2005 Château Greysac

2005 Château Greysac
France, Bordeaux, Médoc

Wine Rating: 89

Uncorked: 2009.12.23 Wine to sip through the evening, pizza dinner
Easy drinking Medoc and a steal at $9.89 (after case discount). A bit tight right out of the bottle, but fairly expressive after a few hours. Cherry, plum, tobacco, and cedar in the nose. Ripe fruit in the mouth with dark earthiness. Tannins are a bit thin. Nicely balanced but fiarly simple. Excellent QPR. Glad I bought a case.

$10.99 (case price = $9.89; normally approx. $25.00) Chuck’s Fine Wines

Chuck’s Fine Wines Website

1992 Château Bel-Air (Domaines Henri Martin)

Chateau Bel Air

1992 Château Bel-Air (Domaines Henri Martin)
France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc

Wine Rating: 83

Uncorked: 2009.09.04 Dinner with Neighbors
This poor little bottle had been forgotten in the cellar. I’ve got a couple more down there — an ’88 and a ’94. These are pretty simple, low-end Bordeaux bottlings, but it’s always fun to find forgotten bottles, and interesting to endulge in a bit of mystery since it’s hard to know what’s gone in under the cork over these several years.

We had dinner with some of our neighbors, and this was one of seveal wines we sampled. We opened the bottle and let it decant for about an hour. It was tight and a bit unwieldy. Not a crowd-pleaser, but I had a sense there was more to this little bottle than the turned-up noses as we first tasted the wine. So I drank it over the next three days. This was a good example of “good things come to those who wait.” While the wine never became anything extraordinary, it was fun to see that this little bottle wasn’t just going to roll over and be forgotten.

Obviously beyond prime, but surprising how it balanced out on day 3. Aromas of dark chocolate, elderberries, and smoke. Soft feel in the mouth with skin-on plum, currant, and bell pepper flavors. Softened but ripe tanins endured through a moderate finish. Remarkably easy to drink, even in its twilight.

I encourage even novice wine drinkers to find a couple of bottles that can be hidden away for a few years. It is a treat to see how wines develop over time. This one went beyond its best drinking window, but how fun it was to blow off the dust, wake it up a bit, and let it give the gifts of aromas and flavors that have been bottled up for fifteen or sixteen years.

$8.00 in 1994

CTS Wine Ministry 2009 – Overview

Wine Ministry

It was a great week at CTS with a community of friends, some good theological thoughts, and plenty of wine flowing. Thanks to all who participated in the fellowship of the overflowing chalice!

I will post a bit more information and reviews of each of the wines we tasted, but for now here is a listing of the four tastings we shared. Leave a note on this or the other postings to let me know your favorite wines as well as your memories of the week we shared. Check back soon for the wine notes…

Monday, July 6, 2009
Theme: Warming Up the Palates

1 – 2008 Total Depravity Riesling [Ohio/Washington] $priceless
2 – 2007 Clean Slate Riesling Shared by Stephen [Germany] $9.99
3 – 2007 Total Depravity Pinot Noir [Ohio/California] $priceless
4 – 2002 Pillitteri Estates Gamay Noir Family Reserve [Canada] $32.99
5 – 2002 Kacaba Vineyards Meritage [Canada] $36.99

Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Theme: Vertical Tasting of California Rhone Varietals

1 – 2005 Zaca Mesa Syrah [California] $23.00
2 – 2004 Zaca Mesa Syrah [California] $23.00
3 – 2006 Gainey Vineyard Syrah [California] $24.00
4 – 2005 Gainey Vineyard Syrah [California] $24.00
5 – 2004 Gainey Vineyard Syrah Limited Selection [California] $38.00
6 – 2002 Gainey Vineyard Syrah [California] $22.00

Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Theme: The Variety of White Wines – Find One for Your Palate

1 – 2008 Black Mountain Pinot Grigio Shared by Stephen [California] $5.99
2 – 2008 Greenhough Sauvignon Blanc [New Zealand] $15.99
3 – 2007 Shoo Fly Buzz Cut (white blend) Shared by Lisa [Australia] $10.99
4 – 2006 Sonoma Vineyards Chardonnay (unoaked) [California] $14.99
5 – 2007 Newton Chardonnay Napa/Sonoma Counties [California] $18.99
6 – 2007 Domaine Pichot Vouvray Domaine Le Peu de la Moriette [France] $14.99
7 – NV Botter Prosecco Vino Spumante [Italy] $14.99
8 – 2008 Ceretto I Vignaioli Santo Stefano Moscato d’Asti [Italy] $24.99

Bonus Wine:
9 – 2008 Project Happiness Chardonnay Shared by Bryan [California] $5.99

Preview of Thursday’s blending seminar:
10 – 2003 Clos du Bois Marlstone (Bordeaux style blend) [California] $39.99

Thursday, July 9, 2009
Theme: Bordeaux-Style Blending Seminar

1 – 2008 Total Depravity Riesling [Ohio/Washington] $priceless
2 – 2008 Muga Rioja Rose [Spain] $12.99
3 – 2005 Celler de Capçanes Montsant Mas Donis Barrica Shared by ??? [Spain] $12.99
4 – 2006 Domaine “la Garrigue” Côtes du Rhône [France] $15.99
5 – 2007 Layer Cake Primitivo Zinfandel Shared by Lisa [Italy] $13.99
6 – 2006 Santa Rita Merlot Reserva Shared by ??? [Chile] $9.99

Samples of Bordeaux-Style Blends from Around the World
7 – 2001 Rosemount Traditional [Australia] $29.99
8 – 2001 Creekside Laura’s Blend Meritage [Canada] $18.99
9 – 2002 Chateau Peyre-Lebade (Rothchild) Bordeaux Haut-Medoc [France] $24.99
10 – 2006 Steltzner Claret [California] $16.99

Blending Wines (components of Bordeaux/Meritage):
11 – 2007 Dry Creek Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (barrel sample) [California] $23.00 (prerelease)
12 – 2007 Dry Creek Vineyards Merlot (barrel sample) [California] $19.00 (prerelease)
13 – 2007 Dry Creek Vineyards Cabernet Franc (barrel sample) [California] not sold retail
14 – 2007 Dry Creek Vineyards Malbec (barrel sample) [California] not sold retail
15 – 2007 Dry Creek Vineyards Petit Verdot (barrel sample) [California] not sold retail

Prize Wine & Finale Tasting:
16 – 2001 Le Sillage de Malartic Bordeaux Pessac-Léognan [France] $29.99

Extra – Just for Fun
17 – NV Riondo Prosecco (with a sliced strawberry in the glass!) [Italy] $12.99

2005 Boutinot Côtes du Ventoux Chat-en-Oeuf

2005 Boutinot Côtes du Ventoux Chat-en-Oeuf
France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Ventoux

Wine Rating: 88

Uncorked: 2008.07.05
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Week 1, Saturday, Wine No. 3

I am always cautious of cutely named wines – and this one certainly is clever (Chat-en-Oeuf translates “Cat-in-Egg” or “Cat-on-Egg” as the label illustration shows), and is a nod to its style namesake Chateneuf du Pape. While this is no premium CdP, it is a very tasty and affordable table wine.

The color is a bright ruby red. Aromas of red cherries, raspberries and pepper. It is fairly light in the mouth, but not thin. Flavors of cherry, blackberry, and strawberry with some spice and leather. The finish is medium and the tannins are mild. The flavors opened up and balanced with a bit of breathing out of the bottle.

It’s a wine to be consumed young. Excellent value and easy to recommend as an everyday table wine.

$8.99 widely available

2005 Château Pesquié Côtes du Ventoux Les Terrasses

2005 Château Pesquié Côtes du Ventoux Les Terrasses
France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Ventoux

Wine Rating: 92

Uncorked: 2008.07.04
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Week 1, Thursday, Wine No. 3
Shared b y Paul C.

This wine is, of course, a fixture at Casa de P-D. We love this wine. It has all the flavors of some of the best Cotes du Rhone at a fraction of the price. Being just south in the Ventoux region gives this wine the disadvantage of not being a “true” Cotes du Rhone, but it makes it an extremely good value.

The 2005 gets a one-point rating increase over the 2004. There is just more flavor in the bottle. It is a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah, all picked from old vine growth.

Deep ruby color. Had to open up a bit, but soon the nose exploded with cherries, plum, cedar and leather. Concentrated flavors of ripe cherry, strawberry, and blackberry with a smooth, round mouthfeel. Notes of licorice, spice, and white pepper. The tannins are soft and well integrated. There are hints of some stems and earth on the finish. The wine has lots of layers, plenty of flavors, a real treat for the palate.

It should probably be drunk young as the tannins are pretty soft now. Perhaps 2 or 3 years in the bottle at the most. But it is so drinkable now, I’m not sure that it will improve much. Excellent value.

$12.99 widely available

2005 Domaine Perilliere Côtes du Rhône Villages

2005 Domaine Perilliere Côtes du Rhône Villages
France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône Villages

Wine Rating: 91

Uncorked: 2008.07.03
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Week 1, Thursday, Wine No. 3

This has become one of our “table wines” at Casa de P-D. It’s a nice Cotes du Rhone with good depth and earthiness. Harvested from old vine Grenache, Syrah, and Mouvedre, the winemaker exploits the grapes for all of their intensity and flavors. It does well to open up a bit before serving in order to let it stretch and breathe.

Aromas of dark, ripe cherry and berries along with cedar, spice, and mocha. In the mouth its texture is smooth and flavors are dense. Ripe cherry, raspberry, blackberry, and cranberry flavors with spicy, peppery notes. The old world style is apparent with the distinct earthiness and wood flavors. The terroir of the Garde region of the Rhone Valley is subtly present. The finish is moderate with firm tannins.

At $16.99 it is a bit pricey for some people’s everyday wine, but it packs a lot into the bottle and is actually an excellent value. This is wine that, if you can keep your hands off it, can live in the cellar and improve over the next 2 or 3 years.


2006 J. Vidal-Fleury Côtes du Rhône

2006 J. Vidal-Fleury Côtes du Rhône
France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône

Wine Rating: 84

Uncorked: 2008.07.03
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Week 1, Thursday, Wine No. 1
Shared by Paul C.

Light and fruity with distinct Syrah flavors. Young and a bit tight, opened up a bit in the glass. Lots of fruit in the nose, and almost a fruit bomb in the mouth. Nothing extraordinary, but for $6.99 from Trader Joe’s (and other markets) it’s a very good value and a decent table wine. Unfortunately, Paul paid a premium for this one at the Dekalb Farmers Market that sells it for $14.49. Good wine for $6.99, I’d pass on it for more than $10.

$6.99 Trader Joes, widely available

(Paul paid $14.49 at the Dekalb Farmers Market)

2005 Chateau du Vieux Moulins de Chereau Montagne-Saint Emilion

2005 Chateau du Vieux Moulins de Chereau Montagne-Saint Emilion
France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Montagne-St. Émilion

Wine Rating: 93

Uncorked: 2008.07.02
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Week 1, Wednesday, Wine No. 4

This wine was lovely, elegant, and refined. We had gone through some New World renditions of Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington, California, and Australia, and then came home to Bordeaux. We were not disappointed by the crafting of this wine.

Delightful deep ruby red color with tinges of lavender. Nice aromatic layers of dark ripe fruits (black currants, blackberries, and plum), figs, cedar, leather, and hummus. In the mouth it created a round, full experience. The dark fruits continued in the flavors and were joined by chocolate, coffee, tobacco, and well-integrated toasty oak. The flavors in the mouth lasted much longer than expected, and seamlessly finished with firm, rounded tannins.

The wine is still a bit young and could have opened up more before we enjoyed it. It will improve over the next 5-7 years. This is an affordable yet exquisite example of 2005 Bordeaux. Extraordinary value.


[yellow tail] Throwdown!

[yellow tail]. It’s everywhere. It’s extraordinarily popular. In 2005 this Australian winery produced more than 11 million cases of wine (yes, that’s more than 132,000,000 bottles of wine). There is more of this wine imported into the United States than all of the wines from France combined. More than 2 million glasses of [yellow tail] are consumed in the world every day. With this much wine being sold it simply MUST be good, right?

Wine connoisseurs (aka snobs) refer to [yellow tail] with great disdain. It is the antithesis to good wine. Its chemical aromas and overly sweet, fruity flavors should never grace the inside of a Riedel stem.

But this wine sells! Do we Americans really lack that much discrimination? We don’t really fall for sophisticated marketing, product placement, label design, price point, and market saturation, DO WE??? We would not permit our wine palates to be manipulated by engineered product, WOULD WE??? It is precisely these things as well as the sweet, fruity flavors that have lured consumers that have little or no wine expertise into the uncorking (unscrewing) of countless bottles of [yellow tail]. Did I mention that the makers of this wine add sugar to the wine to make it sweeter?

Ok, so now I’m sounding like a wine snob.

The project at this evening’s wine tasting was a [yellow tail] THROWDOWN. Since it’s the most popular wine in America, let’s see if people really like it when it is compared side by side with other wines. We did a semi-blind tasting. People knew that [yellow tail] was going to be served, they just didn’t know which wine it would be. So there were four wines each served without disclosing what it was. One was [yellow tail] Cabernet Sauvignon. As a control in the experiment, we also served a decent California Cabernet Sauvignon just to show what a Cabernet “should” taste like (which, admittedly, is very subjective). The final two wines were chosen because of their price and wide availability. They are approximately the same price as [yellow tail], but the wine snobs (me) actually drink these bargains, claiming that they are actually really good wines. So here’s the lineup in the order they were actually served:

    2007 [yellow tail] Cabernet Sauvignon
    2005 Avalon Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
    2006 Perrin & Fils Cotes du Rhone Reserve
    2006 d’Arenberg The Stump Jump Grenache – Shiraz – Mourvedre

And the winner is? In this order of preference by the esteemed panel of tasters:

    #1 – Avalon Cabernet
    #2 – The Stump Jump
    #3 – Perrin Cotes du Rhone
    #4 – [yellow tail] Cabernet

It is very important to point out, however, that [yellow tail] was the number one choice of three of our tasters. I haven’t decided whether or not they are invited back tomorrow evening. Two others preferred it over the Perrin Cotes du Rhone. It was a close race to first between the Avalon and the Stump Jump. Both were well-liked.

We had four other wines after the blind tasting, also in the under-$10 category. There were some really enjoyable wines, including one in that new eco-friendly cartons with milk carton-like spout. I’ll write reviews of all of the wines from this evening, but to round out this posting the other wines were:

    2006 Bandit Cabernet Sauvignon (the one in the box – Thank you, Stephen!)
    2005 Poliziano Rosse di Montepulciano (yummy!!! Thanks, Cory!)
    2005 Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel Sonoma County (Pepper! Thanks, Barbara!)
    2006 Marquis Philips Shiraz (we liked it tonight!)

    With a great deal of thanks to our esteemed panel of judges, we must officially dethrone the [yellow tail] from its place of prominence (at least in terms of appeal as a wine). To be sure, some folks really like this wine. Drink it! I hope you’ll discover what you like and truly enjoy it. For those who didn’t care for the [yellow tail], we’ve given literally dozens of alternatives in the under $10 wines that are more than just drinkable – they are actually excellent wines.

    I’m working hard at getting all of the reviews done. There is a lot of wine to review… I promise I’ll get them all posted! I raise my glass to each of you – those who shared these wines tonight, and those who share with us vicariously through this blog…

2006 Monmousseau Vouvray


















2006 Monmousseau Vouvray
France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Vouvray

Wine Rating:  86

Uncorked: 2008.04.18 – Joyce Davis 80th Birthday Dinner

Light hay color that sparkled in the early spring sunlight. This is a pretty mild and approachable Vouvray in every way — mildly sweet, mildly acidic. Very easy to drink. Has characteristic full mouth-feel with flavors of pear, citrus, and sweet apple.  Nice wine for sweeter wine lovers to enjoy without excluding the dry white consumers.  Excellent quality-to-price ratio.

$11.99  Mustard Seed Market, Solon, Ohio

2000 Domaine du Colombier Crozes-Hermitage Cuvée Gaby










2000 Domaine du Colombier Crozes-Hermitage Cuvée Gaby
France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Crozes-Hermitage

Wine Rating:  96

Uncorked: 2008.04.18 – Joyce Davis 80th Birthday Dinner

Decanted for 45 minutes.  While Jeff cooked the 5-course meal, this was the wine Jeff & Kerri drank while Joyce enjoyed her Zeller Schwarze Katz!

This is a gorgeous Rhone.  It is bold, dark, rich, and chewy.  Beautiful deep red color in the glass. The wine really opened up with the decanting. Full aromas of dark berries, woody herbs, and dried fruit. Very rich, almost intoxicating in the nose. In the mouth there is an explosion of ripe flavors — dark berry and cherry, dried cranberry, fine leather, and plenty of earthiness. This had a mouthful to chew on. Very soft tannins in the finish, though it lingered. The wine is in its prime and will drink well for another year or two.

$23.99  Mustard Seed Market, Solon, Ohio

2005 Tardieu-Laurent Côtes du Rhône Villages Les Becs Fins

2005 Tardieu-Laurent Côtes du Rhône Villages Les Becs Fins
France, Rhone, Southern Rhone, Cotes du Rhone Villages

Wine Rating:  90

Uncorked: 2008.01.08 – CTS DMin NYC Wine Ministry

This bottle was a pleasant surprise! Fresh cherry and tart raspberry in the nose along with plenty of cedar and earthiness. Subtle oakiness. In the mouth it is what a Cote du Rhone ought to be… a nice balance of dark, ripe fruit followed by spice, oak, and rich earthiness. Beautifully round tannins make for a long, balanced finish. This is an excellent wine at a bargain price.

Excellent value.

$14.99  Winfield-Flynn Wines NYC

2005 Perrin & Fils Côtes du Rhône Reserve

Perrin Reserve

2005 Perrin & Fils Côtes du Rhône Reserve – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône

Wine Rating:  87

2007.06.23 – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Nice Cote at a great price. Slight floral hints on the nose with solid plum, blackberry, and wood aromas. Medium bodied with some cherry and currant fruit, a bit of peppery spice, and earthy hints near the finish. Moderate tannins. I’ll keep this one ready for a bowl of pasta or pizza night.

$8.99  DeKalb Farmers Market, Decatur, GA

2004 Domaine Saint-Damien Côtes du Rhône Vieilles Vignes


2004 Domaine Saint-Damien Côtes du Rhône Vieilles Vignes – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône

Wine Rating:  89

2007.06.22 – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Tight nose with faint dark fruit, leather and oak. Medium bodied with luxurious mouth feel. Dark berry and cherry flavors. Firm tannins with enough strength for the fruit, but definitely not overpowering. Nicely balanced. Not particularly complex in the mouth, but very pleasant. A very good value.

$13.29  DeKalb Farmers Market, Decatur, GA

2004 Château Pesquié Côtes du Ventoux Les Terrasses


2004 Château Pesquié Côtes du Ventoux Les Terrasses – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Ventoux

Wine Rating:  91     wine advocate 90     wine spectator 87

2007.06.24 – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Nice surprise! Deep ruby color. Had to open up a bit, but soon the nose exploded with cherries, plum, cedar and leather. Ripe cherry, strawberry, and blackberry flavors with a nice mouthfeel. The tannins are smooth. There were hints of some stems and earth on the finish, but in a quizical new-world style. Nicely balanced and very interesting. A terrific wine from southern Rhone.

$11.99  Dekalb Farmers Market, Decatur, GA

2005 Château Cadillac

Ch Cadillac

2005 Château Cadillac – France, Bordeaux, Bordeaux Supérieur

Wine Rating:  87

2007.06.21 – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Bright ruby color. Nose is very subtle with dark cherry, leather and oak. Palate is very soft with dark cherry, cranberry, and currant fruits. Tanins are soft finishing the wine with medium length. Overall a bland but very drinkable Bordeaux. 80% merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.

$14.50  Dekalb Farmers Market, Decatur, GA

2004 Mommessin Beaujolais-Villages Vieilles Vignes

Mommessin Beaujolais 

2004 Mommessin Beaujolais-Villages Vieilles Vignes – France, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Beaujolais-Villages

Wine Rating:  79     wine spectator 82

2007.06.21 – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Purchased to be a comparison for other wines in a tasting. Unfortunate. Simple and uninteresting. Not offensive, but the nose was tight with young fruit. In the mouth it was juicy and tight. Berry and herb flavors. Finish was short. Drinkable, but not repeatable.

$7.89  Dekalb Farmers Market, Decatur, GA

2003 Chateau Pesquie Cotes du Ventoux Quintessence

2003 Quintessence

2003 Château Pesquié Côtes du Ventoux Quintessence – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Ventoux 

Wine Rating:  92     wine advocate 92     wine spectator 90

2007.06.26 – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Yummy! Benefitted from some breathing room. Big Rhone aromas and flavors. Layered scents of dried cherries, herbs, leather, and cigar box. Very round in the mouth with big fruit — blackberries, plum with skins, and currants. A bit spicy in the middle, with mushrooms and soil flavors at the end. Very broad texture with a big, earthy finish. Tannins are firm and round. This is a keeper.

$19.99  Sherlocks Wine Merchant, Atlanta, GA

2004 Patrick Lesec Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Patrick Lesec 2004 CdP

2004 Patrick Lesec Châteauneuf-du-Pape Pierres Dorées – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Wine Rating:  96     wine advocate 91-94

2007.06.26 – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Exhuberant and elegant Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Dark ruby color. Gentle nose with clear fruit (dark cherry, blackberry, even raspberry) and leathery/smoky and cedar aromas. Explodes with layers of flavor in the mouth. Fresh cherries, plum, and sweet raspberries lead to an exquisite earthy finish with woody mushroom and dark oak flavors. Hints of light smoke and tobacco on the finish. Perfectly balanced tannins. Smooth and round feel in the mouth. A real treat to drink and a great bargain for a CDR.

$32.99  Sherlocks Wine Merchant, Atlanta, GA

2004 Domaine la Garrigue Côtes du Rhône

la Garrigue 2004 cdr

2004 Domaine La Garrigue Côtes du Rhône Cuvée Romaine – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône

Wine Rating:  91     wine advocate 90

2007.06.30 – Dinner at home with friends
Decanted for 30 minutes. Really helped. First sips were wonderful. The nose was even more intense with berries and spiciness. Cherry, dark berries, plum, and spicy herbal flavors made for lots of layers in the mouth. Balance throughout was very nice. Loved the finish with earth, mushroom, and vines. Went very well with the grilled Kenai salmon’s bold flavors.

2007.06.20 – CTS DMin Happy Hour
A little tight right out of the bottle, opened well after 30 minutes or so. Generous nose with dark berries, bell pepper and leather. Definitely an old-world style CDR with initial fruit and licorace in the mouth, followed by a long taste of the earth and vines. Plenty to chew on in this mouthful of flavors. Very round and supple. Definitely one of my favorite CDRs.

 $14.99  Sherlocks Wine Merchant, Atlanta, GA