Somm By Epicure

Join us for our second Palate Building Class on Saturday, April 19 at 2PM when we will taste four French White Wines (Sancerre, Quincy, Muscadet and Beaujolais Blanc). Call 512.858.0660 today to make your reservations!


Vinaceous Margaret River 2015 Shakre Chardonnay. Pale yellow color, bright citrusy acidity No malolactic fermentation, some second and third use French Oak. Brighter than a Chablis, not as mineral driven though.

Vinaceous Shiraz Snake Charmer 2016. Syrah not of the overly jammy variety. Not as tannic as the Clandestine McLaren Vale Grenache, shorter in finish and not as heavily structured.

Vinaceous Clandestine McLaren Vale 2016 Grenache. Chewy, chewy, chewy! Beautiful fruit and structure that keeps on coming. There is a tremendously long finish to this wine as well. It’s not cheap but the best things rarely are. Look for it soon at Somm.

Vinaceous Margaret River Cabernet. So we all know Eucalyptus grows in Australia. Evidently it leaches essential oils into the ground and those get picked up by grapevines. This wine was redolent of minty Eucalyptus notes on the nose and turning slightly towards a clove-like intensity on the palate. Very interesting wine but not sure how it would play to most people’s tastes…

Vinaceous Margaret River Red Right Hand 2015 Blend. Grenache, Syrah and Tempranillo. Bright acidity, extracted fruit if a bit bright. This would be a wonderful food wine. Look for it soon at Somm.


Ernesto Catena Alma Negra M Blend 2016. A delicious Bonarda-heavy Malbec blend from Ernesto Catena of Mendoza, Argentina. This wine captures Bonarda’s fruit-forward, black plum driven characteristics. Malbec plays a structural role here, with tannins that focus the wine and provide the “bones” while Bonarda delivers tons of fruit! Delicious. Find it at both Somm (bottle) and Epicure (glass or bottle).

Ernesto Catena Siesta Single Vineyard Argentinie Cabernet Sauvignon 2016.. Beautiful expression of Cabernet. Juicy with just enough earthiness and tannin to focus the fruit. The first Argentine Cab to have impressed me! Not the usual Argentine dirtbomb! Very approachable. Find it at Somm now!

Ernesto Catena Alma Negra Sparkling Malbec Rose. More a dusty rose color than the usual rose, this sparkling Malbec was made in the traditional method with tons of fine bubbles. Crisp and clean, nevertheless there is an earthiness that is characteristically Malbec! Find it now (bottle or glass) at Somm and Epicure.

Greek Wines 4/25/19

Pavlidis Thema White Drama 2017. Pale yellow color, citrusy nose but soft finish. This blend of Assyrtiko and Sauvignon Blanc grapes drinks much softer than you would expect from a Sauv Blanc blend.

papagiannakos Assyrtiko Attiki 2018. Pale yellow, slight nose of pepper and honeydew melon. Very minreal-driven but with soft stonefruit on the palate. Textural from minerality, lemony citrus finish.

Gaia Thalassitis Assyrtiko Santorini 2017. Pale color, “gassy” aromas from volcanic soil. Heavy-ish texture courtesy of the grapes and soil.

Agyros Estate Aidani Cyclades 2017 . pale color, dry, with some acidity.

Pavlidis Thema Red Drama 2017. Blend of 40% Agygortiko/ 60% Syrah.. Juicy nose and fruit, mild tannin wiht spicy finish.

Papaggiannakos Retsina, Mesogaia 2017. Forget what you think you know about Retsina. No indications of pine tar here. On the palate, a distincy flavor of root vegetables (maybe parsnips?) in an earthy sort of way.

Italian Reds 4/25/19

Gianni Gagliard Fallegro. “Favorita” is just another name for Vermentino (aka “Rolle”). 2017. Pale yellow color. Stonefruit nose. Small amount of it was malolactically fermented. Bright accidity, green (slightly effervescent tasting)wine. Medium finish, light body.

Grignolino 2017 (Asti). Very unusual. Grignolino grapes have four seeds versus two seeds for most Vitis Vinifera grapes. Because they don’t want the wine to be overly tannic, very little skin contact is allowed. This makes the “red” wine very pale (like an off-color rose?) that tastes like a red wine. Very acidic, Pale cranberry color, richer taste than the color implies.

Gianni Gagliardo Barbera d’Asti. Light ruby color, light berry nose. Light cherry/berry on the palate. Medium plus finish.

Gianni Gagliardo 2016 D’Alba Dolcetto. Medium garnet color. Berry nose, red and black erry fruit with soft tannins and lingering on the palate - sweeter berry flavors.

Gianni Gagliardo de Baltie Nebbiolo, 2015. Very pretty Nebbiolo. Typical coloration, DOC :Langhe friut, sweet berry/cherry fruit.

Terra Rossa Oltre 2014 Rosso di Montalicino. Medium garnet color. Tart red plum fruit.

Terra Rossa Rosso Di Montalcino. Medium garnet color, sour cherry fruit.

Gianni Gagliardo “GG” Barolo. Medium garnet dry, tart with velvet tannin.

Nizza Barbera d’Alba. Dark ruby color, dark aromas of blackberry and herbaceous notes. Big blacka nd red berry fruit. Supple tannins, chewy. Notes of sage, Eucalyptus and maybe beeswax.

Argentine and California Reds! 4/24/19

Alma Negra Malbec Sparkling Rose - Okay, who’s fooln’ who? this is a WHITE sparkler made from RED grapes. A Blanc de Noir! But they’re calling this a rose?!? Brut Nature, 4 grams of residual sugar per liter. A blend of Malbec and Pinot Noir from Mendoza. Utterly NO visible color from extremely limited skin contact! Pale golden color, yeasty and autolytic nose (8 mos lees aging). Dry lemon fruit with a clean, dry finish. Delicioso! Look for this at Epiciure soon.

Ernest Catena Padrillos Pinot Noir Mendoza. Most Argentine Pinot Noir comes from Patagonia, but not this one! Pale cranberry color. Second and third use American and French oak. Acidic, tart cranberry fruit, medium body and a long finish.

Ernesto Catena Padrillos Malbec Mendoza. Very light ruby color, smoky aromas, tart cherry fruit, high acidity, medium finish with little tangible tannin.

Ernesto Catena Tahuan Malbec Mendoza. Medium Ruby color. Red stonefruit and red berry nose. More tannin than the Padrillos Malbec. Tart black cherry fruit, medium body and medium finish.

Siesta Malbec 2014. Medium+ Ruby color. French and American 2nd use oak. Cherry with black plum on the nose. Medium+ finish,, very attenuated…

Ernesto Catena Animal Natural Vineyards Malbec Mendoza 2016. Medium garnet color, 30% new oak (50/50 French/American), 70% stainless steel fermented. Juicy nose, on the palate, soft red and stone fruit. There is an unusual aroma present. Spicy and herbaceous at the same time - it reminds me of composting green pepper - not exactly a pleasant aroma.

Alma Negra Red Blend. Bonarda, Malbec, Cab Franc. Dark ruby, sweetdark red fruit, More about ripe fruit and sweet/warm spices.

Alma Negra M blend - Bonarda/Malbec. Chewy dark fruit in a syrah-sort-of -way. Dark ruby, medium finish, medium+ Body. Medium+tannin, red stone fruit (black cherry).

Siesta Mendoza Cabernet Sauvignon 2013. Lovely wine. Very integrated tannins, dark ruby color, deep black and red fruit on the palate. Lingering finish and Medium++ body.

Lajota (Napa) Cabernet. 1st vineyard ever on Howell Mountain. Black cassis fruit, big tannins, heavier body, long finish.

Lassegur Gran Cru St Emilion. 70% Merlto, 20% Cab Franc, 10% Cab Sauv. Chewy, earthy and black Bordeaux. Ripe fruit is eclipsed by heavy structure.

Galerie Napa 2014 Cabernet. Dark garnet/purple color. Juicy nose and palate (blackberry fruit), unfined, unfiltered, 100% cabernet sauvignon from one of Kendall Jackson’s finest vineyards.


Champalou Vouvray Brut (Sparkling) NV - Pale yellow, yeasty nose. Dry, tart with ccitrusy acidity. Very dry.

Le Contesse Prosecco DOC NV - From Veneto. Pale gold. White flower nose, candied citrus on the nose. Green apple fruit, dry, medium+ finish.

Tolosa Unoaked Central Coast Chardonnay 2016. Nose of dried grass, pale gold color. Wet dried grass on the palate, bright acidity. Aged 3 months on the lees, medium plus finish. Very Burgundian style of Chardonnay.

2016 Jigsaw Oregon Pinot Noir. Light ruby color and light boddy. Red berry nose. Very tart red stone fruit on the palate with some cranberry. A bit on the thin side.

2015 Apolloni Estate Pinot Noir (Oregon) 2015. Pale ruby color. Light body. Roses and alcohol on the nose. Coffee and mocha on the palate with dark red fruit. Silky texture, well balanced Pinot Noir Although I am not a huge fan of Pinot Noir and especially not of Oregon Pinot Noir, I found this wine surprisingly good.

Vizcarara Ramos JC Vizcarra Ribera Del Duero Tempranillo 2015. The more I taste of Ribera’s Tempranillos, the more I like them. This is a monster of a Tempranillo. DARK ruby color, Aged 15 months in a combination of French and American oak (50% new), Beautiful dark plum fruit, textural tannins that soften slowly in the glass. This is as far from thin, sour Rioja Tempranillo as it gets. Look for this at Somm very soon!


Blanc 32, Vin de Pays Cotes de Gascogne 2018. Pale, tart and dry wiht a round mouthfeel. This wine is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Ugni Blanc (Trebbiano by another name), Colombard and Gros Manseng. Tangy and dry with a citrusy finish, this wine is totally devoid of the grapefruit aromas that attend most Sauvignon Blanc. With a tart citrus fruit finish, it would pair well with foods from simple cheese to shellfish.

Noir 46, Cahors Malbec, 2012. Medium ruby color, red berry nose and red berry and cherry fruit. Medium finish. A softer expression of Cahors Malbec. Little oak or neutral oak.

Maison Tramier Cotes du Rhone Linteau 2016. 70% Grenache/30% Syrah. Medium ruby color, red plum nose. Juicy tart red cherry fruit on the palage. Vibrant tannins with a medium finish.

Chateau Sainte-Pierre Rose Cotes de Provence. Pale salmon color, 60% Cinsault with only 40% Grenache. Pink salmon color, stonefruit nose (nectarine), tart and dry with a medium finish.

04/04/19 Wine Tastings

Puramun Reserve chardonnay (Mendoza, Argentina) 2017 - Pale yellow color, dried grass nose, lots of French oak on the nose as well. Partial Malo-lactic conversion. Bright lemon fruit and acidity. Medium Finish and body.

Tapiz Alta Collection Malbec Rose (Mendoza, Argentina) 2017 - Dark pink color - almost cranberry red. Cherry and cranberry on the nose and the palate. Bright acidity, medium finish and body.

Tapiz Sparkling Malbec Rose, Mendoza, Argentina. Pale pink color, autolytic nose of baking bread. Cherry fruit at mid palate with a medium+ intensity. Delicious, crisp and dry! Look for this next week at Somm and at Epicure.

Tapiz Pinot Noir - pale garnet, cherry and cranberry finish with medium intensity and tanin.

Lamadrid Malbec Reserva 2015 (Mendoza) - Winemaker is Hector Durigutti. Dark ruby in color. Strong nose of French Oak. Much like a bordeaux style wine, tart fruit and velvety/earthy tanins.

ZaHa Cabernet Franc (Mendoza) 2016 - Herbaceous nose, dark ruby color, soft rich fruit with ripe tanins. Look for this at Somm next week!

Perticaia Spoleto Trebbiano 2017. Pale yellow, yeasty nose, bright acidity and grippy minerality.

Cavazza Bocara Bianco 2017 - Garganega. Pale gold, citrusy nose, bright acidity with a long finish.

Kaltern Caldaro Sudtirol Alto Adige Schiava Classico 2016 - Pale garnet color. Deep cherry fruit on nose and palate. Light body and color.

Ronchi di Pietro Colli Orientali dei Friuli Schiopettino 2016 - Spicy/floral nose. Medium plus color. Tart cherry fruit, chewy tannin, medium plus body with a long finish.

Kaltern Lagrein 2016 -Dark ruby color. Cherry on the nose and palate. Medium plus color and body, medium finish. Firm but refined tannin. Look for this at Somm next week!

Tenuta Emera Lizzano Anima di Negroamaro 2013. Dark garnet color. Beeswax and oak on the nose. Rich soft fruit and sonft approachable tannins. Look for this at Epicure next week.

03/26/19 Wine Tastings

La Gioiosa Prosecco di Valdobbiadene. Fairly typical Valdobbiadene. On the palate very dry and tart (though like most Valdobbiadene di Coneglioni Prosecco’s it has 17 grams of sugar per liter making it high in residual sugars).

Framingham Sauvingon Blanc “Nobody’s Hero” - strong gooseberry aroma with a dark almost petrol smell. On the palate silky and heavy with a faint touch of white grapefruit. Very controlled acidity.

Chateau des Ferrages Cotes de Provence Sainte-Victoire Rose “Mon Plaisir” - from Chapoutier, a Grneache/Syrah/Rolle (Vermentino by another name) rose. Pale pink maybe a little red fruit on the nose. Very smooth and tart.

Bodegas Montacillo Rioja Reserva - light garnet in color, dried fruit on the nose. Cranberry fruit on the palate. Velvety tannins. 24 months in French and American oak.

Renzo Masi Chianti Ruffina Riserva. RDark Ruby. Red and black cherry fruit on the nose and palate. Dried red berry and nice body. 97% Sangiovese, 3% Colorino and Canaiolo.

Clos du Val Cabernet Estate Napa - 2015. Dark ruby color. French oak and black cassis on the nose. Cassis, red and black berry fruit on the palate. Very structured with a cocoa finish. Clos du Val no longer sells its’ fruit nor does it now purchase any outside fruit. If you haven’t tried them lately, I would revisit them. You’ll find the wine is much more solid than in years past.

Sogrape Silk & Spice Red Blend. A Portuguese blend fo Touriga Nacionale, Baga, Syrah and Allicante Bouchet. Medium ruby, with red and black fruit nose. Very little oaking, cherry and blackberry fruit with firm tannins. Outstanding.

Sandeman 10 year Tawny. Red color, dried raisin and prune on nose and palage.

Sandeman 20 year Tawny. Still has a reddish tinge but nose and palate are closer to bruleed sugar than anything else.

Barth Rene Riesling (Alsace) 2014. Pale yellow. Autolytic nose, stainless fermentation, organic. Lemon fruit on the palate. Very dry, tart and mineral-driven.

Barth Rene Pinot Gris (Alsace) - 2014. Pale gold color. Fine nose of pear and faint whisp of tropical fruit. 7-8 grams of sugar per liter make this a semi-sweet wine. Pair it with spicy foods.

Barth Rene Cremant d’Alsace Brut Blanc. 70% Pinot Blanc, 30% Pinot Noir. Pale yellow, baking pastry nose. Dry minteral finish.

Barth Rene Cremant d’Alsace Brut Rose. 100% Pinot Noir. Pale salmon, tropical nose, bright acidity with tart red berry fruit. long finish.

03/20/19 Wine Tastings

2017 Prebende Beaujolais Blanc. From the region just south of Maconnais in the sourthern-most part of Burgundy. Beaujolais is usually known for Gamay grape red wines of light color and flavor profiles. This Chardonnay undergoes malolactic fermentation but in stainless steel, resulting in buttery but fruit-forward wine. Acidity is very controlled and this is a fresh, floral chardonnay!

2016 Yves Leccia Ille de Beaute Rose (Corsica). 60% Nielluccio / 40% Cannonau. Nielluccio is a red wine grape grown in Corsica and other regions of the Mediterranean. It is genetically close to Sangiovese. Cannonau is the Corsican name for Grenache. This rose is dry, tart and somewhat citrusy. Smooth in finish with a relatively medium body and finish. Pale pink in color. Red berries prevail in the aroma.

2015 La Chapelle de Lafon-Rochet St Estephe. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon / 40$ Merlot. Juicy red and black fruit including cassis on the nose. The palate is dry, more about structure with little fruit on the palate. Oddly it lacks harshness or bitterness that you would expect in a wine with so little fruit evident on the palate!

Maldonado Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 - Napa. Big juicy nose. Bright acidity but not as rich as the nose would suggest. Probably needs more bottle aging to integrate the fruit of the aroma into the palate.

Quinta dos Murcas 10 year Tawny Port. big on dried fruit (raisins particularly), with a reddish tinge to the coloration. Less bruleed sugar than one would expect but for the money a solid performer.

2014 Cronw Point Vineyards Estate Selection Happy Canyon Santa Barbara Cabernet Sauvignon. 73% cabernet, 16% malbec, 11% merlot. Dark garnet color. Dusty velvet tannin. Earthy. 24 months in new French Oak.

2014 Crown Point Cabernet Sauvignon. 100% cab. Big, chocolate-cocoa nose and on the palate, velvet tannins, cassis and mocha. Delicious!

2015 Crown Point Cabernet Sauvignon. 100% cab. Tannin and coco are not as pronounced. Acidity was stronger and less integrated into plum/cassis fruit. Less structured. After two hours, the acidity is mellowed a bit and the structure comes forward again with those cocoa/mocha notes.

03/14/19 wine tasting with Branko Aric

I taste wines all week long and some tastings stand out. Today’s tasting with Branko Aric was amazing!

As we approach Spring and Summer, my thoughts turn to crisp white wines and roses and because my taste runs to unusual wines, so do the wines we taste! Today, I tasted two Sicilian whites, an Alsatian Gewurtz, a Muller Thurgau from Alto Adige and a sparkler from Argentina as well as a red from Washington (Merlot). My notes follow:

2016 Firriato Jasmin Zibbibo. I’ve had Zibbibo that was done as a dessert wine redolent with aromas and flavors of apricot and peach but this was nothing like that wine. Pale yellow in color, white flowers and savory sage on the nose, with mineral-dry finish this was so good!! Look for it at Somm soon.

2017 Firriato Branciforti Grillo - forget most things you “know” about Grillo. Most I’ve had are ruvid, clunky, harsh and astringent. This wine was NOT. Pale in color, soft and silky with a heavy body, the wine had a very light citrusy aroma and despite a ripe fruit palate, it finished dry and clean. Perfect pool sipper! Look for it at Somm (retail, bottle only) and at Epicure (bottle or glass) soon!

Albert Mann 2017 Alsatian Gewurtztraminer. Pale yellow, soft with aromas and palate of melon, pear and white flowers. This was delicious with a piece of our Alsatian Munster cheese but would be great with spicy Asian dishes!

2017 Cantina Bolzano Sudtirol Alto Adige Muller Thurgau. What a mouthful! Floral nose with hints of orange blossom. Muller is a Riesling cross. Mineral finish and dry easy to drink. Maybe too easy?

Antuucura Mendoza Sparkling Rose. So forget what you think of as rose. This has just the barest hint of pink tint! Pinot noir with onlly a brief flirtation with the skins, tart, bright and very dry. Amazing! Look for this soon at Epicure!!!

Januik Columbia Valley 2017 Merlot. Nice, easier, less chewy than California Merlots Juicy with some hints of baking spice. Wine Spectator gave it 90 points and I understand why!

/rench, Spanish and Lebanese! 03/8/19

Do Ferreira Albarino. Pale yellow color. Bright and tart yellow citrus. Big expansive white with a little more body than most Albarinos.

Massaya Blanc. A Lebanese wine made from a primary grape that is unique to Lebanon, with a little chardonnay and sauvignon blanc blended in. Big fruity palate. Maybe pear on the palate?

Pissares Macabeu. Mineral nose and palate. Sweeter fruit than you usually taste in a Macabeu. Not as much brine as some but chewy with minerality.

Massaya Rose . Cinsault, Syrah and Cabernet. Taste and aroma profile are typical of a Provencal rose.

Pissares Priorat (60% Garnaxta/40% Samso). Unoaked, dark ruby color, black plum and cherry fruit on the palate. Medium long finish.

Massaya Rouge. GSM Blend from Lebanon. Juicy with spicy tannins. Delicious.

Chateau Canadel Bandol Rouge. Medium dark garnet color, spicy nose, some red fruit but not as rich as other Bandol Rouge I’ve had recently.

Gros du Nore Bandol Rouge. Dark, deep ruby, red fruit on the nose and palate. Tannins are structural and vibrant but more polished than the Canadel. Very good exemplar from Bandol.

Spanish Wines etc. 03/06/19

Bodegas Ojuel Rioja Fente Leon 2016. A WHITE Tempranillo Blend! Tempranillo Blanco and Garnacha Blanca. Pale color, grapefruit peel nose, then tropical fruit and minerality on the finish. Moderate acidity. Nice white for summer!

San Salvatore Campania Falanghina 2017. Pale gold, wet straw nose, bright acidic citrus fruit on the palate. Medium finish.

Blankiet Estate Napa Valley Prince of Hearts Bordeaux Blend. 90% Cab, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cab Franc. Soft red with purple fruit, supple tannin and a long finish. This is Mythicus Cab’s ($250-$300) little brother.

Fronton de Oro Tinto. From the Canary Islands, tis blend of Tintilla and Lustan Negro is pale/light garnet in color. Floral nose (verbena? lilac?). no acidity and then the tannins come in yielding quickly to a sweetness in the tannin. Not sweet fruit. Very unusual finish.

2/27/19 Tasting

Domaine de Sainte Cosme. 50% Viognier, 30% Piquepoul, 20% Marsanne. Pale yellow. Honey and honeysuckle nose. Stone fruit on the palate. Chewy minerality, low acidity. This is easily one of the most mineral-laden whites I’ve tasted in some time. Pair this wine with goat cheeses and fresh fruit for an outstanding experience!

Barco de Piedra Tinto Ribero Del Douero Tempranillo 2016. Deep ruby color, 4-6 months in American and French Oak. Cherry fruit, medium body, controlled acidity, soft tannins and a medium finish. Lovely expression of Ribera Del Duero Tempranillo.

Wapisa malbec, Patagonia 2016. From the cold southern regions of Argentina, this is a chewy, tannic Malbec. The fruit expresses itself differently. This wine is all about structure and with cold windy climate, the grapes do not develop as much fruit or sugar, so it’s all about the tannin.

Domaine les Pallieres Gigondas Terrasses du Diable 2013. 90% Grenache, 5% Clairette and 5% Mourvedre. Gigondas is situated at the base of the Dontelles Mountains. The wines produced their often have tremendous structure and thus reward those patient enough to decant them! This wine is a light ruby color. Mild French oak on the nose. On the palate, the wine is juicy, the tannins velvet in texture. Red fruit lingers on the palate (a candied black cherry?). From a 500 year old estate this is a solid Gigondas.

02/25/18 Italian Tasting

Tasca d’Almerita Sicilia Regieali Bianco (Inzolia, Grecanico Dorato, Catarratto & Chardonnay). Sandy/Clay soils. Medium body and light color. Medium stone fruit on nose, with stone fruit and mineral finish.

Suavia Soave Classico. “Soave” apparently refers to a Germanic tribe which occupied a portion of Northern Italy after the fall of the Roman Empire. In this case, in Veneto, this all-Garganega wine is crisp and clean. Pale gold-green color. White flowers and mineral on the nose. Stonefruit, chewy with minierals and an off-dry finish. This is NOT the jug wine your parents bought in the ‘70’s!

Tormaresca Calafuria Negroamaro. A dark rose from Puglia. Salmon Pink in color, notes of tropical fruit on the nose. Bright acidity that dissipates quickly. Very smooth finish. A fantastic rose from one of the “heaviest” grapes in Italy!

Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici Riserva 2-11. Aglianico from Campania. This is a serious wine from one of the two oldest wineries in Campania. Soft red fruit, texutral oak and tannin. Bottle aged for 42 months. Soft red fruit at the outset then tannin closes in with solid structure.

Paternoster Aglianico Del Vulture Synthesi 2015. From Basilicata, this Aglianico is more refined than Canpania Aglianicos. Bold ruby color, rose petals and red berries on the nose. Soft red berry fruit on the palate. Chewy tannins close in quickly. Medium short finish, 80% Slovenian oak, 20% French Barrique.

2/20/19 Italian Tasting

This tasting consisted of an Alto Adige Pinot Grigio, a Sicilian white and red, a Nero D’Avola from Puglia and a ripasso style Valpolicella.

Tolloy 2017 Pinot Grigio. Alto Adige . Honeysuckle nose, ripe fruit. Not crisp but then again not another throwaway PG.

Stemmari Dalila Bianco. 80% Grillo and 20% Viognier. Orange notes on the nose. round acidity and chalky minerality.

Stemmari Cantodoro. Cabernet/Nero D’Avola blend. Vanilla bean nose, tart and juicy. First sip indicated a pretty simple wine. Second sip showed more structure than the first.

Stemmari Hedonis. 50% of the fruit is passimento. Dark ruby, light vanilla nose. 100% Nero. Strange approach. On the first sip, earthy, chocolate tannins attack the front of the palate. On the second sip, lively acidity on the back but only after the chocolate at the front. I think this wine is not as well integrated as I’d like it to be. There are almost two wines warring with one another here and not sure which one wins.

Campolieti Ripasso. Cherrry fruit. Textural Corvina (60%), Rondinella (25%) and Molinaro (15%). Big tart back cherry fruit on the palate. Chocolate on the sides and front of the aplate. Chewy structure. A big wine, as one might expect, situated halfway between an Amarone and a Valpolicella…

02/120/19 Mixed Bag Tasting

Today’s first tasting included an eclectic mix of wines. One Austrian wine, two French one Spanish and one Washington State wine.

Hopler Gruner Veltliner Burgenland 2017. Light yellow color, light body, mineral laden wiht reduced acidity and a relatively short finish.

Gachot Monot Saint Aubin (Chardonnay) 2016. Pale yellow color, very translucent. Light nose of vanilla and pear. On the palate, bright acidity, vanilla spice. Medium+ body, definitely a product of malolactic fermentation and lightly oaked. 9 mos in 20-30% new French oak.

Chateau Lestrille-Capmartin Cuvee Tradition Bordeaux Superieur. 2012. 60% Merlot, 25% Cab, 15% Cab Franc. Dark ruby color. Spicy French oak and red fruit on the nose. Very textural, low acidity, mild red fruit. Sourced from near Entre Deux Mers on the right bank side.

La Cartuja Priorat. 2016. Bright ruby color, medium color saturation, spicy red berry nose, velvet tannin, juicy red fruit. Quite textural. This is a chew and fruit driven Spanish red.

Pamplin JRG Colombia Valley Bordeaux Blend 2014. 75% cab, 20% merlot, 3% malbec, 2% petite verdot. Dark ruby color, spice and caasis on the nose. Velvety soft tannin with great structure. Acidity is on the soft side making the fruit appear sweeter than it actually is. .

02/13/19 Italian Wines and Argentine Malbec

St Pauls Gfill Sauv Blanc Sudtirol 2017. Pale golden color. Straw and citrus on the nose. Grapefruit rind on the palate. Bright acidity but fades quickly.

Guido Porro Langhe Nebbiolo Camilu 2017. “Camilu” is the designation for a simpler wine than a Barolo because the vines are not as old as the DOCG requirements for a Barolo. Light garnet color. Light body. On the nose intense red cherry pie filling. on the palate, cherry stone. The fruit elements are fresh fruit (young wine), medium long finish. No oaking.

Nicolis Valpolicella Classico Ripasso Seccal Veneto 2015. 80% Corvina, 10% Rondinella, 5% each, Molinaro/Croatina. Ripasso, Amarone and Roccioto skins. Aged oak (Slavonian, 18 mos),. Dark garnet, tart dark cherry palate. Medium acidity, heavy body, tannic.

Zolo Malbec Reserva, Mendoza 2015. 75% new French/25% new American. Tannic, earthy with lingering acidity at the back of the palate. Somewhat austere.

02/12/19 Greek Wine Tasting

I am as guilty as anyone about having stereotypical thoughts about Greek Wine. Just the words together conjure up scents of pine resin (Retsina). I could not have been further off base. Every single one of the wines I tasted were elegant, polished and unique. Give Greek wines a try - you will be amazed at the quality of good ones!

Wine Art Estate Malagousia Plano (Macedonia) - Pale gold with green flashes. On the nose, stone fruit and grass - white peach? On the palate, gooseberry/grapefruit - this drinks much like a Sauvignon Blanc. Tart, crisp with a long finish of lemon fruit mid palate. Dry, medium body.

Carras Assyrtiko. Assyrtiko is the premium grape of Greece. It is a white grape and produced, in this example, a pale yellow wine with notes of tangerine on the nose. Tart, dry with a tangy tangerine citrus note on the palate. 50% neutral oak/50% stainless. Medium plus body. Works well as a substitute for either Vermentino or Chardonnay.

Gavalas Santorini Assyrtiko. The Greek island of Santorini is a volcanic island. Virtually no vegetation unless it is cultivated. The soils are primarily pumice. Vines are trained like wreaths, coiled up on the ground to keep the fruit close to the earth to prevent wind damage. No irrigation is permitted. Rootstocks go back 500-600 years. This harsh environment produces a wine of extravagant extraction and concentration of fruit. The wine was pale yellow with green tint. From 80-100 year old vines,. Rich stone fruit on the palate. Very polished. Not a lot of minerality as one might expect.

La Tour Melas Rose. Pale salmon color. Spicy, faint hint of petrol minerality. Maybe wild red berry nose, tart strawberry on the palate. Very like a fruit forward Provencal rose. Medium fruit, light body, bright acidity fades quickly.

Moraitis Rose. North of Santorini, on the mainland, soils are primarily sandy. The wine is a dark pink color. Minerality on the nose. Bright acidity and dark red berry fruit on the palate. Long finish, acidity is almost effervescent.

Pavilou Nemea (Agiorgitiko). Medium ruby color, roses and blackberry fruit on the nose. Berry/cherry fruit on the palate. Soft tannin, acidity in balance. Medium body and alcohol. Long finish, mid palate.

Moraitis Paros Reserve. Mandelaria (red grape) & Monemvassia (white grape - related to Malvasia) are co-fermented like Cote Rotie. 80% French oak, 20% American oak. Bright acidity, tight textural tannin. Crushed cherry and berry flavors about mid-way between fresh fruit and stewed fruit. Medium finish. This drinks like a cross between Sangiovese and Merlot. Perhaps not the biggest wine in the world but very refined.

02/06/19 Tasting

2015 Louis Barruol Cotes du Rhone Blanc. 80% Marsanne/ 20% Rousanne. Deep gold color. Deep pear and tree fruit nose along with floral notes. Controlled acidity, very little minerality. Dry, crisp.

2016 JM Brocard Chablis Vau de Vey - Pale gold. Vanilla nose with melon. Controlled acidity, heavy body, lemon fruit, flinty/steely finish.

2016 Brocard Chablis Vaudesir. Heavier vanilla, body is heavier and acidity more checked than the Vau de Vey. A beautiful Chablis and more easily quaffed than the Vau de Vey.

2016 Henri Bourgeois. Pale lemon color, strong gooseberry aromas, grapefruit rind on palate with acidity. heavy body.

2014 Maldonado Chardonnay Parr Vineyard (Napa) 2014. Lemon yellow. 16 mos of neutral French Oak aging. Clove and broiled pineapple on the nose, broiled pineapple continuing on the palate. Body medium, acidity controlled.

2014 Bouvier Gevrey Chambertin Pinot Noir. Medium garnet color, French oak on nose with aromas of cranberry. On the palate, acidity is very controlled.

2014 Brunier Chateauneuf du Pape Piedlong. Medium garnet color, stewed black and red berry fruit. Muted notes of blackberry and red plum on the palate.

Fantino Barolo Bussia Riserva Cascina Dardi 2012. Ruby color with telltale browning at the edges. 60 year old vines, five years in oak and one in the bottle. Spicy/musty nose. Elegant with controlled acidity, velvet sof tannins and cherry/red berry fruit. Very perfumed and floral nose. Look for this soon at Somm.