Weekend Wine Notes: 12 Wines, A Miscellany

For today’s Weekend Wine Notes, I offer a diverse group of 12 wines — six white, six red — arranged according to ascending price within each color, the range altogether being $11 to $32, so nothing to make the credit card groan. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s something here for every taste and palate, including some unusual selections; we (mostly) aim to please at BTYH. As usual with the Weekend Wine Notes, I eschew technical, historical and geographical data — much as we might dote on those details — for the sake of quick, incisive reviews, ripped, as it were, from the pages of my notebooks and intended to pique your interest and whet your palate. Enjoy — in moderation, of course. These wines were samples for review, as I am required to inform My Readers by authority of the Federal Trade Commission.
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Marco Felluga “Montgris” Riserva Pinot ...

Maison en Belles Lies Maranges 2016


12.5%. Cork.

Humble Maranges gets spell checked to manages. . . not entirely incorrect. I had the odd idea that my home cooked moussaka might be a match for a Musigny. Mouss and Moose. . . Sadly no redundant, sacrificial bottles of Musigny in my cellar. . . based on this wine, I think the pairing might work - though in my dish I used an eggy Bechamel sauce which might distract from a more profound bottle.

Tasting note - like it's sibling - a pretty nose - sap, spice, musk and florals. Mid weight and fast. It seems to evoke something shiny, small and new. . . rhubarb tartness. Unresolved.


Weekend Wine Notes: It’s Mid-Fall. Keep Drinking Rosé

And here are eight lovely, diverse examples, ranging from the delicate to the savory, employing a multitude of grape varieties from a healthy spectrum of regions and countries. As usual with these Weekend Wine Notes, I eschew most technical data, as well as information about geology, geography, historical and personnel matters, for the sake of quick, incisive review intended to whet your palate and pique your interest. Enjoy! (In moderation, of course.) These wines were samples for review.
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Berne Inspiration Rosé 2017, Cotes de Provence. 13% alc. 70% grenache, 20% cinsault, 10% syrah. Very pale pink-onion skin; quite dry, spare, elegant; strawberries and raspberries, lilac and lavender; hints of almond blossom and almond skin; tangerine; lithe, supple; a sleek limestone finish. Excellent. About $20.
Imported by Provence Rose Group, Miami.
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Berne Urban Provence Rosé 2017, Cotes de Provence. 12.5% alc. 45% grenache, 35% cinsault, 15% syrah, ...

Wine of the Day, No. 442

The Fiddlehead Cellars “Seven Twenty Eight” Pinot Noir 2013, Sta. Rita Hills, is the current release of this wine from an estate known particularly for pinot noir and sauvignon blanc. Derived from a variety of clones in the Fiddlestix Vineyard, the wine offers a medium ruby-magenta hue that shades to a wholly transparent rim; aromas of plums, red and black cherries and sour cherry are permeated by notes of sandalwood and sassafras and a hint of loam; a few minutes in the glass bring in touches of ink and iodine, graphite and damp flint. This pinot noir displays lovely poise and elegance, tone and presence; mild tannins, feeling lightly sanded and burnished, are animated by a lithe, supple texture and bright acidity that drives toward a finish wreathed in a burgeoning loamy-graphite element; these qualities bring restraint to a pinot noir that could have been succulent but instead displays admirable ...

Wine of the Day, No. 442

The Fiddlehead Cellars “Seven Twenty Eight” Pinot Noir 2013, Sta. Rita Hills, is the current release of this wine from an estate known particularly for pinot noir and sauvignon blanc. Derived from a variety of clones in the Fiddlestix Vineyard, the wine offers a medium ruby-magenta hue that shades to a wholly transparent rim; aromas of plums, red and black cherries and sour cherry are permeated by notes of sandalwood and sassafras and a hint of loam; a few minutes in the glass bring in touches of ink and iodine, graphite and damp flint. This pinot noir displays lovely poise and elegance, tone and presence; mild tannins, feeling lightly sanded and burnished, are animated by a lithe, supple texture and bright acidity that drives toward a finish wreathed in a burgeoning loamy-graphite element; these qualities bring restraint to a pinot noir that could have been succulent but instead displays admirable ...

Wine of the Day, No. 436

The Ramey Wine Cellars Pinot Noir 2016, Russian River Valley, is a pinot noir of penetrating presence, bold expression and elemental power, yet it does not lack nuance and allure. The grapes derived from three vineyards of differing soil types and were fermented in tank with native yeasts, then spending 14 months in French oak, 49 percent new barrels. The color is transparent medium ruby, and by “transparent,” I mean that I could read my written notes through the wine if the glass were held at an angle. The first impression is down-to-earth, with qualities of roots, loam and woodsy spices and herbs; these quickly fill out with notes of spiced and macerated red and black currants, cherries and plums. On the palate, this pinot noir registers as dense and lively, balanced between rusticity and elegance, and energized by seething acidity; a few moments in the glass gradually pull up ...

Bouchard Volnay Taillepieds 1er Cru 2010


13.5%. Cork. Cellar.

In transition. . . deep, rust like, but entirely taint free. . . mature and rounded. . . changeable and evolving. Tobacco leaf and nori. . . roasted, cured leaves. . . an iodine edge perhaps. Fine and soft, loose and comfortable. It's warm and familiar; curved edges and perfectly weighted. Modest and self contained - Yes.


Dilworth and Allain Romsey Doug’s Vineyard Pinot noir 2017


Doug's vineyard, Macedon, Victoria. 12%. Diam. Approx $A45.

Like the only other pinot I've tried from the same plot - this is incredibly fragrant and light. A terrific nose - sticks and rose petals, floral, herbal with an undercurrent of savoury meatiness. Jolting and jagged, mineral acids. . . quite brittle to begin. It's an atypical descriptor for a pinot noir - but in the mouth this evokes a very ripe blood orange - it has the same pithy bitterness and lingering acidity.


New Zealand’s Wairau Valley and the Wairau River 2015 Marlborough Pinot Noir

New Zealand's modern wine industry began in Marlborough in the 1970s with growers planting Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir vines in the southern Wairau Valley. Nowadays, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are world famous and the Wairau Valley is home to some of New Zealand's most famous producers. One of these early growers was the Rose family who planted their estate vineyards on the banks of the Wairau River.

"The Wairau Valley is one of three zones – along with the Southern Valleys and the Awatere Valley – which make up the heartland of New Zealand's Marlborough wine region. It accounts for approximately 45 percent of plantings within the wider region. It is a wide river valley that follows the Wairau River from the Spenser Mountains in the west to the Pacific at Cloudy Bay. The Richmond Mountains in the north separate it from the sunny region of Nelson, ...

Maison En Belles Lies L’Étrange 2016


With its Gothic equilateral arches it reminds me of Darth Vader. . . inside the liquid is Burgundy, but not as I know it. . . a blend of pinot noir, gamay and chardonnay - it's fast, slippery, sappy and absolutely delicious. Red fruited, musk and spice; a Morgon nose. Floral and beautiful, pixie like - small and delicate but intense. Sour and edgy, terrific acids, just the right side of jagged. #Yes.

Pinot Noir Day: California, Part I — 2014, ’15, ’16

Twelve examples of pinot noir today, as I catch up on wines that I tasted throughout the last six months. This post is just the beginning. There will be at least one more in this particular series, a post devoted to pinot noir from Willamette Valley, and a series about individual wineries and producers. We range from Sta. Rita Hills in the south, in Santa Barbara County, to Anderson Valley in the north, in Mendocino. Ten of these wines rate Excellent, one Very Good+ and one Exceptional. The arrangement is alphabetical, not hierarchical. Enjoy! In moderation, of course. These wines were samples for review.
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The Dierberg “Dierberg Vineyard” Pinot Noir 2014, Santa Maria Valley, is a really pretty pinot noir that exhibits a serious depth of sinew and underbrush. The wine aged 14 months in French oak, 20 percent new barrels. The color is a limpid, transparent medium ruby ...

Bison Meatballs Recipe from Merry Edwards Winery

The Merry Edwards Winery is located in California’s Russian River Valley. Wines to look for at the winery include: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. If you like a sweet wine look for the Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, a dessert wine.The winery tasting room offers two types of wine tastings: In-Depth Tastings and Walk-in Tastings. The recipe below is from the Merry Edwards Winery. Try the Bison Meatballs soon!

Bison Meatballs

Serves 4 Pairs well with Klopp Ranch Pinot Noir Meatballs INGREDIENTS 1 pound ground bison, drained of excess liquid and blotted dry
2 large garlic cloves, mashed
¼ teaspoon alaea sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon olive oil PREPARATION Incorporate all ingredients together by kneading with your hands. Shape into 12 medium-size meatballs. Sauté in olive oil in skillet over medium heat, turning to lightly brown all sizes. Do not overcook as ...

Upward with Onward

Current releases from Onward Wines confirm my belief that Faith Armstrong Foster is one of California’s best winemakers, notable for her deft touch, her thoughtfulness and care; she’s also the owner. She produces lamentably small quantities of wines — from impeccably maintained vineyards — that are low in alcohol, see minimal new oak and that are allowed to speak for themselves and the vineyards from which they derive rather than exist as proponents of the winemaker’s ego. I urge My Readers to seek out the Onward Wines and the second label Farmstrong as brilliant examples of honesty, authenticity and integrity. These wines were samples for review. Every accompanying label image is one vintage retrograde; the winery website has not caught up to the current releases.
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When we tried these petillant naturel sparkling products from Onward Wines, my wife said, “Can we get a case of these?” Yes, they’re ...

Wine of the Day, No. 423


Here’s a rosé whose fairly robust presence sets it apart from the usual crowded field. The Copain Tous Ensemble Rosé of Pinot Noir 2017, Mendocino, made all in stainless steel, offers a pale smoky topaz hue and notes of strawberry and raspberry, watermelon and rose petals, with a hint of Rainier cherry in the background; coming to the fore are elements of damp, dusty flint and limestone that bolster crisp acidity and a lovely texture that caresses the palate with silky drape and flow. This beguiling rosé is quite dry but shapely in structure and almost juicy with raspberry, peach and red currant flavors. 13 percent alcohol. Take it on a picnic and enjoy with cold fried chicken, deviled eggs, watercress and cucumber finger sandwiches, rabbit and duck terrine on chunks of crusty bread. Winemaker was Wells Guthrie. Jackson Family Wines purchased Copain, a highly regarded boutique winery, in May ...

The Light of Day

Brianne Day launched Day Wines in 2012 with 125 cases of pinot noir produced from a friend’s vineyard in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Today, she makes about 5,000 cases of a diverse group of wines, most in very small quantities, most single vineyard wines from certified organic or biodynamic vines. A few wines are made from grapes sourced from Applegate Valley, in the state’s southern regions, but most by far are from Willamette Valley appellations. The wines are fermented using naturally occurring yeasts, typically with no sulfur added at fermentation; very little new oak is employed; the wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered. The result is wines that exhibit intense purity and sense of purpose, with an aura that feels untamed, untrammeled and highly individual. These wines were samples for review. Image of Brianne Day from parkavenuewines.com
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The Day Wines Belle Penthe Vineyard Chardonnay 2015, Yamhill-Carlton District, spent 19 ...

Discovering #BourgogneUnknown with Bourgogne Wines

"I normally shy away from white wines, but that one (Jean Chartron Rully Montmorin 2015) was delicious", Anonymous Neighbor 1

"This wine (Domaine Dominique Gruhier Bourgogne Epineuil 2015) is so good....we loved it", text from Anonymous Neighbor 2

I generally disperse wines I receive as samples amongst my neighbors once the official tasting session has concluded and a recent #BourgogneUnknown registered immediate and overwhelmingly positive feedback from the beneficiaries. That is Bourgogne and not Burgundy as Bourgogne Wines seeks to "re-affirm its identity as one of the most iconic ‘brands’ of France, the region and its producers are reverting back to the original French iteration of its name – Bourgogne".

This iconic region spans 230 km of territory from North to South and encompasses 84 distinct appellations. Of these, there are seven regional appellations, 44 village appellations, and 33 Grand Cru Climats. Some of these appellations, such as Chablis ...

Wine of the Day, No. 415


The Bianchi Extra Brut Sparkling Wine, non-vintage, hails from Argentina’s Mendoza region, where it is made by Bodega Valentin Bianchi. A blend of 60 percent chardonnay and 40 percent pinot noir grapes, grown at 2,460 feet elevation, this charming sparkling wine was produced in the Champagne method of second fermentation in the bottle. The color is very pale platinum blond, animated by a steady foaming stream of tiny bubbles; notes of roasted lemon, spiced pear and fresh-baked brioche are twined with hints of quince and ginger and an undercurrent of limestone that burgeons across the palate; there’s a faint, tantalizing touch of almond blossom. It’s quite crisp and dry, revealing lovely tone and presence, and culminates in a finish that delicately evinces the limestone-chalk element. 12.2 percent alcohol. A delightful aperitif on a warm Summer afternoon. Excellent. About $22. Imported by Quintessential Wines, Napa, Calif. A sample for review.

Wine of the Day, No. 413

The Wonderland Project was conceived by former sommelier Matt Ahern. He makes a White Queen Chardonnay, which I have not tried, and this Two Kings Pinot Noir 2016, grapes derived from two vineyards on the Sonoma side of Carneros; the designation is Sonoma County. If the idea is to offer great tasting and authentic wine at reasonable prices, the Two Kings fills that proposition exactly. Aged a brief seven months in French oak, only 20 percent new barrels, the wine evinces a delectable purity of varietal character. The color is a totally transparent light ruby hue; aromas of red and black cherries are permeated by notes of sassafras, rhubarb and cranberry, with highlights of cloves, lavender and sandalwood. This is lovely, spare and elegant on the palate, with a satiny, lithe and supple texture through which acidity cuts a swath; cherry and plum flavors culminate in a slightly woodsy, floral ...