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Wines of Distinction from J et R & Hand Picked Selections

4 crisp, tasty whitesOur friends at Wines of Distinction held their annual Fall Trade Tasting at The Franklin Grill in Franklin, Michigan recently, and as we’re such fans of their portfolio, we were not about to miss it. Our plan was to focus on two specific tables, those of J et R Selections and Hand Picked Selections; anything beyond those two very fine importers would be bonus coverage.

We started with some whites, first those being poured by our good friends Gary and Georgine Kahle of Hand Picked Selections.  Here are my snapshot impressions of what we tasted.

2008 Pierre Boniface Apremont Vin de Savoie, 100% Jacquère, $15.49: This pale to medium straw colored wine is marketed as being the ideal aperitif, and it is all of that and more; it sports a fragrant mineral dominated nose, with plenty more of the same in the mouth, which graces a solid core of apple-like fruit, all kept moving along with zippy acidity. Very nice. Find this wine

2008 La Noble Chardonnay Vin de Pays d’Oc, $9.99: Shows good clean color and apple, pear and mineral flavors and aromas in slightly more modest proportions than the Apremont, with good presence, weight and acids. Always a good value. Find this wine

2007 Domaine de Lancyre Roussanne Vin de Pays de Montferrand, $22.49: Pale to medium straw color, with white peach, lanolin and mineral character; good weight, depth and cut. Very nice, but then we’ve come to expect as much from Lancyre. Find this wine

2007 Travis Unwooded Chardonnay2007 Travis Chardonnay Unoaked Monterey, $16.49: Medium straw color, with straightforward apple-pear Chardonnay character, only without the wood or the spoofalation; full bodied, with good cut and depth, this is always a solid selection, even if it has gone up in price since last we tried it. Find this wine

We sidled over the the J et R table briefly, where Dan Farley poured us two whites and a rosé, starting with the latest versions of a couple of old friends.

2008 Domaine Séguinot-Bordet Chablis Vieilles Vignes, $22.49: Pale to medium straw color, with lots of limestone and a solid core of under-ripe apple and pear in flavor and aroma; with very good weight, depth and cut, this is Chablis the way we like it. Find this wine

2007 Domaine Thibert Pouilly-Fuisse, $27.99: Softly herbaceous, with a nice apple, pear and mineral personality; very nice. Find this wine

2008 Domaine Canto Perdrix Tavel Rosé, $15.49: Strawberry pink, with mineral, strawberry and raspberry flavors and aromas; very good weight, depth and cut, bigger than many rosés, and nicely so. A worthy followup to the 2007. Find this wine

Then it’s back to Hand Picked Selections to start on the reds.

2008 Alfredo Roca Pinot Noir 2008 Alfredo Roca Pinot Noir Mendoza, $11.49: Nice medium dark color, with rich, ripe black cherry and plum shaded with some subtle smoke; varietally correct, with good weight and depth, offering great QPR. Find this wine

2006 Chateau de Pena Cuvée de Pena Vin de Pays des Pyrenees Orientales, 48% Grenache, 22% Syrah, 38% Carignane, $10.49: Good color, with nice dark plum, berry and cherry character; has good weight, depth and intensity. Good QPR. Find this wine

2006 Alfredo Roca Malbec-Merlot Mendoza, $9.99: Showing good clean color, this is a nice cherry berry quaffer. Find this wine

2007 Domaine Cabirau Grenache Serge and Tony Vin de Pays des Cotes Catalanes, $16.49: Subtle tar over berry and plum fruit; full bodied, with good depth and decent structure, this is nice for current drinking. Sourced from a vineyard now owned by Hand Picked Selections honcho Dan Kravitz. Find this wine

Old & New versions of the Villa des Anges Cabernet label, same vintage2008 Villa des Anges Cabernet Sauvignon Vin de Pays d’Oc, $9.99: Good dark color, and very good Cabernet character; ready to go, rather dry, and not at all a fruit bomb, with black currant and blackberry character. Made by the folks at Domaine Puydeval. Find this wine

2007 Domaine Puydeval Vin De Pays D’oc Rouge, 60% Cabernet Franc, 30% Syrah, 10% Merlot, $13.99: Good dark color, with deep dark plum and berry shaded with earthy undertones; good weight and depth. Always a solid red that offers excellent QPR. Find this wine

From there, it was right back to the J et R table to try the reds Dan was pouring. He says the following two “usually have the biggest core of fruit” of those from Gérard Raphet.

2 from Raphet2006 Gérard Raphet Chambolle-Musigny, $68.99: Kim took one sip of this ruby colored lovely and exclaimed, “God, that’s good!” It really is, with sage over earthy black cherry on a more than medium bodied frame and showing very good depth and structure. It’ll be better some years down the road, but still, it’s so good now… Find this wine

2006 Gérard Raphet Gevrey-Chambertin Lavaux St. Jacques, $86.99: Ruby color, with herbal, earthy black cherry and plum, this has more depth and structure than the Chambolle-Musigny, and is in more obvious need of time in the cellar; 10 years is not at all out of the question, and it will quite likely go well beyond. Kim calls is a “saliva sucker,” referring to the ample acidity. Find this wine

3 southern RhonesThe following bunch from the southern Rhone are all from producers we’ve become very fond of over the years, and all are very nice indeed.

2007 Domaine Oratoire St Martin Cotes du Rhone Villages Cairanne Reserve des Seigneurs, 60% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah, $22.49: Offering lovely smoky plum and berry, very much in the house style, this is rich and delicious already, with great promise for future development. Find this wine

2005 Domaine Des Amouriers Vacqueyras Les Genestes, $23.99: Dan says this one is roughly 50/50 Grenache and Syrah; it’s all about earthy, slightly funky black plum, berry and currant. Classic Vacqueyras and a great choice for Red Wings and Red Rhônes drinking, now and over at least the next few years. Find this wine

2006 Domaine de la Tourade Gigondas Font des Aieux, 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre, $27.99: Earthy smoke, cola and black fruit, smooth and delicious; many years of development and improvement ahead for this one. Sourced from 80-year old vines. Find this wine

3 southern Rhones2006 Domaine du Grand Tinel Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 85% Grenache, with the remainder Syrah, Counoise, etc., $34.99: Sourced from old vines and showing good, clean dark color, with earthy, tarry black fruit that’s big, but not overbearing. Kim’s “love it a lot” comment would seem to coincide with my impression that it’s less a beast at this point than the 2005 model was just last May. Find this wine

2006 Domaine Bois de Boursan Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 65% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre, 5% diverse varieties, $36.49: Classic Bois de Boursan here, with earthy flavors and aromas of plum, berry, smoke and a hint o’ cola; big, very well structured for many years of development and very fine indeed. Sourced from a 100-year old plot and aged in old foudres. Find this wine

2006 Domaine Bois de Boursan Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée des Felix, 65% Grenache, 20-25% Mourvedre, with the remainder Syrah, $65.49: Add some old wood to the impressions given for the regular bottling directly above, all with a little more concentration, intensity and structure and you have a snapshot of the ’06 Felix. Jean-Paul Versino no longer ages this in younger oak barrels, now preferring to use older ones, and it shows. Very nice and offering immense promise for many years of development. Find this wine

We’d hoped to at least hit the Moris Farms table to get a taste of the latest Avvoltore and some of the other selections from their great lineup, but by then, the place had filled to claustrophobic levels and we had to beat a hasty retreat. Still, we were much impressed with what we tried, and as always, many thanks go to all the fine folks at Wines of Distinction for their kind hospitality.

Reporting from Day-twah,

geo t.

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