2018 Bedrock Syrah Hudson Vineyard South T’n’S Blocks. While dark there’s a brightness to the purple core which has nothing to do with saturation, the crimson red rims broad and liable to broaden further yet. Violets, blueberry to mulberry fruit and sagebrush frame the nose, strong and cleansing lift, stony earth, whisper of honey, young, wiry and not yet in full control of itself. Medium-bodied, spreads out wide rather then dive deeply. Exceedingly floral, the citrus breeze beats the molasses grill smoke to the starting line. Green apple, green grape notes open up the blueberry, raspberry, red cherry base. Stonier finish. Time to open helps but in the end this may be one which just goes to sleep in the crib.
2015 J. Rickards Winery Zinfandel Alexander Valley 1908 Brignole Vineyard Old Vine. Glowing, the purple core not quite opaque, further out is a battle between scarlet and magenta, youthful appearance. Juicy nose of blueberry, boysenberry, cherry fruit drizzled by coconut oil and butterscotch, if you are oak averse this is not for you, mild eucalyptus touch. More medium than full-bodied, velvety, smooth yet coats every pore. Fully oaked here too, you exhale vanilla and butter. Dulcet blueberry, blackberry, raspberry fruit stains the palate. Luckily has more tannic punch than expected. Same nuance of menthol but nothing else going on. Flavorful Zinfandel for when you want that quick buzz. 80% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Sirah, 5% Carignane, 4% Mataro, remaining 1% Alicante Bouschet, Muscat de Canelli, Golden Chasselas. (Composite Cork: Diam10)
2015 Pendleton Mourvèdre Alexander Valley Estate. A bright redness permeates the otherwise purple core, vivid crimson rims full to outer edge. Wooly, leathery nose that stops well short of animality, undercurrent of welcome bracing greenness, some grill smoke, blockish feel to the black currant, black cherry fruit scents. Medium-bodied, its general character set from the first sip by puckering acidity. This brings with a heightened citrus presence and smoke. The leather more like grilled meats here. Cherry to cranberry, blueberry fruit, sour. Presents a mild mentholated lift at the finish. Fruit cruising along just fine, spent a good long time in 75% new French oak and it shows. Unsure when mature elements might carve out space. (Screwcap: Stelvin)
1998 Zind Humbrecht Gewürztraminer Goldert Vendange Tardive. Pretty much bronzed, some gold left, moderate shine, pools deep though. Orange marmalade, lychee, dried honey fill the nose, peach, nectarine to pineapple, doesn’t smell “fruity” as much as ripely concentrated. Full-bodied, fluid if not quite smooth. Again there’s heavy emphasis on candied orange to tangerine citrus. Then honey and vanilla bean. Shows some telltale signs of mushroom and earthiness, as one who very much appreciates aged Gewürztraminer if it hasn’t developed this by now it likely won’t. Very floral through the attack. Apricot, passion fruit, nectarine topped off with whipped cream. May sound like a nightmare to some but I enjoyed it.
2010 Zélige-Caravent Languedoc Vin de France Manouches. Black purple core is flat, good width to the rust red rims, hue retains vibrancy. Black currant, plum scents, bacon fat, medicinal cleansing, violets, anise, manages to come off as laconic and cleansing at once. Medium-bodied, great sour blueberry, boysenberry, raspberry fruit, lasts full into the finish. The florality builds into the finish. Tree bark, damp tea leaves, camphor. Rawhide, you can picture a dog chewing on it. The acidity adds a steady pulse. Develops a wonderful inner mouth perfume. Stays stable even as it flirts with instability, part of what holds your attention. 70% Alicante Bouschet, 30% Cinsault
2007 Domaine du Dragon Côtes de Provence Cuvée Saint-Michel. Dark reddish purple core, broad red rust rims, looks advanced. Leathery, earthy nose with thick plum to currant fruit scents, only lightly floral or minty, over time seems more mentholated. Medium-bodied, firm and savory, offers a solid pucker factor and strong buttressing tannin. Here you get more of that garrigues stuff, cocoa powder in addition to the leather. Clean on the whole. Ripe, not sweet, plum, cherry, cassis fruit. Cedar, tobacco come through at the end. Good finish, continues to open with air time. 50% Syrah, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Grenache.
2017 Breton Cabernet Franc Chinon Les Beaux Monts. Warm ruby-purple, sort of fuzzy, flushed rims. The nose stuck in the barnyard and even air time doesn’t change this much, moderate bell pepper and orange peel, fresh red currant to blackberry scents, molasses glaze, in the end it’s too airy for anything to make a sustained impression. Medium-bodied, quite polished and supple, the tannin hardly registers. Here it is surprisingly floral with a semi-sour citrusy zest. The ripeness of the currant, cherry, dark berry fruit more than compensates for any bell pepper presence. Tea leaf, dry underbrush, damp stone, no funk of note. Very poundable now, I’m concerned about its ageability. Not sure I’m going to lay any down.
2000 Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Flat purple core, red clay and then red to orange flowing towards the rims. Nose of plum to prune, cherry fruit, cocoa, camphor, old pressed flowers, old mesquite grill bricks. Medium-bodied, bottom heavy but stops short of sluggish. Sweet in terms of dried fruit character, otherwise dry and tacky in texture. Orange peels, potpourri, leather and mocha. Got better with air, never quite got fresh but stayed well within enjoyable drinking range. 80% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah.
2013 Maxime Magnon Languedoc Vin de Pays de la Vallée du Paradis La Démarrante. Red-ruby to violet, not saturated but has a healthy glow, clean. Has a good deal of initial funk, animal fur and band-aid, stabilizes into lavender, white citrus pith, to minerally earth, the overall ruggedness acts as a check on the ripeness of the strawberry, cranberry fruit scents. Medium-bodied, rowdy tannin while remaining fluid on the whole, no tackiness. More like sandy earth here, dusty stones with a swipe of herbaceousness, if not outright bell pepper. Benefits from a billowy floral lift in the mid-palate. Consistent strawberry, cranberry, raspberry fruit. Solid enough, suspect there’s a decent bit of bottle variation. 50% Carignan, 30% Grenache, 20% Syrah.
2010 Château Moulin Fronsac Cuvée Piverts. Dark purple core falls short of opacity, the dense crimson rims going for baroque. The nose feels chewy in the nostrils, leather, tree bark, tar, not rustic per se, muscular, evanescent floral moment, the black currant, black cherry scents work hard to get noticed. Medium-bodied, tannin dominant but in slow release mode. Anise, sour orange peel, violets and almost garrigues. Then cedar, little bit of grassiness around the edges. Totally get the clay in the soil. The same dark currant, cherry fruit here, clearly struggling even more in the face of the tannin. Did not expect that it wouldn’t be ready for business, was a pop and pour. But this needs more time.
1999 Closel Savennières Clos du Papillon. Apricot orange to bronzed, good shine gives it liveliness. Dusty, doughy nose with a base of oil slick, lanolin, tart orange marmalade, close to devoid of fruit, echoes of red apple, pear and apricot. Full-bodied, enough acidity left that while chubby is a muscular chubbiness. Dry, raw pie dough and a touch milky. Yet, it has a floral dimension and honey residue. More length here in the apricot, peach fruit and air time helps further. Way past its apex but to my palate not dead dead (cf. Monty Python), albeit I get more enjoyment out of geriatric Chenin Blanc more than most.
2011 Punta Crena Crovino [Crovino is the grape] Liguria Colline Savonesi Cruvin. Crystal clear, fat and semi-glowing crimson to violet coloration, for this level of transparency the glass looks awfully full. Boisterous nose of tar, asphalt, black tea leaf, and tanned horsehide, close to briny at times, dash of mixed red fruits, unique and compelling. Medium-bodied, the tannin starts pinching your mouth pores right off. Tree bark and autumn leaves embellish that tar, asphalt base. Huge retronasal perfume. Takes more than a few sips for the palate to adjust and fully register the tart Italian plum, blackberry fruit. Finish should take on more length if/when the tannin starts to resolve. Tough little cookie with a good heart. (Composite Cork)
2016 Ronco delle Betulle Friuli Rosazzo delle Betulle. Strong green tint to the worn yellow base, clear, not sure if the color is deepening due to age. Lilacs, molasses, and tangerine gird the nose, almost anise at times, pleasingly simple array of apple, pear, apricot scents, develops a little dustiness in the nostrils as it warms. Medium-bodied, firm with a blanket of acidity across the palate. Equal parts lemon to tangerine citrus, brightens the corners. Floral and again offers that black licorice like accent. Not getting much tertiary development as the fruit trails. Smooth and easy drinker, good neutral profile. 55% Friulano, 22% Chardonnay, 21% Sauvignon Blanc, 2% Ribolla Gialla. (Composite Cork: Diam10)
2016 Mas Rodó Penedès Incògnit. Core more blackish than purple, rims a saturated crimson red. Violets, menthol give some lift to the nose, damp leather and earth work to bring it back down, densely layered black cherry, plum fruit scents, no overripeness, pinch of baking spices but not all that much going on. Full-bodied, thankfully has sufficient tannin to frame it so that it doesn’t become shapeless as the first sip suggests. The cherry, blackberry base nears plum. Floral with incipient cedar tones. Light leather. There’s nothing here of note but as a total package it’s quite pleasant to drink and that has to mean something. Unspecified percentages of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo.
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Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
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