After about a week's delay our website should be up and running this week! We should be up and running soon. The site before publication is at http://toptenwines.whitemouseconsulting.com/vmj/ Comments are welcome.
There were several really nice wines in this tasting. I will note specifically Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc 2007, which I thought was awesome, and the Silver Oak 2004 Alexander Cabernet, which I thought for this vintage underperformed. I think that the Silver Oak will be much better a couple years down the road, which makes it a good buy if you plan to put it away for a while.
That being said, I'm a huge fan of anything Spottswoode. I don't know much about the winery, but I do know that some of the founders like Tony Soter (who does Etude wines) and Daniel Schuster (who was one of the pinot noir pioneers in New Zealand) make some of the best wines in the world. Schuster in particular makes some really good pinot noir from New Zealand that tends to be on the minerally side, and Soter is one of the world's best viticulturalists. I am particularly a fan of his pinot noir under the Etude label, and Paul notes that he's involved in an Oregon property that is doing some really fun stuff with sparkling wines.
I have tasted the 2003 Spottswoode cabernet sauvignon a couple of times. Most memorably, I tasted it with Sarah Cyr at the Wine Cellar and Bistro in late 2006. We judged it to be very complex and dynamic and a wine that would take well to some time in the cellar. It's a phenomenal wine. I'm lucky to have been given enough to try this wine on at least one occasion.
The Champagne tasting was excellent, though dangerous. There were 13 different wines and even with pours under two ounces, I was more than a little tipsy after the tasting. The nominal star of the tasting was the 2002 vintage Cristal. Not having had that wine before and not knowing how it ages, I don't feel qualified making a judgment about the price/quality ratio though I'll note it was young and somewhat tight, though excellent.
The other interesting wines at the tasting were the Deutz Brut and the Henriot were also favorites of mine.
More more later. I will be much better about posting next week when I have fewer obligations.
I'm very excited about tomorrow's Sparkling/Champagne tasting; the big attraction is that one of the champagnes in the lineup is Cristal. I've certainly never had that wine, primarily because it remains prohibitively expensive at $270 a bottle. Here's the rest of the lineup:
Simonnet-Febvre “AOC” Cremant de Bourgogne Brut $20 Simonnet-Febvre “AOC” Cremant de Bourgogne Rose $19 Scharffenberger Brut $18 Roederer “Anderson Valley” Brut $22 Domaine Chandon “Reserve” Chardonnay Brut $26
Champagne Mumm “Cordon Rouge” Brut $42 Henriot Brut Souverain $45 Piper Heidsieck Brut (6 pk gift wrap) $50 Perrier Jouet Grand Brut with Glasses (6pk cs) $50 Deutz Brut Classic (6pk cs) $55 Roederer Brut Premier (6pk cs) $55 Moet & Chandon “Brut Imperial Rose (6pk cs) $55 Roederer Cristal 2002 $275
THe one thing that I like to remind people about is that the distinction between Champagne and sparkling wine is simply that Champagne is a geographic trademark for sparkling wine from Champagne, France.
The port tasting on Wednesday went well. The most intriguing wine to me was the Warres White Porto, which we mixed with ginger ale and a squeeze of lime for a pleasant, slightly sweet apertif. The recipe can be varied to substitute tonic for ginger ale and lemon or another citrus instead of lime.
Paul's pick for the most interesting port was the 1992 Colheita (a single vintage tawny port), which for a 16 year old wine was remarkably full bodied and robust. The only wine on the list that wasn't a fortified wine, the 2005 Warres Altano (a blend of the portuguese grapes Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz), is an excellent buy for a dry red wine, being interesting and complex and well balanced.
There are a couple other events coming up soon, but I'll note those in the next post I make.