I was out doing some shopping one evening and found myself in Zach’s neighborhood, where I knew some of the guys were hanging out watching football. So, I stopped in to visit and of course ended up hanging around to help them polish off the wines they had opened!
2003 Domaine G. Roumier Morey St. Denis 1er Cru Clos de La Bussière. I believe the guys were already on their second bottle of this when I arrived, so I have to assume they were digging it! It has an openly fruity nose featuring lots of briery, tart red and blue berries, but also a bit of earthy character underneath to keep it grounded. In the mouth, it displays plenty of body and features lots of warm red fruit, but it shows no signs of roasted character or anything. It does show occasional hints of alcoholic warmth from time to time, but nothing too significant. Otherwise, it is pretty open and exuberant with sweet fruit and tangy acidity riding all the way through to the slightly more structured finish. This was easy to drink.
2005 Château Duhart-Milon Pauillac. This was the third time I’ve had this wine, and it is just getting better and better, in my opinion. The nose is lovely—highlighted by aromas of cassis, red currant, earth and tobacco in a youthful yet layered and complex package. It is classy and youthfully restrained in the mouth, yet there is enough development already that it drinks well right now. It has a holistic and balanced feel to the notes of dark and red fruit and earth tones. The tannins and structure are noticeable but hardly interfering. I think this will continue to drink well for a while and I fear for the lives of the bottles I have stashed in the cellar.
1999 Ristow Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Quinta de Pedras Napa Valley. On the nose, this wine shows a lot of big, rich and dense aromas of chocolate-covered cherries, black raspberries and confectionary notes riding atop some earthier scents of mud, tobacco leaf and roasted pepper skins. It is similarly muscular and brawny in the mouth—showing lots of stuffing and solid structure. However, the fruit itself feels quite fresh and easy-flowing due to a fine acidic cut that runs throughout. That quality also gives a feeling of excellent length and persistence to the tasty flavors this wine sports. I have to say I like it a good deal, though I admit I was gun-shy due to a recent poor showing of the 1996 that showed little in common (other than the muscular style) with this 1999 or with a nice 1997 I had some time back.
1999 Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley. The nose here shows a ton of deeply-concentrated creme de cassis framed by some softer, airier notes of peppermint dust, balsa wood and leafy bits. It is full, rich and chewy in the mouth, with dark red cherries dominant in the flavor profile. It features soft but plentiful tannins, especially on the finish. It is pretty youthful and big-boned, though not overly primary or anything. It has plenty of life ahead but offers solid drinking pleasure right now.
2005 Switchback Ridge Petite Sirah Peterson Family Vineyard Napa Valley. This wine sports a big powerful bouquet of sweet berry cobbler, dried figs and plums, a blast of creosote and lots of oak, vanilla and butterscotch overtones that taken together have a certain sweet appeal at first but start to sort of wear thin on my nerves after a while. In the mouth, it is just crazy sweet and brambly-fruited. It feels absolutely sucrose-laden, as the waves of blue and purple fruit roll over the palate. It features fruit stuffing galore, and while the tannins show none of the anger or roughness I for some reason was expecting, the wine cannot at this stage get away from its lavish oak and vanilla framing. I don’t want to suggest the wine is an out of balance mess or anything, because it’s not—it is just a sweet sugar lollipop of a wine that I’d be very curious to see how it might age.