Frenchy’s Wine Road: Tasting Six Wines from Two Distributors

Periodically, I will be writing about wines from Connecticut’s distributors that I have recently tasted.  This is part two of an article on wines I tasted from Brescome-Barton Worldwide Wines (B2 W3) and Wilson-Daniels (W-D), two of Connecticut’s most renowned distributors.  Part one covered white wines from the tasting; this part covers red wines.

Château du Moulin-à-Vent Couvent des Thorins Moulin-à-Vent 2018 – $25-26 (W-D)

Cru Beaujolais is one of the joys in wine: fresh, exuberant and full of fruit, but always so respectful of balance. The Château du Moulin-à-Vent will celebrate its 300th birthday in 2032, but it has been given a thorough makeover by the Parinet family since their purchase of this estate 12 years ago.

Couvent des Thorins Beaujolais

Couvent des Thorins (Les Thorins is the hill on which the estate is located; the Couvent is the convent that used to be located there) has concentrated flavor and pronounced intensity, with very good length.  Complexity abounds, with the aroma and taste of raspberry, red cherry, strawberry, and even hints of eucalyptus and jam.

Brewer-Clifton Winery Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2017 – $32-33 (B2 W3)

Pinot Noir

I’ve always loved Brewer-Clifton wines, and I’m not the only one who does.  But this sample was showing outrageously well when I had it, with big bing cherries and a note of cigar-box in spite of the fact that the winery states that this wine was aged on neutral oak.  Brewer-Clifton prides itself on technical mastery of the winemaking process, including whole cluster fermentation, in which stems are left to be fermented with the grapes.  This probably has a lot to do with that cedar cigar box flavor.  Whatever… I was rolling my eyes with delight.  And that was before I heard the super-value price.

Dehlinger Winery Goldridge Russian River Pinot Noir 2017 – $56 (B2 W3)

This wine is still youthful and could age for a number of years more, but its flavor intensity was superb.  Big aromas of Cocoa, liquorice, red cherry, and even quite unexpected hints of eucalyptus, orange and strawberry jam made for an extravaganza on my palate.  This is outstanding wine, with balance, concentration and notable length that makes this wine worth the price.

Domaine de Beaurenard (Paul Coulon et Fils) Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2017 – $60 (W-D)

Domaine de Beaurenard is one of the few estates in Châteauneuf that still vilifies using all of the 13 grape varieties authorized by the appellation’s rules.  The wine’s appearance is lovely: a big, beautiful ruby red that whet my appetite, and the 13 grapes really come through in the blend.  It is complex, with classic Châteauneuf flavors of licorice, red cherry and black cherry, but also more tart red fruit and even ginger spice and raspberry.  The tannins were somewhat meaty, as one expects from the Syrah component, and the finish was extraordinarily long.

Feudi Montoni Nero d’Avola Lagnusa 2018 – $20 (W-D)

Feudi Montoni
Nero d’Avola Lagnusa

A really great value at $20.  Nero d’Avola and wines from Sicily have been on a rapid, upward path for the past decade at least.  At first, Nero was a curiosity that disarmed a lot of wine consumers with unusual dark fruits and soft tannins.  But as top Sicilian wine areas became available in America, it became obvious how much this ancient region had renewed itself and was coming back like a freight train. This Nero is very much out of that incredible-value ethic, with very nice complexity, and an unusual amount of red fruit to match the darker fruit.  There is raspberry here, hints of fig and clove, and some cedar on the finish.

Banshee Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles 2018 – $19 (B2 W3)

Banshee Paso Robles Cabernet

This is not tannic Cabernet Sauvignon as one might find in Bordeaux or in the viticultural areas of Northern California.  It is much more down-to-earth, with gorgeous, big, smooth fruit.  Far from being a fruit-bomb, the complex elements of this wine are restrained, with superb, soft, cedary tannins and unobtrusive acidity that gives structure instead of agita.