Friday, December 14, 2007

Tasting Notes of Recently Tasted and Consumed Wines

I've tasted and had some good wines lately - they span the board:

2000 Agrapart "Mineral" Blanc de Blanc (Champagne, France)

This is a gorgeous Champagne from small grower and producer Agrapart et Fils in Avize in the Cotes des Blancs in Champagne. My husband and I had the good fortune to visit this producer during our honeymoon trip to Champagne in September 2006, right during the harvest, when they were super busy. Owner Pascal Agrapart took us on a tour of his vineyards which are plowed by his horse, Venus. Later, we toured the press room where 4 guys were using an old fashioned basket press and pressed the grapes by hand. Following that, we descended into the cellar which was small and such a contrast to the huge cellars we visited in Epernay and Reims which were owned by the big houses such as Moet and Piper Heidsick. Agrapart's tiny cellar was very neat and orderly and rustic and epitomizes his whole operation and demonstrates to me what is unique and perfect about their Champagnes. Each bottle of Champagne is hand-riddled to remove the yeast, and I know this not because Pascal said so, but because we didn't see any giant machine-thing that riddles 400 bottles at a time like we saw at those big houses!

Back to the 2000 Mineral - this is a "non-dosage" Champagne, which means that no sugar-syrup is added to top off the Champagne when the yeast gets popped out. That means the Champagne is on the dry side, with refreshing acidity that makes you wake up and take notice! Made from 100% Chardonnay grapes like most of Agrapart Champagnes are, the Mineral is crisp, clean, with buttered toast and apple notes on the nose, and a hint of caramel apples and of course some fine minerals on the palate. Great stuff, a go-to Champagne.

2006 Achaval Ferrer Mendoza Malbec (Argentina)

This is a deeply extracted Malbec that is extremely popular, has a rich nose of blackberries, and a palate with sweet but not too sweet fruit, fine tannins, good balance. It is a notch up from most basic entry level Malbecs, though it is the entry level Malbec from Achaval Ferrer. For those who like new world Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine would be a shoo-in. I like it. Though I like French reds better (which have that extra je-ne-sais-quoi which this wine doesn't have - I think subtle flavor compounds, or terroir, something).

2007 Dog Point Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand)

The first vintage of Dog Point SB that I tasted was the 2005, back when previous buyer Tim brought it into our store. I liked it then. This past year we have had the 2006, which I brought in and liked for its grapefruit notes and bracing acidity. The 2006 is gone and now we have the 2007 vintage. This vintage seems to have less bracing acidity, but great balance and freshness. It does have grapefruit and a touch of grass but not too much. I don't sense any cat pee from this wine and that is a good thing.

2006 Monchhof Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Kabinett (Mosel, Germany)

When I first opened this wine for a customer, it didn't impress as much as the wine it went against, which was a 2006 Muller-Catoir Riesling Kabinett from the Pfalz. Note to self - don't put a Pfalz Riesling before a Mosel one because the Pfalz one will be bigger and blow the Mosel out of the water. Also, since it was a just-opened screw-cap (Stelvin closure), it seemed to have funk in the nose.

The next day, I retasted the wine (and re-smelled) and it was much better. Note to self, allow these screw-cap wines to breath a tad. The wine now had a fruity and floral nose, and on the palate, not too sweet, a lot of extract, good acidity, and overall light to medium-light mouthfeel. A great, delicate wine just for sipping, or with some good spicy food.

The grapes for this wine come from the vineyard I'm standing on in my picture. Super rad!

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