Over the past few weeks, we have tasted several impressive wines from Europe and Washington. Some were recently acquired French and Italian wines. Others were Washington wines being tasted for the January issue of the Review of Washington Wines. Here are our reviews and scores.
2017 Domaine du Clos du Fief Juliénas "Tradition" ($21.99 - wine.com) - We have liked Michel and Sylvain Tete's 2017 Saint-Amour (see Review blog of 25 August) so we tried this one, too. It displays a brick red color and rich aromas of raspberries, cherries, currants, crushed roses, mulberry, lilac and whiffs of wood smoke. The medium bodied flavors are pleasing and generous yet focused, with notes of licorice, cocoa, black tea and schist minerals. The back picks up pressed berries, toasted nuts and creme de cassis, followed by a ripe, satisfying finish. 18.5/20 points.
2017 Château Fortia Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc ($44.99 - Esquin) - Most CdP wines are red, so this is something of a rarity. This one shows a brilliant gold color and seductive aromas of Bosc pear, white peach, star fruit, papaya, grapefruit, pear blossoms, honeysuckle, jasmine and white incense. The flavors are bold, simultaneously crisp and tropical, with vivid white fruits that are accented by mas minerals. The back picks up poire and peach liqueurs on the way to a persistently minerally finish. 19/20 points.
2016 Domaine du Grand Montmirail Gigondas, "Les Deux Juliette" - ($24.99 - wine.com) - Composed of 80% Grenache and 10% each of Syrah and Mourvèdre, this offers a deep ruby color and rich aromas of raspberry, plum and currant and scents of crushed roses, pipe tobacco, garrigue, orange peel and spiced incense. The flavors are generous and mouth filling, yet focused, with notes of licorice, cocoa, French roast and Dentelles de Montmirail minerals. On the back, the wine turns chewy textured, with sensations of macerated berries, roasted nuts, framboise and creme de cassis, recurring orange peel and charcoal, followed by a peppery ripe tannin finish. 18.5+/20 points.
2016 Xavier Vignon Châteauneuf du Pape, "Cuvée Anoyme" ($39 - Last Bottle) - Last Bottle is a internet retailer of end of vintage closeouts. This one, from a stellar vintage shows a deep ruby color and intoxicating aromas of wild blackberries, blueberries, plums, crushed roses, sweet tobacco, orange peel and spiced incense. The flavors are velvety yet bold and forceful, marked by licorice, cocoa, French roast and cobblestone minerals. The penetration continues on the back with pressed fruits, creme de cassis, recurring orange peel and charcoal prefacing the long finish. 19/20 points.
2016 Château de Vaudieu Châteauneuf du Pape ($49.99 - wine.com) - Composed of 70% Grenache and 15% each of Syrah and Mourvèdre from 40 to 70 year-old vines, this is a stellar CdP. It exhibits a deep purplish ruby color and an intense nose of blackberries, blueberries, black currants, crushed black roses, tobacco, lavender and oriental incense. The flavors are lavish, yet deep cored, intermixed with licorice, dark chocolate, and minerals. On the back, the wine powers on into a lush, yet firm and lasting finish. 19+/20 points.
2015 Villadoria Nebbiolo Langhe, "Bricco Magno" ($16.98 - Super 1) - The Langhe is the area southeast of Alba and includes the Barolo and Barbaresco districts. Ruby-garnet colored, it emits typical Nebbiolo aromas of semi dried fruits - raspberries, cherries, orange peel - and scents of dried roses, mulberry, tobacco and whiffs of tar and wood smoke. The medium bodied flavors are direct, with notes of licorice, cocoa, pekoe tea and earth. The back picks up recurring dried cherries and orange peel, followed by a sweet-dry finish. 18/20 points.
2014 Rivetti Massimo Barbaresco, "Froi" ($29 - Last Bottle) - This was a super deal from Last Bottle (regular retail - $55). This wine steers a mid course between the modern and traditional styles of Nebbiolo. It displays a ruby-garnet color and smoky aromas of raspberry, cherry, red currant, dried roses, tobacco leaf, a hint of road tar (a trait of Nebbiolo), dried orange peel and oriental incense. The flavors are expansive yet deep and focuses, with lavish sweet-dry fruits that are imbued with licorice, cocoa, black tea and earth. The back picks up roasted berries, grilled hazelnuts and graphite, followed by a lingering dryish tannin finish. 19/20 points.
2016 Mazzei Chianti Classico Riserva, "Ser Lapo" ($31.99) - This is a great buy in a Riserva. Deep ruby-garnet colored, it possesses rich aromas of strawberry, cherry, currant, dried roses, tobacco, orange peel and wood smoke. The flavors are deep and complex, with notes of licorice, chocolate, Italian roast and Castellina hillside minerals. The penetration continues on the back with sensations of roasted berries and almonds, kirsch, recurring orange peel and graphite, followed by a lingering sweet-dry tannin finish. 19/20 points.
2018 Cougar Crest Viognier, Walla Walla Valley ($23) - This wine steers a mid course between the crisp and tropical styles of Viognier. It possesses floral aromas and a nicely fruited finish. Purchased for $17.99. A full review to be in the January issue of the Review of Washington Wines. 18.5/20 points.
2016 Tenet Wines "The Pundit" Syrah, Columbia Valley ($25) - This is a terrific buy in Washington Syrah. Deep purplish ruby colored, it possesses rich aromas and loads of black and blue fruits, followed by a smooth ripe tannin finish, Shows varietal purity throughout. Purchased for $17.99. Full review to be in the January issue. 18.5/20 points.
Last weekend, we drove over to Red Mountain and Prosser to get up to date in the Yakima Valley. Here are a couple of impressive whites. Full reviews to be in the January issue.
2018 Frichette Semillon, Red Mountain, Artz Vineyard ($30) - This is an outstanding rendition of an under appreciated white variety. It shows a brilliant lemon-gold color and fresh aromas of pear, melon, grapefruit and white flowers and resonant flavors and a zingy nicely fruited finish. 18.5+/20 points.
2018 Fortuity Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, Yakima Valley ($24) - This was tasted at the Walter Clore Center (a report to be in in January). It is a nice Sancerre-like Sauvignon Blanc with fresh, floral aromas, crisp flavors, saline minerality and a resonant finish. 18.5/20 points.