Les Tastevins du Lac is dedicated to camaraderie in pursuit of joie de vino! This blog serves as an informal forum on wine, food and travel.... Cheers! Steve Adams





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Friday, December 20, 2019

2016 Köfererhof Müller Thurgau Valle Isarco


The star of the show here is the dish of scrambled eggs covered with Alba truffles. The wine was pop and pour, and quite boring. Sorely lacking in acidity...no real framework.  A nice champagne would fare better.... tomorrow....

Sunday, December 15, 2019

2018 Falkenstein Krettnacher Euchariusberg Riesling Kabinett AP 12

Beautifully approachable even now, but has the stuffing to develop further complexity. 

Pop and pour. Gotta love the traditional method of winemaking reflected by 9.0% abv. Made from the fruit of 50 year old vines.

Grapefruit up front followed by lime zest and hints of smoke on the finish. Gently envelopes your palate with gossamer, mouthwatering acidity. The deft mouthfeel is part of the signature elegance of Falkenstein wines. 

A nice counterpoint to the in-your-face youthfulness and bracing acidity of the 2018 Keller von der Fels. Two very different styles of winemaking, IMO. 

Paired nicely with shrimp tacos with a bit of spicy remoulade. 

A wine that keeps you coming back for more.... a wine with soul!

Friday, December 13, 2019

2018 Keller Riesling von der Fels

Massively tart grapefruit and bracing acidity upon opening the bottle. Impressive mid-palate presence and energy, with a mouthwatering finish for such a young wine. Beautifully dry.

Calms down a bit after a few hours, with velvety fruit texture peeking out from the initial attack of acidity. At 12.5% abv, not a shy Riesling, perhaps indicating later approach to harvest. A very rich, more forward style compared to Falkenstein dry or off-dry Riesling, IMO.

This could be benefit greatly from cellar time. Fruit is sourced from Grosses Gewächs (grand cru) sites of Kirchspiel, Hubacker and Abtserde.

Quite an experience. Clearly, a wine built for the long haul.

Paired interestingly with spicy fried chicken and chile lime corn.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

2018 Girolamo Russo Etna Bianca Nerina

70% Carricante with the balance comprised of Catarratto, Minnella, Inzolia, Grecanico and Coda di Volpe.

Palate of Granny Smith apple with hints of lime zest. Beautiful salinity contributes to an alluring framework, with just enough acidity to keep things interesting.... nice reflection of volcanic terroir.... nose of Mediterranean seabreeze swirling around the Mt. Etna region...😊

Saturday, December 7, 2019

2016 St. Michael-Eppan Sauvignon Blanc Sanct Valentin

This wine brought back fond memories of lunches on Lake Garda in Sirmione.

100% Sauvignon Blanc. Takes a while to open up. Palate of kiwi and sage. Faint floral and grassy notes on the nose. 

Perhaps in an awkward phase ..... an unsettling amount of heat intrudes on the finish, which limits food friendliness and overall enjoyment of the wine. It doesn't appear to carry the 14.5% stated abv very well at this juncture. 

Sunday, December 1, 2019

2007 Dom Ruinart Brut Blanc de Blancs

Founded by Nicolas Ruinart in the city of Reims, Maison Ruinart is the oldest established Champagne house, exclusively producing champagne since 1729. 


Poster by Alphonse Mucha (1896)

The blanc de blancs cuvee from Dom Ruinart was first released in 1959. This 2007 bottling is the first vintage made entirely by Chef de Caves Frédéric Panaïotis.

The blend is 100% Chardonnay from Grand Cru vineyards: 75% from the Côte de Blancs (Chouilly, Le Mesnil, Oger and Avize) and 25% from the northern slopes of the Montage de Reims (mostly Sillery and Verzenay).



Crystalline cut of minerality defines an elegant palate of lemon and oyster shell. Pleasing nose of light honeysuckle with hints of ginger evolve with exposure to air. Bracing effervescence provides a classic textural mouthfeel and gently subsides over the course of a three hour dinner. As the wine warmed up and opened up, it took on the character of a beautiful chablis with savory saline notes. Paired very nicely with Chilean sea bass dish.

Just on the cusp of its drinking window now, with many years of life ahead. Looking forward to the unveiling of intriguing tertiary development over the next decade. Definitely worth popping a bottle now to check out this beauty. Nicely done.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

2012 Laherte Frères Extra Brut Les Empreintes

Disgorged: January 2018
Dosage 4g/l

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Cuvee notes: 

50% Chardonnay (1/3 of Chardonnay muscaté) from vines in Les Chemins d’Epernay, which were planted in 1957. 

50% Pinot Noir from vines in Les Rouges Maisons, which were planted in 1983.

Les Chemins d'Epernay has clay soils with chalky subsoil. Les Rouges Maisons has deep clay topsoil with flint and schist components, underlain by chalk subsoil.

Vineyards are farmed organically and are plowed by horse.

Fermentation in 10 year aged Burgundy barrels, sans malolactic.

6 months of barrel aging with regular stirring of the lees. Disgorged by hand.
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First time trying this Producer. Took a while for this to open up. Could use a handful of years of additional cellaring, but still showing very well now with dazzling tension. Quite dry on the palate, with crisp cut of the old vines Chardonnay component highlighting the bracing "blanc" character of this wine. Fine bead. Lengthy finish exhibiting an increasing complexity as the evening progressed. Very popular at the table.  We could've used another bottle or two of this !

Paired well with P.E.I. mussels in broth of shallot, garlic, lemon, tomato, white wine, and butter, followed by roasted poussin with sauteed spinach and fingerling potatoes. 

Comment from Antonio Galloni:
"Aurélien Laherte is young, passionate and humble. It is only a matter of time before he is recognized as one of Champagne's elite vignerons. "


Sunday, November 3, 2019

Campania and Barbaresco

Enjoyed these three wines with dinner on Saturday evening. 

Favorite was the 2008 Mastroberardino Naturalis Historia.  2nd favorite was the 2007 Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici Riserva. 3rd favorite was the Produttori del Barbaresco Rabaja Riserva. 

Damn, I love great Aglianico!

Paired with a beautiful sausage fra diavola pasta dish. 

Saturday, October 19, 2019

2008 Louis Roederer Cristal

12% abv

From Stephen Reinhardt:
"....60/40 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from 36 plots in seven grands crus: Verzy, Verzenay, Beaumont and Aÿ for the Pinot Noir and Mesnil, Avize and Cramant for the Chardonnay. Twenty-five percent of the wine was fermented in oak, and 16% underwent malolactic fermentation to moderate the fresh acidity of the 2008 vintage. The assemblage was bottled in May 2009. After 8.5 years on the second lees (longer than any Cristal before), the first release was disgorged in September 2017 with a relatively low dosage of 7.5 grams per liter...."

Characterized by taut crystalline energy, harnessed more elegantly than any champagne I've ever had. There doesn't seem to be a note out of place with this first movement in its symphony of development.

Brilliant cut of chalky minerality balances the purest quality fruit. Lilting brioche, almond and flowers on the nose. Super-fine bead. A thrilling wine that is built to age beautifully, and is deserving of the fanfare surrounding its release.

While the 2008 Dom Pérignon we tried recently was a bit more approachable, the 2008 Cristal is definitely worth checking out now.

Paired nicely with sauteed scallops.

2005 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Stefano

As happens so often with great young wines, the last glass in the wee hours is the most memorable 🍷😊

Decanted and aerated for five hours prior to dinner. Minimal sediment. 

Utterly classic perfumed nose. Clearly, a wine of great elegance and balance from the start. Got better and better throughout the evening.

Delicious dusty fine-grained tannins caress the palate, and bode extremely well for further aging and tertiary development. 

A structured sweetness to the black cherry fruit complements the tar, balsam and anise accents. The  magical combination of elements that can make the truly great wines of Barbaresco so gracefully compelling.

Paired beautifully with grilled lamb chops, garlic-proscuitto mashed potatoes, and broccoli rabe.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

NV Billecart-Salmon Brut Réserve


(40% pinot meunier, 30% pinot noir and 30% chardonnay)
No disgorgement date shown.
Very satisfying, widely available, entry level Champage.
Paired nicely with sauteed crab cakes on day 1.
Paired even better with grilled tuna steaks on day 2. 
Day 2 is actually where this wine really shined (sealed with Rabbit Champagne sealer overnight, which works great)
Letting the wine warm in the glass on day 2 revealed a wonderful chalky character with beautiful vinous palate. The Pinot Meunier provides interesting complexity. 

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Great Brewskies and Jazz



https://youtu.be/ojpRvh-nqY8

Two different brewsky styles, one elegant and refreshing while the other is robust and forward. 

Both go very well with Charles Lloyd and the Marvels, featuring Lucinda Williams... one of my favorite ensembles of late .... perfect laid back Sunday evening on the porch atmosphere 🍻👍😊🎶

This opening cut on the album has a beautiful pedal steel woven into a great jazz piece... brilliant 



Saturday, September 28, 2019

2014 RAEN Pinot Noir Royal St. Robert Cuvée (Sonoma Coast)


13.3% abv 

Produced by Carlo and Dante Mondavi (sons of Tim Mondavi). The RSR cuvée is named in honor of their grandfather, Robert Mondavi.

Palate of purple berry and cardamom balanced with a savory streak of minerality. Masculine fruit structure framed with fine-grained tannins. Gorgeous nose of violets and sous bois. This is a really nice pinot noir.

Paired beautifully with whole roasted Branzino and to-die-for Pommes Anna.

In 5 years or so it should be at peak with more evolved tertiary development.

In a blind tasting, I would have guessed this to be a Morey Saint-Denis premier cru, possibly Les Ruchots...?

RAEN (which stands for ‘Research in Agriculture and Enology Naturally’) was conceived as a validation of the Sonoma Coast as one of California’s most important terroirs for Pinot Noir.

The vineyard source is located near the town of Freestone in the hills overlooking Bodega Bay. 

ELEVATION: 658 feet
SOIL: Lower parcel: well-drained Goldridge Sandy Loam and Steinbeck Fine Sandy Loam. 
Upper parcel: Iron-rich Franciscan sandstone 
EXPOSURE: SouthEast
CLONES: Dijon 667, 828, Calera, PN-VR1

Vinfied using 70% whole cluster with wild-native fermentation. Aged for 10 months in 60 gallon French barrels and one puncheon with no new oak.

2014 was the second vintage produced at RAEN with 18 barrrels of the RSR cuvée.

Friday, September 27, 2019

2014 Deusyls de la Pèira (Languedoc-Roussillon)

14.5% abv
Roussanne, Marsanne and Viognier 
An estate wine from the Belle Fiole lieu-dit.

Tropical palate, giving way to pear and honey on the finish. Showed its alcohol with a bit too much heat on the finish, then settled down with air. More enjoyable after warming up the the glass. 

I've had younger versions of this cuvee that were disjointed. This 2014 version has had time to come together. 

Paired nicely with potato-flour fried shrimp drizzled with guajillo chili sauce.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

2008 Dom Pérignon


Cindi and Brett Ferguson hosted a wonderful dinner featuring paella as the main course. It's been many years since I've tried Dom Pérignon, so based on the glowing reports for the 2008 vintage we popped a cork with the paella. 

Dom Pérignon is sourced from Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyards located in nine villages: 
Chouilly, Cramant, Avize, and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger in the Côte de Blanc provide Chardonnay
Aÿ, Bouzy, Mailly-Champagne, Verzeney and Hautvillers in Montagne de Reims provide Pinot Noir 

Upon opening, it seemed a bit less dry than I usually enjoy Champagne. With exposure to air, a harmonious and elegant structure revealed itself, seducing with a rich palate of red currant and lemon zest wrapped in a gossamer robe of chalk. Everything seemed to come into balance, offering a thought-provoking level of vinosity complemented by delicately spicey florals on the nose.

I would have liked to have tried this cuvee a year or two prior to release to perhaps get a better glimpse of the early stage tension between the components that gave rise to this beauty.

It will be interesting to taste this in 5 years as a deeper tertiary character unfolds.

The 2008 vintage marks the retirement of Chef de Caves, Richard Geoffroy, concluding an impressive 28 years with Dom Pérignon. Vincent Chaperon assumed the helm in early 2019.






Sunday, September 15, 2019

2004 Galardi Terra di Lavoro (Roccamonfina)

This was opened late and decanted to aerate. It followed a beautifully elegant 2006 Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici Riserva.

Very slow to open up.... started to reveal its character after 90 minutes or so. A larger scaled wine built for the long haul. (Mostly Aglianico with some Piedirosso).

Black fruit in balance with tannins that have mellowed, and a nice underlying minerality. Tar and subtle truffle slowly emerge. It's just not showing much complexity at this stage.

First foray with this wine. I believe the vineyards are situated north of Naples on volcanic terroir, located not too far inland from the coast. This cuvee was first produced in 1994.

Hold for another 5 to 10 years.

Zone and Production:  Vulcano Roccamonfina,  10 ha of Vineyards, West and North-West exposed,  planted with 80% Aglianico and 20% Piedirosso
Altitude and System:   400 - 450 msl  /  all Cordone speronato  /  4.500 Plants/ha
Age of the Plants in 2004:  14 Years 25% / 10 Yeras 25% / 8 Years 50%
Harvest:  from Beginning to the End of October 2004
Vinification:  after crushing, Skin Contact for about 20 Days with the Must with dayly Pumpover, malico in stainless Seel, after for 10-12 Month in Barrique from Allier and Nevers.
Alc.  13° vol
Acidity:  5,10 gr./L 
PH.  3,72
Dry Extract:  33,40 gr./L  
Production:  about  20.000 x 0,75L / 611 x 1,50L / 209 x 3,00L

  

Monday, September 2, 2019

2013 Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Schmitt (AP#13)


Enjoyed the 2nd half of this bottle this evening after being stored under vacuvin for a week or so.

The picture is clearer now with delicious apple flavors on the palate complemented by delicate, savory herbal elements and a pleasing botrytis-influenced finish. 

Paired *spectacularly* well with guajillo chile pork tamales. 


Sunday, September 1, 2019

2004 Pisoni Pinot Noir Estate Vineyard


Finally coming into its own. This wine was a monolithic beast for the first decade or so of its life. 

Showing admirable balance now. The greatness of the Pisoni vineyard is evident with savory red and blue fruit, sandalwood aroma, and a nice bit of complexity on the finish.

2016 Cantina Terlano Pinot Bianco Vorberg Riserva

First taste of the 2016 vintage Vorberg.  I usually buy this wine in every vintage. 

Alto Adige at its finest..... the 2016 is creamy in texture, perhaps lacking the classic structure of the 2015 ...

Seems more like the 2014...  

....softer around the edges and quite approachable young... delicious...

....although the 2016 became somewhat reticent about an hour after opening

Will be interested in Ian's perspective. 

Rudi Kofler is a genius in letting the terroir speak clearly through this special varietal..

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Day 2 shows enhanced fullness and depth of character. A relatively big wine for this cuvee, but now we see mineral underpinnings coming to the fore on the finish.

To me, this rendition of Pinot Bianco has shares some characteristics of an excellent chenin blanc (textural mouthfeel and slight hints of sweetness that are offset beautifully by the minerally bitterness on the finish).

The wine's viscosity signals a long life ahead.

Paired wonderfully with goat cheese infused with spices and bits of exotic peppers, and sides of fresh grapes and caramelized pecans. The bittersweet finish on the caramelized pecans was an unexpectedly delicious complement to the Vorberg magic.



Monday, August 26, 2019

Cru

Whites

2014 Rafael Palacios As Sortes
2015 Domaine de la Pepiere Clisson
2015 Kanzler Rose of Pinot Noir
2017 Jacob Toft Diana's Chardonnay

First Flight - Steve Russo

1) 2008 Bryce Ribbon Ridge Pinot Noir
2) 2007 Bergstrom Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir
3) 2009 Kanzler Reserve Pinot Noir (tied favorite)
4) 2003 Domaine Louis Remy Latricieres-Chambertin
5) 2004 Pisoni Estate Pinot Noir (tied favorite)
6) 2009 Charles Noellat Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru 

Second Flight - Steve Adams

1) 2010 Giuseppe Quintarelli Valpolicella
2) 2009 Produttori del Barbaresco Riserva Pora (favorite) 
3) 2013 Cantina Terlano Lagrein Riserva Porphyr (2nd favorite)
4) 2009 Domaine du Pegau CDP
5) 2008 La Peira en Damaisela Matissat
6) 2012 Kind Cellars Syrah Lampyridae

Friday, August 9, 2019

2017 Hofgut Falkenstein Krettnacher Euchariusberg Riesling Kabinett Alte Reben (AP #8)

Yes, this wine is technically too young to drink, but the wines from Erich and Johannes Weber are so impeccably balanced that they are hard to resist.

Weightless deliciousness from old vines sums it up nicely. Slow to open up, but gains momentum with stony grapefruit accented by herbal notes and subtle mint. Somewhat tropical nose gradually unfurls. Lithe, elegant sweetness, almost bordering on halbtrocken. A truly fascinating wine.

Am very glad we have some left over for day two....


Day 2 found a dusty, delicious feinherb character more apparent,  with a tangerine component blossoming on the lengthening finish. Savory salinity completes the picture. 

Disclaimer: I'm in the final stages of recovering from a nasty cold, so my tastebuds are still somewhat off...

Friday, July 5, 2019

2011 Fratelli Alessandria Barolo Monvigliero

The future is peeking out with an inner sweetness and lovely nose that bodes well. Red fruit with hints of goudron, tobacco and eucalyptus, all wrapped up in a savory, gracefully balanced and irresistible package. A complex, contemplative Barolo for Burgundy aficionados. Peaking in another 5 to 7 years.

Paired with grilled veal chops, tomato-cucumber salad with 10 year balsamic, and garlic-proscuitto mashed potatoes.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

2015 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese A.P. #7

7.5% abv

Few wines can be perceived as complete and stand on their own, with or without food. Great Mosel Riesling is one of those wines.

Enjoyed over the course of the evening. Wish we had some left over for day two.

Tropical nose reveals itself gradually. Superbly  balanced mango-pineapple palate exhibiting edginess in its youth. Overall, a joy to drink with quite a bit of complexity. 

Really took off after a few hours. Letting it warm up in the glass a tad revealed that wonderful hint of feinherb that I associate with this cuvee. Nice saline minerality on the finish.

A contemplative wine that exudes power without weight, and rivets attention. 

Oliver Haag excels in his interpretation of this very steep south-facing vineyard from the heart of the Brauneberg.

Highly recommended. 

Interview with Oliver Haag:

https://vimeo.com/328662135




Saturday, June 15, 2019

2013 Il Marroneto Brunello di Montalcino


14% abv

Decanted to breathe for a couple of hours, which worked well. Minimal sediment. 

A Burgundy-lovers Brunello that develops fascinatingly in the glass and rivets your attention. Quite approachable now, but likely improving with several years of cellaring. 

Somewhat muted florals on the nose, but exhibits highly savory hints of clove and spice. 

Elegant red cherry and balasmic palate, imbued with substantial freshness and tension. Fine dusty tannins with subtle chalkiness on the framework that hints of limestone-influenced terroir. 

Vineyards are located in the northern portion of the region and benefit from slightly cooler temperature and higher elevation.

Alessandro Mori is one of my favorite producers in the region, making consistently excellent wines.

Paired with fresh ravioli with spicy meat filling, topped with sea salt, tellicherry pepper, olive oil and grated Asiago.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

2015 Luneau-Papin Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Excelsior Clos Noelles


There are times when great Muscadet (Melon de Bourgogne varietal) from the Loire Valley can rival 1er Cru Chablis. This 2015 Luneau-Papin Excelsior is one of those wines...

Irresistible nose of flowers and seabreeze that opened up wonderfully. Upfront lemon palate with savory mussel infused salinity. Fairly viscous body, with a clean, complex finish. 

David Lillie provides background:
"...made only in exceptional vintages. The massale-selection vines were planted in 1936 on a terroir of "micaschistes a deux micas," (lieu-dit "La Plecisiere") exposed full south. The grapes are hand-harvested and undergo a slow wild yeast fermentation with 36 months of aging on the lees...."

Paired with lobster tails and shrimp, drizzled with olive oil and lemon, and grilled over applewood coals.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Cru Tasting (Nelson's Wines)

First Flight

2017 Scalabrone Tenuta Guado Al Tasso Rosato

2015 Aubert Chardonnay UV-SL Vineyard

2016 Tor Torchiana Chardonnay

2015 Kistler Hyde Vineyard Carneros


Second Flight

1985 BV Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

1986 Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

1990 Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

1992 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Select

1995 Calon Segur

1995 Pichon-Lalande Longueville Comtesse de Lalande

2003 Sociando Mallet


Third Flight

1989 B. Chave Hermitage

1989 Chapoutier Ermitage "La Pavillion"

1991 Chapoutier Cote Rotie "La Mordoree"

1996 Jaboulet Hermitage "La Chapelle"

1995 Beaucastel CdP

Sunday, May 19, 2019

2005 Elio Altare Barolo Vigna Arborina

Decanted for an hour or so. Surprisingly approachable with very supple texture. Captivating cherry palate and dusty ripe tannins, seamlessly interwoven with a finish of goudron and balsamic spices. Nose seems a bit modest, but this richly elegant wine is impossible to put down. Altare is a master of deft use of barrique. 

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Two Interpretations of Oregon Pinot Noir


Use of whole cluster is significant differentiator between these two wines. 

The 2015 Antica Terra Ceras is 11% whole cluster. It is incredibly delicious from the start. Lots of minerality (even salinity?) framing the impeccable quality fruit, which comes across as an intriguing red and blue melange. Supple tannins caress the palate. This should age nicely. 

The 2014 Kelley Fox Maresh Red Barn Blocks stands out with 100% whole cluster providing graceful structure and spiciness for high-toned red fruit. Very attractive,  lithe aromatics reflect an overall lightness of being inherent in this winemaker's style. This should age effortlessly over the next 5+ years.

On its own, the Antica Terra Ceras invites sip after sip...very satisfying and hard to put down the glass. 

The Kelley Fox Maresh pairs better with the grilled bone-in pork chops. Its structure and acidity makes it very food friendly. 



Sunday, April 28, 2019

2010 Domaine Michel Lafarge Volnay Vendanges Selectionnées

13% abv. Early drinking window. Decanted and aerated for several hours. Produced from four select Village parcels in Volnay with average vine age of 53 years.

Very pretty translucent ruby color. Savory mix of florals and sous bois on the nose. 

There is a bit of ethereal magic to this interpretation of Volnay. Intense, yet nimble on the palate. Elegantly tart cherry fruit with a mouthwatering melange of forest floor and spice. Lovely chalky finish.

The Domaine's 1er Cru wines are superb, but this Volnay Vendanges Selectionnées is a soulful wine worth seeking out as well. 

Paired nicely with fresh Rochambeau oysters on the half shell from the southern Chesapeake Bay along with sauteed filet of Black Drum in anchovy / sunflower aillade.