Vacation wines (longish and totally useless)

I took no notes, so all I can give is general impressions of the best and worst of the wines I drank over the last couple of weeks. Mostly, the wines performed exceptionally well; one exception was the 1996 Leoville Poyferre which was flawed, dense with funk and little else.

Much more successful, though to varying degrees, were 1999 Croix St. Georges, 1999 Monbousquet, 2001 Cos D’Estournel, 2004 Angelus, 2001 Pavie Decesse, and 1999 Pavie. The Croix St Georges was gorgeous, bursting with fruit and easy to drink. Not a “tour de forces in winemaking” but another example of a seriously undervalued producer. The Monbousquet continues to puzzle me, as many deride it as an exemplar of all that is wring with modern bordeaux. What I found no overt oak, only an elegant and well-mannered wine. I am mystified by what I read. The Decesse was absolutely brilliant, measurably behind the 2000 but an exceptional wine in its own right, and much more convincing that the 99 Pavie. The Angelus was also exceptional. The Cos was a pleasure to drink too, but like the Angelus, a few more years (at least) are in order.

We drank a LOT of champagne. Usually a bottle on the beach as the day ended, toes in the surf, with another bottle or two before dinner. Obvisously, the situation did not allow for notes, but we drank and enjoyed bottles of 2002 Jose Dhondt Blanc de Blanc, Guy Charlemagne NV, Jacquesson 730, Jean Lallement BdB NV, and Cremant de Mumm. Bob’s enthusiasm for the latter continues to puzzle me; it is pleasant enough but a bit sweet and nowhere near the world-beater he saw. The Guy Charlemagne was a lot of fun and I made a note to seek out more (this was my first bottle). The 1990 Paul Bara Special Club is a special wine, having traded effervescence for complexity and a mellow depth. Just luscious.

The champers of the trip, however, was the 1996 Bollinger Grande Annee. THAT is a wine to treasure, and this was, sadly, my only bottle. If you own some, you are very lucky. It is multi-dimensional, vivacious, and welcoming now, and will be more so in years to come. A wine to treasure.

We also drank another of the 2004 Domaine William Fevre Chablis Bougros Cote Bouguerots which was again intoxicating on the nose but somewhat less giving in the mouth. Another year or two will do wonders for this wine.

Three other red wines performed exceptionally well. The 2004 Montevetrano was a delight. Unfortunatley, we had this open when the garagiste email arrived and I was compelled to but some of the 206. If it is half the wine the 2004 is, I will be thrilled to have bought it. Also spectacular was the 1992 Montelena Estate Cabernet. I don’t want to start a shouting match, but the distance, to my palate, and the 2005 Switchback Ridge Cabernet and the 2004 Switchback Ridge Petite Syrah was enormous. The former wine had the fruit and exuberance – at 17 years of age – that one hopes to find in a CA wine but also the composure I look for in bordeaux. It was everything I want in a CA wine. The Switchback Ridge wines were mono-dimensional in comparison. I know the latter wines are much, much younger, and I suspect (hope) they will improve with time, but it is very hard for me to see them gain the maturity and grace the Montelena presents.

Finally, we had another bottle of the 2004 Flor de Pingus, which was brilliant as expected. I really wish I could find another tempranillo that delivers the way this one does at its price range. Just an exceptional wine that could hold its own against much, much more expensive wines.

Our time at the beach is a time to read, relax, drink good wines with friends and family, and recharge before the academic year begins again. I know lots of people look for beaches that offer lots of shopping and activities; this is why we choose to go to Corolla (the picture was taken at high tide, mid-day at high season in front of “our” house):

I would love to say that I am glad to be back, but I promised not to lie to you. :smiley:

Thanks for the impressions. It’s nice getting status updates on youngish wines like the '04 Angelus.

Neal, I appreciate Flor de Pingus for what it is, and I do like it quite a bit. While it’s gotten better starting in 04, it’s price has basically doubled, and I don’t see the value for my tastes quite being there. The Spanish Tempranillo based wines that I can most compare to Flor that I most appreciate are:

Bodegas Dos Victorias “Gran Elias Mora” (Toro)
Bodegas Roda “Roda” (Rioja, incidentally used to be called Roda I)
Alion (Ribera)
Bodegas Aalto “Aalto” (Ribera)

These are all undeniably “modern” wines but they do not go over the top (for my tastes, or in comparison to Flor) and retain their sense of place, grace and balance to my tastes (Aalto only barely, but I love it none the less). I think they are some of the best examples of more modern Tempranillo across three DO’s. I really recommend both Gran Elias Mora and Roda…

Nice notes Neal.

And the picture was nice too - although it seems to be lacking a little in comparison to others I have enjoyed in your posts. [wink.gif]

Sounds like nice vacation wines. More and more Champers for you it seems. Glad to hear about the 92 Montelena.

Neal, thanks for the notes. I’ve gone through 3 btls of 99 Pavie and have always been underwhelmed…
Maybe I drank them too young [wink.gif]

1999 Croix St Georges soulds like a deal.

It looks like wine-searcher’s low price today for the wine is $65 at Knightsbridge; that seems a tad too high to qualify as a deal; I bought mine within the last year for ~$50 if memory serves. It is a very nice wine though and I am glad I have a few more bottles.

Lou, “underwhelmed” is a good way to put it. The 99 Pavie is a pleasant wine but far less than it should be or has been in every vintage since.

Josh, thanks for the tips!

Bruce, the beach pix in the other thread are a bit more, um, stimulating.

Loren, I am scouring the web for a good price on the 92 Monty. Looks like $100 will be the best one can do, and I don’t see any quite that low at the moment. A superior wine for sure.

'01 Pavie-D is the shiznit…and for under $70 locally, it’s a steal.

Great stuff. Thanks for sharing. I passed on the 04 Angelus but it sounds like it is coming along nicely. I have my first 04 Bougros Cote Bouguerots cued up but I think I push it out until early next year. And very glad to hear about the 04 Montevetrano. Since it was the very first wine I bought from the now defunct Wine Pavilion, I was thinking about digging out my first bottle. But then I stashed it back. I only have 2 bottles. Do you think I should dive in now or stay patient?


Jason, this bottle seemed a bit less giving than the last I had 6 months ago, but that may have been for a variety of factors related to me, the stemware, the conditions etc. I think this is an absolutely gorgeous wine now and – though I have no great experience with how they age – I am guessing it will continue to improve. I am always concerned about premox though (although there were no signs of that here at all) so I err on the side of drinking earlier rather than later. But that is just me. Even if I only had 2, I would not hesitate in the slightest in opening one now.