good freshness to the sweet, ripe cherry core. From a blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre and 5% Cinsault, the wine reached 14.5% alcohol. 90 Pts

2012 Beaucastel – Earthy with dark red berries, luscious textures and dense, ripe, fresh fruits. There is a blast of cocoa with juicy, spicy black and red fruits on the back end. This has length, character and the ability to age. 94 Pts

2012 DOMAINE DE Beaurenard – Blending 70% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre, 5% Counoise and 5% Cinsault, the wine reached 14.5% alcohol. With a complex nose of herbs, fennel and earthy red fruits, the wine is soft, plush and round, ending with a sweet, juicy, red fruit. 91 Pts

2012 MAISON LOUIS BERNARD – Candied licorice and cherry tones, medium bodied and ending with a short, but sweet kirsch note. 87 Pts

2012 DOMAINE BERTHET-CAPEAU ELIXIR DES PAPES – From 100% Grenache, the wine is supple, soft and filled with black raspberries and garrigue. The peppery kirsch tasted in the end note is a treat. 90 Pts

2012 DOMAINE Berthet Rayne – With the essence of wild strawberries, this finesse styled wine is packed with freshness and pure cherries in the finish. 89 Pts

2012 DOMAINE DE LA BISCARELLE – Spicy red fruits, with a peppery core, this forward styled zippy, wine will drink best young. 88 Pts

2012 BLAGDEN & GONNET LE BOIS POINTU – Spicy red berries with licorice overtones, dried cherry and dusty tannins are found in this wine. 86 Pts

2012 DOMAINE LA BOUTINIERE – Finesse styled, with bright red fruits that finishes with light, sweet cherries. 87 Pts

2012 DOMAINE BOIS DE BOURSAN – 5 spice, incense and black cherries led off the wine. There is good freshness and intensity in the mid palate and finish. Give it a few years to develop more complexity. From a blend of 70% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre and 10% Counoise, the wine reached 14.5 alcohol. 91 Pts

2012 DOMAINE DU BOIS DE SAINT JEAN – This 100% Grenache wine is medium bodied and finesse styled with an open, easy going red berry character. 90 Pts

2012 DOMAINE DU BOSQUET DES PAPES TRADITION -Soft, silky and smooth, the red fruits are sweet, polished and filled with spice with freshness. This is quite nice. From a blend of 75% Grenache, 12% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre and 3% Cinsault. 92 Pts

2012 MAISON BOUACHON LA TIARE DU PAPE – Medium bodied with a strong spicy quality, there is a touch of dryness in the red berry finish. 87 Pts

2012 DOMAINE LES CAILLOUX – 5 spice and red fruits are quickly followed by a medium bodied, elegantly styled, sweet, ripe, spicy, kirsch filled wine. The wine was produced from a blend of 65% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, 12% Syrah and 3% Cinsault. 90 Pts

2012 Caves Saint Pierre – With good color, the wine serves up roasted, sweet, spicy fruits with a supple, maraschino cherry core. 88 Pts

2012 LA CELESTIERE TRADITION – Lush and lusty, sweet dark red fruits and spice are all over the place. From a blend of Blending 55% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre and 15% Cinsault. 89 Pts

2102 DOMAINE 3 Celliers ALCHIMIE – Sweet, dark red berries, silky textures and a refined, medium bodied, polished, fresh, cherry finish. 88 Pts

2012 CELLIER DES PRINCES – Medium bodied, soft and forward, the wine serves up a clean, sweet, strawberry and balsamic finish. 84 Pts

2012 CELLIER DES PRINCES DOMAINE LE MOURRE – From 100% Grenache, the wine reached 15% alcohol and delivers sweet, red fruits, spice box and peppery notes. There is good freshness to the fruit that shows from start to finish. 88 Pts

2012 Cellier des Princes LES ESCONDUDES - This medium bodied wine of pleasure delivers ample kirsch tones, hints of cocoa powder, spice and fresh herbs. 87 Pts

2012 Chante Cigale – Spicy red fruits and silky tannins finish with a dose of sweet juicy, polished, peppery fruits. The wine was made from a blend of 65% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre and 5% Cinsault, the wine reached 14.5% alcohol. 90 Pts

2012 LES CLEFS D’OR – Smooth, with sweet ripe cherries and herbs, the wine is easy to like and drink, especially if you like it on the young side. 88 Pts

2012 Clos de Brusquieres – From a blend of 60% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre and 10% Cinsault, the wine reached 15% alcohol. With fresh herbs, jam and sweet cherry scents the wine continued on that path all the way through to its soft kirsch finish. 90 pts

2012 Clos L’Oratoire des Papes – Truffle and fennel notes complicate the red fruits on the nose, before the soft, medium bodied, sweet cherry finish kicks in. The wine was produced from a blend of 80% Grenache, 8% Syrah, 7% Mourvedre and 5% Cinsault, and reached 15% alcohol. 90 Pts

2012 CLOS DES PAPES – Violets, red cherries, raspberry and spicy plum scents make up the perfume. On the palate, the wine is silky, lively and fresh, expressing sweetness in the fruit, round, voluptuous textures and purity of flavor. This is one of the best wines of the vintage. 96 Pts

2012 CLOS DU CAILLOU – Soft, ripe, sweet, spicy fruits taste good and feel even better on your palate from his Grenache dominated wine that was blended with 2% Mourvedre and reached 15% alcohol. 91 Pts

2012 CLOS DU MONT OLIVET – Black cherry liqueur in character, with peppery notes and garrigue, the wine is soft, lush and forward. From a blend 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 6% Mourvedre and 3% Cinsault, the wine reached 15% alcohol. 90 Pts

2012 CLOS SAINT MICHEL – Silky and lush, with loads of sweet ripe, earthy, chocolate covered cherries, the wine is plush and polished. The wine was made from a blend of 40% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre and 30% Syrah. 91 Pts

2012 DOMAINE DE LA CHARBONNIERE – From a blend of 70% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre and 15% Syrah, the wine serves a bushel of sweet ripe cherries in every sip, coupled with fresh herbs, licorice and pliant textures. 92 Pts

2012 DOMAINE COMTE DE LAUZE – Medium bodied, with good sweetness in its spicy fruits, drink this forward, round, fresh wine young. The wine was produced from a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah. 90 Pts

2012 DOMAINE LA CONSONNIERE – Fresh, sweet and lively, the wine retains its core of sweet red fruit all the way through. Produced from a blend of 90% Grenache and 10% Mourvedre the wine reached 15% alcohol. 90 Pts

2012 DOMAINE LA CRAU DES PAPES – Medium bodied, mineral driven, smooth and soft, there is good freshness in the red fruit filled finish. 88 Pts

2012 DOMAINE DE CRISTIA – With smoke, licorice and kirsch on the nose, the wine is plush, polished and ends with a rich, round, ripe wave of spicy black cherries. From a blend of 70% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre and 15% Syrah. 91 Pts

2012 DOMAINE DUSEIGNEUR CATARINA – Polished, juicy black cherries and rich plums with the right amount of sweetness, earth and spice. 89 Pts

2012 DOMAINE LA FAGOTIERE – Sweet, fresh raspberries in a lighter styled wine will show best in its youth. 85 Pts

2012 Eddie Feraud – Medium bodied, with a light fresh, cherry character, this spicy wine will drink well on release. 88 Pts

2012 DOMAINE ISABEL FERRANDO COLOMBIS - A mélange of fresh, sweet, ripe red berries and spices are at the front of this wine. It’s sweet, spicy, fresh character leaves a good impression on the nose and an even better one on palate. A few years will add more to this 100% Grenache wine. 92 Pts

2012 Fines Roches – Medium bodied, easy drinking, open styled wine with fresh kirsch on the nose and palate. 87 Pts

2012 Font de Michel – Medium bodied, with garrigue and fresh, sweet red berries in the nose, the wine is soft, textured, the fruit is ripe and as it’s already open, it’s delicious today. From 70% Grenache and assorted varieties, the wine reached 15% alcohol with no sensation of heat. 91 Pts

2012 CHATEAU DE LA FONT DU LOUP – Peppery kirsch sensations coupled with silky textures and a spicy, black raspberry finish. From a blend of 65% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre, 15% Syrah and 5% Cinsault. The wine reached 15% alcohol. 91 Pts

2012 DOMAINE PUY ROLLAND FONT DU LOUP VIEILLES VIGNES – Strong garrigue notes mesh with red and black raspberry tones. This medium bodied, peppery wine is already serving up the goods in this 100% Grenache wine. 90 Pts

2012 CHATEAU FORTIA TRADITION -Earthy in its essence, everything is correct and in the right place, but there is a lack of excitement. 88 Pts

2012 DOMAINE LUCIEN GABRIEL BARROT LA SOUSTO – Jammy black raspberries are fond in this medium bodied wine that ends with an elegant, soft, red plum note. 87 Pts

2012 CHATEAU DE LA GARDINE – Fresh, dark, ripe berries, herbs and spice are present all the way through until the kirsch finish kicks in. Blending 65% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre, 114% Syrah and 1% Muscardine produced a wine that reached 14.5% alcohol. 88 Pts

2012 Gigonan CLOS DU ROI – Ripe black raspberries with an array of spices, freshness with a peppery finish in an early drinking style. 88 Pts

2012 DOMAINE GIRAUD PEMICES – Fresh cut herbs and crushed red fruits combine to produce a sweet, silky, kirsch filled wine of pure, forward drinking pleasure. 90 Pts

2012 DOMAINE GIRAUD TRADITION – From a Syrah heavy blend of 60% Grenache, 35% Syrah and 5% Mourvedre, there is a mineral component that comes through, along with fennel, fresh herb, plum and cherry tones. On the palate, there is a mouthful of sweet, fleshy, fresh red fruits and spice that lingers. 92 Pts

2012 DOMAINE DU GRAND TINEL – Blending 80% Grenache with 20% Syrah produced a rich, ripe and easy to drink wine with an essence of fresh, peppery, dark, lush, red berries. 91 Pts

2012 Grandes Serres LA COUR DES PAPES – Minty, with a touch of oak, this is a polished, supple textured, modern styled wine. 89 Pts

2012 LES GRANDES SERRES LE DOMAINE -Licorice, black cherry and oak on the nose, this richly textured wine serves up a juicy layer of ripe, black cherry jam in the finish. 89 Pts

2012 Husson LES SAUMADES – Medium bodied, with a floral character in the red fruit, the wine is open and accessible. 87 Pts

2012 Albin Jacumin – A juicy blast of sweet, ripe, fresh, peppery red fruit delivers from start to finish. From a blend 75% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre and 5% Cinsault, the wine reached 14.5% alcohol. 88 Pts

2012 DOMAINE DE LA JANASSE – Using 70% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre and 15% Syrah in the blend, the nose pops with garrigue, mint and kirsch. On the palate, lush, layers of fresh, sweet, ripe cherries and spice carry through. 92 Pts

2012 CHATEAU JAS DE BRESSY – Silky, smooth and polished, the fruit with its ripe, spicy qualities really stand out in this Grenache dominated blend. 91 Pts

2012 Juliette Avril – This is a medium bodied, simple, fresh red berry charmer that will be best in its youth. 87 Pts

2012 DOMAINE L’ABBE DINE – Spicy, peppery and filled with ripe red fruits, the soft, forward wine ends with a cherry griotte finish. 89 Pts

2012 DOMAINE LAFOND ROC-EPINE – More interesting on the palate than the nose with its fleshy, ripe, concentrated, jammy black cherries and spice personality. 90 Pts

2012 MAISON LAVAU -Sweet and spicy berries, medium bodied and open, the wine finishes with a blend of fresh herbs and peppery cherries. From a blend 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre, the wine reached 14% alcohol. 87 Pts

2012 DOMAINE PATRICE MAGNI SENSATION – Medium bodied, soft and floral in nature, this early drinking wine serves up an elegant, fresh, raspberry and spice finish. 88 Pts

2012 DOMAINE DE MARCOUX – Spicy red cherries, with a purity of fruit, elegant textures and a sweet, fresh, pure kirsch finish that is already showing their stuff. 91 Pts

2012 Mas Saint Louis – Medium bodied, sweet and spicy, this elegantly styled, Grenache dominated wine will drink best young. 88 Pts

2012 Mathieu – The earthy, animalistic nose pairs well with the round, spicy, dark fruits and jam offered in this wine. Produced from 80% Grenache and assorted other varietals, the wine reached 15% alcohol. 89 Pts

2012 CHATEAU MAUCOIL – A round blast of ripe, spicy black cherry and spice come out of this blend of Blending 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre and 10% Cinsault, the wine reached 14.5% alcohol. 90 Pts

2012 MAISON GABRIEL MEFFRE SAINT THEODORIC – Silky, soft ripe berries, good freshness and sweet, red fruits are tasted all the way through. 88 Pts

2012 MAISON GABRIEL MEFFRE LAURUS – Luscious in character, with ripe, sweet, spicy berries and jam, the ripe fruits really show well. 90 Pts

2012 DOMAINE DE LA MILLIERE VIEILLES VIGNES – Blending 60% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre, 10% Cinsault and 10% Counoise, the wine reached 14.5% alcohol A blast of garrigue and kirsch, with soft, sweet, ripe, juicy red fruits that stick with you. 90 Pts

2012 CHATEAU MONGIN – Oak, along with dark, sweet ripe berries and round textures are in evidence, but the oak does not fade into the fruit. 87 Pts

2012 DOMAINE DE LA MORDOREE LA REINE DE BOIS – Deep in color, with just a hint of oak along with the flowery, spicy, jammy, smoky, black raspberry filled perfume. Sweet, sexy, lush and plush, the fruit is ripe, sensuous and fresh. This will probably rise in score as the wine ages and the oak integrates. Made from a blend of 80% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, 5% Vaccarese, 2.5% Counoise and 2.5% Syrah, the wine reached 15% alcohol with no touch of heat. 94 Pts

2012 CHATEAU MONT THABOR – Sweet cherry and garrigue filled the air. The wine offers ample richness, intensity and lush textures and ample freshness. Produced from a blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre and 5% Cinsault, the wine reached 15.9% alcohol. 91 Pts

2012 CHATEAU LA NERTHE – Vanilla and black cherry are found in this ripe, plush, modern, creamy style of Chateauneuf du Pape. From a unique blend of 44% Grenache, 27% Syrah. 14% Mourvedre and 5% Cinsault, the wine reached 14% alcohol. 89 Pts

2012 L’Or de Line – Licorice, fresh herbs, cherry and earth make up the aromas. In the mouth the wine is fresh, open, round and lively. 89 Pts

2012 MAISON OGIER SAFRES – Earthy, with sweet, ripe fruits, round textures, spice and A forward style, this is already nice to taste. 89 Pts

2012 MAISON OGIER ECLATS CALCAIRES – Garrigue and fresh red fruit aromas open to a polished, soft, fresh, red cherry dominated wine that can be enjoyed young. 88 Pts

2012 MAISON OGIER GRES ROUGES – Earthy, rustic, ripe red fruits and spice, with a sweet core of fresh red berries in the center. Even though it’s young, it’s already delicious. 90 Pts

2012 Ogier Caves de PapesGALETS ROULES – Floral notes with sweet cherries, medium body and a crowd pleasing easy drinking style. 88 Pts

2012 DOMAINE DU PERE CABOCHE – Medium bodied, soft, elegant and refined, this is a Burgundian styled Southern Rhone without the acidity. 88 Pts

2012 Peres de L’EgliseLE CALICE DE SAINT PIERRE – Sweet, fresh cherries and floral notes make their way into the elegant, polished, medium bodied, cocoa and raspberry finish. 87 Pts

2012 DOMAINE PONTIFICAL – From a blend of 80% Grenache, 5% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre, 5% Cinsault and 5% Counoise, the wine reached 14.5% alcohol. With a nose of Kirsch, fennel and ripe, sweet raspberries, the wine moved quickly to its smooth, open, forward, red berry finish. 88 Pts

2012 Porte Rouge – Medium bodied, soft and accessible, the sweet red fruits are easy to find in this Grenache dominated blend. 87 Pts

2012 MAISON RAVOIRE ET FILS OLIVIER RAVOIRE – Oak, licorice and waxy red fruits combine to produce a soft, easy drinking, medium bodied wine with a kirsch finish. 88 Pts

2012 DOMAINE REVEIROLLES – The peppery black cherry essence, coupled with its forward personality makes this an easy to like, early drinking wine. 86 Pts

2012 CHATEAU DE RUTH CUVEE EMILE – From 100% Grenache, this is all about its finesse style. The wine serves up fresh kirsch and herbs and be best enjoyed in its youth. 88 Pts

2012 Saint Paul – Jammy black cherries and licorice form the basis of the sweet, fresh, polished wine. Produced from a blend of 75%Grenache, 20% Syrah and 5% Cinsault, the wine reached 15% alcohol. 89 Pts

2012 DOMAINE SAINT PREFERT CUVEE CLASSIQUE – Licorice, kirsch, flowers and peppery aromas get you ready for the soft, sweet, ripe, multiple layers of fresh, black raspberries in the mid palate and finish. 90 Pts

2012 Saint Roch – Sweet and silky, this medium bodied wine delivers freshness in its cherry and plum finish. 40% Produced from 40% Grenache and equal parts Mourvedre and Syrah, the wine reached 14.5% alcohol. 88 Pts

2012 Saumades – Medium bodied, fresh and sweet, the round, ripe cherry and cocoa center really stand out. 89 Pts

2012 DOMAINE LES SEMELLES DE VENT – From 100% Mourvedre, the wine is spicy, peppery, medium bodied and offers a nice black raspberry essence. 87 Pts

2012 DOMAINE SERGUIER – The earthy berries, medium body and elegant, fresh, kirsch are already open and showing their charms. Drink this on the young side. 87 Pts

2012 CHATEAU SIXTINE – Supple, polished and spicy, with a blast of fresh, jammy black raspberry, pepper and herbs in the finish. 40% Grenache, 35% Mourvedre and 25% Syrah make up the unique blend. 91 Pts

2012 CHATEAU SIXTINE MANUS DEI – Easy drinking, medium bodied with black peppery fruits. 87 Pts

2012 DOMAINE DE LA SOLITUDE – Garrigue and kirsch pop with little effort. This is made even better with the supple textured, peppery cherries in the finish. 89 Pts

2012 Cuvee des Sommelieres – Red fruits with a distinctive floral accent, the wine is medium bodied, soft and elegant, finishing with sweet, spicy kirsch notes. 89 Pts

2012 Tour Saint Michel CUVEE DES DEUX SOEURS – With 90% Grenache and 10% Mourvedre, the medium bodied, silky wine has a core of ripe, spicy cherries and spice that is already showing well. 90 Pts

2012 DOMAINE PIERRE USSEGLIO & FILS – Using 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre and 5% Cinsault produced a wine with an array of flowers, licorice, red berry and spicy scents. The wine delivers a wave of fresh cherries and fennel in the finish. 92 pts

2012 DOMAINE RAYMOND USSEGLIO – Licorice, dark cherry and spice notes open to a forward, black raspberry dominated wine with soft tannins and juicy black plums in the finish. With a blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre, 5% Syrah, 3% Cinsault and 2% Counoise, the wine reached 14.8% This will be better with a few years of age. 90 Pts

2012 CUVEE DU VATICAN – Spicy and fresh, the kirsch flavors show off its essence of Grenache. 88 Pts

2012 CHATEAU DE VAUDIEU – Medium bodied and elegantly styled, there is a good sweetness and fresh character to the polished, peppery, ripe red fruits on the palate. Made from a blend of 75% Grenache and 15% Syrah, the wine reached 15% alcohol. 91 Pts

2012 PIERRE VIDAL- This modern Chateauneuf du Pape serves up a medium bodied, oak and raspberry center with a soft, polished finish. 87 Pts

2012 VIEILLE JULIENNE LES TROIS SOURCES – Sweet plum, spice and garrigue open to a medium/full bodied, fresh, spicy, black cherry filled wine and fresh, open, fruit filled personality that is already fun to drink and should get even better with age. 93 Pts

2012 VIEILLE JULIENNE LES HAUTS LIEUX – Juicy plum, black cherry and kirsch, with supple textures and sweet, spicy, round black cherry notes really take off in the open, plush textured, spicy finish. 94 pts

2012 DOMAINE DU VIEUX DONJON – Roses, kirsch and spice create the nose. The wine is fresh, supple and invigorating with its peppery, kirsch and spicy blackberry essence. The wine was made from a blend of 75% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah and 5% Cinsault. 92 pts

2012 LES VINS DE VIENNE LES OTELIEES -Easy drinking, soft, styled wine with a focus on ripe plum and sweet black cherry fruit. 87 Pts

The post 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape Tradition Regular Cuvees Already Showing Well was originally published in The Wine Cellar Insider.

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2014 Bordeaux Harvest for the White Wine Grapes has Officially Started http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/2014/09/2014-bordeaux-harvest-white-wine-grapes-officially-started/ http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/2014/09/2014-bordeaux-harvest-white-wine-grapes-officially-started/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 12:32:08 +0000 http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/?p=38623 This post first appeared in The Wine Cellar Insider

The warm jolt of heat and sunshine from September 1 seems to be continuing. September 2, Chateau d’Yquem began harvesting the grapes for their dry, white wine, Y. Several growers in Pessac Leognan are picking this week as well.

The post 2014 Bordeaux Harvest for the White Wine Grapes has Officially Started was originally published in The Wine Cellar Insider.

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Bordeaux White Wine Grapes Harvest

The 2014 Bordeaux vintage is off and running. The 2014 Bordeaux harvest officially started September 1 for the white Bordeaux wine grapes in Pessac Leognan, Entre Deux Mers and in other appellations as well. The start for the 2014 Bordeaux harvest for the red wine grapes is still three to four 4 weeks away. As of today, the white wine harvest in Bordeaux is in full bloom.

The 2014 Bordeaux harvest for the dry white Bordeaux wines got off to a slow start last week. As we mentioned, a few growers began working on their young vines Sauvignon Blanc vines Septemebr 1. September 2 saw Chateau d’Yquem begin harvesting the grapes for their dry, white Bordeaux wine, Y. The next morning, September 3, some more vintners in Pessac Leognan began their harvest as well with their young, Sauvignon Blanc vines. In fact, Chateau Haut Brion as usual was the first to start picking that day, literally, as they prefer to harvest before daybreak. Semillon, which takes more time to ripen is harvested later.

One of the first estates to start picking in Pessac Leognan is often Chateau Carbonnieux. They started harvesting September 3. Benoit Trocard is harvesting his second vintage of Chardonnay at Clos Dubreuil. Yes, you heard that right, Chardonnay.

At Valandraud in St. Emilion Murielle Andraud and Jean Luc Thunevin are picking their Sauvignon Gris.

Chateau Pape Clement just started picking their Sauvignon Blanc vines planted close to the Chateau. They are now working on their Sauvignon Gris as well. Jeanne Lacombe of Pape Clement does not think they will harvest the Muscadelle or Semillon until next week. When asked about the quality of the grapes, Jeanne Lacombe stated, “The analyses shows a good balance between sugar, acidity and pH in the berries. We should have great whites this year. That is if the weather stays with us and we can avoid rot. However, we aare a little concerned by the high temperatures and warm nights forcast for this week.”

White Bordeaux Grape harvest

At Smith Haut Lafitte, September 4 saw some harvesting of their young Sauvignon Blanc vines. But they do not expect to really delve into picking until today or September 10. According to Fabien Teitgen, “The potential of our white Bordeaux wine at Smith Haut Lafitte in 2014 has a good base with a good level of acidity. But we need to find more maturity and more concentration.”

Not everyone is harvesting their white Bordeaux wine grapes yet. Helene Garcin at Haut Bergey is still waiting for her fruit to develop more ripeness. Helene Garcin said, “At Haut Bergey we have not started picking yet. We are waiting until later in the week.” When asked about the current September conditions, Helene Garcin was enthusiastic, “It’s looking good with all the sun and warmth so far for our 2014 Bordeaux crop.”

At Malartic Lagraviere, the white wine harvest is continuing at a good pace. They should be picking thier Semillon about September 22. Jean Jacques Bonnie is happy with the crop and thinks this has a lot to do with the conditions in September. “Regarding the quality, it is showing very well. Indeed we had a quite cool month of August which preserved very well the aromas. Then the exceptional month of September made the ripeness come very fast getting to it with very good acidity. The wines should be wide and at the same time tensed by the acidity: the perfect balance!”

In Barsac, at Chateau Coutet, Aline Baly expects to start picking the fruit for her dry white wine, Opalie de Chateau Coutet by the later part of next week. We spoke with Aline Baly about the conditions and potential for botrytis for her sweet wines. “Our Semillon is of a magificient golden colors. Since yesterday the morning mist is present. This should encourage and accelerate the presence of botrytis. We estimate a start of our harvest at the end of September.”

Sadly, the recent loss of three legendary figures in Bordeaux this year, Philippine de Rothschild, Jacques Boissenot, and earlier this year, Christine Valette of Troplong Mondot weighed heavily on many vintners minds

On the positive side, yields for 2014 Bordeaux are going to much higher than what we saw last year. This will please growers who suffered from some of the lowest yields in 40 years with the 2013 Bordeaux vintage and are looking forward to having more wine to sell. Conditions have been mixed for the 2014 Bordeaux vintage due to intermittent periods of cool temperatures and a bit too much rain. Even though conditions have varied, and its still too early to know how things are going to finally turn out for the 2014 Bordeaux vintage, 2014 Bordeaux is going to be a much better year than the more than difficult 2013 vintage experienced last year.

However, once September rolled in, a blast of warm sunny weather is exactly what the doctor ordered. This is certainly going to help the grapes gain greater levels of maturity. But it’s always important to keep in mind that the growing season and quality of the red wine grapes and the white wine grapes in Bordeaux in any given year are often completely different.

That being said, the warm jolt of heat and sunshine that started September 1 continued for the week before cooler temperatures and more rain fell. Still, that week is going to make a difference in the quality of the fruit. The weather forcast shows warm conditions for the week.

Based on currrent conditions, many growers in the Cabernet Sauvignon dominated Left Bank expect to begin picking by the end of September. Pomerol should start harvesting close to that date as well. Depending on the producer, in St. Emilion growers could begin harvesting by the start of October.

The post 2014 Bordeaux Harvest for the White Wine Grapes has Officially Started was originally published in The Wine Cellar Insider.

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Bordeaux News Alain Vautheir of Chateau Ausone buys Chateau La Clotte http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/2014/09/bordeaux-news-alain-vautheir-chateau-ausone-buys-chateau-la-clotte/ http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/2014/09/bordeaux-news-alain-vautheir-chateau-ausone-buys-chateau-la-clotte/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 09:02:16 +0000 http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/?p=38683 This post first appeared in The Wine Cellar Insider

With the 2014 Bordeaux harvest set to kick into high gear, Alain Vautheir, best known as the owner of Chateau Ausone, along with Pauline Vauthier added to their portfolio of St. Emilion chateaux with the addition of Chateau La Clotte.

The post Bordeaux News Alain Vautheir of Chateau Ausone buys Chateau La Clotte was originally published in The Wine Cellar Insider.

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This post first appeared in The Wine Cellar Insider

2013 Ausone St. Emilion

In a bit of breaking Bordeaux news, shortly before the 2014 Bordeaux harvest is set to hit full speed, it was announced that Alain Vautheir, best known as the owner of Chateau Ausone, along with Pauline Vauthier added to their portfolio of St. Emilion wineries with the addition of Chateau La Clotte. Alain Vauthier and his family already owns Chateau Fonbel, Chateau Moulin St. Georges, Simard and Haut Simard, as well as Ausone.

Chateau La Clotte is an insider’s wine. It is purchased by many wine makers in the Right Bank, due to its stylish character and fair prices. However, Chateau La Clotte is a family affair, which is managed by three women, Dominique Tord, Odile Plantade and Nelly Moulierac. Even though all three women were the face of Chateau La Clotte, Nelly Moulierac was usually the most visibile of the three cousins. Nelly Moulierac has retained a minor portion of the estate as an investment and will continue to live in the house on the property, which has one of the best views in St. Emilion.

Together, the three women, who are also cousins, have been the face of Chateau La Clotte for several years. The Grand Cru Classe vineyard of Chateau La Clotte has been discreetly offered for sale for several months. While many vintners were interested in purchasing La Clotte, the owners were not willing to sell to just the highest bidder. Part of their desire was for the Chateau La Clotte brand to continue. However, at this much money per hectare, one cannot help but think that at some point, the vines would eventually be used to produce Chapelle de Ausone, which sells for close to 300% more money than Chateau La Clotte trades for today.

The property has been in the hands of the same family for more than 100 years. The Grailly family, the owners of Chateau La Clotte are also are related to the Becot family, who own Chateau Beau-Sejour Becot. The Grailly family and the Vauther family have always enjoyed a good relationship. Nelly Moulierac and Alain Vauthier are good friends and the vineyards of Chateau Ausone and Chateau La Clotte are in some sections, next to each other. So as you can see, this is a perfect fit.

La Clotte Sign

The official price was not made public. Rumors placed the transaction of this treasured estate at close to 4 Million Euros per hectare. Chateau La Clotte is situated just outside the picturesque village of St. Emilion, not far from Chateau Ausone. In fact, you can see Ausone from the cliffs where Chateau La Clotte is located. The caves of Chateau La Clotte are similar to those of Chateau Ausone, as they are also cut out of deep layers of limestone.

Chateau La Clotte is a small vineyard with 4 hectares of vines in a clay and limestone terroir with good elevation. The vineyard overlooks several famous neighbors including; Chateau Pavie Macquin, Chateau Troplong Mondot and Valandraud. In fact, part of the vineyard borders Ausone as I mentioned earlier. The vineyard of Chateau La Clotte is planted to 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Buying Chateau La Clotte is a perfect fit for Alain Vautheir and Pauline.

The post Bordeaux News Alain Vautheir of Chateau Ausone buys Chateau La Clotte was originally published in The Wine Cellar Insider.

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