Free French Wine Tasting with The Wine Frog – 1-31-14 – 4pm – 8pm

Wine FrogGueneau, Jerome Sancerre Le Clos Chartier 2012 – 20.57 – We have been big fans of Jerome Gueneau, and were pleased when we found the walled vineyard (Clos) was coming to replace the entry level Sancerre we had been purchasing, at the same cost. Many vintages in, this is still a favorite, now from a little 17 acre parcel on classic flint-clay soils. More richness, elegant, classic citrus tang and smoky mineral. Bright and very pure, with a lovely chiseled edge to the core of straw, lemon meringue, gooseberry and thyme. Straight as an arrow on the finish. Drink now. I put it on the list at Swift’s Attic, as well. East End Wines Top 200 (#39). A hard year with frosts, cold rainy weather into summer, then October storms wreaking havoc in the Loire, but Sancerre & Pouilly-Fumé were able to escape relatively unscathed.

Gérard Tremblay Vieilles Vigne Chablis 2012 – 19.97 – Another consistent performer, with juicy apple and lemon acidity, followed by a light hint of creaminess to counter classic steely /  chalky minerality. Unoaked from 10-30yr old vines, a fine wine with a profound mineral nose. East End Wines Top 200 (#188) Balanced and tasty village level wine, for six generations. 80 acres of vines under production, showing typicity, with a gravity fed winery. Vines planted in 1957 by Gérard Tremblay’s father. More concentration and mineral on the palate than the entry level Chablis. Juicy and bright. A lot of ripeness for the 2012 vintage (as things warm up), but able to keep bright acid levels as well. More powerful seeming than 2010, and I think they are a step up from 2011.

Sieur d’Argues Aimery Limoux Rosé – 15.97 – East End Wines Top 200 (#71). Crémant de Limoux Rosé is sourced from the oldest sparkling wine region on earth! Pretty red berry fruit (strawberry & raspberry) gives nice hints about the fun to come with this delicate, salmon pink wine out of the Languedoc. Delicate mousse & balanced acidity. Nice length on the finish. Pretty vigorous selection based on soil / sub-soil of particular vineyard sites. Benedictine nuns from the St. Hilaire Abbey created the first sparkling wine, a century before Dom Perignon, in 1531. (Blanquette de Limoux). This wine is named after a lord of the region, who drank the sparkling wine to celebrate his victories, in the earliest written references to Blanquette de Limoux.

Denis Carré Hautes Cd Beaune Perrieres 2011 – 21.97 – The new vintage. 13 hectares in Meloisey, to the west of Beaune. Good concentration. We (like Master of Wine Clive Coates) find this a great Burgundy for the money, with balance, light, tangy cherry fruit, and a smoky / earthy mineral undertone. Pleasing to find something quite elegant at what is inexpensive pricing for Burgundy. Has enough backbone to go with red meats, but light enough on its feet for a variety of dishes. Medium-Full body, ready to drink, but will improve over the next 3 or 4 years if you have the patience. Goes for $60 on restaurant wine lists in Austin. A bigger and better crop than expected. The cold was concentrated in the early winter when the vines were dormant, and then warm weather into the summer. Heat came when it was needed in August, and rain was brief. Rully got the worst of the hail damage, in July. Seems to be staying in the neighborhood of 2010 pricing for the whites and less expensive reds (this wine did not see a price increase, for example).

Tasting of Australian Wines – January 24th – East End Wines – 4pm – 8pm.

AussieWineOxford Landing Viognier – 2013 V – 8.57 – Very pretty. Classic, floral, nice richness. Golden apple. Some candied notes on the finish. More ripe aromatics. 13.5% plus acidification. The Rare 4$↓ rating. Lifted musk and honeysuckle aroma, with a hint of poached quince and mandarin peel. Richly textured on the palate with classic Viognier minerality complemented perfectly with flavors of ripe peaches and apricots, grapefruit pith and lemongrass. Suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

Yalumba Y Series Merlot 2011 V – 10.97 – Dog label. Softer, more bottle age. Calmed down. Black plum, tasty. Big and round. Good fit. Classic varietal aromas of black currants, spiced fruit cake, violets and vanilla lead to a medium bodied palate with flavors ranging from fruit cake to black cherry with very fine almost velvet tannins. Serve with seared Kangaroo fillets, a red currant reduction and sweet potato mash.

Oxford Landing Shiraz – 2011 – 8.57 – Pretty tasty, serious grip, white pepper. Some fat. Lifted aromas of plums and black cherries with hints of violets and white pepper. The generous palate has dark berry fruit flavors of blackberry and plum, complimented by soft, supple tannins with hints of chocolate and spice. The subtle oak influence and bright fruit flavors linger during the long succulent finish.

Wirra Wirra Scrubby Rise Red 2011 – 12.97 – Shiraz / Cab / Petite Verdot. Adelaide. Rich. Organic. A lot of biodynamic fruit. Ripeness, weight. New oak. McLaren Vale. Bright fresh raspberry notes dominate with a blackberry core backed up by silky tannins and finishing with a clean and vibrant freshness. Subtle oak supports the palate. “One assumes the small boat being rowed along the top of a vine row does not indicate a macabre sense of humor, for this is another success for the vintage, with sweet red and black fruits embedded in the chocolate running through the length of the palate. A delicious wine for early drinking.” – 92 Points Australian Wine Companion

Free Tasting with Chameleon Friday

Chameleon1-17-14 – 4pm – 8pm

Kiona Riesling – WA State – 2012 – 12.57 – 93% Riesling, 7% Gewurztraminer. Kiona has been making Riesling for almost three decades. This Washington State version has smooth, light, spicy flavors with a slight sweetness and a nice tart acidity.A slightly spicy finish puts an exclamation point on the end of this delightfully charming and drinkable wine. The nose has compelling floral notes that highlight the fresh fruit flavors of pear and citrus on the palate. A tasty new addition.

Smashberry Red 2012 – Central Coast – 11.57 – This easy drinking California red table wine is mostly Merlot with some Cabernet and Petite Sirah. It has aromas of red cherries, red berries and coffee that fill the nose. On the palate, it is fruit forward with lots of Bing cherry, blackberry, and blueberry jam flavors with hints of sarsaparilla and coffee with very soft tannins and a nice finish. Merlot (40), cabernet sauvignon (30), petite sirah (30) East End Wines Top 200, #192.

Ballard Lane Cabernet – Paso Robles 2011  - 12.57 – This wine has cassis, black cherry, chocolate, and smoky oak aromas, good structure, firm tannins, and a lingering finish. The grapes were night harvested and cold soaked for several days to enhance color extraction, then fermented for 7 days. The wine was then aged on French and American Oak for 9 months. East End Wines, Top 200, #178. Ripe and round from warm Paso Robles, but made in a dialed-back manner.

Hugo Vision Quest – Napa Valley Red Wine 2009 – 20.57 – This is a dense red blend exhibiting round fruit…cherries, blackberries, currants; a beautiful assortment of fresh and dried herbs with aromatics of toast, warm fall spices and dark chocolate. Packed with texture, it fills your mouth with the soft notes of oak, vanilla extracted dark fruits. Houston couple, started in 2007. 75% Syrah, 12.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12.5% Malbec. Fermented in open top barrels, aged in neutral oak.

VERY SPECIAL – TASTING ONE 375 ml BOTTLE – Clark Claudon 10 yr 2003 375 ml – 26.97 – “The 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate exhibits an evolved dark plum/ruby color already revealing some lightening at the edge. Nevertheless, it is a tasty, seductive effort displaying notes of plums, licorice, black currants, figs, and soy. This medium-bodied, fleshy Cabernet appears to be on a fast evolutionary track, so consumption over the next 7-8 years is recommended. 89 points” – Robert Parker, Wine Advocate # 168, Dec 2006. 750ml selling for $89. 100% Cab, Howell Mountain, 800-1000 ft. elevation. French oak aging.