TN: NYE at Yoni’s (couple Rieslings, SS Southing, blind red pair)

Yoni started us off with a couple MSR Ausleses. I thought the Fritz Haag was pretty good, still in need of lots of time, and obviously better than the Bert Simon.

NOSE: initially, some sulphuriness that quickly blew off; petrol and tropical fruit (dried banana); moderately expressive to expressive.

BODY: golden yellow color of medium depth; medium bodied; no spritz.

TASTE: smooth with good acid; tropcial fruits; minerality on the finish; no botrytis. Open, but still a baby.

NOSE: rhubarb; slight petrol; smells a bit sugary; hints of rotten egg come and go; moderately expressive.

BODY: light yellow color; medium-light to medium bodied; cork was a soggy nightmare.

TASTE: loosely structured and a bit fat; light; cherry blossom; banana flavored Runts candy; decent, and paled in comparison to the 2004 Fritz Haag B-J-S Auslese from earlier in the evening.

Moving from the Rieslings, I popped and poured the ‘07 Southing into a decanter to give it some air. Both Yoni and I sampled the wine immediately after opening, and it was pretty bad. I think Yoni’s impression of it wasn’t quite as negative as was mine at that time, but neither of us liked it; to me, it was pure oak juice. We left it in the decanter for an hour or so, and later on Yoni poured a glass and made some kind of surprised declaration about how it had gotten so much better with air; being skeptical, I basically made him repeat himself four or five times before I finally believed him. Upon pouring some for myself, as soon as I put my nose in my glass it was obvious this wine had found its way to a happy place; gone were the overwhelming oak aromas and tastes. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a wine that changed so drastically with such moderate aeration. I come away from this wine thinking it just needs more time in the cellar to sort itself out; that said, if given enough air, it’s pretty darned delicious now, too.

  • 2007 Sea Smoke Pinot Noir Southing - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Rita Hills - Sta. Rita Hills (12/31/2010)
    – decanted immediately before tasting –
    – tasted non-blind over a couple hours –

NOSE: initially, this was a bit alcoholic and nothing-but-oak on the Nose ---- I left it alone in the decanter, and came back to it an hour or hour and a half later. This wine seriously turned a corner for the better in that decanter: when I came back to it 60 - 90 minutes after decanting, lots (but not all) of the oak had fallen to the background, and a pleasantly seductive cranberry and cherry wash had forced its way to the forefront; some more time in the glass brought more ripe red berry aromas and spice.

BODY: raspberry color of medium depth; clear; medium bodied.

TASTE: initially, good acidity, but nothing but oak flavors showing ---- when I came back to it, the oak was less prominent, allowing the ripe red berry flavors through; palate is full; well-balanced between acid and tannin; ripe, and carries its alcohol well. Overall, this was a wine of two faces: upon opening, it was an oak monster; after aerating in decanter, it was much better. Needs more time in the cellar; hold ‘till 2013.

B: 50, 5, 12, 16, 8 = (91 pts.)

Finally, Yoni had a couple reds he wanted to blind me on. “Blind” is used somewhat loosely here, as Yoni did tell me one was from California and the other from France.

  • 2001 Delectus Cabernet Sauvignon Stanton - USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville (12/31/2010)
    – decanted for a couple hours before tasting –
    – tasted blind over one hour –
    – 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot –

NOSE: ashy/cementy; “smells like a ripe Pauillac” — that’s the singular thought that kept running through my head when smelling this, so I figured it could be Pauillac or a very Bdx-esque Napa Bdx blend.

BODY: fine particulate matter present; medium to medium-full bodied.

TASTE: a bit sweet; drying tannins provide mid-palate grip; moderately oaky; earthy; Bdx blend; a tad warm on the back palate; pretty smooth; 14.6% alc.; overall, this was a very nice Napa Cab. that is not in the stylistic area code occupied by so many Napa Cab. darlings of today. I guessed Napa Bdx. blend on this; after the reveal, I was convinced it wasn’t 100% C.S. so I did some additional investigation to find that there is 4% Merlot in the blend – while tasting, I was guessing Petit Verdot, but finding-out it was Merlot does not surprise me.

  • 2003 Château Péby Faugères - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru (12/31/2010)
    – decanted for a couple hours before tasting –
    – tasted blind over one hour –
    – yonster24’s bottle of same date –

NOSE: tight; banana oak; cherry licorice; short and fat; a tad bit smoky/leathery.

BODY: lots of fine particulate matter present; medium-full bodied.

TASTE: tastes like a ripe St. Emilion; some cedary oak; pruney; soft fine-grained tannins grip a bit; good acidity; well-balanced between acid and tannin, but feels a bit loose; 13.5% alc… I guessed Bdx. - St. Emilion on this. Was in shock when I found out how much this wine costs – this wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t all that good, either; I wouldn’t want to pay more than $20 for this.

We ended the evening with some Roederer Estate bubbly, but I did not write anything down for it; I remember being impressed with its liveliness and relative lightness on the palate; it was markedly better than a VC that was also opened by somebody.