Saturday, April 28, 2007

2005 Carchelo MONASTRELL (Jumilla, Spain)

Had the 2004 of this wine awhile back, and it was very good (and cheap) (link). So's this one.

Crystalline dark black ruby. Nose of crushed rocks, scorched earth, and blackberries swimming in sweet cream. Youthfully tight -- I'm noticing that lots of the 2005s from Spain are like that -- yet soft in the mouth. Filled with balanced, concentrated flavors of dry blackberry extract and high-toned crushed rocks. Lengthy, minerally finish, with some pepperiness and angularity that should resolve and soften in the next year or so. 87+. Good value at about $8-9 at Central Market (I think).

2005 Vina Salamanca (50% Rufete, 50% Tempranillo) (Castilla Y Leon, Spain)

This was a pretty good value.

Dark, sparkling, magenta-tinged black ruby. Assertive nose of crunchy berries, sweet cream, and powdered rocks. Vibrant, youthful flavors of resiny cherry/raspberry fruit, granite, and peppercorns. A little angular and elbow-y in the mouth, but that should settle down and round-out in the next year. Good, pure, long finish, with lots of fruit and some youthful tannin. 86+. Was about $8 at Whole Foods on Bellaire.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

2004 Tenuta Villanova PINOT GRIGIO (Friuli, Italy)

This wine had loads of character. I'm not usually a Pinot Grigio fan, as so many of them are akin to glasses of water tainted by some faint bitterness and acidity. This one, however--which was given to us as a gift--was really good.
Bright, light, brassy-gold with a greenish tint. Intense nose of minerals, peach pits, and earthy herbs. Round, mouthfilling, minerally flavors. Bone dry, with excellent balance, and a long finish. This would be superb with Brodetto (a fish stew from the Marche region of Italy) or pasta with a red fish sauce. 88. A quick search on the Internet shows that most stores selling this price it at around $12, making it a very good value.

2003 Tenuta Le Farnete CARMIGNANO (Tuscany, Italy)

A flash-in-the-pan wine: good up-front fragrance and flavors, but a very short finish.

Dark, brickish-blood ruby. Spicy, smoky nose, with gingery spice and smoky balsa wood & berries. A burst of fruit, minerals, and scorched earth quickly fades, however, into a lean, minerally/earthy finish. 83. Was about $18 at Spec's on Richmond.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Quick Notes on Easter Wines

These are quick, truncated notes from memory.

NV Veuve Cliquot Brut (Champagne) -- toasty, full-bodied, intense and bone dry. Nice balance.

2004 Domaine Bott-Geyl "Pinot d'Alsace" -- a blend of 35% Pinot Blanc, 35% Pinot Auxerrois, 20% Pinot Gris, and 10% Pinot Noir. It was very nice, and I think it was around $14. Fragrance of orange skins and peach, lots of fruit and mineral flavors. Crisp and dry.

2000 Domaine Pavillon-Mercurol Crozes-Hermitage -- when last tasted a year or so ago, this was still holding beautifully. This bottle was over the hill, however, with the fruit drying up.

2003 Las Rocas Vinas Viejas GARNACHA (Calatayud, Spain) -- much leaner and more astringent than the excellent 2001 version I previously reviewed.

2004 Rosenblum Monte Rosso Vineyard ZINFANDEL Reserve -- I saved the best for last. This was a wonderful, powerful Zin. Huge aromas of port-like fruit and lots of oak spice and pepper. Rich, powerful, ripe, minerally flavors. Massive body, yet still retained elegance.

Non-vintage Patrick LeSec "Petite Crau" (Southern France)

Patrick LeSec is an excellent broker/negociant of wines from around the Rhone Valley and Provence. This is his bargain basement-priced red. It's got a lot of character for the money.

Deep ruby garnet. Fragrant nose of sweet, spiced cream, sweet-tart plums, and sandstone. Intense, lean flavors of minerals, scorched earth, dark cherries, and baker's chocolate. A bit angular, but delivers lots of galumphy flavor. Fairly long finish, with some rustic-feeling tannin. 86. Was $8 and change at Spec's on Richmond.

2004 Thorn-Clarke "Terra Barossa" SHIRAZ (Barossa Valley, Australia)

I drank this about 2 months ago but lost the notes temporarily.

It was excellent. Deep, opaque ruby (like blood). Deep nose, too, of cassis, blueberry syrup, hot sandstone, and smoky graphite. Dense, deep, and dry, with flavors of ripe cassis, minerals, and salty iodine. Very distinctive. Well-integrated tannins are barely discernible but provide nice structure. Long, smoky finish. 90. Will hold for another 2-3 years or so. Can't remember where I got it, but it was definitely around $15.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

2005 Revolution SHIRAZ (McLaren Vale, Australia)

This was a very rich, elegant Shiraz.

Dense, sataurated black ruby color. Rich nose of black raspberry ice cream, balsa wood, and grilled meat. Dense, deep, oaky, iodine-y, salty flavors. Richly-extracted, but not overly jammy like lots of Shirazes. Long, soft finish. Macho and refined at the same time. 90. Was about $18 at Whole Foods on Bellaire.