It’s like the flood gates open today. For the last three weeks I’ve tasted a depressing amount of uninspiring wines. But things started turning around today. Most surprising of all was the 2007 Masciarelli Marina Cvetic Merlot D’Abruzzo ($49 per bottle). That’s right, I said Masciarelli. And no, I’m not drunk. Its aromas are California in style rich, opulent, sexy, forward and maybe a bit rude. But the palate is rustic and savory with notes of black fruit and stony minerality. Sleek, stylish, round and polished. Its balance of fruit/acid suggest this wine is built for the long haul. It certainly gets a strong buy.
It was fortunate that the Masciarelli was later in the day as it would have overpowered the 2003 Chateau Chapelle Segur Montagne Saint Emilion ($26 per bottle). That would have been a shame. The Chapelle Segur performed well and is something I could see owning a case of and watching it disappear quickly during the holidays as I look for a Wednesday bottle of vino to enjoy with a cheese board. Or maybe a Tuesday night “it’s been a long day” bottle. It offers terrific Bordeaux savory notes with a touch of sweet fruit on the palate. There’s plenty of structure and body. It’s a not a bottle built for the next 10 years but something that will certainly still be enjoyable in 2012. Its price alone dictates a stockpile recommendation. But one could say the same thing about the 2010 Petit Chapeau Cote du Rhone ($11 per bottle). That’s right, this gem of a Rhone produce by Daniel Johannes is back but limited. There are only 145 cases for the New York Metro area. Consider that same area moves 55K cases of Clicquot a year, 145 cases is a drop in the bucket so snatch this while you can. It has the same profile as the 2009 with maybe a touch less spiciness on the finish and a little more fruit. It will sell out. Tracey (my wife) is currently working to get it on the website. For those that like a little funk, the 2010 Domaine Les Grands Vignes Anjou Vieille Vignes Les Cocainelles ($23 per bottle) provides a George Clinton amount of funk from the Loire Valley with earthy, cherry compote aromas with notes of leather and smoke. I loved this wine so much that we’ve changed this week’s Friday Night Wine Down tasting series to Loire valley and will be pouring it in the store. The wine receives a cautious buy. The caution is because not everyone loves the funk. 2007 Masciarelli Marina Cvetic Chardonnay ($65 per bottle) and 2009 Hartford Court Four Hearts Chardonnay ($42 per bottle) are worlds apart. The Masciarelli (I still can’t believe I’m typing this) is refined, round, supple and balanced with baked pineapple fruit and plenty of oak to balance it. Again, it’s built for the long haul. The natural acidity tells me this succulent Chardonnay will last another 10 years in the bottle. But without a track record for this Chardonnay it’s tough to give it a sell the kids so instead it will get a strong buy. The Hartford court is the other direction, those looking for new world Chardonnay that provides butter, popcorn, sweet apple, toasty oak and lengthy finish that’s drinking now with no ageing possibility, the Hartford is a strong buy.
Well I guess I’d be remiss (and maybe a little selfish) if I failed to mention the newest addition to our inventory. I managed to find some 1991 Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva Rioja ($90 per bottle). I bought a case for the store but you won’t find it on the shelf. You’ll have to ask for it. Lopez de Heredia is one of the most respected producers in Spain and the wines are only just now entering CT. A wine director friend of mine told me what was going on, I started doing a little investigating and presto, we have yet another supplier. I highly recommend you do some research on this estate. It’s quite impressive and I’m rather excited to have the wine in the store. This gets a serious sell the kids.
In Good Taste,
P.S. If you haven’t noticed, I monkeyed around with the format of the notes a little bit. Thoughts?