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Three Recent Wine Tastings
Written by Rand Sealey   
Monday, 17 November 2014 15:36

Over Fall Release Weekend and the following week, I attended three interesting wine tastings. Here are my reports on them.

 

A Corliss Red Wine Vertical

On Saturday, November 8th, Croliss held its annual Fall Release Event. For that event, the winery poured its newly released 2009 Corliss Red Wine (a combination of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Malbec). Also poured from Magnums, were the 2006, 2005 and 2004 Red Wines, also various combinations of the five varietals.

2009 Corliss Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($75) - Deep ruby colored this wine offered seductive aromas of wild strawberry, cassis, mulberry, and cedar along with dark mouth encompassing fruits and earth minerals, followed by a long, vigorous, lip-smacking finish. 19.5/20 points. (A full review will be in the January 2015 issue of the Review of Washington Wines, along with the 2009 Corliss Cabernet Sauvignon.)

2006 Corliss Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($180 - 1.5L Magnum) - This vintage showed a deep ruby-garnet color and complex aromas of dried fruits, sage,bay leaf and spiced incense. The flavors were deep and fleshy, with essential minerality. The back showed expressive viscosity to counterpoint the dried fruits, followed by tannins that were beginning to smooth out. 19+/20 points.

2005 Corliss Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($180 - 1.5L Magnum) - Deep ruby-garnet colored, this wine emited intoxicating aromas of dried fruits, orange peel, cedar, tobacco and incense. On the palate, the fruits were still vibrant and resonant, wiht notes of cocoa, black tea and earth. The back picked up roasted berres and nuts, followed by a lingering satiny tannin finish. 19+/20 points.

2004 Corliss Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($180 - 1.5L Magnum) - This is a wine that is approaching maturity. It showed a deep garnet color and smoldering aromas of dried fruits - blackberry, cherry, plum - and dried rose petals, tobacco and cedar. The flavors were still rich, round and fleshy, with notes of chocolate, French roast and minerals, followed by a long, plush finish. 19.5/20 points.

 

An Oregon Pinot Noir Tasting

On the afternoon of Sunday, November 9th, we attended a tasting of Oregon Pinot Noirs, organized by Gary and Pam Gormley, who came from Beaverton, Oregon for Fall Release Weekend. Twelve wines were poured, six provided by Gary, all from the Willamette Valley except two, one from California's Santa Lucia Highlands and one from the Oregon side of the Walla Walla Valley. Here are the wines I found to be the most noteworthy.

2008 Et Fille Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains, Nicholas Vineyard ($34) - This wine showed a brick red color and a rich, smoky nose of blackberry, cherry, bayberry and incense, with rich, ripe, textured roasted fruit flavors, followed by a lingering sweet-dry moderate tannin finish. Very well put together. 19/20 points.

2008 Carabella "Inchinnian" Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains ($54) - Brick red colored, this wine showed a true to variety nose of wild strawberries, cherries and cassis, with scents of crushed roses and incense. The medium bodied flavors offered plenty of charm, with earthy notes and glided effortlessly from beginning to end. 19+/20 points.

2012 Toil Pinot Noir, Oregon ($50) - This was produced by the Figgins Winery of Walla Walla. It displayed a medium brick red color and enticing aromas of cherry, raspberry, cassis and orange peel, with scents of oriental perfume and white incense. The svelte flavors were rich and chewy, with touches of dried cherries and satiny tannins. 19/20 points.

2011 Saviah Cellars Pinot Noir, Walla Walla Valley, Couse Creek Vineyard ($45) - This came from a tiny vineyard in the foothills of the Blue Mountans at 1900' elevation. It showed a medium brick red color and rich, smoky aromas of cherry, plum, cassis, orange peel and incense. The medium bodied flavors were velvety, yet well defined, with notes of chocolate and alluvial earth and minerals, followed by a ripe tannin finish. 19/20 points.

 

A North Coast California Pinot Noir Tasting

On Wednesday, November 12th, the Sons of Bacchus and two Daughters of Dionysus assembled for a tasting of Pinot Noirs from the Sonoma North Coast, including Green Valley, Anderson Valley and Russian River Valley. Here are the most impressive wines.

2010 Goldeneye Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, Narrows Vineyard - Goldeneye is part of the Napa Valley's Duckhorn portfolio. This showed a deep brick red color and rich aromas of cherry, black currant, tobacco, and crushed roses. The medium full-bodied flavors were nice and fleshy, with lavers of dark fruits, followed by a lush finish. 19/20 points.

2011 Goldeneye Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, Gowan Creek Vineyard - From a warmer site, this wine showed a deep brick red color and rich aromas of wild raspberry, cherry and forest carpet, with rich, direct, minerally flavors that were marked by notes of licorice, coffee and dried fruits. The finish was long and complex, deftly oaked and spiced. 19+/20 points.

2012 Gary Farrell "Dijon Clone" Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Halberg Vineyard - This displayed a semi opaque brick red color and rich aromas of raspberries, cherries, crushed roses, sweet tobacco and incense. The classically styled flavors were round and chewy, well focused, and marked by ripe, dryish tannins. 19+/20 points.

2008 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Klopp Ranch Vineyard - This was a dark, intense Pinot with a deep color and a smoky, earthy nose of raspberry, cherry and cassis. The flavors were eathy, chewy and tannic, with considerable depth and structure, making it ageworthy. 19/20 points.

Thanks to Lee Sanning for hosting this fine tasting.

 

 

Last Updated on Monday, 17 November 2014 16:44
 
Fall Release Weekend in Walla Walla
Written by Rand Sealey   
Monday, 10 November 2014 14:32

Last weekend, November 7-9, was Fall Release Weekend in the Walla Walla Valley. It was a busy and successful weekend for everyone, the wineries, the visitors and the community. Here are my highlights.

On Friday morning we drove up to the end of Cottonwood Road to Reynvaan Family Vineyards. There, we tasted the winery's 2013 Syrahs which will be released next fall. They are knock-out wines, with extraordinary depth and completeness. A report will be in the January 2015 issue of the Review of Washington Wines. In the afternoon, we stopped at Rotie Cellars, where two new wines were unveiled, a 2012 "Dre" 100% Mourvèdre and a 2012 "Swordfight" 50/50 Mourvèdre/Syrah blend, both to be reviewed in January. In the evening we went to Foundry Vineyards' tasting room/art gallery and saw the opening of Marie Watt's stacked and hanging blankets installation, and tasted the winery's new releases, also to be reviewed in January. Afterwards, we went to Robison Ranch for the winery's club party.

On Saturday, at Long Shadows, some fabulous new 2012's were poured, all 19.5/20 points wines, to be reviewed in the December issue. Afterwards, there was a stop at Gramercy Cellars where Greg Harrington's new 2012's were stellar, also to be in the December issue. Then in the evening, we went to Corliss' annual Fall Release Event where a vertical tasting of the 2009, 2006, 2005 and 2004 Estate Red wines was presented (a report will be in next week's blog).

On Sunday morning, we went to Tertulia Cellars where we tasted four impressive new 2012's by Ryan Raber (winemaker) and Ryan Driver (vineyard manager). These will be in the January 2015 issue. Then we stopped at Gifford Hirlinger where we tasted a delicious 2012 Estate Malbec with Melissa Berghan, also to be in the January issue. In the afternoon, we  joined Gary and Pam Gormley for a tasting of Oregon Pinot Noirs, along with onesies from California and the Walla Walla Valley (a report to come in the next blog). I also tasted two fine 2010's from Fort Walla Walla Cellars that will be reviewed in January.

More later!

 

 

Last Updated on Monday, 17 November 2014 17:11
 
A Visit to Beaujolais and the North Rhone
Written by Rand Sealey   
Monday, 03 November 2014 14:31

After our visit to Burgundy (see the posting below), we headed south on the A7 Autoroute on Saturday, October 18th, and turned off north of Macon toward Cluny, where we visited the Abbey which was once the governing body of the Benedictine order. From there, we drove to Morgon in the heart of the Beaujolais countryside where Chateau de Pizay is located, amid the estate's vineyards which are planted to the Gamay grape. There, we spent two nights wining and dining, along with an excursion to climb the Rock of Solutré, overlooking Pouilly-Fuisse. During that stay, we had the Chateau's three cuvées of Morgon.

2013 Chateau de Pizay Morgon - Deep purplish colored, this young Beaujolais showed attractive aromas of raspberry, cherry and cassis, with scents of roses, hyacinth and white incense. The flavors were fresh and vibrant, filling the palate with bright red fruits, along with dustings of cocoa powder and ground minerals. The back picked up kirsch liqueur and creme de cassis, with touches of dried fruits on the velvety, yet vigorous finish. 18.5/20 points.

2010 Chateau de Pizay Morgon, "Les Sybarites" - From selected vineyards around the Chateau, this wine displayed a deep ruby color and rich, intriguing aromas of black cherries, black currants and roasted almonds, with scents of black roses and oriental incense. The dark fruit flavors were intense and direct, marked by notes of licorice, bittersweet chocolate and mocha. The back picked up roasted berries and nuts, kirsch and creme de cassis, along with touches of nougat and dried cherries on the lingering dryish finish. 18.5+/20 points.

2010 Chateau de Pizay Morgon, "Cuvée du Py," From the Chateau's best vineyard, this wine exhibited a deep purplish-ruby color and an intoxicating nose of wild blackberries, black currants, myrtle, black roses and violets. The dark fruit flavors were deep and energetic, intermixed with licorice, cocoa and stony earth minerals. The concentration continued on the back, with pressed berries, creme de cassis and kirsch, and lasted right to the end of the long, dark yet velvety tannin finish. 19/20 points.

On Monday, the 20th, we continued southward, past Lyon, to Condrieu, on the West Bank of the Rhone River. There, we stayed at the Hostellerie Beau Rivage, right by the river. On Tuesday afternoon, we had an appointment at E. Guigal in Ampuis, 8 kilometers north of Condrieu. The property is famed for its full range of Rhone Valley wines, topped by its single vineyard bottlings. After a tour of the cellars, along, coincidentally, with two couples from Whidbey Island, we tasted the following wines.

2013 E. Guigal Saint Joseph Blanc - This Marsanne-Roussane combination showed a brilliant medium gold color and a floral nose of pear, peach, citrus, butternut, white lilac and white incense. The white fruit flavors were vivid and minerally, with notes of peach stone, grape extracts and flint. The back picked up toasted nuts, poire William liqueur and and persistent minerality on the lingering crisp finish. 18.5/20 points.

2013 E. Guidal Condrieu - Brilliant gold colored, this white, made from the Viognier grape, emited intriguing aromas of Asian pear-apple, peach, citrus, honeysuckle, white lilac and spiced white incense. The flavors were lavishly fruited, with touches of cream and honey, pine nuts and stony minerals. The back picked up notes of poire William and peche liqueurs, with piercing, precise fruit acids on the lightly oaked (one-third new) lingering finish. 19/20 points.

2013 E. Guigal Condrieu, "La Doriane" - This is all from estate vineyards and aged 9 months in new oak. Brilliant gold colored, this wine possessed seductive aromas of pear, peach, apple and orange blossoms, white lilac and oriental perfumes. The flavors were enticing as well, with deep, rich, fruits that were intermixed with marzipan, peach stone and rocky minerals. The back revealed sensations of poire William liqueur, toasted hazelnuts and pine nuts, followed by a lingering lightly spiced vanilla oak finish. 19.5/20 points.

2011 E. Guigal Saint Joseph Rouge - This 100% Syrah wine showed a deep crimson color and lovely, perfumed aromas of raspberry, blueberry and cassis, with scents of black roses, mulberry, cedar and incense. The flavors were thick and chewy, imbued with notes of mocha, French roast and licorice, followed by a thick, meaty texture on the back, culminating in a long, toasty (30% new oak) roasted chestnut and spice finish. 19/20 points.

2010 E. Guigal Cote-Rotie, Brune & Blonde - Co-fermented with 5% Viognier and aged 36 months in new oak, this wine exhibited a brilliant ruby color and a lovely nose of wild berries - black and blue - and cassis, with scents of black roses, mulberries and violets. The flavors mirrored the aromatics with deep, supple, feminine flavors that consisted of mouth-caressing dark fruits, with notes of chocolate, mocha, French roast and minerals. The velvety texture continued on the back with sensations of pressed fruits, berry preserves and creme de cassis, followed by a long integrated oak and ripe tannin finish. 19.5/20 points.

2009 E. Guigal Cote-Rotie "Chateau d'Ampuis" - All from estate vineyards, and co-fermented with 7% Viognier, and aged 38 months in new oak, this wine displayed a brilliant crimson-ruby color and intoxicating aromas of wild raspberries, cherries, black currants, attar of rose, bayberry, orange peel, violets and oriental incense. The red/blue fruit favors were equally lavish and seductive, coating the palate with lush, pure Syrah and Viognier, interlayered with licorice, chocolate and mocha. The intensity continued on the back with sensations of pressed fruits and creme de cassis, touches of peche liqueur and creme caramel, followed by a long, long integrated oak and plush tannin finish. 20/20 points.

The next morning, we had an appointment at Domaine Georges Vernay in Condrieu. The Domaine has prime vineyards on the steep slopes of Condrieu, planted with the Viognier grape, as well as choice parcels in the adjoining Cote Rotie Appellation.

2013 Domaine Geroges Vernay Condrieu, "Les Terasses de l'Empire" - From a 35 year-old vineyard and aged in 20% new oak, this Viognier showed a brilliant gold color and floral aromas of pear, peach, honeysuckle, hazelnut, apple blossoms and white incense. On the palate, the white fruit flavors were well extracted, imbued with notes of peach stone and pervasive minerality. The back picked up poire William liqueur, coconut and peche melba on the way to a lingering dry, vigorous finish. 19/20 points.

2012 Domaine Geroges Vernay Condrieu, "Les Chailles de l'Enfer" - From a vineyard planted in 1957, this came on as an intense, deeply fruited white. Brilliant gold colored, it emited exotic aromas of pear, peach, apricot, melon wet stone, white lilac, pear blossoms, acacia flowers and white oriental incense. The white fruit flavors were mouth encompassing, interwoven with notes of peach stone, melon rind and granitic minerals. The back revealed notes of peach custard, roasted hazelnuts, semi dried fruits and creme brulée, counterpointed by bright fruit acids and lemon zest on the lingering, vibrant spice dusted finish. 19.5/20 points.

2012 Domaine Georges Vernay Condrieu, "Coteau du Vernay" - From another old vineyard, this cuvée showed a brilliant amber color and rich, smoky aromas of pear, peach, grapefruit, apricot, acacia flowers, honeysuckle, toasted nuts and white incense. On the palate, the wine was richly textured with lavish white fruits intermixed with fruit stones, grapeskins, melon rind and flinty minerals. The back revealed sensations of poire William and peche liqueurs, melon and citrus rinds, and touches of marzipan and toasted hazelnuts, followed by a lingering, spice dusted, faintly honeyed yet distinctly dry finish. 19.5/20 points.

2012 Domaine Georges Vernay Cote-Rotie, Blonde du Seigneur" - From the Cote Blonde on the back side of Cote Rotie, this co-fermented 97% Syrah and 3% Viognier displayed a deep, brilliant ruby color and a lovely nose of wild raspberries, cherries, and cassis, with scents of crushed roses, mulberry, sandalwood and violets. The flavors were as enticing as the aromarics, with dark fruits intermixed with cooca, medium roast coffee beans and earthy minerals. The back revealed a chewy texture, enhanced by a graceful suppleness that picked up pressed berries, kirsch and creme de cassis on the way to a lingering, satiny tannin finish. 19+/20 points.

2011 Domaine Georges Vernay Cote-Rotie, "Maison Rouge" - From 60 year-old vines and aged two years in 30% new oak, this wine exhibited a brilliant ruby color and an exotic, perfumed nose of wild raspberries, cherries, black currants, crushed roses, brambles, tobacco, violets and oriental perfumes. The dark fruit flavors were as intriguing as the aromatics, infused with black licorice, bittersweet chocolate, mocha and granitic minerals. The back picked up lightly roasted berries and pine nuts, mocha, kirsch and framboise liqueurs, followed by a burst of ripe juices and roasted chestnuts, prefacing the lingering, exquisitely wrought lingering sweet-dry tannin finish. 19.5/20 points.

The next morning, we ended our memorable trip by driving back north through Givors, and then on N43 to the Lyon-St. Exupery airport where we took off for London, and then to Seattle.

For pictures, see Rand Sealey's Review of Washington Wines on Facebook.

 

Last Updated on Monday, 03 November 2014 18:14
 
In Memoriam: Eric Dunham
Written by Rand Sealey   
Wednesday, 29 October 2014 13:39

It was just after arriving in Seattle from London on our way home from France, that I learned on Facebook that Eric Dunham had died. I posted, "Just learned the shocking and saddening news about Eric Dunham. He will be greatly missed."

Eric had deep roots in the Walla Walla Valley as co-owner and winemaker of Dunham Cellars which he started in 1995 with his father, Mike. He had started winemaking as a hobby, then worked at Hogue Cellars and then L'Ecole No. 41 before asking his father to help start their own winery. The operation was moved to its present location in an airplane hangar near the airport in 1998. His wines have consistently received critical acclaim, including his Cabernet Sauvignons which have received 19/20 points scores in the Review of Washington Wines.

Eric was generous in helping anyone who needed it. He also had a wry sense of humor and was an avid cook and artist. As the news of his passing spread around the Valley, there was an outpouring of tributes and rememberances of him. There will be a Celebration of the Life of Eric Dunham on Saturday, November 1st, and hundreds will come to the winery to pay their respects. Everyone will be missing him.

For a well-written, detailed bio of Eric Dunham by Andy Perdue, go to www.greatnorthwestwine.com/2014/10/24/eric-dunham/.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 October 2014 19:43
 
A Visit to Burgundy
Written by Rand Sealey   
Monday, 27 October 2014 14:05

On October 8th, Lynn and I flew to France, by way of London/Heathrow and then arriving at Paris/Orly on the 9th. The next day, we picked up a rental car and drove south to Les Ulis and visited friends south of Paris for a few days. One day, we walked around the gardens of Versailles with a family. On Monday, the 13th, we stopped overnight in Avallon at the Hostellerie de la Poste, a historic post road stop on the way to Burgundy.

Lynn and I have had a long-time affinity for Burgundy. We have been friends of the Chevignard family for decades. Lynn's aunt Gwen was a close friend of Eleanor Chevignard, who married Jacques Chevignard of Dijon just after World War II. Jacques for years headed the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, and upon his passing, was succeded by his son Louis-Marc. Our first stop upon arriving in Nuits-St Georges on Tuesday the 14th was to have lunch with Eleanor and Louis-Marc. After lunch, we visited the Chateau du Clos de Vougeot, a historic abbey, now owned by the Chevaliers who use it for public tours and Confrerie "Chapitre" dinners.

The next morning, our first winery visit in Burgundy was at Domaine Dubreuil-Fontaine in Pernand-Vergelesses, situated high up the slope above Aloxe-Corton, with Christine Dubreuil, whose grandfather founded the Domaine, which produces about 50/50 percent red and white wines. The line-up ranged from the communal "Villages" to Premier and Grand Crus. Here are my notes on the full range we tasted.

2012 Domaine Dubreuil-Fontaine Pernand-Vergelesses Blanc - Brilliant gold colored, this wine offered bright aromas of pear, citrus and apple blossoms, with crisp, yet well textured and defined Chardonnay flavors that showed notes of grape skin, grapefruit peel and saline minerality. The back picked up touches of poire William liqueur and lemon zest on the way to a lingering dry, tangy finish. 18.5/20 points.

2012 Domaine Dubreuil-Fontaine Pernand-Vergelesses Blanc, 1er Cru, Clos Berthet- This wine exhibited a brilliant light gold color and enticing aromas of apple, pear, peach, citrus, apple blossom, acacia flower and wet stone. On the palate, the flavors were full bodied and steely, with sensations of peach stones and piercing minerality. The back picked up touches of oak (15-20% new) and spice, followed by a long, dry, yet rich finish. 19/20 points.

2012 Domaine Dubreuil-Fontaine Corton-Charlemagne Blanc, Grand Cru- This comes from the Pernand-Vergelesses side of the Corton-Charlemagne vineyard. It showed a brilliant medium gold color and bold, smoky aromas of pear, apple, citrus, and butternut, with whiffs of spiced white incense. The flavors were full-bodied, with rich minerality and a slightly nutted almost viscous, texture. The back picked up touches of peach stone and creme fraiche, followed by a long, elegant finish. 19+/20 points.

2012 Domaine Dubreul-Fontaine Pernand-Vergelesses Rouge - Brilliant brick red colored, this "villages" wine offered attractive aromas of strawberry, cherry and cassis, with whiffs of rose petals and white incense. The true Pinot Noir flavors were medium bodied and well textured, with notes of grape skin, cocoa and stony earth, followed by dried fruits and creme de cassis prefacing the lingering, lightly spiced sweet-dry finish. 18.5/20 points.

2012 Domaine Dubreuil-Fontaine Pernand-Vergelesses Rouge 1er Cru, Ile de Vergelesses - Brilliant medium brick red colored, this showed a classic Pinot nose of strawberries, cassis, rose petals and wafts of white smoke. The medium boded flavors were graceful and supple, yet well delineated, with notes of licorice, cocoa powder and minerally earth. The back revealed squeezed berries, creme de cassis, mocha, and dried fruits and nuts, followed by a lingering, lightly oaked finish. 18.5+/20 points.

2012 Domaine Dubreuil Fontaine Corton-Bressandes, Grand Cru - This comes from the Aloxe-Corton side, below the Bois de Corton. It displayed a brilliant brick red color and enticing aromas of strawberry, cherry, cassis, rose petals, pine needles, crushed roses, oriental perfumes and incense. The flavors were rich and satiny, yet chewy textured, with notes of licorice, cocoa and stony earth. The back picked up lightly roasted berries and nuts, creme de cassis, toffee and toast, followed by a long, dry, terroir-driven finish. 19+/20 points.

In the evening, we had the Chevignard family over for dinner at our hotel, the Errmitage de Corton, a comfortable hostellerie on N74 across from Corton. Old memories were talked over along with a Savigny les Beaune white and a Pernand Vergelesses Premier Cru. The next morning, we had an appointment in Vosne Romanee at Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret, a highly respected grower with extentsvie holdings in the Cotes de Nuits and the Cotes de Beaune.

2011 Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Marsannay Blanc, "Clos du Roy" - Marsannay is located at the north end of the Cote de Nuits, and this was a delightful wine, brilliant gold colored, with a perfumed nose of apple, peach, butternut, apple blossoms, and white lilac. The flavors were exquisitely wrought, with notes of grape skin, lemon zest and calcareous minerals. The back picked up touches of hazelnut, toast and spice, followed by a lingering finish. 18.5/20 points.

2011 Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Vosne-Romanee - This wine showed a brilliant brick red color and attractive aromas of strawberry, cherry, cassis, dried roses, orange peel and whiffs of incense. The medium bodied flvors were finely wrought, with a supple texture, intermixed with licorice, cocoa, and minerals, showing considerable complexity for a communal appellation. The back palate picked up lightly roasted berries and nuts, creme de cassis, and touches of mocha and almond, followed by a lingering sweet-dry finish. 18.5+/20 points.

2011 Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Vougeot, 1er Cru, Le Cras - This comes from a vineyard just outside of the corner of the Chateau du Clos de Vougeot. This vintage showed a brilliant garnet color and seductive aromas of wild raspberries, cherries, red currants, orange peel, crushed roses, pine needles and oriental perfumes. The medium full-bodied flavors were richly textured and showed much old vine character (35 years), with notes of licorice, cocoa powder, breakfast tea and limestone minerals. The back revealed sensations of dried berries and cherries, cassis, toasted nuts, moderate oak (30% new) and soft tannins on the lingering finish. 19/20 points.

2011 Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Clos de Vougeot, Grand Cru - Brilliant medium brick colored, this wine emited intoxicating aromas of wild strawberries, cherries, red currants, rose petals, orange peel and oriental incense. The flavors were as seductive as the aromatics, velvety and richly textured, with notes of licorice, cocoa, limestone and earth. On the back, the wine spread out with sensations of pressed berries, lightly toasted nuts, creme de cassis, and integrated oak (80% new) followed by a lingering 60 second finish. Still young, this wine has great potential. 19.5/20 points.

The next morning, we had an appointment at Domaine Comte Senard in Aloxe Corton, where the Domaine has extensive holdings. Philippe Senard joined us at our table while we were on the fourth wine. Here are the highlights.

2009 Domaine Comte Senard Aloxe Corton Blanc - This is an unusual wine in that it is made from Pinot Beurot, a variant of Pinot Gris. It showed a brilliant gold color and an intriguing nose of pear, peach, toasted nuts, acacia flowers white lilac and white incense. The flavors were rich and well delineated, with a creamy-nutty texure that extended into the back, with notes of peach stones and minrally earth. A long, rich finish completed the wine. 18.5+/20 points.

2008 Domaine Comte Senard Corton Blanc, Grand Cru - This wine had developed beautifully. It showed a deep, brilliant gold color and a perfumed nose of wild pears, white peach, butternut, hazelnut and spiced white incense. The flavors mirrored the aromatics, with full-bodied, penetrating grape extracts, peach stone and limestone. The back revealed sensations of poire William liqueur, recurring butternut and hazelnut, along with integrated oak and light, lingering spices. 19.5/20 points.

2011 Domaine Comte Senard Aloxe-Corton Rouge - Brilliant brick red colored, this wine emited bright, ripe Pinot Noir aromas of strawberry, cherry and cassis, with scents of rosebuds, mulberries and white incense. The red fruit flavors were supple and direct, yet well delineated, with notes of cocoa, tea and stony minerals. The back picked up fraise liqueur and creme de cassis, followed by a silky moderate tannin and acid finish. 18.5/20 points.

2009 Domaine Comte Senard Aloxe-Corton 1er Cru, Les Valozieres - From the vineyard just below Bressandes, this showed a brilliant brick color and smoky aromas of wild strawberries, cherries, and red currants, with scents of crushed roses, mulberry, and wafts of incense. The flavors were deliciously supple and polished, marked by notes of Swiss chocolate, black tea and limestone, followed by creme de cassis and toast prefacing the long, lightly spiced finish. 19/20 points.

2009 Domaine Comte Senard Corton-Bressandes, Grand Cru - This showed a brilliant brick red "robe" and seductive, perfumed aromas of fraises de bois, red currants, crushed roses, mulberry, sandalwood and whiffs of oriental incense. The medium bodied, finely fruited flavors were ripe and silky, with notes of Swiss chocolate, breakfast roast and stony ("pierreaux") minerals. The elegance continued on the back with sensations of gently squeezed fruits, fraise liqueur and creme de cassis, followed by a lingering, lightly toasted and spiced finish. 19+/20 points.

2010 Domaine Comte Senard, Corton-Clos de Miex, Grand Cru, Monopole - This vineyard is located in the southwest corner of Grand Cru Corton, and is owned entirely by the Senard family. The 2010 dispayed a brilliant brick red color and a rich, sensuous nose of wild strawberries, cherries, sandalwood, light tobacco and white incense. On the palate, the flavors were thick and authoritative, distinctly Pinot Noir, intermixed with licorice, cocoa, and gravelly minerals. The back picked up pressed fruits, orange peel and integrated oak, followed by a long, full one-plus minute finish. 19.5/20 points.

Following these, we tasted a few older vintages, a 2007 Corton Clos du Roi Grand Cru, nearly fully developed, with rich smoky aroma and fleshy, slightly nutted dry fruits and a long finish, a 2006 Corton Clos de Miex, that was turning rich and velvety ("velours") with notes of toasted nuts and dried orange peel, and lastly, a 2001 Corton-Bressandes, that showed a garnet color and maturing aromas of dried fruits, roses, tobacco and earth, with notes of dried, pressed berries. They showed how Domaine Comte Senard's wines mature beautifully.

That afternoon, we toured the Hotel Dieu and Hospices de Beaune, founded by the Burgundian Chancellor, Nicolas Rollin, and famed for its charity work for the poor and the Hospices de Beaune wine auctions. We then left Burgundy for the Beaujoiais and North Rhone the next morning. I'll write about that next week.

For pictures of our visit to Burgundy, see the Review of Washington Wines on Facebook.

 

Last Updated on Monday, 27 October 2014 20:14
 
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