No Bullsh*t Wine (Cowhorn Vineyard Recent Releases)

One could be forgiven for expecting an overdose of “yes, I did in fact write those checks” bullsh*t when visiting Cowhorn Vineyard & Garden in Oregon’s Applegate Valley, based solely on the facts that

a) it takes its name from the most infamous preparation (#500, which involves burying a cow’s horn full of manure) in wine’s most infamous set of farming practices (Biodynamics), and

b) founders Barbara and Bill Steele are former CFO/CFA financial types who, after leaving Wall Street and before establishing Cowhorn (despite not having a single lick of winegrowing experience) lived what they call a “homeopathic lifestyle in Marin County.”

No Bullsh*t Wine (Cowhorn Vineyard Recent Releases)

Cowhorn co-fouder Barbara Steele

One’s skepticism about the Steele’s seriousness regarding their 25-or-so acres of vines and 4,000-or-so case production could be forgiven, but one’s skepticism would also be quite wrong. I mean, you’ll want to be skeptical about, for example, the earnestness of Bill Steele’s long hair, but then you’ll find out that he makes his own sulfites. And that the Steele’s spent two years researching the right place to plant vines before breaking ground on Cowhorn in 2002, planning on Biodynamics viticulture from the get-go (with Alan York consulting), and despite its under-the-radar status and various environmental challenges (ripening is actually the main challenge there, as they are farming Rhône varieties, and the cold air from the surrounding hills makes this a cooler spot by Applegate standards) chose Southern Oregon anyway.

And then there’s the farming mentality employed at Cowhorn, which feels downright legit when the Steele’s are waxing philosophic about it; as Barbara put it, “It’s the people behind it that makes this kind of viticulture possible for the Applegate Valley.” Even their yeast situation is kind of endearing; Bill mentioned that that six unique strains were identified there, primarily due to the 100+ acres of property having been left isolated so long before the Steele’s bought it.

And then… then you’ll taste their wines, which all have a consistent and defining element of being well-crafted and yet still characterful; not overly polished, showing their edginess and angularity while still retaining a sense of elegance. In other words, the only thing full of bullsh*t will be your own silly preconceived notions about their outfit…

No Bullsh*t Wine (Cowhorn Vineyard Recent Releases)2017 Cowhorn Spiral 36 White (Applegate Valley, $28)

Yes, the “spiral” in the name is (predictably) an homage to the notion of the vortex in Biodynamic preparations (and including the vineyard block numbers of the fruit sources). A blend of primarily Marsanne, with Viognier and Roussane rounding it out, mostly co-fermented, with twenty percent new oak, this is a white that elegantly straddles the line between easy sipping and complex contemplation. It’s mineral, peachy, floral, and has length that outpaces its sub-$30 price-point.

 

No Bullsh*t Wine (Cowhorn Vineyard Recent Releases)2016 Cowhorn Reserve Viognier (Applegate Valley, $50)

This barrel selection release is sold out, so you’ll likely have to wait for subsequent vintages, which kind of sucks, because as Brian Steele put it, this white hails from “that magical barrel” and while I didn’t see any witchcraft performed during my visit, after tasting this I’m not ruling out the barrel actually having some magical powers. The wine seems younger than its still-youthful two years; it’s taught, herbal, floral and, despite not having undergone malolactic fermentation, has ample body and broadness to its textural mouthfeel and ripe pear flavors.

No Bullsh*t Wine (Cowhorn Vineyard Recent Releases)

No Bullsh*t Wine (Cowhorn Vineyard Recent Releases)2015 Cowhorn Vineyard Grenache 53 (Applegate Valley, $45)

When it comes to Grenache, Bill Steele warned that “too light, too fruity, and you’re into Kool-Aid land.” Thankfully, no one will be jumping through brick walls screaming “Ohhhh YEAH!” when tasting this one… or will they? Anyway, it avoids the Kool-Aid trap entirely, though it absolutely is peppery, lithe, spritely, and spicy, with clean and bright berry fruitiness without ignoring its earthy, stemmy, structured side.

 

No Bullsh*t Wine (Cowhorn Vineyard Recent Releases)2014 Cowhorn Vineyard Syrah 8 (Applegate Valley, $45)

About 800 cases of this Syrah were made, and each one is probably on the verge of bursting from its muscular, sinewy seriousness. Mineral-driven, with dark berries and even darker dried herb and spice aromas, things get earthy here very quickly, but maintain a sense of aromatic lift.

 

No Bullsh*t Wine (Cowhorn Vineyard Recent Releases)2013 Cowhorn Vineyard Syrah 21 (Applegate Valley, $45)

At this point, I was getting sick of the numbers, too, but it was nice to get a feel for what a slightly older vintage of Cowhorn’s reds could do after some repose in the bottle (and for this release, the 21 refers to the number of frost days they encountered during the season). Interestingly, this red saw 40% new oak and 40% whole cluster, which lends more peppery and cedar spice action to the mix, on top of earth, and berries galore. It’s funky, meaty, fresh, and vibrant Syrah, with nice textural grip; a great one for the Foodie set and the just-gimmie-a-good-red set alike.

No Bullsh*t Wine (Cowhorn Vineyard Recent Releases)

No Bullsh*t Wine (Cowhorn Vineyard Recent Releases)2014 Cowhorn Sentience (Applegate Valley, $55)

This one is billed as Cowhorn’s “winemaker’s blend,” with 35% whole cluster and 35% new oak. It’s the silky, rich, round, sexy cousin of their Syrah-based lineup, and while it retains some of the muscular structure of the 8 and 21, there is no denying all of that “bedroom eyes” fruitiness here.

 

No Bullsh*t Wine (Cowhorn Vineyard Recent Releases)2014 Cowhorn Reserve Syrah (Applegate Valley, $75)

Blackberries and a lithe, peppery, spicy profile are the hallmarks of this characterful, brambly stunner. The acids are jumping, the meatiness is present, the structure is at turns burly and refined. Basically, 200 cases of balanced presentation, in which there is plenty of edginess but not at the expense of a clean, clear, and powerful approach. In case you’re wondering, the 2013 is even better; it’s superb, with the plummy, meaty, and spicy/sage/pepper/cedar expressions opening up a bit more with age and fronting a finish that is minutes long.

Cheers!

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Block & Tackle (Troon Vineyard Recent Releases)

You know that your brand is in trouble when, instead of talking about your forty-plus-year history in a nascent wine region, or your long hours of sun, 1300-foot vineyard elevation, diurnal temperature shifts of over fifty degrees Fahrenheit, or any of the other factors that make your terroir an ideal place for ripening interesting grape varieties, all anyone can mention is how your family business heir apparent allegedly got blowies during a commercial airplane flight.

That Troon Vineyards is now, only five years removed from that controversy, viewed as an Applegate Valley pioneer and a purveyor of some of Southern Oregon’s most promising and interesting wines is a minor PR miracle, made possible through the yeoman’s work provided by a combination of team players: new owners Bryan and Denise White (a Texas couple who started with the acquisition of nearby O’Neill Vineyard, then purchasing Troon in 2017), pedigreed winemaker Steve Hall, and impossibly indefatigable general manager Craig Camp.

Block & Tackle (Troon Vineyard Recent Releases)

Take heed!

When Napa-area veteran Camp came on board at Troon to help get the entity into more attractive sale shape, he told me that he was immediately impressed with the potential, given how good the wines already were. He focused first on ensuring that the operational and marketing basics were on solid footing – “block and tackle, man, block and tackle.” The additions of foot-treading and Biodynamics to the mix helped to put the finishing touches on the approach, and Troon was, in a very real sense, thus reborn as a brand.

What hasn’t changed is that Troon’s small vineyard location is capable of some excellent winegrowing magic when the right varieties are planted. Troon is more or less surrounded by the Siskiyou Mountains, near a wider section of the Applegate River, with river bench soils that consist of pieces of ancient seabed, granite, and sediment. “We have a mostly Northern California climate here,” Craig noted, “with a shorter growing season. So we can produce wines with European ‘weights.'”

Put another way, as winemaker Steve Hall noted when summarizing Troon’s current approach, “you do what can to make something… beautiful…”

Block & Tackle (Troon Vineyard Recent Releases)2017 Troon Vineyard Vermentino (Applegate Valley, $16)

Speaking of beautiful… or, at the very least, substantially pretty… Southern OR seems an unlikely spot for what Steve Hall called “a kind of dangerous animal all-around,” but Vermentino shines here. This example is bright, citric, focused, and lovely, with lees notes rounding out a mineral, nutty backbone.

Block & Tackle (Troon Vineyard Recent Releases)2017 Troon Vineyard Cuvée Rolle (Applegate Valley, $20)

Ten percent Marsanne (picked the same day) is added to this slightly more substantial Vermentino take; it’s less nutty, more floral, and a lot more tropical than its more modest little sister label. It’s also broader, richer, and more textural, which means that you can swap it on unsuspecting Chardonnay lovers.

 

Block & Tackle (Troon Vineyard Recent Releases)

Block & Tackle (Troon Vineyard Recent Releases)2017 Troon Vineyard Roussanne (Applegate Valley, $35)

Unique and characterful, you’ll need to bring your penchant for a pleasing astringent “bite” when drinking this white. It’s worth it, too, for the tropical fruit and white flower aromas, hints of saline and herbs, and its smooth, broad oiliness.

 

Block & Tackle (Troon Vineyard Recent Releases)2017 Troon Vineyard Kubli Bench Blanc (Applegate Valley, $35)

A blend of Marsanne and Viognier, this might be the most excellent “sleeper” wine in Troon’s white lineup. Flowers, citrus, stone fruits, and perfume kick things off, followed by a beguiling, fleshy/flinty/mineral entry that moves to a broad, sexy, silky palate. The finish is long, structured, and demands attention.

 

Block & Tackle (Troon Vineyard Recent Releases)

Block & Tackle (Troon Vineyard Recent Releases)2017 Troon Vineyard Riesling Whole Grape Ferment (Applegate Valley, $20)

Block & Tackle (Troon Vineyard Recent Releases)I love this little oddball. Technically, this is an orange wine, and while it’s not quite cloudy, you do get the rosé-not-quite feel from the amber color and visual density. There’s ample skin astringency, of course, but it’s in the form of lime and citrus pith, the way that orange peels make their way into a good plate of orange chicken at your favorite Chinese food joint. The bottom line is that this is an orange wine of which you can actually enjoy an entire glass, which puts it into somewhat rarefied territory.

Block & Tackle (Troon Vineyard Recent Releases)2016 Troon Vineyard Cuvée Côt Malbec (Applegate Valley, $30)

The words “elegant” and “Malbec” aren’t often used in close proximity of one another, but in this case the use case is justified. Remember what Camp said about “European weights?” I think he had this red in mind at the time. Spices, herbs, green tobacco, plums, earth, leather, and tart red berry fruits, it’s hard not conjure up images of good Cahors when sipping this homage to the European patrimony of the grape.

Block & Tackle (Troon Vineyard Recent Releases)2015 Troon Vineyard Tannat (Applegate Valley, $35)

Even in its best forms, Tannat is a grape that’s a hard sell outside of a steakhouse. Having said that, there’s something about the Troon site that tames this grape’s burly tannins and makes for a pleasant experience without having to wait eight years for things to soften up first. The textbook stuff is all there: tobacco, leather, deep and dark sour cherry fruit, cocoa, and a crap-ton of acidity and structure. But you can get away with pouring this one even if you’re not within chomping distance of a slab of meat.

Block & Tackle (Troon Vineyard Recent Releases)2015 Troon Vineyard M*T Cuvée Pyrénées (Applegate Valley, $50)

Troon’s flagship red is a mix of Malbec and Tannat, and that mix is a complex beast. First, there are more delicate aspects: violets, herbs, spices, plums, and silkiness. Then, there are the rough-and-ready compliments: tobacco, smoke, dark red fruits, and leather. Its penchant for being demanding doesn’t stop once it’s in your mouth, either – that’s where you have to come to terms with the tensions between the wine’s grip/power and its lithe, almost electric finish. I wish more wines like this were being made out West.

Cheers!

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There’s A Red House Over Yonder (Masroig Montsant Recent Releases)

In the lower-ish (we’re still talking about 400-or-so meters of elevation) valley of Spain’s sunny Montsant region sits a small town (ok, village) of El Masroig.

El Masroig is quaint enough to be named (in Catalan, of course) “red country house” (most likely from the red clay soils that dominate this area of Priorat country), and small enough to sport a population of about 500 people, the vast majority of whose families live off of the farming of grapevines and olive trees.

There’s A Red House Over Yonder (Masroig Montsant Recent Releases)

In even quainter non-ironic fashion, El Masroig is home to Celler Masroig, a winery founded in 1917 as a co-op that’s now run by just over 25 employees, and – somewhat ironically given all of the above – is easily one of the largest producers in the area at five hundred thousand bottles per year, farming from about 500 hectares of vines.

Even more ironically, given their size, at the time of this writing Masroig has yet to gain a sales foothold in the States. That’s a shame, and is a scenario that needs quick correction, because they’re making the excellent crafting of one of the wine world’s most underrated red grapes – Carignan – look downright easy…

There’s A Red House Over Yonder (Masroig Montsant Recent Releases)

Historical cellar graffiti, Masroig style

It’s the clay-based soils here that are probably the key to the local Carignan (and, to some extent as we’ll see below, to Grenache Blanc) magic; clay retains moisture, and rainfall in this sunny little Priorat spot is pretty low. Not only that, but the clay acts reflectively, bouncing back sunlight onto grapes on the vine. The Mestral and Garbí winds that blow in also help to keep things even drier than they already are, so the circus trick here is keeping the overall grape ripeness tamed. As I discovered on a media jaunt to the region, Masroig has pretty much mastered that trick:

There’s A Red House Over Yonder (Masroig Montsant Recent Releases)

Minimalist artwork on display at Masroig

2016 Celler El Masroig “Les Sorts” Blanc (Montsant, $25)

Generally, they try to pick Garnacha Blanca early in these parts, to help keep it from getting too boozy. It’s a thin line on which Masroig has executed an enviable balancing act with their Les Sorts label; it’s a heady, tropical, toasty white that also manages to show off stone/mineral and citrus notes. There’s no denying its ample sense of power, mind you, and I wouldn’t call this one a thirst-quencher, but the combination of deft winemaking and viticulture, along with 40-60 year-old vines and touches of battonage make this a serious – and seriously good – sipper. You’ll want crustaceans. Trust me.

There’s A Red House Over Yonder (Masroig Montsant Recent Releases)

2014 Celler El Masroig Les Sorts Vinyes Velles (Montsant, $NA)

The red Les Sorts is a deep, mineral, brambly, and thoroughly juicy mix of mostly Carignan, with fifteen percent of Garnacha thrown in for good measure. Much of the fruit comes from vines that are up to 110 years old, which I think explains the wine’s concentrated core. The dark color suggests what you’ll get in the glass, but it’s important to note that the chewiness, spicy licorice, and powerful, plummy palate are balanced by notes of violets, herbs, and a vibrancy that lasts into a long finish. Don’t worry; you’ll know your near Priorat when the power behind this hits you. Hard.

There’s A Red House Over Yonder (Masroig Montsant Recent Releases)

2015 Cellar Masroig ‘Masroig’ Carinyena (Montsant, $NA)

This little package of ass-kicking red is crafted from Carignan taken from two vineyard sites, and aged in 2000-liter foudres. No one has any business drinking this young, wild, and free wine right now; it’ll need a few years in repose to calm its butt down. There’s a depth of plummy fruit here that’s almost frightening, with more amiable notes of licorice, brambly herbs, sweet plums, dark cherries, and spices on top. The palate is predictably juicy, but has surprisingly delicate edges to its texture. This is what old-vine Spanish Carignan really ought to be, and requires an adventurous drinking spirit.

Cheers!

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That Is One Big Pile Of… Enthusiasm (Vinyes Domènech Recent Releases)

Joan Ignasi Domènech, talking sh*t in Vinyes Domènech

If you visit Montsant’s Vinyes Domènech, located in the southern portion of the winemaking district that nearly encircles Spain’s famous Priorat area like a talon, be forewarned that owner Joan Ignasi Domènech is likely to talk sh*t.

As in, literally speak about sh*t. Like, fertilizer. Along with solar energy, water collection, and all things botanical. Long enough to really, really, really make you want to move away from the intensely pungent nearby piles of the stuff…

Domènech, who heads up this family-owned and operated vineyard area surrounded by the natural park beauty of the Llaberia and Montalt mountains at roughly 400 meters elevation, is a stickler for all-things natural, biodynamic, and conservatory.

That Is One Big Pile Of… Enthusiasm (Vinyes Domènech Recent Releases)

Since 2002, this former tech-guy has overseen some of the oldest vines in Capçanes, in a spot that previously had no real supporting infrastructure of any kind. That Domènech didn’t have any previous experience in wine (aside from drinking it, and living near Priorat in Falset) or in reconstituting rugged landscapes didn’t deter his enthusiasm for transforming a previously nearly-inaccessible 15 hectares of land into what is now the handsome hamlet of Vinyes Domènech.

Domènech was, as he tells it, wooed by the natural beauty of the area after visiting it with his family on holidays, and luckily for us wine geeks, he happens to have access to Garnaxta perluga vines that are well into their elderly stage (60-80 years and counting)…

That Is One Big Pile Of… Enthusiasm (Vinyes Domènech Recent Releases)

That Is One Big Pile Of… Enthusiasm (Vinyes Domènech Recent Releases)2016 Vinyes Domènech ‘Bancal del Bosc’ Garnatxa Blanca (Montsant, $NA)

Priorat-area fans are justifiably ga-ga over old Garnacha vine fruit, but its blanca equivalent can be equally as compelling in its later years, as evidenced by Vinyes Domènech’s wares. Their Bancal is creamy, generous, harmonious, textured, and lovely. It’s also complex, with varying degrees of blossom, honey, peach, citrus, pear, lemon, herbs, and toast. Overall, it’s a beguiling white, provided that you’re grown-up and daring enough to venture into the more exotic territory to which it’s inviting you.

That Is One Big Pile Of… Enthusiasm (Vinyes Domènech Recent Releases)

That Is One Big Pile Of… Enthusiasm (Vinyes Domènech Recent Releases)2016 Vinyes Domènech ‘Rita’ (Montsant, $NA)

There’s Lovely Rita, and there’s this, which is more like Sexy Rita. 60+ year-old vines provide the fruit for this Garnaxta Blanca, and only about one thousand bottles were made of the `16. Some of the vinification takes place in barrel, resulting in a silky, tropical, rich, and floral presentation with emphasis on the lemon cream action. Having said that, it’s not without its charm, by way of little tinges of herbs, minerals, and saline.

That Is One Big Pile Of… Enthusiasm (Vinyes Domènech Recent Releases)

That Is One Big Pile Of… Enthusiasm (Vinyes Domènech Recent Releases)2015 Vinyes Domènech Vinyes Velles de Samsó (Montsant, $NA)

100% Carignan, with maybe 500 bottles produced in the vintage, from 80+ year-old vines. Domènech remarked, I think in equal parts joke, exacerbation, and pride, that it takes “five vines per bottle” to craft this smooth, elegant, spicy, and vibrant red. The plummy fruitiness is quite deep, the structure (this is still a baby-child) and power are ample, and the purity is enviable.

That Is One Big Pile Of… Enthusiasm (Vinyes Domènech Recent Releases)

That Is One Big Pile Of… Enthusiasm (Vinyes Domènech Recent Releases)2014 Vinyes Domènech ‘Teixar’ Garnaxta Vella (Montsant, $NA)

Old vines from select plots supply the fruit for this spicy, savory, silky, sinewy, loud and long red. Red and black plums and cherries, violets, dried herbs, along with almost-but-not-really-overripe flavors make for a big, bold, steak-ready sipper. The long finish is a bonus, and might help to clear your retro-nasal passages of any lingering smells from all of that natural fertilizer, should you be lucky enough to visit…

Cheers!

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You Say “Oyster,” I Say “Alsace” (Lucien Albrecht Recent Releases)

Lucien Albrecht’s Jérôme Keller surveys the Oysterhouse Philly bounty

Not too long ago – ok, well, actually, several months ago, but I’m just getting back around to the topic now because I’ve been busy being all self-employed and day-drinking and what-not – I was invited to lunch with the dry-humored Jérôme Keller, Technical Director/Oenologist for Alsace stalwart produce Lucien Albrecht. Now, it hasn’t been all that long (especially by my warped standards) since I devoted quite a bit of the virtual page space here on 1WD to Alsace, but when you’re a wine-geek-turned-critic-type you don’t turn down an opportunity to a) get reacquainted with one of the first three Alsatian firms to have helped launched the Crémant d’Alsace AOC (which, like me, dates back to the early 1970s), which now comprises about 70% of their total production; and b) eat at Phlly’s Oyster House restaurant.

So, yeah, I did those. And while it’s taken me a few months to get around to writing it up, if you consider that we’re talking about a producer whose Alsatian roots can be traced back to 1698 (when Balthazar Albrecht settled in Orschwihr) and whose winemaking roots date back to 1425 (when the impossibly-impressively-named Romanus Albrecht started the winery), then I think I can be forgiven for some tardiness, especially from that timeline perspective.

Anyway, Keller has done some work in the USofA, having participated in harvest at Sonoma Cutrer, so he understands (or at least is adept at faking to understand) what passes for American humor, so we got along swimmingly, popping shellfish and tasting through some of the more recent Albrecht wares (and yes, the food/wine match went as lovably, gluttonously well as you’d expect)…

You Say “Oyster,” I Say “Alsace” (Lucien Albrecht Recent Releases)NV Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace Rosé Brut (Alsace, $23)

Almost no one has been doing Cremant in Alsace as long as Lucien Albrecht, and that long-standing experience is evident in this lovely, 100% full-bunch-pressed Pinot Noir bubbly, which spends about 14 months in the bottle. “Our style,” noted Keller, “is to have bright red fruits.” Mission accomplished; you get lots of red berries here, an admirably rich palate, and a finish that’s longer than you’re paying for at this price point.

You Say “Oyster,” I Say “Alsace” (Lucien Albrecht Recent Releases)

You Say “Oyster,” I Say “Alsace” (Lucien Albrecht Recent Releases)2013 Lucien Albrecht Brut Chardonnay (Cremant d’Alsace , $45)

A new release, meant to showcase the “linerality” of their Chardonnay, according to Keller. Barrel aged and fermented, with malo and lees action for three years in the bottle, this sparkler is made form grapes that are selected from primarily limestone-soil vineyards. The result is intensely floral and toasty on the nose, and yeasty, peachy, perky,and textural in the mouth. It’s the kind of bubbly that makes it very, very difficult to not drink half the bottle embarrassingly quickly.

You Say “Oyster,” I Say “Alsace” (Lucien Albrecht Recent Releases)

You Say “Oyster,” I Say “Alsace” (Lucien Albrecht Recent Releases)2016 Lucien Albrecht Pinot Blanc “Cuvée Balthazar” (Alsace, $17)

Albrecht wisely (ha-ha!) grow their PB in a warmer area of their Alsatian vineyards, and add a bit Auxerrois to the final blend; what you end up with are the tropical and melon aromas you’d expect, a pleasantly plump and sexy mouthfeel, and an underpinning of astringency and lift. Think white fish recipes for dinner.

You Say “Oyster,” I Say “Alsace” (Lucien Albrecht Recent Releases)

You Say “Oyster,” I Say “Alsace” (Lucien Albrecht Recent Releases)2016 Lucien Albrecht Cuvée Romanus Pinot Gris (Alsace, $19)

Melons, stone fruits, citrus pith, astringent “bite,” great acidity, and a touch of mesquite honey… I kind of fell in love with this PG, which will wistfully make you lament as to why so many domestic US PGs taste like flat melon soda compared to stuff like this. Bear in mind that the Roman could use a couple more years of rest, to help all of that complexity meld with its ripe fruits flavors.

You Say “Oyster,” I Say “Alsace” (Lucien Albrecht Recent Releases)

You Say “Oyster,” I Say “Alsace” (Lucien Albrecht Recent Releases) 2012 Lucien Albrecht Riesling Pfingstberg (Alsace Grand Cru, $31)

Damn… this is good. The Pfingstberg Grand Cru vineyard has been renowned since at least 1299; ranging in elevation from 270 to 370 meters, the soils are chalk and micaceous sandstone (depending on the aspect). The key thing to remember about Pfingstberg, in this author’s experience, is florals: a plethora of perfumed blossom aromas await, including lime, along with a host of other things for which Riesling is so (justifiably) lauded by nerds like me (saline, mineral, stone fruits, pith, toast, pear, spices…). The finish is long, salty, and flinty, and even breaking thirty clams (ha-ha!) this GC is kind of a bargain.

 

You Say “Oyster,” I Say “Alsace” (Lucien Albrecht Recent Releases)2016 Lucien Albrecht Gewürztraminer Reserve (Alsace, $17)

Keller describes the southern-facing vineyards that source this Reserve wine as allowing for “aromatic ripeness” from which the resulting fresh-bouquet-of-roses floral characters derive. That, and almost maddening levels of winemaking patience (“we press, we wait; we press again, we wait…”). Like trying to avoid hyphenated phrases in this article, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more tried-and-true example of Alsatian Gewürztraminer; rose petal, lychee, toast, all moving to mineral, silkiness, and tell-tale mixture of pleasing astringency, structure, and a juuuust enough lift. The whole experience is harmonious, too, right through to the (not short) finish.

Cheers!

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“There’s Liquid On The Brain” (Checking In With Primus And Claypool Cellars, 2018)

“When minds are dripping color, And there’s liquid on the brain
They laugh to one another, And politely go insane”

– Primus, The Dream

Last month, I had the pleasure of (once again) checking out the funky, entertaining, and technically dazzling band Primus, as they rolled through Philly on their Ambushing the Storm tour. Primus are currently playing with fellow prog-influenced band Mastodon in support of The Desaturating Seven, an at turns raucous, pretty, trippy, and virtuosic concept album based on Ul de Rico’s also trippy, gorgeous, and all-too-allegorically-topical-and-relevant-today (hey, one of the goblins is Orange… just sayin’…) children’s book The Rainbow Goblins. The album is played in its entirety during the show, with vibrant and also trippily-fantastic visual accompaniment that, I can tell you from personal experience, goes down even better with a wine-altered state of consciousness.

“There’s Liquid On The Brain” (Checking In With Primus And Claypool Cellars, 2018)As was the case last year, I got to tag along with the VIP Package ticket-holders as a guest of Chaney Claypool, wife of Primus front-man Les Claypool and (along with Les), proprietor of Sonoma-based Claypool Cellars, who have been mentioned on these virtual pages for over eight years (holy crap!) at this point. The current tour VIP package offers a Q&A session with the band, and a tasting of some of the more recent Claypool Cellars releases; given my penchant for awesome prog-y type tunes, and my pinch-me wine-thing day job, and my music-thing side-gig, you can probably guess that I was pretty pumped to spend an early-summer-ish evening watching my various worlds collide…

“There’s Liquid On The Brain” (Checking In With Primus And Claypool Cellars, 2018)

Goofing around with Claypool Cellars’ Chaney Claypool (far right)

“There’s Liquid On The Brain” (Checking In With Primus And Claypool Cellars, 2018)“There’s Liquid On The Brain” (Checking In With Primus And Claypool Cellars, 2018)2016 Claypool Cellars ‘CC Pachyderm’ Pinot Noir Rose (Sonoma Coast, $28)

Only 200 cases of this delightfully zesty little beauty were produced, with fruit sourced from the Russian River Valley’s Moore Vineyard, which in my experience has produced varietal Pinots on the cranberry/pomegranate/lithe side. That profile is all played to excellent effect here, with a red-berry-and-stone-fruit-infused flavor emphasis that retains a buoyant mouthfeel and should have rock music fans and rose lovers wantonly flocking to chilled bottles of this well-balanced stuff. That it’s holding up so well after getting a year+ in under its belt is, I suspect, a testament to the Claypools’ now relatively long-standing penchant for finding excellent vineyard source material in their hometown Sonoma vicinity.

“There’s Liquid On The Brain” (Checking In With Primus And Claypool Cellars, 2018)

The tall one makes wine. Also, Team Iron Man forever!!!

“There’s Liquid On The Brain” (Checking In With Primus And Claypool Cellars, 2018)2013 Claypool Cellars ‘CC Pachyderm’ Thorn Ridge Pinot Noir (Sonoma County, $68)

“There’s Liquid On The Brain” (Checking In With Primus And Claypool Cellars, 2018)It’s rare that I get to taste the same wine on three separate occasions, as I have with the Claypool Thorn Ridge vineyard Pinot. You’d think that I’d be sick of it by now, and you’d be very, very wrong. Planted in the 1990s, Thorn Ridge sits on relatively steep hills outside of Sebastopol, and sees little water. What you end up with (and what’s also the case here) are Pinot wines that kind of dance between acidic structure and floral notes on the one hand, and a bit of tannic grip and depth of red fruit on the other. When I tasted this vintage last year, here’s what I wrote: “Despite its lithe profile, there’s good structure here, and I’d recommend waiting for a couple of years (or at least through the listening of an entire Primus album) before yanking the cork out of it.” That’s even more the case now, as the density of fruit and oak aging notes are still roiling around together like young, inexperienced lovers gettin’ busy, and haven’t yet really come together to make refined, tender, sweet-sweet luuuuuv. But make tender, sweet-sweet luuuuuv they eventually will.

Cheers!

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Who’s Your Daddy… Of RRV Single Vineyard Pinot? (Davis Bynum Recent Releases)

sushi – it’s not just for Pinot anymore

Recently, I was invited for a media-lunch-tasting-type-thingy in Philly with the affably hippie-ish-appearing Greg Morthole, who has been making wines for the Davis Bynum label since 2010. Davis Bynum wa purchased by Rodney Strong in 2007, and before that was a bit of a Sonoma-area legend, based on its eponymous founder.

That Davis Bynum (who passed away in 2017) is literally the daddy of Russian River Valley single-vineyard Pinot Noir, having harvested the first ever such varietal wine in 1973. Bynum got his start as a home winemaker in the 1950s, went pro in the 1960s, and at times had vineyard land in Napa and handshake grape deals with the Rochioli clan. And those last two sentences are a gross oversimplification of why Bynum’s name is well-regarded in the vinous world; I mean, this is also the former San Francisco Chronicle reporter who famously bought a box of grapes from Robert Mondavi for less than $2, once employed the about-as-legendary winemaker Gary Farrell, and used to haul grapes to his Albany winery in a 1946 Studebaker flatbed.

Morthole speaks fondly of Bynum, and if he’s suffering from any pressure-related performance anxiety related to making wines under Bynum’s name, he doesn’t betray an iota of it in his laid-back, California dude demeanor. Here’s what we tasted together over bites of Zama Sushi in Philly (and, yeah, Pinot works with sushi, depending on how earthy a cut you order, and how reserved your application of wasabi is…)…

Who’s Your Daddy… Of RRV Single Vineyard Pinot? (Davis Bynum Recent Releases)

Who’s Your Daddy… Of RRV Single Vineyard Pinot? (Davis Bynum Recent Releases)2017 Davis Bynum Virginia’s Block Jane’s Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc (Russian River Valley, $25)

“This is my favorite vintage [of the Sauvignon Blanc],” Morthole mentioned to me, “and I’m not just bullsh*tting you!” And there is definintely something special about this release, which hails from a mere five acres of sandy-clay loam soils, and sees twenty percent acacia and older oak barrel action. Sporting melon, lemongrass, spice, blossoms, and tropical fruit aromas/flavors, this holds its palate weight deftly; I mean, it’s curvy, but it’s also firm.

 

Who’s Your Daddy… Of RRV Single Vineyard Pinot? (Davis Bynum Recent Releases)

Who’s Your Daddy… Of RRV Single Vineyard Pinot? (Davis Bynum Recent Releases)2015 Davis Bynum River West Vineyard Chardonnay (Russian River Valley, $25)

A change of label accompanied this vintage, along with a change in the oak regimen (less was used, as you’d probably already guessed mid-sentence). The result is a zesty Chardonnay that showcases lemon, blossom, and flint action along with its peaches-and-cream profile. “I like where this is at now,” Morthole mentioned, and I am inclined to agree with him.

Who’s Your Daddy… Of RRV Single Vineyard Pinot? (Davis Bynum Recent Releases)2014 Davis Bynum River West Vineyard Chardonnay (Russian River Valley, $25)

Broad, toasty, tropical, and dead-sexy, this is alive and kicking. Ripe peaches, cream, crème brûlée… you know you’re in California, for sure, and in this case there’s balance along with the opulence and you don’t mind it even one little bit.

 

Who’s Your Daddy… Of RRV Single Vineyard Pinot? (Davis Bynum Recent Releases)

Who’s Your Daddy… Of RRV Single Vineyard Pinot? (Davis Bynum Recent Releases)2016 Davis Bynum Jane’s Vineyard Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley, $35)

A vintage built for some aging, this Santa Rosa plain vineyard Pinot hails from low-vigor soils, and in the `16 incarnation has a tight, earthy, spicy, and dark-fruited profile. It’s big, it’s structured, but it’s also floral, with lovely herbal overtones and great balance between its riper and tarter berry and plum fruit flavors. And yeah, it worked with raw tuna (like, big-time).

 

Who’s Your Daddy… Of RRV Single Vineyard Pinot? (Davis Bynum Recent Releases)2015 Davis Bynum Jane’s Vineyard Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley, $35)

This is a richer, toastier vintage of the Jane’s, with ample spice and black tea leaf aromas. There are sexy black fruits, lithe red fruits, and lots of berry fruits in general. The finish is what really works well here; it’s long, toasty, and not taking No for an answer.

 

Who’s Your Daddy… Of RRV Single Vineyard Pinot? (Davis Bynum Recent Releases)2014 Davis Bynum Jane’s Vineyard Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley, $35)

This is the kind of wine that should dispel doubts about whether or not the Bynum wine legacy is in good hands. Aromas of wood, tea, and pepper spices mingle with big, juicy, red and black berry fruits. As long and toasty of a finish as we’ve come to expect, and basically just kick ass the entire time during the drinking experience.

Who’s Your Daddy… Of RRV Single Vineyard Pinot? (Davis Bynum Recent Releases)

Who’s Your Daddy… Of RRV Single Vineyard Pinot? (Davis Bynum Recent Releases)2015 Davis Bynum Pommard Clone Jane’s Vineyard Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley, $55)

A new venture for the Davis Bynum label (hey, you heard it here first, kiddos!), from Huichica soils that, along with the clone and rootstock choices, provide some water stress to the Pinot vines from whence this wine came. It’s big, earthy, toasty, spicy, and dark; bring your penchant for black tea, citrus peel, and plummy fruits. Underneath it all, there’s tannic and acidic structure that provides both scaffolding and liveliness. 17% new oak, 14.49% abv, and basically 99% Kick-Ass.

Cheers!

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Copyright © 2016. Originally at Who’s Your Daddy… Of RRV Single Vineyard Pinot? (Davis Bynum Recent Releases) from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

An “Unplugged” Spanish Quartet (Acustic Cellar Recent Releases)

Albert Jané knows how to work a wine media crowd.

An “Unplugged” Spanish Quartet (Acustic Cellar Recent Releases)

Acústic’s Albert Jané, who is *not* actually pretending to play bongos on an old barrel

If you want to quickly win over such a group of wine geeks and influencers, you would have had access to a minor clinic in such powers of persuasion had you tagged along during my recent media tour visit to Jané’s Acústic Cellar, in the Montsant town of Marçà.

The script went something like this:

Take them to your gorgeous vineyard, replete with panoramic views of the mountainous Catalan countryside; show off your small two hectare lot of 40- to 80-year-old bush-trained Garnatxa and Samsó (a.k.a. Carignan) vines; say things like “the best barrel is the one you don’t taste,” and “the best winemakers here are the vineyards;” and gleefully pour your vinous wares, which happen to be excellent. Oh, and also serve delicious Spanish cheese.

Anyway…

Jané describes his wines as “unplugged” (hence the yeah-yeah-I-get-it cleverness of his company moniker), and it’s a fitting term for a winemaking style that seeks to showcase the concentrated, small clusters/berries of the organic fruit that Acústic’s old vines produce. Jané’s approach is relatively old school, favoring hand-harvesting and minimal oak treatment; which seems fitting, considering that his grandfather was a winemaker, his cellar is an old textile factory, and much of the exclusively indigenous vines in his vineyard were planted in the 1930s. Here’s a look at the latest quartet playing the Acústic Cellars tune…

An “Unplugged” Spanish Quartet (Acustic Cellar Recent Releases)

An “Unplugged” Spanish Quartet (Acustic Cellar Recent Releases)2016 Acústic Celler Blanc (Montsant, $18)

Mostly Garnatxa Blanca, with Macabeo and a few others thrown in there in small amounts, this white is floral, rich, tropical, and heady, with a substantial and silky palate. What really blew my away was how textural the palate was for such a hefty wine, and how well the mineral tones showed through. Lest you be concerned with how well it ages, we tasted back to the `11 and it showed some lovely, honeyed goodness. And for a sub-$20 white, it’s overachieving in a big way if it can give you that much pleasurable drinking after even a couple of years or repose in the bottle.

An “Unplugged” Spanish Quartet (Acustic Cellar Recent Releases)

An “Unplugged” Spanish Quartet (Acustic Cellar Recent Releases)2015 Acústic Celler Tinto (Montsant, $20)

Mostly Carignan, with 30% Garnacha, all from vines that are between 25 and 60 years of age. There’s a bit of French oak spice on the nose here, though the barrels are clearly not new, and the wine is powerful, fruity, plummy, deep, juicy, and big. I’d go so far as to say that it’s flashing a come-hither look at you, so keep this one in mind for date night dining. There’s future promise here, too, by the way; tasting back to the 2007, the plummy profile remains, but that older offering still seems fresh and young (though it did take on more floral components).

An “Unplugged” Spanish Quartet (Acustic Cellar Recent Releases)

An “Unplugged” Spanish Quartet (Acustic Cellar Recent Releases)2015 Acústic Celler “Auditori” Vinyes Velles Magiques de Garnatxa (Montsant, $55)

All Garnacha, from some of the oldest vines on the Acústic estate, this is so dense and plummy that it’s almost jammy; it’s also floral, spicy, savory, and sporting serious licorice tones. While undoubtedly powerful, Auditori is also fresh, delicious, and fruity enough to leave you with a lasting, impressive, well,  impression.

An “Unplugged” Spanish Quartet (Acustic Cellar Recent Releases)

An “Unplugged” Spanish Quartet (Acustic Cellar Recent Releases)2015 Acústic Celler “Braó” (Montsant, $33)

Guess what? Old vines, again, these averaging about 40 years (with some in the 60 to 95 year old range), with the emphasis (80%) on Carignan, and the remainder filled out with Garnacha. The yields are, understandably, quite low with bush vines in this age range. The result is warm, buxom, dense, ripe, and delicious. It’s also complex: violets, licorice, baking spices, plums, and even some graphite. Probably my fave out of this quartet, especially considering how the 2007 turned out (inky/extracted/dense, of course, but also savory, floral, and still sexy). The moniker is supposed to evoke strength and courage in Catalan, and, well, yeah, that.

Cheers!

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Copyright © 2016. Originally at An “Unplugged” Spanish Quartet (Acustic Cellar Recent Releases) from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

Pert, Plus (Perticaia Recent – And Not-So-Recent! – Releases)

The name Perticaia is familiar to lovers of big Italian reds, but its meaning – “plow” in the local dialect – likely isn’t as well-known. It is, however, an apt description of how Azienda Agraria Perticaia has forced its way through to the top of the critical food chain when it comes to Montefalco Sagrantino wines.

For that, Perticaia can thank both timing and focus. The brand was founded by Guido Guardigli towards the end 1990s, when Montefalco began a quality boon and a production boom, during which the number of wineries in the region nearly quadrupled. They now farm some sixteen hectares of vines, with not an International grape variety to be found among them, and more or less focus on yields that take produce about one 750ml bottle of wine per plant. Of their 125,000 bottle annual production, a whopping seventy percent gets exported, which means that their oenologist Alessandro Meniconi (working with consultant Emiliano Falsin) is a self-proclaimed jack-of-all-trades, handling (among other things) some export management duties, as well.

Pert, Plus (Perticaia Recent – And Not-So-Recent! – Releases)

Among Montefalco Sagrantino producers, Perticaia is one of the more fastidious when it comes to production techniques, and understanding those is key to getting a full grasp of why their Sagrantino releases are so appealing at such young ages. Only about fifteen percent new French oak is used, with the remainder in some cases being as old as six years, which is kind of like the dotage period in French oak barrel terms (they’re making a push to move towards higher use of older, larger barriques, too).

The big key, however, might be in their seemingly non-intuitive, ass-backwards decision to let their Sagrantino undergo longer than normal maceration. One would think that this would make those reds tougher-than-nails when it comes to Sagrantino’s already rough tannins, but one would be wrong, because Chemistry. The longer maceration actually polymerizes the tannins, making them more approachable at the expense of color (which, as Meniconi emphasized to me during a media visit, “Sagrantino has plenty of, anyway)…

True to form for me, after talking about red wine maceration, I’m going to kick things off by reviewing some of Perticaia’s interesting indigenous white wines, because yeah, I am that guy:

Pert, Plus (Perticaia Recent – And Not-So-Recent! – Releases)

Pert, Plus (Perticaia Recent – And Not-So-Recent! – Releases)2016 Azienda Agraria Perticaia Trebbiano Spoletino (Umbria, $17)

Not to be confused with, well, every other rendition of Trebbiano in Italy (with which it shares little genetic history), Spoletino is one of the most exciting vinous things happening in the Montefalco region. Being one of the first producers to work with Spoletino more seriously, Perticaia has crafted a lively, lovely, and complex rendition; tropical, floral, mineral, creamy, and textural, with hints of saline, citrus pith, and all-around loveliness.

 

Pert, Plus (Perticaia Recent – And Not-So-Recent! – Releases)2015 Azienda Agraria Perticaia “del Posto” (Spoleto, $NA)

I suppose that when one names a wine “local,” the message is about as blunt as it can be. Heady, floral,  and honeyed, “del Posto” is a bigger take on Spoletino. Tropical fruits combine with cream, citrus, lees, and late-harvest style richness, all underpinned by ample structure and nice freshness. But it’s that perfume on the nose that will put impure thoughts in your head, and make you think of alternative meanings of their namesake’s translation.

Pert, Plus (Perticaia Recent – And Not-So-Recent! – Releases)

Pert, Plus (Perticaia Recent – And Not-So-Recent! – Releases)2014 Azienda Agraria Perticaia Montefalco Rosso (Umbria, $20)

Peticaia use the standard Sangovese/Sagrantino blend for their Montefalco Rosso, but instead of the more popular choice of Merlot, they employ the wily (and oft-underrated) Colorino. This red sees no wood, and the result is spicy, fresh, chewy, and approachable, with cherry flavors, orange peel notes, and floral hints.

 

Pert, Plus (Perticaia Recent – And Not-So-Recent! – Releases)2011 Azienda Agraria Perticaia Montefalco Rosso Riserva (Umbria, $NA)

The wood-aged version of their Montefalco red blend is so similar in flavor profile to the Rosso that they could be mistaken for twins rather than the bigger-younger brother pair that they really are; only in this case, the blend is decidedly more “manly” (think meatiness, game, and wood spices). It’s silkier, too, with more grip and richness. Lacking in character, this is not.

Pert, Plus (Perticaia Recent – And Not-So-Recent! – Releases)

Pert, Plus (Perticaia Recent – And Not-So-Recent! – Releases)2014 Azienda Agraria Perticaia Montefalco Sagrantino (Umbria, $NA)

And now for the long-overdue moment… you already know that I’m going to say that this is good. Plummy, with ample dried herb notes, along with smoked game meats and leather, this is a complex, juicy nose that ultimately finds its foundation in black cherry fruits. The mouthfeel is superb; silky to start, grippy in the center, and spicy/herbal on the way out, with a long exit and sweet, ripe fruit and cocoa throughout.

If you’ve any doubt about Perticaia’s maceration techniques, I can attest to the viability of their not-so-recent Sagrantino releases, which we also tasted during my visit. Specifically, the 2013 is dense, plummy, velvety, and full of that telltale cocoa spice, but is noticeably bigger/richer in fruit and power than its 2014 counterpart, maybe a bit more textured, and just as poised, lengthy and complex.

Going back a bit further, the 2009 incarnation is savory, spicy, and harmonious, exerting its tension through a pleasant battle of fruity chewiness and a grippy, lifted palate. It’s still a baby, too. Finally, there’s the 2004, which was essentially crafted using brand-spanking new Sagrantino vines. The quality here is striking for such young bucks; cigar, graphite, smoke, game meat, earth, and wood are present, along with stewed plums and an almost aged-Bordeaux-like presentation. It’s still quite powerful (hello… Sagrantino!), but that won’t stop you from drinking more than your fair share of it, if you an find it.

Cheers!

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Copyright © 2016. Originally at Pert, Plus (Perticaia Recent – And Not-So-Recent! – Releases) from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

Kinky Sex Drinking, And “Educative” Viticulture (Back Through Time With Romanelli Montefalco Sagrantino)

Drinking Montefalco Sagrantino is kind of like having kinky sex.

I mean, there’s the juicy anticipation phase when you smell all of that ripe red fruit and spice on the nose; then there’s the sexy, feel-good phase when the wine enters your palate like silk; and then… WHACK! The tannins smack/bite/spank you.

Kinky Sex Drinking, And “Educative” Viticulture (Back Through Time With Romanelli Montefalco Sagrantino)

Devis Romanelli instructs us visitors on the proper use of cell phones in Montefalco. Or not.

This is not to say that you should assume that abyone drinking Montefalco Sagrantino is into kinky sex, it’s just to give you degenerately progressive and tolerant 1WD readers a frame of reference, and show you where my own head was during my recent media visit to the region.

During that trip, I decided to have a visit to the relatively small (eight hectares, about 45,000 bottles/year) and decidedly non-kinky (family-run) producer Romanelli, who’s vineyards sit in the northeastern corner of the region, and who I strongly suspect will not exactly be totally thrilled that I opened their feature here with a reference to kinky sex. Anyway… with the high winds there, it’s a great spot for passito style dessert wines (FTR, theirs is spicy, racy, and pure, and well-worth seeking out), but also (as is common in Montefalco) for several types of farming.

Devis Romanelli, who took over the winemaking reins in 2007, has been making a push to certify Romanelli’s olive oil and vines as organic, which isn’t easy in the sunny-but-continental Montefalco climate. “2013 was very… educative for me for organic viticulture” he quipped.

Devis’ grandfather purchased the farm in the late 1970s, during which it was also producing wheat, olives, and supporting cattle; grapes were sold to the once-ubiquitous Montefalco co-ops. Their Sagrantino comes mostly from their San Clemente vines, which grow on a limestone/clay mixture. It’s these that are in the 1WD review focus today, as Devis walked me through a tasting of their Sagrantinos going back to his first vintage… so buckle up, and get your safe words ready…

Kinky Sex Drinking, And “Educative” Viticulture (Back Through Time With Romanelli Montefalco Sagrantino)

Kinky Sex Drinking, And “Educative” Viticulture (Back Through Time With Romanelli Montefalco Sagrantino)2007 Romanelli Sagrantino di Montefalco (Umbria, $NA)

This is a wine of someone finding his footing. You’d expect the burly Sagrantino tannins to have started to soften at this point, and you’d be right, but they (and Sagrantino’s textbook powerful heat and palate weight) are still there. The tone is one of wines that are not made for early imbibing. Stewed plums (red/blue/black), spices, mint, smoke, cigar, cedar, and leather… there’s still a lot going on here, though it will always require some form of steak to tame it, I suspect.

 

Kinky Sex Drinking, And “Educative” Viticulture (Back Through Time With Romanelli Montefalco Sagrantino)2008 Romanelli Sagrantino di Montefalco (Umbria, $NA)

Things really start to get interesting here; the nose is similar to the `07, but it’s fresher, riper, darker, and with more elegant spices and a sexier presentation overall. This one has the fruit to age along with the tannic structure, and it will be very delicious very soon (“soon” in Sagrantino extended aging terms, anyway).

 

Kinky Sex Drinking, And “Educative” Viticulture (Back Through Time With Romanelli Montefalco Sagrantino)2009 Romanelli Sagrantino di Montefalco (Umbria, $NA)

Devis remarked that “2009 was the vintage where I found my way,” and I don’t think there’s anything here to undermine that statement. It’s a bit of a head-fake of a red; it starts out herbal and tight on the nose, but the palate has a generous, round structure and tough, astringent (i.e., young) tannins. It’s a compelling, tense combination that makes for fascinating sipping, and the greener herbs on the finish add depth and complexity. No safe word required.

 

Kinky Sex Drinking, And “Educative” Viticulture (Back Through Time With Romanelli Montefalco Sagrantino)

Kinky Sex Drinking, And “Educative” Viticulture (Back Through Time With Romanelli Montefalco Sagrantino)2010 Romanelli Sagrantino di Montefalco (Umbria, $30)

This is as tight as a tourniquet right now. Having said that, what starts to peek through is downright superb: dried herbs, tobacco, black licorice, leather, mineral, smoke, and layers of red and black cherries. The palate gives the sense that this is a leaner Sagrantino, but that shouldn’t deter anyone from what (I think) is going to be a stellar red after several more years of repose.

 

Kinky Sex Drinking, And “Educative” Viticulture (Back Through Time With Romanelli Montefalco Sagrantino)2011 Romanelli Sagrantino di Montefalco (Umbria, $30)

Earthy, leathery, dark of fruit, gritty, mineral, and loaded with sweet tobacco spices, this is sexy, structured, and long. It’s powerful, too, which is going to be bad news for the epic hangover you will experience after opening it many years from now, as it will almost certainly be too delicious by then for you to successfully exercise any restraint in the amount of it you will drink.

Cheers!

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Copyright © 2016. Originally at Kinky Sex Drinking, And “Educative” Viticulture (Back Through Time With Romanelli Montefalco Sagrantino) from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!