During the past couple of weeks, we've been drinking some other wines in addition to those from Washington State. Here are my notes.
2018 Châteaux Pradeaux Bandol Rosé ($36 - The Thief, Walla Walla) - This is one of the deepest colored Bandol Rosés I've seen - deep copper. The aromas are intriguing: fraises de bois, blood orange, pomegranate, orange blossoms, herbes de Provence and spiced incense. The flavors are deep and vivid, marked by grape skins, orange tea and minerals. The back reveals pressed fruits, fraise liqueur, recurring orange peel, dried pomegranate seeds and touches of lanolin and hazelnuts, followed by a lingering lightly spiced dry finish. Lynn gives this three out of three stars. 19/20 points.
Here are three more Cru Beaujolais from the exceptional 2017 vintage.
2017 La Tour du Fief Saint Amour ($24.99 - wine.com) - Purplish crimson colored, this emits seductive aromas of strawberries raspberries, currants, wild roses, sweet pea flowers, violets and whiffs of white incense. The flavors are medium bodied yet substantial, with vivid red fruits dancing on the palate, along with red licorice, cocoa, black tea and granitic minerals. The back reveals gently pressed berries and fraise and cassis liqueurs , followed by a pleasingly juiced moderate tannin finish. 18.5/20 points.
2017 Domaine Piron & Lameloise Moulin-a-Vent ($23.99 - wine.com) - This one features a ruby-crimson color and lovely perfumed aromas of raspberries, cherries, currants, crushed roses, violets and incense. The flavors are bright and vivacious, with mouth filling red fruits that are imbued with licorice, cocoa, medium roast coffee and schist minerals. The back picks up pressed berries, roasted nuts, and framboise and cassis liqueurs, followed by a pleasing juicy slightly grainy soft tannin finish. 18.5/20 points.
2017 Daniel Boulard Côte de Brouilly, "Cuvée Melanie" ($36 - The Thief) - This wine exhibits a deep purplish ruby color and seductive aromas of fraises de bois, cerises, cassis, wild roses, violets and oriental incense. The flavors, as well, are alluring, with delicious red fruits that are endowed with licorice, cocoa powder, French roast and granitic minerals. The pleasure continues on the back with pressed fruits, fraise and cerise liqueurs, kirsch and soft pencil lead, followed by a juicy yet chewy moderate tannin finish. As a vin de plaisir, this gets a plus. 18.5+/20 points.
2016 G.D. Vajra Langhe Rosso ($16.99 - Esquin) - The Langhe is the region surrounding Barolo and Barbaresco. The back label states this is "sourced from native vines." It shows a ruby color and ripe aromas of raspberry, cherry, plum, red roses, tobacco, dried orange peel and incense. The flavors are bright and generous, with notes of red licorice, cola, black tea and Langhe hillside earth. The back palate is direct and chewy, with pressed berries, roasted hazelnuts and dried cherries, followed buy a juicy moderate tannin and acid finish. 18/20 points.
2016 M. Mareno Dolcetto d'Alba ($19.99 - Esquin) - This Piedmont wine shows a deep purplish-ruby color and rich aromas of raspberry, cherry, plum, rosebuds, purple lilac and violets. The flavors are mouth filling, brimming with vivid red fruits that are intermixed with red licorice, Toblerone chocolate and Alban hills minerals. The chewy textured back picks up pressed berries, and cherry liqueur on the way to a juicy, satisfying finish. 18/20 points.
2017 Castellare de Castellino Chianti Classico ($25 - The Thief) - This is an amiable young Sangiovese. It shows a ruby-garnet color and a rich, smoky nose of raspberries, cherries, currants, crushed roses, mulberry, tobacco, orange peel and incense. The medium bodied flavors mirror the aromatics with ample yet focused red fruits that are intermixed with red licorice, chocolate, Italian roast and hillside minerals. The back reveals roasted berries and nuts, mocha, recurring orange peel, and pencil lead, followed by a sweet-dry tannin finish. Excellent value. 18.5/20 points.
2015 Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale ($23.99 - Safeway) - Ruby-garnet colored, this wine possesses rich aromas of raspberries, cherries, currants, crushed roses, tobacco leaf, orange peel, rosemary and wood smoke. The flavors are generous and fleshy, yet focused, with notes of red licorice, cocoa, black tea and minerals. The back pick up roasted fruits and nuts and semi-dried cherries and recurring orange peel, followed buy a dryish ripe tannin finish. 18.5/20 points.
2014 Tascante Novello Mascalese "Ghia Nero," Sicilia - This was given to us by a friend. This vintage shows a ruby-garnet color and intriguing aromas of raspberry, cherry, plum, dried orange peel, tobacco and wood smoke. The medium-full bodied flavors, as well, are distinctive, with semi dried fruits that are intermixed with licorice, roasted coffee beans and Sicilian mountain minerals. The back picks up roasted berries and nuts, recurring orange peel and charcoal, followed by a dry yet finely fruited finish. The 2016 vintage is available from wine.com for $24.99. 18.5/20 points.
Two Iconic California Wineries from the 'Eighties
Back in the mid 1980's, when I owned Esquin Wine Merchants, we witnessed the debut of many California wineries. Among these were Ferrari-Carano in Sonoma and Frog's Leap in the Napa Valley which became California Icons. Esquin was the first store in Seattle to carry their wines. I ran across these two producers at Safeway and I bought these two wines to see what they are up to today.
2018 Ferrari-Carano Fumé Blanc, Sonoma County ($14.99 - Safeway) - This Sauvignon Blanc is called Fume Blanc because it is made in an Upper Loire style like a Pouilly-Fume. This shows a brilliant lemon-gold color and fresh aromas of pear, white peach, Crenshaw melon and grapefruit, with scents of apple blossoms, lemon verbena and white incense. The flavors are bright and vibrant, with white and yellow fruits that are accented by pear skin, peach stone and saline minerals. The back picks up melon rind and grapefruit peel on the way to a crisp, resonant finish. Excellent value. 18.5/20 points.
2017 Frog's Leap Zinfandel, Napa Valley ($29.99 - Safeway) - This Zin features a ruby color and ripe aromas of raspberry, cherry, plum, brambles, rosebuds, and spiced wood smoke. The flavors are rich and generous, yet focused, with bright red fruits that are intermixed with licorice, cocoa, roasted coffee beans and Napa dusty earth. The back reveals macerated berries, kirsch, charcoal and spices (nutmeg, clove) followed by a moderate (13.5%) alcohol and smooth tannin finish. 18.5/20 points.