Conundrum Fun Wine Bistro, Freeport Maine

Conundrum Fun Wine Bistro

I don’t often go here in the summer, but there I was last night with two teetotalers. That’s when 40 wines by the glass and the half glass come in handy, especially when there’s a desiccated driver.

2016 Stags Leap Winery Chardonnay Napa Valley – Good, but more interesting. The aromas are pear more than apple more than peach. The palate is the real kicker. This is extremely mineral, does not taste like California but also not like Burgundy. It is identifiably Chardonnay, but the flintiness is not Chablisien, the smokiness is unique and the hints of coriander seed and white pepper are also different. This is not in perfect balance, the flavors are not really in harmony, but is a good accompaniment to a feta salsa on foccacia. Rated 87.5, I am tempted to put a few bottles down as this could improve.

2016 Schlossmulenhof Sauvignon Blanc Trocken – Whizzy aromas are mostly flowers and grass, fizzy flavors are mostly hay and stones. This is vivid, nicely balanced and packs a punch of flavor intensity. If not the grandest or most subtle of Sauvignon Blancs, it’s a great transition wine as Germany moves from Riesling to SB and eventually to Syrah, Grenache, Bobal and Alicante as the world turns warm. Rated 88.5, ready to go.

2015 Four Graces Pinot Gris Oregon – As the name implies, this is more Alsace than Italy, for which I am grateful. Cactus flower, honeysuckle and lemon aromas lead to a palate that has some of the rich oiliness of fine Alsace but with just enough acidity to balance and refresh. The flavors now offer some pear and peach… not botrytis, but an echo of that richness. The finish is long, this is harmonious and perfect on a cool summer evening getting consumed by mosquitos (both me and the wine) on Vinnie’s semi-enclosed terrace seating. Rated 90. Mature.

2013 Kennedy Shah Merlot Columbia Valley – The aromas are polite with red plum and a hint of raspberry. The palate is soft, but sadly rather bland with the simple fruit of a supermarket wine. There is thankfully no detectable sugar. Even approaching five years, there is no sense of anything secondary, just a little fatigue setting in. I don’t often order Merlot, even though I’ve had plenty of thrilling Merlot-based Bordeaux blends (you can open Petrus for me, although I’d prefer the half-Merlot Ausone). Is it me or is it this particular wine? Rated 82, might have been 84 last year.

2015 Austin Hope Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles – Blatant and lovely Cabernet Sauvignon aromas feature red currant and black cherry, with hints of blackberry, noticeable but integrated oak and a hint of cedar visiting from the Medoc. This is balanced and fine. It does not have the weight or intensity of truly great wine, but should please anybody who likes their Cabernet sturdy and friendly. Rated 92.5, could improve 2 points over 5+ years.

Dan Kravitz

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