Ella Valley Merlot, Four Gates Chardonnay and Merlot

We spent the weekend at the Four Gates Winery and we had a grand time.  I brought a bunch of wine and Benyamin had a few wines in the ready as well.  The food was awesome but I must say that once again, I brought the duds – AAHH!!  The worst part of it was that I personally brought these wines back from France and had great expectations for them.  Unfortunately, they were total losers.  I brought a Sancerre and a Bordeaux.  The only saving grace I had was the 2002 Ella Valley Vineyard Choice Merlot.

Dinner started with a lovely poached fish that was rich enough in flavor to match the Sancerre – but it was a real downer.  The Sancerre tasted like it was allowed to rot and such was a quarter or more along the way to a Sauterne.  After that we had lovely roasted chicken and a meat stew.  The Roasted Chicken was solely coated with a spice mixture that I guessed was a combination of Curry, Cumin, Coriander, and cloves.  Very nice mix.  The chicken and the stew called for a wine that is highly acidic and/or powerful wine.  The Bordeaux I brought was truly sad as well.  Really, just a sad attempt.  The other wine I brought was a hit and really nice – one of my favorites; the 2002 Ella Valley Vineyard’s Choice (VC) Merlot.  Finally, the Four Gates wines were enjoyed the following day with Cholent and leftovers.  A very nice affair for all.

The wine notes follow:

2002 Bokobsa Sancerre Special Reserve – Score: B-
The nose on this gold colored wine had notes of honeysuckle, grapefruit, earth, and Botrytis. The smell throws off the wine, and unfortunately carries on into the palate. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is fruity. The mid palate was mineral, while the Botrytis commanded the finish. The wine lacked crispness and focus. It was all over the place, a real shame. I had a great experience with a previous Sancerre, and was hoping for it again, but it was not to be.

2003 Château du Desert Grand Vin de Graves – Score: B-
The nose on this garnet colored wine was mineral and raspberry. The mouth on this medium bodied wine has notes of raspberry, and plum. The mid palate had nice earth tones. The finish was muddled with fruit and oak. Again, a non-focused or complex wine. I had high hopes for this one, but it was not to be.

2002 Ella Valley Vineyard’s Choice Merlot – Score: A
The nose on this opaque black colored wine is a big Merlot nose.  Cassis, blackberry, and oak scream to the front.  Mint, chocolate, and earthy tones follow.  The mouth on this full bodied wine starts off with black plum, cassis and mint.  The middle is a complex mixture of oak, black fruit, and well integrated tannins.  The balanced wine’s long finish is filled with meaty texture and flavor along with chocolate, tobacco, and oak.  This is a really fun wine and one that is ready to enjoy now.  There was not a ton of sediment, but still keep a watch out for it.  The fruit is slowing down, so drink up.

Four Gates La Rochelle Merlot 2005 – score: A-
The nose on this deep garnet colored wine is flush with blackberry, mint, asparagus, and oak.  The mouth on this medium bodied wine starts with blackberry fruit and black plums.  The mi palate has lovely notes of acid balanced with oak.  The finish is long with light tannins that have not yet integrated, and red fruit.  The wine is not yet at its peak, but is still quite enjoyable now as well.

Four Gates Chardonnay 2004 – Score: A
One of the best Chardonnay out there right now.  This complex yet approachable wine is a real joy.  This is NOT a lightweight Chardonnay yet not a butterball like other California Chardonnays.  This is what a California Chardonnay should taste like – really nice.  We have tasted this in the past and it has clearly improved.  The nose has gone more citrus and oaky.  The mouth has really filled out and the finish goes on for miles.  But the real excitement is the complexity that has appeared.  The wine is far more complex in nature, with layers of oak, vegetal notes, and wonderful citrus, peach, and apricot flavors.  So on to the actual tasting note now:

The nose on this electric light gold colored wine is filled with peach, apricot, and light hints of herbs, sweet oak and caramel.  The mouth on this full bodied and very rich Chardonnay is packed with a complex and layered mixture of peach, apricot and citrus flavors.  The mid palate is a strong crisp acid core mixed with cloves, vegetal flavors, and a slight sweetness.  The finish is a long crisp and refreshing stroll with sweet wood notes as a partner.  A real success.  This is one of my favorite Chardonnays.  The wine is crisp yet has weight at the same time, a real joy.

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Posted on September 1, 2008, in Food and drink, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher White Wine, Wine and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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