1999 Domaine du Château de Chorey (Germain) Beaune 1er Cru Les Vigne Franches Vieilles Vignes
Deep, almost opaque ruby red with a thick, clear rim. Very floral, with a minty-licorice tang to the nose that’s quite prominent at first. With a little air (or maybe it’s just habituation) that sharpness fades into a more expected and comforting bouquet of moist earth and bright red cherry/berry fruit. Very sensual and slippery at first, but with surprising grip in the middle and a long, bright, delicious finish. The nose is nice enough, but what pleased me most about this wine was its layered texture.
2002 Soter Pinot Noir Beacon Hill
First, a small and very poorly controlled experiment in stemware. Steve poured his first glass of Soter into the same Spiegelau Burgundy glass he used for the previous wine. In a brief internal struggle, my OCD defeated my skepticism, and I went back to the cabinet for the “proper” stem-- a Riedel Oregon Pinot Noir glass. With similarly small pours, we got the same dusty black fruit and funk from both glasses, but Steve’s showed much more prominent alcohol. He took one sniff of mine, and swapped his glass for one of the Riedels.
We’ve revisited the '02 and '03 Soter Beacon Hill wines many times over the years, and although we’re not as fond of this style as we were when we loaded up on these wines, it’s been fun and educational to watch them evolve.
Deep dark garnet, and like the preceding wine, it has a thick, clear rim. The bouquet is very intense, with blackberry, cola, dark chocolate, and noticeable (but not distracting) vanilla and smoke. Despite its “big” nose, the palate is neither full nor sweet, but rather, well balanced between its still-primary flavors, lively acid, and ample tannins. We still have well over a case of these; no doubt we’ll open another in 2009, but this wine is definitely in its youth.