January 29, 2007

The GrapeRadio guys sat in with Rusty Gaffney (the Prince of Pinot), for a short vertical of some older Littorai Pinot Noirs and a delicious Chardonnay.

The winemaker/owner here is Ted Lemon, and if you don't know about these exceptional wines, you can find out more at (www.littorai.com).

  • 20004 Mays Cyn Chard - slightly smoky and creamy citrus, sweet lemon rind and pineapple in the nose. Excellent balance, smooth textures on the palate and nice long smooth finish.
  • 1997 Hirsch - slightly sweet dark nose. Tight and slightly tannic with obvious fruit, very good balance and nice long finish.
  • 2000 Hirsch - rounder and more polished than the '00, with a richer mouthfeel seemingly more complexity throughout.
  • 1996 Savoy - nose of spicy strawberry and lforal notes, with just a touch of whole cluster, earthy-mushroom scent. Earthy mouthfeel, smooth and even textures, very nice fruit throughout, gets juicy toward the long finish.
  • 1998 Savoy - similar to the'96, but more so. Bigger in fruit and mouthfeel, with a slightly "fresher" taste, and a bing cherry finish.
  • 1997 Thieriot - wonderful nose of red and some black fruits, with hints of rhubarb and toast. Very expressive throughout, with persistent mouthfeel and dark black cherry fruit flavor leading to long juicy finish.
  • 1999 Thieriot - similar to the '97, but seems bigger throughout with darker fruit and a nice sweet loamy earthen scent. Delicious on the palate, excellent balance and very long finish.
  • 1999 One Acre - Wow! The touches of cake spice, herbs and whole cluster scents really push this wine to a whole other world. Fabulous mouthfeel, lots of fruit, excellent balance, with a huge mid-palate and very long smooth finish.
January 26, 2007

Headed up to Northridge for this tasting, and 2 hrs and 70 miles later we were there. The theme was Aussie - those with high review scores.


  • 2005 Two Hands Brilliant Disguise Moscato (RP 91): Nose of some candied apple and stone fruits, with a bit of ginger on the palate. As Paul mentioned, this really did pair well with the coconut shrimp appetizer; the bloomin' onion - not so much. The slightly sweet spritz was very nice on the palate, though this could have easily caused the issue with the next wine up-to-bat. 6.5% alc.
  • 2002 Leeuwin Estate Chardonnay Art Series:
    As mentioned, this followed a slightly sweet Moscato, which may have at least partly responsible for doing it in. That said, it didn't seem to put me off as much as the other folks, and I felt it had nice lemon-lime and a touch of grapefruit throughout.


  • 2001 Clarendon Hills OV Grenache Kangarilla (RP 95):
    Really neat dark cherry, with a creamy vanilla/mint quality, and some nice sappy notes throughout. 14.1% alc.
  • 2002 Clarendon Hills Grenache Romas (RP 96):
    Had an interesting rustic/floral/stem thing going on in the nose. Found the mouthfeel slightly bitter on the back end, but the whole package seemed to get better and more interesting with time. 14.5% alc.
  • 2004 De Lisio Grenache (RP 95):
    Big, dense, and gorgeous nose that was packed with raspberry and black raspberry liqueur. Mostly smooth & chewy in mouthfeel, but a little young so still showing some coarseness too. Nice wine, seemingly a little monolithic right now.


  • 1997 Fox Creek Reserve Shiraz (RP 96):
    Nose of blackberry and black cherry. Smooth, refined, very tasty.
  • 2002 Torbreck The Factor (RP 99):
    Overtly seductive nose, polished and smooth throughout, with a very long seamless finish. Did I mention it was seductive? Mmmm-hm, I definitely heard it calling to me several times during the evening.
  • 2002 Henry’s Drive Reserve Shiraz (RP 97):
    Similar to the Torbreck in structure, but lots spicier, and maybe not as overt. Plenty of dark fruit, slightly less polished in mouthfeel, with an equally long finish. Nice hints of eucalyptus, anise, and kalamata olive.


  • 2004 Mitolo G.A.M. (RP 97):
    Lot sof fruit here, and quite juicy (almost sweet-sour) in mouthfeel. Just a bit of a meaty/rustic edge to this wine, but the fruit just keeps pumping and carries it through the long finish. 15.0% alc.
  • 2004 Mitolo Savitar (RP98):
    As Paul noted, and obvious minty/citrus quality to this in the nose. As with its stablemate, lots of texture if a little edgy in mouthfeel, but what a steak of a wine! 14.1% alc.
  • 2004 Two Hands Bella’s Garden (RP 94):
    This seemed more forward to me than either of the Mitolo's. Fascinating notes of black pepper and some herbs compliment the huge dark fruit in the nose. Beautiful balance and finish - nicely done. 15.0% alc.


  • 2004 Oliverhill Jimmy Section (RP 95):
    Lovely jammy nose of cocoa and spice, with smooth textures and juicy acids, and a very long finish. Really nice, though I though I detected a bit of acetate at one point.
  • 2004 Shirvington (RP 95):
    Gorgeous nose of dark fruit, candied pecans and toasted grains. Delicious fruit, beautiful mouthfeel and long finish. If I had to find some fault here, it would be that it lacked some noticeable interest points. You know, glamorous - but I wanted to have a discussion, too.
  • 2004 Kilkanoon Parable (RP 96):
    Huge nose of pepper-infused blackberry and herbs. I went back and forth with this wine - one minute, killer in mouthfeel; the next minute, kind of clunky. I dunno.


  • NV R.L. Buller Fine Muscat (RP 96)
    Similar wines, but I liked the muscat more. This had nice fresh fruity overtones, good mouthfeel and finish - making it seem a little less porty. 18% alc.
  • NV R.L. Buller Fine Tokay (RP 95)
    The fruit here tended more to the toasted nut/brown sugar thing, very tawny-like. Very nice - and if it was the only dessert for the evening - it'd be the winner. 18% alc.
January 22, 2007

The GrapeRadio guys headed up to LaLa Land (aka Hollywood) to sit down with Frederic Panaiotis from Veuve Cliquot for an interview. Frederic is one of serveral winemakers VC employs to produce their various Champagne bottlings. Very knowledgeable AND articulate, and this will be a good primer for some who want to know more about Champagne, and specifically Veuve Clicquot.

January 21, 2007

Attended a unique type of tasting - blending your own wine! Melville Vnyds makes several bottlings of specific clones available - primarily for their seminar program. Well, thanks to several donors (including the winery), we were able to have our own seminar.
  • 2004 Clone 113 - fleshy, rich dark cherry with a nice sappy streak. Lots of cherry and strawberry in mouthfeel, but seems to lack some structure. Decent acids.
  • 2004 Clone 5 - huge, and very fleshy fruit - leaning more to the red fruit spectrum. Nice spicy and meaty notes. Some sense of stem inclusion here, with richer mouthfeel and smoother transition through the finish.
  • 2004 Clone 667 - Spicy, very dark fruit - if a bit monolithic. Very tasty, with lots of moderate spicy notes. Big on mid-palate and finish.

First blend for me: 50% Clone 113; 25% Clone 667; 25% Clone 5. Lacking some structure.
Final blend for me: 50% Clone 113; 30% Clone 667; 20% Clone 5 . Seemed to work nicely with 667 filling in the middle and back end.

  • 2005 Clone 9 - Lots of edgy strawberry fruit, along with floral and light notes of whole cluster in the nose. Plenty of acids balance out the fruit throught mid and latter palate. Seems to sweeten up on the finish, in contrast to the front end. 33% stem inclusion.
  • 2004 Clone 828 - Obvious whole cluster scent to the dark fruit. Seems to have a slight hole in the center. Hirsch-like acids in mouthfeel that seem to get jucier from mid to latter palate. Long finish. 33% stem inclusion.
  • 2004 Clone 777 - Big heady nose, with lots of spice. Seems to be very big on both the front end and back end. Needs a filler in the center. 33% stem inclusion.

First blend for me: 45% Clone 777; 45% Clone 828; 10% Clone 9. Lacking some structure.
Final blend for me: 60% Clone 777; 30% Clone 828; 10% Clone 9. Seemed to bring out the best of the Jackson clone, without overpowering the wine.

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