Category Archives: tasting notes

Arnaud Ente Meursault 2006

Last night I went to a great seafood restaurant in Eastchester, NY. It is Nantucket bay scallop season, one of my favorite foods. I feel that eating seasonally puts me in touch with the passage of time, and certain foods remind me that winter is almost over. Not that winter is bad, but this winter has given us enough snow to last for the next 4 years.

We started off with a Bourgogne Blanc from Domaine Roulot. It was crisp and minerally, a perfect wine with my oysters and my girlfriend’s lump crab cake in lobster sauce.

For our main course I couldn’t resist ordering the Arnaud Ente Meursault 2006, although on the wine list it was listed as 2005. I first heard of Ente when I was working at Winebow, a fine wine importer and distributor that handles Kermit Lynch in New York. Ente bottled only about 4500 bottles of his 2006 Meursault, and it is obvious that he is passionate about each one. The wine is rich and powerful, mouthfilling,

Marr Cellars Cuvee Patrick Petit Sirah Tehama County 2006

Last week I worked with Bob Marr’s 2006 Petit Sirah Cuvee Patrick, named after his son.  The wine is a blend of petit sirah, zinfandel, carignane, syrah, viognier and a bit of orange muscat.

Bob takes a chef’s approach to blending his wines, having worked in restaurants during college and after  His fruit sources include John Alger’s vineyards on the side of Mount Lassen in Tehama County.  Planted in the ’70’s at an elevation of 2500 feet, these vineyards are at the snow line, and are subject to flurries in late Spring and Fall.

Bob’s winemaking approach is very simple: find low-yielding grape sources, get involved in the vineyard management, harvest at optimum ripeness, destem the grapes, cold soak, and either innoculate with yeast strains or allow native yeasts to start the fermentation.  But what is most remarkable is that Bob has very little machinery to work with.  This is not about the latest rotary fermenter or bladder press, but all about just staying out of the way and letting the vineyards speak through the wine.

The wines are manipulated and moved as little as possible.  Bob prefers gravity to pumps, and fines and racks his wines only when necessary.  He filters only rarely, preferring to let the wines settle before bottling.

Bob’s “Garage” Winery, in a storage space near Davis, California

The wine is dense, with color so dark you can’t see through a glass.  On the nose it has wild berries and spice, with a touch of eucalyptus.

The first taste is a mass of blackberry pie fruit, with tannins present but in check.  The wine is dense and thick without being heavy, but you will definitely feel the weight on your tongue .

The finish is long, with a trail of fine tannins competing with the dark fruits for the last impression.

Bob’s total production is under 2,000 cases, all hand-made from purchased grapes.  Bob has long relationships with growers, dating back to his days working harvest during college.  His preference is Rhone-style wines and old vines Zinfandel, each wine individually crafted and cared for.

If you would like more information on finding Marr Cellars wines please contact me.