The Brownbag Irregulars gathered for their second meeting last week to blind taste and consider another dozen wine selections from around the world. Some tasters had been at the previous event, while there were some new attendees as well, including our own Kim Adams; all were “in the biz,” as the saying goes. As was the case previously, there were no sales pitches, just some good palates checking out some new wines. We got things going with the two whites in the lineup.
Wine #1: Clean pale to medium color; nice white tree fruit and mineral nose fleshes out on the palate with peach and melon. Medium-full bodied, rich and expressive, with good acids and intensity and a little oily in texture. I was reasonably sure that this was something from southern France, and in fact, it was a little lovely we had tasted just a few weeks before.
2007 Chateau Font du Loup Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, approximately $40.25 retail, available in the Detroit market. Find this wine
Wine #2: Clean pale to medium color, and very “green” in personality, especially after the previous selection, with lots of green apple character shaded with a little lime; medium bodied and more, with ample acids and good intensity of flavor. Seemed Riesling-ish, and darned if it wasn’t!
2008 Efeste Riesling Columbia Valley “Evergreen,” approximately $18.55 retail, not yet available in the Detroit market. Find this wine
Wine #3: Clean, dark color, with animal, earth and berry on the nose; flavors echo with a solid earthy anchor, striking a nice balance between the ripe fruit and the earthiness. Medium-full to full bodied, with decent structure for a few years in the cellar, and offers excellent QPR (quality-price-ratio). I thought it to be something from the Languedoc, but in fact it’s a blend of Merlot, Cabernet and Cabernet Franc.
2008 Chateau Camarsac Bordeaux, approximately $12.25 retail, available in the Detroit market. Find this wine
Wine #4: Clean, dark color, and very ripe on the nose, almost cherry cola-like; raspberry and black cherry on the palate, with earthy undertones, and one taster added an impression of “musty cedar.” Medium-full to full bodied, with good structure, and while I like it, it seems much more new world in style than something from Margaux.
2005 Chateau La Tour de Bessan Margaux, approximately $40.25 retail, available in the Detroit market. Find this wine
Wine #5: Clean dark color, with earthy animal and black fruit flavors and aromas shaded with subtle mahogany and spice; good intensity and length. Kim remarked that this is a good food wine, and I was sure that it is a new world Zinfandel based wine. Wrong!
2005 Chateau de Villegeorge Haut-Medoc, approximately $33.60 retail, available in the Detroit market. Find this wine
Wine #6: Clean,dark color and very ripe and Zin-like on the nose; rich and ripe without going over the top, offering black raspberry flavors and aromas accented a spicy character that sets the tone. A real crowd pleaser that one taster noted to have “a pickel thing” going on, while another described it as “overly perfumed. I was sure it was Zinfandel, and again, I was wrong, as it’s a Cabernet-Merlot blend.
2006 Sullivan Vineyards Napa “Red Ink,” approximately $21.00 retail, available in the Detroit market. Find this wine
Wine #7: Clean, dark color’ earthy animal dominates the nose with some char lurking in the background; more char in the mouth, taking on a toast and coffee character, with a solid core of dark plum and berry. Full bodied, well structured and while there’s more char here than I care for, this style does seem to have its adherents.
2007 Gifford Hirlinger Walla Walla “Stateline Red,” approximately $17.50 retail, not yet available in the Detroit market. Find this wine
Wine #8: Clean, dark color, with deep, dark black fruit on the nose, accented with a kiss of medium char oak; ripe cola, chocolate, blackberry and plum flavors on a full bodied frame, with good structure and intensity. One taster referred to it as “Starbuck’s wine,” while another called it a “blowtorch.” For me, it wants some serious Bar-b-q to offset the ripe fruit and oaky nuances.
2006 Gifford Hirlinger Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon, approximately $29.40 retail, not yet available in the Detroit market. Find this wine
Wine #9: Deep, dark color, with an earth, animal, berry and plum nose that follows through and takes on a note of chocolate and what one taster described as “sweet candy oak” in the mouth. Medium-full to full bodied with good structure, intensity and length. Obviously new world, and I figured something Rhone-ish or Zin-ish, but nope, it’s Merlot!
2006 Gifford Hirlinger Walla Walla Merlot, approximately $23.10 retail, not yet available in the Detroit market. Find this wine
Wine #10: Clean, dark color, with a little char over dark plum and berry on the nose; chocolate-y texture and flavore, with a solid core of black fruit, and earthy anchor and some toast and coffee. Full bodied, ripe and spicy, with good structure and length. Hard to identify any varietal character with this one; turns out to be a Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah blend.
2006 Efeste Columbia Valley “Final-Final,” approximately $29.40 retail, not yet available in the Detroit market. Find this wine
Wine #11: Looks like a glass of ink, and even smells opaque, with deep, dark fruit, coffee and toast on the nose; I’m thinking Syrah from the density and color of the wine, but the coffee and toast completely overwhelm any varietal character. One taster added an impression of “road tar.” Big and brawny, but too much oak, Mozart!
2007 Efeste Yakima Valley “Jolie Bouche” Syrah Bouchey Vineyard, approximately $37.19 retail, not yet available in the Detroit market. Find this wine
Wine #12: Deep, dark color, and plenty off toast and coffee on the nose, but a core of berry and plum does emerge in the mouth. Full bodied, with good depth and structure. A Wine Spectator Top 100 wine, and probably appealing to new world palates, but too much oak for me.
2007 Efeste Syrah Red Mountain “Ceidleigh,” approximately $37.10 retail, not yet available in the Detroit market. Find this wine
Tasters were polled as to their favorite wines of the tasting and top honors yesterday went to The 2005 Chateau de Villegeorge, Haut Medoc. Second and third place went to 2008 Chateau Font du Loup Blanc and 2005 Chateau Tour de Bessan Margaux respectively. My preferences were the Font du Loup Blanc, Chateau Camarsac and Chateau de Villegeorge, in that order. Wines 7-12 reminded me once again why I’m still looking for a red from the state of Washington that I’d spend $$ on.
Reporting from Day-twah,