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


Sunday, September 9, 2018

2013 Le Pianelle Bramaterra

Continuing an exploration of Alto Piemonte (my interest being sparked by the recent Vinous coverage on the region), this wine is a gem.  

Elegantly balanced structure with fine dusty tannins and a bit of youthful edginess. Definitely worth opening a bottle now. 

Midweight black fruit, minerality, with forthright tar and truffle on the finish. Quite a bit going on palate-wise. Truly seductive nose of flowers and sous bois.

More complex than the 2013 Sperino Uvaggio (Lessona DOC) recently tasted ...

I love the blend of Nebbiolo, Croatina and Vespolina. Grown on soils of volcanic influence. Vineyard is situated near the town of Brusnego.  A  really nice wine from a great vintage.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

2013 Proprietà Sperino Coste della Sesia Uvaggio

PnP. 13% abv

My first foray with this delightful cuvee. Still somewhat early in terms of drinking window, the 2013 Uvaggio uncoils slowly to reveal graceful balance of high quality fruit and texture. Just the right amount of piquancy and smoothness to intrigue one's palate. Translucent body. There is an umami component at work here that makes for an interesting experience 

Mostly Nebbiolo with some Vespolina and Croatina. Sourced from a combination of:

... sandy soils in Ormeggio, Castagnola and Belvedere vineyards in Lessona DOC.

.... volcanic soils in the higher elevation Madonna degli Angeli vineyard in Brusnengo (Forte) , Bramaterra DOC.

Brings to mind the deft blending of Quintarelli (without the appassimento part).

Luca and Paolo De Marchi of Isole e Olena are behind this Alto Piemonte project. 

A very elegant, unique and affordable wine in the $30 range. Could easily be put in an Oregon pinot line up as a ringer.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

2003 Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Blanco Reserva

Mostly Viura with a dollop of Malvasia. This is one of the world's iconic and unique white wines, from a reference-point old school Producer.  I like to decant the LdH whites to provide plenty of air.  Made in an oxidative style, the nose is redolent of marzipan and white flowers, with a subtle hint of matchstick. It will often develop petrol notes with extended cellaring.  Fascinating palate of pear, light citrus, beeswax, and turrón all wrapped in mouthwatering salinity.  The 2003 bottling shows what I would consider to be advancing development over the past several years, so likely better to enjoy sooner rather than later. 

Paired with fresh caught North Carolina black sea bass, pan seared in an iron skillet and served on a bed of lightly fried Carolina Gold rice from Anson Mills. A very creative light glaze was drizzled around the plate and not over the fish , comprised of thin pickled yellow bell pepper strips seasoned with the most delicate kiss of habanero chile imaginable to provide a pleasing warmth and not interfere at all with the wine.  A truly inspired preparation. 

Sunday, August 5, 2018

2005 Philip Togni Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Apparent right from the start that it is way too early to open this 2005 vintage wine. Lovely intriguing Bordeaux-ish nose, with a palate that speaks of dusty black fruit and olive accent, and then the tannins clamp down precluding any segue-way toward a fulfilling experience with this wine.  

There is an inexplicably disturbing amount of heat on the finish that paints a very disjointed picture at stage.  Try again in 7 to 10 years ?

In contrast, based on prior experience, the 2006 Togni Estate is a delightful wine that demonstrates elegance even in its youth. Not sure what to make of this disappointing performance of the 2005 bottling. 

Mainly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with small percentages of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. 

Sunday, July 29, 2018

2012 Domaine de la Pepière Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Château-Thébaud Clos des Morines

A beautiful (if somewhat young) mouthful of stony, bright lemon, saline melon de bourgogne. Quite delicious and powerful. An insane bargain for the quality, giving many Chablis a run for the money.  Paired nicely with sauteed scallops.

Here are excellent notes from the David Bowler wine website:

"...Clos des Morines is a lieu-dit in the cru of Château Thébaud. It came into Pépière world via Marc Ollivier's partner Rémi Branger, whose father farmed it two parcels of it for decades. This 1.5 hectares of vines--up to 65 years old--is on a south-facing, earlier-ripening slope. The soils are of granite de Thébaud, a granite differing from that of Clisson in containing more feldspar and clay--this means more nutrients for the vines, cooler soil temperature, slower ripening, better water retention and a porosity that allows the roots to go deep to the hard granite mother rock.  The farming is organic and harvest  and all work by hand...."

"...Like for the rest of the Pepière wines, the fruit is direct-pressed in whole clusters and the juice settled naturally for 12 hours. It is then fermented in stainless steel tanks with natural yeasts; the wine is aged on its lees in large underground vats until bottling without fining or filtering. Thébaud needs longer aging on the lees than any of the other wines, for 3.5 years in the case of the 2012. It is typically the most austere, intensely salty and mineral of the line-up...."

Saturday, July 28, 2018

2011 Proprietà Sperino Lessona

14% abv. PnP. 

 Fascinating rendition of Nebbiolo from Alto Piemonte. Plush fruit... wild blackberry, tar, spice. Very polished tannins. Quite shy nose at first then opening up after a few hours with lovely florals. The tannins come more to the forefront over the evening, but not hot or not overbearing.  
Overall, a wine of great elegance produced by Luca and Paolo De Marchi of Isole e Olena. Very impressive. I will be seeking out more of this wine. Although not inexpensive at $60. Paired nicely with prime NY strip.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Côte de Beaune, Willamette Valley and Sonoma Coast

Great friend and pizza-maker extraordinaire, Steve Russo, hosted an intimate gathering highlighted by pinot noir from three distinct regions, paired with homemade pizza using scratch-made dough. Truly delicious!  :) 

Going in order of lightest to most full-bodied of the wines:

2011 Louis Jadot Corton Clos du Roi Grand Cru
Drinking nicely now. Slow-o'd for about an hour. Elegant, light-bodied frame. Attractive nose of red fruit and sous bois. Medium red cherry palate with mellow tartness. Nice bit of saliinity / savory-ness that made it food friendly.  Solid effort for a so-so vintage. No reason to hang on to this for more than a handful of years. 

2006 Broadley Vineyards Pinot Noir Marcile Lorraine (Willamette Valley)
First time I've tried this producer. Quite impressive and a very reasonably priced Oregon pinot noir. Craig and Claudia Broadley founded Broadley Vineyards in 1981 and received widespread recognition for the 1994 Claudia's Choice cuvee.
The '06 Marcile Lorraine is instantly likeable with medium-bodied mature red and black fruit, sandalwood accents on the nose, graceful dusty tannins and lilting nuance of forest floor.  This has aged very nicely and could go another couple of years as evidenced by the palate gaining a bit in presence over the course of the evening.  I'm definitely going to acquire some of the newer releases to try out.

2008 Kanzler Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Steve Kanzler has always produced one of my favorite pinots from California. His Sonoma Coast cuvee is an enjoyable fuller bodied cuvee that is dependable year in and year out. His Reserve bottling can reach heights of greatness. Kanzler Vineyard ranks in the grand cru realm of pinot noir vineyards in California in my opinion. Check out this video that Steve Kanzler recorded... it is a tour of his vineyard (he planted it himself in 1996) with fascinating detail on the pinot noir clones, soils, methods, etc...
The 2008 Sonoma Coast bottling is definitely the fullest bodied wine of the evening.  It really began to show its stuff several hours into the dinner.  Gaining presence and balance over the course of the evening, the last pour was stunningly delicious in its combination of flavors... red raspberry with mouthwatering savory character, spiciness and the signature hints of anise that so elegantly complete the picture. 
667 Clone, Pommard Clone 4 and Clone 115 are planted in the Kanzler Vineyard, each making their own unique contribution to the framework of the wine.  


Day 2 notes on the '11 Jadot Corton Clos du Roi....

Gained significant presence, blossoming into a rounder, fuller expression of Corton. Less angular at this stage than I think the Corton Pougets would be. (I have some that I am holding off on for now). 

Quite seductive on the nose. Sous bois influence is very nice.  A great trait in the red wines from hill of Corton. Brings to mind the beautiful forested area on the crest of the hill , the Bois de Corton. Last year, there was a movement to protect the fabled woods.