White Wines of Oregon

March 25th, 2014
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Oregon is known for its Pinot noir. Okay, that’s fair as seventy percent of its plantings are Pinot noir.

But that’s not the whole story about Oregon. Not by a long shot. So why are so many of it’s white wines overlooked?

The Chardonnay Symposium sought to give some spotlight to Chardonnay. And you betcha, there are some mighty fine chardonnays in this state. Bergstrom’s Sigrid, Domaine Drouhin Oregon’s Arthur, Chehalem’s Inox, Brittan Vineyards, Kramer Vineyards, Stoller Family Estate, and Soter Vineyards just to name a few.

Riesling is another up-and-coming variety with fine examples from Brooks, Trisaetum, Argyle, Chehalem, J. Christopher, Anam Cara and Teutonic Wines, just to rattle off a few of many. They do an amazing tasting at the end of the International Pinot Noir Celebration that is remarkable for its range of wines.

Melon de Bourgogne (the grape of Muscadet) is grown by, among others, Panther Creek, Ken Wright, de Ponte, Cameron, and Grochau Cellars.

Pinot blanc is also made in Oregon. Chehalem, Adelsheim, Willakenzie Estate, Ayers, The Eyrie, and St Innocent make noteworthy Pinot blanc.

And Pinot gris. An Oregon work-horse. There can be wonderful wines such as Chehalem’s two cuvees, The Eyrie, WillaKenzie Estate and Bethel Heights to name a very few.

And of course there are some wonderful stand-alone wines. Troon’s delightful Vermentino. Ponzi’s Arneis. Abacela’s Albarino. Chehalem’s Gruner Veltliner. Cowhorn’s Viognier (other people do make Viognier but Cowhorn’s is outstanding).

So you see that Oregon is not necessarily all about Pinot noir. Take a chance. Try a white wine. You might be surprised.

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White Wines of Oregon

March 25th, 2014
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What’s Happening in Chablis?

November 15th, 2012

What’s Happening in Chablis?

 

A lot is happening in Chablis, France.

 

For one thing, new oak use is on the wane. In the 1990s many Chablis carried the taste of oak. People still ferment in oak, but typically older, more neutral oak, and use older oak to age the wines.

 

Parcels within the large premier cru Fourchaume—as just one example—can be called the name of the specific sub-region, such as L’Homme Mort, Vaupulent, Côte de Fontenay or Vaurolent, making it confusing for the consumer.

 

And Chablis can keep growing. In 2011, there were about 5,000 hectares of vineyard planted, leaving 700 more hectares that could be planted to Chablis and Petit Chablis.

 

But it is the younger generation of winemakers who are making the biggest statement. They likely have been trained as enologists and are educated in wine.  They are picking a bit earlier, separating the vineyard lots, and they have a better understanding of the soils.  They are making educated decisions, as opposed to what their families may have done.

 

Chablis

A Discovery of Russian Wines

April 3rd, 2012

Recently, I was brought to southern Russia to visit wineries. It was a second encounter with these wines, as I had also tasted them at the London International Wine Fair last May. I was brought to Russia for two reasons: to attend the 275th anniversary of Tsymlyanskiye Winery’s sparkling wine (they made wine for Tsarina Anna who ruled at that time), and to visit the wineries of southern Russia.

These wines are not yet exported to the US. They are available in the United Kingdom. And most of them were better than I expected.

The Indigenous Varieties

Surprisingly, only one winery focused on the native varieties, Vedernikov Winery, very near the southern city of Rostov. That area had a long history of winemaking, most recently (‘recent’ in Russia means the last 500 years) by Cossacks. Of course, that area also suffered greatly under the Communist regime, where big was valued more that subtle, and machine-driven everything was prized.

Today, Vedernikov looks like any other winery, with grapes growing on a single Guyot system, hand harvesting into small boxes, temperature control, pneumatic presses, etc. Riesling came to the vineyards when Peter the Great (1672-1725) reportedly told the growers that they needed to import German varieties for entry-level wines. Most producers also make an aligote´ for that purpose as well.

INDIGENOUS WHITES

Rkatziteli, a Georgian variety, shows a somewhat herbal, floral and citrus nose, with citrus, green apple, and mineral notes on the palate. This wine is typically made for young consumption and does not age very well beyond 2-3 years.

Sibirkoviy gives off a floral, grassy and peachy aroma, and on the palate shows citrus, floral and apple notes. It, too, should be consumed within 3 years.

INDIGENOUS REDS

Krasnostop Zolotovsky is a red grape with notes of plum, red currant, firm tannins, with red fruit flavors and spice. It is generally made to be consumed within 4-5 years. Vedernikov Winery is experimenting with using French oak on the wine and from the example they showed, the oaked wine looks very promising.

Tzimlanskiy Cherniy shows notes of prunes, spice, leather with a full body, firm tannins, and a cassis-jam flavor. It, too, is made for a 4-5 drinking window.

Vedernikov Winery also blends Krasnostop and Tzimlanskiy each with Cabernet Sauvignon.

Saperavi produces substantial deep red wines that are also suitable for aging. It is the main red grape found in Georgia. Saperavi has the potential to produce high alcohol levels and is used extensively for blending with other varieties. At Chateau de Grand Vostock (see below), it is used to blend with Cabernet for a very well-structured and tasty result.

The Garagistes

Even in Russia, there are very tiny producers who see themselves as Garage Winemakers, or garagistes. They make very small quantities and most of them were wealthy before they began as producers.

The Garagistes even have their own set of rules.

1. Own one’s own vineyards, with minimal mechanization.

2. Use as few machines as possible; wine must be “hand made”.

3. Make a maximum of 10,000 litres per year.

4. Sell the wine at the place where it is made.

One of these garagists is named Valeriy Loginov and his company is called Black Sea Garage Wine. He is also a partner in the very large Gerrus Group, which makes an enormously large quantity of boxed wines, tetra paks, and some lower end bottles.

Loginov’s winery is near Anapa, very close to the Black Sea, and has 159 hectars (393 acres) of vines and plans a tasting room, restaurant, and small hotel. He has planted his property with all the modern international varieties and he is waiting to see which works best on his land.

Another Garage winemaker is Gennadiy Oparin. His winery and restaurant are named Semigorie (Seven Hills) also near Anapa, where there was held a garage wine tasting, although most of the wines we tasted were not from small producers. Oparin’s money is from a Bag-in-Box wine named Russkaya Loza (Russian Vine), but he left that project and had lost almost all of his money. But he had squirreled enough away to keep the restaurant and start his small winery, which is housed in the basement of the restaurant.

The French Influence

Many of the wineries use French consultants (and one Australian who lives in London).

Alain Dugas consults for a winery called Gaï Kodzor in southern Russia by the Black Sea. His connection with the vineyards of Russia has a lot to do with his friendship with Eduard Alexandrov, the owner of Gai Kodzor, whom he met when he was promoting Chateauneuf du Pape in Moscow. The dry slopes in the Russian western Caucasus Mountains are indeed far from the former Chateauneuf du Pape estate of Chateau de La Nerthe (even though he says that the two regions have a lot in common), which Dugas ran. The two men toured the Black Sea region some time later, looking at vineyards. And now Dugas visits and consults regularly.

At Lefkadia, a very well funded operation that has yet to release any wine, has hired Patrick Leon as a consultant. Leon is the former winemaker for Chateau Mouton Rothschild. Lefkadia began planting in 2007 and planted 24 hectars (59 acres). Right now, Lefkadia’s whites show more promise than the reds. They have the most well organized, well-funded lab imaginable. They do virus DNA testing on all plant material. They test wines. They test soils. They consult for other wineries. They run a computerized professional lab the likes of which have not been seen at a single winery: all in all, a very impressive facility.

The Lefkadia winery is no less impressive. All fermentation tanks are either 500 or 750 litres, stainless steel and all fermentations are small lot and temperature controlled. They, too have plans for hotels, and tasting rooms.

In Russian, sparkling wines have been called Shapamskoye (which sounds like Champagne). Recently, at a meeting at the Abrau Durso winery, the members of the Russian Winegrower and Winemaker Union agreed in principle to outlaw the ‘Sovetskoye Shampanskoye’ trademark, without fixing a date for the ban. The name, which was established under Stalin in the 1920s, is still widely used by privately-owned producers today.

There was initially strong opposition to the move from many producers, who fear that sales will plummet once the name is banned, but the group voted to phase out the name after strong encouragement from Abrau Durso, the sparkling wine producer owned by Boris Titov. Titov, a wealthy former petrochemicals trader, also owns Château d’Avize in Champagne.

Abrau Durso also has an historical pedigree. The settlement was founded on November 25, 1870 as a royal winery, which was to provide wine for the Tsar’s household. These plans were only brought to full fruition twenty-one years later, when Prince Leo Galitzine, renowned for his Crimean vineyards, was appointed Surveyor of Imperial Vineyards at Abrau Durso. It was he who brought to Russia a team of skilled winemakers from France. By 1897, Abrau Durso boasted a sparkling wine cellar containing in excess of 13,000 bottles.
The Russian Revolution of 1917 brought an end to Abrau Durso’s prosperity, if only for a short time. The French specialists fled Russia, but their work was continued by their Russian apprentices. Throughout the Soviet period, Abrau Durso was reputed for its sparkling wine, which was marketed under the name “Sovetskoye Shampanskoye”, or “champagne for the people”.
Today, former Duval-Leroy winemaker Hervé Jestin, Chef d’entreprise for the JESTIN Oenologie Lieu Région de Reims, France consults for Abrau Durso. And Abrau Durso’s top 3 Imperial cuvees are remarkable. Like Myskhako below, the soils on which the vines are planted are chalk. So the sparkling wines absolutely have a chalky component to them. They make many different styles, including a sweet sparkling red wine that Russians like, but the winery’s Imperial line is very fine wine, and very chalky, too.
But the French are not the only consultants. Australian winemaker John Worontschak (who lives and works from London, UK) is the consulting winemaker at Fanagoria, and at Myskhako, both in the general Krasnodar area. Fanagoria’s Cabernet Sauvignon was a favorite at the Garagiste’s tasting.

At Fanagoria, they have their own cooperage, using Caucasian oak for barrels. They own 2,500 hectars (6,175 acres) of vineyards and produce everything from spirits, tetra pak, bag-in-box to fine wines. They use machine harvesting for the lower end wines and hand harvest the upper end. They have their own nurseries and grafting stations as well. More than 60 percent of their vines are international varieties, but they are also propagating the indigenous varieties.

At Myskhako, near Abrau Durso and the town of Novorossyisk (new Russia) the soils are very chalky and that flavor comes through the wines at times. The Cabernet from the very nice 2008 vintage was a stunning wine from this winery.

At Kubano Vino, in the Kuban region very near the Black Sea, they do not use a French or any other consultant. They manage 5,600 bearing hectars (13,832 acres) of land. They grow vinifera and hybrids on mostly own-rooted vines. Kubano Vino makes truly massive quantities of wine, and the winemaker makes many experimental cuvees each year. This year, she will make a dry Gruner Veltiner, different from the very sweet one she created last year.

And at another winery, Chateau de Grand Vostock, the winemaker is French: Franck Duseigneur. Duseigneur was graduated from the ENITA engineering school in Bordeaux, and studied viticulture there. He now speaks Russian fluently. And his wines all bear a mark of very good quality.
The overall impression to take away from this ancient but newly emerging region is one of quality. Clearly, most of the wineries have left behind the mass production methods of the former Soviet days, and the learning curve appears very rapid. This region will face the same challenges in international markets as any new entrant, but the quality is there. Meanwhile, the domestic market in Russia favors the sweet wines, and the higher end wines can only be bought by people with substantial money. This country’s wines are poised for outside growth.

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Tasty Boxed Wines

September 4th, 2010

I can’t believe I am writing about boxed wines. Who would have thought that boxed wines could be tasty and convenient?

Well, here we are in boxed wine land. I have become a convert.

All the boxed wines below are European. Tasty wines that retail at the equivalent of about $7-10/per bottle. You can pour a glass one night if that’s all you want and have the rest be in great condition the following night. Not only have I become a convert, now I am now prosthelytizing about them!

I have listed approximate prices and the importer; three of them are only available in Oregon and Washington.

And there is one I dying to try that promises to be very good; a German Riesling, with a national importer. It has not yet arrived in Portland, but I may be able to get a box next week. I will update this blog with the German Riesling when I can.  JUST Added the Würtz Riesling!

Great Boxed Wines

Würtz Riesling Trocken 2008

$24 for 3 litres

A lovely little QBA Riesling from the Rheinhessen, dry, with enough fruit to balance the racy acidity. Crisp and clean, it is a lovely, bright glass of wine. A joy to have a Riesling in a box.  We will drink a lot of this wine for sure.  Imported by Domaine Select Wine Estates.

Terra Da Malta Branco (white)

$34 for 5 litres

Apparently non vintage (although it may be and they just did not feel it necessary to list the vintage), this aromatic white shows a floral note thanks to the Moscatel and Sauvignon blanc in the blend (along with 3 indigenous varieties). A simple pleasing wine for everyday drinking, from the Estremadura region of Portugal. Imported by Casa Bruno in Portland, Oregon.

Bodegas Adria Val Montium Mencia 2008

$30 for 3 litres

My favorite of the boxed wines, this is an unoaked Mencia, full of bright black cherry fruit with enough acid and tannins to make it a fairly serious wine. It is simply delicious. Our house red this year. Imported by Scoperta Importing in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

Scatola di Vino 2008

$27 for 3 litres

Made by the great estate Vignamaggio in Greve, Chianti from young vines, this is a classic little Chianti with black cherry and leather notes. Simple and very pleasing. Vignamaggio makes a lot of boxed wine for the Scandinavian market, so it was easy for Columbia Distributing in Portland to have some of it diverted to the Pacific Northwest. Imported by Admiralty Beverage, a division of Columbia Distributing to Oregon and Washington.

La Vielle Ferme Cotes du Ventoux

$25 for 3 litres

A Cotes du Rhone look-a-like, this wine shows classic Grenache character, with a bit of Syrah’s structure. It is a solid wine, also sold in 750 bottles. This is a steal! Imported by Vineyard Brands.

Domaine La Guintrandy Vin du Pays 2008

$25 for 3 litres

As classic a café or carafe wine as I’ve ever tasted and another Cotes du Rhone look-a-like. Very fresh and lively with Grenache notes very strong on the palate. A juicy, easy to drink wine made for everyday consumption. A good deal for a lovely little wine. Imported by Triage Wines, in Oregon and Washington.

Bag in Box, Boxed wines, Inexpensive wines, Low price wines that taste good

Dundee Hills Wine Experience

August 28th, 2010

What a contrast of tastings I had this week!

After the Italy in the Valley unpleasantness, the Dundee Hills tasting was well organized and enjoyable!

The Dundee Hills tasting was held in a space that was new to me:  the Leftbank Annex, near the Rose Quarter.  It was an airy great space for this type of event, roomy and well lit, even with a little room upstairs to separate wines for a press tasting.

On entering the event, you got a Riedel Burgundy glass, a paper spit cup, and a sheet detailing who was pouring.  They arranged the group well, too: newcomers were grouped together on the right; pioneers were arranged on the far left and the remaining wineries in the middle.

Upstairs was reserved for press, to give us a place away from the crowds to taste.  Only one wine from each winery was there, but it was a nice opportunity to taste quickly, and they gave press a handy booklet in which to write notes.  Well done!

Food was limited, but tasty, especially the small fingerling potatoes split and stuffed with mushrooms and cheese.

There were a lot of people there, but it did not feel crowded.  You could still get to the producers to talk and ask questions.

You could taste the similarity across all the wines, no matter which vintage or winery.  There was a pleasant black cherry core in each wine, linking them together.

The wines that I liked best are below.  Please remember that wines change day to day and this is just a snapshot of what I tasted Thursday night.  The 2008s were very tight and need time to unfold.  Some of the 2007s were very nice as well.  And a number of older wines appeared around the room.  I did not taste the Eyrie 1977 Thursday night, but I have tasted that wine many times before, and as recently as 2 years ago.

Archery Summit

Red Hills Estate Vineyard 2007   $85

This wine showed more black fruit that the classic black cherry and showed very good depth and length.  It reminded me of the great evolution these wines have seen in the last few years.  Gone are the over extracted, oaky wines; now we see much more fruit and finesse.

Argyle

Spirithouse Pinot Noir 2007   $60

A nice depth of black cherry fruit supported by acidity. Very long length.  An attractive wine that doesn’t shout, but sings.

Ayoub Wines

Ayoub Pinot Noir 2008   $52

The surprise of the tasting for me.  A very new producer, and a lovely wine showing a very good depth of black cherry fruit, supporting acidity, and very silky texture.  The wine showed some complexity, concentration and length.  I want to follow this guy….

DePonte Cellars

Baldwin Family Reserve 2007   $70

A great example of an ’07: very nice depth of flavor with a lovely richness mid palate, followed by long length.

The Eyrie Vineyards

Estate Pinot Noir 2008   $28.75

A leaner style, but lovely black cherry fruit with supporting acicity, and long length.  It is tightly wound and needs time to develop.  I heard that winemaker Jason Lett said of this wine that it was a color (darker)  his father would never have recognized!  It shows nicely now, but will age beautifully.

Lange Estate Winery

“Three Hills Cuvée” Pinot Noir 2008     $40

This wine showed a bright back cherry core of fruit, strong acidity and good mid palate depth with nice long length.  Tight now, it needs time to unwind.

Westrey Wine Company

Oracle Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008    $28

Another lovely and tight 2008, showing a lovely depth of black cherry fruit, supporting acidity, a full palate, and long length.  Needs time in bottle.

I also tasted a lovely 1999 Pinot from Westrey, but I did not write down the vineyard.  When I asked co-owner Amy Wesselman if she brought the 1999 because she hopes this vintage will mirror that late one, she laughed and said yes!

The other wines I tasted were not bad; just not my favorites and there too were many of them to write down.

Dundee Hills, Oregon, Oregon wines, Pinot Noir

Italy in Oregon

August 26th, 2010

I made the mistake of going to Italy in the Valley, an event showcasing the Italian varieties made by Oregon producers.  Last year’s event was pleasant, but there were only 3 wines of the 15 or so that I liked.

So this year, with 26 wines to taste, I was anticipating an interesting afternoon.

What I got was a mosh pit, no spit cups, chunky stem-less glasses with which to taste, and a run on the advertised pork sandwiches, leaving an uninspired vegetarian version.

The sheet describing the varieties had many errors.  Who would describe Sangiovese as tasting like strawberries?  Black cherries and leather, yes, but strawberries?  And for Lagrein, one of my favorite varieties, they list it as a blending agent with Pinot noir!  Where?  None of the wineries I visited in Alto Adige used Lagrein in their Pinot noirs.  So where?   Since when is Vermentino grown in Piemonte? Well, miniscule amounts of Favorita are indeed grown, but they are not made in much quantity and not very well distributed in the wine world.  The folks who wrote this list put it as a major variety grown there.  I don’t think so.  Tuscany, yes, particularly in Bolgheri and the Maremma.  Sardinia and Corsica, yes.  And in France, Vermentino is known as Rolle and is grown throughout Provence.

Getting to taste the wines took major effort.  You had to push through hordes of people to get to the tables, taste quickly, and spit on the grass as no spit cups were in evidence.  And since there were so many people, it was next to impossible to engage a producer and ask questions.

So what wines did I like?  More than three wines this time.

Marchesi Vineyards

Dolcetto 2009

Showed a bright cherry flavor, with great acidity and personality.  But at $25 a bottle, I could get a Piemontese version cheaper.

Ponzi Vineyards

Arneis 2009

Always a favorite, this wine showed bright apple notes, fresh clean acidity and a touch of almond.  Good depth of flavor and some length.

Remy Wines

Lagrein 2007

One of my favorites at these tastings, and also generally, this wine showed nice leathery and berry notes with its tannins under control.  Crisp acidity kept it nicely taught.  And Remy brought down her price for this, which used to be a princely $60/bottle. Now retails for $48.  Still high, but not outrageous.

Tartan

Dolcetto 2006 and 2007

Both showed very nicely, with bright cherry notes and fresh acidity.  The 2006 had a bit more body of course, but both wines showed well.  And slightly better priced at $22,

Troon

Vermentino 2008

Maybe Troon’s best wine.  This southern Oregon beauty shows bright citrus flavors, supporting acidity and nice length.  Very pretty wine.

Viento

Barbera 2007

Nice dark cherry flavors, and a slightly rustic but pleasant style.  The amount of oak used was judicious, and the whole package was a very nice drink.

Italian varieties, Oregon

The Wines of Alto Adige

August 10th, 2010

I was invited to go to Alto Adige by the Italian Trade Commission in May. The wines there can be wonderful. I arrived there aware only of Tiefenbrunner, Hofstätter, and Lagader wines here in the US. I was surprised: even the wines from the co-ops show finesse and quality (typical of Italy for that matter; coops are generally very well-respected).  Pinot Bianco, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer (the town of Traminer lies in Alto Adige), Lagrein, Schiava and a bit of Pinot noir all show great appeal.  And a whopping 98 percent of all the wines are DOC.  Most wines are exported to the US.

But these wines come from a region with a mixed identity.  Are they Italian wines?  Or Austrian wines?

Alto Adige has had a confused history. Right now it is the most northern winegrowing region in Italy.  Its identity is mostly Austrian, as historically this region was a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and identified as Austrian.  The primary language is still a German dialect, and they also claim to be the oldest German-speaking wine region with over 3,000 years of wine history.

The History

Even before the end of the Second World War and immediately afterwards, South Tyrolese representatives and the provisional government of Austria began working to see that at the coming peace negotiations South Tyrol would be returned to Austria. The Allies already rejected such claims in the autumn of 1945 and, despite further massive attempts by the South Tyrolese and Austria, a final negative decision was made in April 1946. The only way left open was for Austria and Italy to negotiate directly so that South Tyrol should obtain some form of self-government.

The “Paris Agreement” on 5 September 1946 was signed by the Italian Prime Minister and the Austrian Foreign Minister, and annexed to the peace treaty with Italy, so that the South Tyrol “question” was thereby given international standing.

This agreement provided, amongst other things, for Italy to give the Province of South Tyrol an autonomous legislative and executive power. After much protest and upheaval, little by little a whole package of measures to put the self-government into effect was agreed, and this was approved by a narrow majority of the South Tyrolese People’s Party at its Congress in 1969 and thereafter by the Italian and Austrian governments.

South Tyrol received addition special provisions regarding the use of the mother tongue, schools, culture, bilingualism, and ethnic proportions in employment, etc.

The Provincial Government of South Tyrol has been given a “dynamic autonomy”.

In 2001, a final series of important reforms on the constitutional level went into effect.  The two provinces (of South Tyrol and Trentino) were given the power of electoral legislation and free choice of the government form (for example the direct election of the president of the regional government).

The Mixed Identity

This mixed identity comes through in the wine marketing as well.  While being represented by the Italian Trade Board, the primary language is German, and the food more Austrian: no pasta, lots of lovely dumplings and sauerkraut. Menus are in German. Winery signs are in German. Wine labels are usually in German in situ. But exports to the US have English (and Italian) labels.  The people typically speak German dialect as a first language, learn Italian in school and then add another language later.

All of this makes Alto Adige a fascinating place.  It doesn’t really feel Italian, nor really look Italian.  The region lies within a ring of mountains, creating a dramatic bowl-like effect.  Flying into Bolzano is gorgeous, with the Dolomites showing off their majesty.

But being in Alto Adige seems like being in Austria. And that’s just what they want you to think.

The Best Wines

Laimburg Research Center wines
Pinot Bianco Classico Estate 2009

A steely wine with notes of pineapple, apple and minerals.  Good depth of flavor, strong acidity, and nicely balanced with some length.

Pinot Bianco “Rayèt” 2007

Muted apple nose; palate shows high acidity balanced with broad apple and mineral flavors in a slightly broad, oxidative style. Good length.

Riesling 2008

Classic Riesling nose filled with floral notes, schist, and peach.  Lots of acidity, apricot and peach flavors showing good depth, and nice length.

A restrained nose of earth, a bit of oak and cherry; a focused palate of cherries, bright acidity and length.  A complex, very attractive wine.

Col de Rey 2005

A blend of Tannat, Lagrein and Petit Verdot that shows an earthy, black fruited nose; black fruits supported by acidity, with fine tannins and very long length.

Erste & Neue  coop
Puntay Lagrein Riserva 2007

A pretty, earthy and cherries nose; palate shows a depth of cherry flavor, a strong backbone of acidity, and very good integration.

Tiefenbrunner
Mueller-Thurgau 2009

Aromas of mineral, lemon and white peach; high acid supports a good depth of creamy lemon and peach, nice minerality, and a very long finish.

Lagrein 2008

Minerals and black fruit on the nose; lots of black fruit supported by bright acidity; chocolate; sweet fine tannins and lots of length.

Lagrein Riserva “Linticlarus” 2007

A big wine!  Loads of concentrated black fruit and supporting acidity; focused, complex wine.  Also present are fine dense tannins, integrated oak and amazing long length.

St. Michael-Eppen (also known as St. Michele-Appiano) coop
Pinot Bianco Selection 2009

This single vineyards wine showed a creamy apple and mineral nose with a creamy palate of apple and minerals, with good length.

St. Valentin 2009 Sauvignon Blanc

The nose offered a mineral-based expression with a bit of pyrazine, with a palate that showed a good depth of grassy flavors backed by acid, some complexity and long length.

J. Hofstätter
Pinot Nero Barthenau 1993

A complex, slightly evolved nose of red fruit, with some earthiness and leafiness; bright acidity, a good depth of evolved red fruit, silky texture and long length.

Pinot Nero Barthenau 2007

The nose was a bit muted, but offered earthy red fruit; firm acid supported a good concentration of tightly wound, earthy red fruit ; silky texture;  long length.  Very serious wine.

Gewürztraminer Kolbenhof 1993

A honeyed gold color showing aromas of honey, honeysuckle, and lots of complexity; moderate acid supported a very floral and mineral palate with a slight butterscotch flavor, apricots, and long length.

Gewürztraminer Kolbenhof 2008

Very floral nose; a floral palate that is very round, a broad palate that offers complex peach and mineral flavors.  Long length.  Lovely!

Manincor
Moscato Giallo 2009

An orange blossom, nutmeg and mineral nose; a fresh, bright palate offering nutmeg, floral notes, and a lovely long finish tinged with mineral.

Mason Pinot Nero 2008

A light expression of the grape, with a muted nose; the palate offered bright cherry fruit supported by moderate acid; fine dense tannins; some complexity and long length.

Lagrein Rubatsch 2008

The nose offered muted earthy black fruit; the palate showed firm acidity supporting a good depth of blackberry and licorice flavors, and very long length.  The wine was slightly green but that did not detract from its charm.

Castel Campan 2005

A blend of merlot, cabernet franc, and petit verdot; this wine was a lovely expression of red and black fruit, spice and leather notes; firm tannins. Red fruit and supporting acid were well integrated on the palate.  The wine showed a long length, if slightly marred by high alcohol on the finish.

Le Petit 2008

A Petit  Mensang dessert wine that showed apricot and mango character, high acid balanced by a rich broad palate with apricot and mango flavors, and long length.  The wine shows a lot of elegance.

Terlano Coop
Chardonnay 1994

This wine saw 10 year on its lies; 1 in botti and in stainless for 9 years.  The gold color smelled a bit of oak.  The palate was round and very creamy, with a moderate depth of flavor, and a bit of length.  It was very interesting wine.

Alto Adige, Austria, Italy