The 2010 archive is presented by date the notes were compiled and submitted. This is Part 2 of the archive. Part 1 may be found here.
December 22, 2010
2005 Luneau-Papin, Muscadet Pueri Solis:
12% alcohol; smells close to corked; tastes similar; not much here for me although, with the proper food this is better than something that really is corked. Find this wine
2002 Verget, Chablis Vaillons:
13% alcohol; rich on both the nose and palate with a full-ish delivery and good sustain. A damn nice wine – and I| don’t usually give Verget the props. Find this wine
2004 de Vilaine, Mercury Les Montots:
12.5% alcohol; pretty green to start with but this came alive with a spicy corn dish. Probably less than what I want (at least, right now) but has its place. Find this wine
2006 Overnoy/Houillon, Arbois-Pupillin (rouge):
12.5% alcohol; a savory and complex nose with a multi-layered, intellectually stimulating palate; works by itself and with almost any food. It is impossible to have too much of this in your cellar. Find this wine
1999 Failla Jordan, Syrah:
13.2% alcohol; smells unripe; the palate is closer to ripeness but falls a little short – until I have it with spicy sausage and red sauce over pasta – then, it sings. An interesting wine that requires the right food – in its absence, not pleasant. Find this wine
2009 Foillard, Morgon Cote du Py:
13 % alcohol; sweet fruit on the nose and palate – a bit too sweet for my companions but I thought it was fine; carried good fruit and some complexity but it doesn’t scream Morgon at the moment. Hold. Find this wine
2009 Brun, Cote de Brouilly:
12.5% alcohol; austere but open; brooding but enjoyable; this will never be my favorite but I will always be happy to drink it. Find this wine
N/V Ducroux, Patience:
12% alcohol; if I understand correctly, this all press wine from the 2009 vintage; my friends love it – I don’t. Both thin and muted with a sort of weak, reduced flavor profile. Maybe in time . . . Find this wine
December 09, 2010
2009 Broc Cellars, Vine Starr:
13.1% alcohol; a blend of chardonnay, rousanne that had some skin-contact and picpoul; an angular but pleasing attack emphasizes the chardonnay, the mid-palate has some grip as the rousanne kicks in and the finish is a squeeze of lime that shows the lively nature of picpoul. A ladder in the mouth and one that breaks molds and is throughly enjoyable. Wine to have with or without food – but best if given a hour in the decanter and closer to room temp. About $20. Find this wine
2009 Edmunds St. John, Rocks and Gravel:
13.8% alcohol; 50% syrah, 42% grenache, 8% mourvedre; SAVORY – that is the first, and lasting impression; there is some red fruit here (and more as it opens – boding well for its future) but mostly this is country ham, minerals, iron, marjoram and raw meat. Lots of grip, good cut, fine tannins and, at this point in its life, still a bit closed. But the stuff here is real; it was raised in cement tanks and never saw oak and if there is a better GSM made in this country, I haven’t tried it. About $24 – the ultimate no brainer. Find this wine
2008 Edmunds St. John, Porphyry:
13% alcohol, grown on granite/quartz type soils, 100% gamay; slightly muted on the nose and holding some dissolved CO2 – I put this in a decanter and half an hour later it came out of its shell; firm, deep, dark yet still clearly gamay with concentration and a dry, lasting finish. A wine for your cellar or for your decanter to have with food. Less than $17/bottle by the case. Delicious. Find this wine
2007 Edmunds St. John, Pinot Gris:
13.5% alcohol and about $10 on sale; when it was cold it was pleasant but little more; as it warms the spice (nutmeg, all spice, etc.) comes to the fore, the fruit opens and the texture takes on a fullness. This wine should be served at or above cellar temperature to get the flavors that are there and to find its character – otherwise, its just another $10 white. Find this wine
NV Tintero, Grangia:
Made from favorita grapes (related to vermentino?) and about 11.5% alcohol; quite clear in color, dry and spritzy with a sort of lemon grass, white pepper and pear flavor profile – but the sparkling nature of the wine is more prominent on the palate than the flavors. Meant to be refreshing more than character driven, I think, and pretty much pulls it off. From the Piedmont and about $9, retail. Very easy to drink. Find this wine
November 28, 2010
2005 Beringer, Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve:
A pretty good wine with way too much oak. find this wine
2005 Etude, Cabernet Sauvignon:
A much better wine with just a hair too much wood. I’m guessing time in the bottle will be good to this. find this wine
2007 Roessler, Pinot Noir Hein Vnyd.:
14.1% alcohol; a fine grained, aromatic Anderson Valley pinot that reminds me of Chambolle except for the “crunchy” fruit impression I often get from Mendocino fruit. Well balanced, somewhat brooding but detailed and long.
I have no idea if the recent change in ownership at this house will change these wines in the future. find this wine
2007 Calera, Pinot Noir Mills Vnyd.:
Nicely balanced for such a big pinot; dry, structured, dense and strongly flavored. Will benefit from time in the cellar. Nothing feminine here but a good example of big, strapping pinot with balance. find this wine
2007 Chronicle, Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast:
My second experience with this wine and it continues to impress. More elegant than the Calera with greater complexity and less evident structure; still a wine to savor and an absolute star with food. A fine pinot with more going on than just the fruit. find this wine
2007 Chronicle, Pinot Noir Cerise Vnyd.:
After being open for about two hours, I can see much more in this wine then when first opened. A touch more sweetness than the Sonoma Coast and a lot more depth. Not a better wine but a different one and quite good. find this wine
N/V Roederer Estate, Sparkling Wine Brut Anderson Valley:
Not too sweet, not too tart, nice bead, excellent balance and lively flavors. And hard to beat at $20. Our go to bubbles. find this wine
November 10, 2010
2002 Radikon, Oslavje:
Orange and somewhat cloudy; smells of apricots, mangos, mineral water and an aroma very much like a winery when grapes are fermenting; tastes like that same winery, some citrus/grapefruit flavors, notes of herbs and stones, and, has the texture of burlap. Given several hours of air time, this becomes much more integrated, smooth and round but it is, at the least, unusual. Not for everybody. 13% alcohol, 1,000 ml bottle.
I loved this wine. find this wine
2006 Bevan Cellars, Syrah Hanna’s Cuvee:
This is the first bottling from the Westerhold Vineyard, before Westerhold had its own label; huge wine with the texture of worsted wool, structured, concentrated and actually, pretty interesting. Too much wood for me but the fruit is really strong and layered, and, the references to earth and mineral are evident. Needs wild boar or some such to accompany. find this wine
2008 Cowan Cellars, Syrah Dry Stack Vineyard:
Finally, turning a corner and becoming open, complete and accessible. The nose is slightly lifted but the wine is integrating and becoming a pretty true expression of the vineyard. A bigger wine than our 2009 version (that will be bottled in December) but no new wood and 13.9% alcohol. Needs about an hour open to show its best. A syrah with acid, and definitely best with food. Pork loin, crusty bread and roasted root vegetables were perfect. find this wine
2008 Frostwatch, Chardonnay:
It smells and tastes like chardonnay, has structure, good acidity (3.3 pH) and is integrated into a nicely harmonious package. No butter, no barrel, no spoof. About $30 and the first CA chardonnay I have bought (and will buy more of) in the last three years.
Excellent. find this wine
2000 Huet, Clos du Bourg Demi-Sec:
Thin, watery, barely sweet and without substance. Air didn’t help. A disappointment. find this wine
2007 Brocard, Chablis Les Clos:
Good Chablis but not worthy of the grand cru designation. I wonder why I just don’t have much love for Brocard – there’s no wood, they like acid and they have fine vineyards. But they have yet to impress me. find this wine
1990 Leoville-Barton (magnum):
A touch of brett does not detract but this is just OK – I expected more. find this wine
1995 Chat. Lafite:
Showing well and with dimension but it leaves me with the sort of vague “old Bordeaux” descriptor hanging over anything I can say. Didn’t wow me. find this wine
1995 Chave, Hermitage (rouge):
Young, brett free and without question, Hermitage. It will be more but it wasn’t bad now. find this wine
2007 Hibou, Gewürztraminer:
Bone dry and beautiful; flavors of lychee, stone, brown spices and pepper; structured, bright, very clean and long. Yummy! find this wine
November 5, 2010
2009 Terres Dorees, Fleurie:
Fresh, stuffed with flavor but really disjointed; too young to drink now; oodles of future. After about an hour open, this shows much better and is about as promising as one could ask. Put it away for 6 months or a year. About $20.
find this wine
2009 Terres Dorees, Morgon:
OTOH, this was of a piece, lovely, well flavored and lasting. A candidate for more immediate drinking and $2 less (for some reason) than the Fleurie. Probably not for aging (or such is my impression).
find this wine
2009 Christian Ducroux, Regnie:
Demeter, 12% alcohol, no added sulfites; fresh charries, face powder, stones and a lovely, earthy note of sage or some similar fresh herb; alive in the mouth with flavors that follow the nose but are young and slightly disjointed, good grip and balance, mouth-watering acidity and fine length. A little decanter time helps this knit together and brings out the earthiness. About $15 and more than worth it – could use some time in the cellar. ‘Wish I had a roast chicken right about now.
find this wine
2009 Pepiere, Muscadet Clos de Briords:
Fantastic wine; beautiful nose, clean, of its place, crisp but not overly acidic, lovely fruit and great minerality. $13.50, locally and as good a bottle of wine at that price as there is on the planet. In my world of white wine, only the finest Chablis rival this for quality.
With butternut squash risotto, sauteed brussel sprouts and grilled chicken; the bomb.
find this wine
Also, tasted over the course of an evening, some 2007 domestic pinot noirs:
Chronicle, Sonoma Coast:
Precise, lovely, feminine, complex and altogether a joy to drink. Perfect balance, no overt oak, translucent nectar. Made by Ted Lemon. 13.8% alcohol, about $35 and very worth it.
find this wine
Chronicle, Cerise Vineyard:
Bigger, more concentrated and more masculine than the preceding wine with that ‘crunchy’ fruit I get from Anderson Valley pinots. Maybe long term this will be more impressive but it will never be as graceful and enchanting as the Sonoma Coast – and its a lot more money.
find this wine
Cambria, Julia’s Vnyd.:
Very sweet and one dimensional; nothing for me here; 14.5% alcohol.
find this wine
Andrew Rich, Willamette Valley:
13.1% alcohol, screwcap; somewhat acidic but not a bad lighter-weight Oregon pinot.
find this wine
Gary Farrell, Russian River:
Quintessential Russian River aromas and flavors with cherries dominant; not a bad wine but also tending to the sweet side; 14.2% alcohol.
find this wine
2008 Capiaux, Pinot Noir Sonoma County:
Nothing to set it apart and fairly sweet. 14.6% alcohol.
find this wine
2006 Chronicle, Zinfandel Old Vine:
14.7% alcohol; smells and tastes like zinfandel and not jam or worse, structured, balanced and good.
find this wine
1999 Dunn, Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mtn.:
Closed, tannic and brutal – the proverbial blunt instrument.
find this wine
2007 Spotteswood, Cabernet Sauvignon:
Stunningly delicious; still youthful and tannic but a very pure and focused wine, ripe without being over-ripe and absolutely gorgeous with steak. Reminds me of Napa cab. from the ’70’s.
find this wine
2005 Araujo, Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vnyd.:
Not the slightest indication of its pedigree and so polished and sweet as to be cloying. Maybe this will be better with time; it is not worth opening now.
find this wine
October 26, 2010
N/V Cedric Bouchard, Champagne Brut Inflorescence – La Parcelle:
Blanc de noir, aged in stainless, 80 months on the lees, organic farming, low yields, indigenous yeasts and, although this is N/V, it is all 2002 fruit. 12.5% alcohol.
About $90, retail.
I have had a lot of very expensive and/or highly touted champagnes and bubbles, and, while I like most of them, none have made a lasting impression – not the Krug line-up, not the small grower stuff, not the hotsy-totsy cuvees, not the off-the-wall stuff and not even aged bottles.
But this . . . oh my! It is indescribably delicious.
So, no description.
But I will say that this impressed me as the finest wine I have ever tasted. And Diane felt the same.
I bought six for those moments special to us.
We will savor each; ‘promise.
(BTW, I looked for this in a lot of places and no one else has this exact bottle. They may have other vintages, cuvees or Bouchard bubblies made from different grapes but only Rare Wine in Sonoma has this bottle – and they have 27 left, as of today.) find this wine
October 3, 2010
1998 Chat. Couhins-Lurton, Pessac-Leognan:
100% sauvignon blanc; past it – smells and tastes like sour apples. This wine was way too oaky most of its life and is now starting to oxidize and fall apart. Sad. IMO, poorly made. find this wine
2008 Picq, Chablis:
12.5%, $21; very closed and almost shrill at refrigerator temp.; better as it warms but I am into this bottle too early or else it doesn’t have much stuffing. Smells of rocks, tastes of lemons – tart. find this wine
2007 Puffeney, Pinot Noir:
Very lifted nose (maybe a touch of VA? But it blows off) and rustic with considerable power; pretty angular. Time in the decanter is its friend as it starts to knit together. Some talcum powder in the nose; lots of iron and hard fruit on the palate. A wine in need of ten years in the cellar. About $30. Good with rare steak. find this wine
2009 Abrente, Albarino:
This is a collaboration between Morgan Twain-Peterson and Michael Havens – and it is not to be missed. The vineyard is Stewart Ranch, one of the few outcroppings of limestone in CA, and the style is bright, fresh and vibrant. 13% alcohol, beautiful, full flavors of Albarino with excellent acids and lovely balance. Needs a year or two to bring the nose up to the palate but an absolutely lovely wine at cellar temperature. Do not over-chill. About $16, full retail. Really delicious. And another feather in the cap of Morgan who is about to blow us all away in the wine world. A winery to watch. find this wine
2007 Donkey and Goat, Syrah Mendocino:
Needs an hour or so in the decanter as it comes out of the bpttle angular and somewhat acidic; after airing this is a beautiful, balanced and silky CA syrah without artifice or spoof. Some complexity, pure flavors that are varietally correct and a fine finish. 13.7% alcohol and a pleasure to drink with dinner. find this wine
1999 Barthod, Chabolle-Musigny Fuees:
I hereby take back all the hard things I said about this producer – this wine was stellar – still young but packed with minerals, earth, fruit and spice – complex and changing over the course of the evening. Very well balanced, more open than any wine from this producer I have had and deeply concentrated. But best of all, this wine is more about its savory qualities then some explosion of fruit – its a beautiful reflection of its place and time and a joy to drink. find this wine
2000 St. Innocent, Pinot Noir Shea Vnyd.:
Past peak; begining that slide toward vinegar but at a very slow rate. Interesting but not fascinating. find this wine
2004 V. Dauvissat, Chablis Les Clos:
Too much green here; green bell pepper and pyrazine on the nose and in the mouth. Unpleasant despite some underlying candied lemon and limestone notes. find this wine
September 16, 2010
2007 Porter Creek, Pinot Noir Fiona Hill: 13.9 % alcohol, biodynamic and Demeter certified; not your typical Russian River pinot with more black cherry than red and not near the raspberry one usually finds – this is quite young and shows it on the nose – somewhat closed but still enough black/Morello cherry, clean earth and spice tones to get you interested; in the mouth, village Vosne-Romanee. ‘Little CA about this wine; 14 year old vines of the Vadensville 2A clone, 25% new oak, native yeasts, no over extraction, no manipulation, no spoof – this is very fine grained, deep, mellow but still vivid, complete, balanced, velvety, individual and structured; long, full, slightly astringent finish.
I remember these guys from twenty years ago, when their tasting room was their garage, the tasting table was an old door strung between two saw-horses and you had to step over dog poop on the way up the driveway. The new tasting room is still the garage although now its all about rural charm. But even then, they weren’t copy-cats; no attempt to re-do Rochioli or others of West Side Road fame.
And now, with Demeter Certification, they have taken the next step – up. The first young CA pinot I have had in the past several years that is truly worth $36 a bottle. Has a long, evolving life ahead of it yet is impressive even in its infancy. (They also do a reserve bottling from the same vineyard – the reserve coming from the top of the hill – with 40% new oak. Also impressive with a bit more creaminess in the mouth and a lovely sort of antique nose. But its about $65, and 14.2% alcohol so I’ll stick with this one.) find this wine
2005 Michaud, Brouilly Prestige de Vieilles Vignes: 13% alcohol; quite rich and more like a good Morgon with black fruit, depth and a smooth texture – not especially complex as yet, but has lots of stuffing and ample fruit. Shows old vine intensity. find this wine
2006 Porter-Bass, Zinfandel: 15.2% alcohol; an odd nose of sausage and fruit; unusual flavors also – no jam or flamboyance – more understated and earthy. Decent but not something I’d buy. find this wine
2004 Rusden, Cab./Shiraz: Swamp water and green bell peppers. DNPIM. find this wine
2008 Dom. Alain Normand, Macon la Roche Vineuse: A serviceable wine – no noticeable oak, varietally correct, with good balance and nothing out of place. Excellent with goat cheese. Do not serve over-chilled. About $16 – for $4 more one could buy the 2007 Dom. Roally that I recently wrote up – and one should think about spending the extra four. This was nice; the Roally was world class. find this wine
September 11, 2010
2009 Dom. J. Vullien, Vin de Savoie Montmelian: 11.5% alcohol and 100% jacquere; inviting nose of juicy fresh pear, flowers and rain water; medium bright in the mouth and a lovely texture, flavors echo the nose and a medium length, clean finish. Charming wine, with or without food. About $10. find this wine
1995 Laurel Glen, Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Mntn.: Touch of brett, very young, earthy, smoky red fruit nose; almost angry on the palate, tannic, disjointed and angular – smoothed some over the evening but not enough, intense and drying finish. Needs another decade to round out but even then, I’m not sure this profile will be pleasing. find this wine
2008 Deep Sea, Sauvignon Blanc: 14.2% alcohol from Arroyo Seco; screaming grass/cat pee/perm solution nose; bright and crisp but hollow, unpleasant acidity that sent me running for a glass of water. At that alcohol, I expected ripe – I got pyrazine juice with so much spikey acid that it burned my throat. Like drinking hair-spray. $13. find this wine
2009 Tenuta Rapitala, Piano Maltese: Scilian white of 50% grillo and 50% catarrato; bright, resinous, aromatically reminds me of Soave but is more angular and aggresive in the mouth; clean, acidic white with lots of potential with food and not much without it. Good with grilled chicken breasts. find this wine
2007 Dom. de Roally, Vire-Clesse Tradition: 13.5% alcohol and about $20; a rich yet vivid chardonnay that is simply as good as the grape gets. Depth, character, acidity, density and balance all in perfect harmony and evidencing the structure to age. ‘Can’t afford grand cru Chablis? You won’t do much better than this. Do not over-chill. find this wine
2005 J.P. Brun, Moulin-a-Vent: Showing quite open and fully developed – which is a surprise; aromatics include some bottle bouquet and an almost pinot-esque underbrush component; silky in the mouth with restrained fruit flavors and interesting secondary development, integrated, balanced and medium length. I would have expected this to be in a much younger phase but it gave the impression of being at, or past, peak. find this wine
2008 Roar, Pinot Noir Rosella’s Vnyd.: A talcum powder element in the nose along with very sweet, ripe fruit; too sweet in the mouth for me and quite polished with little structure; although not flabby, there’s no cut or grip; moderate length. Not my style but I can understand this being liked by many. find this wine
2008 Donelan, Syrah Cuvee Christine: 14.9 % alcohol on the label but it came across fumey and and sort of disjointed; some smoky oak, some solid syrah flavors and texturally thick. If you like Oz shiraz, chances are, you’ll like this. find this wine
2008 Donelan, Syrah Griffin’s Lair: Although having some of the same aromas and flavors as the Christine, this was focused, grippy, moderately restrained and considerably longer. Much better balance (or at least the perception of it) and much more my style of syrah. ‘Won’t be confused with the northern Rhone but certainly has some complexity and purity. I even got some sweet, smoked bacon smells and flavors toward the end of the evening. Nice. find this wine
2002 Huet, Vouvray Demi-Sec Le Mont: Pear, stone and smoke but little sweetness and not very intense or concentrated. Pleasant, I suppose, and certainly less sweet then at release but not a wine I really wanted to drink. A bit thin. find this wine
August 30, 2010
2007 Pepiere, Muscadet Granite de Clisson:
Young, vibrant, deep with superb texture, balance, concentration and length. Obviously, has years to peak but is wonderful now and is certainly the benchmark for this AOC.
At about $20, the single best quality to price ratio white wine in the market today. find this wine
1995 Caprai, Sagrantino 25 Ani:
Decanted off considerable sediment; this has shed its tannin (although not completely) to a point where its balanced and plays a nice role in texture – this had been one of the most tannic wines I’d ever tasted; now its all sagrantino on the nose without secondary development but pure and clean; similar in the mouth with those powerful black fruit and smoked earth flavors typical of the variety, good concentration and intensity and good length. Still grippy but a balanced wine, finally.
This bottle makes me think sagrantino is a lot like petite sirah; it lasts but it doesn’t develop. Fifteen years and it still tastes the same – not a bad wine but not worth the price of admission. 13% alcohol. find this wine
1999 Michaud, Brouilly Prestige de Vieilles Vignes:
Eleven years has been kind; strong red and black fruit scents with a talcum powder note, clean but complex; similar on the palate with excellent concentration, evidence of secondary development and a very focused delivery; long finish. I think this cuvee needs a decade to show and maybe two to reach peak. And the next person who tells me gamay can’t age gets laughed at. Impressive! find this wine
2009 Bedrock, Zinfandel Stellwagen Vnyd.:
I should hate this wine – 15.3% alcohol, at least 25% new oak – but instead, I love it. None of the jam I often find in zin. but rather a smell and taste that reminds me of a rocky orchard of plum and blackberry – toss in some brown spice and rose water and the whole thing just sings. I can’t detect the alcohol and the oak is almost non-existent. A wine that I think would pair well with more than just bar-b-q or pizza and one that seems restrained and balanced. To be released shortly at about $29.
I probably won’t try to age it but I will buy it. find this wine
2000 Belle Pente, Pinot Noir Estate Reserve:
14.3% alcohol, a restrained but attractive nose – smoky, red fruit, something earthy (whole-cluster?) but ethereal – a bit disjointed when opened yet as the evening goes along, it comes together very nicely; silky in the mouth with good balance and a lovely texture that keeps me coming back. Overall, a wine that probably needs time but, in its absence, a good long decant. Complex and pleasing. find this wine
1999 Belle Pente, Pinot Noir Wahle Vnyd.:
13.8% alcohol; too much VA for me but with a lot of decanting back and forth, it comes under control; similar to the above wine but missing the focus and sense of togetherness (with time) that the previous wine attains. Not a bad wine but the VA is hard to get around. find this wine
August 24, 2010
2007 Alienor, Grand Vin:
About half and half merlot and cab. franc with a splash of petit verdot from Lake County; no spoof, no wood, reasonable alcohol; smells like a fine St. Emilion from the old school; excellent balance and density without weight or cloy, more savory than sweet, some complexity even now and the promise of greater things to come. A very fine wine, albeit pricey at $65. find this wine
2007 Phelps, Cabernet Sauvignon:
Overwhelmingly oaky – not for me. find this wine
1974 Heitz, Cabernet Sauvignon Martha’s Vnyd.:
Quite closed at first and opened slowly over the evening; youthful color and delivery, eucalyptus dominates the nose but there is fruit; good fruit in the mouth, some mint, still a bit hard, some secondary development, intense and grippy. A wine of intellectual interest more than deliciousness. find this wine
1966 Chat. Latour, Paulliac:
Also took awhile to open but when it did, it was a fine example of the house and the terroir. Secondary development nicely integrated with warm fruit and structure, a truly amazing texture – like raw silk; world class complexity and length. A treat in every way. find this wine
1962 Doisy-Verdines, Barsac:
Walnut colored; smelling and tasting like an almond/walnut reduction with some fruit, just a little sweetness and a hint of shower curtain. Again, more of an intellectual curiosity but still, pleasure giving. find this wine
And a couple of comments from the Family Winemaker’s Tasting:
I was not looking for the “best” wines but rather for those that distinguished themselves as being either unique or distinctive while still delivering a pleasurable experience.
2004 Mayacamas, Cabernet Sauvignon:
You may not like it but it is the most individually identifiable cab. I’ve had in years. I liked it alot but its polarizing. find this wine
2009 Macauley, Sauvignon Vert:
Bright, fresh, 11%alcohol, no cat pee or perm solution smells or flavors (that I get so often with sauvignon blanc); very clean and with enough viscosity to make it appealing texturally. About $22; 128 cases made. find this wine
2007 Santa Cruz Mountain, Pinot Noir Branciforte Creek:
13.2% alcohol but no lack of depth and character; feminine, nervous wine that seemed very transparent to the Santa Cruz Mtn. turf. Joyful. find this wine
2008 Tablas Creek, Esprit de Beaucastel:
If you’ve had the wine and liked it, you’ll love this. A perfectly executed and beautifully balanced rendition. find this wine
2008 Tablas Creek, Syrah:
As pure a syrah as there is in CA but it will absolutely require aging. find this wine
2008 Frostwatch, Kismet:
A sauvignon/semillon blend that keeps the wood in check and delivers a serious drinking experience. Bordeaux blanc from the best producers has nothing on this. find this wine
2007 Ladd Cellars, Pinot Noir Cuvee Abagail:
Quintessential Russian River character with depth and sustain and almost no oak in evidence. Very well made. find this wine
2007 Jemrose, Syrah Cardiac Hill:
Another pure, almost racy syrah with individual flavors that separate it from the pack. I’ll buy this one. find this wine
2007 Westerhold Family Vnyds., Syrah Bennett Valley:
There’s a reason this won the Hospice du Rhone “shootout,” big, syrah fruit that has almost absorbed all the new oak and a salty minerality – ‘nothing else quite like it. find this wine
And two pinots that I thought were both good wines and indicative of the Sangiacomo Vineyard:
2006 Du Nah, Pinot Noir Sangiacomo:
Deft, feminine and of its place; a pleasure to drink. find this wine
2008 La Follette, Pinot Noir Sangiacomo:
Bright, charming and showing nice depth. find this wine
August 15, 2010
2006 Tomas Cusine, Vilosell: 62% Tempranillo, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 5% Syrah, 3% Garnatxa, 3% Carinyena; smells a little like Loire cab. franc – with that herbaceous note up high – but also carries the cab. sauvignon markers of cassis – not much tempranillo in evidence on the nose; fairly rich but not plush, silky, bright, no oak noticeable, dark fruit and some complexity; medium length finish. A good balanced wine that is more interesting than first expected. 14% alcohol and about $17. find this wine
2009 Edmunds St. John, Gamay Bone Jolly: Bright, granite driven gamay with a freshness and vibrancy that has to be tasted; beautiful color, alluring aromas and invigorating flavors; a wine you want to drink. find this wine
2009 Edmunds St. John, Rocks and Gravel: Cement tank fermented and aged; take the 2006 Old Black Magic and make it ready immediately; the co-ferment of syrah and grenache works very well and the wine delivers purity and focus ready to enjoy now. No doubt it will age but, since it tastes so good now, why wait? find this wine
2008 Dom. de la Chanteleuserie, Bourgueil: Clean, fresh, non-green, cabernet franc that is thirst quenching and charming. Good with or without food. find this wine
2007 Movia, Ribolla Gialla: Slightly cloudy; smells of pears, dried grasses, flint and pencil lead; tastes bone dry, flavors follow the nose, good acidity, fresh and intense; moderate length. The more I taste this grape the more I like it. I hear there is some in CA; time for me to seek it out. find this wine
2005 Pepiere, Muscadet Granite de Clisson: Took an hour to open and then, stole the show. Expansive nose of lemon skin, rain-water, stone and fresh air; bright but round in the mouth and showing considerable depth, intense, perfectly balanced, very fresh and extremely long. As good as the AOC produces. find this wine
1998 Lagier Meredith, Syrah: The first vintage from LM – it comes out of the bottle with the brief impression that it is just past peak but then “youngs-up” within minutes; showing a floral, cold climate profile yet with good concentration and balance; a lovely wine in its prime. find this wine
1999 J.L. Chave, Hermitage: Lots of tobacco and slightly closed upon opening, this opens to all it should be – meat, olive, warm fruit, lavender – a very complete wine with more weight then most vintages but nothing to suggest a heavy hand or too ripe fruit. Years to peak but delicious today. find this wine
2008 Cowan Cellars, Syrah Dry Stack Vineyard: The more I taste this wine the more I think it needs five years in the cellar – showing like a barrel sample and so young as to be hard to assess. Nonetheless, it has its pretty moments and its powerful ones. The cellar will be its friend.
2007 Bjornstad Cellars, Chardonnay Sonoma County: Starts off with a blast of French oak but the wood dissipates quickly and the crisp, clean minerality of the wine takes over. Nothing round or soft here but rather, bright acidity and etched flavors. The bottle says 14.2% alcohol but I know this is more like 13.7%. Quite a nice chard. Much more old world than new. find this wine