Tuesday, June 26, 2007

2005 CARRIL DE COTOS (Tierra de Castilla, Spain)

Another excellent value Tempranillo (100%) from Castilla in Spain.

This wine is stylistically akin to a high quality Beaujolais. Blackish crystalline ruby color. Bright nose of grape and raspberry jam, granite, and sweet cream. Lots of crunchy fruit and stony minerals in the mouth, with a long, dry finish containing only a wisp of soft tannin. Very nice wine for summer cookouts and tomato-ey pasta dishes. 87. Was about $8 at Central Market.

2004 Ercavio TEMPRANILLO Roble (Tierra de Castilla, Spain)

This was a flavorful, balanced wine.
Dark black ruby. Sweet nose of fresh plum and blackberry juice, lemon peel, charcoal, and sweet cream. Concentrated, medium-bodied, with ripe, balanced flavors of black fruit and smoky, chalky minerals. Long, balanced finish. An elegant wine at a bargain price: $9 at Central Market. 88.

1 + 1 = 3 CABERNET SAUVIGNON ROSE (Penedes, Spain)

A very powerful, intense rose.

Deep pink/garnet color. Terrific, forceful nose of strawberries and cold plums, tomato skins, and minerals. Vigorous, lively flavors of cherries and chalky minerals. Big but balanced, this wine was also crisp, dry, and refreshing. Loaded with character. 88. Great for summer cookouts.

2003 Chateau Signac COTES DU RHONE VILLAGES-CHUSCLAN "Cuvee Terra Amata" (France)

This was pretty good, but not worth the price.

Dark black ruby. Light intensity nose of scorched earth and mixed berries. Round and full in the mouth, with nice but subdued flavors -- blackberries, chocolate, charcoal. Balanced, mellow finish. A very "laid back" wine. 86. Was about $17 at Spec's on Richmond.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

2001 Marchesi di Barolo BAROLO (Piemonte, Italy)

This was so cheap for a Barolo -- $18 at Kroger's at Buffalo Speedway -- that I had to try it. It wasn't bad, but, objectively speaking, it wasn't worth the money.

Medium light garnet color. The first night I opened it, the nose and flavors were very tight and closed. I put it under a Vacu-vin closure and then didn't get around to re-tasting it until 4 days later. It was much better then. Lots of chokecherry and menthol on the nose. Not very concentrated, but correct Nebbiolo flavors (winey cherries & minerals). Pretty good finish. Would have been good if it were a generic Nebbiolo d'Alba appellation, but for a Barolo, it was disappointing. 86.

2005 Peachy Canyon "Westside" ZINFANDEL (Paso Robles, California)

From one of my favorite regions for Zinfandel (Paso Robles), this wine was good, but not quite up to expectations.

Dark ruby color, but not as saturated as I like. Classic Zin nose of briary, spicy raspberries, with lots of Paso Robles minerality. A tad on the lean side, but still fairly concentrated, this wine had dark, ripe, minerally fruit and full body. Fairly long, balanced finish. Were it a bit lush and concentrated, this could have been very special. 87. Was $19.99 at Central Market (and I've seen it at the Richard's at Welayan & Bissonnet for the same price).

Is it just me, or are Zinfandels getting leaner and less concentrated across the board? My current thesis is that this varietal's gain in popularity over the last 10 years has led growers to increasingly overcrop (so they can sell more grapes or wine), leading to thinner, less concentrated wines.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

2004 Alto Moncayo "VERATON" (Campo de Borja, Spain)

This 100% Grenache (Garnacha) wine was amazing.

Deep black ruby. Nose roars out of the glass with deep scents of vanilla and gingerbread, fragrant woodsmoke, and richly oozing blackberries and raspberries. Rich, massive, and balanced in the mouth, all at once. Intense flavors of ripe cassis and blackberry, roasted coffee beans and smoke, and a minerally undercurrent. Very long finish.

Reminded me of a top-notch Pomerol (yes, I know those are largely Merlot, but that's what this tasted like). This is a very special wine for the price (around $20 at Spec's on Richmond). 93.

2005 Gallo Family PINOT NOIR "Sonoma Reserve" (Sonoma County, California)

This was kind of thin and undernourished. Bright crystalline ruby. Light intensity nose of minerals, vaguely gingerbready spice, and tart cherries. Pleasant, but rather thin flavors of cherries and bitterish minerals. Finish fades quickly, with too much acid showing through. 78. About $13 at Spec's.

2005 Artazuri GARNACHA (Navarra, Spain)

A pretty good value. Deep ruby with magenta at the rim. Bright nose of crushed rock dust and spicy raspberries. Lively mouthfeel, with flavors of raspberry, cherry, and stony minerals. Not complex,but very pure-tasting. Would go well with a wide variety of foods: pasta dishes, braised meats, grilled burgers, pizza, etc. Think of it as a Spanish version of a Brouilly or Fleurie with a tad more tannic structure. Drink over the next year. 86. Was $8 or $9 at Whole Foods on Bellaire.

2005 Alfred Merkelbach Kinheimer Rosenberg RIESLING Kabinett (Mosel, Germany)

Very light, bright, silvery-gold. Fresh nose of flowers, peaches, and ripe, crisp apples, with a lightly minerally undertones. Soft, ripe, and balanced in the mouth, with light body, and fairly straightforward but refreshing flavors of crisp apples. Fairly sweetish, rather simple finish. 85.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

2004 Casa Castillo JUMILLA Monastrell (Spain)

A pretty good, kinda funky wine.

Deep, saturated ruby garnet color. very deep-toned nose of scorched earth, and roasted fruit and meat. Massive in the mouth, with lots of very dark, black fruits, unsweetened dark chocolate, and iodine flavors. Some heat and a fair amount of tannin (not coarse) in the finish. The grapes were probably picked just a tad too ripe, resulting in a huge wine -- on the verge of being overly-extracted and overblown, but still pretty good in a unique way. 85. Was about $12 at Spec's on Richmond.

2005 Verget du Sud Grenache-Cabernet Sauvignon "Endes" (Southern France)

Another unpleasant wine from this formerly reliable producer. Nose primarily revealing scents of alcohol, acetate, and acid, obscuring a limited amount of fruit underneath from all but the least recoiling sniffers. Flavors to match. D-. Was less than $10 at Spec's, but I probably wouldn't drink a full glass if you paid me 10 bucks. Avoid.