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, 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

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.

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.