The esteemed Chateauneuf du Pape author Harry Karis came through town and Howard was kind enough to arrange a tasting for us to meet him and enjoy a few wines. The theme was Rhone varieties, not from the Rhone, but we had some stunning actual Rhone wines thrown in as well.
- N.V. de Venoge Champagne Brut Sélect Cordon Bleu - France, Champagne
12% ABV. Quick impression. This seemed to have a relatively light bead and low effervesence. Sweet smelling with baked apple aromas. Similar ripe apple fruit on the palate. I found this to be relatively "sweet" for a Brut, which is okay with me. Good.
- 2006 Domaine de la Solitude (Lançon Père et Fils) Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Barberini - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
15% ABV. Fairly deep gold in the glass. Sweet nectar, honey, vanilla, and a touch of apricot on the nose. Rich ripe fruit on the palate with secondary nuances of mineral, balsa, and a piercing anise-like herb quality. Slightly oily in texture. I've never had a white CdP I enjoyed much, but this changed all that. A revelation. Delicious stuff. (Landon Shicerick importer). 93-94.
- 1998 d'Arenberg Shiraz The Dead Arm - Australia, South Australia, Fleurieu, McLaren Vale
Blind red 1 - Dark garnet in the glass, translucent garnet at the edges. Sweet smelling with a touch of licorice and sweet oak. Medium full bodied with tangy sweet dark fruit and a bit of sour oak. The acidity on this is jacked up. Started off okay, but fell into a sour mess. I guessed late 90's Aussie, and was contemplating naming D'arenberg. I'll give myself a quick pat on the back for that. Disappointing.
- 2004 Ester Nin i Llort Priorat Nit de Nin - Spain, Catalunya, Priorat
Blind Red 2 - Translucent dark ruby in the glass. Reticent nose of wax, smoky earth and a rubbery tar quality. Sweet-tart attack of red fruit. Medium bodied with red fruit. A bit vague. I was guessing a Priorat with some age on it - say a 98 or an 01. 15% ABV. Pretty good, but didn't really wow me.
- 2007 Domaine la Barroche Châteauneuf-du-Pape Signature - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Red 2 (non blind) - 15% ABV. Translucent ruby in the glass. Aromas of mineral, concrete (no corked), dark berry fruit, and cinnamon. Ripe berry cherry fruit on the palate. Fruit forward with a long finish. Youthfully exuberant. Mid palate this tastes a little less concentrated and more like a cotes du rhone, but the overall effect is nice. 93+
- 2007 Arnot-Roberts Syrah - USA, California
Blind Red 4 - one of my contributions. Opaque in the glass. Meaty iodine on the nose. Smells a lot like a Northern Rhone wine, maybe St. Joseph or Cornas. Somewhat tart black cherry fruit with a complex pepper quality. This is showing better than my previous bottle with enough fruit to balance out the savory. Still didn't get much love from the group and no one was fooled as to its place of origin.
- 2007 Mas de Boislauzon Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée du Quet - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Blind Red 5 - Dark somewhat translucent garnet in the glass. Initially reticent with an herbal garrigue note. Rich dark fruit that turned into sweet kirsch with air. Secondary balsa wood. Finishes a little bit hot. This is tasty. I guessed it was a Saxum - way off, but I still see some similarities. 94-95.
- 1998 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Red 6 (non blind) - Dark garnet with a hint of tawny. Funky nose of horse and bark. Medium full bodied with funky rusty flavors over high toned red fruit. Not great. I thought this might be flawed, but Harry and John did not. I'd say drink up and hope your bottles have a bit less brett. I hope my one remaining bottle shows better.
- 2006 Ramey Syrah Shanel Vineyard Sonoma Coast - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
Blind Red 7 - my other contribution, for what it is worth. Sweet apricot nose with red berry fruit and cinnamon spice. Rich on the palate with ripe black fruit and a suggestion of lavender. Great nose. I really like this wine, but I don't think the rest of the group enjoyed it as much as I. At least I got a nod from Harry K that he liked the nose.
This paired fairly well with a caramel bread pudding.
- 1996 Pierre-Yves Tijou Coteaux du Layon-Beaulieu Château Soucherie Vieilles Vignes - France, Loire Valley, Anjou-Saumur, Coteaux du Layon-Beaulieu
Dessert Sticky - Reticent fruit cocktail nose. Medium bodied with rich white and stone fruit. Sweet, but not cloying. Flavors like a Sauterne, but with a bit less botrytis and a lighter moutfeel. Pleasant.
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