On the Road with the Grape Guy

On the Road with the Grape Guy is a on-going feature that follows me from event to event ... I post my thoughts, feelings and reviews of what happened and what I tasted ... basically it is here that I review the events I attend and the things that thrilled me.

Vignobles De Larose Tasting

21 Apr 2020

(March 2020) ... Turns out Vignobles de Larose is the parent company of four estates: Chateau Larose Trintaudue, Chateau Larose Perganson, Chateau Arnauld and Chateau Tour de Pez … all located on the Left Bank of Bordeaux, Haut Medoc, and part of the Cru Bourgeois.

As a company they produce 1.3 million bottles per year, export 30% and have 255 hectares under vine. All the estates fall under the Cru Bourgeois classification (which unlike Grand Cru Classe is renewed every 5 years – the latest was done in early 2020). 249 estates were classified under the following 3 levels: Cru Bourgeois – Cru Superieur – Cru Exceptionnel

Chateau Larose Trintaudon (est. 1819) … Trintaudon

current level: Cru Bourgeois Superieur
output: 1 million bottles per year

Two wines tasted:

2009 – Tobacco, smoky, mineral and cigar box

2011 – Shows nice development of dark fruit along with smoky-black cherry, cassis with great acidity and tannins.  (***+)

PergansonChateau Larose Perganson (est. 1719) …

current level: Cru Bourgeois Superieur
output: 120,000 bottles per year
average vine age: 32-33 years

Two wines tasted:

2008 – Leathery, smoky with cooked fruit notes

2010 – Opened slowly but worth the wait; dark and red fruit emerge with mocha, blackberry, floral, leather backed by good acidity and the right amount of supporting tannins.  (****+)

Chateau Arnauld (est. 14th century) Chateau Arnauld

Estate purchased by Larose in 2007 and is their most southerly property

current ranking: Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel
output: 55,000 bottles per year
average vine age: 45 years

Two wines tasted:

2012 – Muted aromas with notes of cigar box, herbal and tobacco

2014 – First time Petit Verdot (10%) has appeared in this primarily Cabernet Sauvignon blend (63%) – all new French oak but this Bordeaux is aged in Burgundy barrels … blackberry, cassis, sour cherry, coffee bean and smoke; supple with good tannin structure and rich mouthfeel.  (****+)

Chateau Tour de Pez

Property most recently acquired by Larose

current ranking: Cru Bourgeois
output: 95,000 bottles per year

no wines tried from this estate


Anteprima Sagrantino 2016 - Good Better Best

16 Apr 2020

(February 2020) ... MONTEFALCO – For the second time I am doing the Anteprima for Sagrantino and thrilled to be back for comparative purposes … As a side note, Sagrantino has been DOC since 1979 and achieved DOCG status in 1992.  Since this is my second time I would like to note that it is always nice to see the way a region treats a grape over of a number of years in a row – with any luck I’ll be back to taste the 2017, 2018 and beyond to find out more about what makes Sagrantino such a special grape variety and witness its evolution.  Throughout the week I also visited with a number of producers to sample their wares and talk about the region, the vintage and the grape … those reports and observations will come at a later point (so keep watching the website or social media).

The Rules of Sagrantino …

The wines need 37 months before they can be released as official “Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG”, of which at least 12 months has to be in oak and 4 months in bottle.

The Vintage Verdict …

2016 was an even more spectacular vintage than was the 2015 even though both are considered 5-star vintages (meaning: outstanding). If you thought everyone was excited about the former, watch out, 2016 has some jaw-dropping wines: these wines are out-and-out powerhouses. By using modern techniques and opting for the use of large wood many producers are learning to soften and curb what makes Sagrantino harsh and tough, to create a wine to drink sooner. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a very age-worthy wine with lots of acidity, tannins and ballsy dark fruit, but it’s amazing what backing off from new barrique can do for a wine and creating less juice to wood ratio. Some literature refers to these wines as “astringent” (harshly biting) and when young they definitely have a grip and grit that may be hard to get around … but I’m impressed to see winemakers embracing ways to soften it and make it more approachable sooner without stripping the wine of its character.


As a rule during these Anteprima I do not score unfinished wines (aka: barrel / tank samples), too much can go wrong between barrel and bottle that can compromise or otherwise change the wine … if that happens that score from a barrel sample can come back to bite me in the ass if the finished wine isn’t as I perceived it from barrel – so I have just stopped the practice of giving final scores to these wines.

The wines for the tasting were broken down into three categories: Barrel Sample, Bottle Sample and Finished … this year I treated everything the same going with my Good / Better / Best approach to “scoring”; besides these are definitely wines best rated on their future potential.

Good Potential

Arnaldo Caprai 2016 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG “Collepiano”
Benedetti & Grigi 2016 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG
Tabarrini 2016 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG “Colle Alle Macchie”
Tenuta Bellafonte 2016 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG “Collenottolo”
Tenuta Colfalco 2016 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG
Valdangius 2016 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG
Vignabaldo Group 2016 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG “Tenuta Baldo”

Better PotentialMontefalco Banner

Arnaldo Caprai 2016 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG “Valdimaggio”
Fattoria Le Mura Saracene – Goretti 2016 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG
Il Torrione 2016 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG
Le Cimate 2016 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG
Luca Di Tomaso 2016 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG
Moretti Omero 2016 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG
Moretti Omero 2016 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG “Vignalunga”
Perticaia 2016 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG
Romanelli 2016 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG
Scacciadiavoli 2016 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG
Tabarrini 2016 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG “Campo Alla Cerqua”
Tabarrini 2016 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG “Colle Grimaldesco”
Tenuta Alzatura-Cecchi 2016 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG
Tudernum 2016 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG “Fidenzio”

Best Potential

Adanti 2016 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG “Arquata”
Antonelli 2016 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG
Montioni 2016 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG
Montioni 2016 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG “Magia”


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