Wednesday, May 27, 2009

2007 La Quercia MONTEPULCIANO D'ABRUZZO (Central Italy)

This was a more modern-styled, but delicious, Montepulciano. Would pair well with lots of pasta and meat dishes.

Nearly saturated black ruby with vivid violet highlights. Deep and at the same time bright scents of ripe, tangy red and black berries and flinty minerals. Ripe, deep, and focused flavors of cherry and blackberry, with a clean minerals and balsa wood component. Gorgeous balance of ripeness and acidity. Not at all your typical rustic bruiser of a Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, nor is it like some of the innocuous cheaper Montepulcianos that have recently appeared on the market. 89. Was under $8.99 on sale at Whole Foods on Bellaire. Imported by Small Vineyards Discovery Wines.

2005 Gerard Valee ST. NICOLAS DE BOURGUEIL "Les Perruches" (Loire Valley, France)

This wine was loaded with character. Not for everyone, but very good!

Dark blackish garnet. Intense nose of walnut oil/machine oil, tree bark, and black cherry skins. Bone dry, yet with concentrated, razor-sharp, focused and low-toned flavors of dark minerals and dry blackberry extract, with a hint of iodine. Excellent length, with some substantial yet soft tannin to provide structure. 88. Was $21 direct from North Berkeley Imports. (Yes, there have been a lot of North Berkeley wines on the blog recently. Yes, I bought a mixed case from them and am working through it.)

2005 Domaine Michel Rey JULIENAS "Tres Vieilles Vignes" (Beaujolais, France)

Very good, old-school Beaujolais.

Light garnet ruby color. Tart, intense cherry fruit and stoney minerals on the nose. Tight cherry and stone flavors too, with great balance and a very refreshing quality to it. Nice concentration and focus. Would be very good with a wide variety of foods. 87. Was $21 directly from North Berkeley Imports.

2007 Terrazas de los Andes MALBEC (Mendoza, Argentina)

Pretty good Malbec, with this varietal's trademark coarseness pretty well in check.

Very dark, mulled ruby color. Lots of ripe, plummy-blackberry fruit in the nose, with a sweet, earthy/woody note. Rich, deep-toned flavors, nice ripeness, with lots of tannic structure, veering over only slightly to the coarse side. Would be very good with rich stews and braises, which would tend to smooth out the tannins. 87. Got this at Whole Foods on Bellaire, I think, for around $14.

Monday, May 11, 2009

2005 Domaine de L'Espigouette COTES DU RHONE "Vieilles Vignes" (France)

A terrific, traditional styled Cotes du Rhone. Tastes like a baby Chateauneuf du Pape.

Black ruby color. Earthy, gravelly scents with spicy blackberry and raspberry fruit. Deep flavors of spicy, dark berries, earth, and iodine-tinged minerals. Lots of soft tannins and loads of minerals and herby-fruit in the long finish. 89. Good value at $15 at Spec's Outlet on Westheimer in Montrose. Imported by J et R Selections Mt. Pleasant, MI (an excellent importer specializing, I think, in Rhone wines).

2006 Willakenzie Estate "Pierre Leon" PINOT NOIR (Willamette Valley, Oregon)

Too much oak, too little concentration. At this price, I want some depth of fruit.

Black ruby with garnet highlights. Lots of high quality, toasty sweet oak, with sweet, earthy, caramelly scents. Sniffing carefully you can also pick up a little ripe, sappy cherry juice too. Soft and loaded with oaky flavors, but not that much in the way of fruit concentration. Pretty good finish. 86. Was $35 at Richard's on Weslayan and Bissonnet.

2007 "Velt.1" GRUNER VELTLINER (Koenigsegg, Austria)

Very minerally, crisp, citrusy, and refreshing.

Light straw gold. Demure nose of minerals, melted butter, dried herbs, and grapefruit peel. Crisp ans steely in the mouth, with a pleasant roundness. Bone -- and I mean bone --dry. Linear minerally and lemon-lime flavors. A hint of bitterness in the minerally, medium length finish. Refreshing with food on a hot day, but a little severe on its own. 86. I think I paid around $9 or $10 at Whole Foods on Bellaire for this. Imported by Winesellers Inc., Skokie, Ill.
(Sorry -- 2005 shown)

2006 Salinas "Mo" MONASTRELL (Alicante, Spain)

A rich, deep-toned wine.

Very dark black ruby. Meaty, beefy aromas with ripe blackberry and tomato juice scents. Round balsa wood and cigar box flavors overlay some ripe plummy fruit. Very deep-toned flavor profile. Low acidity and a long, softly tannic finish. 87. Was about $15 at Central Market. Imported by European Cellars (Eric Solomon).

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

2007 Casa d'Ambra AGLIANICO (Irpinia, Campania, Italy)

A bit on the thin, not-yet-ripe, and short side.

Black ruby color. Reticent nose of lemon-coated minerals and scorched earth, with a little (not much) spiced cherry fruit. Lean, almost spare in the mouth. Bitterish, peppery mineral flavors predominate. Some cherry brandy fruit underneath if you concentrate on it enough. Medium-bodied, with a short finish. 81. Was $15 from North Berkeley Imports (direct).

2005 Domaine Calot MORGON "Vieilles Vignes" (Beaujolais, Burgundy, France)

A pretty good Beaujolais.

Deep black garnet. Earthy, stony, hard cherry candy/plum candy scents. Lots of direct cherry fruit and hard stony flavors, bone dry, and very soft textured yet, strangely, tightly wound and austere feeling. Fully mature. 86. $23 from North Berkeley Imports (direct).

2005 Trimbach GEWURZTRAMINER (Alsace, France)

It's really hard to find a bad Trimbach white. They're not the upper echelon of Alsace, but they are consistently good and typical of their varietal and region. This was a good, flavorful, and classic Gewurz at a fair price.

Bright brassy gold color. Rich nose of lychee nuts, essence of pear, and sweet minerals. Full and broadly-flavored, with pear, lychee, rose petal and grapefruit components and a slight (but pleasant) bitterness in the long finish. Drink now, as this is an open, low acid gulper. 88. (A tad more acidity and this would have been a superstar.) Was $21 at Spec's. (Importer: Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines).