Callaghan Vineyards

Tasting Notes

Mas Carlot "Les Enfants Terribles" Costieres de Nimes 2005

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Deep red.

Vinturi – attractive nose of wood spices, licorice, iron, earth and black fruit.

Round, initially, but still shows an acid (VA?)/Brett edge that gives this a dis-jointed feel and really clamps down in the finish. Flavors veer toward iron/blood. Needs considerable air, say decanting 24 hours in advance.. This bottling was impossible to enjoy when released due to a Brett bloom in the bottle (CO2 and stink). Still edgy, but far better now.

$12. Mourvedre and Syrah

Tardieu-Laurent, St. Joseph "Vieilles Vignes" 2003

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Deep red.

Opened yesterday. Utterly sexy/savory nose of wood smoke/spices, smoked meat, molasses, grilled herbs and black fruit.

Round and mouth-filling with simultaneous acid-driven structure framing and focusing palate impression. Really loaded and expressive at the same time. And structured to the hilt – acid/tannin constriction really shuts down the mouth in the finish – though smoked meat, herb flavors manage to ride through. RFG, but I’d be careful about cellaring this more than another 3-5 years. Tardieu-Laurent did a very good job in the very hot 2003 vintage. Lots of very highly rated 2003 wines from the northern Rhone seem dead/flat to me, albeit wildly concentrated.

$35. 100% Syrah

Peyre Rose "Clos Des Cistes" Coteaux du Languedoc 2003

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Deep red.

Opened yesterday. Low-toned nose of wood spices, Bordeaux-ish embers, baked black raspberry, dried herbs and A-1 steak sauce. Definitely from a warm vintage.

Round and plush, particularly for this producer. Deep and packed, but not really showing much complexity. Grainy tannin cuts into the finish. But this may well be better 3-4 days from now..

$40? Gift from Mr. Bo Stock. Peyre Rose raises its Syrah in stainless steel, though this seems to show barrel influence. This wine has some Grenache in it, I think. The other bottling “Leone” includes some Mourvedre.

Hirtzberger "Honivogl" Gruner Veltliner, Wachau (Austria) 2004

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Yellow/gold.

Deep, rich, bass nose of lentil, mint, citrus marmalade with a spicy/peppery undertone.

Really fills the mouth, and then expands (if that is possible) with flavors that mirror the nose. The spicy/peppery quality adds real lift and vibrancy. Deep lentil, citrus and spice action flows into a ridiculously long finish. This stuff just keeps kicking out flavor.. Great idiosyncratic white wine, as usual. I love this stuff.

$45. Do yourself a favor – get a bottle or two of GV. There are inexpensive versions ($12-20) that are incredibly refreshing.

Caleo "Calea" Fiano, Sicilia 2010

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Pale yellow.

Aromas of white peach, pear, nut skin and bit of citrus. Fresh, bright.

Round with nice flesh. Nice acidity lifts incrementally. Really nice balance of fruit and acid. Great Summer action.

$18. A bottling made by/for the importer (Polaner. Very interesting guy/company). Fiano is an ancient variety from the Campania region of Italy. Synthetic cork. Drink up.

Capafons-Osso "Mas de Masos" Priorat 2000

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Deep red/purple.

Vinturi – great nose of sexy oak spices, crushed blackberry, earth and shoe polish.

Intense, linear feel in the mouth, with a slight textural sweetness. Blackberry and earth flavors ride through a rather pent-up mid-palate. Grainy, acid/tannin constriction shuts down the front teeth in the finish. This needs several more years in the cellar, but is now far more giving than my last bottle a few years ago. I believe this is a Carignan dominant blend (and it shows).

$35 on release

Chateau Puech-Haut "Prestige" Coteaux du Languedoc 2009

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Purple/red.

Vinturi – fragrant, deep nose – spicy fig, balsam, earth/loam, black cherry, wilted greens, peppermint and even some of Schildknecht’s “machine oil”. Sumptuous, savory.

Round, dense and suave in the mouth with grainy acid/tannin synergy slowly constricting the front teeth. Nice flavor expression throughout. Extremely well-crafted, nuanced wine. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this cellared well for 8-10 years or more.

$17. Crazy. Not sure of the blend, but I’d guess there’s quite a bit of Syrah.

Lamoreaux Landing, Cabernet Franc, New York 2005

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Red with some evolution.

Vinturi – Fragrant tar, red cherry, earth and wood spice nose. Has me thinking RFG Nebbiolo. But some creamy, sexy, vanilla notes creep in.

Lean, with red fruit and spice flavors. Nice follow through into the finish. Best on the nose. I love better Cabernet Francs from the Finger Lakes (like this one) – lean, crisp and completely different from almost everything produced on the West Coast.

$? Gift from John and Jenny Dolak.

Laffont "Hecate" Madiran 2006

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Opaque purple.

Vinturi – very deep nose of blackberry sauce, damp earth, oak spice and licorice. More lifted than it sounds.

Shows intense, linear flavors of blackest of black fruit, gauze, bacon and tar. Acid-driven tannin really coats all the teeth in the finish. Not brutal, however. Loaded & killer, but needs many years to express in the mouth – say 10-15.

$30. 100% Tannat, I think.