Aberjona Bacchanalian Society
Lists of Wines Tasted

The Aberjona Bacchanalian Society is an informal group of wine aficionados who get together to learn about and enjoy wine.

This page by Anne lists the wines we tasted. Larry maintains the Main Page for the Society, and this page uses Larry's design.


Wines that Go with Game, Nov. 13, 2004
Chile & Argentina, Oct. 9, 2004
Spain & Portugal, Sep. 11, 2004
Red Zinfandel, May 8, 2004
Sauvignon Blanc, April 10, 2004
Value Reds, Mar. 13, 2004
New Zealand Whites Plus Ports, Feb. 14, 2004
Italian Piedmont, Jan. 10, 2004
Sparkling Wines, Dec. 11, 2003
Gewurztraminer, Nov. 9, 2003

Picnic Wines, May 10, 2003
Bordeaux Wines, Apr. 12, 2003

Southern France Not Cotes-du-Rhone, Mar. 8, 2003
Alsatian Wines, Feb. 8, 2003
Sparkling Wines, Dec. 14, 2002
Syrah, Semillon, Sauvignon, Wines that begin with "S", Nov. 9, 2002
South American Wines, October 12 , 2002
Red Zinfandel, May 11 , 2002
Italian - Tuscany and North, Mar. 9, 2002
Port and other Dessert Wines, Feb. 9, 2002
South African Wines, Jan. 12, 2002
Sparkling Wines, Dec. 8 , 2001
The Wines of Chile, Nov. 10, 2001

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Wines that Go with Game   Nov. 13, 2004

What would you serve with Venison? With Pheasant? With Turkey? With Bass?
Some ideas from “Johnson’s”:
Game Birds: your best red wine
Duck or goose: a rich white
Pigeons: lively reds
Rabbit: young Italian reds
Venison: big-scale red
Sea Bass: fine/delicate whites
Salmon: fine white burgundy
Swordfish: full bodied dry white

#
From the Bottle Label
Comments
1

Mouton Cadet White Bordeaux 2001, $9

 
2 Gruner Veltliner $15, Austrian, Steininger 2002 "Interesting -- never had before, but like a Riesling"
3 Macon Lugny $10 Les Genievres (Louis Latour)  
4 EOS Paso Robles Reserve Petite Sirah, 2000 $18 "Best wine of the night."
5 Marques de Caceres 2000 Rioja (Spain) $14  
6 Valpolicella Classico 2002 Allegrini $17  
7 Pastiche Joseph Phelps nv $? "Rhone like"
8 Saint Cosme Cotes-du-Rhone 2002 $16 "Some felt this was a bit 'peppery', others loved it"
9 Jacob Creek CabSauv -- South East Aust. 2002 $9  

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Chile & Argentina   Oct. 9 , 2004

Chile: Principal regions, from north to south, are Aconcagua, Maipo, Rapel, and Maule. Principal grapes are the Cabernets, Merlots, Syrah, Malbec, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon.

Argentina: Principal regions are in the states of Mendoza and San Juan. Grapes include Chenin Blanc, Semillon, Reisling, Chardonnay, Malbec, Bonarda, Tempranillo, Barbera, Lambrusco, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Syrah.

#
From the Bottle Label
Comments
1

Casa Lapostolle $10 2000 Chardonnay, Casablanca valley, Chile

"Yummy Yummy -- great for price range."
2 Vos Reserva $16.50 Los Vascos 2001 Colchagua (mostly Cab Sauv) Chile  
3 Montes Alpha $19, 2002 Colchagua (mostly Cab Sauv) Chile  
4 Arboleda $14 2001 Colchagua (Carmenere) Chile  
5 Alamons $10 2003 (Malbec) Argentina, Mendoza  
6 Bodegas Norton $10 2002 (Malbec) Argentina, Mendoza  

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Spain & Portugal Sep. 11, 2004

Spain & Portugal! Red, White, Port, Sherry, Grappa, and anything else from the IBERIAN PENINSULA

#
From the Bottle Label
Comments
1

Cline 2001 Viognier White Sonoma County $10

Not Iberian, Tillie wanted to try it. Pleasant surprise "Top 4"
2 Gran Castellflorit Reserva 1998 $13 Red Penedas 100% Cabernet Sauvignon "Really Nice" "Top 4"
3 Vila Regina "Douro" 2000 Portuguese $7 Nice nose Blend - Alagones, Trincaderia & Periquita Similar to Tempranillo
4 Hoya de Cadenas Reserva 1995 $ Tempranillo blend Fruity but not much body Not much "there there"
5 Margues de Borba Portuguese 2000 $11 Nice nose Blend - Alagones, Trincaderia & Periquita Similar to Tempranillo
6 Terra Unica Manchuela Reserva 1998 Tempranillo Extraordinary nose, fabulous bouquet "Top 4"
7 Hoya de Cadenas Reserva 1998 $7 Tempranillo Wonderful nose, good taste, good finish, pleasant surprise "Top 4"
8 Senorio de Guadianeja Gran Reserva 1990 $18 Tempranillo A bit over the hill Doesn't equal the price Not a long finish

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Red Zinfandel   May 8 , 2004

According to The Oxford Companion to Wine, © 1999: “Zinfandel is an exotic black grape variety of European origin cultivated predominately in California that has tended to mirror the giddily changing fashions of the American wine business.”

The vine was imported, possibly unnamed, to the USA from the Austrian imperial nursery in Vienna by George Gibbs of Long Island, probably in 1829.” Many of those who participated in the California Gold Rush of 1849 turned to agriculture… In 1862 the Secretary of the Sonoma Horticultural Society gave some wine made from these grapes to a French Winemaker working in California who reported that it tasted like a ‘good French Claret’.’’ …DNA FINGERPRINTING … has demonstrated that it is one and the same as PRIMITIVO of Southern Italy…”

Although Zinfandel has been required to transform itself into virtually every style and color of wine that exists, it is best suited to dry, sturdy, unsubtle, but vigorous reds with an optimum lifespan of four to eight years.”

Top choices were (going toward best) Estancia (1) and Four Vines (5), Cline Ancient Vine (8), Terra d'Oro (9).

#
From the Bottle Label
Comments
1

Estancia Zinfandel 2000 $10

(Estancia & Liberty School are both sub-labels of another vinyard.)

Dirk and others thought this one very good. Good value for the price. Nice nose. Some thought thin, acid, not well balanced. Somewhat "unfinished" or rough but does not seem like aging would improve.
2 Kendall Jackson Zinfandel 2001 Vintner's Reserve No tanin, no bigness. Not popular.
3 Rancho Zabaco Cry Creek Valley, Sonoma County 1999 $15 Smooth, not much there. A little body and tanin. Suggestion of mushroom taste, flat taste. (might need breathing)
4 Seghesio Sonoma 2002 $17-$19 Not much berry. Spicy.
5 Four Vines Old Vine Cuvee 2001 $9 A dry flavor. Lots of body. Carolyn: Not much nose. Fullness, interesting. Really has Zin aroma, very well balanced. Nice fruitiness. Dirk: no bouquet, lacking in flavor.
6 Bogle Vinyards Old Vine Zinfandel 2001 More acidy, not so balanced. Tillie liked.
7 Norman Vinyards Paso Robles "The Monster" 1997 Zinfandel This seems like it spoiled during aging.
8 Cline Ancient Vines 2002 $13 on sale, reg $15 Carolyn: "Best so far. This is a Zin! Classic Zin. Fruit with more essence than Four Vines." Stronger all the way through taste. Begins with fruit. Goes well with food, pate and cheese. Smoky. Dirk didn't care for: "lacks nose, taste and finish."
9 Montevina Terra d'Oro Amador Cty Deaver Vinyards Old Vines $20 Better than Cline. More body, more essense of fruit of Zinfandel grape. Depth of the fruit. Strong taste Amador Cty has 125 year old vines, the original vines not cuttings.
10 Ravenswood Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel Sonoma 2001 Had a bit of a sherry taste? (not a good memory of this one)
11 Ridge York Creek Zinfandel Late Harvest $30 Rich, higher brix with residual sugar.. Goes with cheesecake, rich food. Very good and interesting.

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Sauvignon Blanc    April 10, 2004

The Sauvignon Blanc grape is the wine variety responsible for some of the world’s most popular and distinctive dry white wines: Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé from France, Sauvignon Blanc and Fumé Blanc from outside France. Trivia: DNA Fingerprinting has shown that Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc are parents of Cabernet Sauvignon. New Zealand is the best known area outside of France, but South Africa and Northern California are also producers. Washington, Chile, and (yes!) Texas are also experimenting with Sauvignon Blanc.

#
From the Bottle Label
Comments
  We don't have the wine list for this gathering.  
     

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Value Reds    March 13, 2004

At the last winetasting, the members decided to try another type of "blind tasting". Bring a RED wine, from any region or country that you feel is a good value. Price range from $10 to $30. (No 2-Buck Chuck.) Cover the price with a "Band-Aid", the prices will be revealed at the end of the evening.

These comments are from Phyllis. Not sure the sequence and this may not cover all the wines.

#
From the Bottle Label
Comments
  Bogle Petite Sirah 2001, about $11. (this is always a yummy wine).
  Chateau d'Arcins; 2000, Haut-Medoc; red bordeaux; Cru Bourgeois. $16 From the label: dark garnet in color, toasted nose, hint of black fruit, prunes, rapsberries, & liquorice. Well balanced. Fine and ripe tannins, leaving a lingering finish.. (the 2000 Bordeaux have appreciated tremendously in value, according to the Berman's wine expert; according to the Winecellar of Silene expert, '00 Bordeaux was an outstanding vintage year, as was '01)
  Four Sisters, 2000, Shiraz, SE Australia, $11.95. Blackberry & spice; long finish; flavorsome; big nose; not as good as The Barossa.
  Peter Lehmann; The Barossa; 1999; Shiraz. According to whomever brought it, it was either $23 or $33. Full bodied; hints of chocolate & blackberry. Toasted oak; deep color; drink now to 4 years (better than Four Sisters).
  The 10 year blueberry wine was from Nashoba Valley Winery, MA. (I've never been fond of fruit wines, except the white wine made from juniper berries, called gin). 'Twas a bit barnyard in taste.

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New Zealand Whites Plus Ports    February 14, 2004

First – New Zealand Whites. New Zealand is an up and coming area and has a climate that is partial to white wine. Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Riesling are the current white wines of choice. More can be read and understood at http://www.nzwine.com/
Second – as a tribute to Valentine’s Day, Jack and Carolyn will bring a couple of good Ports. Bring DESSERTS that will go with Port. Jack suggests Stilton Cheese, Dark Chocolate, anything with almonds, pecans, or hazelnuts, and Apple or Pecan Pie.

#
From the Bottle Label
Comments
1 Brancott Vinyards Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2003 $12 Hugh Johnson's 2004 booklet gives it 2-3 stars where 2="above average" and 3= "well known, highly reputed" Good with delicate tastes like sole. Pleasant and nice balance.
2 Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, 2002 $14 Bottle says "rich tropical fruit." Hugh Johnson: "One of NZ's three largest companies. Private bin wines can be excellent value." 2-3 stars, colored stars ndicate "Especially good in its price range." Somewhat acidy, not well balanced. (Anne thought it was interesting.)
3 Goldwater Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2002, $20 Hugh Johnson: "Pungent", 3 stars. Balanced and more robust.
4 Thornbury Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2000. Fermented in French Oak Barrels. No one was a fan of this one.
5 Porto Barrow Vintage Character $14 Ruby color, fairly mild taste
6 Fonseca Guimarens Vintage Porto. 1984, bottled in 1986. rated 85-88 $40 Would have cost more if it were a designated year. Stronger flavor.
7 Delaforce Oporto Curious Aged in wood 20 years, bottled 2003. Rated in the 90's. $60 Tawny, a lot of intricacy to the flavor, especially caramel. Tasted like a dessert in itself.

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Italian Piedmont    January 10, 2004

We are going to concentrate on these red grape varieties from this northern province: Nebbiolo [2001], Barbera [2001, 2000, 1997], Barolo [2000, 1999, 1998], Barbaresco [2000, 1999, 1998]. (All comments from Dirk)

#
From the Bottle Label
Comments
1 Ruvei Barbera d'Alba 2001 $14  
2 Icardi Surisjuan Langhe 1998 $29 Great tannin, lots of berries and lots of good finish
3 Steffano Farina Barbera d'Asti 2001 $6  
4 Nebbiolo d'Alba 1999 La Val Dei Preti $30 Surprisingly good nose, taste and finish.
5 Barbaresco Ovello 1999 70% Nebbiolo, 30% Albano grapes Berries in nose, good taste and finish
6 Fratelli Revello $30 1996 Barolo Wonderful nose, good tannin on taste and finish, can last 10 years
7 Barolo Serralunga d'Alba 1977 $40 Great tannin, lacking in taste and finish. Hold for 10 hears for austere wine..
8 Barolo Vintage 1998 Marchesi d'Barolo $30 Very modern wine with good taste up front and no finish.
9 Barolo Morando 1999 $20 Fair taste, no finish
10 Remo Farena Amarone della Valpolicella 1995  

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Sparkling Wines    December 11 , 2003

In addition to the Champagne region of France, Sparkling Wines are also produced in other regions of France, the Asti region of Italy, northeastern Spain, Germany, and parts of California and New York. Even Russia makes Sparkling Wine! These are areas where it is usually too cool to produce still wine.

#
From the Bottle Label
Comments
1 Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Brut Estate Bottled Sparkling Wine. "100% estate grapes grown in California's cool Anderson Valley. Wines from four vinyards blended with oak-aked reserves to create a complex, dry and harmonious sparkling wine. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir." $18.99, on sale for $15.99 (Robert) In spite of the great build-up, this was a little acidy, didn't have a full rich taste. At least one person liked it a lot.
2 Chandon California. Brut Classic 198. "Sparkling wine in a classic blend of 54% Pinot Noir, 31% Chardonnay, 11% Pinot Blanc, and 4% Pinot Meunier." $15 (Larry) Less acidy, better balanced.
3 Champagne Monopole Brut Epernay Heidsieck &Co Monopole. $27.00 (Linda) This had a stronger, tea-like taniny flavor or maybe from sitting on lees. A good and interesting taste if paired with strong enough food. Some liked the distinctive taste, some not.
4 Champagne Montaudon Brut Reims, Wine Spectator rated it 90. Listed at $24.00, pd $18 (Dirk) This was really fine with a hint of the tea-like flavor, well-balanced acid, much more delicate taste.

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Gewurztraminer    November 8 , 2003

This wine is considered a versatile wine, good with lobster, ham, sausage, smoked salmon, smoked turkey, creamy cheese – such as Brie, Munster – even a British hard cheese, or a creamy Stilton or Roquefort. Veggies and other foods will help to balance the above.

This wine is spicy, flavorful and should be consumed young (3-5 yrs) after bottling in Alsace. Gewurtz from Alsace is different from either California or Oregon, which has less pungency and is more flowery. Sonoma has some good examples as well as San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara.

#
From the Bottle Label
Comments
1 2001 Sakonnett Estate Grown and Bottled  
2 2001 W. Gisselbrecht Vin d'Alsace $11.99 The best: good balance, a little flower not too much.
3 2000 Trimbach Alsace $17.99  
4 2001 DeLoach Estate-bottled Russian River Valley Early Harvest Perfumy and over-sweet
5 1990 Homemade from Columbia River Gorge grapes Too old; had no character
6 2000 Trimbach Alsace (compare to the one below) More robust
7 1999 Trimbach Alsace $15 less character, maybe too old

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Picnic Wines    May 10 , 2003

 

#
From the Bottle Label
Comments
1 Urziger Wurzgarten Reisling Kabinet Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Excellent. Fresh with enough acid to balance a slight sweetness. Went well with Carolyn's ham appetizers.
2 2000 Meridian Vinyards California Sauvignon Blanc Easy to drink, light with a little sugar but not too much.
3 1985 Strawberry, homemade from VanTine's Bond Street Cellars Nice pink color. Strawberry aroma when first opened. Light and cidy with a little bitterness.
4 Nashoba Valley Dry Pear Wine A little sweet. Was served warm - cold would be better.
5 1999 Vin de pays D'Oc Maine de Preissan Merlot  
6 2001 Les Grandes Vallees Luc Pirlet Cabernet Sauvignon Red Languedoc Wine  
7 2001 Penfold's Rawson's Retreat Chardonnay South Eastern Australia  

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Bordeaux Wines    Apr. 12 , 2003

The Gironde River divides the Bordeaux region into Left Bank and Right Bank. The left has gravelly soil, and Cabernet Sauvignon dominates. The Right is clay, and Merlot dominates. Bordeaux is a blend of these.
   Grapes of Bordeaux: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec
   Grapes of Bordeaux Blanc & Sauternes: Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, Muscadelle

#
From the Bottle Label
Comments
1 2001 $10 Chateau Roquefort - Bordeaux 85% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% Semillon Dry, OK, grows on you
2 2001 $13 Mason Nicoles - Vin de Pays D'OC Cabernet Sauvignon Young - opened up quickly becoming pleasant
3 2000 $10 Chateau Berard - Bordeaux Superior "Nice"
4 2000 $12 Châteaux Guiboy 50/50 Cabernet/Merlot Dry and "chalky"
5 1998 $12 Châteaux Plaisance - Bordeaux Superior (Margaux) Thinner than expected, "chalky", but nice finish
6 1998 $18 Châteaux Pontac-Phenix Haut-Medoc (Meraux) (Second brand of Pontac-Lynch) Still young, thinner than expected
7 1990 $21 (on sale) Châteaux Simard Saint Emilion Old - something is wrong
A "Blind" Comparison wine #1: $3 2001 Charles Shaw Merlot (Trader Joes) "Must be California" "Like a jug wine"
B "Blind" Comparison wine #2: $? 2000 Louis Bernard Cotes du Rhone Villages Very distinct and different from Bordeaux!

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Southern France But Not Côtes du Rhône     Mar. 8, 2003

Although Côtes du Rhône is the best known appellation in Southern France, many others exist. The major grape variety is grenache; others are carignan, cinsaut, mourvèdre, and syrah. Some of the other appellations: . Côtes du Vivarias Coteaux du Tricastin Gigondas Vacgueyaras Châteauneuf du Pape Lirac Tavel Côtes du Ventoux Côtes du Lubéron Languedoc-Rossillon Coteaux d'Aix Provence Côtes du Provence

#
From the Bottle Label
Comments
1 Domaine Celingvet Red Languedoc Coteaus de Languedoc 1999 $11 Good at first. Metalic after it breathed.
2 Gigondas Pierre Aiguille Paul Jaboulet Aine shipper & vinyard owner in Rhone 1999 (someone said Gigondas is Syrah and Grenache) Robert liked.
3 Louis Bernard Gigondas Red Rhone wine 2000 smoother, got better with time
4 Domaine des Bosquets Gigondas 2000 $20  
5 Domaine du Gros Nore 2000 Bandel mis en bouteille au domaine $24?
www.gros-nore.com
 
6 Les Baux de Provence mas de gourgonnier 1999  
7 Chateau Talaud Cotes du Ventoux (year?) $10 "delicate blending of older and younger vines... Grenache and Syrah, selective hand-picking..."  
8 Marquis de la Houlliere Salses les Chateau, Cotes du Roussillon Villages 2000 Nice balance, good tanin, ok finish
9 Clos de L'Oratoire des Papes Chateauneuf-du-Pape 1999 $25 "one of outstanding wine estates surrounding town Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Has 49 acres. Vines avg age about 30 years. 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre, 5% Cinsault.  
10 Domaine Mas du Bouquet 2001 Vacqueyras. Mis en bouteille a la propriete. About $10? Philippe & Sydelle got this in France. Very good. Smooth, peppery, not much acid. Maybe best of tasting.
11 Chateau Routas Agrippa $1999 $13 Coteaus Varois. 50% Cabernet, 50% Syrah Lots of tanin, good body. Not much nose. Short finish.

 

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Alsatian Wines     Feb. 8, 2003

Any wine derived from the ALSACE REGION of France: Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, or eaux-de-vie: Framboise, Kirsch, Mirabelle, Fraise, or Poire

#
From the Bottle Label
Comments
1 Wilm Pinot Blanc 2001 $10 this was the best of the lot
2 Paul Zinck Vin d'Alsace Pinot Blanc 2000 $11 terrible
3 Cave de Turckheim Pinot Blanc 2000 $10  
4 Trimbach Pinot Blanc 1998 $13  
5 Rene Schmidt Riesling Reserve 1998  
6 Trimbach Riesling 2000 $17  
7 Willm Riesling 2001 $10 very dry
8 Willm Pinot Gris 2001 $10 very sweet
9 Trimbach Pinot Gris Reserve 2000 $16 has some character, somewhat sweet. Pretty good. Carolyn likes.
10 Wilm Gewurtztraminer 2000 $12 ok
11 Trimbach Gewurtztraminer 1999 $16 Much better than previous. Carolyn likes.
12 New Zealand Patutahi Estate Brancott Vinyards 1998 "different"
13 Gentil "Hugo" 1999 $10 "blend of noble grapes" "Gentil Hugo" is made by a specific process for a specific taste. ok
14 Domaine Julien Meyer Heissenstein Pinot Noir 1997 $17 terrible

 

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Sparkling Wines     Dec. 14, 2002

In the universe of wines, Sparkling Wines are a system unto themselves. They come in a wide range of quality, with Champagne at the top. In addition to the Champagne region of France, Sparkling Wines are also produced in other regions of France, the Asti region of Italy, northeastern Spain, Germany, and parts of California and New York. Even Russia makes Sparkling Wine! These are areas where it is usually too cool to produce still wine.

#
From the Bottle Label
Comments
1 G.H. Mumm & Co. -- Reims France Carte Class Gue Extra Dry $26  
2 Prosecco Ville Cornaro Extra Dry Vino Spumante 2001  
3 Champagne Nicolas Fevillatte Chailly Epernay, France Brut Priemier Cru  
4 Vevue Clicquot Ponsendin Brut Champagne Reims France $25  

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Syrah, Semillon, Sauvignon, Wines that begin with "S"     Nov. 9, 2002

 

#
From the Bottle Label
Comments
1 Sancerre 2001 $15 Curvee Moulius Bales "Yummy" -- this went great with the smoked oysters in a salmon sauce
2 Shiraz Cabernet 2001 $13 Penfolds Koonunga Hill Needed a bit of breathing, but quickly became quite nice Liked by all -- had some "fire power"
3 Cabernet Shiraz 2000 $11 Buckeleys Got much better with breathing "Would be great with hot dogs and beans"
4 Shiraz - McLaren Vale & Longhone Creek 2000 $19 Rosemont Estate "Show Reserve" 24 months in the barrel, both old and new Oak Very well received by all. A really nice, well rounded Shiraz
5 Series 2000 "Sweet Harvest" Videl Blanc Sakonnett $??? (Probably $15-20) A very nice dessert wine
6 Sauternes 1982 Chateau Roumieu $??? (Probably $40-70 if available now) From Dorcee Rommer's cellar "Thank you Dorcee..." This was just outstanding, felt like chocolate and gold going down...

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South American Wines     October 12 , 2002

 

#
From the Bottle Label
Comments
1 Vin a Santa Carolina REserva Estate Bottled Chardonnay, Chile Colchagua Valley  
2 2000 Bodega Jacques et Francois Lurton Mendoza Pinot Gris  
3 2001 Coliterra Chardonnay Central Valley Chile $9  
4 1999 Cousinino-Macul Antiguas REserva Valle de Maipo Chardonnay  
5 1999 Vira Santa Carolia Reserva Maule Valley Chile  
6 1999 Vino de Eyzaguirre San Francisco de Mostaral Reserva Especial Merlot Chile Colchagua Valley  
7 2000 Montes Pinot Noir Oak Aged D.O. Casablanca Valley Chile Limited Selection $12.50 Carolyn brought this one. A young wine with a lot of promise.
8 2000 Septima 60% Malbec 40% Cabernet Cosecha Mendoza Red Table Wine $12.50  
9 2000 Cantena Malbec Lunlunta (sp?) Vinyards $21 .This one (or another 100% malbec) brought by Bob Marghar, who asserted that 100% malbec has a great future, while mixing malbec with cabernet is a mistake.
10 1999 Bodegas Balbi Mendoza Malbec foot of mountains in Mendoza province of Argentina  
11 2000 Malbec Alamos Wines of Nicholas Catena, Argentina  
12 2001 Santa Rita Carmenere Rapel Valley An old Bordeaux grape. $10  
13 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon Los Vascos Colchagua Domaines Barons de Rothschild (La file) ungrafted pre-phyllora Bordeaux rootstock.  
14 1998 Primus Vera monte Carmenere Casablanca Valley Chile $16  
15 1998 Finca Flichman Malbec Mendoza Argentina region of Barrancas, Maipo $10  
16 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon Cousino-Macul Antiguas Reserves Valle de Maipo $10 and $14  

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Red Zinfandel      May 11 , 2002

According to The Oxford Companion to Wine copyright 1999:
   "Zinfandel is an exotic black grape variety of European origin cultivated predominately in California that has tended to mirror the giddily changing fashions of the American wine business."
   The vine was imported, possibly unnamed, to the USA from the Austrian imperial nursery in Vienna by George Gibbs of Long Island, probably in 1829."
   Many of those who participated in the California Gold Rush of 1849 turned to agriculture... In 1862 the Secretary of the Sonoma Horticultural Society gave some wine made from these grapes to a French Winemaker working in California who reported that it tasted like a 'good French Claret'."
   ...DNA Fingerprinting... has demonstrated that it is one and the same as Primitivo of Southern Italy..."
   Although Zinfandel has been required to transform itself into virtually every style and color of wine that exists, it is best suited to dry, sturdy, unsubtle, but vigorous reds with an optimum lifespan of four to eight years."
   From Dirck & Larry's announcement.

#
From the Bottle Label
Comments
1 2000 Beaulieu Vinyard Coastal $12 Better than expected. A little olive oily like Pinot Noir.
2 1999 Rabit Ridge Barrel Cuvell $12 Spicy, burnt cinimon. Could use more acid.
3 1999 DeLoach California Zinfandel A little moldy, perhaps too much acid.
4 1999 Roseblum Pasa Robles Richard Sauret Vinyards $20 Rich and peppery. Very nice. "This is how Zin should taste." Currents and tannin. Chocolate hints in the nose. Age a few years. Most thought it was the best.
5 1999 EOS Paso Robles $16 Nice balance, ready to drink. Dryer trhan #4. Lots of flavor, lots of fruit after breathing.
6 1999 VanTine Bond Street Cellars (homemade) Peppery, a bit astringent. Needs to age a few years?
7 1999 Rancho Zabaco Sonoma Heritage Vines $12 A little too much tanin? Smooth, good body, dark color.
8 1998 Sonoma Creek $14 Differing opinions: sulfite or metallic, not much body, or some found it very nice.
9 1999 Francis Coppola Diamond Series Red Label $16 Smooth, tasts a lot like Cabernet, perhaps needs to age a few years since much tannin, but not enough fruit to be hopeful that aging will help.
10 1998 Rancho Zabaco Dry Creek Valley $15 Nice nose and color, lots of tannin but not objectionable. Rich. Almost too smooth. Banana aroma. Not as good as #4.
11 1997 Buehler Vinyards $14 Ok, no pepper, a litttle acidy. Don't age.
12 1997 GooseCross Dry Creek $28 Clear red color, nice nose (strawberry). Very nice, drinkable, hints of pinor noir. But compared to others, not much character.

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Italian - Tuscany and North      Mar. 9, 2002
Italy is 3/4 the size of California but makes more wine in most years - which leads to its being taken for granded. Most of the finest wines come from the four regions shown on the map. Native grape varieties include Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Aglianico, and Barbera. Some of the wines produced are:
Piedmont
(mostly red)
- Barolo
- Barbaresco
Tuscany
(mostly red)
- Chianti (Classico)
- Montepulciano
Veneto
(red & white)
- Valpolicella
- Bardolino
- Soave
Trentino-Alto Adige
(white)
- Pinot Grigio
Friuli-Venezia Giulia
(white)
- Tocai Friulano
From Dirck & Larry's announcement.
#
From the Bottle Label
Comments
1 2000 Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie Good clean taste
2 1999 Morelliano Di Scansano Erik Bant
Grapes: 85% sangeovese, 15% grenache
Light
3 1998 Avignonesi Rosso Tuscany $8.99 Okay
4 1999 Nugola Vecchia $5.99 at Trader Joe
Grapes: 90% sangeovese, 10% merlot
More acidy, okay
5 1999 Rossi Di Tocana Bottled by Renzo Massi Erta e China $7.99
Grapes: 50% sangeovese, 50% cabernet sauvignon
Nicely balanced. A favorite of Larry
6 1999 Monte Antico Soscano $9.99 Grapes: sangeovese  
7 1999 Rosso di Montalcino by Ferinand Rossi Tuscany Price unknown, guess $15-20. Robert Parker called it a Best Buy 1999. Very good, balanced, nice finish. Much praise for this one.
8 1994 Castello di Cacchiano Chianti Classico $14.99 Some liked this. Had almost no finish. Maybe too old?
9 1998 Ruffino Riserva Ducale $19.99 Good body, good finish. Generally highly praised. A favorite of Larry.
10 1996 Villa Di Capezzano Carmignano
Grapes: 90% sangeovese, 10% cabernet sauvignon
Opinions vary from very good to flat. Seemed to have no tanin and no acid. "Cab finish"?
11 1999 Villa Cafagggio Chianti Classico Vendemmia $11.99
Grapes: mostly sangeovese
Good
12 1995 Masciarelle Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Grapes: montepulciano Medium body, mild tanin, well-balanced.
13 1999 Sandrone Dolcetto d'Alba $15.99 Grapes: dolcetto Touches of cherry or almond.

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Port and other Dessert Wines       Feb. 9, 2002

Wine with more than 14% alcohol is called Dessert Wine. The Sherry region of Spain and the Port region of Portugal have made quite a specialty of it. Dessert Wine is the legal U.S. terminology for these wines. In Europe they are called liqueur wines. Te terms can be misleading, as these wines are not always sweet and suitable for dessert, and fortified is probably a better term. From Dirck & Larry's announcement.

#
From the Bottle Label
Comments
1 Moscato Bianco 1996, Millbrook Vinyards, NY (Grapes from Central Coast, Mistral Valley, CA) Would be wonderful with fruit or cheese.
2 Yalumba "Old Sweet White" Barossa dessert wine, Australia, $18/split Full of flowers, nutty, syrupy -- could almost be used on waffles
3 Blandy's "5 year old" Malmsey Madiera, $23 Less nose that one before, better finish, very smooth
4 Lustau (sic?) Dry Olorosio " Don Muño" Sherry, $16 (late entry) VERY DRY! Would have been better to have before the Yalumba
5 Lustau Solera Reserva Deluxe Cream "Capatex Audrés" Sherry, $10 More nose than the above, everyone felt it was "nice," very smooth
6 Dow's Fine Tawny Porto, $PU Very profund, great color - ruby , smooth, huge at first but quick finish
7 Imperial Ruby "Porto Barros," $8 Slow to start, has a cutting edge, but a long, clean finish

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South African Wines      Jan. 12, 2002
Vines first came to South Africa in the 1650s, but it is since the end of apartheid that South African wines have become better known. South Africa's wine districts are almost all near the southwestern coast, in Cape Province, near Cape Town. These are referred to as the Coastal District vineyards. 10% of the wines qualify as Wine of Origin (WO), based on the French Appellation laws. South Africa now ranks 7th in worldwide production, with about 20% exported, mostly to the U.K. Traditional varieties are Chenin Blanc (often called Steen), and Cinsaut (nee Hermitage). However, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are coming into their own. A unique grape, Pinotage, is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut. From Dirck & Larry's announcement.
#
From the Bottle Label
Comments
1 Slaley Hunting Family Chardonnay 1999 Wine of Origin Stellenbosch $19.99 a little harsh, oaky, potential to mellow
2 Brampton 2000 Sauvignon Blanc Stellenbosch Label claims: "A zesty upfront wine in the New World style. Passionfruit, gooseberry, litch and asparagus aromas follow through to lively palate." Fruity, not stony. Almost like a reisling.
3 Pinotage Fleur de Cap 1997 $9.49 (purchased at Atlas in Medford. The same bottle in Hudson MA cost $15.99) earthy, surprisingly nice, lot of body and tanins, fruit
4 Rooiberg Cellars Pinotage 1992 Wine of Origin Robertson Opinions vary widely: Most people liked this. fabulous, peppery, good nose. Some call it burnt or oxidized and like #3 better.
5 Hamilton Russell Vineyard 2000 Pinot Noir $27.95 Estate wine of origin Walker Bay. Produced and bottled on the Hamilton Russell vineyards Estate Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Hermanus, Cape of Good Hope "Our pinot noir is made from naturally low-yeilding vines grown on maritime-influenced, northeast-facing stoney clar-rich slopes. Strong acid, strong tanin, no fruit. Debated whether it would improve with age, but thought it might not have a lot of character to develop.
6 Simkonsvlei Wynkelder 1996 Pinotage Reserve Wine of Origin Coastal Region.$17.99 Rustic, low tanin, low acid, "very obscure"
7 Middelvlei Cabernet Sauvignon, 1989. (Dirk bought this in S. Africa.) Wine of Origin. Grown and made on the estate and bottled by Bergkelder Ltd. Stellenbosch Estate Wine. Mellow, plenty of tanin, no berry, maybe a little vinegary. Tasted like it had a lot of age. Opinions vary.
8 Boschkloof Cabernet Sauvignon Stellbosch South Africa, 79% Cabernet, 21% Merlot #8 and #9 were not real distinguishable or distinguished.
9
Fleur du Cap Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 Wine of Origin Coastal Region $15.99
 
10 Cape Indaba Merlot 2000 $8.99 plain and weak, smooth and light. Some said "good buy, like it."

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Sparkling Wines      Dec. 8 , 2001
In the universe of wines, Sparkling Wines are a system unto themselves. They come in a wide range of quality, with Champagne at the top. In addition to the Champagne region of France, Sparkling wines are also produced in other regions of France, the Asti region of Italy, northeastern Spain, Germany, and parts of California and New York. Even Russia makes Sparkling Wine! These are areas where it is usually too cool to produce still wine.
From Dirck & Larry's announcement.
# From the Bottle Label Comments
1 Freixenet Extra Dry Cordon Negro Sparkling Wine, Fermented in bottle Link to Oyster Loaf Recipe
2 Brut Gruet Methode Champagnoise. Produced and bottled by Cruet Winery. Albuque 75% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir $12.99  
3 Pacific Echo Brut, California. Produced and bottled by Pacific Echo Cellars $21.99 or a little less. Pretty green label. A little sweet.
4 Domaine St. Michel Method Champagnoise Blanc de Blanc Columbia Valley Sparkling Wine $11.09  
5 Korbel Chardonnay Champagne, California  
6 Chandon Brut Fresco Method Traditionelle Argentina  
7 Peche Lambic ale fermented with peaches $19.99 very interesting
8 Tattinger Collection Champagne Brut 1982 Reims This one was over the hill
9 Ruggeri & C Prosecco Giall 'Oro Valdobbiadene Extra Dry (Italian)  
10 Champagne Louis-Phillippe Private Cuvee Brut $27.99 (sale price $19.99)  
11 Perrier Jouet Champagne Grand Brut Epernay France $29.98  
12 Samson Brut 1995 Method Champagnoise Sakonnet Grown, produced, bottled at Sakonnet. Estate Series Anniversary Cuvee. En Tirage 2 yr 70% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir $35. Many people considered this the best.

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The Wines of Chile       Nov. 10, 2001
Vineyards were first established in Chile in the mid-sixteenth century by the Spanish. However it is only in the last twenty years that Chile has come into its own as a wine exporter. Principal regions, from north to south, are Aconcagua, Maipo, Rapel, Curico, Maule, Itata, and Bio Bio. Principal grapes are the Cabernets, Merlots, Syrah, Malbec, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. From Dirck & Larry's announcement.
#
From the Bottle Label
Comments
1 Concha y Torro Casillero del Diablo Chardonnay 1999 "not like a chardonnay taste"
2 Caliterra 2000 Sauvignon Blanc Valle Central $8.99  
3 Casa Lapostolle Sauvignon Blanc Rapel Valley 1999 $8.49  
4 Black House Cellars Merlot 1998 Montue Valley $6.99  
5 Calena Reserve "Mystery Wine" Carmenere 2000  
6 Errazuriz El Cej Bo Estate Aconcagua Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Estate 1999 $12 warm tastes, not complex
7 Los Vascos Domaine Baron de Rothschild (Lafite) Cabernet Sauvignon 1999 Colchagua province Caneton Valley pre-Phylorra Bordeau rootstock stony
8 Medalla Real Special Reserve $12 100% Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Rita 1999 Do. Maipo Valley Estate bottled $12 chocolate finish
9 Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 D.O. Santa Cruz Apalta Colchagua Valley $16 well-rounded and complex
10 Baron Philippe de Rothschild Maipo Chile Escudo Rojo Cabernet Sauvignon Carmenereand Franc 1999 young with great promise

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