TN: Tasting Notes from Some Wines Tasted in 2006:
TN: 2002 D. Laurent, Beaune 1er V.V. Slightly reduced dark cherry with cola notes all dominated (ultimately, to a fault) by charred, spicy oak. I had thought the oak treatment would have been less on this lesser bottling, but I have splinters. Do not open for at least four or five years if you don’t actively crave the taste of oak plank, and hope for better integration with time. Decent underlying material, but I have my doubts. Also, the reduced character is puzzling to me. $30. 84(+?) points (with potential to improve only if the oak works out).
Night 2: Better, but only just. Still charred on the finish, which is not appealing in the way of too much make-up, with drying wood tannins. Still, slightly improved from the prior night. 85 points. Wait several years if you have any.
TN: 1998 Domaine Brusset Gigondas Le Grand Montmirail. A wave of brett and dirty diaper recedes with air to reveal a rustic, medium bodied wine with a nose of Provencial herbs, pepper, and black cherry. A bit of a liquer quality comes on with air, but it remains slightly rustic and a touch astringent and withdrawn. Tannin still present on the finish. Not overly complex, but a nice wine. $20. 89 points.
TN: 1979 Roudon-Smith Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Steiner Vineyard, Santa Cruz CA. A nice ruby only tinged with brown at the edge. A big whiff of sweet, aged Cabernet. Cedar. Dried flowers. A touch of spice. Sweet, broad and juicy fruit on the palate. A touch of eucylyptus develops on the nose and on the finish - more than I would like and the extent is the only real flaw in this wine. The finish is surprisingly long. A touch past prime, perhaps, but still just lovely. $14. 87 points.
TN: 2001 Lecheneaut’s Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Pruliers. Reticent spiced nose. Initially, a somewhat intense attack of sour cherries with a bit of sap on the palate. Lacks on the midpalate. Long finish, but not much to love about that finish at the moment. The fruit is a touch saccharin. A liquor quality comes with air, which helps broaden it out a bit. Drying tannin at the tail. I suspect there is more to be had and this is certainly not the best time to open this. I think I prefer the Dominodes from this vintage, but I have not tried them side by side. $25. 88(+?) points.
TN: 2002 Clarendon Hills Blewitt Springs, Old Vine Grenache. At first, who put cranberry juice in my wine? Tart. Loads of cranberry. No noticeable heat at all, despite 14.5%. Smooth. Quite different than earlier tastes (notes posted), which were more strawberry and cherry dominated with more candy. This added more candy as air opened it up, but not as crazy candied as it was a year or so ago. Odd, though enjoyable. Not for the traditionalist - as I said before, a pleasure model. $31. 90 points.
TN: 2003 Domaine des Baumard Savennieres Trie Speciale. A light, pale gold. Fairly reticent nose at the moment. Perhaps a touch of mineral and lemon/lime in the background. In the mouth, this Chenin Blanc is palate coating with a long finish strongly dominated by honeysuckle. Almost thick, pushing the envelope. Perhaps not quite out of balance, but not exactly thirst quenching - clearly a sign of the vintage which, to me, is not good. Tasty enough, but I liked the 1997 and 2000 much more than this. $28. 87 points.
TN: 1970 Chauvin, St. Emilion. The cork came out in one piece, loosing a slightly alcoholic smell of sweet cherries and rubbing alcohol. The dominance of the alcohol soon took a backseat to a sweet menthol and cherry liqueur. Brown sugar. Fruit somewhat faded, of course, but more left than I thought there would be. At least a decade past prime drinking, but a pleasant experience. $13. 86 points.
TN: 1997 Sterling Vineyards, Diamond Mountain Ranch, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon. Cassis with menthol. Rather astringent. Some drying wood remains on the finish. Little fruit. Rather crappy, especially considering the original price tag and the fact its been taking up space in my cellar. $36. 84 points.
TN: 2003 Bellum Providencia. 100% Monastrell. Strong black raisen. The very essense of it in liquid form. Very ripe and intense. Way too much for me, and zero resemblance to mouvedre, imo. Blind, I would say a Frankenstein cross between an Amarone and Zinfandel. Though the adventurous side of me tried to take some pleasure, and it is certainly smooth and rich, I cannot recommend this wine. Perhaps the vintage was just too freakish? 84 points.
TN: 2004 Barraud Les Crays, Pouilly-Fuisse. Very sweet - a flaw. Not flabby, but not much structure either. Minerals, lime-lemon…but far too sweet to want a second glass. Not nearly as nice as the splendid 2002. $31. 86 points.
TN: 2003 Duboef Moulin A Vent Carquelin. A large-scaled, ripe and juicy Beaujolais with black cherry and blackberry coating the palate. Some drying oak on the finish, but it is not obtrusive. After about an hour or so of air, this really takes off. It never loses its clear Gamay character - you may think that good or bad - but it is swathed in a lush velvet of layered berries. Yes, this lacks the depth and nuance of some wines from Lapierre and Foillard and the like, and it is certainly is marked by the 2003 vintage, but the Carquelin provides some serious, simple pleasure with a very long finish. Delicious with roast chicken - my favorite pairing with gamay. $14. 90 points, if just.
TN: 2000 Jayer-Gilles, Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits. Smelly barnyard on the nose and lingering on the finish. It dominates a step too far. Underneath, some cherry with plenty of damp leaves and underbrush. With time, it becomes slightly more interesting and a touch of glycerin arrives to alleviate what was a touch aggressive. A mature, interesting wine, and certainly enjoyable enough for what it is, though it lacks depth. $26. 86 points.
TN: 2004 Grand Veneur Cotes du Rhone Villages “Les Champauvins.” Provencal herbs, pepper, soft and very ripe, but too much so. Rather over-extracted and without much nuance. A touch bitter on the finish, which seems to come from the over extraction, as there is fruit aplenty. Another year in bottle may help, but I’m not running out to get any more. $14. 84(+?) points. – Half the bottle stored in a 375 in the fridge overnight. Tonight, it has improved. Still simple, a bit sharp and a touch bitter on the finish, but a touch less of the latter two. I think this wine would be a crowd pleaser in 18 months at a party of non-wine geeks. I’d now assess this at a solid 86 points based on the fruit alone, perhaps 87 with time. Not bad for $14. Still, in the end, I think it will remain a bit over extracted, overdone and lacking nuance, which is its ultimate failing for my tastes.
TN: 2005 Lapierre Morgon, Beaujolais. A light, deft wine that would surprise many a Beaujolais-noseturneruper if served blind. On the nose, nice strawberry and red cherry, as well as on the palate. Nice acidity and, happily, no oak. Only a touch of the characteristic clove, however… Not the greatest vintage for this cuvee – smart and lively, but without the depth and personality of some other vintages. Still, with two to three years age, this will drink very well with a roast chicken (the dish for such wines, imho) $16.99. 88(+?) points.
TN: 2002 Larkin Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley. Big Franc fruit, California sweet but spicy and long. Along the lines of a Pride Cab Franc, though a sharper and not as lush (though lush enough). Pepper aplenty. Oak obvious, but in control. Nice, but trying too hard. I will give my remaining bottles 2-3 years. I’m curious where it will go, as I do not have the experience to guess with this sort of wine. $40. 89 points.
2002 Clarendon Hills Blewitt Springs Grenache. Drunk over two nights, this was a disappointment. Reductive nose of intense spice and overly-ripe berries, mainly raspberry. Confectionary berry palate. Sort of sickening to drink. More like something you get at a 7-Eleven than at a wineshop. The 02 Clarendon Vineyard was much, much better; intense, but comparatively elegant. $34. 85 points.
TN: 2001 Santa Cruz de Artazu, Navarra, Spain. A high-toned, spicy nose with raspberry, red and black cherry, and serious amounts of cracked pepper on nose and palate. Quite significant acid here - such that there is none of the liquor or glycerin-like qualities found and enjoyed in many Southern Rhone grenache dominated wines. Frankly, its harsh on the finish. Some tannin present, too, not to mention noticeable oak that lingers on the end to its detriment. Decent with food, but I’ll wait on the few others I have for 2-3 years and hope it mellows out, which it well may. Well made. With two hours of air, it lossens up a touch, but overall, at present, it gives me little real love. $25. 87+ points.
TN: 2000 Beaumont, Haut Medoc. Very skunky on both the nose and palate. Some would say skunky to a fault - and that is fine - but for me, the accompanyment of a juicy steak makes this pure Cabernet heaven. Beyond the skunky, cabernet dominated profile, there is dark fruit and very rich tannin (mainly wood tannin). $10. 89 points (night one). – Next night (after half spent the evening in a half bottle in the frig), the wine is soft and slightly less interesting as the fruit has faded and the spicy oak has sprung to the forefront. The wood now dominates all else. 85 points (night two). The evolution makes me feel this wine received too much oak for its own good. Still, quite a value for the money. I’ll wait another year before trying the next bottle.
TN: 2004 Belliviere Coteaux du Loir “Vieilles Vignes Eparses”. Rich, pale gold. Strong beeswax nose. Slightly odd palate. Wax with subtle honeysuckle and lemon. Better the second night, despite a touch of oxidation, as the air has smoothed it out. Lanolin. $26. 90 points.
TN: 2005 Belliviere “Giroflees” Rose, Vin de Table. A startilingly bright red rose. Very reticent strawberry on the nose fools you when you taste it . . . wow, what a big, even overpowering palate! An explosion of candy, mainly strawberry with a touch of red cherry, covers the palate. The finish keeps going and going. For those who find Mordoree’s roses over the top, you need not apply, as this makes that rose seem subtle. Many won’t like it because its too big - my wife liked it, though she described it as a more complicated wine cooler. While I fault it for being so big and candied that it fails to refresh the palate, it is an interesting experience and it went quite well paired with the fried calamari and blackened swordfish bites on a bed of greens that we enjoyed at the local fish shop in Bay Head this weekend. With air, cranberry emerged and then rose petal water, offering up a slightly more complex experience. What grape(s)? Cab Franc?? $16. 89 points.
TN: 2005 Amphibolite Nature, Muscadet Serve et Maine. 11.5% alc. Delicious. The nose is clean and inviting. Mineral, only a suggestion of green apple hidden by plenty of that hard to define Muscadet character on the palate (how do you describe that?!). Remarkably rich and full for a Muscadet. Ready to go now with an “aged” profile, such that I think this is better consumed now rather than put away. 89 points.
TN: 2005 Marc Ollivier Muscadet Serve & Maine Sur Lie, Clos des Briords Cuvee Vieilles Vignes, Loire. 12% alcohol. Tight. Little on the nose. Clean and refreshing, but not too much on the palate (yet) either. Shell and mineral. Holding back quite a bit, this is a muscadet to put away and try again in 3-4 years. $12. 90+ points (with a nice potential upside).
TN: 1986 Marquis de Terme, Margaux. Good fill in the bottle and a long cork came out intact, albeit wine soaked. It’s a solid wine dominated by a fair share of black fruits and earth. A hint of licorice and oak spice, but nothing complex. Still alive and well, with pure, even (with air) slightly rich fruit, its a mature but rather boring wine. Zero “Margaux” nose. Fit for the table and food, but lacking much of an offer of real pleasure on its own. “Old School” Bordeaux, in a slightly negative way. If you have any, decant for one hour. $40 (last year). 87 points (with air).