Enter, the Champagne Cave

Ariete 3540 Main Hwy, Coconut Grove, FL 33133
(305) 640-5862


2002 Dom Perignon
I am starting my series of Champagne reviews with Dom, because simply put Dom DOMinates.  This 2002 vintage is very heralded and is comprised of even split between Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.  
Pale to medium lemon in color with a nose that starts with nuts and toast, hints of light petrol which then distinctly goes to gun flint.  I should be careful with these tasting notes because something may blow up. Elegant stone fruit and citrus on the palate with an underlying mineral streak. Delicate lingering mousse with a medium plus acidity.  These bubbles remind me of Charlize Theron.  A beautiful lady that still can still show here racy side.  Like Charlize, these bubbles will age gracefully.

David L’Eclapart L’Amateur
An amateur, is a word derived from the French word amateur “lover of”, is generally considered a person who pursues a particular activity independently from renumeration. This champagne entitled L’ Amateur is solely from Chardonnay hailing from the rolling hills of the Premier Cru village Trépail. This is a real Blanc de Blanc with no added dosage.  The French have an analogy for this level of purity, they say these champagnes are like a woman without any form of make up, it all about the natural beauty.  I suggest these bubbles just could be like Jessica Biel. This Lover of  is unrecompensed and unencumbered.  It is a bare and transparent champagne that solely reflects the varietal and the chalky soils. I can only imagine if this is the introductory offering by David L’ Eclapart, what the rest of his selections has for us.QuickNotes:Pale lemon hue with a core of acidity combined with bracing crisp citrus and green apple fruit with subtle pleasing hints of oxidation.

J Lassalle’s Preference is a very balanced and full-bodied NV champagne. It is one of their Premier Cru offering that is Pinot Meunier dominate. There is a pleasing roundness to this wine that only can come from a PN/PM based champagnes. Pale lemon in color, lovely chalky vibe, good tension and yellow apples interplay going on here. Touch of tannins from the PN/PM make there presence felt on the tongue. If this champagne was a lady, this would be Scarlett Johansson.

Philippe Gonet Grand Reserve Champagne NV
My value play of my recent Champagne Tasting that goes toe to toe with the heavyweight names everybody knows at a fraction of the price. Retails stateside for 50-60 USD.
This Champagne is composed of 30% Chardonnay, 60% Pinot Noir and 10% Meunier. The grapes are all from the Gonet family’s estate, spread from Le Mesnil-sur-Oger in the valley of the Marne. Pale lemon hue, marzipan nose with lemon cake and toast.  Red delicious apple for fruit with spot on acidity that counters the sweetness of the apples.  The mousse starts forceful then gently lingers without wanting to leaving you palate.  Lovely minerality to boot.  This is wonderful caliber Champagne that just became my new best friend.

Selosse is a Grower Champagne that needs no introduction for wine lover, who have placed it in a cult status.  Their Champagne are quite distinct in that they have an oxidative style. 
The V.O. Version Originale is a Grand Cur Blanc de Blancs from three vintages as well as three villages; Avize, Oger and Cramant.
(Notes from April 2019)Light golden color. Burgundian, new oak, sherry-like oxidation, butter, yeast, croissant, round, tiniest bubbles, candied citrus, with a tangy acidity that big but never over the top. A tour de force Champagne!

Wine reviews by member Jesus Cabarcos Only IG jesus_drinks_wines 

One Hundred Acre Ancient Way Vertical 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005

WineClubMiami kicked off the new year strong with Hundred Acre Vertical tasting from some of the oldest vineyard sites in the whole of Australia. The result is some of the country’s boldest Shiraz that unapologetically coats your mouth! In aspect all wines (05, 06, 07 and 09 each had rim variation, but at the core was some of the darkest garnet hues I have ever come across. Nose was equally powerful with notes of bruised black cherry, black licorice, blackberry, with a balsamic baseline. Occasionally there were whiffs camphor, acetone, and eucalyptus. A persistent core of acidity reins in the black fruit on the palate that borders on overripeness. Structure of these wines follow thru with the BIG theme. Appreciated very much that this wine was dry and had a balanced tannic backbone with notes of taught leather on the finish. WOTN was the 2007 (4/2/5.0), followed closely by the 2006(4.1/5.0) Cheers to wine club member David Yarus arranging this memorable tasting and raising the bar for our 0’19 tasting calendar. Notes by wine club member Jesus Cabarcos.

Bernard Magrez- 4 Grands Crus Classes of Bordeaux

Bernard Magrez LA GRANDE MAISON BORDEAUX

Bernard Magrez- 4 Grands Crus Classes of Bordeaux-A leader and visionary in Bordeaux for the last 40 years, Bernard Magrez has never strayed from his quest for perfection in every bottle of wine. The sole owner of four grand cru classes properties in Bordeaux: Chateau Pape Clement, Fombrauge, La Tour Carnet, Clos Haut-Peyraguey. Bernard Magrez’s vision of excellence guarantees connoisseurs of grand cru Bordeaux  a selection of wines of utmost quality. (except taken from www.millesima-usa.com/bernard-magrez.html)

Chateau Fombrauge- Saint Emilion- 2016– A terrific well rounded wine with a nice essence of dark red fruits. Expressive nose and nice complexity with hints of black cherry.  Very low and almost unoticed tannis that allow for the body of the wine to linger thru the tasting.  89% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec, 1 % Cabernet Sauvignon. Aging for 18 months in 45% new oak barrels. (http://www.bernard-magrez.com/en/wines)

Chateau La Tour Carnet- Haut Medoc- 2016-Hints of dark fruit and plum are evident with a subtle spice hints of cinnamon.  Nicely well balanced with essence of tannins are included in the finish.  56% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot, 1 % Cabernet Franc. Fermentation in wooden vats and small capacity concrete tanks. Aging in oak barrels for 16 months 30 % new. (http://www.bernard-magrez.com/en/wines)

Chateau Les Grands Chines- Medoc- 2016– red in color with heavier fruit forward taste represents a younger taste. Medium bodied with a younger finish to a noticeable tannin as a aftertaste. 70 % Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1 % Cabernet Franc. Transfer into thermo- regulated and small stainless steel tanks. Maceration for 28-30 days. Aging for 16 months. (http://www.bernard-magrez.com/en/wines)

Chateau Pape Clement- Graves- 2009:  Rich and ruby red with nice hints of tobacco and coffee. Spice with essence of herbal and fruits are soft in the taste.  A supple and well rounded body with a lingering finish that seems complex.  50 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot, 2 % Petit Verdot, 1 % Cabernet Franc.  The wine is run off into French oak barrels by gravity flow. Aging for 18 months in oak barrels. (http://www.bernard-magrez.com/en/wines)

Clos Haut Peyraguey- Bommes- 2010–  Intense, complexe noes. Taste of honey and candied orange with lingering tastes of almonds, apricot and vanilla. 95 % de Semillon, 5 % de Sauvignon. Fermentation in oak barrels new or 1 year old. (http://www.bernard-magrez.com/en/wines)

 

 

 

Summer Wine Review- Notorious Pink

NotoriousPink.com

Stephen Gamson Artist and Wine Club Miami member

As an artist and member of Wine Club Miami, I’m always on the look out for that special wine.  This summer, I introduced Notorious Pink Rose to my wine club.  I first experienced their wine at my art opening during Art Basel Miami Beach. At our tasting we featured Notorious Pink and paired it with Chilean Sea Bass, pasta and coq au vin. Our club fell in love with this well balanced rose and we started recommending it to our friends

Noteworthy details: Award winning rose. South of France estate made from 100% Grenach. Blush pink in color. Aromatic with citrus and red fruit. Crisp and refreshing mineral character. Delicious with seafood, vegetables, pastas, and poultry. Winemaker notes: Pink is a special blush cute made from 100% Grenach    the
leading grape varietal at Domaine La Colombette in the South of France. At this estate, the technique used have been tried and tested. The grapes from the oldest vines are bled using the signee method, while those from younger vines are pressed. After settling, the musts are fermented at low temperatures (14-18 degrees).  Pink in color, Notorious Pink is inviting with a pleasant under-ripe strawberry, mango, and citrus zest scent with a crisp and refreshing mineral character. Can be enjoyed with seafood vegetables and pasta and poultry dishes, but easily stand on its own. Perfect for every day in every season.

“I See!” said the blind man.

Can you guess the wine? When we ask “Guess the wine”, we mean exactly the varietal, region, and vintage.  By performing a deductive tasting we can assess the wine to a point we can get pretty darn close.   So WineClubMiami held a Blind tasting.  President Wesley Castellanos is in pursuit to become a Certified Master Vinho Verde Muralhas de Moncao, Adega Cooperative Regional de Moncao. Monçao e Melgaço 2015Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers, he decided to put the Club through a few moments of the rigorous examination process

Can you guess the wine?  The tastings will be based on the following:

  1. Sight
  2. Nose
  3. Palate
  4. Initial Conclusion
  5. Final Conclusion

You have 5 minute to make your selection.

Vinho Verde Monçao e Melgaço 2015, A nice starter refreshing wine.  It cleansed the palette off the nose.  The light hints of minerals on the nose gave a old world smell, but the youth of the wine gave us a curve in the region.  The texture and finished we balanced with slight effervescence..  A nice bottle for the price.

Cervaro Della Sala, Antinori 2014. I slipped and said the C word when they asked which glass was which of the whites.  I said this is definitely a Chardonnay!!!!!! The oak on the nose and taste was amazing.  No hints of butter so we went old world.  Aged well. Hold or drink now.

 

Quarry Vineyard, Nickel & Nickel. 2011. The complexity and the color was powerful.  Dark ruby and a secondary black color.   On the nose it was pure dark ripe fruit.  Blackberry, ripe cherries with some earthy.  Not your typical Cab Nap. Collect this one.

 

Alter Ego, Chateau Palmer, Margaux. 2010. Amazing bottle.  We will not tell you! Go a buy this bottle at $100 so you can experience a beautiful bottle of a Left Bank Bordeaux.   The blend was to beg for more.

 

Alion, Bodegas y Vinedos. 2011. This was the curveball blind.  The complexity, depth, transformation as it opened up.  Where the hell was this from.  I love you we all said to the bottle.  The Jeff Tenen whispers, it’s a Tempranillo Wes.  Great bot!

 

 

 

 

January 2018 Wine Tasting

Photo provided by Wine Spectator

It was all a dream. The year was 1995 and it was a hot August day.  I started small talk with this lad about wine.  He said to me, “One day Everyone will know my name as a great wine maker.”  I said, “that’s an ambitious statement for an American staying in Florence, Italy.”  He gave me a smile and said, “I will call it Orin Swift!” Fast forward to January 2018.  WineClubMiami was starting the 2018 year with new President Wesley Castellanos.  As this is his return from a few years ago as president, we asked, “What have you learned about being the president of the club?”His reply, “You can never please everyone’s palate in wine.  Either they like it, indifferent or just don’t know the nature about wine.”Needs no introduction.  His website says it all.  http://www.orinswift.com. He is creating a powerhouse of wines coming out of California.  Inspired by his trip in Italy in 1995 then working for the Legendary Robert Mondavi in 1997.  He dedicated the company to his parents by giving the names of Orin in his father’s middle name and Swift as his mother’s maiden name. Now to the tasting.  Don’t forget that Wesley has been Barbequing Aged Ribeyes from Whole Foods with free ranged chicken. Mercury Head 2012: 
Napa Valley 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.  A rich and dense dark red.   A nice punch of cigars and lead accented dark berries. On the palate was a powerful texture to express the body and cabernet.  You can tell this was made with precious and attention.  The finish has strong tannins as it was a young bottle.  I would say this bottle can age very well for 20-25 years.  Hold. Paired with fat of the Rib Eye, medium rare with Kosher Salt.
Palermo 2012: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec. Again a rich color with some swirl of lightness from the Merlot.  On the nose as the amazement.  The Merlot was an orchestrated very well as is was a perfect balance.  It made me appreciate this combination.  As you swirled the body was apparent on the legs.  The Malbec was the toning of this powerful body.  The cabernet came through well, but the Merlot gave it the grace as the Malbec sewed the varietals together perfectly.  Drink now to appreciate it but hold for 15 years. Paired with meat of the Rib Eye, medium rare with Kosher Salt. Papillon 2012:  Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, & Cabernet Franc. This Bordeaux  blend was ready for us.Intense dark.  Excellent ripe berries, lead, graphite and stewed grapes.  A fully bodied, almost silky texture with hints of tannins on the finish.  It kept me salivating for more.  I could not stop smelling this beautiful bottle.  I went and purchased as many as I could as this bottle will be worth 5 fold in 10 years.  Collect this jewel as it is a commodity.  Paired with marinated Chicken in Italian Dressing.

Machete 2013:Petite Sirah, Syrah and Grenache. The finisher!!A lighter hue with a high alcohol on the legs.  Great dark berries and some chocolate.  A smooth texture that paired well when letting the chocolate dissolve on your tongue.  Paired with Chocolate from Spain. Each bottle was difference in shape.  I know this adds to overhead for Orin Swift but it made the wines distinct to the bottle. We thank Orin SWIFT and his team for this amazing experience. I, Wesley Castellanos, decided to try this line-up in this order to start from a 100% Variatel to see what would happen when you added 2 other varietals then 4 more.  Each step made you appreciate the 100% to then open your palate to blends.   Blends usually carry more emphasis as it is mixed to taste many ways.  The trick to make one varietal taste one way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sincerely, Wesley Castellanos, President 2018

 

Wine Cub Miami 2017 Year in Review From President Andrew S. Cohen January

1st tasting of 2017

January 2017 event – we gathered at Happy Wine in Coconut Grove to discuss the year’s tastings and the wines and regions we would like to explore for the coming year. We drank some classic Spanish tempranillo to pair with the tapas, and then the previous 2 WCM Presidents selected some top shelf California cabernet to finish up the evening. February 2017 event– held @ Gamson Studios in Wynwood, we gathered for a blind tasting of wines from New Zealand. Thi is the first time the group had done a tasting from this country in our 12 years together. The world renown sauvignon blanc was avoided on purpose to throw people off. No one from the group was able to immediately identify the region, but they were all enjoyed and paired well with Middle Eastern food from the Daily Bread.

March 2017 event– We attended James Suckling’s Great Wines of Italy event in the Miami Design District.  Not only did we get to taste the top new releases from Italy, but we were able to meet and talk to Mr. Suckling about them, as well as had some great photo opportunities with him and the group.

Jeff back just in time for Joseph Phelps

April 2017 event– we gathered on the Venetian Islands for a Joseph Phelps Insignia vertical tasting, drinking the 2009-2011 vintages. This wine needs no introduction, and it definitely delivered in a big way. We also toasted long time member Stephen Gamson’s engagement with a bottle of Krug Grand Cuvée champagne.

May 2017 event – we dined at Fiorito in Little Haiti to taste wines from Portugal, another country the group had never done a tasting from. The bold, rich wines held up beautifully with the classic Argentinean fare and all were impressed with the level of quality for the relatively reasonable cost of the wines.

June 2017 event – once again we gathered on the Venetian Islands to taste wines from Hermitage. Although the group has done numerous tastings of French wines, we had never explored this region. wines are difficult to source given their low production and high demand from collectors. The group really enjoyed this rare experience to try wines of this level.September 2017 event – we met at Café Roval to taste the top wines from Ribera del Duero. The highlight being 2 bottles of Vega-Sicilia’s world famous “Unico”. The wines drank incredibly, and paired very well with the standout food from Roval. The group liked the food and ambience so much we decided this is where we would host our annual Gala event.   October 2017 event – held at Fogo de private wine tasting room in South Beach, paired the Brazilian rodizio with a 4 year vertical (1994-1997) of Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. A world class event as the wines and food delivered in a big way.   November 2017 event – we traveled a bit North to wine and dine @ Café Crème French bistro. We paired the top notch French food with Burgundy wines. The whites were sourced by original WCM member Matt Hege from his summer trip to the region with fellow original member Stephen Gamson. And the reds were sourced by our founding member Jeffrey Tenen. The group really enjoyed the whites, and appreciated the experience of the different style of reds by acclaimed winemaker Denis Mortet.  December Annual Gala event – We returned to Café Roval for a spectacular evening for our annual event enjoyed by all members and their significant others. Once again the food, wine & ambience were outstanding, and this made it a special night for all. The Nuits St George Les Saint Georges Burgundy & St Estephe Cos d’Estournel Bordeaux really stood out as world class.

Ending another terrific year of good wine and great friends at Cafe Roval

1994-1997 vertical tasting of Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

image provided by www.robertmondavi.com

Wine Club Miami got together on October 3rd in the private wine cellar of the world-renowned Fogo de Chao in South Beach for a 4 year (1994-1997) vertical of Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Mondavi definitely does not need any introduction,and the 20+ year old wines

836 1st St Miami Beach (305) 672-0011

drank perfectly and harmoniously with the top notch Brazilian radizio style meats. It truly was a great evening of world class wines, great food and our usual companionship of WCM. I had the 1994 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve a half-dozen times this year, and it may be the finest Cabernet ever from Mondavi.” From RP’s 1996 tasting notes: “The deep opaque purple color, and tightly wound nose and flavors still reveal enough profound aromas and flavors to mark this as one of Mondavi’s most sensational efforts. The nose possesses a Margaux/Mouton-like cassis, lead pencil, floral aroma, backed-up by copious quantities of blackcurrant fruit. In the mouth, my notes said, ‘great stuff.’ as stated by Robert Parker, and rated 97 points by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.

The 1995 seemed to be the favorite of many members. With great balance, an elegant feel and lots of dark fruits and tobacco. An elegant and lasting finish, it seemed like it was the perfect time to drink this wine” as tasted and reviewed by Andrew Cohen, President Wine Club Miami.
“There are 15,000-20,000 cases of Reserve Cabernet made, and in 1995, a quintessentially elegant style has been produced. It has great promise and raw materials, with superb fruit and richness, medium body, and subtle lead pencil notes to go along with black currant, mineral, and pain grille scents and flavors, still an exceptional California Cabernet Sauvignon made in a compellingly elegant, graceful style. Anticipated maturity: 2000-2018”. As stated by Robert Parker and rated 93 points by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.

The 1996 was another well balanced and elegant wine. It did not show as well as the 1995, but still is a world class Napa cab in its optimal drinking window” as reviewed by Andrew Cohen President Wine Club Miami. “The 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve may be no better than the Oakville, but it is made in a slightly different style. The color is opaque purple, and the wine reveals more vanillin, a touch of mint, and plenty of black currant fruit in its moderately intense aromatics. Some of the vintage’s dry tannin (from this year’s stressed vineyard conditions) is present in the wine’s finish. A more stylish, restrained, less exuberant example than the 1996 Oakville, it is an outstanding offering that should be consumed between 2002-2025″. As stated by Robert Parker, and rated 92 points by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.

The 1997 was the favorite of some members, and definitely liked by all. A very rich, harmonious and complex wine that was drinking great now and likely will for many years to come. Great dark fruit flavors as will as mineral, tobacco and spice. A very long finish made this one standout. reviewed by Andrew Cohen, President Wine Club Miami.

 

Rains in Spain makes the Wine Fine

Cafe Roval Upper Eastside Miami (786)953-785

The Club was returning from a 2 month Summer Hiatus. President Andrew Cohen carefully selected wines from Spain and combined it with the experience of Café Roval. One by one each member arrives. Some by foot and others from their exotic cars. Café Roval https://www.caferoval.com is a restored 1936 coral structure. It feels as if you were entering a Moorish Home from the Alhambra Palace in Granda, Spain. No, not in Coral Gables.
The high ceilings and collectible art creates the ambiance of history. Andrew makes the selection of food from the Club as we are not that picky as 8 hungry men.

The first side-by-side was the ever so popular Vega-Sicilia Conescha “Unico”. A 2000 and 2003 vintages were in the glasses breathing slowly. This bottle is usually released 10 years after it’s vintage or sometimes 15 years. This is from the Ribero Del Duero region of Northern Spain. Immediately it has the notes of pure elegance. A bouquet of earthy notes. This is what I find in the tempranillo grape. When swirled the cabernet comes out. The legs show the high alcohol but it is not apparent.

Unico 2000. 14% alcohol. Cherry Red with hints of sandal wood. On the palate I received ripe dark berries with cigar. Not tarry but smoked as if from a smoked barrel. Silky finish lasting long to wanting more. No wonder this is priced right as a high commodity.

Unico 2003, 14% alcohol. Similar in Cherry color but more sweetness on the nose. Only 3 years younger but very full bodied. A bite more open with hints of mint opening your palette. The same soft finish but a bit lighter going down.

The preceding bottles were of less popularity but still at a high demand. Good thing we found these bottles now than 10 years from now when they will be impossible to locate.

Neo Punta Esencia 2004. 100% tempranillo. 14% Alcohol. Powerful out of the bottle. A ruby color with the dark fruits. Ripe black berries and complexity when swirling in the mouth. Concentrated tempranillo. That I say as a compliment as the tempranillo grape from Spain is one of the most elegant the world has seen. It is distinctive of a high quality Riberto Del Duero.

 

Aaltos PS 2000. 100% tempranillo. A Small production of 400 cases. A dark ruby. The nose had the old world complexity. Light earthiness and sandal wood. Hints of cigar box and dark fruits. Stronger finish with structure. Excellent!!! It can age 10 more years.

 

All of these bottles, under the proper conditions can age 15+ years.
We thank you for reading this far and enjoying our experiences with WineClubMiami.
Until the next tasting!
Sincerely,
Wesley

 

Hermitage, A small piece of land with some hefty wine bills

A small but truly notable region that has commanded some of the best and most expensive wines of France and the world became our summer tasting this June. Considered one of the oldest wine regions and today has commanded some of the most expensive wines on the market.

Our tasting started out nicely with the 1990 M. Chapoutier “Le Pavillon” Ermitage.   Black colored, with an extraordinary perfume of licorice, sweet blackcurrants, smoke, and minerals, it coats the palate with layer upon layer of decadently rich, superconcentrated, nearly viscous Syrah flavors. There is amazing glycerin, a chewy, unctuous texture, and phenomenal length. As stated by Robert Parker with a score of 100 points.

 

2000 Chapoutier Hermitage Le Ermite was also on the table as we follow along with ten year later wine. The black/blue-colored 2000 Ermitage Le Pavillon is brilliant out of bottle. Notes of graphite, ink, licorice, creme de cassis, and minerals jump from the glass of this syrup of Hermitage. Full-bodied, unctuously-textured, gorgeously rich, spectacularly concentrated and long, it is a tour de force in winemaking. As Robert writes and scores this one at 98 points.

 

Our third wine of the tasting was 2000 Chapoutier Hermitage L’Ermite. “It reveals notes of liquid minerals intermixed with kirsch liqueur and blackberries. The extraordinary 2000 flirts with perfection. A provocative wine with great minerality, finesse, and delineation, it blew me away when I tasted it from bottle states Robert Parker and rates at 99 points.

 

We end our evening with a comparison wine. 2010 d’Arenberg “Dead Arm” Shiraz McLaren Vale South Australia. Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2010 Dead Arm Shiraz has slightly evolving blackberry notes wafting over a core of forest fruit coulis and dried mulberries accented by suggestions of sandalwood, Indian spices and dried Mediterranean herbs. Medium to full-bodied with loads of evolved black fruit and savory, spicy flavors on offer in the mouth, it has a medium to firm level of powdery tannins, refreshing acid and a long finish. Drink it now to 2021+. (LPB)