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Brown Bag Irregulars March On

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The Brownbag Irregulars gathered for their third monthly meeting last week to blind taste and consider another dozen wine selections from around the world, and as was the case in the first two episodes, I was pretty much right on with guessing the origin and/or variety of some of the wines, close on a few others and wildly off on several. But hey, that’s part of the fun, right? Participation continues to be a revolving door scenario with this crew, as almost half the tasters were first timers. As usual, we started with two whites.

Wine #1: Pretty medium straw color, with mineral, lanolin and white tree fruit on the nose, all of which seems to gain a kiss of oak on the palate. Silky smooth, with enough acids to keep things moving right along, and I’m pretty sure that this is some kind of Californian white Rhone something-or-another. NOT!!!
2006 Robert Young Estate Chardonnay Alexander Valley, approximately $36.49 retail, available in the Detroit market. Find this wine

Wine #2: Clean pale-to-medium straw color, with lemon and grapefruit citrus-like character on both the nose and palate; other tasters threw out impressions of “tangerine” and “pineapple.” Shows good weight, cut and intensity, and I’m reminded of Sauvignon Blanc, but I’m reminded of Verdejo in white Rioja a little more. Should have stuck with my first impression, but whatever the case, this is some nice wine.
2007 Tres Sabores Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma Mountain, approximately $21.00 retail, available in the Detroit market. Find this wine

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Wine #3: Pinot-like smoky ruby color, with toast and coffee oak char that dominates the obvious Pinot Noir fruit. Middle weight, with decent structure and intensity, but just too much oak, and overpriced for what it turns out to be.
2007 Phelps Creek Pinot Noir Estate Reserve Columbia Gorge, approximately $45.50 retail, not yet available in the Detroit market. Find this wine

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Wine #4: Pinot-like smoky ruby color, with a reticent perfume and pleasant smoky strawberry and cherry flavors. Middleweight, with moderate structure; a drink-me-now kind of Pinot Noir, rather than a Syrah wannabe. Much more reasonably priced than the previous selection.
2007 Phelps Creek Pinot Noir Becky’s Cuvee Columbia Gorge, approximately $28.00 retail, not yet available in the Detroit market. Find this wine

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Wine #5: Clean dark garnet color, with a subtle perfume of black currant and blackberry graced with a judicious kiss of oak, all of which echoes and expands on the palate. Sleek, but full bodied, with good length and enough structure for a few years in the cellar, but nice right now. I was half right when I guessed this to be a New World Bordeaux variety or blend of some kind.
2006 Chateau Lacombe Noaillac Rouge Medoc, approximately $21.00 retail, available in the Detroit market. Find this wine

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Wine #6: Clean dark garnet color, with a pretty (if a little shy) perfume that fleshes out on the palate to show a decent core of black currant, blackberry and dried cherry; decent structure and intensity. This reminds me of Rioja, but it’s another one of those seemingly ubiquitous international-styled Bordeauxs.
2006 Chateau Labat Rouge Haut-Medoc, approximately $24.50 retail, available in the Detroit market. Find this wine

Wine #7: Clean dark color, with a notes of black olive and sticksy forest floor over black currant and blackberry in both flavor and aroma; good structure and intensity here, and I’m a little surprised that I couldn’t at least place it as a southern Rhone, not to mention being from one of my favorite producers.
2007 Domaine Sainte Anne Rouge Cotes du Rhone, approximately $14.00 retail, available in the Detroit market. Find this wine

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Wine #8: Deeply, darkly colored, and nicely perfumed, with a kiss of oak over fairly rich black currant and blackberry shaded with some mahogany; flavors echo with decent structure and good intensity and length. Ready to go now, but can age for at least another few years as well. Falls just short of too much oak for this taster, and hard for me to justify the price tag.
2004 Bodegas Alion Tinto Reserva Ribera del Duero, approximately $95.49 retail, available in the Detroit market. Find this wine

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Wine #9: Clean dark garnet, with pretty flavors and aromas of blackberry and black cherry graced with a nice kiss of oak; full bodied and well structured, with somewhat astringent tannins that would like a few years to round off the rough edges. Very nice now, but better five years or so down the road.
2006 Joseph Family Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley, approximately $38.50 retail, not yet available in the Detroit market. Find this wine

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Wine #10: Clean dark color, with spicy oak on the nose; there’s a nice core of black cherry and berry fruit here, but that spicy oak dominates. Medium-full to full bodied, with decent structure, this will appeal to New World palates, but is beset by too much oak for my tastes. Over-priced.
2006 Jaffe Estate Transformation Proprietary Blend St. Helena
, approximately $61.00 retail, not yet available in the Detroit market. Find this wine

Wine #11: Clean dark garnet, with a toasty oak nose that follows through on the palate with a nice core of berry-cherry fruit; medium-full to full bodied, with decent structure and length. Nice, if not my style, this reminds me of the Left Coast Sangioveses from the Cal-Italia days of the late ’90s, so I was surprised to find that it’s Cabernet Sauvignon. Over-priced.
2006 Jaffe Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Metamorphosis St. Helena, approximately $61.00 retail, not yet available in the Detroit market. Find this wine

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Wine #12: Clean dark garnet color, with pretty cherry stick character graced with a kiss of toasty oak and a creamy undertone to it; medium-full to full bodied, with good structure and intensity. Nice, but $91 nice?! I think not.
2006 Alpha Omega Proprietary Red Napa Valley, approximately $91.00 retail, available in the Detroit market. Find this wine

Group favorites of the day were as follows:
First Place: 2007 Tres Sabores Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma Mountain
Second Place: 2004 Bodegas Alion Tinto Reserva Ribera del Duero
Third Place: 2006 Alpha Omega Proprietary Red Napa Valley

My favorites:
First Place: 2006 Robert Young Estate Chardonnay Alexander Valley
Second Place: 2006 Chateau Labat Rouge Haut-Medoc
Third Place: 2006 Joseph Family Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley

Reporting from Day-twah,

geo t.

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  2. Blind Tasting with the Brownbag Irregulars

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