Finally, I found a bottle of 2015 Roederer Estate L’Ermitage from Anderson Valley, California, which has been languishing on my to-do list since February. It is a head of cuvée made only in exceptional years from 52% Chardonnay and 42% Pinot Noir, aged in barrels for around 6 years, with 4% reserve wines added. Very pale gold with prolific tiny pearls open on yeast, hazelnut roasted pecans and a hint of brioche. On the palate, quince, lively acidity and baked apple. It has a creamy mid-palate and clean acidity with a dry finish. At around $60, it’s a pretty good buy.
94McD Roederer Estate was founded in 1982 by one of the best known Champagne producers in France. Louis Roederer Cristal Millisieme is one of the best known champagnes in the world, usually rated in the 90s. They age very well and as an example, the 96 pt 2013 sold for $65, and is now at $260 a bottle. It has just entered its consumption window until at least 2035. These are aged 6 years on yeast and another 8 months in their bottle before being marketed.
Terriccio Castle Lupicaia, Super Tuscan has run a hot hand the last three releases, ranging from 94 from Decanter World to 96 from Falstaff. I expected with pleasure to taste a bottle and I was not disappointed. The 2015 and 16 were 96 McD. They need time. I also had their Tassinaia 2016 and 17 labels. Both were very good value at $35 and 90 McD. 2016 was a magnificent vintage in Tuscany. This blend of 33% Sangiovese, 33% Cab and 33% Merlot was aged for 22 months in French oak barrels. Dark ruby red with garnet reflections, it presents aromas of cherry with hints of barrel spice and balsamic. It is well structured with balanced acidity and tannins. The long finish is reminiscent of fruit and spice. I seasoned a Chateaubriand with a 450F roasted Italian dressing and it was delicious. James Suckling rated this 92 pts.
Bodegas Muga Seleccion Especial Riserva DOCa 2016, 94 McD under $40 is lovely, an excellent vintage Tempranillo from Rioja Alta, Spain. Blend of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha (Grenache), 7% Mazuelo and Graciano. 26 months in oak barrels, cooperage on site. Bodegas Muga is recognized as the best producer in Rioja Alta. Founded in 1932 in Haro, one of Spain’s main wine towns, it also uses its own yeast for fermentation. One of the few Bodegas to use these proven production methods. They are also racked every four months, clarified with egg white before bottling and aged for a year before marketing. All eggs and lees are returned to the vines as compost. RP 94, Atkins 95 is deep purple with a purple rim, long legs and a high viscosity in the mouth. The nose shows ripe fruit and dusty notes leading to an elegant, balanced palate with smooth tannins and appropriate mineral acidity supporting more fruit through a clean, lingering finish.
Kathryn Hall, Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, 2019 features classic aromas of black pepper, dried herbs, lavender, blackberries and fresh earth. Intense, concentrated flavors of dark chocolate with crushed grit and riper base notes. A long, powerful and clean finish completes the whole. Parker 95-97 and the price jumped to $225. The 94 pt, 2018 is $188. I think patient buyers can get under $200 on the 2018 Hall 19, Eighteen Seventy Three Cab. At $90, it’s the best buy. It’s a bit tannic, but the color says it will keep me for a few years. Complex nose of blackberry, cassis and plum with hints of wet gravel, turned earth and tobacco. The palate shows more blackberry, with nutmeg, cocoa and clove. It’s a great wine. Two years of storage will see it turn into a winner.