Sunday, June 30, 2013

2010 Simmonet-Fevre CHABLIS PREMIER CRU MONTMAINS (Northern Burgundy, France)

This is a big, extroverted Chablis.

Very pale gold.  Nose burbling over with green apple, peach, lemon, and chalky minerals.  Fleshy, flashy, and vigorous in the mouth.  The first day the fruit was at the fore, and it seemed ripe, intense, and somewhat simple.  But the next day, the minerals were out in force, with intense chalky-stoniness overshadowing the still ample fruit.  The first night it seemed almost -- unusually for a Chablis -- like there was a bit of residual sugar, but as it aired, that sweetness decreased.  By the second day it seemed bone dry.  Good acids for such a large-limbed Chablis.  What it lacks in complexity and elegance it makes up in sheer force and vigor.  B+.  Drink over the next 2 years, over which it will probably gain a bit of complexity.  Was $21.99 from, and imported by Louis Latour, San Rafael, CA.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

2010 Tommasi "Vigneto Rafael" VALPOLICELLA (Veneto, Italy)

This wine has been consistently very good, year-after-year, since I can remember first trying it (in the early 80s).  It usually walks a line somewhere between the lighter, fresher regular Valpos many wineries offer as their entry level wine and their somewhat denser, riper, earthier Ripassos.  The 2010 is really nice.

Vibrant ruby with a purply tinge.   Gobs of ripe, dark, crunchy berry fruit on the nose.  The first night, the fruit obscured all else.  Then I left it under a Vacu-Vin for 48 hours, and it had developed some of the almondy characteristics frequently associated with Valpos.  Wonderful concentration and vibrancy in the mouth; a wine that just begets sip after sip, and would pair with all sorts of meals. Nice length and wonderful purity.  A-.  Was $16.99 at Total Wine in Fairfax, VA.  Imported by Vintus LLC, Pleasantville, NY.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

2009 Jean-Paul Brun CÔTE DE BROUILLY "Terres Dorées" (Beaujolais, France)

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A mature, smooth, flavorful, old-school Beaujolais.  A little bottle age really smooths out some of the better, tightly-constructed Beaujolais, and that's what's happened here.  Me likee.

Dark ruby color.  Really rich nose of dark mixed berries and lots of clean stony and vaguely foresty notes.  Soft, lithe, and intensely fruity in the mouth initially, showing lots of pure berry fruit, then the mineraliness kicks in quickly and clings tenaciously to the tongue and the insides of your cheeks.  Pretty full bodied for a Beaujolais (probably due to the warm '09 growing season), but with good purity and liveliness, despite low-ish acids for a Beaujolais.  A-.  Drink over the next 8-12 months.  Was $18.99 from Wine Exchange, Los Angeles, Cal.  Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.

Monday, June 10, 2013

2010 Buti Nages COSTIERES DE NIMES (Rhone Valley, France)

This excellent value red is fruity, deep, balanced, and soft.  A fantastic choice for summer cook-outs.  45% Grenache, 45% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre.

Deep ruby with purply highlights.  Lively, straightforward nose of crunchy, ripe dark berries and clean stony mineraliness.  Lovely, tight, ripe berry fruit in the mouth.  Very soft.  Decent acids, and some very fine tannins for a bit of structure on the finish.  Not complex, but fun to drink and flavorful.  Calls out for mesquite-grilled grilled burgers.  B/B+.  Was $9.99 at Total Wine in Fairfax.  Imported by Saranty Imports, White Plains, NY.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

2008 Santbru MONTSANT "Carinyenes Velles" (Catalunya, Spain)

A deep, full-bodied, minerally, fully-mature and smooth red.  Think of this as a Spanish Gigondas from a very warm vintage.

Almost jet black, fully saturated color . . . ruby adds the highlights to the black, rather than the other way around.  Striking, low-toned nose of a squished carton of uber-ripe blackberries, whisked together with crushed stones and a hint of dark baking spices.  Massively rich in the mouth, with dark, brooding flavors of dark stones and blackberry syrup/skin extract.  Great intensity yet not overblown.  Dry and full-bodied, sporting a texture akin to hot chocolate due to loads of medium-fine-grained tannins.  It went well with a braised brisket.  This is a wine that will overpower anything less than a stew or pot roast type dinner, although it may pair well with after dinner cheese too.  Drinking very well now, this wine will soften further over the next 2 years.  B+.  Was $14.99 from  Imported by Classic Wines, Stamford, CT.

(Sorry, 2007 shown)

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

2008 Castello di Bibbione CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA (Tuscany, Italy)

A very large-framed, delicious Sangiovese.  Color, body, tannins, acids.  This is a wine that hits the gym.

Luxurious-looking saturated dark ruby.  Rich nose of tangy but ripe black raspberries and black cherries, with sweet-scented smoky-gravelly notes.  Mouthfilling dark cherry fruit, quickly molting into loads of chalky, stony minerals.  Bone dry, with lots of fine-grained tannin and lots acidity, giving it a lean, muscular, very vigorous mouthfeel.  Lots of crushed stones as the finish resolves.  A-.  Youthful but starting to drink very well now, this wine will improve over the next three years in a cool cellar.  Was $18.99 from, which is cheap for a CC Riserva.  Imported by Castelli del Gevepesa, Manhasset, NY.