PA Chairman's Selections Fall 2014 Preview

9 years ago by Tim

I recently tasted through a very diverse list of 45 Chairman's Selections wines along with guest contributor Sean Rosenkrans, sommelier at Allegheny Wine Mixer and one of the brainiest bartenders in Pittsburgh. The wines definitely skewed red, and there was some really nice higher end wines for those looking for gifts or just to stock their cellar.

Some of our favorites, in order of tasting not preference:

  • 2011 Evening Land Bourgogne Blanc
  • Alfred Gratien Brut
  • Herbert Beaufort Brut
  • Jean-Paul Dubost Moulin a Vent
  • Villa Montignana Chianti Classico Riserva
  • Rivera Il Falcone Castel Del Monte Riserva
  • Clarendon Hills Syrah (Brookman and Liandra)
  • Achaval Ferrer Quimera
  • Piccini Brunello
  • Roger Peguet Hermitage


    2013 Terra Da Vino Masseria dei Carmelitani Gavi di Gavi DOCG. A light, delicate white wine with tons of chalkiness and mineralogy, light citrus fruits and some white flower. I enjoyed this quite a bit, and I think it's a good example of Gavi for the price. $12.99, quoted at $25. Code 33699.

    2013 Signae Grechetto. I enjoyed this one quite a bit. Tropical and stone fruits on the nose, with the nuttiness I expect from Italian whites. This is a really fresh, crisp and clean wine. A very good buy for the price, it will be good with lighter dishes and great for the spring and summer if you can stash it that long. $9.99, quoted at $16.99. Code 33608.

    2009 Peltier Station Viognier. Golden in color, showing some age but still relatively fresh. This is a very aromatic Viognier, lots of spice and flower blossom. Quality wise, it's a great buy for the price but I can't see myself buying any. $6.99, quoted at $14.99. Code 33661.

    2013 Domaine Perraud Macon-Villages Les Cadoles. $15.99, quoted at $26.99. Code 33678

    2011 Evening Land Bourgogne Blanc. Bright lemon and lime fades to smoked almond skin and dried spices. It's relatively simple, but very good. A crisp Chardonnay with little to no oak. It's hard to beat the quality at this price point. It's a huge buy, and definitely will have plenty in my cellar. $9.99, quoted at $25.

    2013 Sterling Vineyards Malvasia Bianca Cellars Club. A very aromatic nose of white flowers, with peach and apricot on the nose and palate. This is a sweet wine due to interrupted fermentation; there's quite a bit of residual sugar here. Reminiscent of Viognier and Muscat on the nose. Those that enjoy a light, sweet wine will probably enjoy this. $8.99, quoted at $15.99.

    2013 Goose Ridge Vineyards Riesling. This is a dry Riesling with all of the typical notes of stone fruits and white peach. Sean called this "Riesling with a trumpet mute". I agree - there's not the intensity of acidity I expect from Riesling. It felt a little "watered down". Still, for the price, it has a place at the Thanksgiving table. $7.99, quoted at $15.99.

    2013 Paul Dolan Gewurztraminer Revolution. The nose lacked the intensity we normally expect from Gewürztraminer. There is definitely rose water, canned lychee water and bosc pear here. Sean thought this would pair well with lighter Thai dishes, as long as the intensity of the food is low and doesn't overpower the wine. $9.99, quoted at $17.99.


    2013 Michele Chiaro Moscato d'Asti Nivole (375ml). This was missing the higher floral tones of quality Moscato. It will appeal to many, but lacks depth in both flavor and structure. $8.99, quoted at $15.00. Code 33641.

    Feuerheerd's Ruby Porto Reserva. A very typical Ruby Port. Very nice. $14.99, quoted at $29.99. Code 33264.

    Bodegas Osborne Pedro Ximenez 1827 Very Sweet. Almond notes dominate this very oxidized sweet wine. It feel like it was browning in the glass.


    Decelle Brut Champagne. Bruised melon and apple on the nose, with peach, pear and yellow apple on the palate. There is less toast and yeasty notes on this wine. It's a very clean and precise wine. $29.99, quoted at $50.00.

    Alfred Gratien Brut Champagne. There's a lot of autolytic notes here, with toasted cotton candy, bright roasted lemon, and candy apple. There's a richer mouth feel. It's a very nice, very classic Brut Champagne. $39.99, quoted at $70.00.

    Herbert Beaufort Brut Champagne Bouzy Grand Cru Carte d'Or. Bruised, ripe apples. There was some noticeable sulphur notes (burnt match, flint) on the nose, but this dissipated a bit as the wine opened. Excellent wine. $32.99, quoted at $56.99.


    2012 J. Hofstatter Pinot Nero DOC Meczan. Soft, sour cherry, with extracted black tea and fruit pit flavors. Some falling off of fruit already. Decent structure, and should appeal to some west coast pinot fans, with subtle differences (less coffee than williamette, lighter fruit than Sonoma) but should be drunk now. Often, Alto-Adige Pinot's are over oaked, but the use is subtle and not new here. $13.99, quoted at $25.00.

    2013 Jean-Paul Dubost Moulin-a-Vent En Brenay. Leaning towards purple. Cranberry, candied raspberry. Bright berry bowl fruit. Lacking major cru structure, though fitting into a general Burgundian body (except lacking tannin). Juicy without being jammy. Good buy at that price, and will serve great as a flexible holiday wine. $17.99, quoted at $35.00.

    2010 Cultivate The Feast. Deep, intense ruby with a blackish center, this is unmistakably Californian. Deglazed steak, dates, jammy black fruit, lots of spice and some cedar and sandalwood. The acidity is a little lacking, which gives the perception of sweetness from the ripe fruit. Overall, it's a great value at this price. Stock up for holiday parties and as a cellar defender. (For what it's worth, this recently hit Wine Spies at $18.99). $7.99, quoted at $25.00.

    2011 Victor Vineyards Roadside Red. Peach flambé, some pie crust and ice cream. This is like drinking a warm peach cobbler, with cream and spice. Another good crowd pleaser for the price. $8.99, quoted at $16.00.

    2011 Domaine Sainte-Eugenie Corbieres Rouge. This is a dirty, meaty wine with muted, caramelized flavors. Not bad for the price, but it won't be as accessible to everyone like the previous two wines. We found the structure lacking. $8.99, quoted at $13.00. SKU 33638.

    2012 Pat Paulsen Vineyards Primitivo. A muted nose of mixed berry, parsley, tarragon and other herbal notes, and softer peach flavors on the palate. Not as much prune flavors as examples from Puglia. With medium tannin, this was almost gummy in its mouth feel. $10.99, quoted at $18.00. (SKU 33649).

    2010 Colli Ripani Pharus Rosso Piceno Superiore Castellano DOC. Very deep for Montepulciano. There's some plastic, waxy black fruit, with perhaps a hint of rubber pool toy. It was an enjoyable, if simple, wine. $13.99, quoted at $20.00. SKU 33670.

    2012 Asio Otus. An Italian blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Shiraz, definitely made in a New World style. Deep ruby in color. A bright berry fruit bomb with vanilla extract, this tastes international. This is an uncomplicated wine, with from fruit sweetness. "A wine inspired by the night with its seduction and charm..." $11.99, quoted at $24.00. Code 33692.

    2009 Gloria Ferrer Merlot Carneros. Full of plum and berry notes, this was is a very typical Cali Merlot. It's well made, with some chalky wood tannin that some customers may appreciate. If you're a Sideways disciple, this probably won't convert you, but it's a nice wine nonetheless. This is going to be the last vintage of their Merlot. $15.99, quoted at $28.00.

    2008 Altavins Domus Pensi. Silky texture with good acidity, but with repressed fruit it comes across a little hot and lacking complexity. It wants to be Priorat, but the muted fruit is overtaken a bit by mild oak notes. It feels like a wine crafted for Robert Parker, so if you like that sort of thing you'll probably like this. $15.99, quoted at $35.00. Code 33702.

    2011 TerraNoble Carmenere Gran Reserva. A super typical, very well made example of Chilean Carmenere. There's an intense nose of roasted coffee beans and geraniums, with noticeable oak, chalkiness and deep black fruit on the palate. This wine has excellent structure. It's not going to appeal to everyone, but Cali Cab drinkers should at least give it a try for something a little different. $12.99, quoted at $20.00. Code 33664.

    2013 Domaine La Croix D'Aline Saint-Chinian. A blend of Syrah and Grenache from the Languedoc. Purple in color, it had some bright berry fruit and some smoked meats. Perfect for grilled meats and the cooler months. There's youthful tannins and good structure. It's a well made wine and a good value for those who like typically pricier Southern Rhone blends. $11.99, quoted at $18.00. Code 33671.

    2009 Villa Montignana Chianti Classico Riserva. Roasted cherry notes on the nose, accompanied by subtle herbal notes of thyme and rosemary. There's definitely the bloody, sanguine character typical of Sangiovese. (Sean called it "lamb's blood"). It's pretty delicate, with bright acidity, medium body and medium tannins. For the price, I think it's a very good wine. $12.99, quoted at $40. Code 33694.

    2009 Vignamaggio Castello di Monna Lisa Chianti Classico Riserva. Even more sanguine and bloody than the previous example. There's much more intensity here, and probably newer oak. The addition of 5% each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot is evident. The wine tastes more polished and international, with sweet deep fruit and cleaner flavor. It has the body and heft of a Brunello, but it lacks lacks the savory fruit of pure Sangiovese. A "cross over wine", but very enjoyable. $24.99, quoted at $42.00. Code 33606.

    2008 Rivera Il Falcone Castel Del Monte Riserva. Really spicy, with anise, raspberry and some funkiness. On the palate, there's a lot of fruit, a high level of tanning, and a chalky, mineral finish. It's a pretty rustic wine. Good buy. $17.99, quoted at $34.00. Code 33601.

    2011 BV Red Blend Limited Release. This is like drinking a plum/peach pie. The 20% Zinfandel is definitely prevalent, bringing a jammier feel with tons of peach fruit. There's lots of new vanilla and toast, but it feels fake - more oak chips than new French Oak barrels. Still, this is a simple and enjoyable wine. $14.99, quoted at $24.99. Code 33654.

    2011 Alexander Beck Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Rich and intense, with deep black, cassis flavors. The cooler vintage shows in the slightly underripe, green fruit. There isn't a ton of complexity here, but it's pretty typical of Alexander Valley. If you like Silver Oak, it's worth picking up a few bottles of this. $15.99, quoted at $29.99. Code 33650.

    2011 Shannon Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Home Ranch. Roasted coffee with sweet but somehow underripe fruit. It feels propped up by the addition of Malbec and Petite Syrah, the latter of which is more commonly blended with Zinfandel than Cabernet. For the price, I think there are better options on this list. $16.99, quoted at $29.99. Code 33566.

    2012 Le Gravillas Gigondas Les Dentelles. The very high alcohol (15.5%) really dominates this wine. There's super ripe fruit and loads of mushroom notes, and an intense herbal finish that feels at odds with the elevated alcohol. It's a decent buy at the price, but it's almost painful to drink on its own and would require a very specific dish at the table. $18.99, quoted at $37.99. Code 33674.

    2008 Clarendon Hills Syrah Brookman. This is a very savory wine, with the same deep black fruit, bacon fat, black olives, and salty leather notes you'd expect from an Hermitage. Clarendon Hills labels their Aussie wines as "Syrah" instead of "Shiraz" for a reason. Especially when tasting this alongside the Hermitage, there's a distinct fruit ripeness you're probably not going to find in the Northern Rhone, but it's very well balanced and has great structure. Deep black fruit, lush solid tannin. This wine is drinking well now but has a lot of life left in it. Definitely one to add to your collection. $36.99, quoted at $75.00. Code 33612.

    2008 Clarendon Hills Syrah Liandra. The nose was less intense initially than the Brookman, but still lots of leather, smoke and deep savory and smoked fruits. After revisiting this bottle later in the evening, the fruit really opened up with more classic Aussie flavors of black fruit, pepper and tar. This will be released sometime after the Brookman, probably in January. Both are highly recommended. $37.99, quoted at $60. Code 33613.

    2011 Achaval Ferrer Quimera. This is a brooding, masculine wine - very opulent but also very balanced. Intense, concentrated black fruit. Archaval Ferrer is an excellent producer, and this is an excellent wine. $28.99, quoted at $56.00. Code 33644.

    2011 Frog's Leap Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. As Steve put it, this will be the first and last time Frog's Leap is in the program. Lots of roasted coffee and green pepper on the nose. This is a very elegant, low-alcohol effort in a cooler (and challenging) vintage, Bordeaux-esque in style. It feels like they were a little more restrained in the use of oak, and it does not overpower the underripe fruit. Black cherry, cherry tomato and olive notes on the nose, and noticeable oak tannin on the finish. There is good acidity, and I have a feeling this will age well. $29.99, quoted at $42.00. Code 33662.

    2010 B.R. Cohn Cabernet Sauvignon Olive Hill Estate Vineyards. Lot of cassis, black olive, basil and mint. Good acidity, with medium-plus, silky tannins and a pretty long finish. The structure suggests that this will age gracefully as well. It's a pretty solid Cali Cab for the price, but definitely more Sonoma than Napa in character. $34.99, quoted at $55.00. Code 33580.

    2009 Piccini Brunello di Montalcino Villa al Cortile. Herbal and savory, with lots of thyme, anise and kirsch, there's also a funk to the wine ("sheep pen"). It will benefit from some age, but overall probably has limited potential. It's worth buying for a Brunello to drink soon. $29.99, quoted at $45.00. Code 33581.

    2011 Bocelli Alcide IGT. This Super Tuscan is a 50/50 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese, but definitely shows a lot of the Cabernet properties with jalapeño and bell pepper. It's very dry. It's a good wine, but for the money I think there are better buys. $49.99, quoted at $69.00. Code 33594.

    2010 Roger Peguet Hermitage. It's not often you see Hermitage in the Chairman's program. This is a very typical example, with bacon fat, smoked meats and black olive galore, but also extremely elegant and impeccably balanced. It is drinking very well now, but is also worthy of some age. The wine was so good that Sean basically stopped taking notes on the previous wines in the flight. Unfortunately, I couldn't find much information on the producer. It will make a fine gift (hint, hint) and is a great addition to any cellar. $49.99, quoted at $75.00. Code 33639.

    2009 Arnaldo Caprai Montelfaco Sangrantino 22 Anni. This is an excellent wine, very savory with black and green olives, smoky grilled meats, medicinal herbs, anise and a bit of a spicy backbone. There are a boatload of tannins here, so if you do buy this make sure you give it 5-10 years rest at a minimum, and then eat with a hearty meal preferably with a lot of meat. I do think the patience will be rewarded. $59.99, quoted at $100.00. Code 33623.

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