A Few Recent Tastes LXXV

2016 Kracher Zweigelt Neusiedlersee, Austria Beerenauslese. Dried rose petal red to yellowish orange, has a glowing shininess to match its unusual coloration, finding it interesting to look at. The nose initially impresses with grill smoke, honey and cherry compote, displays a light sherried nuttiness, more openly knit and lifting than I had expected. Light to medium-bodied, pleasing sour bite with a fine acidic spine. Nothing here is overly sweet, which is arguably in keeping with the oft ignored beerenauslese style. Built on a cornerstone of tarriness and smoke, the cherry, blackberry fruit concentrated but not to a liqueur level. Mixed citrus and flower petal tones pulse past the mid-palate. Quite clean finish without seeming short. I was not sure what to expect here, got an easily appreciated and versatile lightweight dessert wine which marches to its own beat. 375 ml bottle. (Composite Cork: Diam10)

2021 Claus Preisinger Burgenland, Austria “Puszta Libre!”. Vivid watermelon pinkish red, consistent core to rims, very subtle haziness, average shine. The prettiness of the mixed berry scents marred some by barnyard notes around the edges, otherwise some basic lemon peel, crushed herbs, stone, nothing really remarkable, nothing really offensive. Light to medium-bodied, drier than expected with a dense coating of tannin. Acidity breaks through at the finish. Fruit running more towards cherry, red currant, dark berries. Light briny quality. Decent enough fruit follow-through at the end, particularly given its dryness. Nice quaffer that at $24 is overpriced but can’t fault the wine for the price. Would this be a humble bistro wine in Vienna? 60% Zweigelt, 20% Sankt Laurent, 20% Pinot Noir. (Composite Cork: Diam5)

1999 Lagier Meredith Syrah Mount Veeder. Blackish core, broad brick red rims with a little yellowing, good clarity. Nose initially was tilted towards leather and sous bois before opening well into black fruits, lavender and eucalyptus, any oak influence fully resolved, no lift to it making it seem terse. Full-bodied and plush in feel before starting to dry out through the finish. The plum, cassis, cherry fruit yet remains this side of prune and such. If anything it falls out of balance because there’s so much fruit left without sufficient tertiary elements to contrast. The florality and light citrus help, vague spiciness. The acidity which seemed pronounced in its youth not showing much now. This is my last bottle of six, similar to previous one in April 2021, if not a tad better. Would have hoped for a leaner, meaner, more matured profile.

2019 Metrick Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley Riverbench Vineyard. Light garnet to rust red color, fully transparent with lots of shine, buoyant in the glass. The nose is high-pitched and somewhat aggressive, from the red berry fruit to notes of pickle brine, white citrus, then a coating of vanilla pudding on top, turns more herbaceous as it opens, never settles down into a smooth presentation. Medium-bodied, solid acidic webbing throughout. More of the same, quite tart cranberry, raspberry fruit and white grapefruit citrus. Yet, it also presents a honeyed sweetness. Cola accent. Briny and grassy. Again, in no way underfruited but I can’t seem to get past the overall sourness. (Composite Cork)

2014 Sandlands Chenin Blanc Napa Valley. Bright, maturing golden color which remains far from any amber, average clarity as it pools into the glass to create a layered effect. The nose remains unharmonized, bouncing between vanilla pudding and coconut custard to sauna stones and clay, whisper of lanolin and the orchard fruit scents have lost their grip, more or less emptied out. Medium-bodied, blunt mouth feel, a bit more going on here. Orange peel, tea leaf, blanched nuts, stone and the peach, nectarine, pear fruit fares moderately better. Acidity is good. Still, there’s an overriding bitterness to things and that custard aspect pops in at inopportune moments. I didn’t care for this on release and this bottle just reemphasizes that initial impression.

2020 Domaine de la Barthassade Languedoc “Cuvée H”. Completely opaque purple core with thin glowing scralet to magenta rims, densely saturated. The nose comes off as compact and not especially forthcoming, violets, lavender, spiced orange peel, clean and devoid of funk, fruit scents tend towards plum, currant, blackberry, not much “red.” Medium-bodied, nimble on its feet with a tannic dryness which keeps it on message. Even more floral here, would characterize it more stony than earthy. Citrus skews from naval orange to grapefruit. Momentary suggestion of olive pit. Here too it has that “Ivory Soap girl” cleanliness, no guile, just a natural smile. The fruit manages good length in the face of said tannin. Needs food today, give it 3-5 years to relax and you should have something more complete on its own. 70% Syrah, 15% Mourvèdre, 15% Grenache. (Composite Cork)

2021 Baudry Chinon “Les Granges”. Ruby to a light purple, fine clarity siphons off some saturated hue, youthfully pretty. Still starts off with some merde and band-aid before blowing off in favor of blackberry, raspberry, cherry fruit as well as tobacco leaf and lighter bell pepper, once opened it’s hard to imagine it offending. Light to medium-bodied, to me surprisingly so and contributes to a shorter finish as the mouth weight disappears. More citrus here and less pepper, thus the tobacco leafiness holds sway. The fruit blacker, however, not possessed of the sort of density I’d expect to age many years. This more so as the tannin and acidity lack pop. Overall, I’d treat it as an enjoyable early drinker with some medium-term upside. The 12.0% alcohol helps keep it fresh and the palate doesn’t tire. (Composite Cork)

2007 Domaine de l’Éléphant Rivesaltes “Grenat”. Reddish black core with appreciably brighter sunset red rims, clean with a vigorous appearance. The nose doesn’t hit you with as alcoholic blast as it might, lots of fig, date and cherry liqueur, solid nuttiness, over time subtler nuances of leather, dried herbs and licorice appear, overall more sturdy than complex. In the mouth it’s medium-bodied, only semi-sweet and buoyed by decent acidity. That nuttiness really takes off here, quite dominant. An underlying savoriness relieves some sugariness from the raspberry, cherry, blackberry fruit flavors. Fresh finish, if truncated. Hey, this isn’t the Rivesaltes that kicks ass 50+ years later but it is an affordable, easy drinking rendition. And the lighter body and relatively balanced sweetness makes it more versatile with a range of dessert options. 75% Grenache, 20% Carignan, 5% Syrah. 500 ml bottle.

1995 Pavie Decesse Saint-Emilion. Has held onto a good bit of purple in the core, rims bricking but vivid and clean with shine. The nose unshockingly even now riven by oak toast and vanilla cream, momentary bursts of bell pepper, the currant, plum fruit hanging on well, tobacco leaf, lighter leather, give it credit for fullness at its age, still can’t attribute meaningful tertiary development. In the mouth it’s medium-bodied, compact and mildly tannic, tannin not resolved but not distracting either, Currant, blackberry fruit solid enough, some fading at the end. Oak less annoying here. Floral with tea leaf, cedar, orange peel, fresh herbaceousness. Doesn’t come off as particularly harmonized but chewy and there’s meat on the bones. Purchased for $25 back in 1999, those were the daze. Mostly Merlot, approximately 10% Cabernet Franc, maybe a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon.

2020 Benevelli Langhe Nebbiolo. Vaguely purplish core, much more brick red throughout, clarity is good and mostly unremarkable. The nose displays obvious ripeness, oodles of black fruit supplemented by rose petals and a vague mentholated element, very little hints at earthiness or such, still it’s clean and generous which should not be taken for granted. Medium-bodied, the initial impression is of redder fruits of solid ripeness but just about when you start to swallow the tannin smacks you upside the head. I wouldn’t call the tannin “green” but there is a coarseness to it. Thankfully as you drink through the bottle this does recede some. Licorice, flowers appear as one would hope, not getting any palpable oak presence. Credible length on the finish. I have had mixed experiences with Langhe Nebbiolo of late but I’d give this one a B+.

2021 Tiberio Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. Good depth to the yellow gold hue, not all that shiny but fills the glass well enough. The nose offers a blunt burst of salinity and minerality before swapping in honey and lemondrop, the peach, apricot scents seem to be doing the bare minimum leaving the smokiness the most attractive element. Medium to full-bodied, tart and acidic so the pucker factor is way high. Much more floral than the nose indicates, the lemon gets very intense. Even outpoints the stony, minerally onslaught. The fruit here too comes across to me as attenuated, little left by the finish. Acid freaks may find this to be the cat’s pajamas but needs more balance to me.

2008 Prunotto Monferrato “Bricco Colma” (100% Albarossa (Hybrid from the 1930’s of Nebbiolo and Barbera)). Impenetrably black with a razor thin brick red rims, looks fairly aged. The nose is mainly a burst of shoe leather and merde, quite funky, to the point where the fruit is either fully masked or shot, some burnt cocoa, not much else to say as letting it open some did nothing. Full-bodied, bottom heavy with little sense of movement. You can sense some residual tannin but there’s not a lot of structure beyond sheer heft. The blackberry, cherry, plum fruit fares moderately better here. Finish slathered in that leather and merde. Tacky residue afterwards. This bottle is clearly past its prime.

2021 Folias de Baco Douro Valley Cima-Corgo “Uivo Renegado Vinhas Velhas”. Mild gauziness throughout the pinkish cranberry red coloration, still it’s lightly hued enough to stay transparent. Nose displays some natty funk which doesn’t ever really blow off, beyond that is some lemon zest, strawberry to raspberry fruit scents, then a fresh herbaceousness but not much else. Light-bodied yet manages to adhere itself like a thin layer of glue across the entire palate. Sort of tannic but not convincingly so. Same red berry to cherry fruit, not juicy yet somehow concentrated like hard candy. More stony than herbaceous. The funk mostly obvious through the finish. Not really to my liking but if one wants to experiment for around $20 this is kind of what you get these days outside of mass market bottlings. Field blend of 25 grape varieties. (Composite Cork)

2017 Botanica Wines Stellenbosch “Arboretum”. Dark purple core with a soft glow, dark garnet rims, all very sleek and colorful. Any oakiness in the nose subsumed by smoky volcanic earth tones and a ferrous minerality, the black currant, plum scents ripe without excess juiciness, rounds itself out with tobacco leaf and cedar, pleasant enough and in a Bordelais idiom. Close to full-bodied, dry and mildly rough in texture, something is off with the tannin. A gusher of fruit does a decent job of lessening the brunt. More floral here with creamier oak and some mocha. The earthiness tends to dominate the finish. In the final analysis too dry to really just sip and enjoy, too bad as the price is relatively fair at $23. 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Cabernet Franc, 21% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot.

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Very much so, can be had for ~10 Euros in retail. I haven’t had that wine but do like Preisinger quite a bit.

I think nowadays you have to add an extra “1” to whatever pricetag you might have paid for a 90’s era Pavie _____