Wine Talk

Snooth User: JonDerry

Gift Exchange Reveal/Drink Date

Original post by JonDerry, Nov 30, 2012.

Well most everyone has received their wines and have had them resting for a while. Unfortunately, we had a few shipping issues along the way, but all in all I think we did pretty good. Foxall is the only one not to have received anything yet, while Shi's SS wasn't heard from, but luckily an elf stepped in and sent her some wine. Finally, it looks like Eric's shipping saga appears to have come to a close today. 

Assuming two weeks from now works for most of us, here are some potential dates for us to open these wines and reveal who gifted what to who (for those that don't already know).

Tuesday, 12/12 - Wednesday, 12/13 - Thursday, 12/14

As far as how we get together, the least we could do is create a thread here to post on...some could take it a step further and make a video of what they thought of their gifted wine/s. Ideally, we could have a virtual tasting on Snooth but I haven't heard back from GdP so we'll have to see about that. Alternatively, we could try a Google hangout, that could accommodate up to 10 people, or any other ideas people might have.

I'd assume for most West Coasters, we'd be ready to go by about 6-630, which would make it 9-30 for those out East. Obviously, the hope is that we can get as many people as possible to participate, so whatever works for everyone. Looking forward to it.

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Reply by JonDerry, Dec 19, 2012.

With the sore throat finally in my rearview, I'm planning to open the L'Ecole (WA State Cab Blend) or the Priorat from MM tonight, depends on what I'm in the mood for I guess. I'm also considering taking the L'Ecole and the Dunham Trutina to a christmas party on Saturday and doing a little head to head and getting various opinions on the two.

Anyway, so far 4 of 12 people have posted about the wines, hopefully some more will be enjoyed this weekend and around christmas. Cheers.

Reply by Mike Madaio, Dec 19, 2012.

My cold is still going strong, and I'm not sure I really want to open this with everyone for the holidays (as there won't be enough for me!), so I may wait until afterwards. So much for opening this quickly after the reveal!

Reply by shsim, Dec 20, 2012.

Flu :( not going to taste anything. Good to hear from some though! Hopefully will get to taste on christmas at least! 

Reply by outthere, Dec 20, 2012.

I want all you sick people to stay away from me. Please!

Reply by JonDerry, Dec 21, 2012.

Busted out the SS gift 1 of 2 last night...was a treat to drink a wine over 10 years old, it's rare that I get to do this since I've only started actively cellaring wine for a few years now. Thanks again Mike.

2000 Cellers Fuentes Priorat Gran Clos de J.M. Fuentes

Stewed red fruits, cherry liqueur, with some funk and mushroom aromas on the nose. Chocolate covered cherries, raspberry, and spice on the palate with some heat showing on the back end. The weight is just shy of heavy, and finishes with medium persistence. Hard to know if this is at peak (as it seems I'm drinking a touch later than most Priorat), but age seems to have put this in a good spot, it's still plenty big but the tannins have mellowed nicely, and there is a good amount of fruit left, if not overly vibrant. Served just below room temp, popped and poured, then consumed over two hours.

Overall very good quality and definitely beats the only other Priorat I've tasted, which was a much younger one, probably less than half the age of this, and ordered at the worst time possible. Out to eat after a full day of tasting in Paso, at the Villa Creek restaurant. It was hard to appreciate at the time, and that's probably why I haven't touched Priorat since, well that plus the QPR thing. What was interesting about this 2000 Fuentes was that I might've had a hard time indentifying this in a blind tasting, it really reminded me of something close to a Napa Cab from around the same time period or slightly younger.

Reply by Lucha Vino, Dec 23, 2012.

JD - Did you do the L'Ecole v. Dunham comparison?  I would be interested to hear the comments.  In my experience I have like Dunham over L'Ecole.  But also have had more selections from Dunham than I have from L'Ecole so the playing field is not exactly level...

Reply by JonDerry, Dec 23, 2012.

Actually wound up popping the Dunham along with a Tortochot Morrey S-D village burg, and the burg wound up being a lot more popular. The Dunham was more feminine than I normally associate cab blends to be, even more so than merlot. Just disappointed me a bit and I wasn't the only one. Have higher hopes for the L'Ecole.

Reply by Lucha Vino, Dec 24, 2012.

Here is what arrived from my Secret Santa.  Tensley Colson Canyon 2011 Syrah

This is intriguing.  A Syrah with less than a year in barrel?  This is going to be interesting.  I resisted the temptation to do any research on this bottle, preferring to open and experience it myself without any outside information swaying my opinion. 

It took quite a bit of will power, because right off the bat I was super curious about how (or why) a winery could release a Syrah at such a young age.  Many questions danced through my head.

  • Does Tensley use some kind of special barrel regimen?
  • Do they grow some kind of super natural Syrah in Colson Canyon?
  • How is one year old Syrah going to taste?
  • Was the wine transported to Earth by aliens?

One thing I figured, this wine was going to get better over several days.  So, whatever I experienced when I first popped and poured the bottle was going to be like the space shuttle siting on the launching pad.  Everything was going to trend upward.

First opening the nose is showing dusty black cherry and light earthy cracked pepper.  The palate was dominated by sweet dark plums with some hints of smoked meats lingering in the background.  Not too bad so far.  The finish kicked in super hot, sweet and alcohol driven.  Whoa!  Like the primary rockets kicking in for launch. 

OK.  I'm patient.  Let's decant this sucker and see what happens.

One hour later the nose is mostly showing the plum character along with a bit of sandal wood.  The palate is still driven by dark sweet fruit and the finish is still alcohol fueled.

Well, let's see what transpires with a day to settle down.

One day later the nose is very sweet and the palate has moved toward cherry cough syrup and the hot finish is still going strong.

I continued to taste this for several more days without any signs of improvement.

My conclusions:  No special barrel regimen, no super natural Syrah, there are no short cuts when it comes to aging a potent grape like Syrah.  I'm guessing this wine would benefit from a few years of bottle age in the cellar.  For now, I have to put this bottle on Santa's naughty list...

I'm really baffled after looking at the Tensley website where I see that they typically age their Syrah for less than one year and have received many 90+ scores for their wines.  The 2010 Colson Canyon received a 93 from the Wine Advocate when tasted in August of 2012.  That would give the wine an additional 9 months of bottle age compared to the 2011 I tasted this past week.

Thanks Secret Santa, this was an unusual journey of intrigue into a unique approach to the treatment of Syrah.  And a learning experience regarding drinking wine "before its time."


Reply by JonDerry, Dec 26, 2012.

Sounds like quite the experiment doubt you've been one of the first to open CA Syrah from 2011. I'm sure a few more Aussie Shiraz have been consumed by the locals. As for Northern Rhone, most of the 2010's haven't made it over yet!

Reply by outthere, Dec 31, 2012.

Anyone else? Next time maybe we should lay out the ground rules a little clearer. We're missing out on half the fun of this Secret Santa thingy.

Reply by JonDerry, Dec 31, 2012.

Sounds good to me OT always room to improve, though so far I think the SS participation pretty accurately reflects the participation on the forum. There aren't many active users to begin with, but I'm glad that all wines shipped and were eventually received, with at least a few nice successes. 

Jtrka, I've got your L'Ecole primed for tonight.

Reply by jtryka, Dec 31, 2012.

Wow Lucha, that sounds like a very strange journey indeed!  Today I ordered a mixed half case from Forgeron since they had a free shipping special through today, and I picked up an '09 Syrah that I thought would be a bit on the young side, and Forgeron had only 2 2011 vintage wines and both were white!  In any event, you at least made your journey interesting for the rest of us, which I why I like reading your reviews and blog!

JD, looking forward to your thoughts on the Perigee, the '09 is still a bit young, but I think it's drinking nicely now.  Of L'Ecole's two big blends, the Apogee and Perigee, I've always enjoyed the Perigee more, and the only reason I can think of is that it has just a bit less Malbec in the blend, and I am really not a fan of Malbec despite its recent surge in popularity.  In any case I hope you enjoy it!

Reply by JonDerry, Jan 2, 2013.

Thank you Jtryka, very much for the bottle of L'Ecole Perigee. I have to admit, when receiving this I was a little dubious, just from the name I was completely thrown...L'Ecole? No. 41? Then Perigee, what the heck is this? But a big part of the exchange is to help us get out of our comfort zones, and this ended up being a really nice cab blend, definitely the best of the three 09' WA cab blends I've had recently, with the Dunham Trutina, and Soos Creek included.

I opened this a couple hours before we drank it, though no decant. The nose was immediately expressive, the texture was medium-full, and had a soft/creaminess to it that reminded me of the 08' Ridge Estate Cabernet (that has a similar Cab/Merlot % though none of the other), but this had a little more nuance to it. Not a big and brawny cab, and also not a lean, wiry one by any stretch, but it had a good line of acidity and had a nice medium finish. Didn't get too much pushback from the tannins so I think this is fine to drink now and don't really see it improving with further age, but just evolving. At around $40.00, this is a real nice value, and a good example of a new world Bordeaux blend with a typical fruit profile red fruits mixed with currant, and well integrated oak. Would like to taste it against the 08' Ridge Estate someday to compare. In the end, I think what separated this wine from the other WA Cabs I've tried, other than additional nuance, this L'Ecole has back-bone, where I found the others to be a little on the feminine side, especially the Dunham.


64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 12% Cab Franc, 4% Malbec, 4% Petit Verdot - Also like how the Cab Franc is the dominant grape for the "other varietals", where the Malbec and PV aren't too over-powering or insignificant.

Reply by Lucha Vino, Jan 3, 2013.

JTryka - Forgeron is really nice and made by one of the nicest wine makers in Washington.  I'm sure you picked up a number of awesome wines in that case deal!

Reply by jtryka, Jan 3, 2013.

JD - Glad you liked the Perigee, it's long been one of my favorites.  As for the naming, L'Ecole No. 41 since it's located in the old schoolhouse in Lowden, WA which happened to be schoolhouse #41.  As for Perigee, that's the point where the moon is closest to the earth, but I can't recall the significance of that and why they named the blend Perigee, but it's still good.

Lucha - I visited the tasting room in Walla Walla back in May on the recommendation of Julie from Seven Hills.  I still had some left from that trip, but you can always have more!  I love their Walldeux Smithie as a nice everyday wine, and their Barbera and Primitivo were super.  And as a bonus, I just got an e-mail that my wine was delivered, need to check at the front desk of the office!

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