LARRY ARNOLD

January 18, 2020 - Stephane Roussett Crozes-Hermitage 2016

Wow! What an interesting wine! It has power and intensity but also comes across as sleek and elegant! To be honest I found more similarities to its cousin up the road, Côte Rôtie, than to its big brother next door, Hermitage! Go figure!

Les Picaudières is arguably one of the best sites in Crozes-Hermitage. Planted on terraces scattered across an extremely steep, south-facing granite slope, old-vine Syrah thrives on the minerally thin soils of the hill.

Very dark with a great bouquet of black and blue fruits, smoky bacon, spice and minerals. The palate is sleek and elegant with silky berry fruits, exotic spice and mineral nuances nicely balanced with firm acidity and an underlying backbone of soft tannin. A top-notch choice for the cellar!

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January 4, 2020 - Karthäuserhof Riesling Alte Reben Spätlese Trocken 2015

The Karthäuserhof estate is located just before the confluence of the Ruwer and Mosel rivers in west Germany and was established and practicing viticulture since Roman times. The estate was a Carthusian monastery in the 11th century. While those of us brought up on the classic Prädikat system of German wine can be forgiven for assuming this Spätlese is sweet, it would be a mistake to pass this lovely Riesling by for that reason! Some sugar is still lurking within but what comes across on the palate is intensely concentrated fruit balanced perfectly with mouth-watering acidity and a dry long finish. Simply delicious!

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December 28, 2019 - Clos Siguier Cahors 2016

Not all Malbec comes from Argentina but rather, the original cuttings for all Argentine Malbec came from the southern French appellation of Cahors. Clos Siguier is handpicked and fermented with native yeasts, then blended with a small amount of tannat and bottled unfiltered.

Very approachable with ripe red fruit and herbal notes on the nose. Soft and fruity with plum, currant, blackberry and black tea nuances on the palate, balanced with a blush of fine-grained tannins.

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December 21, 2019 - Domaine Giraudon Bourgogne Chitry 2018

Good, affordable red Burgundy is an oxymoron. It is the Holy Grail, Camelot and Tooth Fairy, a thing of dreams, that does not exist or so I believed! In the words of Kermit Lynch, not the frog but the Berkley California wine shop owner; “if you seek value, look where others have not!” Well here it is and what a pleasant surprise this lovely pinot from the far northern extremes of the Bourgogne is!

Very fresh and delightfully fruity with notes of cherry, raspberry and wet earth on the nose. Nicely balanced with sweet red fruit flavours and refreshing acidity, medium-bodied with a soft round texture and a long spicy finish. Very approachable right now but will benefit and evolve or the next few years!

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December 7, 2019 - Domain du Cros, Lo Sang de Pais 2017

The appellation of Marcillac is located about a two-hour drive outside of the bustling city of Toulouse in the south-west corner of France. Hilly and surprisingly cool, much of the vineyards are planted on hillside terraces, in the deep red, iron-rich soils known locally as les rougiers. Not the most efficient way of doing business in the twenty-first century but the results are favourable. The appellation is dedicated to the production of red wine, although a tiny amount of pink is allowed, for the ladies no-doubt, 80% of which must be vinified from the local grape Mansois also known as Fer Servadou. The finished wine sees no oak and is bottled the winter following the harvest.

Domaine du Cros is about 33 hectares, owned and farmed by the Teulier family and planted entirely with Fer Servadou. It is the largest and most important privately-owned estate in the region.

The beauty of being a wine aficionado is that there is always something new, or old, but interesting nonetheless, coming, just around the corner. I have been in the business almost forty years and had never come across a Marcillac until about twenty minutes ago! I was breathless with anticipation and was not disappointed!

Tasting note:

The colour is very dark with a cherry-garnet hue, but it is by no means opaque. If I had to guess by the nose what it was, based solely on its olfactory disposition, I would have, without hesitation, mumbled, this wine is a cabernet franc, perhaps a Chinon from the Loire Valley. It is redolent with fresh raspberry and green herbaceous aromas. Very leafy indeed! The palate is a bit of a surprise, very fresh but with a firm grip of gritty tannin right from the get go. This seems to soften over time but perhaps I just got used to it as I enjoyed the super fresh cherry-cranberry-raspberry flavours. Along with the tannin there is acidity, bright, cleansing, not a concern, but vibrant nonetheless, a constant companion to the ripe fruit and the firm tannic base. Light to medium bodied, not a heavy wine, Beaujolais-like in texture with the fruit, acid and tannin all working in harmony through a very satisfying finish. This wine would make a great luncheon red and I would not hesitate to pop a cork or two!

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