Tasting No 189. – June 26, 2017 – Merlot and its Blends


 Club del Vino


Capri Ristorante, McLean VA

Saint Emilion

1. Presenters and Participants

Wines presenters: Alberto Gómez, Orlando Mason


MembersMario Aguilar, Marcello Averbug, Jorge Claro, Ruth Connolly, Clara Estrada, Jaime Estupiñán, Alberto Gómez, Jaime Jaramillo, Peter Lapera, Orlando Mason, Italo Mirkow, Jorge Requena, Alfonso Sánchez, Jairo Sanchez, Ricardo Santiago, Pedro Turina, Ricardo Zavaleta, Germán Zincke.

Type of Tasting: Blind

2. Tasting Overview  

The  main objectives of this tasting are to compare Merlot-based wines from the new and old worlds to determine differences in style, evaluate their characteristics and establish group and individual preferences. We will also judge the best pairings with the food.

These are the wines:

  1. 2013 Duckhorn, Napa Valley, Merlot
  2. 2010 Château Fombrauge, Saint Emilion, Grand Cru
  3. 2013 Chateau Ste Michelle, Canoe Ridge Estate, Columbia Valley, Merlot
  4. 2012 Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre, Colchagua and Rapel Valleys, Merlot

3. The Menu

  1. Tegamino E Vongole Di Cozze – Prince Edward mussels and Clams sautéed in a red wine sauce, served with toasted bread.
  2. Insalata Della CasaMixed Organic Greens Tossed with Virgin Olive Oil & Aged Balsamic Vinegar.
  3. Pappardelle Verde – Green flat pasta with chicken breast, Italian sausages, mushroom and tomato sauce.
  4. Short Ribs –Short ribs in red wine sauce with roasted squash, red pepper, & mushrooms.
  5. Dessert/Coffee

4. Information on the Wines

(The information below has been compiled from varios internet sources) .

2013 Duckhorn, Napa Valley, Merlot

The Wine:  Winemaker’s Notes. This gorgeous wine displays intense aromas of ripe cherry, followed by more nuanced elements of cedar, sweet spices, orange peel and cigar box. On the palate, layers of black raspberry and spiced plum mingle with more savory notes of nutmeg and pencil lead. With firm, well-integrated tannins that extend the finish, this beautifully structured Merlot also promises great ageability.

The wine is a blend of  88% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. Barrel Aging: 15 Months Age of Barrels: 25% new, 75% second vintage.

The Winery:   Co-founded by Dan and Margaret Duckhorn in 1976, Duckhorn Vineyards has spent almost forty years establishing itself as one of North America’s premier producers of Napa Valley wines. From its modest inaugural vintage of 800 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon and 800 cases of Merlot in 1978, to its addition of Sauvignon Blanc in 1982, Duckhorn Vineyards has crafted a tradition of quality and excellence that continues today.

Fundamental to that tradition was the early decision by Duckhorn Vineyards to focus on the production of Merlot. Though many Napa Valley wineries were using Merlot as a blending grape in the late seventies, few were exploring the potential of this varietal as a stand-alone wine. A great fan of Merlot since traveling to St. Emilion and Pomerol, Dan Duckhorn felt that this elegant varietal was under appreciated in North America. “I liked the softness, the seductiveness, the color,” says Dan, “the fact that it went with a lot of different foods; it wasn’t so bold, didn’t need to age so long, and it had this velvety texture to it. It seemed to me to be a wonderful wine to just enjoy. I became enchanted with Merlot.”

(from Wine.com) Duckhorn Vineyards has been crafting Bordeaux varietals from the Napa Valley for over 30 years. This winemaking tradition has grown to include seven estate vineyards, located throughout the various microclimates of the Napa Valley. Focused on quality and consistency, these estate vineyards are an essential element in making wines of distinction.

One of the first wineries to pioneer Merlot as a premium varietal, Duckhorn Vineyards now makes several elegant Merlot and distinctive Cabernet Sauvignon bottlings to showcase the characteristics of its vineyard sites. In addition, the winery is known for its acclaimed Sauvignon Blanc. Beginning with the 2006 vintage, Duckhorn Vineyards unveiled The Discussion, a Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend that represents the pinnacle of Duckhorn’s portfolio.

Read more at: https://www.duckhorn.com/

 2010 Château Fombrauge, Saint Emilion, Grand Cru


The Wine: Wine Spectator.“This has a really nice graphite frame that drives the core of fig, plum and boysenberry fruit authoritatively, with dense ganache, espresso and tar on the finish. The grip is keeping things tight now, but this should meld in the cellar, as the underlying feel is energetic. Best from 2015 through 2025. “

Wine Advocate .” This is one of the better, more supple Fombrauge wines to date, with a better integration of toasty oak than I have usually seen at this stage of this wine’s development. The grapes were picked late, with the harvest finishing on October 22, and that has given the wine wonderful ripeness and plenty of chocolaty espresso notes intermixed with incense, black cherries and black currants. The oak is subtle, and the wine full-bodied, attractive, deep, round and generous. Drink it over the next 10-12 years.

This wine is a blend of 77% Merlot, 9% Cabernet sauvignon, and 14% Cabernet Franc

 The Winery:  Château Fombrauge is the largest Grand Cru Classé of Saint-Emilion with a vineyard stretching on 58.60 hectares (143 ac.). It is its exceptional surface area that gives the soil a unique character. A typicity in diversity. Diversity of soils but also multiple exposures donate Château Fombrauge’s wine complexity and identity.

(From Winesearcher.com)Fombrauge has existed as a property since the 15th Century, with the first vines documented in 1613. In 1999, it was bought by Bernard Magrez, and now Michel Rolland acts as consultant. The name of the château derives from Fons Brogiera, a spring surrounded by an area of heather.

The vineyard has diverse soils ranging from chalky clay on limestone to iron-rich deposits and molasse soils. Fombrauge also has a range of different exposures, giving a complexity of terroir which is unusual for the appellation. The majority of the vineyard is planted to Merlot, with Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon making up the remainder.

Château Fombrauge is hand-harvested in small crates and is typically cold-macerated before fermentation in oak vats (although stainless steel or concrete tanks may be used depending on the vintage). It is then aged in French oak barrels, 50 percent of which are new.

Read more at: http://www.bernard-magrez.com/en/wines/chateau-fombrauge

 2013 Chateau Ste Michelle, Canoe Ridge Estate, Columbia Valley,  Merlot

The Wine:  Smooth & Supple. Grape/Blend: Predominantly Merlot with Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. 

Winemaker’s Notes: The Canoe Ridge Estate Merlot is an elegant expression of Washington Merlot. It offers dark cherry fruit character and dusty tannins. This is a perfect match with Italian food and dishes with lamb, beef and fowl.

The Wine Spectator: “Broad and spicy, with pepper and clove overtones to the rich blueberry and currant fruit, coming together harmoniously against softly nubby tannins on the expressive finish. Drink now through 2022.”

Vinous / Antonio Galloni – “Bright ruby-red. Alluring, complex scents of slightly medicinal black cherry, pomegranate, licorice, chicory, garrigue and roast coffee. Suave and fine-grained, communicating excellent energy to its primary dark fruit and spice flavors. Noteworthy definition and class here. Finishes classically dry, juicy and long. An outstanding wine for its relatively gentle price.”

The Winery: The vineyard at Canoe Ridge Estate is home to 559 acres dedicated to producing elegant, refined wines with concentration and structure. 12 million years ago, a powerful river of lava carved what is today known as Canoe Ridge or alternately a bit of “Europe on the Columbia”.Canoe Ridge Estate wines have earned scores of 90 or higher on more than 40 of their wines; and our Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot have each received Wine Spectator ‘Top 100’ honors.

Built on the 1912 estate owned by Seattle lumber baron Frederick Stimson, the winery’s roots date back to the Repeal of Prohibition. The first vines were planted at Cold Creek Vineyard in Eastern Washington in 1972. Four years later, Ste. Michelle Vintners built a French style winery Chateau in Woodinville, and changed its name to Chateau Ste. Michelle. In 1991, we planted our vineyard at Canoe Ridge Estate on the south face of the ridge that rises 950 feet above sea level. The vineyard’s steep slope and proximity to the river combine to alleviate frost pockets and seasonal temperature extremes. Because winters are milder than other parts of the valley, spring bud break is earlier. In the summer, the river moderates temperatures again, giving us an extended growing season and adding character to the grapes. Since then, we have combined Old World winemaking traditions with New World innovation. In fact, Chateau Ste. Michelle is one of the few premium wineries in the world with two state-of-the-art wineries, one for red and one for white. The whites are made at the Chateau in Woodinville, WA, while the reds are made at our Canoe Ridge Estate winery in Eastern Washington.”

Read more at: https://www.ste-michelle.com/

 2012 Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre, Colchagua and Rapel Valleys, Merlot

The Wine: Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Merlot is an intense dark purple color.Complex and intense nose with red and black fruit such as raspberry and blueberries. Dark plums notes and cacao aromas. Round. Juicy tannins structure, balance acidity and very persistent finish. Ideal companion for meats and well seasoned dishes with a red wine demiglace such as short ribs and angus beef.

Wine Enthusiast – “Plum, blackberry and boysenberry aromas show nuances of citrus peel and rubber band. On the palate, this is tight, mildly tannic and slightly astringent due to firm tannins. A mix of ripe blackberry and cassis flavors come with chocolaty oak in front of a hard-pushing, lightly herbal finish.”

This wine is blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Carmenere.

The Winery: Lapostolle was founded by Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle and her husband Cyril de Bournet in 1994. The Marnier Lapostolle family, founders and owners of the world-renowned liqueur Grand Marnier, is famous for producing spirits and liqueurs, but the family has also been involved in winemaking for generations. In creating Lapostolle, the family has pursued the same uncompromising approach to quality that made Grand Marnier a global success. Its objective is as simple as it is ambitious: to create world-class wines using French expertise and the superb terroirs of Chile Today, Lapostolle owns 370 hectares in three different vineyards and produce a total of 200.000 cases spread over Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenère, and Syrah.

Read more at: http://en.lapostollewines.com/

 4.  CV Members Rating

Participants ranking, average scores and wine prices:  The participants judged the wines from very good to excellent according with this order of preference:

1St.  2013 Chateau Ste Michelle, Canoe Ridge Estate, Columbia Valley, Merlot. – 91 Pts. ($26)

2nd 2010 Château Fombrauge, Saint Emilion, Grand Cru – 90 Pts. ($35)

3rd. Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre, Colchagua – 89 Pts. ($21)

4th  2013 Duckhorn, Napa Valley, Merlot 2012 – 89 Pts. ($43)

Best Rated red Wine: 2013 Chateau Ste Michelle, Canoe Ridge Estate, Columbia Valley, Merlot

Best value for Money: Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre, Colchagua

See full evaluation here: Summary of Tasting 189 – .Merlot. docx

5. Technical Notes 

Jairo Sanchez compiled this extensive note on Merlot for those who want to learn more about it: Merlot



Posted in Meeting Abstract | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Six Mistakes You Are Making When Pairing Food With Wine

Bloomberg Pusuits  June 19, 2017

The Six Mistakes You Are Making When Pairing Food With Wine

Think you can’t drink red with fish? That champagne goes with sweet desserts? Think again.
June 19, 2017, 10:45 AM EDT

The worst wine and food combo I’ve ever tasted was a soft, gooey-textured Krispy Kreme doughnut coated in a sugary glaze with a decadent, opulent 1975 Château d’Yquem. They were both delicious on their own; the problem was that the doughnut was way sweeter than the wine. The Bordeaux’s fabled lusciousness came across as battery acid.

I tried it because I was at a dinner honoring a noted wine collector, and it was his personal favorite pairing. You know what else it was? Proof that even serious wine lovers make serious errors when matching food with wine.

Curious about the mistakes we all make, I quizzed a half-dozen sommeliers, who spend their time trying to suggest the best pairings to their customers, about the most common goofs. Even though all of them had strong opinions about the subject, they were anxious not to criticize their customers’ choices.

After all, one told me, it’s hard to describe any food and wine pairings as purely disastrous. We each bring our own taste buds to the table, and the biochemical processes that combine to create the thought, “Hey, this wine goes great with pepperoni pizza,” are highly individual. Still, there are some general principles.

Here are the six mistakes they say many people make.

Insisting on only white wine with fish

A fish dish with such powerful flavors as fennel, garlic, and chillies might go very well with a light red.
Photographer: Monty Rakusen/Cultura RF

Aldo Sohm, the chief sommelier at three-star Michelin restaurant Le Bernardin, dreams up unusual food and wine pairings while jogging on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Imagining what will go with what is always on his mind, which is a thing you’d expect from someone once named “Best Sommelier in the World.”

Fish reigns at the restaurant, and Sohm said some customers still think they have to order white with every fish dish. “You don’t,” he said. “You can often do a red. It all depends on the sauce. Look at the menu first and read the description.” (Or, I might add, ask the sommelier for advice.) Sohm admitted, however, that a muscle-bound California red such as Screaming Eagle isn’t the ideal choice to accompany the delicate fish on Le Bernardin’s menu. So choose with care.

Serving champagne with wedding cake—or any kind of sweet dessert

Also: It’s your wedding, so just get drunk on whatever you want.
Photographer: fourseasons/E+

June is the big wedding month, and at many nuptial dinners, brut Champagne will be sipped with sweet, frosted cake as guests toast the bride and groom. That match is going to be a bad marriage, sighed master sommelier Evan Goldstein, who has written two books on food and wine pairing and is president of Full Circle Wine Solutions. “The tartness of the wine will clash with the sweetness of the cake,” he said. The wine will taste even more acidic, like lemon juice. The solution? Serve a light sweet Italian moscato or prosecco with the cake. Serve Champagne as an aperitif.

Choosing rosé as a compromise wine

Never compromise.
Photographer: Sara Ricci / EyeEm/EyeEm

Master sommelier Ronan Sayburn has worked as executive head somm for the Gordon Ramsay Group and luxury hotel chains, and now oversees wine at exclusive London wine club 67 Pall Mall. “Working as a sommelier, you often see some bad choices, like martinis or cosmopolitans drunk with an entire meal,” he complained. (I imagine his shudder.) But his “personal bugbear” is that many diners opt for rosé when one person has ordered fish and the other a steak.

“They think it will match both,” he said, “but it won’t go with either one.” Instead, consult the by-the-glass list so you each can order something appropriate.


Always drinking red wine with cheese

Do you dare?
Photographer: tab1962/iStockphoto

A common mistake among diners at New York’s Restaurant Daniel, said Raj Vaidya, the head sommelier, is finishing a dinner red with the cheese course.

“Very few reds can balance out the tart acidity of most goat’s milk cheeses, especially those coated in ash or herbs,” he explained. “They’re better with Champagne or chenin blanc.” A rich, cow’s milk triple-cream cheese needs a round, creamy white Burgundy that complements its texture, not a tannic cabernet or syrah. If you want to sip red, Vaidya recommends choosing aged cheddar or mimolette, which are less tart and have chewier textures.

Ignoring the “structure” of the wine and food

You can do this.
Photographer: Bravo/NBCUniversal

Master somm Pascaline Lepeltier heads up the wine program at Rouge Tomate, whose list just won the World of Fine Wine’s award for the best long wine list in the world, believes pairing is a highly complex subject. People wrongly focus on flavors and aromas when choosing a wine with their food, she said.

It’s more important to match the fat, acid, sweetness, and texture in the dish with the acid, alcohol, tannins, and sweetness of the wine. If you mix a highly spicy dish awash in barbecue sauce with a high-alcohol wine, she explained, the flavors may match, but the hot spice will enhance the alcohol and make the wine taste almost burnt. To tame the spice, pick a slightly sweet white.

Believing there is one perfect wine for a dish

There is a world of wine out there, go play in it.
Photographer: Halfdark/fStop

U.K.-based Fiona Beckett is the mastermind behind one of the best—and most sensible—wine and food pairing sites: matchingfoodandwine.com. She pointed out that people have different palates yet still think there are hard and fast ideal combinations. People like to say sauvignon blanc is the best match for goat cheese, she said, but what if you’re not a fan of sauvignon blanc? There need to be options.

Her view is that matching wine and food is like cooking: “If a fruit goes with an ingredient (such as cherries with duck) a wine that includes those flavors, like pinot noir, will work, too.” How a dish is cooked, not the base ingredient, should the starting point when selecting a wine.

Bloomberg Pusuits  June 19, 2017


Posted in Magazines and Books wine related, Wine - Vino - Vinho | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Tasting No. 188 – May 22, 2017- Modern Wines from Argentina


 Club del Vino


Capri Ristorante, McLean VA


1. Presenters and Participants

Wines presenters: Italo Mirkow, Raúl Sanguinetti


MembersMario Aguilar, Marcello Averburg, Jorge Claro, Ruth Connolly, Clara Estrada, Alberto Gómez, Jaime Jaramillo, Peter Lapera, Orlando Mason, Ítalo Mirkow, John Redwood, Lucía Redwood, Jorge Requena, Alfonso Sánchez, Jairo Sánchez, Raúl Sanguinetti, Ricardo Santiago, Xavi Vila, Germán Zincke.


Type of Tasting: Open

2. Tasting Overview  

Argentina’s wine production has evolved dramatically in the last two decades.  Producers have moved from the flag bearer Malbec into rediscovered Bordeaux-type blends and varietals based on a wide range of grapes (for instance Cabs, Merlot, Bonarda, Torrontes, etc.).  Moreover there has been a strong movement to produce wines that reflect  the specificities of the terroir led by many renowned winemakers, such as Laura Catena and others.  The  main objective of this tasting is to explore new wines from Argentina.

3. The Menu

  1. Lobster Bisque
  2. Spinach agnolotti with pink sauce
  3. Arugula salad
  4. Veal scallopini with mushrooms and rosemary sauce
  5. Dessert/Coffee

4. Information on the Wines

(The information below has been compiled from varios internet sources) .

2014 Catena Alta – Chardonnay – Catena Zapata


The Wine: Winemaker’s Notes: The Catena Alta Chardonnay shows an intense green-yellow color with golden highlights. The nose offers ripe white fruit aromas such as pears and peaches that are interwoven with delicate citrus and floral notes, such as Jasmine. The palate shows rich and concentrated ripe pear, apple and apricot flavors with a light note of minerality. The wine finishes long and complex with crisp, mineral acidity.

At almost 5,000 feet elevation in the Andean foothills, the Adrianna vineyard’s calcareous soils and cool climate are the promised land of Chardonnay. The fruit from the Adrianna vineyard has a purity of flavors and a minerality that is particular to this vineyard and can not be found anywhere else in Mendoza. The nearby, gravel-covered Domingo Vineyard makes up 20% of the blend. Elevage: 14 months in French oak barrels.

Pair this full-bodied Chardonnay with full-bodied fish like sockeye salmon and tuna, any dish featuring Mousseline sauce, or an old-school classic like Lobster Thermidor.

The Winery: In the mid-nineties, in an effort to produce a super-premium wine, the winemaking team of Catena began an in-depth investigation into the yields from specially selected, high altitude vineyards, identifying the individual rows that produce the best fruit. Catena Alta is an assemblage of these historic rows within the Catena family’s estate vineyards. The blend of these rows, like the blend of musical notes that compose a symphony, creates a wine that is layered and complex, concentrated yet nuanced. The Catena Alta Chardonnay is produced from two of the Catena family vineyards – the Adrianna Vineyard at almost 5,000 feet elevation and the Domingo Vineyard at 3,700 feet elevation. The Adrianna Vineyard’s calcareous soils and cool climate are ideal for growing Chardonnay. The fruit from Adrianna has a purity of flavors and a minerality that is particular to this vineyard and cannot be found anywhere else in Mendoza. Nearby, the gravel-covered, loamy soils of the Domingo Vineyard produce grapes that contribute white peach and citrus notes to the wine. This Chardonnay is 100% barrel fermented in French oak with a little more than two-thirds of the wine undergoing malolactic fermentation.

Read more at: http://www.catenawines.com/index.php

 2011 Felino Viña Cobos – Merlot – Mendoza

The Wine:  “In this vintage, our merlot expresses great typicality.  We can enjoy a precious ruby color. On the nose we find massive red fruit, plums and licorice complemented by spicy notes, refined minerality and a delicate floral touch making it very elegant. On the palate, we enjoy a sweet sensation with soft, polished tannins. This is a gorgeous wine with a persistent finish”.

The Winery:  The Andes Mountains create an arid climate and provide irrigation water.  Due to the low precipitation in the area, irrigation management becomes a determining factor for production possibilities. The main source of water to irrigate the vineyards is snow-melt water, used for surface or pressurized irrigation.  Underground water is also accessed by deep water-wells.  Water supply is strictly controlled by government entities.

Cold weather during winter month benefits the dormant stage of the vine. In summer, the wide change in temperature from day to night favors optimum ripening conditions and excellent qualitative characteristics for the grape clusters.

Soils are of alluvial origin (alluvial/colluvial origin), poor in organic matter and with high heterogeneity. The soils closer to the Andes Mountains show higher heterogeneity and larger-size stones compared to those in more distant areas in the east. From an edaphological approach, it can be said that the soils are young, and poor. Soils are loam to clay-loam, with minerals such as calcareous stones.

Finally, the agricultural footprint was laid by the areas first settlers, who designed the irrigation systems that made agriculture possible.  Later, the Spanish colonizers, who brought the first vines to the Americas, expanded upon the original framework. Together with the cultural influence from the waves of European immigrants, arriving to Argentina in the late 19th century and early 20th century, are invaluable contributors that outline the current scenario of this current industry and allow us to understand the “terroir” in its true potential.  European immigrants not only brought new vine varieties suitable for producing quality wines, but also cultivation techniques and a deep love for the terroir and for wine.

Read more at: http://www.vinacobos.com/en

 2014 Paisaje de Barrancas- Flichman-Syrah -Mendoza

The Wine: This blend of Syrah, Malbec, and Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina is heavy duty to say the least! The nose is dominated by intense oak aromas of toasted caramel, vanilla, and spice. The palate is smooth and lush providing flavors of dark fruit and cassis alongside big tannins.

Varietal Blend: 60 Syrah, 30 Malbec, 10 Cabernet Sauvignon
Aging: 12 months in 50 percent American and 50 percent French oak barrels, then another 6 months in bottle before release

The Winery: Finca Flichman is a well-recognized Argentine wine-producer due to record quality and innovation. It was first established in 1873 in Barrancas, Maipu by Sami Flichman, a Jewish immigrant of Polish origen. He was a visionary pioneer, who planted vineyards on the dry and rocky bed of the Mendoza river. In 1910 the family business was given the name Finca Flichman. Finca Flichman has managed to create quality wines with unique personalities on a large scale.

Read more at:

 2013 Big Bat Gran Cabernet – Mascota Vineyards – Mendoza

The Wine: Cherry and cassis aromas are dark and clean, with more than adequate ripeness. This Cab feels a bit edgy and abrasive, but not scratchy. Oaky, resiny flavors of berry fruits and plum finish spicy, with crisp acidity and tannins that poke and prod. Drink through 2021.

The Winery: The vineyards lie at the foot of the Andes Mountains, barely a thousand meters away from the Mendoza River. The vines receive fresh breezes descending from the mountains and blowing along the river, all of which contributes to the generation of wide temperature ranges. The soil is predominantly alluvial, with a clay-loam surface, and rock is found at a depth of 60 cm (23.4 in). And so it is that Finca La Mascota finds itself set in perfect surroundings, and one the most renowned and prestigious wine-growing regions in Mendoza.

The vineyards cover 100 hectares of land, 97 of which are planted with grapes. The main varieties produced are Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Shiraz among the reds; and Chardonnay among the whites. The oldest wine is a Cabernet Sauvignon lot which was planted 41 years ago. The average age of the vineyards is 30 years, ranging from the 5 year-old new blocks to the oldest ones planted in the 70’s.

Read more at: http://www.mascotavineyards.com/en/origins/

4.  CV Members Rating

Participants ranking, average scores and wine prices:

  1.  2013 Big Bat Gran Cabernet – Mascota Vineyards – Mendoza
    Members Score:  90   Pts.                                                                                                                  Experts Score :    JS, 94 Pts.                                                                                                             $50
  2. 2014 Catena Alta – Chardonnay – Catena Zapata
     Members Score:  89 Pts.                                                                                                                  Experts Score :     JS, 94 Pts.                                                                                                           $33
  3. 2011 Felino Viña Cobos – Merlot – Mendoza
    Members Score: 89 Pts.                                                                                                                  Experts Score :    ST, 87 Pts.                                                                                                             $18
  4. 2014 Paisaje de Barrancas- Flichman-Syrah -Mendoza
    Members Score:  89 Pts.                                                                                                                  Experts Score :    NA                                                                                                                       $20

Best value for Money: 2011 Felino Viña Cobos – Merlot – Mendoza

See full evaluation here: ArgentinaWines5-22-17Summary

5. Technical Notes 

Jairo Sanchez compiled this note on the Argentine wines  Argentinian Wine

There is further reading specifically on the New Argentina wines here: http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/a-lesson-in-new-argentinean-wines



Posted in Meeting Abstract | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Tasting No 187. – April 24, 2017- Cabernet Sauvignon and its Blends


 Club del Vino


Capri Ristorante, McLean VA


1. Presenters and Participants

Wines presenters: Peter Lapera and Ricardo Zavaleta


MembersMario Aguilar, Marcello Averburg, Ruth Connolly, Clara Estrada, Jaime Estupiñán, Peter Lapera, John Redwood, Lucía Redwood, Jorge Requena, Jairo Sanchez, Pedro Turina, Xavi Vila, Ricardo Zavaleta, German Zincke.

Guests: Alberto Gómez, Ricardo Santiago

Type of Tasting: Blind

2. Tasting Overview :  

The  main objective of this tasting is to appreciate the differences between a varietal wine made of Cabernet Sauvignon and blends based on the same grape.  To minimize climate and terroir differences, the wines are of similar quality, from the same geographical region but from different wineries .  The participants would attempt to identify and differentiate the characteristics of each wine including a ranking of preference.  There is also a white wine blend for the participants to identify.

3. The Menu

  1. Cheeses plate
  2.  Risotto with clams
  3. Green salad
  4. Steak and fries
  5. Dessert/Coffee

4. Information on the Wines

(The information below has been compiled from varios internet sources) .

2015 – Menage a Trois Chardonnay – Napa California Blend

The Wine: Winemaker’s Notes: Indulge in the extravagant pleasures of Ménage à Trois Gold—an opulent Chardonnay blend like nothing you’ve ever experienced. Every glass offers an abundance of riches, from the wine’s brilliant gold color and luscious aromas to its deep, layered flavors and full, round mouthfeel. An irresistible fragrance of crème brulée, honeyed pineapple, and exotic floral notes rises from the glass, hinting at delights to come. On the palate, a wealth of ripe tropical fruit flavors meld with luxurious French vanilla and hints of sweet spice before culminating in a smooth, buttery finish. Brimming with beautifully integrated flavors and a sumptuous, seamlessly creamy texture, Gold is decadent indeed. So go ahead spoil yourself—you’re worth it.

Blend of: Chardonnay, Viognier, and Verdelho

The Winery: Ménage à Trois is wholly owned and operated by Trinchero Family Estates, family-owned in Napa Valley since 1948. The portfolio includes more than 40 brands such as Sutter Home, Ménage à Trois, Trinchero Napa Valley, Napa Cellars, Folie à Deux, Terra d’Oro, SeaGlass, Montevina, Trinity Oaks, and the number one alcohol-removed wine, Fre. TFE markets and sells Joel Gott Wines, Taken Wine Company, Bandit, Newman’s Own, The Three Thieves, and The Show. TFE’s import portfolio also includes Angove Wines from Australia; Doña Paula Wines from Argentina; Carmen and the Wave Wines from Chile; Avissi Prosecco from Italy; Shatter Wines from France; Echo Bay from New Zealand; Sugar Island Caribbean Rum; and CRUZ and Tres Agaves Tequilas from Mexico.

2012- Owl Ridge -Tyto – Red Wine – Alexander Valley – California 

The Wine: Indicative blend: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc.

The Winery:  Alexander Valley is one of the key winegrowing areas in California’s Sonoma County. It is one of the warmer parts of Sonoma, with vineyards stretching from the edges of the Russian river up into the foothills of the Mayacamas mountains that separate Sonoma from Napa. Alexander Valley’s key grape variety is Cabernet Sauvignon, making vibrant, fruit driven wines that are less earthy than their Napa counterparts. The AVA covers the land along a 20-mile (33-km) stretch of the Russian river between the Mendocino County border and the city of Healdsburg. South of Healdsburg, where the fog-influenced climate is much cooler, the Russian River Valley AVA takes over, while Dry Creek Valley lies across the hills to the west. The separate but overlapping Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak AVA lies at the northern end of Alexander Valley.

Read more at: http://www.wine-searcher.com/regions-alexander+valley

 2013 Beaucanon Estate – Longwood – Cabernet Sauvignon – Napa Valley

The Wine: (Wine Enthusiast) While Cabernet Sauvignon is dominant, all five red Bordeaux varieties are represented here. Dark in color, a combination of black pepper and black-fruit syrup meets earthy and dry tannins. This structured wine needs time. Cellar through 2020.

The Winery: “Our organically farmed 94 acres Longwood ranch lies a stone’sthrow from the south eastern end of the Oak knoll American Viticultural Area (AVA) in Napa Valley. Our Vinyards are planted with the classic Bordeaux grapes Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec along with Sauvignon Blanc and with a small amount of Chardonnay. Our Estate farms with sustainable and organic farming practices which include the use of cover crops and  bird habitat installations.”

The terroir consists of alluvium fan which exhibits heterogeneous material: Gravely deposit inter bedded or juxtaposed sandy silt clay deposit with low content of coarse fragment.

Read more at: http://www.beaucanonestate.com/estate.html

2013 Monticello Vineyards – Jefferson Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon – Napa Valley

The Wine: The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Jefferson Cuvée is slightly austere and narrowly constructed, but has good dusty/loamy soil notes with red and blackcurrants. It’s medium-bodied, pleasant, but hardly inspiring. Drink it over the next decade.

The Winery: “We are a small winery producing approximately 15,000 cases of wine annually designated MONTICELLO VINEYARDS, CORLEY RESERVE and CORLEY. Our over-riding philosophy is that great wines are made in the vineyards. This is why we have made such a tremendous commitment to ownership of the most suitable land for our grapes. Already satisfied with the strength and quality of our Oak Knoll estates for our Chardonnay and Pinot Noir we set out in pursuit of Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards in the warmer districts of Napa Valley.

Today we farm five vineyards in the Napa Valley – our Home Ranch Vineyard and Knollwood Vineyard in the Oak Knoll District planted to Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah and our State Lane Vineyard in Yountville, Tietjen Vineyard on Niebaum Lane in Rutherford and Yewell Vineyard on Ehlers Lane in St. Helena each planted to Cabernet Sauvignon.

Read more at: http://www.corleyfamilynapavalley.com/ABOUT-US

 4.  CV Members Rating

  1. 2013 Beaucanon Estate – Longwood – Cabernet Sauvignon                                                Members Score: 91 Pts.                                                                                                                  Experts Score :    WE 90 Pts.                                                                                                            $28
  2. 2013 Monticello Vineyards – Jefferson Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon                                          Members Score:   90 Pts.                                                                                                                  Experts Score :     NA                                                                                                                      $42
  3. 2012 Owl Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon                                                                                           Members Score:  89 Pts.                                                                                                                  Experts Score :    WE 90 Pts.                                                                                                            $17
  4. 2015 Menage a Trois Chardonnay                                                                                                 Members Score:   89 Pts.                                                                                                                  Experts Score :  89 Pts.                                                                                                                     $10

Best value for Money: 2012 Owl Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon

See full evaluation here: CaliforniaWines4_24_17Summary

5. Technical Notes 



The Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most important and famous varieties in the production of wines in the world. Developed in Bordeaux, began to be called by its name between the 18th and 19th centuries, and is found in almost all wine regions in greater or lesser degree. It is cultivated in warmer regions due to its slow maturation that requires warm temperatures during the long maturation cycle. But this gives more concentration and not too much alcohol. The variety is not suitable for cold climates since if it does not mature well and acquires a herbaceous taste like Sauvignon Blanc (another relative) or Cabernet Franc. On the contrary overripening can produce wines lacking in acidity and too sweet.

The variety is a low yield one so it is only used in wines whose high quality is the main objective. The grains are small, have thick skin and exhibit very dark color from purple to almost black. They have a high ratio of dyes and tannins to juice. Musts are dark and astringent (only the Tanat grape surpasses it in tannin) which promotes its mixture with other varieties to soften its astringency, improve color and highlight the flavors. Most common mixtures are with his relative the Cabernet Franc (from faster maturation and great fragrance), the Petit Verdot and Merlot to soften the tannins giving rise to the mixes type Bordeaux. Many prefer these mixtures over the strictly varietal wines (100% Cabernet Sauvignon) which can be very austere or sober for some consumers. In Australia, they have developed excellent blends with Shiraz which is a more spicy variety.


Wines of this variety are a dark red to purple in color with deep violet tones when the wine is young that turn to a deep orange veneer or brick color as the wine ages. Its aromas when young are predominantly currants or blueberries (black berries) and when old are more like wood oak, coffee, vanilla and tobacco. The flavors of the young wines tend to be rough and tannic but they are softened by storage in new oak barrels reaching a delicate balance between fruit, tannin and acid with flavors of black fruit (plums and Cassis), oak, and vanilla. This balance is the characteristic of the great Cabernet Sauvignon. The best wines can age up to 15 or 20 years and improve in the process.


The Cabernet Sauvignon is the backbone of wines from the left bank of the River Gironde in Bordeaux blended with Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Prtit Verdot, there are the DDOs of high reputation as Medoc and Pauillac, St. Julien, Margaux, Haut Médoc Graves. In Provence mixed with Sirah to produce wines that will age extremely well. In Italy the grape is used to produce the Super Tuscan (blended with Sangiovese) and in the Piedmont and Sicily with the native Nebiolo and Nero D’Abola. The Cabernet Sauvignon is very important in the wines of Eastern Europe (Moldova, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania). However, wines from these regions tend to be fruitier (more red than dark fruits) and less woodsy and less refined than the French. Spain is used to cut the Tempranillo (Rivera del Duero, Rioja and Navarra) and the Garnacha (Priorat and Penedes).

In the new world, the cabernets from Napa and Sonoma in California, in high demand, are fruitier than those of the old world and have an shorter aging potential.. In South America the Chilean Cabernets are famous (Concha y Toro is recognized as the largest owner of crop of Cabernet Sauvignon) fruity and less spicy than the rest of the new world still planted in their original stock not affected by the phyloxera. Mendoza in Argentina Cabernets also produces very high  quality Cabs. In Australia the region of Coonawarra in South and Hunter Valley produce excellent full bodied Cabernets often combined with Shiraz.

There are various other places to read more about Cabernet Sauvignon.  The presenters recommend these sites:




Posted in Meeting Abstract | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Tasting No. 186 – March 27, 2017 – New Wines from Portugal


 Club del Vino


Capri Ristorante, McLean VA

1. Presenters and Participants

Wines presenters: Mario Aguilar and Alfonso Sánchez


MembersMario Aguilar, Marcello Averburg, Jorge Claro, Ruth Connolly, Jaime Estupiñán, Jorge Garcia-Garcia, Peter Lapera, Orlando Mason, Italo Mirkow, Jorge Requena, Alfonso Sanchez, Jairo Sanchez.

Guests: Alberto Gomez, John Johnson

Type of Tasting: Open

2. Tasting Overview

The  main objective of this tasting is to experience Portuguese wines that reflect emerging modern production techniques. The wines selected are produced in relatively new or modernized facilities that have a reputation for innovation and creativity.  They are representative of five different wine regions. The white wine selected is produced in the north where Vinho Verde is made but made with Alvarinho grape instead of the traditional Loureiro, Arinto, Trajadura, Avesso, and Azal.  There is varietal red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon) that departs from the common Portuguese blends of Touriga nacional, Tinta Roriz and other varieties. The other two reds are traditional blends of Portuguese varieties but produced under up-to-date practices and installations and not in the old semi artisanal way common in many small wineries in Portugal. Finally, we could not miss a traditional port wine for dessert. The wines are:

  1. 2015 Alvarinho Soalheiro 
  2. 2010 Mondeco Red, Quinta Do Mondego
  3. 2012 Bacalhoa Cabernet Sauvignon
  4. 2011 Campolargo Rol de Coisas Antigas
  5. 2011 Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Port

3. The Menu

  1. Mussels in white wine sauce
  2. Grilled cod with vegetables
  3. Lamb with rosemary potatoes
  4. Cheese plate
  5. Dessert/Coffe

4. Information on the Wines

(The information below has been compiled from varios internet sources) .

2015 Alvarinho Soalheiro, Melgaço

alvarinho-soalheiroThe Wine:  K&L Notes: Delicious as usual, this mouthwatering Vinho Verde is 100% Alvarinho based. A combination of ripe golden stone fruits and fruit cocktail aromas lead to a rich, yellow and gold-fruited palate. Rich and with real flavor authority, the wine still shows loads of freshness and a nicely dry finish, perhaps a bit more so than the ebullient nose might suggest. The grapes are organically grown in the Vinho Verde sub-region of Melgaço and Monçao on granite soils. This expressive, more serious style of Vinho Verde is delicious as an aperitif or accompanied by your favorite grilled fishes and shellfish.

The Winery:  The Alvarinho grapes used in the Soalheiro came from several small vineyards planted in granite soil between 100 and 200 meters and located in a very particular microclimate. Melgaço region, the northern point of Portugal, is protected by a range of mountains that create the perfect conditions of rainfall, temperature and number of hours of sunshine needed to the better ripeness of the Alvarinho grapes. The brand name – Soalheiro – arises from the excellent sun exposure of the vineyards bearing the same name – a sunny place.

Read more about this wine and the winery at: http://www.soalheiro.com/en/vinhos/alvarinho-soalheiro-2015

 2010 Mondeco Red, Quinta Do Mondego, Dao Valley 

img_0886The Wine: Beautiful red ruby color. Very elegant aroma, attractive with fresh with mint and and fresh fruit – strawberries and raspberries. Good acidity, crispy, flavors of fresh fruit, mint and cigar. Fine quality tannins. Balanced and persistent.

Grape Varieties: 25% Touriga Nacional, 30% Tinta Roriz 20% Alfrocheiro, 15% Jaen 10% Baga.  Vinification:  Hand-picked grapes. Stalk removal and soft crushing Fermentation in small stainless still tanks for 8 days at 25ºC Aging 10% of the blend in French oak wood casks for 12 months. Light filtration before bottling.

The Winery: In 1994, Fontes da Cunha family buys 1,5 hectares of Quinta do Mondego with a very clear objective, a vacation home and end-of-week where the harvest was only seen as a time of fun between family and friends. With the first restructuring of vineyards in 1996, the scenario changes completely and, a year later, is planted the first vineyard.

In 2003, with the vineyard already organized and planted, the family meets and makes the first vintage of Touriga Nacional that gave rise to the first MUNDA Red. Thus was born the new Dão wine brand that, year after year, has conquered the world.

At this time, with a total of 70 hectares, Quinta do Mondego – located in Nelas – is a Family Owned Estate and one of the most important vineyards of this wine region of Portugal. The vineyards of Quinta do Mondego flourish in an idyllic setting on the banks of the river that names the estate – MONDEGO, which result in elegant and traditional wines that embrace the Terroir.

Read more at: http://www.quintadomondego.com/?lang=en

 2012 Bacalhoa Cabernet Sauvignon, Setúbal Peninsula


The Wine:  Tasting notes from the producer: Red fruit aromas combined with “nuances” of wood and spices; In the mouth, the sensations of red fruits are enhanced and combined with soft tannins well present; Has a fresh finish, something mineral, elegant and very complex.
It has a great potential for aging.

The vineyard planted in Quinta da Bacalhôa finds the ideal “terroir” for the production of excellent wines – red and well drained calcareous clay soils with mild climate due to the strong Atlantic influence. The grapes chosen in Quinta da Bacalhoa are Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes that benefit from natural conditions for slow and balanced maturation. In 2013, both the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon presented to the vintage, very healthy grapes, very ripe, with round and present tannins.

The Winery:  Bacalhôa Vinhos de Portugal, SA, one of the largest and most innovative wine companies in Portugal, has developed over the years a wide range of wines that has earned it a solid reputation and the preference of national and international consumers. Present in 7 Portuguese winegrowing regions, with a total of 1200 ha of vineyards, 40 farms, 40 different vineyards and 4 vinous centers, the company is distinguished in the market by its size and autonomy by 70% in its own production. Each of the entities that constitute Bacalhôa Vinhos de Portugal, SA – Aliança Vinhos de Portugal, Quinta do Carmo and Quinta dos Loridos – corresponds to a production center with its own characteristics and a heritage with intrinsic cultural value. It is the dynamics generated by the crossing of these various identities.

In 1998, Comendador José Berardo became the main shareholder and continued the company’s mission, investing in planting new vineyards, modernizing wineries and acquiring new properties, and started a partnership with the Lafitte Rothschild Group in Quinta do Carmo.  In 2007 Bacalhôa became the largest shareholder in the Alliance, one of the most prestigious producers in the categories of high quality sparkling wines, spirits and table wines. The following year, the company bought Quinta do Carmo, thus increasing to 1200ha of vineyards its farm. Bacalhôa has wineries in the most important regions of Portugal: Alentejo, Península de Setúbal (Azeitão), Lisbon, Bairrada, Dão and Douro.

With a total capacity of 20 million liters, 15,000 oak barrels and an area of vines in production of around 1,200 hectares, Bacalhôa Vinhos de Portugal continues its commitment to innovation in the sector, with a view to the creation of wines that provide Unique and surprising experiences with high quality and consistency. Never forgetting the magnificent natural works. With a total capacity of 20 million liters, 15,000 oak barrels and an area of vines in production of about 1,200 hectares, Bacalhôa Vinhos de Portugal continues its commitment to innovation in the sector, with a view to the creation of wines that provide Unique and surprising experiences with high quality and consistency. Never forgetting the magnificent natural works. With a total capacity of 20 million liters, 15,000 oak barrels and an area of vines in production of about 1,200 hectares, Bacalhôa Vinhos de Portugal continues its commitment to innovation in the sector, with a view to the creation of wines that provide Unique and surprising experiences with high quality and consistency.

Read more at: http://www.bacalhoa.com/

 2011 Campolargo Rol de Coisas Antigas, Bairrada

The Wine: This wine is made of an undisclosed proportion blend of : Baga, Castelão Nacional, Trincadeira da Bairrada, Souzão, Bastardo, Alfrocheiro and Tinta Roriz

Winemaker’s Notes: Intense red color with some depth, very complex aroma, which suggested some of the notes are typical of the different varieties of grapes that make up this original lot. Full of vigour in the mouth, long finish.

Wine Enthusiast“This is a big, perfumed wine. It is still young, with new wood flavors, touches of eucalyptus and dense, dry tannins. To balance all this structure, the ripe and juicy berry flavors give the wine the richness it needs. Drink from 2017.”

Wine & Spirits“Campolargo, based in Anadia, farms two substantial vineyards with diverse soils that support a range of varieties, such as the baga, alfrocheiro, castelão nacional, trincadeira da Bairrada, souzão, bastardo and tinta roriz co-fermented in this wine. That diverse composition makes the wine a bit of a roller coaster, with a little flavor of every variety coming together in a pure note of red fruit. The juicy ripeness makes it intense and round, almost syrupy in texture if the tannins didn’t come up to give a grand impression of structure, setting it up for aging.”

The Winery: In mid 1990’s Campolargo started testing the varieties planted in that meantime (many of which first time attempts in this region). Decision was taken to resume market-oriented wine production and to raise a new cellar. The first Campolargo wines resulted from 2000 crop, although the new cellar was only built in 2004. Nowadays, the business lies in the hands of the third generation with Jorge Campolargo responsible for the vineyards and Carlos Campolargo heading the cellar and sales. Joana Campolargo impersonates the collaboration of the fourth generation ensuring administrative support and external relations.

The vineyards are located in two properties: 110 hectareas Quinta de S. Mateus in S. Lourenço do Bairro and 60 hectares, in Arcos, Quinta de Vale de Azar. In this last property, soils are mostly sandy-clay, with small calcareous areas. Sun exposure is mainly South and West. We have planted Baga, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barroca, Pinot Noir, Trincadeira da Bairrada (periquita) and Cabernet Sauvignon as red varieties. White varieties are Bical, Arinto, Cerceal and Verdelho.

Read more at: http://www.campolargovinhos.com/default.aspx

2011 Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Port, Douro Valley

The Wine: Winemaker’s Notes: Offers powerful dark cherry, black fruit and herbal aromas and flavors of depth and complexity. Overall, the wine has a harmonious, authoritative character.

The Wine Advocate“The 2011 Late Bottled Vintage Port (bottled in October 2015) is a field blend aged for 58 months. It comes with a bar top cork and 106 grams per liter of residual sugar. Inky black, this highly extracted Port has sensual texture and an unctuous finish laced with delicious, primary fruit flavor. It’s a rather sexy LBV this year, big, dense and mouth-coating. It has a fair bit of power, too. For an LBV to drink now, this is simply beautiful. It is not necessarily expected to go anywhere–it’s made for drinking now–but it can certainly hold if you choose to do so, barring cork failures.”

Pairs well with robust soft and hard cheeses, desserts made with chocolate, or fresh berries.

The Winery: Taylor’s is now into its fourth century: one of the very oldest of the Port companies. It is the last totally independent company of the original British Port houses-and is still family owned and managed. It is run today from Oporto by descendants of the Yeatman and Fladgate families, both of which have been partners in the firm since the 1830s. For more than 300 years Taylor’s name has been synonymous with consistent excellence in Port.

Read more about the winery and how port is made at: http://www.taylor.pt/en/

4.  CV Members Rating

Rating Scale:

      • 96-100 Pts. – Exceptional
      • 90-95 Pts.  –  Outstanding
      • 86-89 Pts.  –  Very good
      • 81-85 Pts.  –  Good
      • 76-80 Pts.  –  Acceptable
      • 75 or fewer – Mediocre

Participants ranking, average scores and wine prices:

  1. 2011 Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage. Porto DOC                                                             Members Score:  91  Pts.                                                                                                                  Experts Score :    91 Pts.                                                                                                                      $22
  2. 2012 Bacalhoa Cabernet Sauvignon. Setúbal DOC                                                                    Members Score:   90 Pts.                                                                                                                  Experts Score :  91   Pts.                                                                                                                      $36
  3.  2015 Alvarinho Soalheiro.  Vinho Verde DOC, Minho                                                               Members Score:  90 Pts.                                                                                                                  Experts Score : 94    Pts.                                                                                                                   $30
  4.    2010 Mondeco Red, Quinta Do Mondego.   Dão DOC                                                               Members Score:  89 Pts.                                                                                                                  Experts Score : 91   Pts.                                                                                                                       $20
  5. 2011 Campolargo Rol de Coisas Antigas. Bairrada DOC                                                       Members Score: 89   Pts.                                                                                                                  Experts Score : 93   Pts.                                                                                                                       $29

Best value for Money: 2010 Mondeco Red, Quinta Do Mondego.

See full evaluation here: 186 PortugalWinesTastingSummary

5. Technical Notes 

Jairo Sanchez compiled the following brief note on Portuguese wines (includes the map of Portugal wine regions): Portugal Modern Wines

There is additional information on the wines of Portugal here:  http://www.winesofportugal.info/




Posted in Meeting Abstract | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tasting No. 185 – February 27, 2017 – Undisclosed variety and its blends


 Club del Vino


Capri Ristorante, McLean VA

Waiting to be tasted

1. Presenters and Participants

Presenters: Jorge Requena, Jairo Sánchez


MembersMario Aguilar, Marcello Averburg, Jorge Claro, Clara Estrada, Jaime Estupiñán, Jaime Jaramillo, Peter Lapera, Orlando Mason, Ítalo Mirkow, John Redwood, Lucía Redwood, Jorge Requena, Alfonso Sánchez, Jairo Sánchez, Raúl Sanguinetti, Ricardo Zavaleta, German Zincke.

Type of Tasting: Blind

2. The Wines  

The  main objectives of this tasting are to find out the undisclosed red wine variety being presented and to distinguish the varietals form the blends. Red wines tasting will be fully blind. Specific Information for wines 1, 2, and 3 will be disclosed after tasting.

The wines selected come from three different important producing regions and countries located in the old and new continents  Two of the wines are made with a 100% varietal and the other one is a traditional blend, which includes the same varietal. The general characteristics of the variety being tased are:

Fruit                 5/5

Body                5/5

Tannin             3/5

Acidity             4/5

Alcohol            4/5

Dominant Flavors:  Blueberry—Plum—Milk Chocolate—Tobacco—Green Peppercorn

Regional Flavors: Warm Climate: Fruit forward blackberry, blueberry and sweet tobacco; Cool Climate: red plum, olive and green peppercorn

3. The Menu

  1. Seafood Salad
  2. Pappardelle with bolognese
  3. Grilled beef and vegetables
  4. Cheese plate
  5. Dessert/Coffee

4. Information on the Wines

(The information below has been compiled from varios internet sources) .

2014 Château Côte Montpezat Compostelle

chateau-cote-montpezatThe Wine: This wine is a Bordeaux blend of 40%Sauvignon Blanc, 30%Sauvignon Gris and,  30%Semillon .  Fresh, fruity, cream. Full bodied. Fresh wine with flavors of citrus and quite creamy with almond notes. Pair this wine with white fish like cod and season vegetables.

The Winery: Chateau Cote Montpezat is a large, 30 hectare estate in the Cotes de Bordeaux appellation that is owned by Dominique Bessineau who purchased the property in 1989. The original chateau was constructed in the 1600’s. For the white wine of Chateau Cote Montpezat, the estate uses 1.2 hectare of vines planted to 40% Sauvignon Blanc , 30% Semillon and 30% Sauvignon Gris . The vines are planted to a vine density of 6,000 vines per hectare. On average, the production is about 500 cases per vintage.
Read more at:http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/bordeaux-wine-producer-profiles/bordeaux/satellite-appellations/chateau-cote-montpezat-cotes-de-castillon-bordeaux-wine/

 2013 Two Hands, Shiraz, Bella’s Garden, Barossa Valley

img_0914The Wine: Winemaker Notes: Quality without compromise’ is a core value that drives all Two Hands decisions so, not surprisingly; the wines have received international acclaim from respected wine critics.  A blend of our finest Shiraz barrels from across the Barossa Valley region. This is a sumptuous wine, defined by its aromatic complexity and finesse.

  • Color: Deep, dark red with a black core. Tending a purple hue towards the meniscus.
  • Aroma: Deep set aromas of red currant to blackberry with notes of incense Christmas spice.
  • Palate: Lashings of dark fruit with notes of incense and aromatic spices, floral hints add layers and complexity. The wine rolls across the palate coating every corner of your mouth. Dense and chewy tannins complement the fruit nicely, which tighten through the finish adding a savory graphite note. Incredibly long and complex through the finish . Cellar Potential: 10 to 15 years.

The Winery:  The Two Hands range is extensive, as we crush grapes from distinct regions across Australia, making wines from many different varietals across the four series in our portfolio, all produced on the estate.Since then our very first vintage, we have endeavoured to produce wines that truly reflect regionality, meaning that they show the characteristics that we associate with the regions from where the fruit was sourced. With the motto ‘quality without compromise’ central to  the Two Hands philosophy, our wines are selected through a process of barrel classification – selecting the very best barrels for the Flagship range followed by the Single Vineyard Series, Garden Series and then our Picture Series.

Read more at: https://www.twohandswines.com/

2011 Regina de Renieri, Syrah

img_0912The Wine: Winemaker’s Note: This wine matures in French oak for 18 months and is not filtered. The presence of sediment, if any, is to be considered part of the natural maturation process. Intense with blackberry, and leather notes. This is a luxurious red with dark berry, plum and peach aromas and flavors. Full body light and velvety tannins and a long and flavorful finish. Juicy, rich, spicy red with meat and earth character, as well as ripe plums.

The Winery: During the late 1960s, a number of (Tuscan) rebel producers began making modern-styled wines of very high quality – which later became known as the ‘Super Tuscans’. These soon gained international acclaim and respect and began increasing dramatically in price. The result was that some of Italy’s very finest and most respected wines were being labeled and sold as Vino di Tavola. In 1984, one of the most famous Super Tuscans – Sassicaia – was granted its very own DOC title, DOC Bolgheri Sassicaia, but further measures were required to address the other wines.

To bring a degree of balance to the situation, in 1992 the Italian government introduced a new wine classification category: Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT). This has successfully introduced a mid-ground between the highly regulated DOCG and DOC classifications and the lowly, unregulated Vino di Tavola one. IGT wines are created with the bare minimum of restrictions required to ensure quality wine production: they bear a vintage statement and producer name, they must be made from at least 85% of the grape variety, and the region of origin must be stated on the label. Almost every other restriction placed on IGT wine production falls back to generic regulations in force for all wines made within the EU.

The IGT category is used only in Italy; its equivalent in France is VDP (Vin de Pays). At a European Union-wide level, these two correspond to IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée / Indicazione Geografica Protetta).

Read more at: http://www.wine-searcher.com/regions-toscana+igt

2006 Chateauneuf Du Pape, Prestige, Roger Sabon

img_0915The Wine: Winemaker’s Note:This wine matures in French oak for 18 months and is not filtered. The presence of sediment, if any, is to be considered part of the natural maturation process.  Intense with blackberry, and leather notes. This is a luxurious red with dark berry, plum and peach aromas and flavors. Full body light and velvety tannins and a long and flavorful finish. Juicy, rich, spicy red with meat and earth character, as well as ripe plums.

The Winery: Domaine Roger Sabon was founded in 1952 and is currently run by Roger’s sons Denis and Gilbert. A third son, Jean-Jacques is deceased but his son-in-law Didier Negron is the current winemaker. Denis and his son Julien oversee the farming while Gilbert and his niece, Delphine run the office. It is quite the family affair!

The size of the domaine has grown slowly over the years with 18 hectares in Chateauneuf du Pape, 8 hectares in Lirac and 8 hectares in Côtes-du-Rhône. Most of their holdings in Châteauneuf-du-Pape are located in the northeastern part of the appellation, where the soils are sandier with a high concentration of limestone. They also own a  few parcels in Le Crau famous for its red clay under a deep layer of galets deposited from the alps eons ago. These two soil types combine to make wines that are equally rich and nuanced.

Read more at: http://www.europeancellars.com/producer/domaine-roger-sabon

4.  CV members Rating

Rating Scale:

      • 96-100 Pts. – Exceptional
      • 90-95 Pts.  –  Outstanding
      • 86-89 Pts.  –  Very good
      • 81-85 Pts.  –  Good
      • 76-80 Pts.  –  Acceptable
      • 75 or fewer – Mediocre

Participants ranking, average scores and wine prices:

  1. 2013 Two Hands, Shiraz, Bella’s Garden, Barossa Valley                                                          Members Score:   92  Pts.                                                                                                                  Experts Score : RP 94  Pts.                                                                                                              $55
  2.  2006 Roger Sabon Prestige Châteauneuf-du-Pape                                                                      Members Score:   91 Pts.                                                                                                                  Experts Score :     RP 93 Pts.                                                                                                             $55
  3. 2012 Regina di Renieri Bacci Toscana                                                                                       Members Score: 90 Pts.                                                                                                                  Experts Score :    JS 94 Pts.                                                                                                               $32
  4. 2014 Château Côte Montpezat Compostelle White                                                                     Members Score:   89 Pts.                                                                                                                  Experts Score :    JS 90 Pts.                                                                                                             $ 18

Best value for Money: 2012 Regina di Renieri Bacci Toscana

5. Technical Notes 

There are two very didactic articles on varietals vs. blends here ( Alfonso Sanchez), here (Huffington Post) and here (The Hanes Wine Review)



Posted in Meeting Abstract | Tagged | Leave a comment

Tasting No. 184 – January 30, 2017 – Pinot Noir from the Old and New Worlds


 Club del Vino


Capri Ristorante, McLean VA


1. Presenters and Participants

Wines presenters: Ruth Connolly, Ginger Smart


MembersMarcello Averburg, Ruth Connolly, Clarita Estrada, Jaime Estupiñán, Jorge Garcia-Garcia, Peter Lapera, Orlando Mason, John Redwood, Lucía Redwood, Jorge Requena, Alfonso Sánchez, Xavi Vila, German Zincke.


Type of Tasting: Open

2. The Wines  

The  main objective of this tasting is to distinguish the differences between the Old and New World Pinot Noir wines.

  1. 2014 Errazuriz, Chardonnay  Wild Ferment, Casablanca Valley 
  2. 2015 Domaine Joblot Givry 1er Cru, Clos Marole
  3. 2015 Quentin Jeannette Maranges, Vieilles Vignes
  4. 2013  Shane, The Charm Pinot Noir,  Russian River Valley

3. The Menu

  1. Lobster bisque
  2. Raviolis stuffed with mushrooms and a brown sauce
  3. Salmon salad with spinach and pine nuts
  4. Beef with red wine sauce
  5. Dessert/Coffe

4. Information on the Wines

(The information below has been compiled from varios internet sources) .

2014 Errazuriz Chardonnay Wild Ferment, Casablanca Valley 

errazuriz-wild-ferment-chardonnay-casablanca-valley-chile-10545272The Wine: A top name in Chile, Errazuriz owns vineyards in Aconcagua, Casablanca and Curico. Natural yeasts are used here, with 10% French oak for fermentation, resulting in a balanced wine full of bright citrus fruit, a subtle sweet oak nose, a creamy texture and brisk acidity.

Wild Ferment wines are fermented using the wild yeast present on the grapes and in the air contributing with more distinctive flavours, richer mouth-feel and greater complexity to the wine.

Winemaking: Hand picked grapes were rigorously sorted, selected and fermented at low temperatures to retain acidity. Wild yeasts added layers of complexity, richness and texture to the wine. Ten months ageing in French oak barrels “sur-lie” gave even more complexity and creaminess.
Character: Rich, mouth filling and creamy with rich ripe fruit characters, toasty spice balanced by crisp acidity and a long finish.

This wine comes from la Escultura Estate in the Casablanca Valley, where the abundant sunshine and cool Pacific breezes create a long, growing season, creating superb ripeness and balance.

The Winery:  Casablanca Valley is a wine-growing region of Chile, located 60 miles (100km) north-west of the country’s capital, Santiago. The east-west-oriented valley is roughly 19 miles (30km) long, stretching to the eastern border of the Valparaiso province. It is best known for its crisp white wines, most notably Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, which have gained it recognition as one of Chile’s quality wine regions. Pinot Noir, which is responsive to the cooler climates found in this coastal area, is also grown with some success.

Given the valley’s location at 33°S (much closer to the Equator than any European vineyard), viticulture here is possible largely because of the oceanic influence, which brings cool morning fog and greater cloud cover than is found elsewhere in the north of Chile. It is this cooler climate that makes Casablanca’s white wines stand out from their local rivals. With a longer ripening period, the white grapes have more time to develop greater flavor complexity, while maintaining sugars and acids in balance.

Read more at: http://www.wine-searcher.com/regions-casablanca+valley

 2015 Domaine Joblot Givry 1er Cru, Clos Marole

domaine-joblot-clos-marole-givry-premier-cru-france-10651824The Wine.  The Givry Clos Marole red from Domaine Joblot is a Premier Cru from Pinot Noir (100%).  Deep ruby color with aromas of red and black fruit (blackcurrant, morello cherry). In the mouth, the juice is full-bodied, coated with fine tannins but with fleshy character to be refined over the years. It is a wine with fine tannins,  A worthy representative of the wines of the appellation.

The Winery:  Clos Marole is an official Premier Cru vineyard of the Givry appellation in the Cote Chalonnaise sub-region of Burgundy. It is one of about 30 vineyards granted this status and allowed to append their name to that of the Givry appellation on wine labels.

Givry itself is one of the five communal titles of the Chalonnaise, producing predominantly red wines from the Pinot Noir grape variety. The appellation’s relatively rare white wines are made from Chardonnay and account for around 10% of the total output. Givry was once the epicenter of Chalonnaise wine production and its fame stretches back to the 16th century when it was King Henri IV’s preferred source of wine.

The Givry Premier Cru vineyards are regarded as having the finest terroir of the area and thus produce the most highly regarded of the appellation’s wines. They are planted on sandstone- and limestone-rich soils, the best of which lie on the south-facing slopes immediately west of Givry village. The sites here vary in altitude from about 500ft to 1000ft (150–300m), with the higher vineyards sharing their land with quarries that dot the hillsides – clearly demonstrating the soil structure below the vines.

Read more at: http://www.wine-searcher.com/regions-givry+clos+marole

 2015 Quentin Jeannette Maranges, Vieilles Vignes    

domaine-matrot-maranges-vieilles-vignes-cote-de-beaune-france-10558710The Wine:  Light ruby, red berries aromas and flavors, a bit of spiciness, short final not too complex.

The Winery: Maranges is the southernmost wine-producing commune of the Cote de Beaune in Burgundy, taking its name from the three villages within its catchment area: Cheilly-les-Maranges, Dezize-les-Maranges and Sampigny-les-Maranges. The Maranges appellation produces medium-bodied red wines from Pinot Noir, which are best consumed within a few years of vintage. White wines made from Chardonnay are permitted under the appellation laws, but are produced only in very small quantities.

Read more at: http://www.wine-searcher.com/regions-maranges

 2013 Shane, The Charm, Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 

shane-wine-cellars-the-charm-pinot-noir-russian-river-valley-usa-10783918The Wine: Shane’s notes: The Charm has a deep garnet color. The aromatics are highlighted by a mélange of red fruits and baking spices. Elements of rose petals, Rainer cherries, allspice and ripe strawberries accentuate the aromatics. The plush mid-palate exhibits tones of raspberries, cardamom, and red apple skin. Focused acidity and refined tannins shape the finish filled with pluot, cinnamon, and cola.

The Winery: Russian River Valley, one of the United States’ top-ranked wine regions, is located at the heart of Sonoma County, California. One of California’s coolest and foggiest AVAs (particularly in its southern and western portions), the valley has a cool growing season and a long, slow, ripening period which promotes complexity and balance in the wines. As a result, Russian River Valley wines are widely respected, particularly those made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

The 2013 Charm is sourced primarily from the Floodgate Vineyard as well as the Graham Vineyard. Both vineyards embody the classic spirit of the Russian River Valley and its Goldridge soils. The vineyards produce wines of supple texture and a bright red fruit profile.

Read more at: https://www.shanewines.com/vineyards/index.html and http://www.wine-searcher.com/regions-russian+river+valley

4.  CV members Rating

Rating Scale:

      • 96-100 Pts. – Exceptional
      • 90-95 Pts.  –  Outstanding
      • 86-89 Pts.  –  Very good
      • 81-85 Pts.  –  Good
      • 76-80 Pts.  –  Acceptable
      • 75 or fewer – Mediocre

Participants ranking, average scores and wine prices:

2014 Errazuriz, Chardonnay  Wild Ferment, Casablanca Valley                                             Members Score:  91 Pts.                                                                                                                  Experts Score :    93 Pts. James Suckling                                                                                       $18

Selected comments: Fruit and acid in balance, tasty, balanced, excellent, finish medium.

2015 Domaine Joblot Givry 1er Cru, Clos Marole                                                                  Members Score:   91 Pts.                                                                                                                  Experts Score :     90 Pts.                                                                                                                   $40

Selected comments: Good match with salmon. balance, mild tannins, long and complex finish, complex but a bit acidic, the most refined of all, dark color and balance.

2013  Shane, The Charm Pinot Noir,  Russian River Valley                                                   Members Score: 90 Pts.                                                                                                                  Experts Score :    91 Pts. WE                                                                                                            $42

Selected Comments: Deep long finish, a bit too fruity, intense, perfect texture, feels like a Cab, the best buy, acidic and fruity, deep and very complex, great finish.

2015 Quentin Jeannette Maranges, Vieilles Vignes                                                                        Members Score:   86 Pts.                                                                                                                  Experts Score :     NA Pts.                                                                                                                 $30

Selected Comments:  Earthy flavors, oil like odor, weird odor and taste. too light and acidic, weak, short and unbalanced finish, watery, just average

Best value for Money: 2014 Errazuriz, Chardonnay  Wild Ferment, Casablanca Valley

See full evaluation here: 184-summary-of-tasting-scores

5. Technical Notes 

Pinot Noir Wine (By Jairo Sánchez)

Taken from Wine Searcher and Wine Folly

Pinot Noir is the red wine grape of Burgundy, now adopted in wine regions all over the world. The variety charm has carried it to all manner of vineyards, from western Germany and northern Italy to Chile, South Africa, Australia and, notably, California, Oregon and New Zealand. It is the patriarch of the Pinot family of grape varieties – so called because their bunches are similar in shape to a pine cone. Other members of this family include Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Meunier, Aligote and Pinot Noir’s white-wine counterpart, Chardonnay.

Pinot Noir causes more discussion and dispute than any other grape, most of which centers around finding and describing the variety’s “true” expression. Examples from Santenay are undeniably different from those made on the other side of the world in Central Otago, and yet they are all unmistakably, unquestionably Pinot Noir. It takes a great deal of care and skill to make Pinot perform, and the results vary wildly from watery, acidic candy water to some of the richest, most intensely perfumed wines on Earth. This elusive perfection has earned the variety obsessive adoration from wine lovers all over the world.In Burgundy, the traditional vigneron focuses more on soil and climate than on the qualities of the grape variety itself. Even very subtle differences in terroir are reflected in Pinot Noir wines made there.

Although many winemakers in the New World attempt to emulate the Burgundy style, the newer Pinot regions in Oregon, Washington, California and New Zealand have their own individual expressions and interpretations of the variety.

The essence of Pinot Noir wine is its aroma of strawberry and cherry (fresh red cherries in lighter wines and stewed black cherries in weightier examples), underpinned in the most complex examples by hints of undergrowth. Well-built Pinot Noirs, particularly from warmer harvests, also exhibit notes of leather and violets.

The question of oak in Pinot Noir winemaking is frequently raised, as are the length of fermentation and the option of a pre-ferment maceration (cold soak). Cooler temperatures lead to fresher fruit flavors, while longer, warmer fermentations and pigeage (French term for ‘punching down’ – the process of breaking up and plunging down the thick cap of grape solids which forms during fermentation) result in more extracted wines with greater tannic structure.

Although Pinot Noir earns most of its fame from its still, red, varietal wines, the variety is also a vital ingredient in the production of sparkling white wines. For these, it can be used alone, but is most commonly blended with its cousin Chardonnay, and other members of the Pinot family – mainly Pinot Meunier in Champagne and Pinot Blanc in Franciacorta. The highly successful Pinot – Chardonnay sparkling wine blend has been adopted by regions all around the world, in Europe, the Americas, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. 

Synonyms include: Pinot Nero, Pinot Negro, Spatburgunder, Blauburgunder.  

Dominant Flavors: Cranberry Cherry, Raspbery, Clove, Mushroom 

Where it grows:

France                       57%

USA                            27%

New Zealand              4%

Germany                  2.6%

Italy                           2.4 %

Australia                    2.2%

Chile                            1.5%

Rest of the world      3.5% 

Pinot Noir Wine Taste Regional Differences 

Raspberry and Clove                   Cranberry and Mushroom

California                                              France

Central Otago NZ                                Germany

South Australia                                    Italy

Chile                                                     Oregon




Posted in Meeting Abstract | Tagged , | Leave a comment