#WBC10, Live Wine Blogging (Red Wines!)

Nicholas Cole Cellars, 05 Camille (Walla Walla Valley Red Wine); “great wines are made a vine at a time”; Bordeaux-style blends are the focus, this is merlot at 45%, followed by28%  cab franc, 26% cab sauv, petit verdot at 1% … very lively aromatics, strong herbaceousness, loads on mint/menthol on the palate, quite bright acidity, firm if not-yet-integrated tannin … founded in 2001, began as strictly negociant, heading for long-term goal of estate; 2004 was goal for debut estate, but frost derailed this …  estate fruit is 41 acres … 1150 to 1275 elevation means no cane burial, vineyard practice is certified sustainable; whole-berry fermentation in the vineyard, Camille is all free-run, oak regimen is all french oak, up to 100% new, low as 50%; Camille is 65% new French oak. Reliance on natural yeast for the secondary, with a long-term goal of all natural yeast … all in all, a young, possibly-still-searching-for-its-true-personality wine, that is indeed quite promising …

Spofford Station Vineyards/James Leigh Cellars, 2004 Cabernet Sauvingon, Wine Enthusiast wrote of this that it should be served with “Char Coutrer or salamie” … the deep rich berry-driven nose tells me this is pretty spot on … these wines are traditionally 4-5 years in barrel, almost no fining or filtration … vineyards are located quite near the 45th parallel, giving the winemaker a self-styled bordeaux approach … Caberent skins are fed to cattle! Fantastic recycling mentality … wine itself is meaty, robust, but shows that great Washington acidity; I wonder about cellarability, due to a little lack in the tannin architecture …

and now for something completely different!  Banfi Sangiovese! 2007. Presenter noted its youth, and then did a full-body swirl! Most excellent … Oddly enough, quite a bit of celery on the nose? Both good and confusing; it’s crisp, fresh, and herbal, but is it a bit green on the nose? Let’s proceed and see; and should note first that there is also a solid spread of fruit opulence on offer as well …  nice round mouthfeel, full and wide palate spread … this wine is the result of a patented process called the Horizon Project; essentially, a combination wood-and-steel fermenter; wild! Must look into this … Great tannin architecture, and nice herbal components, the building itself is solidly built, but i wonder about the walls themselves; in this case, meaning the fruit; a bit tart to my taste, and lacking some of the lushness the nose implies … would love to taste this at table …

Monthaven 2007 Cab Sauv, presented in the Octavin, a sort of pseudo-wine-box; i.e. bag in the box! This is primarily fruit from Paso and Monterey … smells madly of tobacco on the nose, and quite beefy …. fairly cloyingly sweet on the palate, VERY central coast … quite ripe, not a ton of structure, but reasonably approachable, depending on your palate aesthetic … fundamentally, very ripe, a tad suit, and def. ready to drink … if you prefer fruit over structure, drink up!

Doolhof Wine Estate, Dark Lady of the Labryinth, South African pinotage! “Pinotage with a twist” …Aged in heavily toasted oak barrels … Def. pinotage; deep, dark, black, inky, smoky, fudge-y, etc., LOVE the nose! Me likee pinotage, I don’t care about the backlash! And a brilliant agrarian philosophy; black south african farm workers returning to ownership positions, native lands being returned to native flora/fauna, etc., love it!   Wow, heck of a lot of wine on the palate, can def. spot the 1.5% RS, but like it, hints of a lacquer-y blackness, with sweet chocolate-colored cherries, etc. Beyond intense, but worth it …

Magnificent Wine Company, 2007 House Wine, Walla Walla local … 7 varietal blend, cab sauv, merlot, syrah, malbec, zin, petit verdot, etc. … 50,000 cases … $13/btl … all sourced negociant fruit … all Columbia Valley fruit; Charles Smith is the wine maker, this is his 2nd label … styled as drinkable, approachable, affordable … presenter describes it as “super-jammy” … and for Washington context, I’ll agree, but not at all overwhelmingly ripe …this wine is gravity-filtered through ceramic discs, to prevent bruising … great preservation of fruit character, per the presenter, and I agree … this is a really, really, really great price-break-to-quality ratio offering …

Ortman Family Vineyards, 2008 Sangiovese, 100% … San Miguel fruit from Paso … this is a 500 case release, designed as a 2nd label “approachable” offering …  “the ortman style” per papa ortman; key is balance … hand-picked fruit, destemmed, sent to fermentation tank; handled a bit like pinot noir, punched down in open top; uses inoculated yeast … 1 year old barrel to older, 100% french oak … blood orange def. drives the aromatics, with hints of chocolate and candied orange as well … rich on the palate, very drinkable …

Louis M. Martini 2006 Napa Valley Lot 1 Cab Sauv, $120/bottle, 500 cases … What a LOVELY nose! Destemmed fruit, not crushed, hand-picked in the early morning … hand-sorted, gravity-fed to tank … BDX yeast strain … full malo, racked “as needed” … all french oak, variety of toast factors … all submerged cap fermentation, then pulled for punched-down, open-top … egg-white fining …

Isenhower , Batchelor’s Button, 96% Cab, purchased from Bacchus Vineyard, Block 9, planted in 1972 … “big farm, but farmed small …” … only 325 cases, $28/btl … only destem, do not crush, cold soak for 3 days, yeast is D254 … on skins for 11 days … pressed, but this is all free-run, 50% new french oak, the rest is older … full malolactic … submerged twice a day … meant to show substance and grace, and for the most part, I agree, shows lots of lovely herbal character; per the winemaker, this is the vineyard itself … nice honest expression …

The Crusher, 2008 Petite Sirah … fruit from Clarksburg (Sacto Delta) … picked and pulled at over 15%, then deploys reverse osmosis to bring down to 14.8; per the winemaker, the goal is to capture the very ripe blackberry fruit that is regionally correct for the area … great tannin, nicely balanced inkiness … fruit crushed close to vineyard … 3 pump-overs a day, aging is stainless-stell on french oak staves w/ micro-oxygenation … 10,000 cases, $12/btl … me, I love Petite Sirah, and god bless ‘em all to keep ‘em comin’ … per the winemaker, “usin’ all the tricks …”

Desert Wine 2008 Ruah, FINALLY! American Oak … anyhow, Greg Fries is the winemaker, used to be at Duckpond … Merlot, Cab Sauv, Cab Franc … 92% Estate Grown … 480 acres! About half of that is sold … Def. some dill on the nose, but at this point, rather refreshing … consistency vintage-to-vintage is key for this producer … a tad green, but I don’t mind it … loads of tannins, also a rather refreshing arrival … all told, not sure I LOVE it, but I def. appreciate the turn …

DuckPond 2008 Red Blend … Merlot, Syrah, Cab Sauv … Closed Top Fermentation with 2-3 X/day circulation … 8-10 days skin contact …. columbia valley fruit … 13 months in French and American oak … the american oak is red oak; interesting … sandalwood and caramel on the nose … some herbs on thee palate, but mostly fruit driven … soft tannins … easy fruit … easy drinking … to me, a little directionless, but not bad, by any means … maybe some time to integrate?



Categories: Events & Photographs, Wine Blogs

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