Sunday, February 20, 2011

2009 BORSAO (75% Garnacha, 25% Tempranillo) (Campo de Borja, Spain)

This is a perennial great value and is widely available to boot. The 2009 is very good, as usual.

Dark violet-tinged ruby. Rich, open nose of ripe raspberry syrup and dark, roasted green herbs. Dark, ripe flavors of black raspberry and scorched gravel. The barest hint of bitterness in the back half of the palate and a bit less acidity than I like are the only detracting factors, but there's a lot to like at the price. B. $6 and change at Spec's (probably all of them). Imported by Jorge Ordonez Selections.

Two mediocre wines and one OK one

A disappointing week of wine. I blog about stuff I wouldn't buy again so anyone stumbling on this blog won't waste their money. These all seemed like they would be interesting to try but weren't worth buying.

2007 Les Claux Delorme VALENCAY Rouge (Loire Valley, France) -- this 40% Gamay, 30% Malbec (Cot), 20% Cab Franc, 10% Pinot Noir stank like manure the first night. As seems to frequently be the case (with wines that have this stink), two nights later the barnyard was nowhere to be smelled, and it was replaced by fresh, light flavors of crisp berries and minerals. It's quaffable, and went well with take-out Chinese. B- (after significant airing blows off the stank). Was about $20 from Zachys.

2008 Altano DOURO (Portugal) -- This organic Portuguese blend lacked concentration and tasted a bit overcropped and overextracted. Saturated color, Nose of high-toned blackberries, powdered rocks, burnt balsa wood and scorched earth. Lean, slightly undernourished fruit but nice minerally flavors, with a tannic, astringent finish. C.

2009 La Clotiere COTEAUX D'ANCENIS GAMAY (Loire Valley, France) -- Lean and underripe, this watery wine was more of a palate cleanser (good crisp acids) than an accompaniment to dinner. D+ Was about $9 at Whole Foods on Bellaire.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

2007 Chateau Saint Roch "Chimeres" Cotes du Roussillon Villages (Southwest France)

This was a superb wine. Great depth, complexity, and balance. I was not expecting such quality from the Roussillon area, which is known for its earthy, chunky wines. It's a blend of 40% Grenache, 30% Carignane, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre -- mostly very old vines.

Black ruby with violet highlights. Unique and very fragrant nose, featuring perfume (yes, like women's perfume), grilled steak, rock dust, and trippy black raspberry. Round, deeply-concentrated, and mouthfilling. Smoky, stony notes lead to dark, low-toned, sappy, ripe berry fruit and charcoal. Lots of micro-chalky tannin in the long finish. Excellent and extraordinarily distinctive wine. A. Imported by Eric Solomon, I got the wine for $16 from B-21 Wines in Florida, making it a great value.

2009 Domaine de Colette BEAUJOLAIS-VILLAGES (France)

This small estate makes consistently excellent Beaujolais. (See prior reviews here and here.) This is one of the best I've had. Textbook old-school Beaujolais.

Very dark ruby with magenta highlights. Ridiculous ripe, tangy nose of crunchy, grapey cherries and berries, laced with cracked rocks and minerals. Flavorful and athletic in the mouth, with loads of ripe, zesty red fruit and minerals, along with a little tannin. Fairly full-bodied, yet with great acids keeping it fresh. A vibrant mouthful. A-. Was around $18 at Central Market. Imported by Charles Neal Selections.

2007 Pezzi King ZINFANDEL (Dry Creek Valley, Cal.)

A textbook Dry Creek Zin. Loads of ripe fruit, good minerality and balance. Excellent value too. Whenever I get that Zin itch, a Dry Creeker like this one scratches it.

Very luminescent dark ruby. Richly fruited nose of spiced black cherry and black raspberry fruit, along with some classic Dry Creek earthy, stony notes. Full-bodied, concentrated ripe flavors of spicy blackberry and cherry. Good acids too for a wine this ripe. Very nice. A-. Drink over the next year. Was $16.99 at Spec's on Richmond.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

2006 Domaine Grand Veneur CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE (Southern Rhone, France)

This was classic Chateauneuf! Very traditionally styled both in flavors and structure.

Dark black ruby. Intensely earthy, roasted dark herbs and iodine-infused nose, with notes of rich blackberry and cocoa powder underneath. Richly-flavored, with mouthcoating, dense, earthy, dry gravel and herb flavors masking some highly-concentrated blackberry extract fruit. Long, very clingy finish with some nice soft tannin. Great now, this will improve over the next 2-3 years. Amazingly, this is the "least" of the three Chateauneufs this producer makes. A. Imported by Kysela Pere et fils. I think this was around $35 from Zachy's in Scarsdale, NY, several months ago.

(Sorry, 2007 depicted.)

2009 Domaine La Suffrene BANDOL Blanc (Provence, France)

A very distinctive white that, while not possessing great depth or complexity, is a real kick to drink because of its unique flavors. Try brown-bagging this on your friends. No one will come even close to guessing what it is. As for the components, it's a blend of Clairette and Ugni Blanc grapes.

Very pale, bright gold. Loads of grassy, fresh herbs and bitter pear skins on the nose. Up-front fruit smacks the palate with very direct, low-toned bitter pear fruit and a huge herbal streak. Clingy, herbal finish, with medium body and decent acidity. Drink over the next few months. B. Was $25 at Spec's on Weslayan/Bissonnet.

2006 Anglim "CERISE" 39% Mourvedre, 32% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 4% Viognier "French Camp Vineyard" (Paso Robles, Cal.)

This Rhone blend was almost Pinot Noir-like not only in its gentle, feminine nature, but also in its flavor profile.

Medium dark ruby. Earthy, complex almost Pinot-like nose of sappy cherries, warm, smoky gravel, and lemony spice. A streak of intensely minerally, dark winey cherry fruit up front, along with some peppery heat, but in the finish an interesting note of ripe peach/peach pit. Lots of minerals in the finish. Decent acidity. Ready to drink right now. B. Was $14.99 at Whole Foods on Bellaire.

Friday, February 04, 2011

2009 ZESTOS (Madrid, Spain)

This 50% Garnacha, 50% Tempranillo was grown just outside of Madrid, and is a fantastic value. It's got gorgeously fresh fruit, good concentration, and great balance.

Youthful dark black ruby. Vivid dark cherry/berry aromas leap from the glass, mixed with stones and baby powder. Lively, rich fruit attacks the palate, with excellent ripeness and acid balance juxtaposing body and freshness. Some refined tannin adds textural interest. Very direct and satisfying. I would be very hard-pressed to think of a better value in a weekday dinner (or casual party) wine. B+. Was $7.99 at World Marketplace at Richmond and West Loop. Imported by Patrick Mata's Olé Imports.