Sunday, October 25, 2009

2006 Domaine de Cabasse SEGURET Côtes du Rhône Villages "Cuvée Garnacho" (Southern France)

Nice, but a bit disappointing for its pedigree. I usually expect individual village wines from the Rhône to have a bit more concentration and character than this one did.

Medium dark ruby color. Medium intensity, fruity nose of ripe raspberry and blackberry, with a little bit of sweet fruitcake and stone components way in the background. Low register, dark, almost bitter, medium intensity flavors of scorched earth and iodine, with some dry raspberry skin fruit taking a back seat. Peppery but pleasant finish with a bit of length and some barely-perceptible tannin too. 84. Was about $16 at Spec's on Richmond.

2006 Meia Encosta DÃO (Portugal)

A pretty solid $10 red.

Dark ruby garnet color.

Forthright nose of tangy mixed berries and spicy powdered rock. Medium full bodied and soft textured, with reasonably concentrated plum and pomegranate fruit and powdered stone flavors. Clean, balanced, medium length finish. While it's hard to get really excited about this wine, this is a wine that few people can dislike, making it a good choice for large, casual events. 86. Was around $10 at Spec's on Smith.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

2007 Stinger ZINFANDEL (Paso Robles, Cal.)

Alliteration time: this was one zingy, zesty Zin. Talk about tangy acidity! But in a good way.

Dark black ruby with youthful violet highlights. Very good color extraction. Lively nose of spicy raspberry, pomegranate, and crushed rock. Rich in fruit, yet loaded with crisp acids to give it some true zing, this wine is tailor-made for rich meat braises. Full-bodied, smooth-textured, and featuring a long, lively finish. 87. Another purchase ($9.99) I made at a great sale that was going on at Houston Wine Merchant a couple of weeks ago.

2006 Lake Breeze "Langhorne Creek" GRENACHE (Australia)

A really nice Grenache. Loaded with ripe fruit, but with everything in balance.

Medium-bright ruby garnet. Vibrant, exuberant nose of sweet crushed raspberries, slightly smoky sandstone, and gingerbread. Mouthfilling flavors of black pepper, lusty raspberry syrup, and a bit of an iodine-y/minerally thing going on in the finish. Avoids the jamminess that one can get with a lot of Aussie reds while still displaying lots of ripeness and richness. 88. Drink over the next year before the pepperiness (from the alcohol) starts to burn through the fruit. I think I paid about $19 for this at Whole Foods on Bellaire several months ago.

2005 Georges Viorney COTE DE BROUILLY "Cuvée Vieilles Vignes" (Beaujolais, France)

This 4-year old Beaujolais tasted remarkably vibrant and refreshing for its age.

Youthful, crystalline dark black ruby. Great, classic Beaujolais nose of sweet, crunchy plums and cherries, along with lots of granite-y minerality. Zest and vibrant in the mouth, with peppery, clean cherry / berry fruit and lots of clean, stony minerals. Some very fine-grained, rounded tannins still noticeable, amazingly enough. This wine has aged beautifully for a Beaujolais. Only thing it lacked was just a tad more concentration to take it to that highest level. 87. Imported by North Berkeley Imports, I got it direct from them for about $15 several months ago.

2007 Sebastiani PINOT NOIR "Sonoma Coast" (Cal.)

A very good value at the ridiculously low price I paid ($9.99, on sale) at Houston Wine Merchant (South Shepherd).

Bright, medium dark ruby. Lots of sweet, sappy cherry and plum fruit on the nose along with a hint of smoky gravel. Rich, ripe flavors attack the palate (in a soft-textured frame) with juicy mulled cherries and root beer/cola components, tapering off with baking spice-laced earth notes. Very nice. I'll take this over 90% of the $30 burgundies out there any day. 88.
(Certain "terroirist" bloggers would, I'm sure, poo-poo my obviously pedestrian tastes claiming that "this biodynamic french microproducer and that organic microproducer make much more genuine a product" -- and their wines probably are really good, but where the heck does anyone not living in New York City find such wines without taking off two weeks from work to "seek the Grail"? So I'll happily find and drink this much more easily found "people's burg.")

2006 Qupé GRENACHE "Purisima Vineyard" (Santa Ynez Valley, Cal.)

Showing the herbal side of Grenache, this was a distinctive wine.

Medium dark ruby/garnet color. Scents of rhubarb, raspberry, herbs, and intense powdered stone notes. Lean but intense in the mouth, with herby, minerally raspberry flavors and a very noticeable peppery component. Long, minerally, peppery finish. 87. Was $19.99 on sale at Houston Wine Merchant (on South Shepherd).

Saturday, October 03, 2009

2005 Charles Koehly RIESLING "Saint Hippolyte" (Alsace, France)

Aaaah -- good Riesling from Alsace. Always one of my favorite types of whites. This Riesling, while dry in the typical Alsace style, is actually a bit more fruit-forward, and less austere, than many Alsace Rieslings.

Light gold color. Beautiful, yet somewhat reserved nose of crushed white grapes, slate, and a hint of yeasty-cinnamon. Soft-textured and medium-bodied, it has ripe, almost exotic flavors of grape, peach, gingerbread, and milky tea. Good balancing acidity as well. Will easily hold for another 1-2 years. 88. Imported by Neal Rosenthal.

2007 Domaine de Colette RÉGNIÉ "Séléction Vieilles Vignes" (Beaujolais, France)

This is consistently one of my favorite estates for crisp, intense, refreshing old-school Beaujolais.

The 2007 has a beautiful, crystal clear dark ruby color. Pure, piercing nose of sweet cherries and plums, along with freshly-cracked stones -- but this emerges only after it's been opened for over an hour. At first, the nose was quite closed.

Silky-smooth textured in the mouth, but with nervous, bone-dry flavors of crisp cherry, loads of stony minerals, and bit of cracked black peppercorns. A very lively mouthful of wine. 87. Imported by Charles Neal Selections, I got this for $18.99 at Central Market.

(Non-vintage) Duval-Leroy "Rosé de Saignée" CHAMPAGNE (France)

This is one of my very favorite non-vintage champagnes year in and year out. It always has a gorgeous color, an accessible Pinot Noir-fruit driven nose, and good concentration, good balance, and persistent bubbles. This latest iteration did not disappoint.

Gorgeous pale salmon color with pink glints. Fresh, pretty nose of yeasty bread, minerals, cherries and tart apples. Crisp, dry, and full-flavored, with a long, zesty finish. I love this stuff. 90. Was $45 at Spec's on Smith a few months ago, but I think the price has gone up. (Why can Champagne defy the recession?)

2005 Casanova di Neri ROSSO DI MONTALCINO (Tuscany, Italy)

A very classy Sangiovese Grosso from southern Tuscany.
Dark black ruby garnet. Deep-toned nose of dark, earthy, macerated black cherries, incense, and smoky embers. Densely-fruited, but tightly-wound, it featured rich, dark cherry fruit, with loads of crushed stone and gravel notes. Full and bone-dry, with excellent acid balance. Lots of soft tannin still resides in the long finish. Drink over the next two years. 88. Was $25 and change at Richard's on Richmond just west of Chimney Rock. Sorry, forgot to note the importer.

2006 Finca Flichman MALBEC (Mendoza, Argentina)

Call this ridiculous value "Recession Red." $4.99 for a solid, well-made red with some real character.

Dark ruby garnet. Interesting nose of plums, sweet lemon juice, and angel food cake crust. Medium full-bodied, with medium intensity flavors of blackberry, brambly earth, and minerals, with a long, dry, slightly tannic finish. Drink over the next year. 86. Got is, as I said, for $4.99 on sale at Fiesta (Old Spanish Trail and Kirby), but I think the regular price is $5.99, which still qualifies as an excellent value.
(Sorry -- 2008 pictured).