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, March 18, 2018

2008 Produttori del Barbaresco Riserva Paje

14.5% abv. Reveals juicy dark red fruit with rich mouthfeel wrapped in an open-knit framework of polished tannin. Nice complexity even at this early stage of development. Classic tar, roses and balsam influence on a balanced finish... no undue heat or heaviness... a savory medium weight Paje.

It actually drank best within an hour of uncorking the bottle. Really alluring. Double decanted and left in the decanter for about an hour before pouring back into clean bottle. Very minimal fine grained sediment. 

Still pleasant throughout the evening, but it tightened up slightly over time with tannins becoming more dominant on the finish.

This is another 3 years possibly from optimal drinking window but is very enjoyable now.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

2012 Peter Michael Les Pavots

Bordeaux-styled blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Not sure about age of vines, but fruit is sourced from an Estate vineyard. Listed at a whopping 15.8% abv, yet zero heat on the palate. Supremely balanced and not "over-extracted". Winemaker Nicolas Morlet is clearly a classicist taking advantage of California hang time for ripening fruit.

Pop and pour at restaurant. Opened up nicely after a couple of hours. A third of the bottle left over for day 2.

Really nice on day 2. Irresistibly elegant wine from a very approachable vintage. Dusty fine-grained tannins frame superb quality fruit. Cassis-laden, glycerin mouthfeel with black and blue fruit accompanied by hints of cedar and blond tobacco. Gossamer hints of scorched earth that I associate with higher-end Cabs from Knights Valley (a la Fisher Wedding Vineyard) as well as Pessac-Leognan (with its penultimate expression being La Mission Haut-Brion). Lilting aromatics of pain grille, cacao and spice...

What a delightful wine!  Heartfelt thanks to Robert and Shannon for helping to make Janet's birthday very special.

2012 Reynvaan Stonessence Rocks Vineyard

Fascinating cuvee .... 100% syrah... still young...although develops nice complexity with lots of air... finessed tannins framing very fine black fruit with tapenade accent..
Intriguing saline lift on the finish (oyster shell?) ... that perhaps would be analogous to a minerally streak in a Northern Rhone syrah...
 Christophe Baron is consulting winemaker and is killing it with world-class syrah in Walla Walla Valley....
This is a wine for people that enjoy classically styled syrah... paired beautifully with wood fired grilled filet mignon. .

2012 Aubert Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard (Sonoma)

Slightly cloudy as a result of late malolactic fermentation. The wine itself is sound and drinking well....
Aubert farms 40+ year old vines in Ritchie vineyard....... the wine again demonstrates his classic new world mastery of this varietal ..
Rich, yet balanced honeysuckle and elegant citrus.  A bit like a nice Chassagne-Montrachet. Possibly a bit past peak. Nicely done... and at the pinnacle of white winemaking in California. .

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

2011 Fratelli Alessandria Barolo Monvigliero

It's been almost two years since I've checked in on this wine.  Slow-o in bottle for half hour and then took to dinner.  

Think elegant Burgundy except for delicate tar and roses palate... smooth as silk tannins still have more years ahead until completely mellowing out.... but after a couple of hours, a very nicely balanced overall picture emerges. Delicately floral aromatics compelete the package.  I really enjoy this style ... it is pretty irresistible for lovers of classic Barolo.

Not sure if this vintage will make old bones.  No sign of shutting down at this point.  

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Cooking and Dinner with Chef Vincent DiGiorgio

Thanks to Leonard & Jill Taylor for hosting a memorable evening at their home....a cooking class and dinner with local Chef Vincent DiGiorgio. 

The scratch-made pasta was delicious  :) and fun to participate in making. The food was excellent, the wines were tasty, and the company was wonderful! 

2006 Quintarelli Ca' del Merlo Rosso IGT (Veneto)

Have enjoyed the 2006 vintage of Quintarelli Ca' del Merlo (House of the Blackbird) on several occasions and it has been consistently delicious. 

This is a single vineyard bottling. 2006 produced the most elegantly Burgundian version of Ca' del Merlo that I've had. (For example, the 2004 is a bigger wine that benefits from additional cellaring, while the 2006 is ready now.)

Double decanted for a quick aeration prior to dinner and served from bottle. Minimal sediment.

Ca' del Merlo shines with its unique blend of varietals providing a savory, elegant complexity.  Haven't yet found another producer in the region that can approach this inimitable style... 

The inclusion (15%) of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Nebbiolo, Croatina and Sangiovese in the blend provides a depth and complexity not found in the Vapolicella Superiore.

While lithe and classically proportioned on the palate, the masterful use of the ripasso method coupled with skillful blending provides for a unique sensory experience. Red raspberry and cranberry on the front end, developing into subtle darker fruits on the back end .... inflections of tapenade, tobacco .... finishing with a hint of toffee...

Vineyard is mixed limestone and basalt soils. 

Varietals are 55% Corvina and Corvinone, 30% Rondinella, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Nebbiolo, Croatina and Sangiovese...

- Grapes are pressed immediately after harvest
- After 3 to 4 days of maceration, primary fermentation starts with indigenous yeasts
- Wine is racked and then sits until February
- Wine is racked onto the lees of the Amarone which starts a second alcoholic fermentation (ripasso)
- After 2ndary fermentation, the wine is racked into large Slavonian oak barrels for seven years.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

2007 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Kabinett A.P. #8

Pop and pour. 8.5% abv.

A nice quaffable Reisling that was less than optimally staged (at the last minute) to follow the stunning 2010 Marcel Deiss Grasberg. 

Melon and citrus palate with nice freshness and lift. A bit of fizziness and hints of petrol to excite the finish. A fair degree of complexity for a Kabinett. Oliver and Wilhelm Haag demonstrate consistent quality across their entire range of offerings ...

Paired exceptionally well late in the evening with bits of fried prosciutto that were left over from brunch ...  :) :) :) 


Day 2 notes...

Paired the 2nd half of the bottle with Vietnamese cuisine at dinner.  Showed better today (in proper context) than on day 1, when it was somewhat unfairly juxtaposed with the Deiss Grasberg. 

Settled into a charming groove, with feinherb character coming into play and supporting food-friendly complexity.  Delicious interplay of tropical citrus fruit and mouthwatering salinity. Really showcases the elegance of the 2007 vintage ... delightfully irresistible  :) ... Fritz Haag is one of my favorite producers ...

2010 Marcel Deiss Grasberg (Alsace)

13% abv. Field blend of Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer, grown in soils influenced by Jurassic limestone substrate.. Early stages of drinkability, this a big wine. Decanted to aerate for two hours prior to dinner. Deep golden color.

Beautiful honeyed nose. Oily tropical palate of pineapple, spice and herb melange, with a prominent streak of chalky saline minerality. Slightly bitter fruit pit that makes for an interestingly complex finish. Almost a medium-dry Auslese style.

Gains serious presence during dinner. We keep it slightly chilled at the table as it seems to show better delineation of the fruit. The viscous mouthfilling flavor is fascinating with balanced acidity completing the framework. The slight bitter fruit pit recedes into the background as the evening progresses, and a lychee rosewater freshness slips into the finish. This lychee rosewater trait will manifest itself over time, as evidenced in a 1989 Grasberg we enjoyed last year which was ethereally refreshing.

A revelatory experience with the potential of Alsace. A "wow" wine for me. I cannot recommend this wine highly enough.

Paired beautifully with fresh crab cakes and sea bass.

Jean-Michel Deiss and his son, Mathieu, are making wines that provide terroir-driven depth of expression. Reminds me of what Manfred Krankl is doing at Sine Qua Non with his alchemistic white blends.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

2013 Cordero di Montezemolo Barbera d'Alba

This wine brought smiles all around  :)  

Just entering prime drinking window.  Irresistible bouquet upon popping the cork. A testament to the greatness of the 2013 vintage across the board in Piemonte.

The most striking attribute is the freshness & lift provided by the acidity, in balance with soft tannins and silky blackberry fruit. There is a hint of tertiary development that keeps things interesting on an impressively savory finish. Not terribly complex but oh-so-satisfying. 

Day 2 brought out even more character. Ridiculous QPR. I wish that I had bought a lot more of this. The 2013 doesnt look to be available in the US anymore...

Purchased a few bottles as part of a mixed case from a dinner with Alberto in 2014...

Monday, February 5, 2018

2009 Kelley Fox Pinot Noir Maresh Vineyard (Dundee Hills)

I'm guessing whole cluster on this wine. ABV in the 14% range. Pop and pour.  Very unique old world style.  Reminds me of Dugat-Py village level burgundy. Most certainly adhering to the David Lett style of Oregon pinot noir. Sourced from 40 year old vines planted to W├Ądenswil clone.

Tart red raspberry (gooseberry level of piquancy).  It took a full 3 hours for this one to fully come together and reveal a most savory character with tasty sous bois and clove. 

Grows on you as it unwinds, ultimately becoming irresistible as it evolves and defies usual new world pinot noir expectations ...