Monday, March 31, 2014

2010 Domaine La Bastide "Les Genets" SYRAH Vieilles Vignes (Rhone Valley, France)

A terrific value in a deep-flavored, complex, well-balanced Syrah.  Very linear, and not a hint of flabbiness.

Saturated dark, plasma-like ruby.  Nose features smoke, dark minerals, roasted herbs, meat, and cassis fruit.  Flavorful on entry, with lean, clingy, iodiney/minerally notes overlaying dark, dry blackberry skins.  A fair amount of fine-grained tannin and a surprising level of acids lends structure and liveliness.  Full-bodied, bone dry.  All muscle with not fat.  This went very well with braised lambs shanks and grits.  B+/A-.  Imported by Paul Young Wines, Los Angeles, and purchased from for a ridiculously low $9.99.  Get some of this.

PS -- I believe I had this wine in Houston several years ago (a different vintage, obviously, and liked it a lot).

PPS - It occured to me after I posted this review that this wine is basically a "Poor Man's Cornas."

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

2009 Clos Pegase PINOT NOIR "Mitsuka's Vineyard" (Carneros, Napa, Cal.)

A fragrant, balanced, fairly complex and ready-to-drink PN.  Very good value at the $15.99 I paid.

Medium ruby/garnet with a little tawny at the edge.  Lots going on in the nose:  sappy ripe cherry, a little tartish cranberry/rhubarb note, sweet, earthy baking spices, and some underlying minerality.  Lots of flavor in a smooth, fairly full-bodied (for a PN) frame.  Tart cherry and loads of dark, stony minerality.  The finish, which is very long, molts into a clingy, iodiney, sappy cherry melange.  It's bone dry.  I really like this.  A-/B+.  Got it from

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

2009 Baloiro BIERZO Mencia Reserva (Spain)

Totally overblown.  This wine is a caricature of a what the Anti-Parkerites think Parker advocates (he's not as bad as they make him seem, but you get the point).  Overripe, flabby, overoaked, tasting of nowhere.  Tasted blind, I would have no idea where this wine came from.  Given the extract level, this could have been a great wine if they had picked it earlier and skipped the new oak.

Completely saturated, plasma-like black ruby.  The nose is intense, displaying loads of liquid baker's chocolate and overripe blackberry extract.  Underneath there's some nice minerality trying to make its way out, it's struggling, giving it a game try, but it's no use . . . the chocolate is too strong . . . must get air . . . can't go on . . . can't . . . aaarrrggghhh!  [Strangling gasps].  Back to reality.  The texture is nice, not too much tannin despite the heavy-handed extraction.  There is a dense weightiness of sweet blackberry extract and dark chocolate in the mouth.  But the acids are nonexistent, so it just seems heavy and one-dimensional.  C-.  Was $14.99 from  Imported by Classic Wines, Stamford, CT.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

2011 Heinz Eifel "S" RIESLING SPATLESE (Mosel, Germany)

This is an excellent value in a slightly sweet, bright Riesling.

Very pale greenish-gold color.  All sorts of ripe fruit in the nose, with white peach, juicy pear, and ripe apple scents, augmented with a light dried tea note and some extraordinarily high-toned slatey/stoniness.   Fills the mouth with ripe, juicy fruit, yet has enough acids to keep it fresh and interesting.  A very mild bitter tea component comes through at the end.  Light-bodied and round-textured.  Not super complex, but really fun to drink.  B+.  Was $9.99 from  Imported by Winesellers, Ltd. of Niles, IL.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

2009 Clos des Menuts ST. EMILION Grand Cru (Bordeaux, France)

This is a style of Bordeaux I like.  Not trying to emulate a New World wine; structured, not overripe, not overoaked.  It needs a few more years, however. It is: Merlot 85%, Cabernet Sauvignon 10%, Cabernet Franc 5%.

Dark black ruby.  Nose closed at first, but on the second night it was showing lovely, subtle dark cherry fruit, and a dark, gravelly earthiness, along with a lifting baked cake note.  Densely-fruited, but in a dry extract -- not jammy -- way, it packs the palate with dark fruit and loads of gravelly minerals.  Full-bodied, with lots of fine-grained tannins.  Still feels a bit tight.  It's very good, if a bit youthful now, but will certainly improve over the next 5 years.  B+ now, probably higher later on.  I'm not sure what this cost or where to get it around the DC area, as a good friend brought this wine to our Super Bowl party as a gift.  Nice gift!  Imported by Monsieur Touton Selections, NY.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Viña Alarba GARNACHA Viñas Viejas (Calatayud, Spain)

I haven't had this wine in 10 years or so.  It used to be a ridiculous bargain.  This one is still cheap, but it's thinner than I remember it being than the vintages I drank in the early 2000s.  Eh.

Dark ruby violet color.  Light intensity nose of raspberry and rock dust, with a teeny note of dried tarragon.  Bone dry in the mouth, with slightly bitter raspberry/cherry fruit, and loads of rocky minerality.  As it lingers it gets more bitter, and some medium-grained tannins show up.  Not very concentrated, and the texture isn't great either.  C.  Was $7.99 from  Imported by the Artisan Collection, NYC.