Germain-Robin Single Varietals

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numen
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Germain-Robin Single Varietals

Postby numen » Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:44 pm

Ok, well, following my posts on another thread in which I was rather critical of the Germain-Robin line for being a bit soft, I decided to re-open some of the bottles and do a proper tasting for the first time in a while on them. Full disclosure: as soon as G-R has put out new bottlings, I've ordered on sight because they do produce some really dynamic and interesting stuff.

germain robins.jpg
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First up was the Semillon.

nose: This is full of lush tropical fruit, very ripe melons (heavily cantaloupe and some honeydew), honey, some peach, and then orange blossom and acacia. It's not heavily orange, but there's a trace of that floral zestiness.

palate: soft and very quiet on first entry. honey, fresh tangerine syrup (if you take my meaning), and generally yellow-orange tropical fruit that's just started to ferment. There's that slight bitterness to it, but it's very slight.

finish: sweet and bittersweet, finish is short-to-short medium. It has the same melon finish, along with something like a grapefruit infused Sauternes. Superb nose, tasty palate, and a short finish. Very easy to guzzle this stuff. 91-92 pts. (Nose: 24, palate: 23, finish: 20, balance: 24 with a half point somewhere keeping it in the middle)

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Following that, I went to the Pinot Noir. I think that it forms the basis of many G-R bottlings, and it's interesting to try it as a 100% varietal before trying some of the blends to see how it shapes a bottle.

Nose: a little closed, and it needs some time to open up (20 min or so). some red apple (low acidity, high sugar), bright cherry and sherried fruits, slight tartness, and cinnamon (sweet Dutch) infused apple-sauce. mango and pineapple(?)

Palate: much more on the apple, and some oxidative red fruit, very much like a heavily sherried whisky (not the type that turn to chocolate, but those that stay bright, red, and a bit 'nervous'). marmalade in the back.

Finish: sweet with a slightly dry, peppery bitterness. Flower petals, a bit of licking a very old, damp barrel that held apples for decades, but in a very good way. More serious than the Semillon, though also more direct on the apples (a give-away for the preponderance of Pinot Noir in the XO). around 88 points (nose: 21, Palate: 22.5, Finish: 22, Balance: 22.5)

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Third, I went to the Colombard, which has always reminded me of the Semillon (or would it be the other way around as the Semillon is younger?), and thought that the Pinot and a lot of water would make for a good interlude.

Nose: thick honey (10-12 year old Sauternes) and tropical fruit, very much in line with the Semillon. Non-tart/acidic pineapple and citrus (grapefruit, maybe) - separate, but distinct. Clementines (sweet, not tart), extremely juicy fruit, and a bit of the gum of the same name.

Palate: very soft entry. mango, papaya, a slightly older Sauternes (around 15-20 years, and turning a bit copper colored), honeysuckle, and maybe that smell from grinding a pine needle between your fingers.

Finish: Mango, figs (fresh and dry), pineapple, clementines, and tangerines. A bit short, but lip-smackingly good. Generally, it gives images of non-distinct non-tart/acidic, juicy orange fruits ready to burst. 91-92 pts (nose: 23, palate: 22.5, finish: 23, balance: 23)

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Finally, I proceeded to what was usually my favorite, the Muscat. My notes for this are bizarre, but I stand by them (more or less, you'll see what I mean).

Nose: unlike anything else, fruity, but... I really struggle to describe exactly what is going on here. Extremely luscious tropical fruit. hard to pinpoint what there is, but I wouldn't mind spending a few hours sniffing it to study it.

Palate: tangerine. full on tangerine. beautiful, beautiful tangerine. I'm not a huge tangerine fan, but, somehow, this just works. maybe some soft peach in there, too, but, yeah, I love this. It's the fullest bottle I've got because I have only one bottle of it (there are spares of the semillon and colombard)

Finish: more of the same. there's a slightly off-dry bitterness and sourness, and the finish is a bit subdued, but also lasts longer -- medium-to-medium long in length. This baby gets 94 points from me. (Nose: 25 - it's heads and shoulders above anything else you've smelled today; Palate: 24, Finish: 23, Balance: 22)

So, getting back to what I was noting in other threads. They've bottled these around the 42% mark, and they're extremely flavorful fruity expressions of what's clearly high quality wine and wine grapes. Nothing is over-aged or over-oaked. My only real complaint with three of the four is that the finishes are a bit short. It's easy drinking stuff, and with a short finish, my inclination is not to spend hours sipping one pour, it's to pretty much guzzle the bottle. I'm not sure whether that's a by-product of the drive to softness (G-R admits to using rainwater to soften their spirits), the result of such high quality grapes, or even if it's the achievement of the fruit here or something else, but I desperately wish that the finishes were longer and more 'full'. The Muscat starts to get there, and it's coming in around 44%. The Semillon and Pinot Noir come in at 41.6% and the Colombard comes in at 42.8%. I don't know whether that 1-2% makes the difference on the finish, or if it's a palate issue, or something else, but it's that finish that I am remembering when I was being a bit critical of the bottlings. All the same, it's really stellar stuff.

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Re: Germain-Robin Single Varietals

Postby sailor22 » Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:20 pm

What a great set of notes - thanks!

Interesting question about where the finish comes from - or doesn't. In Kentucky I have sampled from barrels that were filled the same day with the same distillate and each had a different length finish. So from that I would surmise that the initial recipe is some part of the equation and the aging process is another. In the case of Brandy which is aggressively blended (compared to a straight whiskey) I would assume the blender himself has a lot to do with it.

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Re: Germain-Robin Single Varietals

Postby numen » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:45 pm

Interesting on the ageing and recipe. The single varietals run the gamut of age -- the Muscat is the youngest (11 years), Semillon next (16), then Pinot (17), and lastly the Colombard (23). In the case of these varietals, I'm not sure how much blending takes place. From the web-page:

Single-Barrel Varietal Brandies

Each bottling is one barrel (some 400 bottles) of a varietal brandy selected for its distinctive quality: very pure and focused expressions of fine wine-grape varietals. The barrel number has the prefix V, “vieux” = French for “old”: we age such brandies in used barrels so that they don’t become over-oaked.

http://www.craftdistillers.com/index.ph ... =subBrand4

At any rate, I'm going to re-taste the XO, Small Batch no 1, and Anno Domini tonight and will then post the notes!

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Re: Germain-Robin Single Varietals

Postby BSinTX » Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:40 pm

You've got an impressive array of booze, there!! I have not had the opportunity to try any of those; I think there is only one on the shelf at TPS.

Thanks for leaving the box of Lapsang Souchong out; now I've got the Colin Hay song, "Beautiful World" stuck in my head!!!




"..........I like makin' my own tea."

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Re: Germain-Robin Single Varietals

Postby numen » Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:53 pm

Thanks! With whisky and the like, and counting spare bottles, I've got just over 100 bottles of liquor here. For now. I give away stuff from time to time, especially when I need to make space for new bottles :twisted:

Caddell Williams has pretty much everything from G-R in stock, too, as I think the more or less official place for G-R and the other Craft Distillers.

And now I've got Beautiful World stuck in my head, too!

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Re: Germain-Robin Single Varietals

Postby BSinTX » Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:50 pm

As I live in Kentucky, the one thing we cannot do is have liquor shipped to our home. It sucks as there are plenty of products I cannot obtain (TPS can't carry everything) and most online shops won't ship to a KY address. Ohio is equally draconian in this respect so I can't have booze shipped to a buddy's house either.

Are you into whisky as well? I've never really developed much of a taste for it, though I am sipping on Glenmorangie 12yo at the moment. It's a bit less bitter than most Scotch (which is a good thing) and the sherry finish is a bit unique (for me, anyhow.) I can't get past any peated stuff; smells way too much like campophenique and tastes pretty much the same.

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Re: Germain-Robin Single Varietals

Postby numen » Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:02 am

Geez, that is rough. You have the hand in bourbon, but that makes life tough for the other things. I keep hoping that those odd shipping restrictions change. I've had some stores from the same state ship things to me, but other stores won't. It's rather confusing, to say the least.

Very much into whisky! In fact, I more or less grew up on whisky [Glenmorangie, too, actually] and calvados (mom's choice), and only relatively lately came into cognac (from armagnac). I know what you mean about the camphor aroma, and it's in a lot of stuff. A lot of whisky has that very medicinal smell, even the "best" ones. Tastes change, and I used to despite peaty stuff, but now I really love it from time to time (especially Lagavulin). Still, the very best whisky that I've had hasn't excited me like the best brandies have. Are you on the Lasanta? The Glenmorangie Signet uses chocolated malt and has a very bourbon-in-heavy-char-barrel quality to it, but it's absurdly expensive. Of course, you do have some pretty awesome bourbons and brandies to keep you company :D

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Re: Germain-Robin Single Varietals

Postby BSinTX » Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:29 am

Wouter, if you are reading this (you should be), the website keeps logging me out when I hit the "Submit" button below. IT has happened on two separate computers so I don't think it's on my end. Anyone else having issues???



Yes, I live in a Bourbon lovers paradise. Since it never has to cross state lines to get to the market, I get it for an awesome price and can obtain private bottlings and one off items that are not sold outside of KY. Only problem is that I like Armagnac and Cognac more than I like Bourbon. Funny thing is that out of all the Bourbon available to me, Elmer T. Lee is the stuff I like best. It's got the quality of a $180 bottle of Scotch, the sweetness of an XO Cognac, the wood of a vintage Armagnac, and is about $27 a bottle.

I may order a bottle from somewhere and see if they ship it to me. The worse thing that can happen is they cancel my order....

Tonight, I am doing the Lasanta. I travel M-F, so I decant into a smaller bottle whatever I have available that I am willing to lose due to spillage or TSA thievery. Bottled at 46%, non-chill filtered (which I attest as the water is making it cloudy) and no E150a. Truly a product of intrisic quality clearly stating lack of additives (hint Cognac producers, big fat HINT!!) Strong orange and ginger up front with melon and peaches following close behind. Water brings out some lemon; this is a great warm weather sipper.

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Re: Germain-Robin Single Varietals

Postby sailor22 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:48 am

Wouter, if you are reading this (you should be), the website keeps logging me out when I hit the "Submit" button below. IT has happened on two separate computers so I don't think it's on my end. Anyone else having issues???


I'm having similar issues - surprise log outs when I hit the submit button for a reply. Also the "keep me logged on" button doesn't work and I have to re log on every visit. One more thing regarding site hygiene .... what's up with the plastic bag chick? That's spam and should be removed and her addy blocked.

Elmer T Lee was my gateway Bourbon. Being a single barrel there are differences between bottles but it is typically really good, and a great value I recently got hold of a couple bottles of a one off 15 yr ETL - that was probably the best I have had so far. The same balance but deeper.

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Re: Germain-Robin Single Varietals

Postby sjp1966 » Mon Dec 03, 2012 4:43 pm

Interesting post… I have a question, apologies if it is in the wrong area to place this.

I am confused about tasting notes, about the only thing I understand is long or short finish, but in your 2nd example you say “Nose: a little closed, and it needs some time to open up (20 min or so). some red apple (low acidity, high sugar), bright cherry and sherried fruits, slight tartness, and cinnamon (sweet Dutch) infused apple-sauce. mango and pineapple(?)”

When I tend to smell a spirit I never really detect anything, sure I smell the liquor but i can never ever associate it to fruits or spices etc, I dont understand how from the sniff of a liquid you can get red apple, cherry, sherried fruits, cinnamon (although that smell is distinctive) apple sauce, mango and pineapple. and this is just smelling it let alone tasting it!!!!!

Am I doing something wrong, how can you separate and smell these different smells, or is it just a lack of experience on my part and if so how can i improve it


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