guys sat in with Rusty Gaffney (the
Prince of Pinot), for a short vertical of some older Littorai
Pinot Noirs and a delicious Chardonnay.
The winemaker/owner here is Ted Lemon, and if you don't know about these exceptional wines, you can find out more at (www.littorai.com).
Mays Cyn Chard - slightly smoky and creamy
citrus, sweet lemon rind and pineapple in the nose.
Excellent balance, smooth textures on the palate and
nice long smooth finish.
Hirsch - slightly sweet dark nose. Tight and
slightly tannic with obvious fruit, very good balance
and nice long finish.
Hirsch - rounder and more polished than the
'00, with a richer mouthfeel seemingly more complexity
Savoy - nose of spicy strawberry and lforal
notes, with just a touch of whole cluster, earthy-mushroom
scent. Earthy mouthfeel, smooth and even textures, very
nice fruit throughout, gets juicy toward the long finish.
Savoy - similar to the'96, but more so. Bigger
in fruit and mouthfeel, with a slightly "fresher"
taste, and a bing cherry finish.
Thieriot - wonderful nose of red and some black
fruits, with hints of rhubarb and toast. Very expressive
throughout, with persistent mouthfeel and dark black
cherry fruit flavor leading to long juicy finish.
Thieriot - similar to the '97, but seems bigger
throughout with darker fruit and a nice sweet loamy
earthen scent. Delicious on the palate, excellent balance
and very long finish.
One Acre - Wow! The touches of cake spice,
herbs and whole cluster scents really push this wine
to a whole other world. Fabulous mouthfeel, lots of
fruit, excellent balance, with a huge mid-palate and
very long smooth finish.
TASTING - AUSTRALIA DAY!
up to Northridge for this tasting, and 2 hrs and 70
miles later we were there. The theme was Aussie - those
with high review scores.
Two Hands Brilliant Disguise Moscato (RP 91): Nose of some candied apple and stone fruits, with a
bit of ginger on the palate. As Paul mentioned, this
really did pair well with the coconut shrimp appetizer;
the bloomin' onion - not so much. The slightly sweet
spritz was very nice on the palate, though this could
have easily caused the issue with the next wine up-to-bat.
Leeuwin Estate Chardonnay Art Series:
As mentioned, this followed a slightly sweet Moscato,
which may have at least partly responsible for doing
it in. That said, it didn't seem to put me off as much
as the other folks, and I felt it had nice lemon-lime
and a touch of grapefruit throughout.
Clarendon Hills OV Grenache Kangarilla (RP
Really neat dark cherry, with a creamy vanilla/mint
quality, and some nice sappy notes throughout. 14.1%
Clarendon Hills Grenache Romas (RP 96):
Had an interesting rustic/floral/stem thing going on
in the nose. Found the mouthfeel slightly bitter on
the back end, but the whole package seemed to get better
and more interesting with time. 14.5% alc.
De Lisio Grenache (RP 95):
Big, dense, and gorgeous nose that was packed with raspberry
and black raspberry liqueur. Mostly smooth & chewy
in mouthfeel, but a little young so still showing some
coarseness too. Nice wine, seemingly a little monolithic
Fox Creek Reserve Shiraz (RP 96):
Nose of blackberry and black cherry. Smooth, refined,
Torbreck The Factor (RP 99):
Overtly seductive nose, polished and smooth throughout,
with a very long seamless finish. Did I mention it was
seductive? Mmmm-hm, I definitely heard it calling to
me several times during the evening.
Henry’s Drive Reserve Shiraz (RP 97):
Similar to the Torbreck in structure, but lots spicier,
and maybe not as overt. Plenty of dark fruit, slightly
less polished in mouthfeel, with an equally long finish.
Nice hints of eucalyptus, anise, and kalamata olive.
Mitolo G.A.M. (RP 97):
Lot sof fruit here, and quite juicy (almost sweet-sour)
in mouthfeel. Just a bit of a meaty/rustic edge to this
wine, but the fruit just keeps pumping and carries it
through the long finish. 15.0% alc.
Mitolo Savitar (RP98):
As Paul noted, and obvious minty/citrus quality to this
in the nose. As with its stablemate, lots of texture
if a little edgy in mouthfeel, but what a steak of a
wine! 14.1% alc.
Two Hands Bella’s Garden (RP 94):
This seemed more forward to me than either of the Mitolo's.
Fascinating notes of black pepper and some herbs compliment
the huge dark fruit in the nose. Beautiful balance and
finish - nicely done. 15.0% alc.
Oliverhill Jimmy Section (RP 95):
Lovely jammy nose of cocoa and spice, with smooth textures
and juicy acids, and a very long finish. Really nice,
though I though I detected a bit of acetate at one point.
Shirvington (RP 95):
Gorgeous nose of dark fruit, candied pecans and toasted
grains. Delicious fruit, beautiful mouthfeel and long
finish. If I had to find some fault here, it would be
that it lacked some noticeable interest points. You
know, glamorous - but I wanted to have a discussion,
Kilkanoon Parable (RP 96):
Huge nose of pepper-infused blackberry and herbs. I
went back and forth with this wine - one minute, killer
in mouthfeel; the next minute, kind of clunky. I dunno.
R.L. Buller Fine Muscat (RP 96)
Similar wines, but I liked the muscat more. This had
nice fresh fruity overtones, good mouthfeel and finish
- making it seem a little less porty. 18% alc.
R.L. Buller Fine Tokay (RP 95)
The fruit here tended more to the toasted nut/brown
sugar thing, very tawny-like. Very nice - and if it
was the only dessert for the evening - it'd be the winner.
guys headed up to LaLa Land (aka Hollywood) to sit down
with Frederic Panaiotis from Veuve Cliquot for an interview.
Frederic is one of serveral winemakers VC employs to
produce their various Champagne bottlings. Very knowledgeable
AND articulate, and this will be a good primer for some
who want to know more about Champagne, and specifically
a unique type of tasting - blending your own wine! Melville
Vnyds makes several bottlings of specific clones available
- primarily for their seminar program. Well, thanks
to several donors (including the winery), we were able
to have our own seminar.
CLONAL BLENDING TASTING
Clone 113 - fleshy, rich dark cherry with a
nice sappy streak. Lots of cherry and strawberry in
mouthfeel, but seems to lack some structure. Decent
Clone 5 - huge, and very fleshy fruit - leaning
more to the red fruit spectrum. Nice spicy and meaty
notes. Some sense of stem inclusion here, with richer
mouthfeel and smoother transition through the finish.
Clone 667 - Spicy, very dark fruit - if a bit
monolithic. Very tasty, with lots of moderate spicy
notes. Big on mid-palate and finish.
blend for me: 50% Clone 113; 25% Clone 667; 25%
Clone 5. Lacking some structure.
Final blend for me: 50% Clone 113; 30% Clone
667; 20% Clone 5 . Seemed to work nicely with 667 filling
in the middle and back end.
Clone 9 - Lots of edgy strawberry fruit, along
with floral and light notes of whole cluster in the
nose. Plenty of acids balance out the fruit throught
mid and latter palate. Seems to sweeten up on the finish,
in contrast to the front end. 33% stem inclusion.
Clone 828 - Obvious whole cluster scent to
the dark fruit. Seems to have a slight hole in the center.
Hirsch-like acids in mouthfeel that seem to get jucier
from mid to latter palate. Long finish. 33% stem inclusion.
Clone 777 - Big heady nose, with lots of spice.
Seems to be very big on both the front end and back
end. Needs a filler in the center. 33% stem inclusion.
blend for me: 45% Clone 777; 45% Clone 828; 10%
Clone 9. Lacking some structure.
Final blend for me: 60% Clone 777; 30% Clone
828; 10% Clone 9. Seemed to bring out the best of the
Jackson clone, without overpowering the wine.
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- Eric Anderson