2014 Carro Yecla

2014 Carro Yecla followed the disappointing Gourgonnier and slayed it. It supposedly never saw oak, but has a pronounced vanilla note on the nose and creamy palate that I would usually associate with use of new oak barrels. After a little while, that dissipates and what is left is a velvety red that delivers black fruit, licorice and some dark chocolate. For less than $10, this is as good of a wine as one can buy at a grocery store and one that can be consumed by novices and wine geeks over a grilled piece of meat or an uncomplicated dinner like tacos or pizza.

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2015 Mas de Gourgonnier Les Baux-de-Provence

2015 Mas de Gourgonnier Les Baux-de-Provence is a disappointing wine. I really wanted to like this…but for a bottle that’s North of $20, this fell flat. One-dimensional, flabby raspberry fruit with a peppery and tobacco leaf note on the finish after a fairly hollow midpalate. Maybe I don’t get this, but it just isn’t even close to where a $20 bottle should be to be worth it. And that is WITH me having fond memories of visiting Les Beaux-de-Provence many years ago. Made organically, but that is no factor in a wine this mediocre. Stay away.

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2012 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Crozes-Hermitage Domaine Raymond Roure

2012 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Crozes-Hermitage Domaine Raymond Roure is a fantastic bottle of wine. Red and black fruit with olive tapenade and a pronounced dried herb/garrigue note that seems slightly unconventional for Crozes. That said, this has a soaring structure, plenty of acid and is both clean and complex. If you are expecting rusticity from this, you will be disappointed because it really drinks more like an Hermitage than a Crozes-Hermitage. And that, I believe, is the “secret” to this wine. The more time in bottle you can give this, the better. If you open one now, it needs a decant of several hours to show well. Treat it like an Hermitage and in another 5-10 years it will begin paying dividends.

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Sweet Bloom Colon Merino

Sweet Bloom Colon Merino in the cup this morning. While Verve and Ritual continue to generally be my two favorite roasters, I wanted to revisit a different roaster just for fun. And Sweet Bloom Coffee doesn’t disappoint. This is a very nice coffee that is ultra soft and round with tea-like body. It is floral and sparkling with zero bitterness or rough edges. This is a coffee everyone can find something to like in….coffee snobs and noobs alike. One added benefit is that Sweet Bloom’s prices are very fair, so a great roaster to sample to get into ultra high quality coffee.

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2016 Juliane Eller Weissburgunder Juwel

2016 Juliane Eller Weissburgunder Juwel grabs you by the neck, slaps you in the face and leaves you in shock with your mouth agape after the first sip. This might be one of the most laser focused and delineated whites I have had in a long time. Razor sharp acidity and vivid minerality are the stars and sweet white peach fruit is the support cast. For anyone thinking Germany is a one trick Riesling pony…they should try this and it will change their preconceived notions. Buy all you can because it is priced very fairly (still). Seriously. @juwel_weine created magic in a bottle with this.

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Counter Culture Finca El Puente Gesha

Counter Culture Finca El Puente Gesha is my first foray into the vaunted Gesha variety. This was a present from a very generous person since I would be too cheap to spring for even a mere 4oz of this myself. That said, it is a marvelous #coffee that has tiny beans and in every way drinks like Ethiopian coffees (little surprise since the variety is from Ethiopia originally). I actually found this to be surprisingly powerful and sparkling citrus notes were ever present. What I did not really experience is the tea-likeness of this variety, but that doesn’t really bother me as I want to drink coffee when I brew coffee. @counterculturecoffee nailed the roast on this, too. Overall, while this was a real treat, I would buy a high grade Ethiopian coffee rather than this for a similar tasting experience at a 3rd or 4th of the price. That said…YMMV.

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2014 Sven Klundt Birkweiler Kastanienbusch Pinot Noir

2014 Sven Klundt Birkweiler Kastanienbusch Pinot Noir just blows me away. Sven Klundt is such a genius. The wine is incredibly fragrant with earthy mushroom and raspberry notes and a palate that screams sour cherry, spices like cardamom and cinnamon and a sappy finish for days. This isn’t just great Spätburgunder, this is an emotional rollercoaster. Fass Selections sells a lot of Spätburgunder but this might be one of my very favorites. More nuanced than Möbitz, more powerful than Enderle Moll or Josef Walter and more complex than Ziereisen. In terms of balance, only Juliane Eller is in the same category among the Fass Selection wines for me. Mind. Boggled.

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2008 Später-Veit Spätburgunder "P"

2008 Später-Veit Spätburgunder “P” is a brilliant wine. If I served this blind and told people it was Chambolle, they would buy it…that’s how good this is. It has beautiful red fruit, minerality and laser focused acidity and spice on the finish. At age 9, this is firing on all cylinders. After trying this, I have to agree with @grapeylyle that the Mosel is prime real Estate for the future great Spätburgunders of Germany. Stunning.

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2015 Joan D'Anguera Montsant Altaroses

2015 Joan D’Anguera Montsant Altaroses is one of my very best recent and local finds…100% Grenache grown biodynamically from vines between the age of 10 and 35 years old. It is a very soft wine that is all about the strawberry bomb that goes off in the glass along with clove and rosemary. The nose is initially reminiscent of rose champagne but mellows into something closer to a Pinot Noir in weight. Lovely, elegant and silky and $18 before case discount…silly good value. While this is definitely no Rayas or even Pignan in complexity…if you enjoy the lighter style of Grenache, you will love this.

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Ruby Coffee Guatemala Rincon

Ruby Coffee Guatemala Rincon is a bit of a conundrum for me. While I personally find it roasted too dark for my taste, my wife LOVED it. She even commented on the coffee before I got to ask her what she thought. And that never happens. We have been working on this bag for two weeks and just finished it, so my impressions are not the result of a “hit and run” tasting of this coffee. Overall, I find it difficult to taste much other than caramel and bitter chocolate. The sweetness of the beans is lost with this roast profile and if it were for me only, I probably would not buy from Ruby again. But since my wife was a fan, I am going to order from them again for sure. If you want to order any of their coffees, you ought to make sure you like darker roasts based on my very limited experience. Or call/email them to figure out if there are coffes they have that get roasted more lightly.

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