Liquid Arts Portfolio Tasting

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Recently I tasted through Liquid Arts’ fall portfolio. My tasting notes and impressions follow. Many of these wines will be available in retail outlets this holiday season. All prices are estimated retail prices.

Champagne

Champagne Gosset Celebris Brut 1998

An absolutely outstanding nose of hazelnut, white chocolate and brioche. Undeniably hedonistic.

The palate draws into rich and deep apple and honey with great bright acidity – a nice counterbalance to the richness of the nose. This is very well made if not lacking some depth on the palate.

Very Good+
$140

Jean Milan Brut Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs ‘Special’ N/V

The nose gives toasted almonds and some apple and is generally quite enticing. The palate offers much more minerality than the other Champagnes on offer and the overall balance makes this a great ‘entry-level’ Champagne. I would like a little more depth of flavour, but a generally impressive offering at this price point.

Very Good+
$80

Henri Billiot et Fils Brut Reserve N/V

A strange eggy nose that needs air or age to blow off. The palate is very rich and pretty oak heavy. For my tastes it is a bit fat, with the acid at a low but not flabby level.

However, this is a Champagne for those who prefer more sweetness than dry minerality and acidity. My personal tastes (along with an objective note of better balance) would go for the Milan, but many will likely prefer this.

Very Good
$75

Henri Billiot et Fils Brut Rose N/V

A pronounced note of cantaloupe on the nose and a hint of strawberry. The palate is again melon-centric and is quite sweet. This feels like the dosage got a little out of hand, but perhaps it needs a little more time to integrate.

Otherwise, this is rich and over the top in style and needs some sort of salty food to balance it all out. The Brut Reserve offers better balance.

Very Good
$80

Whites

Trimbach Gewurztraminer 2007

A classic nose of pear and lychee with good lift and expression. The nose was quite dense and rich, but also very long.

The palate gives the impression of sweetness, but this likely has very low residual sugar. This is a good job, but not quite at the upper level. Solid for the price.

Very Good
$45

Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis Premier Cru Montmains 2007

Overall this was classic Chablis. Pickle, cheese, vegetables and mineral on the nose make this austere but classic.

The palate was very fresh and clean and accentuates that this is a mineral driven wine. Great crispness, and well made, but needs time to open.

Very Good+
$50

Pascal Cotat ‘Les Monts Damnes’ Sancerre 2008

Here is where it’s at for Sancerre. Subtle apples and minerals on the nose – clean but not overly expressive right now.

This is green and vegetal on the palate and absolutely beautiful in its complexity, depth and length. I would let this age some time before opening, but this is what I wish more producers were able to create in the region.

Excellent to Excellent+
$75

Pascal Cotat ‘La Grande Cote’ Sancerre 2008

A bigger more classic expression compared to the previous wine. This is really bright, focused and clean on the palate and brings tremendous acid and personality. The flavours are more classic mineral and citrus, but let this age to see what it can do.

Excellent to Excellent+
$78

Catena Alta Chardonnay 2007

A very ripe nose, pushing the boundaries of the fruit. The palate is also rich with pear etc. However, it manages to keep itself in check with very good acid.

Made in an international style and without any terroir to speak of, but this is undeniably well made nonetheless.

Very Good+
$45

Pinot Noir and Gamay

Marcel Lapierre Morgon 2009

While this is not fully developed yet on the nose, it offers floral notes of rose petal along with light strawberry fruit.

When you taste this, however, you will find extremely impressive balance, structure and length that punches well above the 2008 and 2007 version of this wine. Pretty, but deeper and more structured than usual. An outstanding wine and a strong sign that 2009 will be an exceptional vintage for cru Beaujolais.

Excellent
$40

Lucien Crochet ‘La Cruiz du Roy’ Sancerre Rouge 2009

A bit of dill on the somewhat suppressed nose along with dark cherry and strawberry.

Moderate length but loses something on the mid-palate. Nonetheless, this is fresh clean and light.

Very Good
$50

Radio-Coteau Pinot Noir ‘La Neblina’ Sonoma Coast 2008

The nose offers rich cherry and is generally broad and bright, albeit somewhat one dimensional.

The palate is quite rich and very spicy and deep. This is a bit low in acid so the fruit loses some lift, but a solid wine overall.

Very Good+
$70

Felton Road Pinot Noir 2008

Some reduction on the nose, but otherwise darkly spicy with stewed strawberries.

Raspberry and strawberry on the palate with good length and depth. The price is a concern for me, however.

Very Good to Very Good+
$80

Perrot-Minot Vosne-Romanee 2006

A deep expression of spiced nuts on the nose. The palate offers more nutty darkly spiced fruit, but importantly does not offer as much delineation as the best Vosne-Romanees.

Very Good to Very Good+
$72

Perrot-Minot Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru ‘La Combe d’Orveau’

Light and open and pretty light fruit and spice – impressive nose. The palate offers good freshness and balance and is overall more in proportion compared to the Vosne. There is, however, less body than the Vosne, which is to be expected. Despite this, the wine still has good depth of flavour.

Very Good+ to Excellent
$150

Perrot-Minot Chambertin Clos de Beze Grand Cru 2006

The nose offers beautiful lift with raspberry and strawberry fruit components combined with flowers and lightly dusted spices. This still needs some time to fully shed its oak, however.

The palate is not as exciting as the nose and lacks some depth on the mid-palate. The wine does offer exceptional length, however, and will likely develop into something special. I would not open this any time soon.

Very Good+ to Excellent
$250

Rhone and Italy

J.L. Chave Offerus St. Joseph 2007

A very expressive nose with green herbs and fresh blackberry. This is classically pure St. Joseph syrah.

The palate gives pepper, blackberry and stone and is quite fresh. Again a textbook example, but don’t expect fireworks.

Very Good+
$50

Domaine du Pegau Cuvee Reservee Chateaneuf-du-Pape 2007

From the storied 2007 vintage. Sweet raspberry fruit on the nose with an almost candied component.

This is very woody and has tons of bright cherry and strawberry fruit with good acid. This is somewhat over-extracted for its own good, however, and becomes a little too sweet and unbalanced as a result. This, unfortunately, makes it a somewhat innocuous ‘high end’ red wine. Avoid at this price.

Very Good+
$125

Feudo Maccari Nero D’Avola IGT Sicilia 2009

Boysenberry and plum on the very sweet nose. Rich gamey elements lie underneath.

The palate is overly fruity and sweet, and really not that tasty given its lack of balance. Perhaps too much oak. Some might enjoy this, but at this price point it is not delivering the goods.

Very Good
$35

Elio Altare Dolcetto d’Alba 2007

Very sweet blackberry and smoke on the nose. This gives blackberry, herbs and earth on the palate, but is very structured and has excellent balance. Definitely worth a go.

Very Good+
$45

Domenico Clerico ‘Visadi’ Dolcetto 2008

Some licorice roots and black cherry on the dense nose. The palate is another story, however: ridiculous and unjudicious use of oak. Honestly, a pretty tough wine to enjoy with ferocious wood tannins. Avoid.

Good
$35

Domenico Clerico ‘Trevigne’ Barbera 2007

Plenty of red and black cherry in its sweet aromatic core. There are some felt tipped marker qualities to the nose along with black cherry and a ton of wood.

This has better balance than the Dolcetto, however. Of course, it’s also not terribly interesting.

Very Good
$58

Ca’Du Rabaja Barbera d’Alba 2008

Cherries and baking spices on the nose. This is fairly fresh with cherry and spice on the palate. But the acid and tannins are not quite in balance here.

Good+
$39

Pertimali Rosso di Montalcino 2007

A classic Sangiovese nose of big earth and twigs. Quite big but also juicy on the palate with raspberry fruit and some earthy undertones. Well balanced.

Very Good
$65

Tua Rita ‘Rosso dei Notri’ IGT Toscana 2008

Black raspberry and blackberry on the nose, but also some overt oak notes. There is lots of oak on the palate of this wine, which obliterates the purity of the fruit. Very big oak-driven tannin structure.

Very Good
$39

Ca’Du Rabaja Barbaresco 2007

Now we’re talking. Quite bright, fresh and pretty on the nose with some floral notes and light red fruit.

The palate is floral and pretty and offers impeccable balance. This is also very drinkable right now with very fine and integrated tannins, and at a truly outstanding price for the quality.

Excellent
$60

Elio Altare Barolo 2004

Dark violets and other flowers on the nose. The palate gives classic black cherry, etc. This has great balance and freshness and could best be described as “discrete power”.

Excellent to Excellent+
$150

Misc Reds

Radio-Coteau Syrah ‘Las Colinas’ Sonoma Coast 2008

Not nearly as good as the last couple vintages. This offers mocha, smoke and very dark cherry and black berry on the nose.

The palate is richer than the last couple of vintages and is actually quite sweet and forward. This results from a lack of acidity and what seems to be more poorly integrated alcohol. Still a decent wine, but not at the level of previous vintages.

Very Good+
$65

Alvaro Espinoza Kuyen Maipo Valley 2008

A biodynamic producer, but this has god awful reduction on its. A fundamentally flawed wine.

No Good
$39

Bodegas Artadi ‘Orobio’ Tempranillo 2008

Basic fruit driven Rioja with no personality made in a modern and international style.

Good
$30

Quinta do Vale Meao ‘Meandro’ Douro 2007

Some meat, black fruit and plum on the nose, but there is something seriously out of balance in this wine. The palate reveals that the oak is now out of control and has obliterated any interesting more rustic and herbal elements in the wine. This is all sweet fruit and oak spice.

Good+
$45

Part II of the Allen Meadows article is coming soon.

Posted in: Tastings

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