Sunday, February 27, 2011

Obsidian Ridge 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon

Obsidian Ridge Vineyard
Red Hills Lake County
North Coast, California



     I am taking this break and one more until I get back to our Bordeaux trip, it was supposed to only be one but I have to write about this fabulous value Cabernet Sauvignon.

        I can’t say I have had a wine of this quality for such a great price and value from Northern California in several years. The last time was 2001 and nothing close under $25 has come close to this quality. Back up the truck and make this your house Cabernet or red wine if you like new world wines.  I bought this for $20, but most of you will probably see it in the $25 range.  However, this tastes more like a wine twice the price or more.

       Turns out besides the glowing Robert Parker review that nudged me into picking up a bottle of this to try, Wine and Food Magazine named this as one of their “100 Bottles To Drink Right Now” at #27.

       Lake County is just north of the famed Napa Valley and just east of the Alexander valley in northern Sonoma County. In other words, this land looks kind of like Napa did 30-40 years ago and has attracted many new and pioneering winemakers looking to find great terroir to produce world class Cabernet Sauvignon. Obsidian Ridge is one of the first successful vineyards in this region and the proof is in this bottle. The vineyard is set high in the peaks of the Mayacamas mountain range at 2,640 feet, with steep hillsides and poor soil to stress the vines into producing great fruit to make wine from. These same mountains are the ones the line the west side of the Napa Valley. Obsidian Ridge got its name for its high elevation on a ridge, but more so because the soil is composed of volcanic red dirt and namesake black glass-like shards and chunks of obsidian rocks.

Color:  Deep and vibrant garnet edges frame a dark core

Nose:  Aromas of black cherry, currants, mochas, secondary notes of bell pepper, licorice, hot rocks and charcoal.

Palate:  Rich, but not weighty the flavors fan out to coat the whole palate in black cherry, currants, and a savory mocha. The licorice, spice and oak complement this wine and the finish is a long and pleasing 30-40 seconds. The tannins are well tamed for such big mountain fruit, giving this good structure.

Back up the truck and BUY, BUY, BUY!



Saturday, February 05, 2011

The 2008 Wines of Lucien Le Moine

White & Red Burgundy


Lucien Le Moine is a small, actually very tiny, n├ęgociant in Burgundy that purchases and produces in excess of 50 distinct wines from Cru level vineyard parcels spread out across Burgundy.  If tiny does not get the idea across of how small they are, they produce a total of 30,000 bottles of wine (or ONLY 2,500 cases of rare beauty).  LLM creates some of the most sought after Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the world as they meticulously respect the vines, the grapes and the wines to allow themselves to naturally express their true terroir.  At the most they are able to create 3 barrels of production from one vineyard, but many are also just one barrel, creating scarcity and therefore high prices.  Love and passion run deep in these wines and one could tasted and hear it first hand from proprietor Mounir Saouma.  Mounir is apparently somewhat of a road warrior, traveling a lot to speak about the wines he cares and tends to so well.  Mounir spoke about enjoying a wine over a period of hours, something we do at home as well, allowing to see how the wine changes over the few hours it is opened - basically respecting the wine and allowing it to show its true self.  "WOW" was a word he said to not use in describing his wines, as these wines were to slowly raise their volume as opposed to a huge California Chardonnay that starts out with an immediately loud and fast WOW impact on the palate that gives little complexity and intrigue to the taster.  Though by the looks on many of the faces in the room they had the word "WOW" written all over them as they tasted through the reds and then the whites.  I could not tell if he was joking by saying this, maybe only half so as these were wow wines, but also very complex and thought provoking wines that seemed almost cerebral.  The order of tasting red wines before whites is tradition in Burgundy and other areas of France.  My guess is that the higher acidity in the whites is not as shocking to the palate after first tasting through the rounder and richer red wines.   To me this was one of the better tasting I had been to recently and was a great testament to the care and quality of product that Lucien Le Moine is and will be known for so long as Mounir is at the helm.  The 2008 vintage is a mixed bag requiring expertise and a lot of hard work to achieve a high quality level of wine.  Many days of rain brought rot to the vineyard and the grapes, requiring a strict selection regimen and experienced vinification methods.  

All wines are vintage 2008

Bourgogne Blanc: Lithe and supple aromas of sea air and minerality, fine but good length, crisp pear and granny smith apple, minimally tart acidity


Morey St. Denis "Clos des Ormes" 1er
Only 2 barrels made
Deep maroon color
Spice, savory red fruits, good perfume
Metallic (iron) taste, orange zest, sour cherry and cranberry, tangy acidity and minerality, silky tannins

Chambolle-Musigny "Charmes" 1er
The vineyard is located in very dry soil on a hillside
Red/burg with purple tones
Deep nose plush with red to more black fruits
Cherry, Plum and savory Black Olives, baking spices
Bright acidity and a tighter structure with more noticeable tannins, shows much elegance

Chambolle-Musigny "Haut Doix" 1er
Fomr a vineyard with more moist soil and lower on the hillside where more moisture collects
Red/burg with medium red
Sweet and fruity perfume
A softer attack that cleans up with good acidity, plusher fruit, strawberry, plums, a hint of sweet herbs, sappy fruit, long and elegant finish

Bonnes Mares Nord Grand Cru (GC) (North)
Concentrated and balanced, with good depth and plushness
Classic color, grading from deep to lite burgundy
Aromas of tomatoe leaves, red fruits, somewhat savory and meaty aromas and flavors, great length on finish, long tall tannins.

Bonnes Mares Sud GC (South)
A touch lighter burg color
Muted and subtle nose, shy fruit and finishes deeper, olives, it smells like its compacted and not showing much yet, very young.
It gained weight in the glass and was the wine that stayed in it the longest since it was literally going through a mild evolution in the glass.
Bigger tannins but a deeper palate finish, still the palate tasted compact and comlex, showing great promise for ageing.

Meursault "Genevrieres" 1er
Golden straw hue
Popcorn nose initially blew off with sliced green apple, citrus, and a mineral streak in the nose
Great acidity and balance.

The 2007 label, we tasted the 2008 vintage.

Meursault "Perrieres" 1er
Golden color with green flecks
More taught and bright, salinity, lemons with minerality, flowers. Complex texture, nose and palate, all around  very impressionable and complex wine requiring some thought, Almost Chablis like in texture with rounder Beaune attributes.  Possibly the best wine of the night.

Corton Blnac GC
Golden yellow in color
Rich color, nose, and body
A nose of citrus, stone fruit peachy/nectarine, minerality, white flowers
Bigger palate presence, super complex with bolder fuits blending with mineral and acid structure, acidity keeps the largesse in place like a belt.

This was a small break from the Bordeaux notes I am still posting from our trip their in 2010. The next posting will resume with day 2 in Bordeaux in the Pessac-Leognan region of Bordeaux. 



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