Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Wining by Proxy...DM Vineyards & Partners Portfolio....

When the Goddess of Wine can't break away from the earth job, First Acolyte JD steps in to cover special wine events. Here are his notes from the DM Vineyards & Partners Trade and Press Portfolio Tasting at the Villa Restaurant in Woodland Hills on December 2nd.

The elegant Villa restaurant is located on a corner in the west San Fernando Valley and has had a number of incarnations over the years. While its address is on the busy Ventura Boulevard, the business actually extends deeply up the side street. This event was on their patio behind, so I can’t say what the restaurant proper is like inside, though from the pictures on their website (http://www.thevillawoodlandhills.com) it looks quite nice. The patio is sunken, paved in used brick with iron fencing and gates, a fountain in the rear upper section and wonderfully grown in with vegetation that secludes and protects from the sun. A fine array of appetizers was set out for the tasting. Judging by that sampling, I would certainly like to try their main menu.

According to owner Jorge Mendez, DM Vineyards & Partners (http://www.dmvineyards.com), based in Bordeaux, has been in business for about 10 years, distributing wines from Europe, the southern hemisphere and the U.S. and concentrating on corporate accounts, such as airlines. They have recently decided to expand into restaurants and retail. This sampling from their new portfolio showcased some wines from their mostly selected small, family-owned boutique wineries and a handful of larger ones from Bordeaux, the Loire, Rhone and Champagne regions, three Spanish regions and a touch of Italy.

“DMV is part of our new strategy to bring to customers the same great service and values that we offer to our corporate accounts, with the philosophy of everyday luxury in all senses of service and quality,” said DM Vineyards’ Jorge Mendez. “I’m excited to get the opportunity to share our wines and build relationships in the California market.”

The tasting started with Champagne Didier Chopin Brut N.Y.: light bread, lemony, mineral. Champagne is a great way to begin any tasting.
Then to Chateau Ducasse White 2012- AOC Graves, a 60% Semillon/40% Sauvignon Blanc blend. Crisp, light grassiness, tropical fruit.
Domaine Roger & Dider Raimbault 2012- AOC Sancerre. Fresh floral, grapefruit. Very nice.
Cal y Canto White 2011 - Vino de la Tierra de Castilla. 50/50 Viura and Verdejo. Exotic fruits.
Leiras 100% Albarino 2011 - D.O. Rias Baixas – (90 pts Decanter). Light flowers, tropical fruit and grapefruit. A revelation to one taster who is a lover of Chardonnay.
Trascampanas 100% Verdejo 2012 - D.O. Rueda. Apple, pie crust and lemony finish.

From there to reds, first with Bordeaux:
Chateau Fondarzac 2012- AOC Bordeaux Superieur. Right bank blend of 50% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc. Earth, initial fun barnyard nose which, on revisiting later had blown off. A little spice.
Chateau Ducasse Red 2010 - AOC Graves. A 50 Merlot/40 Cab Sauv/10 Cab Franc blend. Very balanced. I found some earth, chocolate, tobacco notes with the smooth fruit. Easy to drink and very reasonably priced.
Chateau de la Cour d'Argent 2010 - AOC Bordeaux Superieur – (90 pts WS). 95% Merlot, the rest a mix of both Cabernets. Earthy, savory herb, decent tannins, not harsh at all, with a quick finish.
Chateau Plaisance Cuvee Alix 2009 - AOC Cotes de Bordeaux- (90 pts WS). Spice that grows on one and sour cherry.
Chateau Altimar 2010 - AOC Lalande de Pomerol – (90 pts WE). Sage and chocolate with fine balance.
Chateau de Lamarque 2009 - AOC Haut-Medoc – (90 pts WS). Subtle blend of fruit and espresso.
Confidences de Prieure-Lichine 2010 - AOC Margaux – (90 pts WS). Dark fruit and spice with something else. The tasting notes mention tea leaves.
LePlan-Vermeersch Classic 2012 - AOC Cotes du Rhone. 60% Grenache/40% Syrah. Earth nose, cinnamon and bacon tastes. Easy to drink with good fruit balance.
Domaine du Grapillon d'Or 2011 - AOC Gigondas. Spicy, floral and more good fruit with mineral notes too. Good now, should drink well for a while. But I could manage more of the LePlan since it’s half the price.
Cal y Canto Red 2011- Vino de la Tierra de Castilla. A blend of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Merlot and 5% Syrah. I got savory notes in the nose that made me think of desert vegetation for some reason. After the smooth French wines, the jump to the hotter Tempranillo was a little jarring but this was actually restrained with the other grapes blended in. Both of the Cal y Canto blends were quite drinkable and would be excellent buys for indulging more often.
Vina Aljibes 2009 - Vino de la Tierra de Castilla – (90 pts WA). From the same region but a very different blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon/38% Petit Verdot/24% Tempranillo & aged 6 months in both French and American oak. Much mellower than the previous, with underbrush, lavender and dark fruit aspects.

Il Faichetto DOCG Moscato d'Asti 2012 Single Vineyard, Tenuta del Fant. Aromatic, citrus, slight fizziness, lightly sweet.
And finally, Petit Guiraud 2010 - AOC Sauternes – (90 pts WS). 65% Semillon and 35% Cabernet Blanc, certified Organic. Honey, a touch of pineapple. Soft, delicate. Leisurely sipped. Did not pour this out. A nice way to end.

These wines were quite reasonably priced and could be enjoyed fairly often. Even the real “name” sourced wines (Champagne, Pomerol, Medoc, Margaux, Gigondas) were not crazy priced. I’m hoping to see these in stores so we can all have some at leisure with food and friends.

Thanks again to JD! Sounds like it was a great event!

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