1999 Jasmin, Côte-Rôtie:
Make no mistake – this is terrific syrah; but, at the moment, there is little terroir here and not a lot of aromatic complexity; with air, it does open and gains nuance to the point that I think this is just a short while away from being at one of its drinking stages. I sense this is moving away from the feminine character of its first ten years of life, to a more masculine incarnation now and in the future. If you drink it now, decant.
2008 Giacosa, Roero Arneis:
The aromatics need some time open to come into full flower; apple, resin and mineral in the mouth with a softening that happens with airing but not to the point of losing the bright acidity this wine carries from start to finish. Maybe needs a year in the cellar; and when is the last time one could say that about an arneis?
2007 Ridge, Carignane Buchignani Ranch:
As is usual with Ridge, the label has a lengthy description of the élevage which includes the following: “It aged for twelve months in air-dried American oak (10% new, 20% one and two years old, 70% three and four years old.”
If that is true, this is “under-fruited.” All I could smell or taste was wood; overwhelming wood. I detected some nice textures at mid-palate and a hint of fruit, but even that dried out on the finish.
While I enjoy the label recitations, this barrel program didn’t work. Not in the least bit, enjoyable.
1997 Jaboulet, Hermitage La Chapelle:
A nose of game, cheese, fresh meat and truffles, some black and red fruit, and a sauvage element – all together, very enticing; lives up to the nose in the mouth with a worsted texture, flavors that expand upon the elements of the nose, almost hidden tannin and a balanced, long and detailed finish. Showing very well right now and all that Hermitage should be. IMO, the last vintage this house got it right.
(Aside: on release I bought several cases of this wine and have drunk through most of the 750’s over the years. I still have the magnums left, but I have yet to have a single bottle that did not impress; whether as a young, strapping illustration of syrah or now, as fine example of aged Hermitage. I have heard others say different but, not having a single disappointment, I feel myself very lucky.)