Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wining by proxy...Angeles Wine Agency/Jeff Welburn Selections...

The Goddess of Wine missed another great tasting, but luckily her hardy acolyte and staff writer, JD, was able to attend. The Goddess is sad that she couldn't taste these wines! Here's the report from JD:

March 26, 2013 - Angeles Wine Agency/Jeff Welburn Selections Spring 2013 Trade Tasting at Nic's Beverly Hills

Jeff Welburn is the Owner and President of AWA, and the Jeff Welburn Selections (JWS) are the French import section of AWA. AWA has a very broad portfolio of wines, foreign and west coast. There is something there for everyone. I’ll just hit some highlights.

On entering I was pleasantly greeted immediately, checked in and given a preprinted name tag. Picked up the program booklet and a glass and started in with a sampling of Rosés.
The JWS Rosé table had 7 listed and a Crémant de Limoux. I sampled three, finishing with a Bandol rosé with herbal notes.

At the bar were the Northern Rhone Producers from Les Vins de Vienne: Yves Cuilleron, Pierre Gaillard and François Villard. Having encountered some of the wine of Yves Cuilleron before in his project with Morgan Clendenen, I knew I had to try more and meet the fellow. Waiting patiently as a young woman ahead of me was speedtasting through, I soon got my chance to sample several of the LVV whites, poured and explained by M. Cuilleron.
  • Blanc Les Laurelles - good acid, just sharp enough to be refreshing.
  • Saint-Peray Blanc D’Argent - toasty
  • Condrieu Blanc D’Argent-Viognier - thicker stone fruit and creaminess.
My impression of LVV whites is subtle excellence.

Later I came back to the bar and sampled LVV Cornas las Barcillants 2009 with its light earthiness and toast. I also worked through the Olivier Nouet import line that François Villard was pouring at the next section of the bar. Many with barnyard nose, dry with restrained tastes. I think all of these would open nicely and be great with food as is so often the French wine way.

Across from the bar were the JWS tables, first the Bordeaux, long and full of wines, with Jeff himself doing much of the pouring. Too many wines, packed table and not enough time or palate! Did try a Chateau Monestrier La Tour Bergerac Blanc 2011 blend of Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc/Muscadelle. Fresh and dry citrus, no sweetness. Liked.

JWS Burgundy/Loire/Rhone/Etc.
  • La Domitienne Picpoul de Pinet 2011 - Minerally bright and crisp light citrus. Picpouls are very nice on a warm day or with some white fish.
  • Jean Vullien Roussette de Savoie - In spite of the name Roussette (another synonym for Rousanne too), this is actually the Altesse grape, a specialty of the Savoie region. Some floral and nut notes. Like to try this again not in the midst of a huge tasting.
  • Vigneau-Chevreau Vouvray Sec Cuvee Silex 2011 - light citrus and easy drinking Chenin Blanc.
  • Yves Cheron Gigondas Grand Montmarail 2010 - A fine light GSM with good berry fruit.
Mt. Beautiful. From the pictures displayed at the table this New Zealand winery is aptly named.
  • Sauvignon Blanc 2011 - A soft citrusy, tropical taste.
  • Riesling 2010 – to me what I would describe as diesel on the nose and a very nice citrus taste.
  • Pinot Gris 2011 - mineral, grapefruit. All three whites very refreshing to taste.
  • Pinot Noir 2011 - Wonderful barnyard notes on the nose like many fine French Pinots. Nice berry taste and restrained.
This is a young winery and well worth watching for and tasting.

Bodegas Benegas from Argentina.
  • Two 2010 Malbecs, both definitely containing the classic robust tannins, the estate being smoother.
  • The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon minty and big.
Benegas Lynch Meritage 2006 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc (both from old vineyards), 20 year old vine Merlot and the 5 year old vine youngster of Petit Verdot from Mendoza. Earthy nose, some sharp black pepper on the mouth with a tannic end. I would like to try this at my leisure, give it a chance to open and with food.

Ole Imports and Grapes of Spain
Besides the Tempranillos there were a 100% Graciano and a straight Godello.

Italian section from Montecastelli/Regal imports.
Started with a lightly yeasty Prosecco. Highlights included a delightful Vermentino/Viogier blend, a Sauvignon Blanc with sea notes and several wonderfully earthy reds from Pinot Noir through to the more standard Italian varietals.

California Boutique Brands
  • Anglim Paso Robles “barnyardy” Grenache.
  • Mark Cummins and his Drake, a small winery using very carefully chosen fruit from Bien Nacido and Laetitia vineyards for his subtle Chardonnay and Pinot Noirs.
  • Palazzo Wines of Napa included a light and subtle Cabernet Franc.
  • Jemrose in Bennett Valley, included a very nice Syrah/Merlot blend.
  • Casey Flat Ranch in the mountains above Capay Valley east of Napa. These wines were being poured by the winemaker Laura Barrett, who had been speedtasting (so she could get back to her own table), through the French wines with Yves Cuilleron just ahead of me when I arrived. Sauvignon Blancs and Syrah based red blends. Especially enjoyed the CFR Estate Red.
New Oregon Portfolio
  • There was a contrasting pair of 2011 Pinot Noirs from Colene Clemens, one earthy and drinkable now, one tighter which could use some time to open.
  • Another contrasting pair from Grochau, one fruit forward and an older more subtle one.
  • Then the pair from The Guild co-op with a white blend containing 85% Pinot Gris and a bold GSM red blend that reminded me of something from Paso Robles.
I think, after picking my way through these selections, if you saw Angeles Wine Agency and/or Jeff Welburn Selections on a wine bottle, chances are you would be getting something quite tasty.

By the way, the Crémant de Limoux made a great finishing taste.

Whew! Those were just the highlights! What a great tasting! Thanks, JD, as always! 

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