Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wines from Grandma and Nonno’s visit -- Part 5 (short-form notes)

2006 Jean-Max Roger SANCERRE ROSÉ “Cuvée La Grange Dimière” (Loire, France) -- This Pinot Noir rose had a beautiful light salmon pink color, with a fresh nose of minerals, flowers, and strawberry/cherry. Refreshing and bone dry, with ripe fruit and excellent acidity.

2005 Domaine de la Noblaie CHINON “Les Chiens-Chiens” (Loire, France) -- Classic Loire Cabernet Franc nose and flavors: mineral and walnut oil, and herbal black cherry. Medium-full body and bone dry, stony black cherry skin flavors with underbrush and tomato notes.

2006 Razor’s Edge SHIRAZ (75%)-GRENACHE (25%) (McLaren Vale, Australia) -- Tastes like it’s got more Grenache than Shiraz, rather than the other way around, with great kirsch and spice aromas, medium full body, and ripe, sweet cherry/raspberry and earth flavors. Excellent buy at $13.99.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Wines from Grandma and Nonno’s visit -- Part 4 (Thanksgiving Dinner) (short-form notes)

2004 Rosenblum Santa Barbara County SYRAH “Appellation Series” -- A good buy in the usually overpriced California Syrah market, this $15 bottle had dense color, full body, and lush texture, and deep-toned roasted meat, graphite, and blackberry scents.

2002 Domaine Francois Lamarche GRANDS ECHEZEAUX (Burgundy) -- This was good, but a disappointment for its pedigree. Very lean, tart cherry and minerals flavors emerged only after long decanting, and it lacked the depth and complexity I expected from this Grand Cru vineyard. If I had tasted it blind, I would have probably guessed it was a regular village bottling from Fixin or Monthelie (due to the lean, hard style). For my money, I’ll take an Oregon Pinot Noir over Burgundy 9 times out of 10. Should have bought a lottery ticket instead. I’ll remember to give thanks next Turkey Day not to have dropped a C-note on another disappointing burgundy.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wines from Grandma and Nonno’s visit -- Part 3 (short-form notes)

2006 Chateau Calabre MONTRAVEL (Blanc) (France) -- This 50% Sauvignon Blanc/40% Semillon/10% Muscadelle blend from the fringes of the Bordeaux region was light, very soft, and featured refreshing bitter grapefruit and mineral flavors.

2004 Castello di Bossi CHIANTI CLASSICO (Tuscany, Italy) -- Old school. This Chianti sported classic old school aromas of earth, leather, and brandy-macerated cherries, and was lean and food-friendly.

2002 Domaine Martin Schaetzel RIESLING GRAND CRU RANGEN (Alsace, France) -- ZOWIE! What a wine! Unfathomably rich, yet refreshing at the same time. Nose of apricots, honey, Earl Grey tea, and minerals. Broad, intense, and long in the mouth. This wasn’t totally dry, but was still a great pairing with pecan-wood grilled flounder and shrimp. From a biodynamic producer who flies under the radar of most wine geeks.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wines from Grandma and Nonno’s visit -- Part 2 (short-form notes)

1998 Marcarini BAROLO “Brunate” (Piemonte, Italy) -- Seemingly lean and devoid of fruit at first, after a couple of hours of breathing in a decanter, this Barolo opened up and show classic Nebbiolo scents of dried cherries, leather, and minerals. On the palate, this wine showed a more feminine style (almost Barbaresco-ish) than I expected. Very nice and could even last a couple more years.

2001 Guilhem Durand SYRAH “Vieilles Vignes” (Southern France) -- This cheap red had been tucked away in my wine closet for several years. I had been afraid to open it because I thought it was in a state of advanced decrepitude, but figured “what the heck” and popped and decanted it. What a surprise! The color was still youthful, and the wine was full, ripe, and complex, with big scents of dried cassis, eucalyptus, and minerally, wet earth. Tannin has all dropped away , leaving a soft, long finish.

2006 Martin Schaetzel PINOT BLANC “Vieillles Vignes” (Alsace, France) -- Ripe, soft, simple, and peachy.

2006 Mollydooker SHIRAZ “The Boxer” (South Australia) -- A tremendously rich, mouth-coating wine. Loads of flavor, with minerally-graphite and cassis extract flavors predominating.

2005 Turley ZINFANDEL “Ueberroth Vineyard” (Paso Robles, Cal.) -- Intense in every sense of the word: intense boysenberry fruit, intense rock-dust minerality, intense body, and intense acidity. Great with mesquite/pecan wood grilled porterhouses.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Wines from Grandma and Nonno’s visit -- Part 1 (short-form notes)

Mom and Dad are visiting from Massachusetts, so I'm not going to have time to do the full version of the tasting notes, if experience is any guiide. So here are the Reader's Digest notes of the first batch:

2004 Verget VIRÉ -CLESSÉ “Vieilles Vignes de Roally” (Burgundy, France) -- a terrifically rich, dry, ripe, minmerally Maconnais Chardonnay with poire William and melon-scented fruit. Loaded with character, and soft as a summer breeze. Great.

2006 Luzon (Jumila, Spain) -- a great value ($8 and change) in a Monastrell/Syrah . Ripe, rich, full, balanced.

2001 Guigal CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE (Rhone Valley, France) -- At its peak, this was a very elegantly-textured wine, with classic Provencal scents of smoky herbs from the garrigue, and iron-y cassis/blackberry fruit.

2005 Rene Barth RIESLING “Vignoble de Bennwihr” (Alsace, France) -- A classically austere style of Alsace Riesling: lots of pungent, stony minerality and lemon-lime fruit. Crisp and bone dry.

2005 Tenuta la Cipressaia CHIANTI COLLI FIORENTINI (Tuscany, Italy) -- A medium-bodied, tight but food-friendly Sangiovese, with crisp cherry mineral flavors and and some tannin in the finish.