Two of our very favorite people stopped in to visit last week, and as is so often the case when we get together, corks were popped and glasses of good wine were poured and enjoyed with some excellent food. Jim Lester was in town showing his latest Wyncroft wines to prospective buyers, and after he was finished with his day, he brought them over to taste with us as well.
We were joined by Master Sommelier Claudia Tyagi, who always makes any gathering more fun. The bonus was the fact that Jim has been threatening to cook dinner for us for some time now, and he showed up with grocery bags full of yummy delights (steaks for the grill and mushrooms and veggies for a stir fry) to go with his wines. In that regard, he acquitted himself admirably, revealing yet another talent that he possesses. Add some vintage Steely Dan on the stereo, and what more could we ask for?
We got things started with a worthy companion the Hofer Gruner Veltliner that we like so well. This was only my second or third time tasting Zweigelt, a variety developed in Austria in 1922, by Fritz Zweigelt, who crossed Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent. Based on this one, there’s bound to be plenty more of the stuff in our future!
2008 Bio-Weingut H. u. M. Hofer Zweigelt Niederosterreich, 1L, 12.5% alc., $13.99: Medium garnet color, with earthy cherry and plum flavors and aromas and a hint of pepper on the finish. Medium bodied, with moderate structure and very well received by all four of us. Likes a bit of a chill. About it, Jim remarked, “At first whiff, it reminds me of a cross between Dolcetto and Cotes du Rhone.” More, please! Find this wine
2005 Pascal Jolivet Pouilly Fume: Medium straw color, with just a tinge of peach; Jim is immediately reminded of grapefruit and fresh chervil, and all agreed that it’s not as intense as most Sancerre. Still, it shows very good concentration, with excellent acidity and a certain creamy quality. Jim added that it’s “not complex, but so delicious,” and “flawless, with nothing out of balance.” Claudia added impressions of “restrained, reserved” and “gets better as it warms.” Find this wine
2009 Wyncroft Lake Michigan Shore Riesling Avonlea, 12.5% alc.: I concentrated on what everyone else had to say and mostly neglected recording my own impressions, but this is another in the steady line of excellent Wyncroft Dry Rieslings. Pale straw in color, and tart in a pleasing way; subtly perfumed, with very nice varietal character. Like the previous wine, it improves as it warms and opens in the glass. Not yet released. Jim: “This is the first wine that I pressed and (my son) Eric took over from there.” “It was bottled in January, so we got it in the bottle early. It’s a baby.” “Primarily an Austrian clone of Riesling brought in by Louis Martini.” “More Federspeil than Smaragd.” “White grapefruit.” Claudia: “Lighter than usual; pomelo on the nose.”
2006 Wyncroft Lake Michigan Shore Chardonnay Avonlea, 12.5% alc.: Medium straw to pale gold in color; oak-induced butterscotch sets the tone to the apple-pear Chardonnay character, but doesn’t necessarily overwhelm. Full-bodied, with very good acids and intensity. Claudia added impressions of “crème brule, citrus and lemon rind, not yet integrated,” while Jim describes it as “very savory.” This spent extra time in barrel (30 months on the lees), due to Jim’s late wife Rae Lee’s illness, and has an almost oxidized quality about it. Not my favorite Wyncroft Chardonnay, but still quite good, and it should interesting to taste what further cellaring brings out in it. Find this wine
Jim says that the following two ’08 reds, just recently released, saw no new oak.
2008 Wyncroft Lake Michigan Shore Pinot Noir Avonlea, 14% alc.: Clean, medium dark color, with plum and black cherry shaded with green and black tea and a hint of rhubarb in both flavor and aroma; medium-full bodied and well-structured for several years in the cellar. Claudia mentions “brown sugar on the nose,” and Jim notes “tart red currants,” adding that “it’s a little young and raw, but with time, I think this will be an exceptional Pinot.” I don’t doubt one bit that it will. Find this wine
2008 Wyncroft Lake Michigan Shore Shou, 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot, 12.5% alc.: Clean, dark color, with black currant, lead pencil and juniper flavors and aromas; Lester adds impressions of “sweet fennel” and “warm brown spice on the nose” and Claudia calls out “blueberry” and “ultra-ripe and juicy.” Ironically, I don’t find it particularly “ripe,” but neither is it under-ripe. Jim says everything ripened perfectly in ’08 and that this will be an early drinking vintage. For me, this is an excellent Bordeaux blend, more along the traditional model than in the New World style. Find this wine
We had such a good time, nobody bothered to take pictures, so what you see is what you get… Reporting from Day-twah, geo t.