I guess I was really blessed when I ventured into the Fine Wine Source when they were tasting and selecting some wines for the shop and for their restaurant Vertical, if and when dining capacity is at least raised to fifty percent. They are professionals and I am that Street Somm that takes photos and does some tasting when it is offered. I never interrupt when they are doing business, in that case, I make my planned purchase and leave. Though I am always surprised at what they may end up pouring for me, and they were not even worried about using a Coravin device, so I was in Seventh Heaven.
Chateau Siran Margaux 2018 was a charming wine that I was tasting and when I looked at my tattered “bible” The Signet Book of Wine by Alexis Bespaloff (1971) that I have been citing and using since high school rated this wine as a Crus Bourgeois worth watching for. The estate goes back to a land grant from the church to Guilhem de Siran in 1428. By the end of the 17th Century, they were producing wine and during the next century they were developing a strong reputation. The Miailhe family has owned the property since 1859 and in 2007, the estate is run by the seventh generation of the same family. The estate has twenty-five hectares of vineyards in Margaux planted with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Also on the property is nine hectares that produce a wine for them as a Bordeaux Superior, another two hectares that is Haute-Medoc, and they even produce a second estate wine that carries the Margaux appellation. The average age of the vines are thirty-years of age, but there is one parcel of land that was planted in the 1920’s. The fruit is all hand picked, de-stemmed and sorted a couple of times. Initial fermentation is done in Stainless Steel, and the maceration and malolactic fermentation takes eighteen to twenty-four days in oak; then the wine is aged for twelve months in French Oak, of which thirty-five percent is new. Even though the estate is planted with more Merlot, this wine is forty-five percent Cabernet Sauvignon, forty-four percent Merlot and eleven percent Petit Verdot. The winery feels that this wine will be at its apex in twenty to thirty years. Now of all the Communes in Bordeaux, I have probably drunk more Margaux wines over the years, and this was just a classic and elegant example, even in its youth. It was a beautiful wine.
Dominus Estate Napanook Yountville 2016 by Christian Moueix of Chateau Petrus; and I once wrote that I never wanted to stop admiring the nose on a Dominus Estate wine. Christian Moueix has had part ownership since 1982 and ran the estate concurrently with his family business in Bordeaux until 2008. The estate is based on the Napanook vineyard, which was one of the first sites planted in grapes in Napa Valley. George Yount (Yountville) began the vineyard in 1838 and the fifty-hectare site has had many owners and steward of the land. Moueix went into partnership in 1982 and in 1995 became the sole owner; Dominus is Latin for Lord of the Estate. Dominus Estate is the flagship of the winery, Napanook is the mid-level wine and the entry-level wine is Othello. The vineyard is dry-farmed, both to conserve water and to control the yields and hence the quality of the fruit, the same practice that was started in the 1970’s at Petrus. The wine is eighty-four percent Cabernet Sauvignon, nine percent Petit Verdot and seven percent Cabernet Franc. The wine was aged for ten months in oak, of which twenty percent was new, and then the wine rested in bottles for another eight months before being released. The nose offered some lavender and cedar, while dark fruits mingled with big tannins and a nice long finish of terroir which always makes me happy. Another delightful wine, and a wonderful way to fill part of an afternoon.