Four end-of-summer (Fall forecast) wines…

As the season pulls slowly to a close (big sigh, visualize mountain meadow or tropical beach scenes) wines for the coming season – Fall – start showing up. Here are a few recently tasted.
2005 Chateau Champ des Soeurs Bel Amant Fitou $8: Classic Languedoc little regional red wine. Imported by Becky Wasserman. That is just about all you need to know. Entry is forthcoming on go-to importers that if you see their name on the back label you can put fear aside because their products are ALL GOOD. This is Grenache, Carignane and Mourverdre. That is one of the blends we like a lot. Smooth (popular term that usually means light tannins – it is) with solid fruit, well balanced. Some might say simple. I might agree. But I am smiling when I say it. Here are tasting notes in far greater depth that you might enjoy. 13.5%.
2005 Tablas Creek Rousanne ~30: I am in the wine club so I get the serious TC wines along with the cheap-o blends that are fabulous (Cotes de Tablas red and white, highly recommended). This is serious wine. Not sure if it is 100% Rousanne or less (must be at least 75%) with other grapes blended. In any case, the label says it all – pears, honeysuckle, beeswax and marzipan. Now I have never tasted honeysuckle (I have had marzipan and if Iever did have beeswax I have forgotten the experience) but I have heard Fats Waller fatswaller.jpgsing Honeysuckle Rose although when Fats sings it sounds like he is saying “honey, suck a rose”. The TC Rousanne does not remind me of Fats Waller. jellyroll2.jpg
Maybe Jelly Roll Morton‚Ķmore structured, less rollicking, expert technique. The wine will take some age. It will probably be more forward and charming in 6 months. 14.3%. Here are the tasting notes on this wine straight from the Tablas’ website.
2005 Chateau de Mattes-Sabran Corbieres Le Clos Redon $13: Isn’t this wonderful. I made the proclamation tasting this wine that there are no great wines. There is wonderful, fabulous, marvelous, delightful, cheery and so on. This is one. 100% syrah from southern France. Firm tannins without being overwhelming. Light (some critics prefer “white”) pepper. Ripe Pluot right up front. Juicy. Creamy in the middle and strong finish of acid one gets from young fruit. One taster experienced this young fruit flavor as a bit astringent. In one year the acid will fold into the wine and the astringency will disappear. Read the notes from North Berkeley Wine here. I will point out that this wine was made in tanks. I would bet concrete ad not steel. It has that dustiness to it that I associate with concrete. This is spectacular value. 13.7%. Here are tasting notes from the Chateau by a hard-core oenophile (British naturally) who rates the wines (2003 vintage) on a 20 point scale, winning bonus wine intelligence points. Includes vineyard descriptions which I like to read about.
1997 Lone Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon ~$25 (way back when it was released): Pulled it from the cellar to go with steaks. Paso Robles custom crush product doing all the “right” things for custom labels; unfiltered, unfined, single vineyard mountain grapes grown at 1500 feet. Very rich, fruit bomb…with a timer. Huh? It does not blow up right away in your mouth. Takes a little time to grow and grow and grow. Stop with the fellatio metaphor although I see your point. Anyway, the wine does not blow. Cherry rich in flavors. All tannins have blended in. It is a style favored by monster-wine cab lovers. Not in the Napa style at all. Turns out the wine is made by Tablas Creek cellarmaster. That is what I consider good pedigree. This kind of cab can only be made in hot regions like Paso or the Central Valley. Where it is a challenge to do cab well. I wonder what Parker would say? 14.6%

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