Archive for the Jim Cowan Category
The 2013 archive is presented by date the notes were compiled and submitted. Prior year’s tasting notes may be found here.
May 9, 2013
2010 Louis Michel, Chablis:
12.5; clean and penetrating lemon and mineral scents; likewise on the palate with good breadth, intense and vigorous; good length. Not a hint of wood anywhere; Chablis and distinctively so. Under screwcap. About $20. I buy a case of this almost every year and the closure allows me to have a glass at a time over the span of a week; nothing like a glass of Chablis to start off dinner. Find this wine
1995 Laurel Glenn, Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Mountain:
12.5% abv; the aromatics tend toward the greener aspects of cabernet although not so much that I’d call it bell pepper; in the mouth it is slightly rustic, grippy, has full albeit young, fruit, and good sustain. Needs more time than the 1994 and 1996 versions I have had recently as it shows little development. Of the three, the 1996 was in a great place last week, the 1994 seemed past it and this seems too young. Find this wine
2005 Alain Michaud, Brouilly Prestige de Vielles Vignes:
13.0% abv; restrained nose that is mostly dark fruit and earth; much the same in the mouth with considerable concentration and structure, opened some with air; medium length but quite intense. Showing the first glimpses of its old vine depth and sap; a wine that will take many years to develop and has the balance to promise delight. With fennel sausage in chunky red sauce, yummy. Find this wine
2005 Alain Michaud, Brouilly Prestige de Vielles Vignes :
13% abv; somewhat tired and attenuated on the nose although it’s clearly Beaujolais; similar in the mouth despite good flavors and grip; medium finish. Either past prime or not a representative bottle. Good with carbonara. Find this wine
The 2012 archive is presented by date the notes were compiled and submitted. Prior year’s tasting notes may be found here.
November 25, 2012
2002 Dom. Michel Voarick, Corton-Renardes:
Very pretty cherry, horehound, beet root aromatics that are a little sweet and a little savory but not very expansive; tastes of Corton as it is firm, structured and edgy in the mouth. But half way through the evening the wine turns to black fruit and the tannins become quite prominent and somewhat drying. By the end of the night this is all iron and tannin and not something I want more of. I am guessing we got to this just before it falls off a cliff . . . or maybe I just don’t get its aging potential. Find this wine
2004 Giacosa, Nabbiolo d’Alba Valmaggiore:
Tasted very generic at this point; not bad but without depth or character. Hold. Find this wine
2005 de Villaine, Côte Chalonnaise Les Clous:
Pretty chardonnay half leaning toward Chablis and with good length. Needs bottle age to be more but also nice now. Find this wine
2009 Calluna Vineyards, Merlot Aux Raynauds:
Simply wonderful; rich but not flamboyant, structured yet with plenty of savory fruit, lively in the mouth and very long. The depth and nuance of this wine are approaching world class even at this young age. As good a merlot as I can remember – from anywhere. Find this wine
2010 Edmond et Anne Vatan, Sancerre Clos la Néore:
Tart and too young to show much of anything; hold. Find this wine
2007 Dom. Saint Siffrein, CdP:
Delicious, and this from someone with little use for Grenache. Smooth, nuanced, tactile and long. Quite nice. Find this wine
2004 Lagier-Meredith, Syrah:
Of whole cloth now with layers of flavor and a lovely texture in the mouth. Not the most complex syrah I ever had but one of the easiest to enjoy. Drink now. Find this wine
2002 Ridge, Mataro Pato Vineyard:
Satin textured, forward fruit, no mataro funk (which I miss), and decent length. A good wine but not a great one. Find this wine
1990 Ridge, Geyserville:
A biological disaster that may also be cooked and corked. DNPIM. Find this wine
2010 Chester’s Anvil, Gewürztraminer:
I am not a fan of this grape but this was pleasant. A little perm solution of the nose but pretty in the mouth, if a little thin. And yet, something about this wine made me take another glass – I have no idea why. Find this wine
2007 Hanzell, Chardonnay:
Another chardonnay that leans toward Chablis but not far enough. Good minerality, clean fruit, some depth, good length. I hear these age quite well so we may be too early to this bottle. Nonetheless, easy to drink. Find this wine
December 10, 2011
A very nice dinner with friends included the following:
2006 Overnoy, Arbois Pupillin:
Crisp, clean and deep – perhaps not typical descriptors for Overnoy but in this vintage, certainly appropriate. A unique flavor profile to any other poulsard I have tasted and a wine I never tire of. Lovely. Find this wine
2006 Allemand, Cornas both the Chaillot and Reynard:
The Chaillot is pretty open and forthcoming for being so young and it is complex, even now. The Reynard is a coiled spring and made of sterner stuff; clearly we are too early to this bottle, but its promise is evident. Both are obviously Cornas and obviously Allemand. And both accompanied my steak very well indeed. Thanks Justin. Find Allemand Cornas Chaillot and Find Allemand Cornas Reynard
I have given up writing any notes on my wines except those not yet released. There are only about 15 cases of the 2008 Skin-Fermented Sauvignon Blanc and I tried a bottle recently.
I am pleased with where this has gone; it’s darker than when first bottled (think burnished copper), softer and has developed some ginger and sauvage notes while maintaining its balance and skin-fermented character. Starting, I think, to tend into Gravner-esque territory. I do hope our 2010 Isa does this with age.
Beautiful with squash soup.
I also recently tasted the as yet unreleased 2009 Calluna Vineyards, Merlot Aux Raynauds and was surprised by how European it came across. This one needs several years in the bottle but promises to be the kind of merlot I actually like, that is to say, merlot without the chocolate, oak signature so many CA merlots have. No “booty” here, just a focused and layered wine. Impressive and dandy with beef stroganoff. Thanks David. Find this wine
Calluna is located in the Chalk Hill AVA here in Sonoma County.
The 2008 Occipinti, Frappato is a thing of beauty; smells a bit like gamay but reminds me more of something from the Jura when tasted. I have never had this grape before so I apologize for the comparisons but it was excellent wine with good grip and sustain. Thanks Garrett. Find this wine
And one last comment; for those of you in the Oakland area, do not miss the wine bar called Punchdown at 2212 Broadway. They have two wine lists; one by the bottle or carafe, and one by the glass. Both are extraordinarily well chosen, filled with things esoteric and unusual, and loaded with quality. The service is provided by the owners (always a good thing) and the noshes are delicious. Finally, a good reason to go to Oakland.
Read the rest of this entry »
With much anticipation, Cowan Cellars has announced its first release. Way to go, Jim and Diane!! We wish you both much success in this and upcoming releases.
The wines are:
2010 Isa (skin-fermented white)
2010 Pinot Noir, Bennett Valley
2010 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast.
You can read about these wines on here.
You can read a little about the history behind these wines here.
You may purchase these wines here.
The 2011 archive is presented by date the notes were compiled and submitted. Prior year’s tasting notes may be found here
April 24, 2011
2001 F.X. Pichler, Riesling M:
13% alcohol; this wine has shed the fat and viscosity of its youth to become both more balanced and less powerful. Clean scents of fruit and spring water; balanced in the mouth with solid flavors, some nuance and excellent balance; good length. In its youth, one could see this developing a richness and depth that would stun; instead, it has become more feminine and contained. Not what I expected but very good with “bubble and squeak.” Three days later: after being re-corked and refrigerated, this came out with the texture of Welch’s White Grape Juice mixed with pineapple syrup. I liked it better upon opening. Find this wine
2008 Bedrock, Cuvée Caritas:
14.1% alcohol; fairly expressive nose with fruit and mineral tones, some resin; a pretty good flavor profile that shows a bit too much new wood influence, there aren’t any oak flavors nor does it smell of wood but the mid-palate texture is amped up (as new wood will do) and the fruit is noticeably deadened; medium finish. Later vintages of this wine seem to be more dialed in as far as the oak goes and have better balance. Find this wine
1999 Lafarge, Volnay Vendages Selectionées:
13% alcohol; substantial VA on the nose with an impression of tannin but, even still, the cherry (both black and red) comes through; brooding, tannic and moderately unbalanced in the mouth but the Volnay texture is there and the tannin is not too drying; medium length. A flawed wine but, curiously, an interesting one. Find this wine
The 2010 archive is presented by date the notes were compiled and submitted. This is Part 2 of the archive. Part 1 may be found here.
December 22, 2010
2005 Luneau-Papin, Muscadet Pueri Solis:
12% alcohol; smells close to corked; tastes similar; not much here for me although, with the proper food this is better than something that really is corked. Find this wine
2002 Verget, Chablis Vaillons:
13% alcohol; rich on both the nose and palate with a full-ish delivery and good sustain. A damn nice wine – and I| don’t usually give Verget the props. Find this wine
2004 de Vilaine, Mercury Les Montots:
12.5% alcohol; pretty green to start with but this came alive with a spicy corn dish. Probably less than what I want (at least, right now) but has its place. Find this wine
(See August, 2010 update below)
In the fall of 2005, Russell Bevan gave me a call. Russell and I had been friends for almost a decade, wine buddies from the start. I had visited countless times and been a guest at his house on several occasions. But this call wasn’t about a party or a tour; this was a request to come out and help work the harvest for his new enterprise, Bevan Cellars. I am retired so I had the time. As it turned out, it was the beginning of my interest in starting my own label, Cowan Cellars.
The 2010 archive is presented by date the notes were compiled and submitted. This is Part 1 of the archive. Part 2 may be found here.
August 7, 2010
2007 Francois Cotat, Sancerre Rose:
Very slight residual sugar, pleasant aromas and flavors of strawberry and melon, good acidity and balance and a medium finish. A nice wine but not even in the same world as the 2009 Tempier, Rose. 13% alcohol. find this wine
2002 Francois Chidaine, Montlouis Les Choisilles:
Sour to begin with but it comes around with airing; a nice balanced chenin with good fruit, light complexity and decent length. Nothing to write home about but better than quaffable. find this wine
2005 Rochioli, Pinot Noir Little Hill:
Although obviously a fine wine, this did not open completely over the course of an evening; so if you have it, hold it. 14.2% abv with a slightly sour but very expansive nose; excellent fruit flavors with gentle oak, some finesse and good length. It will be more than it is now. find this wine
2006 Overnoy, Arbois-Pupillin (rouge):
What it always is – a conversation stopper. Served to a bunch of CA wine geeks that initially didn’t like it – “where’s the fruit?” By the end of the evening, three out of four were converts. Looks and smells old, more savory than fruit driven with both elegance and rusticity and a fine grained finish that lasts. I love this wine and to see such CA centric folks wind-up digging poulsard – ‘gives me hope. find this wine