Wine & Travel

Snooth User: Giacomo Pevere

Advice for California

Original post by Giacomo Pevere, Jan 10, 2012.

Hi, a good friend will be at SanFrancisco next days, we have shared thousands of good bottles and we have plan to use this work travel to find (and buy) some good wines from California. We are not into California wines, just know and taste some world famous names like Mondavi. I'm asking u some advices about really good bottles, price is not a big problem. 3/4 Bottles, he can't travel with more wine.

That's some our ideas, someone can tell us where he can find this bottles in SF?

Mumm Napa - DVX 2001

Mumm Napa - Brut Reserve

Domaine Carneros - Le Reve Blanc de Blancs

Domaine Carneros - Pinot Noir Estate 2009

 

Thanks

 

Replies

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Reply by napagirl68, Jan 25, 2012.

Getting in on this late...   Foxall is correct, Schramsberg and Roederer are the best sparklers in CA IMO.  BUT, you really have to go to the tasting rooms or a good wine shop to get their best.  The lower end stuff that is in the stores is decent, but to my knowledge, you can only get the best at the winery (or a specialty store, prolly local to the area).

Pinot noir-  I love sonoma coast, namely Lioco.  I also like Russian river Pinots.  Taft street winery is another good one.  Unfortunately, most of the great pinot areas (Sonoma coast, russian river, anderson valley) are about a 2hr plus drive from San fran.   I think the suggestion of visiting KL wines is great, but your cannot taste everything.   Extend your trip.

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Reply by Giacomo Pevere, Jan 25, 2012.

@dmcker, what's ROI? I don't know that abbreviation.

Ornellaia is, my opinion, overpriced because the quality of wine is not always as excellent as the price required. You don't like it but think about Sassicaia, last vintage price (2008) is 125€, Ornellaia last vintage (2008) is 160€, price find in the "best price" shop here. 2008 for Ornellaia is a good vintage but not every vintage reach excellence. Discussion about reliability of ratings need a new topic.

I don' know how works in US but in Italy otherwise what happen in French price are mostly the same vintage after vintage and don't rising or falling with good or bad vintages, that's mean you must pay same price for the best vintage ever and for the worst.

Anyway that's what i have find for Ornellaia 1998... :)

http://www.carlolotti.com/shop_skeda.asp?c=19&a=V010&L=I&cl=

http://www.enotecalaloggia.it/scheda.aspx?ln=it&w=766

http://www.cathayway.it/vintage-wines/bottle.php?id=229

http://www.wine.com/V6/Ornellaia--2007/wine/104028/detail.aspx

 

@napagirl68, i'm pretty curious about Schramsberg, i love sparkling wines and many here tell me is the best in CA. If that is true, and i suppose it is, this is a real big deal. I've paid 43$ for the Blanc de Noir (34€) damm good price! Next week i will uncork with some friends and i will have my personal opinion... :)

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Reply by dmcker, Jan 25, 2012.

Don't base your entire reaction to that label on that vintage of the blanc de noirs. That being said, will be interested in hearing your reaction.

I never said I didn't like Sasicaia. I like it just fine. I just think it's overpriced.

I tend to view Bordeaux, esp. the first growths, as a special case. Got even (quite a bit) worse when the Chinese bubble money settled on them as an emblem of prestige. Was interesting to see that the Bordeaux chateaux were the weakest segment of the finewine auction market in the second half of last year. Hopefully (!) we've seen the peak. But the realist in me still worries, since I know how well the French (not just but also the Bordelaise) do with brands marketing. This may be a particular case, since in the old, pre-return days the gift to give when visiting Hong Kong Chinese was brandy. So-so cognac was appreciated a lot more than great single malt scotch because the British colonials brought in a surfeit of the latter, with absolutely minimal customs tariffs. Duties were much higher on French brandy, which was pretty much priced out of the daily-drinker market. Now, with Hong Kong serving as a funnel, the pre-conditioned Chinese are also looking towards France for prestige items in wine. Another vestige of colonialism, perhaps?

Thanks for the links. Will get back after viewing them....

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Reply by dmcker, Jan 25, 2012.

So Benchmark's price in CA is cheaper than Carlo Lotti and Cathay Way in Italy, though more expensive than La Loggia and even Wine.com. From personal and anecdotal experience, I would choose to purchase every time from Benchmark, rather than Wine.com.

Oh yeah, 'ROI' is standard business-management speak. It signifies return on investment. You know you're having a bad afternoon when too many bean counters start spouting too much wrongheaded rubbish about ROI in meetings that drag on too long....

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Reply by JonDerry, Jan 25, 2012.

Concur on the Schramsberg - don't judge on one single bottle! But I see Giac's side as well, what else can you do? In my experience the Blanc de Blancs is what I prefer, but the Blanc de Noirs should give a good idea of the quality to expect.

Have to believe Bordeaux can't get much higher...it'll be interesting to see how the market reacts after 09' and 10'. Have heard the 10' futures haven't done well at all, but maybe that'll pick up as the 09's arrive and the high scores for 10' continue to get buzzed about. After that, 11' should be in for a huge correction, and of course we're a ways out from knowing how this year's crop will turn out.

I'm targeting certain 2008 Bordeaux, and definitely Ducru Beaucaillou and Troplong Mondot @ $119 and $99 respectively. Am also interested in the 03' Ducru as well. 2001 Vieux Chateau Certan @ $115 - Looking at 05' Montrose as well @ just north of $150...trying to single out one good Chateau from each region in Bordeaux to build my cellar...just where to put it all is the question.

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Reply by dmcker, Jan 25, 2012.

I tend to view the larger economic forces beyond however a certain vintage is talked up by the Bordelaise PR machine.

It's almost humorous that someone educated rushes to jump on a Ducru Beaucaillou because it's 'only' $120 out the door. The wine's good, usually very well made, but not that good. These days would rather get three bottles of something else just as good, I suppose. Maybe it's because Ducru was the bottle of red we often used to take with us when I and a couple of others, one of them a wine merchant, used to go on our upriver troutfishing trips back in the '80s. Several Burgundy whites and that, with the chards parked in a sheltered corner of the river to chill while we caught our limit. Come back, someone builds a fire while I go chase down some shiitake in the pineforest, roast the trout on sticks, then the shiitake, drink that chilled Meursault or something-Montrachet or Chablis or even a great Pouilly Fuisse, then finish with the aged Ducru and some shiitake I'd saved for the match. Lying back on the bank in the sun (especially nice in March when sometimes the snow was thigh-deep on the riverbanks), life felt pretty good.

No offense, Jon, but I guess I'm calling for a sanity check here. I'm almost thinking the Sassicaia prices must be fine if a non-first-growth Bordeaux that I don't even want to drink for a decade is priced like that....

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Reply by JonDerry, Jan 25, 2012.

Well, like i've mentioned before and as you freely admit, you remember a different day. What were coca-cola and some of these blue chip stocks selling for in the 80's?  It's just the reality of the current market, and I can only wish that my dad had known about how to store the Bordeaux he bought in that era. 

I have a little bit of money now to invest in Bordeaux to crack out on special occasions down the line, and at the moment I can't afford first growth - though even if I could, wouldn't be buying, so i'm looking to target the 2nd tier which can rival even some of the 1st growths in quality at a fraction of the price. Not too keen on buying so much older Bordeaux for the risk that it hasn't been stored properly, and then most (good) back vintages are priced just as high.

Some more pricing to put in front of you, and what also look to be some of the better values of 2009:

Leoville Barton ($95), Domaine de Chevalier ($70), Talbot ($60).

I'm definitely open to suggestions for alternatives, and Imagine i'll dabble some in Spain and Italy, but i'm afraid it's CA and Bordeaux that i'll always start with.

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Reply by JonDerry, Jan 28, 2012.

Popped an 03' Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains tonight, and found it very satisfying at about six and a half years of bottle age, it was most definitely in prime form. Can't believe this wine still gets released under $40, wouldn't consider this a 2nd wine at all to the Monte Bello, just their standard Bordeaux blend, with the best of the lots making up the "Grand Vin".

Tasting note:

https://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=1228745

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Reply by Giacomo Pevere, Jan 30, 2012.

@JonDerry a good second cru is Chateau Brane Cantenac. The price here is pretty good, 50/60 €. I have tasted just some vintages and was great. Of course as many bordeaux wines need some time in cellar. If u want to try the second bottle of this chateau called "Baron de brane" is more ready to drink and with good price, 22/25€. I've drink a couple of that in Reims last autumn and was really enjoyable.

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Reply by JonDerry, Jan 30, 2012.

Good thought for a decent Margaux and a reasonable price. Looks like I can grab the 08' online for somewhere in the $40's, and likely the 09' for somewhere in the $60's.

I tried it at the UGC and thought it was pretty good stuff.

I'm preparing to load in to a 12 case storage locker in the next month or so and will be putting some Bordeaux in there. Kind of a unique situation with the locker...i'm getting it on the cheap and have no access to it for a year, would be perfect for storing most of the wines I have and some Bordeaux I plan on buying soon.

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Reply by dmcker, Jan 31, 2012.

Giacobbe, here's something from Masseto's new website:

Milano Finanza notes a continuing upwards surge for Masseto: +140% in 3 years

In its analysis of international auctions, this business daily showed an increase of 41% from 2009 and 2010. It noted as well that a bidder who acquired, with the highest bid, a bottle of Masseto in 2006 and then offered it for auction in 2010 would have gained 140% profit in the investment.

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Reply by JonDerry, Jan 31, 2012.

Now that's an expensive Italian wine, no doubt the most expensive upon release these days...

Found a note from Garagiste on Masseto from 2/18/2009:

"The 2005 is one of the most refined versions of this wine yet produced - it has layers of class that rival the finest Right Bank examples (although it continues to act more like a structured Left Bank made from 100% Merlot - think Pomerol with a Left Bank heart). An outstanding wine that is among the finest in the world. The ultimate ringer in a 2005 Bordeaux tasting 20 years from now."
 

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Reply by Giacomo Pevere, Jan 31, 2012.

@dmcker: next time i will invest my money in Masseto and not in germany bunds. :)

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Reply by dmcker, Jan 31, 2012.

Well, Jon, and I'm laughing at myself as I type this, I guess if you're willing to pay between $1&200 for a bottle of immature, good-enough Bordeaux, Sassicaia and Tignanello and Ornellaia and even Solaia are labels you should check out. You'll be getting better value than many current Bordeaux classified growths. Those Italian labels are all purely Bordeaux blends (obviously on different soil), except Solaia, which is from the same maker as Tignanello but has a bit of sangiovese in it (and Sassicaia's maker also has similar minor-sangiovese-component blends). If nothing else (and they are plenty else IMHO), those wines throw Bordeaux-blend winemaking in CA or WA or Chile or Oz into interesting perspective.

And Masseto is excellent wine without a doubt, sometimes epiphany-causing, up there with the best of Bordeaux. I've had a few bottles (think I've reported on a couple on these boards). It's definitely the cultiest of Italians in pricing, though, so find some rich patron or a group of likeminded friends to share (or do well, again, at the racetrack) when it comes to paying its tariff....

Giacobbe, hope you didn't buy Italian (or Greek!) bonds!

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Reply by Giacomo Pevere, Feb 1, 2012.

Ah ah!!! Don't worry dmcker i never buy some Greek bonds, about italian rating agencys are crazy, there is no risk that Italy is insolvent (and some of this agencys have issues for insider trading in europe).

Tignanello and Solaia have both Sangiovese in blend, Tignanello around 80%, Solaia 20% but if you are interested in some italian pure Bourdeaux blend that's some nice bottles (italian price): Casadei - Filare 18 2009 (30€), Falchini - Campora 2007 (35€), Fattoria le Pupille - Saffredi 2008 (55€), Grattamacco - Grattamacco 2008 (45€), Gualdo del Re - Val di Cornia Suvreto Cabernet Sauvignon Federico Primo 2008 (long name! 24€), Petra - Petra 2008 (50€), Piaggia - Poggio de Colli 2009 (38€), Poliziano - Le stanze 2008 (42€). The vintage indicated is just the last one, hope you can find it in USA.

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Reply by dmcker, Feb 1, 2012.

You are correct about the Tignanello, I misstyped by including it in the first group. It's mostly sangiovese (80%CS15%CF5%), while the Solaia is the reverse (CS 75%, CF 5% and sangiovese 20%), both of these for the 2008 vintage. Orenellaia (52% CS, 22% merlot, 21% CF, 5% petit verdot for 2009), Massseto (100% merlot) and Sassicaia (85%CS, 15%CF) are entirely Bordeaux grapes, tho.

Have you had all the others you list, and if so can you talk about them a little? The GuidAlberto and Le Difese from Tenuta San Guido are also good, tho they have a bit of sangiovese in them, as I mentioned above.

No sense in being crazy nervous, yet no sense in being sleepily complacent, either, about that insolvency issue (Italy defaulting would be a massive hit to the entire world's economy). My sources say different things about Italy than yours, apparently, but regarding those rating agencies remember that perception is often reality, especially when it comes to markets. I'm sure the exchange rate would've been dipping way south if you still had the lira. Which would have been good for buying the wines we're talking about with dollars or yen, of course....

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Reply by JonDerry, Feb 1, 2012.

So what labels are you buying these days D?

A Barolo rec (or two) would be appreciated, as would a good Sicilian red I could manage to track down in the states. I have a lot of exploring to do as you know, and the timing is right for me to start trying some bottles I may not be able to afford for a while, Derby winnings just claimed (so as to delay paying taxes on the winnings and carefully plot out buying opportunities).

Cutting to the chase, I can afford to buy the equivalent of 3 cases of wine @ $100/bottle. From where I stand now, i'm looking at 1 - 1&1/2 cases of Bordeaux. Half a case of CA - probably spent mostly on a couple bottles of 2007 Shafer Hillside, and a sampling of the 08' Dominus. Perhaps the last case split between Italy, Spain, and whatever else comes along.

I'm increasingly interested and curious about the Italian IGT's, and it's definitely in my plans to sample Tignanello and Sassicaia. While in Italy last summer, I managed to come back with a 2008 Flaccianello, but i've come to find that's made out of entirely Sangiovese, so it may not be too different from a Chianti Classico Reserva, or the like - though there is supposedly some magic to the Conca d'Oro terroir.

Giac - What would you consider a good vintage of Tignanello or Sassicaia I could sample, and drink this year? I checked out most of the other IGT's you listed, but couldn't find much availability in the states, and for a few of them like the Petra, the price comes back considerably lower - must be a different (lower) type of wine that comes up on wine-searcher.com.

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Reply by JonDerry, Feb 1, 2012.

P.S. What's interesting is the CA Cabernet's and blends are about the most expensive on my shopping list. Have you seen the prices for recent vintages of Ridge Monte Bello lately?

Aint no picnic.

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Reply by Giacomo Pevere, Feb 1, 2012.

I've teasted all this wines dmcker but not all of the vintage indicated (i put on the list just the last vintage with its price). Grattamacco probably is the most famous of that list and the most consistent of all vintage after vintage, is a powerful territorial wine (from Bolgheri) but honestly i forget it have 10% of Sangiovese. If i have to spend my money on one of that list i get Piaggia - Poggio dei Colli but everyone in the list is a good to excellent wine.

Another good Bordeaux Blend is Felsina Berardenga - Maestro Raro (30€) is Cabernet sauvignon 100%, not exactly the 90+ wine but it is a nice expression of its territory. Better alone then paired.

I never tasted "Le difese", honestly i did once but i was ill, about "Guidalberto" i have tasted only old vintages 2002 and 2003, and they was good but nothing more, but that's important first vintage produced was just 2000 so now after 12 years is really grow up and i've read/heard a lot of good reviews about last vintages (from 2006 and beyond). "Le difese" still have 30% of Sangiovese, last vintages of "Guidalberto"  (i'm not sure but i think from 2005) is only Cabernet Sauvignon 60% and Merlot 40%.

@jonderry: Fontodi - Flaccianello in not exactly like a Chianti Classico Riserva, its made with a selection of the best grapes from the best vineyards of the winery. It's a really concentrated and powerfull wine. Another great (maybe the greatest) sangiovese 100% in Chianti is the Montevertine - Le Pergole Torte (60€), winemaker of this winery Giulio Gambelli was (is dead just a month ago) consedered the greatest sangiovese winemaker.

This wines are now IGT and not Chianti Classico because in the '70 Chianti DOC rules imposed to make Chianti with Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Trebbiano and Malvasia (trebbiano and malvasia are white grapes)  and to produce a 100% Sangiovese or different blends with Sangiovese and Cabernet and no white grapes winery must call its wines as "table wine" (Tignanello was the first one to do that) after a while this wines became IGT and they still are.

About Tignanello i think 2001 and 2004 are two good vintages (2001 and 2004 are good vintages for big part of Tuscany) 1997 was great and if you can find something older than 1990 get it! I have drinked 1979 in october for my bithday (born in 1979) and was great, long time decanting needed.

About Sassicaia someone say 2005 (Sassicaia have a sort of magic relationship with '5  1975-1985-1995...) someone else say 2006, avoid 2003.

 

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Reply by dmcker, Feb 1, 2012.

So Jon, before going further, I take it you're not interested in pinot noir?



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