Follow Us

November 25 – 2012 – Florida Jim Cowan’s 2012 Tasting Notes Archive

Jim Cowan Photo by Chris Witkowski - click to enlarge

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

Best, Jim

October 22, 2012

We transplants to the left coast have adopted the Giants as our baseball team of choice; fortunately, our timing was impeccable. Cardiac kids, times two.

Diane brought in some fresh figs from our tree and added manchego, caramelized onions and fig balsamic; the whole thing lightly heated and served on water crackers. Served with the 2010 Navarro, Dry Muscat, which worked rather well; the wine has lost its youthful heavy jasmine scent and has become more floral and vinous; likewise in the mouth with nice acidity and a clean, lithe finish. Find this wine

And then she presented a strada of eggs, cheeses and bread with sides of sautéed mushrooms and peas. I opened the 2010 Occhipinti, La Frappato which was a remarkable wine in many ways. At first it is in pieces; rustic, tannic and disjointed to begin with, in about 30 minutes it melds together to become a very complete and delicious wine; sort of a combination of gamay, nebbiolo and nerello mascalese. Or something like that. A memorable experience and a fine pairing.  Find this wine

And the Giants win the pennant, the Giants win the pennant…

October 20, 2012

Café des Amis, in the Cow Hollow district of San Francisco, was the meeting spot for our group of winos on a fine October evening. Good food and nice service . . . and a few Burgundies:

1996 Laurent, Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots:
I tasted this early on and never got back to it; initial impressions were not of wood (which I expected) but rather of sous bois, and attenuated fruit. I suspect that air helped but don’t know. Find this wine

2008 Jerome Chezeaux, Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots magnum:
I liked this and while I would not say it was exceptional, it was clean, pleasant had some complexity and enough fruit that I thought it balanced. Find this wine

1997 Meo Camuzet, Clos de Vougeot:
I thought this was mildly corked, others thought it merely vegetal; in any event, I could not get past my initial impression and stopped at two sips. Find this wine

2009 Voillot, Volnay:
All baby fat and simplicity tonight but charming, nonetheless, and a pretty wine. Very much enjoyed. Find this wine

2008 d’Angerville, Volnay Clos des Ducs:
Closed at first and even when, with air, it opened somewhat, it never really got past simple. Nice simple and even worth a second glass but this should have so much more in the future. Find this wine

1999 Drouhin, Volnay Clos des Chênes:
Closed at first but blossomed over the course of the evening and stood out for its texture and depth. I have had this wine several times since release and only once was I underwhelmed. A lovely bottle, my last of the case; yes, I was too early but I still enjoyed it a great deal. Others seemed to also. Find this wine

Best, Jim

October 10, 2012

An annual event; grilled food and covered dishes in Mark’s back yard with a diverse gang of folks.
And a little wine . . .

2002 Raveneau, Chablis Forêt: Correct, pleasant and of its place; but it’s just that and the breed is not showing. Find this wine

1990 Cheval Blanc: Blocky and closed both on the nose and palate; angry at the moment and not ready for drinking. Find this wine

1990 Conterno, Barolo Cascina Francia: Immense disappointment; perfect cork, high fill, raisin juice. Find this wine

1999 Gilles Robin, Crozes-Hermitage Cuveé Alberic Bouvet (magnum): Got better and better as it opened; no sign of brett, complex and delicious wine but still showing young in this format. The
last of my stash – sigh. Thunderbird award. Find this wine

2002 Knoll, Riesling Kellerberg Smaragd: Charming from the outset and even better with air; early in its life but such potential. Find this wine

1999 Giacosa, Barolo Falletto: Great wine in its infancy; a pleasure to smell and very long – just needed food while we were drinking.Find this wine

2007 Ott, Rhine Riesling (magnum): Lovely, almost ethereal throughout the entire mag. A pleasure. Find this wine

1995 Lafarge, Volnay Clos du Chateau des Ducs: No there, there and past its moment – or so terribly backward that I doubt it will ever show well. Find this wine

1981 Mt. Eden, Cabernet Sauvignon: For one brief moment, nice; and then it went downhill precipitously. Find this wine

A respite during harvest; thanks Mark and Marico.

Best, Jim

September 28, 2012

Dinner with “the boys” in honor of a birthday (not mine):

2010 Dagueneau, Pouilly-Fumé Silex:
Sauvignon blanc doesn’t get much better, IMO; crystalline flavors, energy, presence and length. Stupid price but great wine. Find this wine

2009 Kistler, Pinot Noir Kistler Vineyard:
Pinot noir concentrate from anywhere. Not bad wine just not worth wasting calories on. Find this wine

2002 Thomas, Pinot Noir (magnum):
The antithesis of the preceding wine; translucent, weightless, with mostly savory flavors and aromas, silken, distinctive; a mag was not enough. Find this wine

2005 Ridge, Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello:
Expecting a wall of American oak in one so young, was delighted to find a concentrated and intense mountain cabernet of quality and character. Find this wine

2007 B.V. Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour:
Lightweight cabernet that is acceptable but not special. Find this wine

1986 B.V. Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour:
Good providence, perfect cork; raisin juice. Sigh . . . Find this wine

Best, Jim

September 13, 2012

1999 Drouhin, Volnay Clos des Chênes:
Strikes that balance between guts and grace; depth and elegance; structure and fruit; still firm but clear and charming. Benefitted from time in the decanter and should benefit even more from time in the bottle. Lovely wine with fresh king salmon done rare. Find this wine

1999 Dugat-Py, Gevrey-Chambertin Les Evocelles:
13% alcohol; Gevrey earth and dark fruit with a soy note on the nose; no soy on the palate as the wine is deep, dense and earthy, a touch clumsy but very enjoyable and with moderate complexity; medium length finish. I expected some wood influence but did not find it. A well stuffed wine but not a monolith. Find this wine

2006 Tokaj Kereskedőház Zrt., Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos Muskotály Premium Selection 500ml:
10.5% alcohol; 156g RS, 9.8g TA, 100% muscat; a wine that is made perhaps once every thirty years – when the muscat has botrytis and is clean; this is a sweet wine that finishes almost bone dry – a contradiction of the first order; immense mouthfeel with complex flavors and an intensity like no other wine I have tasted (certainly beyond Essenzia); even with the kind of power it delivers, it comes across as light on its feet, aromatic, balanced and oh so pretty – almost achingly so. I am no fan of sweet wines but this is unique and stunning. A wine for the generations and a true life list bottle.
Oh my! Find this wine

Best, Jim

August 12, 2012

2010 Dom. Pépière, Muscadet Las Gras Moutons:
12% alcohol; Fuller and richer than most Muscadet with lemon, seashore and mineral tones, good sustain and nice balance. I marvel that folks still by white Burgundy when this costs only $16. Superb with pesto pasta. Find this wine

2010 Dom des Braves, Régnié:
13.5% alcohol; also richer than expected with wonderful fresh and cooked fruit smells, good acidity, balance and sustain. Diane loves this wine (a rare comment from her), so I will be getting more soon. Other-worldly delicious with roast chicken. About $14. Find this wine

2011 Qupé, Marsánne:
13% alcohol; 79% marsánne/21% rousánne; a nice rich wine with a bright delivery and good flavors; maybe a little too much rousánne for me but good accompaniment alongside pasta with broccoli. About $16. Find this wine

Several of us met at Stark’s steak house in Santa Rosa for fun and dead burnt cow; here’s what we drank:

1998 G. Conterno, Barolo Cascina Francia:
Its pretty, deep, balanced and fleshy but has just enough new wood to make the palate less interesting than a recent Giacosa. Nice wine but it could have been great wine. Find this wine

2010 Azienda Agricola Cos, Frapatto:
Oh boy is this good! Starts out similar to gamay but morphs into something like village Burgundy; yet it never mimics either one. Has its own distinct, delicious and fun profile and delivers pleasure at every sip. Terrific wine. Find this wine

2005 Cuilleron, Côte Rôtie:
Distinctly of its place but suffers from the same fate as the Conterno; just a touch to much new wood. Still excellent with cow. Find this wine

2006 Vall Llach, Priorat:
The perfect wine to put in a Napa cabernet tasting as a ringer. Soft, sweet, cabernet at 16% alcohol or thereabouts. No sense of place and, for me a bit cloying. Cocktail wine. Find this wine

2007 Heymann Löwenstein, Riesling Schieferterrassen:
Probably at kabinett level but almost dry, this was crisp, clear and almost compelling. A great way to finish off this meal all by itself. My first wine from this producer and a good introduction. Find this wine

Best, Jim

August 3, 2012

2004 Rhys, Pinot Noir Home Vineyard:
13.4% alcohol; extremely expansive aromatics, opened the bottle and you could smell it across the room; mostly dark fruit, somewhat sweet, touch of jalapeño, noticeable tannin; medium length, slightly drying finish. The whole-cluster here is noticeable in the spice and tannin elements and it seems to shorten the finish. Not on the level of Rhys 2008 and later wines but still good pinot. Find this wine

2009 Ryme Cellars, Ribolla Gialla Vare Vnyd.:
13.1% alcohol; gold color with some suspended particulate; deep, rich, tannic and lasting. A wine that will never be for everybody but is very attractive to me; loaded with character. With salad nicoise, very good. Find this wine

2005 de Villaine, Mercury Les Montots:
12.5% alcohol; closed and tannic upon opening; with air and a plate of grilled lamb with polenta and ratatouille, something wonderful. Somewhat Pommard-like with dark fruit, earth tones and textures, and evident structure but a bit lighter in weight. Can use many years in the cellar but still deliver pleasure now with decanting and the right food. In my experience, a very dependable producer of distinctive Burgundy. Find this wine

2009 Kosta Browne, Pinot Noir Amber Ridge:
It was not over-oaked (which I expected) but it was so ripe that the texture was milk-shake, the flavors were stewed and it was way too sweet for me. Not my style. Find this wine

2006 Edmund Vatan, Sancerre Clos la Néore:
13% alcohol; shows every sign of premox; advanced color, lack of freshness, nutty almost oaky flavors and a short and sour finish. One for the drain. Find this wine

1999 Bizot, Vosne-Romanee VV:
12.5% alcohol; smells and tastes like a northern Rhone with olive, grilled meat and a sauvage element (baby Echézeaux maybe?); silken texture, long finish. Not what I expected; even so, a wine with character that was excellent with a pesto and chicken pasta. Find this wine

And then there was a Chambolle dinner with six winos and coq-a-vin:

1969 Leroy, Musigny: Came out of the bottle a bit tired but got better throughout the meal; lacy, composed, elegant and resolved with secondary character and charm; lovely wine. Find this wine

2003 Vogue, Les Amoureuses: Immense in every way; assuming it can resolve, it will need at least a decade. Find this wine

1994 Laurent, Les Amoureuses: medium weight, satin textured and more typical of the vineyard; a rather pretty wine. Find this wine

2002 Magnien, Les Amoureuses: also of its place and more integrated than the Laurent; fine wine. Find this wine

1999 Barthod, Les Fuées: Young and tannic; lots of stuffing and requires food. Find this wine

2005 Laurent, Chambolle-Musigny: a bit oaky and simple. Find this wine

2009 Clair, Les Veroilles: Finesse, elegance and class with fine grained fruit and a beautiful, detailed finish; exceptional wine. Find this wine

Best, Jim

July 24th, 2012

N/V Bodegas Argüeso, Mazanilla Clásica San Léon 375ml:
15% alcohol; nicely fresh sea shore and oxidative notes; clean, mouth-watering and balanced; slim and easy finish. Not quite as fresh and appealing as the Bodegas Hidalgo, La Gitana but very close. And went surprisingly well with a dish of rice and veggies with peanut sauce. Find this wine

2007 Do Ferreiro, Albariño Cepas Vellas:
13.5% alcohol; at cellar temperature, a fairly standard albariño; after decanting and warming to room temperature, anything but; spice, depth, texture and length, this wine has it all. Diane made a squash and tomato casserole and this worked beautifully. Still, I think I would take the Fillaboa, Monte Alto over this wine at half the price. Find this wine

2000 François Cotat, Sancerre Le Culs de Beaujeu:
Still shows a light greenish tint to the otherwise brilliant light yellow; full on the nose and developed, without cat pee or grass and nicely fresh; much the same in the mouth, texturally enticing and quite well balanced; good length. Over the course of an hour or so, did not move in any direction; surely has years left in the cellar. A glimpse of sauvignon blanc that is entirely different from most renditions these days. Thanks Claude. Find this wine

At a tasting of Dressner, Pastor, etc. imports, the following wines made an impression:

2011 Franck Peillot, Altesse de Montaigneu: fresh and lively Find this wine

2010 J.L. Chave Selection, Crozes-Hermitage Silène: ripe but not overly so and very northern Rhone Find this wine

2009 Clos du Mouin aux Moines, Bourgogne Rouge and Pommard Clos Orgelot: the Bourgogne was rustic, fresh and lively, and, the Pommard was all class and breed
Find the Bourgogne Rouge    
Find the Pommard

2011 Eva Fricke, Riesling Schlossberg: quiet aromatics, firm in the mouth, remarkable length, one for the cellar (probably the wine of the tasting for me) Find this wine

2010 7 Fuentes, Listán Negro: complex, character driven and delicious Find this wine

2009 Nusserhöf, Tyroldego: juicy and deep with a lot of character Find this wine

2010 Occhipinti, Il Frappato: very ripe and showing that way but I suspect its baby fat and that this will deliver much more (if indeed, less is more) later on Find this wine

Best, Jim

July 22, 2012

2005 Foreau, Vouvray Sec:
13.2% alcohol; light gold; precise and beautiful aromatics, keeps me coming back to smell again; medium weight, classic chenin flavors, perfect balance and a long finish. A textbook example of Sec and as pretty and well executed a dry Vouvray as I have had in years.
Bravo! Find this wine

1999 Dugat-Py, Gevrey-Chambertin VV:
13% alcohol; considerable bottle bouquet and lots of secondary smells and flavors, tactile and fleshy but more savory than sweet with excellent complexity and sustain. I would not call this bottle “textbook” but I would be happy to drink it any night. A treat for the senses. Find this wine

2000 Belle Pente, Pinot Noir Estate Reserve:
Also showing bottle bouquet and secondary development but, IMO, slipping away from peak and little by little, coming apart. Still, a wine of character and interest but not of great pleasure. Find this wine

2009 Arbe Garbe, Ribolla Gialla:
14.5% alcohol; from the Vare vineyard in Napa; butterscotch and fruit nose; too much new oak in the mouth and little varietal character. Not done on the skins and, IMO, someone tried to make this for the CA consumer. Not my style. Find this wine

2010 Folk Machine, Jeanne D’Arc:
13.8% alcohol; skin- fermented chenin blanc without oxidation; beautiful, full, rich nose of muddled white fruit and earth; good texture and grip in the mouth with flavors that follow the nose, excellent depth; medium plus finish. A really engaging wine and exceptionally well made. Find this wine

1995 Edmunds St. John, Syrah Durrell Vnyd.:
14.4% alcohol; a shadow of its former self; still recognizable as syrah but on the slippery slope towards salad dressing. My guess; at some point, this bottle got too hot for too long. Find this wine

1999 Girardin, Charmes-Chambertin:
Pinot Noir from anywhere and starting to dry out; the wine could not stand the oak regimen. ‘Glad I did not buy this. Find this wine

2005 de Villaine, Les Clous:
12.5% alcohol; nowhere near peak but showing well if uncomplicated; pure, clean, character driven and healthy; sort of the antithesis of white Burgundy these days. Lovely wine. Find this wine

1999 Giacosa, Barolo Falletto:
When opened, it had no nose and was hugely tannic; about half an hour later with pork chop, it was an example of why we buy and cellar Barolo; beyond ethereal aromatics that continued to expand and morph; wonderful in the mouth with a substantial component of rose petals but all the other markers of good Barolo; marvelous finish – long but so intricate as to make it seem even longer. A masterpiece and about as much as I ever need from the DOCG. Find this wine

2003 Leoville Poyferre:
Adequate, but no more; when first opened, an alluring nose and a balanced palate – quickly devolves into prunes and torrefied earth.
Nope. Find this wine

1999 St. Innocent, Pinot Noir Seven Springs Vnyd.:
13.6% alcohol; smells and tastes like syrah – not the slightest indication this is pinot, not even the texture; drying tannins. An unpleasant bottle. Find this wine

Best, Jim

July 12, 2012

2007 François Cotat, Chavignol Rosé:
13%; medium salmon color; mild sour cherry and light honey aromas; smooth texture, adequate acidity and a long finish. But this is off-dry and while I’m sure it has its appeal to some, I have no use for this at all. Too sweet and way to pricey (low $40’s). Find this wine

2010 Navarro, Muscat Blanc (dry):
13.5%; aromas of jasmine, orange blossom and honeysuckle; clear, crisp, well integrated with a stony background element; medium length finish. Diane says it doesn’t really go with our meals and I think that is right (so far). But it does serve as a good starter, a back porch thirst quencher on a hot day and even pairs well with cheeses. Both of us agree that this is a wine with character that we should have a few bottles of in the cellar. Under $20. Find this wine

2010 Grey Stack Chardonnay:
13.8%; clean, etched chardonnay smells and flavors without any reference to the typical CA chardonnay butterscotch, wood, butter and vanilla; crisp acidity, focused albeit simple and quite pure; medium length. With salmon, potatoes and Romano beans, all with a lemon/caper sauce, exceptional. While this may not attain the complexity of fine Chablis, it is the best example of chardonnay we have found in CA and seems to accompany the food that we eat pretty well. We will buy this by the case at about $28/bottle. Find this wine

Best, Jim

June 30, 2012

2010 Rochioli, Pinot Noir:
Pretty wine of the sweetly fruited variety; quite pure and quaffable. Not profound but an enjoyable drink for those who like lots of fruit. Find this wine

1997 Jaboulet, Hermitage La Chapelle:
Complex and savory but thinning a bit at mid-palate. It seems to be tiring but is not gone. Find this wine

2007 E. Vatan, Sancerre:
No green, no grass, no cat-pee; citric, good depth and sustain. Always a pleasure to drink Vatan. And superb with flat beans with hard cooked eggs and caper vinaigrette. Find this wine

1991 Chat. Montelena, Cabernet Sauvignon:
Charitably, call it “bottle bouquet” but this is a bit swampy; never lost that swamp water smell and the fruit has shrunk. Maybe bottle variation; I have one in my cellar and will try it soon. Find this wine

2010 Navarro, Muscat Blanc (dry):
Lightweight and very aromatic; crisp and almost ethereal on the palate. A wine of character without weight. Find this wine

2010 Jadot, Beaujolais-Villages:
Served cold and I liked it that way; a cheerful rendition of the AOC and a wine that is just plain fun. With grilled chicken, a delight. Find this wine

2006 Araujo, Cabernet Sauvignon:
Slick, oaky and even when I have had a few, I don’t want any more of this. Not my style. Find this wine

Also tasted some Morey wines with friends and several made an impression:

2006 Jadot, Clos de la Roche; open, balanced and already showing complexity; a lovely wine. Find this wine

2006 Clos de Lambrays; relatively open and initially quite pure; got a little out of focus with air. Find this wine

1973 Clos de Tart; tending toward soy but not gone yet; very complex and savory. Find this wine

1998 Vogue, Bonnes Mares; a brute but toward the end of the evening, it began to show some potential. Hold. Find this wine

Best, Jim

June 7, 2012

OTR Part2

2002 Nigl, Gruner Veltliner Piri:
Has developed texturally and deepened in color over the decade but retains its acidity; becoming complex and a pleasure along side cheese-puffs. Find this wine

2006 Overnoy, Arbois Pupillin:
Ethereal aromatics, complex and bright in the mouth and pretty long, even though this is showing young. A citric tang keeps it fresh. Find this wine

2001 Fourrier, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Combe Aux Moines:
Bottle bouquet starting; in order of intensity, aromas of earth, truffle and red fruit; slightly slender at mid-palate and decent length. But this wine lives on its precision and it is a joy. Clearly Gevrey. Find this wine

2001 Georges Mugneret, Nuits St. Georges Le Chaignots:
Richer and smoother than the preceding wine, but a touch out of focus. Still of its place and time and good accompaniment to salmon and leek pie. Find this wine

Best, Jim

June 6, 2012

On The Road

2000 Nigl, Riesling Hockhacker:
Excellent energy in the mouth with a mid-weight, bright delivery. Superb with smoked trout spread. Find this wine

2005 Valentini, Trebbiano:
Young but loaded with flavors and textures; not yet of a piece but lots of good things going on here. Find this wine

2006 V. Dauvissat, Chablis Les Preuses:.
Firm and aristocratic, needs time but shows a side to this vineyard I did not recall; I usually find it more flamboyant. Find this wine

2009 Edmunds St. John, Rocks and Gravel:
Showing very well with a fun and juicy GSM profile and that touch of firmness on the finish I attribute to elevage in cement. Find this wine

1997 Chave, Hermitage (rouge):
Not classic but having a bit more flesh with accents of olive and wet stones. Mid-weight and open. Find this wine

2008 Edmunds St. John, Prophery:
Crackling with life, peppery/cherry, quite bright and intense. Find this wine

2005 Vissoux, Fleurie Pomcie:
An entirely different expression of gamay than the preceding wine; this is all about flesh and velvet, deep fruit, lower acid and concentration. A very lovely bottle. Find this wine

2009 Navarro, Pinot Noir L’ancienne:
Light bodied, translucent, tart and elegant; not especially deep or complex but a nice little wine that went well with pasta and summer veggies. Find this wine

Best, Jim

May 23, 2012

1999 Produttori del Barbaresco, Barbaresco:
13.5% alcohol; showing very young, good varietal character without artifice, somewhat disjointed; never really arrived at a point of integration over the span of about 4 hours; ‘several nice elements that need time to meld. Hold. $25, on release. Find this wine

2009 Sea Smoke, Pinot Noir Botella:
14.4% alcohol; considerable new oak smells with candied cherries and some graham cracker aromas; much the same in the mouth. Not my style. $40. Find this wine

2010 Hugues de Beauvignac, Coteaux du Languedoc:
12.5% alcohol and 100% picpoul; sweet fruit but fine backing acidity and some minerality; bright, lightweight and charming with enough substance to make one look beyond the initial attack. Good with cheeses. $10. Find this wine

Marietta Cellars, Old Vine Red, Lot number 57:
13.5% alcohol; mostly zinfandel in this field blend and a very easy to like “house pour” type of wine. Reminds me of the old days of zin. and went very well with veggie hash. Simple but satisfying. $11. Find this wine

2011 Dom. Fontanyles, Côtes de Provence Rosé:
13.5% alcohol; pale salmon, bone dry and bright; as it approaches room temperature, it fleshes out nicely but does not lose its crispness. A pretty wine, a quirky bottle (think Ott); it will not replace Ott (and certainly not Tempier) but its only $13 and pleasantly refreshing. Find this wine

2010 Greek Wine Cellars, Assyrtiko Santorini:
12% alcohol; at refrigerator temperature, acidic and shrill; as it warms, it fleshes out, becomes fruit driven and balanced; mostly citrus and white grape juice flavors with citrus pith accents (lending a bitter note that does not overwhelm), more volume and density than expected; balanced with bright acidity and good sustain. Diane makes a mushroom, celery and parmesan salad that this wine matched beautifully. About $13. Find this wine

2010 Jadot, Mâcon-Villages:
An intense wine but, for now, disjointed; leaves the impression that all the pieces are competing with each other. Perhaps, harmony is in its future but not something I want more of today. About $12. Find this wine

2010 Primosic, Ribolla Gialla Poderi di Carlo:
12% alcohol; lightly lemony, crisp, peppery and bone dry – but somehow more than just that – volume without weight, a texture of worsted wool, the feeling of a discernable structure. Not fermented on the skins put the phenolics play a noticeable role. The closer to room temp., the more one gets. As an accompaniment to pasta primavera with feta, excellent. About $13. Find this wine

2010 Jadot, Beaujolais-Villages:
13% alcohol; this is beautiful – balanced, flavorful, true to its place, ripe without being over-ripe and longer than I expect for Villages. A terrific rendition of this wine that rises to levels well above typical for the AOC. About $10. Find this wine

Best, Jim

May 8, 2012

1999 Juge, Cornas Cuvée SC:
The best bottle out of the case so far; a velvet texture sans weight; Cornas on the nose and palate but the texture was extraordinary and the balance impeccable. The “Burgundy of Cornas” felt like Richebourg tonight. Find this wine

2002 Clos de la Roilette, Fleurie Cuvée Tardive:
Somewhat closed on the nose and no immediate indicators of gamay; rich and deep in the mouth, black fruit more than red, Baker’s chocolate, brown spices and little that evokes Fleurie; good sustain. Lacks typicity but still a remarkable, arresting wine and delicious in its own way. Find this wine

2010 Dom. Chignard, Fleurie Les Moriers:
More typical of its place but also of its vintage which means a pretty big and dense Fleurie. Despite its volume, excellent acidity; this seems like it might go awhile; and probably needs it. But really lovely tonight with grilled chicken. Find this wine

And, for those evenings when wine simply won’t do, a very simple margarita: Whisk together 1 tbsp. light agave nectar and 1 tbsp. water. Pour thinned nectar, ¼ cup blue agave, highland, blanco tequila and 2 tbsp. fresh squeezed lime juice into shaker, add ice and shake until blended. Strain into low-ball glass and garnish with lime wedge. No blender; no salt. Finest kind.

Best, Jim

April 30, 2012


Last week I was in the Anderson Valley looking at prospective pinot vineyards and stopped in at Navarro Vineyards and Winery. They make about everything that’s grown in the valley including some highly touted dessert wines and verjus. But for the last several years, the stand-out wine for me is their dry Muscat Blanc. The 2010 version is in release and I bought a case to take home. For those interested, its $19.00 a bottle and they ship it for a penny.  13% alcohol, 7.9 TA, and 3.25 pH; 460 cases produced. And just delicious; lip-smackingly so.
As always, I get a jasmine, honeysuckle nose with hints of orange blossom and ginger. Clear as mountain stream water in the mouth and bone dry with a nice finish. I don’t have much experience with dry muscat so I can’t really make comparisons. But this is life affirming stuff at a reasonable price. Find this wine

Best, Jim

April 11, 2012

Diane came back from NC with a little piece of our cellar; bless her heart . . .

1999 Alzinger, Riesling Loibenberg Smaragd:
Distinctly Austrian in origin; concentrated and sappy with a tangy acidity and an almond element that is at the outer edge of perception on the nose but clear and present in the mouth and on the finish. Symbiotic with ham and sweet potatoes. Find this wine

2006 Fillaboa, Albariño Monte Alto:
Medium golden color; expansive nose of cream soda, resin, spice and moss; deep and dense with a balanced and layered delivery that persists. The equal of a Cepas Villas at half the price. Find this wine

1999 Lafarge, Volnay 1er Cru:
Hard and closed, even with decanting and airing. Difficult to form any impression as to its future although it seems to have plenty of structure. Aging at a glacial pace. Find this wine

2004 Leroy, Bourgogne:
A nose somewhere between Arbois and Corton and quite complex; somewhat attenuated in the mouth but becomes smoother and more integrated with air. A delight, if an unusual one. Find this wine

2005 de Villaine, Mercury Les Montots:
Lovely nose that made me think Pommard; articulate and nervy in the mouth with bracing acids and good intensity; moderate length. Needs time but did very nicely with carbonara. Better later. Find this wine

Best, Jim

March 22, 2012

1990 Gentaz-Dervieux, Côte- Rôtie Côte Brune Cuvée Réservée:
12.5% alcohol; a truly harmonious but complex nose with warmed red fruits, smoked bacon, pepper and hints of flowers and earth; medium bodied with enough grip to make me think this has years left, flavors that follow the nose and the texture of worsted wool; lovely balance and a long, intricate finish. There is such a sense of completeness here and yet still some rusticity in the tannins. Benchmark Côte- Rôtie.  A life list wine for me; very, very special. Find this wine

Thanks Dave.

Best, Jim

February 19, 2012

In an effort to continue my sherry education, I decided to splurge on the following bottles. I had heard and read a number of notes about this producer (although not these specific wines) and concluded that they must do excellent work. After tasting these wines, I will be far more skeptical of other opinions as I did not care for either of these.

My tastes run to fresher, lighter versions; to wines that are appetizing and charming. As for instance, I recently ate at Nopa and, while waiting for a table, tasted a beautiful Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana Manzanilla that that fit my criteria and made me wish we would be seated sooner.

But these recent purchases I found heavy-handed and tending toward pasada, in the case of the manzanilla, and amontillado, in the case of the fino. They were aggressive and powerful, and well beyond any sense of charm.

Equipo Navazos, La Bota de Manzanilla #22:
15% alcohol and about $40; smells of roasted (and burnt) nut liquor, alcohol and bread dough; acidic in the mouth with an attack so powerfully (and overwhelmingly) flavored that I catch myself wanting to spit it out; finished with a burn and a sourness I had not anticipated. No hint of salinity or sea air. Perhaps, if I add an equal quantity of water . . . Find this wine

Equipo Navazos, La Bota de Fino #24:
15.6% alcohol and about $60; much nicer on the nose than the above wine but tending still toward warm nuts; a bit thin in the mouth (which at this point is a relief) but chunky and in pieces, at times it seems to strain at freshness but eventually devolves into a listless, oxidized, old-fruit quality; finishes in a feeble and somewhat leaden manner. Find this wine

It appears that I will continue to be a “cheap date.”

Best, Jim

February 12, 2012

2001 Trimbach, Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Emile – 375th Anniversary:
I am told this bottling comes from the oldest vines in the vineyard and was harvested later than normal; initially the nose is very rich and full with honey-comb and pineapple syrup aromas but as the wine opens and warms, the nose gains focus and smells more of fresh fruit and mineral; much the same progression in the mouth with excellent concentration, a light creaminess and lovely balance; quite long.
I was able to taste this on two separate occasions over the last week and it was a great treat. Pricey stuff (around $90) but oh so delicious.
Very good with sole; fantastic with pork chop. Find this wine

2010 Abrente, Albariño:
A project from Morgan Twain-Peterson and Michael Havens from fruit grown on the only limestone outcropping in Napa Valley (actually, American Canyon); very fresh and bright with clear aromas and flavors of the variety, considerable spice that lends a piquant note, good balance and length. Excellent for drinking by itself but also really good with grilled veggies. About $20. Find this wine

2008 Sandler Family Winery, Syrah Connell Vnyd.:
14.1% alcohol; a Bennett Valley syrah that shows its place with some menthol, big blue/purple fruit and spice; not much in the way of pepper or meat but this is very young; gives some evidence of stem inclusion; big tannins. Needs considerable time but worked pretty well with pork. About $16. Find this wine

2009 Drouhin, Beaujolais-Villages:
A little disjointed at first but, with air, it smoothes into a lovely and lively gamay with character, spice and a bit of distinction that I would not have expected – tasted rather like Brouilly or MaV as opposed to villages. Very nice with mushroom pizza and also good all on its own. About $14. Find this wine

2010 Saladini Pilastri, Offida:
13.5%, pecorino grapes, certified organic; floral and spicy on the nose with citrus aromas; much the same on the palate – lots of structure and spice, intense, bright and longer than the flavors first suggest. Very easy to drink and good anywhere from refrigerator cold to room temp. With goat gouda, a delight. About $13. Find this wine

Best, Jim

January 16, Winter Whites, etc

Florida “winters,” warm as they are, often suggest white/pink wine and lighter meals. For those rare days when we hit the 40’s, we break out the reds. By the predominance of white/pink noted below, you can pretty much guess how mild our January has been.


2010 Achaval Ferrer, Malbec Mendoza:
14.5% alcohol; a big wine, quite concentrated, round, rich and bordering on overdone, but it is saved by the absence of apparent oak and a fairly complex flavor profile. Not a wine for anything but the rarest steak; not even assorted cheeses paired well. About $15.

So, on another day, I grilled a porterhouse (rare) and tried again; good pairing. There is an aroma that I think smells like wet nori but is probably oak related; it’s not unpleasant but unusual; the wine seems to lose some of its weight and richness and gain complexity with the steak. And it’s a more balanced pairing. No doubt, this wine was made for rare beef. Thanks Tom. Find this wine

(Aside: For the style of wine this is, it is well executed. But this is not a style of wine that I have much use for as I eat very little rare beef and find this kind of wine overwhelming in its absence.)

2008 Calluna Vineyards, Calluna Estate:
14.9% alcohol; a blend of 35% cab. sauvignon, 32% merlot, 18% malbec, 12% cab. franc, 3% petit verdot, from the Chalk Hill AVA; too much new oak at this young age but considerable spice on the nose and palate sourced therefrom; concentrated, rich and weighty but has plenty of acidity, plush tannins, some complexity, and good sustain. We had this with a red-sauced pasta with egg plant and chicken sausage and it went very well. But by itself, this is simply too young and big for me. No overt evidence of the alcohol but identifiably CA. Decant and have with food unless you like ‘em BIG. About $50. Find this wine

(Aside: In the rarified world of CA Cabernet, $50 is well under the norm. But $50 doesn’t sound inexpensive to me. Everything is relative, I suppose, but when I think of what else I can buy with that much money . . .)


2010 Dom. Fontanyl, Côtes de Provence Rosé:
13% alcohol and a bottle that is similar to Dom. Ott; pale salmon color; strawberry and mineral nose; much the same in the mouth, bone dry with good cut and a touch of bitters at the end; clean finish. Fleshes out as it warms but never gets heavy. Pleasant with cheese and crackers on a warm winter’s day here in the sunshine state. About $13. Find this wine


2010 Salandini Pilastri, Pecorino Offida:
13.5% alcohol, from the Marche; smells and tastes a great deal like Greco; its rich and oily but has a bitter note that keeps it from becoming cloying, even refrigerator cold this has weight and concentration. Went well with pasta primavera. About $13. Find this wine

2010 De Angelis, Lucrima Christi del Vesuvio:
13.5% alcohol and 60/40 caprettone/falanghina; white fruit and flower aromas; sappy flavors of white peach nectar (unsweet), resin and citrus; dry, intense, concentrated texture, good cut and quite persistent; a touch bitter on the finish. More complexity than expected and it becomes even more so as it warms in the glass; I like this and will buy it again. Good with white pizza but a pairing to remember with Caesar salad (and I eat a lot of Caesar salad). About $18. Find this wine

2010 Taburno, Fiano:
13% alcohol; a distinct vanilla note comes through with a touch mineral and clear white fruit scents; rich, almost full bodied in the mouth with an oily texture and plenty of cut to keep it in balance; medium finish. A big, concentrated wine with intensity. Not something I want to have a lot of but certainly attention getting; better, very cold. About $20. Find this wine

2009 Knoll, Grüner Veltliner Federspiel;
12% alcohol; smells of unripe pineapple, flowers, sassafras, warm rocks; medium weight, excellent cut, flavors follow the nose with concentration, intensity and balance, some mouth-watering jalapeño hints; excellent sustain and balance on the finish. Perfect counter-point to a salad with Russian dressing and toasted English muffin. About as precise and correct a Grüner as one could ask for but with an intensity and breadth that gives one a glimpse of what the grape can do at its best. About $22. Find this wine

(Aside: There are a few (very few) labels in the wine world that I will buy without consideration to vintage, appellation or pradikat; this is one of them. I have purchased wines from this producer for over twenty years and have yet to be disappointed. From the sonorous and powerful Schutt Vineyard rieslings to this charming and yet still arresting federspiel grüner, I have yet to run across a bottle that has not thrilled. Some more than others, I grant, but up and down the line-up, nobody does it better, year in, year out.
A label (despite its Baroque visage) to be trusted; and that is extraordinary.)

Best, Jim

January 4th, 2012 – Snake Farm

Ray Wylie Hubbard once noted that he shouldn’t ever write a song that he doesn’t want to sing regularly for the rest of his life (eg. “Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mothers”). Equally, one should never make a wine one doesn’t want to drink almost as often. I have been pouring my wines for lots of different folks (in hopes of selling) and I always seem to come home with partials; hence my point.

However, when we are not finishing up the leftovers, we have had a few other wines to try:

A N/V Robert Moncuit, Champagne was nice for new year’s but it isn’t anything I’d buy again at $40. The 2010 Zenato, Lugana was acceptable, but just; the 2009 Drouhin, St. Veran a touch too oaky; a bottle of the 2009 Erath, Pinot Noir was a bit thin; the 2009 Edna Valley, Pinot Noir was pedestrian; and the latest incarnation of the N/V Gazela, Vinho Verde was too sweet. On the other hand, the 2009 Wild Horse, Pinot Noir was very charming; a bottle of the 2010 Taburno, Falinghina was rich and full flavored; the 2009 Poderi Dicarlo, Ribolla was complex and delicious (for $13) and the 2009 Rocca Felice, Nebbiolo (at $16) was so good a I bought a case.

Find Robert Moncuit Champagne
Find Zenato Lugana
Find Drouhin St. Veran
Find Erath Pinot Noir
Find Edna Valley Pinot Noir
Find Gazela Vinho Verde
Find Wild Horse Pinot Noir
Find Taburno Falinghina
Find Poderi Dicarlo Ribolla
Find Rocca Felice Nebbiolo

However, the most soulful and captivating wine I have been drinking lately (several bottles in the last two months) is the 2010 Carballo, Bujariego, La Palma from the Canary Islands (a Jose Pastor Selection). This wine with seafood and even shell fish is about as good as one could hope for; light, crisp, remarkably complex, saline and fresh. I can’t remember what this cost (I got it thru Selection Massale) but I think it was about $15. That is a hell of a QPR. Find this wine

BTW, Ray also notes that he likes singing his newer songs (eg. Choctaw Bingo; Screw You, We’re from Texas; Cooler-n-Hell; etc.). Good thing Diane and I like what I make, too.

Best, Jim

Related posts:

  1. Florida Jim Cowan’s 2009 Tasting Notes Archive
  2. Florida Jim Cowan’s 2011 Tasting Notes Archive-Part One
  3. Florida Jim Cowan’s 2010 Tasting Notes Archive-Part One
  4. December 22nd – Florida Jim Cowan’s 2010 Tasting Notes Archive-Part 2
  5. December 10, 2011 Florida Jim Cowan’s 2011 Tasting Notes Archive-Part Two

One Response to “November 25 – 2012 – Florida Jim Cowan’s 2012 Tasting Notes Archive”

  • jason carey:

    maybe if you had different expectations of the wines instead of seeing “Manzanilla” on the bottle and then expecting something.. or maybe you just didn’t like them.

Leave a Reply

Pr Newswire
Recent Comments
Good Reads!