Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tasting Session: Domaine Select portfolio 08.20.08

Hi everybody,

Today's tasting constituted of 3 wines from the Domaine Select portfolio (Distributor / Importer).

NV Alfred Gratien Brut Rose Champagne (producer at Epernay, Champagne) France
Suggested retail price $65-$68

Established in 1864, Alfred Gratien is an old traditional champagne house where the champagne is made by the 4th generation winemaker. This so called "hand made" champagne is barrel fermented in small barrel then age for a minimum of 3 years. This Rose is apparently fairly new in the New York market. Made from top quality grapes sourced trough out some of the best producers including some of their own parcels, Alfred Gratien Brut Rose is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. The resulting champagne is a great combination of these three grapes.

Delicate, fresh and clean floral aromas on the nose mingle with rose petals, tight cherries notes and hints of yeast. The palate is elegant, delicate, refreshing, vivid, with a medium to fine mousse. Light on his feet, crisp, fruity, easy to drink, soft and well rounded on the finish, this is an enjoyable, pretty rose champagne with a bright, racy, pink grapefruit attitude. Perfect as an aperitif, for a toast during a wedding or any other type of celebration.

2005 Mas du Goudaneau Cotes du Rhone France
Suggested retail price $14-$17

This wine is made in a new winery built and owned by Helene and Daniel Boulle of Domaine des Aphillanthes, a classic house of the Cotes du Rhone. 2005 is the first vintage released from this new and exciting project. Compare to Domaine des Aphillanthes, Mas du Goudaneau is a slightly more modern style, more fruit forward and less earthy, but still with a twist of traditionalism. They use organic and biodynamic method for this wine. It was fermented then aged in concrete vat with no fining and no filtration before bottling. This pure natural fruit juice with addition of any kind.

A blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre and 10% Carignan, Mas du Goudaneau shows aromas of dark ripe berries, dark chocolate and spices. The attack is ripe and fruity, followed by a soft, rich and smooth mid-palate. Flavors of dark chocolate, coffee, leather, ripe plum and fig fusion nicely in this rich Cotes du Rhone. The finish is long, earthy and structured with very good tannins from the grapes (no oak ageing). A very nice value and good mid-season wine. to enjoy this fall with a nice steak or even a stew.

2005 The Colonial Estate "Envoy" Barossa valley Australia
Suggested retail price $28-$32

There is no need to introduce you to this estate owned by Jonathan Maltus of Chateau Teyssier (Saint-Emilion Grand Cru). This british aristocrat brought his know-how and savoir faire to Australia and now produces, since a few years, Australian wines with Bordeaux flair in the Barossa valley. Often referenced in the famous UK magazine Decanter and praised by Robert Parker, Jr., the Colonial Estate is mixing traditional Bordeaux style vinification with super ripe grapes. The resulting wines are often rich, complex and often more balanced than other already long established Australian wineries (no names) that produce extra over extracted shiraz wines with more than 15% of alcohol.

The nose is not shy, offering ripe aromas of blueberry, cassis, earth, almost floral (blue flowers) notes and spices. it almost seems that the nose has some kind of freshness and minerality, which is rare for a Barossa wine. Despite the slight touch of alcohol toward the end (fairly integrated if you ask me compare to a lot of other barossa valley wines), it is a pretty wine, quite elegant and rich. The finish develops notes of dark chocolate, mocca, and earthy spices. Very well balanced with a great acidity (another rare feature), this wine won my respect. Pair it with BBQ and grilled red meat.


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