Hi All, apologies for the few weeks reprieve. My day job got the best of me. But while I haven’t been able to put my fingers to the keyboard, I have most definitely been popping corks. Indeed, I some times think that is what helps me get through the day job. I’m sure none of you can relate? 😉
Here’s the highlights from some of those bottles that made me go, “Wow, pour me another please.” Looking forward to getting back into the Wine Bounty saddle. Till the next post, happy hunting!
Kosta Browne 2014 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
This wine displays deep notes of orange game, savory notes, dried fruits, olives, and is pretty & playful. The wine is deeply structured with flavors of spice, game and meat, savory, and sour cherry. There is tangy acidity and is richly textured with layered red fruits and dark notes.
Wine Spectator 93 Points
Like walking through a rose garden, this offers exotic, perfumed scents. Starts out elegant and understated but gains depth and complexity, fanning out with black licorice, dusty earth and dried herb flavors that highlight the zesty raspberry fruit.
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate 93 Points
Another sensational appellation release is the 2014 Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands. Coming from an early vintage that was over two weeks ahead of average, it has tons of spice, black raspberry, currants and blackberry characteristics, medium to full-bodied richness, a great texture and no shortage of depth or length. Already impossible to resist, drink it anytime over the coming 7-8 years.
Viñedos y Bodegas Pablo Gran Víu Finca Santiaga
Hints of minerals, balsamic, highly spicy, notes of flowers, ripe fruits and liquorice. It is an embracing wine, flavorsome, long-lasting aftertaste, wine to be enjoyed.
Wine Advocate 94 Points
The 2004 Gran Viu Finca Santiago is a blend of 60% Garnacha, 20% Vidadillo, and 20% Carinena sourced from a single 100-year-old vineyard. It was aged for 36 months in a mix of new and used French oak. A glass-coating opaque purple, it delivers a complex bouquet of pain grille, pencil lead, espresso, licorice, plum, blueberry, and black cherry jam. Opulent and layered, on the palate additional notes of chocolate and mocha emerge. There is some well-concealed ripe tannin which will support another 5-7 years of evolution. Drink this impressive effort from 2012-2035. Vinedos y Bodegas Pablo fared well in last year’s tastings. These releases from the outstanding 2004 vintage are equally good. The winery farms biodynamically and makes use of indigenous varietals from their estate vineyards.
1981 Chateau de Ravignan Bas Armagnac
Distillation of eau de vie at Chateau Ravignan dates back officially to at least 1791 during the French Revolution, but by historical account back to 1731. That’s when the ancestor of Josselin de Ravignan purchased the estate and declared on an official record that some of wine made from the property’s grapes would be used for distillation. At that time, however, it wasn’t known as Armagnac. Distilled spirits were used for a number of medicinal purposes, poured into wine for fortification, and given to sailors to help disinfect their water supplies during long journeys. Today Josselin is bringing Ravignan into a more modern era. When he’s not faithfully carrying on the family tradition with his father Louis and aunt Cristine d’Orglandes, he’s shaping surfboards and hitting the waves at the nearby Atlantic Coast. The 1981 vintage is rich and rounded Armagnac with plum, caramel, oak, wet earth, and heady spices on the finish.
Elena Fucci Aglianico del Vulture Titolo 2012
Dark and intense ruby red with an ample and complex nose yielding ethereal spices, cherry, blackberry preserves, rosemary, tobacco and cinnamon with light hints of vanilla. Dry on the palate and full bodied with firm tannins and a long finish. Although a young wine when released, it is destined for a great future!
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate 94 Points
The wine shines bright with primary aromas of dark fruit, herb, oak spice and dark volcanic tones of crushed granite and smoke. Given the proven track record of this wine, I’d expect this vintage to age for 15 to 20 years without a hitch. The 2012 vintage was only slightly warmer than average and those ripe fruit flavors do a lot to round out and soften the firm tannic backbone of the wine. There’s a notable point of acidity that helps the wine to achieve an impressive sense of balance. Elena Fucci has another successful edition of Titolo for us to enjoy over the years to come.
Wine Spectator 92 Points
Firm tannins support a palate brimming with ripe black cherry and plum sauce flavors, accented by fresh brown bread, grilled herb, espresso and graphite-tinged mineral details. Supple and mouthwatering, showing good focus through to the lingering, well-spiced finish. Best from 2017 through 2027.
2015 Sea Smoke Ten Pinot Noir
A brooding and intense wine. The dark fruit dominant aromas begin with notes of cola, Black Cherry and Blueberry, then some Asian spice, chocolate and a hint of Rose petals. Firm, mature tannins—evidence of Ten’s ageability—are followed by a long, velvety finish.
Tasting Panel 95 Points
Ten types of low-vigor French Pinot Noir clones were selected for the planting of Sea Smoke Estate Vineyard in 1999. As Winemaker Don Schroeder explains, “The wealth of clones at our vineyard is one of the keys to the complexity of our wines.” This bottling is made from all ten clones farmed directly from the organic- and Biodynamic-certified estate vineyard: Aged 16 months in French oak, it shows scents of chocolate syrup and baked plum pudding. A solemn Pinot, it remains extravagant with flavors of black cherry washed with rose petals and rhubarb. Tilled soil, beet root, and firm tannins prove its profundity.
Wine Enthusiast 94 Points (Cellar Selection)
Baked cranberry, cherry, clove, vanilla bean and mossy earth show on the nose of this always much anticipated bottling from the region’s first cult producer. The palate is tangy with rounded black-plum, star anise and black-peppercorn flavors. It’s excellent now, but those tart elements will find more integration with patience.
Zorah Karasì 2017
Decanter 93 Points
This is a winery that pioneered a new generation of exciting wines in Armenia, rescuing a forgotten grape and ancient winemaking traditions through ageing in Armenia’s heritage of clay jars called Karas. From a stunning vineyard at 1,400m surrounded by snow-capped mountains and consulted by Alberto Antonini, this is a fine, elegant wine with notes of violet and wild bilberry on the nose followed by juicy loganberry and supported by vibrant acidity and graceful tannins. Drinking Window 2020 – 2024.
Felipe Staiti Honor Blend 2015
This powerful blend of Malbec and Cabernet Franc is intense and potent, with a pronounced ripe berry flavor and a superb texture. As Felipe would put it: “It’s like a Steely Dan song.”
James Suckling 98 Points
This is a powerful and rich wine with lots of ripe fruit, yet it’s intense and powerful with toasted oak, dried leaf and dark berries. Full-bodied and really tight and focused. Foursquare and talking. Felipe, a revered rocker, says it’s like a Steely Dan song. With him on that. He makes he wine with prized winemaker Marcelo Pelleriti. Drink or hold.
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