2001 Knoll Grüner Veltliner Loibner “Vinothekfüllung Smaragd.” Deeply bronzed, pools down into the glass, bright glow gives it life. Smoky nose of uber tropical pineapple, mango, papaya and pink grapefruit with sweeter garden herbs like fennel or sage, the pungency lasts as long as you want. Medium-bodied, while the acidity is a bit flat it’s got an electric palate presentation. A white pepper explosion followed on with snap pea, grapefruit to lemon citrus. Floral in a dewy manner. Layers of richness in the nectarine, pineapple, papaya, mango fruit, last fully through the finish. The result here is just why one would age it, pretty much at the height of its powers.
2017 Harrington Syrah Marin County McEvoy Ranch. Dull blackish purple to scarlet red, the darkness doesn’t really mask the clarity, just no shine to it. High-toned nose of white grapefruit and peppercorns, blends in damp leather, lavender, black olive notes, the black currant, plum scents steady but pulling up the rear throughout. Medium-bodied, tannin well-massaged while the acidity gives it a serious jolt. Very floral yet there’s so much leather and earth too that I wouldn’t call it “pretty.” The black fruits holding on just fine, as tangy as ripe. Olives and grapefruit bring even more tartness through the back half. Develops more tarriness as it opens. Given how explosive this wine was on release I am going with it being mildly shut down, especially in terms of aromatics. But still damn tasty.
2008 Cowan Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma Mountain Silver Pines Vineyard “Skin-Fermented.” Glowing orange color with yellowed rims, clear if flat and mostly shineless. Nose of orange rind, tea leaf, bergamot, at times get a little sage, has a thick and musky texture in the nostrils, not particularly fruity, maybe some melon or apricot, have to assume at this juncture it’s fully matured. Full-bodied, retains the tannic feel which adds weight and heft. Here you get a dried fruit array of peach, apricot, pear with an echo of strawberry. Fairly citrusy, lemon to naval orange. more peel than pulp. A tarriness added to the tea leaf base. Overall, much more savory than sweet, outside of the fruit nothing close to sweet. Consumed at close to room temperature which likely added some length and softened it some. Nothing’s immortal but can see this staying as-is for some time yet.
2020 Bedrock Chardonnay Santa Maria Valley Bien Nacido Vineyard. Bright and shiny for the darkness of the golden hue, could visually pass for a more matured wine. Good deal of fullness to the nose, ripe pear, apricot, melon scents, mildly vanillin with notes of clove spice, the oak treatment a component but not a major one, dissolves cleanly enough. Medium-bodied, makes an initial impression of bitterness along with the acidity gives it a semi-rough texture. Much spicier here with ginger and star anise joining the clove. In turn there’s the addition of pineapple to the orchard fruit base, none of which comes off as opulently rich. Naval orange accents and at times shows a curious nuttiness. Even with a low ABV leaves an impression of heat at the finish. Overall, would appreciate a softer, more integrated profile. (Composite Cork: Diam30)
1995 Baumard Quarts de Chaume. The color is past bronzed to an orange-brown hue, yellowed rims, fine clarity. Nose of orange marmalade, caramelized brown sugar, pressed flowers, offers a medicinal lift as well, concentrated apricot, nectarine fruit with a patina of pineapple, for its heft dissolves gracefully and without outstaying its welcome. In the mouth it’s medium-bodied and layered, reclines back across the tongue. But don’t mistake it for a lazy wine as the acidity is quite nice and time has tempered enough sweetness so you can see its bones more clearly. Brown sugar, molasses and orange reduction, you could glaze a chicken with it. Peach, nectarine, pineapple fruit drips bitterly down your chin. Squares its shoulders through the finish to show off its muscle. Seriously good wine. 375 ml bottle.
2002 Deletang Montlouis Les Batisses “Demi-Sec.” The color hovers between deep gold and orange, strong glow with moderate shine, overall looks good for its age. Excellent focus to the nose, very tropical with pineapple, mango, papaya fruit next to grapefruit to tangerine citrus, more smoky than honeyed, vague hint of lactose lurking in the shadows. Medium-bodied, muscular with super-charged acidity and brawn to spare. The sweet and sour tropicality ratcheted up a few notches here, vividly flavored throughout. Takes on a minty quality as well with sweet tea leaf. That tangerine, grapefruit citrus explodes through the finish. Way back when this was a well respected producer available at fantastic prices, wish I had cellared more. No clue what happened to the domaine or its holdings.
1995 Nicolas Joly Savennières Coulée de Serrant “Moelleux.” Brightly bronzed, not that deep with golden hues left, looks glazed. Sinewy, smoky nose of wax, Lemon Pledge, tea leaf, fills out as the wine opens, the pineapple, nectarine, papaya, passion fruit almost honeyed and perhaps botrytized. Full-bodied, the acidity has plenty of bite left and keeps things moving forward. Pleasingly floral, sort of like Earl Grey tea. Concentrated pink grapefruit, lemon citrus, fruit duplicates that found in the nose. Finishes close to savory. By all appearances still smack in the middle of the drinking plateau.
2002 Dirler-Cadé Riesling Alsace Kessler. Fully orange color, good shine to it, definitely mature looking. The nose has taken on a yeasty, doughy quality to complement the strong rubber element, spiced orange peel, tea leaf, curiously demure orchard fruit scents, puts on a lot of fullness as it warms. Full-bodied, acidity showing some blunt force, comes across as a bruiser. Tropical demeanor with pineapple and kumquat laid over a base of apricot paste. Some pink grapefruit. Continues to display that savory tea, garden herb thing. To its credit loses that doughiness found in the nose. Time appears to have robbed it of some clarity among the constitutive parts but little of its general power. If I had any more I’d give it an hour in a decanter.
2018 Famille Berrouet Irouléguy “Herri Mina” (100% Cabernet Franc). Given the darkness of the core, the clarity and transparency of the wine is striking, the rims run the gamut from ruby to brick red. A floral dimension softens the nose some but it’s mostly taut blueberry, blackberry fruit, leather, and tarry earth with something quasi-volcanic going on, scrubs your nostrils clean. Light-bodied, both tannic and acidic, finding the latter more perceptible. Here you get a nice green streak of bell pepper and grassiness (nice to me). Stony poor dirt and dried tar. In fact, it’s darn dry all the way around. That said, adequate ripeness in the sour black fruits, doesn’t feel lacking. It’s a country wine without bending over backwards to be rough around the edges, it just flows naturally. You could wait a couple of years for the structure to soften but that’s it.
2018 Charles Van Canneyt Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cherbaudes. Rich purple core, dark on the whole, deep magenta rims, good clarity. In the nose the fruit is close to plummy, well-spiced as well, touch of underbrush and dried flowers, fairly clean but also not much going on, more size and texture than delineation. Medium-bodied, pretty stern right off the bat, tannins waste little time clamping down. Not green but borderline overpowering. So, it’s to the credit of the cherry, blackberry fruit that it holds up as well as it does. More twiggy than earthy, the blunt finish features a sour lemon twist. Kindness would dictate the consideration that it might be shut down. In any event, it needs considerable time to let that tannin subside. (Composite Cork: Diam10)
2012 Domaine Ecu Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine “Granite.” Maturing golden color, good clarity and not close to bronzing. Lanolin infused nose with a building yeastiness, oily, notes of quinine, lemon custard, stony sort of smokiness. Medium-bodied, extracted enough to adhere quickly to the tongue, quite dry but not especially acidic. Stone, slate, very lemony with accompanying orange peel. Not too yeasty. Peach and apricot pit, hint of pineapple. Comes off as ripe but without any juiciness. Square finish.
2020 Mee Godard Morgon Corcelette. Flushed and glowing from the violet core through the pink magenta rims, shiny surface too. Despite the richness of the cherry, plum fruit scents the nose displays a good bit of dryness which heightens the earthy, grassy qualities, nothing here creates any bite nor lift, generally inert. Full-bodied, tannic and here the dryness gets almost painful. Not to say there’s any lack of blueberry, blackberry, cherry flavor. And a sort of savory herbs thing. But it grinds to a halt almost as soon as it gets started. Hints of citrus among the bigger stony earthiness. The key takeaway appears to be “age me” yet there’s no real indication of what you’d get besides lower tannin and a little less fruit. But maybe that’s asking too much.
2013 Nicolas Mariotti Bindi Vermentino Corsica Vin de France “Le Blanc Mursaglia.” High shine with semi-washed out yellow rims, attractive day-glo aspect to it. Lifted nose of diesel, oil, sea salt, filling out with lime zest, pressed flowers and dry passion fruit, papaya, pineapple scents, slow swirling action in the nostrils. Medium-bodied and bottom-heavy, lots of downward pressure into the tongue. Lemon, savory spices, licorice, warm rubber, appears to have matured into a more complex form. The acidity level is good but blunt and does not relieve the heaviness. Hard to say what this “should” taste like a decade down the road.
1997 Nicolas Joly Savennières Coulée de Serrant Clos de la Coulée de Serrant. Very dark orange color yet with a lot of glow which brings brightness, to my mind couldn’t look any more matured. Smells a little like furniture polish, parses out orange peel, wax, brown sugar, and something akin to Genoa salami, given the near absence of fruit the total effect is much more savory than sweet, not volatile but not so pleasant. Medium-bodied, dry with a cloaking sort of powdered acidity, more bottom heavy than zippy. Heavy on the orange to tangerine citrus and here you do get a vestige of apricot, peach, nectarine fruit, a decided contrast to the ripeness of its youth. The waxiness feels bitter and at times nutty. Tried to give it air as well as letting it warm up only to be met with modest improvement at best. It’s simply past its prime.
2004 Nicolas Joly Savennières Coulée de Serrant Clos de la Coulée de Serrant. Fully bronzed color, bright and shiny, almost reddish at the core, visually fully matured. Nose of lanolin and candle wax, orange marmalade, tea leaf, subtly smoky with quinine notes, moderate concentration in the pear, papaya, apricot fruit scents, not much enticing going on. In the mouth it’s medium-bodied with a dry firmness and extract. A dried fruit concentration brings flavor in lieu of freshness. More orange marmalade and tea leaf. Can’t say I am getting any “sense of place” from it. Opened up a little as it warmed. Waxy. Acidity is lackluster and contributes to the sluggish mouth feel. It’s acceptable while also clearly pushed further than advisable.
2001 Robert Weil Riesling Kiedricher Gräfenberg Spätlese AP #7. Color slowly moving from deep gold into bronze yet youthful still, good shine. Honey, lemonade, potpourri, rose petals filled nose, orange marmalade, strong pineapple, nectarine, apricot, mango scents, only mildly milky and quite fresh, a shifting kaleidoscope of aromas. Full-bodied, lush and giving, the acidity buttresses rather than dominates. You get more lactose here, adds complexity. Still, it’s lively and maturing at once. Honey, molasses, coconut oil and pink grapefruit mix around. Fully tropical papaya, guava, mango fruit. The future is yet unwritten here.
2006 Von Schubert Riesling Maximin Grünhaüser Abtsberg Spätlese AP #4. Very dark gold and a hair away from turning amber, clear if on the flat side. Milky nose, no lack of lactose, solid rubber too, tropical pineapple, papaya styled fruit without seeming all that juicy, some snap pea and tea leaf too, good length, doesn’t seem as if it has fully developed just yet but not far off. Medium to full-bodied, enough acidity to prevent it from feeling overly plump. Orange marmalade to pink grapefruit add zip and makes the fruit seem more tropical. Some rubber but not getting the milky notes of the nose. Not quite honeyed. Appreciate a fresh reset through the finish. Floral echoes afterwards, chamomile. Again, it’s a matter of how badly you want the advanced tertiary notes vs. enjoying the fruit/acid balance of today.
2020 Hermann Ludes Riesling Thörnicher AP #3. Pale white-green straw hue, barely there, the bubbles clinging to the glass sides have more visual impact, fully transparent. Quite lemony nose with notes of mineral water and quinine, oiled stone, apricot fuzz, very fresh and energetic, perhaps even to a fault. Light-bodied with an underlying firmness, given the lack of weight one might expect more movement. Good plus acidity, only slightly stronger than the body can handle. Noticeably sour and here it’s lime which comes to the citrus fore. Solid stone, not getting anything I’d consider minerality. Pineapple, peach, kiwi to green apple fruit of minimal juiciness. Sort of fizzy mouth feel to it. Not particularly long finish. An entry level bottling purchased to expose myself to the German rockstar du jour. (Screwcap)
1981 Oremus Hungary Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos. Brownish orange color, clear enough throughout, yellowed rims. Nose of green apple, blanched nuts, caramelized brown sugar, orange peel, openly knit and airy for its type, has a gentleness to it. Medium-bodied, smooth and fluid with a lot more acidity than expected, amazingly fresh for its age. Strong orange citrus element, sour presence. An underlying nuttiness helps smooth it out. More of the brown sugar and molasses, runs counterpoint to the more biting apricot, peach, green apple, nectarine fruit. The level of vibrancy is off the charts good. Unspecified percentages of Furmint, Hárslevelu, etc. 500 ml bottle.
2020 Murgo Nerello Mascalese Sicilia Etna Rosso. Clean, light ruby-violet with good sparkle, consistent core to rims. Nicely perfumed nose, steady lift, red berry fruit scents, ginger root, mild leatheriness as it dissolves, attractively pretty and firm at once. Light-bodied, wiry tannin gives it a stern profile right off. Dry earthy stoniness prevails even as the strawberry, raspberry flavors try to soften the blow. Acidic enough to play up a lemon citrus element. Same ginger thing as found in the nose. Very drying finish. Absolutely needs food to reduce the chewiness. (Composite Cork: Diam5)
2001 Emidio Pepe Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. Color has turned orange, visually flat, washed out rims, not much to look at. Very neutral nose which defies analysis, mildly oily, mixed citrus, minor apricot pit to pear fruit notes, just little going on. Full-bodied, extracted and big, coats the mouth right off. Citrus pith, pine tar, light saline quality. The fading peach, apricot, pear fruit struggling to maintain some form of concentration. You feel it a long time after the flavors have subsided. To me this is a good bit past peak and mostly a curiosity at this point, but this particular bottle might have been off.
2019 Edgebaston Cabernet Sauvignon Stellenbosch “David Finlayson.” Nice clarity to the liquid, the purple core glows faintly and has a clean opacity, the rims a duller crimson to brick red hue. The nose is not especially giving, floral with succinct blackberry, black currant fruit scents, some cedar to incense notes but pleasingly low on the oak, light herbaceousness adds to the lift, nothing here suggests a bruiser. Medium-bodied, flows well across the palate, more oak cream than in the nose but in kind the black fruits show more exuberance and balance things out. Very clean, a touch of leather but no real earthiness, continues to impress favorably by its smoothness. Tannin is suave and toned down, almost feels more acidic. Mild citrus, floral tones heighten the energy of the finish. There’s very little chance I would peg this as Cabernet Sauvignon in a blind tasting. (Composite Cork)