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

 

Celebrating the Brotherhood of Port

This week we had a chance to sample excellent Porto and Douro wines at the Association of Port Wine Tasting at the Fontainebleau Hotel Miami featuring a selection of wines from Blackett Port Wine, Jorge Rosas Vinhos, Niepoort, Porto Réccua Vinhos, Ramos Pinto, Rozès and Sogevinus Wineries.


Jorge Rosas of Ramos Pinto showed off a fine line of Porto and Douro


Raul Monteiro of Sogevinus Wines showed off their 60-year-old tawny.


We were pleasantly surprised by this smooth finish of this very affordable White Reserve Porto from Rozes.


Pedro Carniero of Blackett rolled out some of our favorite ports!


The Brotherhood of Port welcomes eight new members including our good friend James Beard Award-winning wine and food writer Lyn Farmer.

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)

Portugal-A wine region we forgot, a tasting that will be remembered

After 12 years of getting together monthly to taste wines from around the world, Wine Club Miami finally explored the wines of Portugal. The event was held at Fiorito in Little Haiti. A very tasty Argentinean spot that went great with the selected wines.

Overall the group was quite impressed with the quality of the wines, especially given the relatively reasonable prices  for the complexity and style. Several members commented that they would have guessed they were French wines if they were tasting blind.

Here is what we drank;

We started the evening with a crisp and fresh Vinho Verde A 2015 Caiu A Noite. A classic summer wine that pairs well with seafood and fish. Hints of green fruits, lemon and some effervescence which are all classic Vinho Verde traits.

 

 The first red we tried was a 2009 Quinta Da Falorca Garrafeira Old Vines from the Dao region.
is principally a blendof Touriga Nacional (70%) and Tinta Roriz (15%) with Rufete and several others for the remainder. Enjoyed by all, it was the favorite red of more than half of the group.


The second red we tasted was the 2012 Prats & Symington Chryseia from the Douro region. The 2012 Chryseia is a blend of 72% Touriga Nacional, and the rest Touriga Franca. A rich and balanced wine that did not show as well as it will with some more time in the cellar. Would like to revisit this in a few years as the complexity and structure are there.


And the last red was the 2012 Quinta do Crasto Touriga Nacional from Douro. 100% Touriga Nacional, and it showed beautifully. A big, rich wine with balanced tannins that drank well now and will continue to do so for years to come.

The tasting was capped off with a 1997 Vau Vintage Port from Sandeman. A classic full-bodied Port with a nice long finish. After this tasting, I am sure we will be returning to Portuguese wines soon! Cheers, Andrew Cohen, WCM President 2017.

Joseph Phelps Insignia Tasting Vertical: 09, 10, 11

Wine Club Miami capped off a milestone with a vertical tasting of the wine that is considered the 1st bordeaux style wine in Napa. 2004 was the first vintage of Insignia to be 100% estate grapes and every subsequent release is as well. A cult following and a flair for the expensive allowed Joseph Phelps winery to make its mark and raise the bar along with the price tag for these highly rated vintages.

Wine list from the the infamous Greycliff in Nassau with a pricey 2011 Insignia at $680 a bottle

2009 Joseph Phelps Insignia
Full-bodied and structured. Dark fruit and licorice on the nose, dark chocolate, black fruit jam, oak and espresso on the palate. Hold until 2020
 2010 Joseph Phelps Insignia
A superb wine. Inky purple in the glass with notes of dry leaves, spice, chocolate mousse, violets and dark berries. The palate is sumptuous: full-body, and loaded with fine, chalky tannins but also fresh. Flavors of blackberry jam, moist charcoal and chocolate.

2011 Joseph Phelps Insignia
The vintage is illustrated in this wines Right Bank character. Though only 1% Cabernet Franc and 2% Merlot, the fruit is red and the overall vibe savory with dry leaves, coffee, leafy spic
e and shiitake. Drinking very well now. Reviews provided by JJBuckley.com

 

 

Great Wines of Italy 2017



James Suckling needs no introduction into the Wine World. Wine Club Miami made their entrance into the sold out event to only find hand selected array of top wine makers, producers and owners of Italy’s best wines. Held at the historic Moore Building in Miami’s Design District was the proper location for hosting this event. Predominately Italian was being spoken but the main language was Italian wine.

Upon walking into the main room, you are immediately ready for your first glass of Franciacorta. This traditional method “metodo classico” of this sparkling wine is of no other. It is mostly of Chardonnay and hand crafted to perfection. By looking at the bubbles fizz you know that it is high quality. Either it be a vintage or non-vintage, they are a “Spumante” to be of high standards. We “cin can” (Italian for Cheers) each other and continue the tour.
There were over 150 bottles to sample. Mostly leaning towards the Tuscan area but James knows his wines. This tour was from the hard to find Barolos to the delicacy of the Nero d’Avolas. If you don’t know what I mean by that, it is saying from the northern to the southern wines. This event was what Italian wine is about. Old World, refined wine making, historic production, aged vines, soil that in admirable and the list goes on.

Wesley Castellanos visiting the Antinori table

This was a tour of Italy that only Mr. Suckling can collaborate into one room. Wine Club Miami was ever so grateful to have spent a few hours to experience most of Italy’s top wines. Wine Club Miami graciasly thanks James and his team, along with the collaborators to make this experience one of the best someone can experience.

2017 SBWFF-Wine Spectator Seminar: Beaulieu Vineyards Retrospective Tasting

A SBWFF- Wine Spectator Tasting of BV’s : Jorge Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Tapestry Red Blend wines

A notable and enjoyable wine at the SBWFF tasting was BV 2013 Tapestry Red Blend. Bordeaux style with nice finese of flavors as supple hints of black cherry and soft tannins round out a nice and lasting finish. Wine Advocate Review: “The 2013 Reserve Tapestry Proprietary Red Wine, which is another Bordeaux blend, raises the question: Is Beaulieu actually producing too many of these proprietary blends, instead of focusing on four or five top wines? In any event, this is a smooth, supple, delicious, front-end loaded style of wine for 2013, with elegant cedar wood, fruitcake and soil undertones intermixed with red and black cherries and blackcurrants. It is ruby/purple, medium to full-bodied, elegant and well-balanced. Drink it over the next 12-15 years”. (Taken from Wine Review) Score: 90, Robert Parker, October 2015

Most impressive and the well noted at this year’s SBWFF tasting was the 1997 Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. A truly lasting wine with concentrated fruits and soft complexities of notable and lasting finish.  This wine drank very well as it seems to to be holding up in true form as the following review implies.”A profoundly deep nose of red and black fruit, with cedar, ginger and nutmeg. The sense of balance and grace is sublime, as layers of cassis, plum and cinnamon keep unfolding. The chewy finish is lengthy and elegant, and it should be held for no less than five years. This bottling honors its pedigree as California’s first classic cabernet.” (taken from wine review, score 94 points Wine Enthusiast)