Wine Impressions - 11-17-18
2015 Onesta, Grenache Blanc Clay Station Vnyd. - reminds me of coastal Italian white wine; loaded with mineral/salty underpinnings and fresh white fruit flavors. Plenty of cut and good balance. Overachieving at $15.
2013 Cowan Cellars, Bel - mostly Sauvignon Blanc with about 20% skin-fermented Ribolla Gialla blended in; deep and rich but not flabby, honeyed fruit, stones and citrus. A wine that has only come into its own in the last two years.
2016 Louis Michel, Chablis Vaillons - nowhere near ready but showing clear, clean Chardonnay without oak and that distinctive signature of Chablis. Perfect with shrimp scampi but aging a couple years should be even better.
2014 Louis Michel, Chablis Montee de Tonnerre - about as good as this house and vineyard can produce. Beautiful in all aspects, perfect balance and great length. Astonishing wine. As good a young Chablis as I have had - grand cru level.
2012 Leo Steen, Chenin Blanc “The Steen” - from the Jurassic Park Vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley. All sorts of fresh fruit, flinty/salty elements, crisp acids and some of the honeyed tones that come to Chenin with age. Truly engaging wine. Has the stuff to age.
2015 Cowan Cellars Jack’s Rose - more clairet than Rose; dry, crisp but with plenty of flavor and good length. A lovely wine and it stood well with trout meunière for her and pizza with prosciutto with Fresno chilies for me.
2013 Marcarini, Barolo Brunate - young, tannic, full flavored but lightweight in the mouth; a delight.
1985 Chateau Margaux (magnum) - fresh, medium bodied, not showing its 34 years, complex and flavorful. A charming example of Bordeaux but another data point that reminds me that my personal preferences do not start with Cabernet.
2013 Onesta, Cinsault Bechthold Vnyd. - smells sweet but drinks bone dry; structured, fruit filled, savory accents and almost no weight in the mouth. Near ethereal delivery that finishes long. At $25, a no-brainer. Great stuff.
1999 Robert Chevillon, NSG Les Cailles - bottle bouquet/aquarium nose; firm, structured palate with moderate weight and decent sustain. Something regal here but also a nose that does not entice. A wine of paradox . . . but if that ain’t Burgundy, what is? Does not encourage aging.
1999 Bruno Giacosa, Barolo Falletto - insecticide, prunes, some Nebbiolo scents and flavors in the background, thin in the mouth . . . and nothing I want more of - and did not improve over the evening. Bought on release from a reputable dealer, cellared by me until opening. Thoroughly unimpressive. (Even with pot roast, this is unacceptable.)
Day two: the insecticide nose is gone but the pruney flavors remain and the palate is disjointed and thin.
2014 Dirty and Rowdy, Petite Sirah - dark berry nose, fine grained mouth feel, structured, concentrated and intense; I’m not much of a PS guy but this is nicely done. 11.9 abv.
2011 Bouchard Pere et Fils, Le Corton - a slight bit of charred wood on an otherwise deep and attractive nose; deep and focused palate with a polished delivery that is intense, concentrated and complete. It’s isn’t terribly complex (yet) but it’s delicious.
Day two: the char on the nose is pretty much gone and red fruit tones have come to the mouth. A little less polished, I’d say; a little more rustic - more about grape (and tannin) than place, and definitely shorter on the finish.
2015 Cusumano, Nero D’Avola - straightforward Nero without overt wood or artifice and showing some complexity and typicity. $9.
2013 Piedrassasi, Syrah Sebastiano Vnyd. - simply the most impressive new world Syrah I’ve had. Precise balance, complex, meaty, sauvage, deep and compelling. Each sip more engaging than the last as it opens up over the course of the evening. Old World in style, New World fruit and all world glorious. Oh my!