Our old friends Jonathan and Marge Levine from NY visited this weekend. Jonathan is an old friend who helped me get started in the wine business in New York. I've had some of the most memorable wines of my life at dinners at his house. At least I think I have. My memories of the dinners are not inexplicably spotty. Ahem. Anyway, here are the wines we had with truncated, scoreless tasting notes from memory.
2002 Domaine Vincent Girardin Meursault Narvaux -- a classic Meursault nose of smoky hazelnuts and straw. Great balance and richness, and a long finish. Very nice.
2001 Ansgar Clusserath Trittenheimer Apotheke Riesling Kabinett -- slightly corked, but you could still taste the vibrant, minerally flavors underneath the corkiness. Unfortunately, corkiness quickly gets worse with air, so we had to toss this one after the first glass.
2002 Domaine Ehrhart Gewurztraminer "Raisins Egrappes" (Alsace) -- Classic gewurz nose of spicy lychee nuts and fruit. A tad richer, lower in acidity, and sweeter than I would have expected from a 2002, but very good nonetheless.
1998 Eric Ross Old Vine Zinfandel Occidental Vineyard (Russian River Valley) -- Jonathan brought this one, and it was INTENSE. Really a prototypical Zin from old vines but grown in a cool climate region. Intensely ripe, peppery nose, but with acidity you could smell. The acidity helped buoy up what otherwise could have been ponderously heavily extracted fruit. At its peak and a real mouthful.
1998 Silvio Grasso Barolo Ciabot Manzoni -- A really good example of a well made modern style Barolo. Too bad I'm not a fan of modern style Barolo. To me, modern style Barolos taste like intense Merlots. They're soft, rich, have sedately rich fruit and even chocolatey flavors. But none of the piercing, dried rose petal, chokecherry, tarry fruit and mouthwatering acidity that made real Barolo so special. What I wouldn't give to drink some real Barolo again.
1997 Tommasi Amarone della Valpolicella "Ca' Florian" -- An extremely elegant and deep rendition of Amarone. Not pruney or raisiney at all. Soft, intoxicatingly rich, ripe nose of macerated plums, blackberries, and spices. Rich, deep, yet soft and not overextracted on the palate like some Amarones. An Amarone you can drink with a rich main course, rather than wait for the cheese.
R.L. Buller & Sons Premium Fine Muscat (Victoria, Australia) -- a superb nonvintage Solera method dessert Muscat from down under. Rich, syrupy in texture, yet with excellent balancing acidity. Flavors of maple syrup, dates, and ripe grapes. Long finish. Outstanding and reasonably priced (about $15 per half bottle at Spec's).
A great array of wines, just like the good ol' days in NYC. Thanks for a nice visit, J & M!