2006 Fattoria l’Ottavo, Bianco Toscana Lucolena:
11% alcohol, slightly bitter, crisp white wine; good with food, not especially so without. $6.
2007 Dönnhoff, Riesling Qba Estate:
With tofu, vegetables and green curry, this was exquisite. Demi-sec, flinty, some cherries, a delicate delivery and a very long finish. 10% alcohol and delicious.
2007 Biggio Hamina, Pinot Blanc:
Almost saline at first but turning more to carambola and ripe pear flavors with air, balanced acidity, good concentration and some interesting nuance (including a touch of bitterness); medium length. A couple months ago this was pretty innocuous and a touch sweet but today it shows complexity and relates much better to food. Nice wine.
2006 Dettori, Bianco Badde Nigolosu:
Vermentino from vines over 80 years old; I am guessing this is a skin contact fermentation as this has the color of cider and the aromatics of a Gravner or Radikon type wine. Somewhat flat in the mouth but with considerable flavor in the lemon, almond, mineral range, concentrated and slightly oxidized. Odd but not unpleasant but I would chose very carefully what food I opened it with.
2007 François Cotat, Sancerre Rosé Chavignol:
Very concentrated watermelon and mineral nose; broad on the palate with flavors that follow the nose, some RS, solid structure and immense length. I am no fan of rosé that is even remotely sweet but this could make me a believer. For me, this is wine to serve very cold or to hold medium term. Superb with vegetable/chicken red curry. $40 – tough to justify at that price.
2007 Henry Fessy, Côtes de Provence Rosé Cuvée Farigoul:
Melon and mineral nose; lightweight, bone dry with flavors that follow the nose, bright acidity but a bit short. 12.5% alcohol, refreshing and charming for $8.
2001 Gulfi, Nero d’Avola Màccarj:
Root beer candy, chocolate covered cherries, dusty earth smells; mouth-filling with flavors that follow the nose along with some plum accents, considerable structure and concentration and lots of grip; very, very long finish. Youthful but bright and without question, the best nero I have tasted. Pretty amazing wine and of the charts good with turkey, pesto and cheese panini on fococcia.
1989 Chateau Montrose:
Perhaps, the most astonishing perfume I have ever gotten from a Bordeaux; I was expecting power and earth and instead got aromas of flowers, fresh cut fruit, a garden just after a rain storm and some odors I just could not identify but wanted to go on smelling; also very arresting in the mouth with a more Bordeaux profile but a freshness that belies its age, perfect balance and a finish that is full of nuance and sustain. It may not be at peak but it needn’t ever get better for me. Thanks David.
2007 Edmunds St. John, Gamay Porphyry:
From the derivation of the word, I assume that feldspar and quartz are most of the make-up of the Barsotti Ranch vineyard from which this is sourced. But El Dorado county vineyards are new to me. Whatever the case, the mineral character of this wine is evident. Right now it’s tight and giving up only glimpses of its fruit and where it might go. My guess, is that it will go past its variety to become a remarkably transparent expression of its terroir. But it will take several years to know. About $20; hold.
2007 Edmunds St. John, Gamay Bone Jolly:
I’ve written this up before; suffice to say, one of my favorite wines.
2000 Felsina, Chianti Classico Res. Rancia (375 ml):
Smells dark and brooding, tastes as one would expect of Rancia but is plenty tannic; dryingly so. I really don’t think I’m a Chianti lover – its OK but nothing I would seek out again. Some secondary development in this bottle.
2002 Allemand, Cornas:
No single vineyard designates in this vintage; 12.5% alcohol . . . this is why I love syrah. Fresh smoked ham, plums, some salt and pepper on the nose; rustic, dusty fruit in the mouth with a touch of smoke, some earthy stuff and a bit of spice; medium length, tannic finish. Not altogether yet and still better than most wines that are. And threaded through it from first sip to last echo is a quality I can not describe – I smell it and I smile; I taste it and I am taken; along about the end of the finish it reprises. ‘Reminds me of what people say about umami – “the essence of deliciousness.” This has it in spades. ‘Years from peak; even so, thrilling wine.
(This is one of those wines that positively reinforces my awareness that certain producers are to be bought without regard to vintage. Evidently, the retailer who got this in believed the “bad year” reports – it was priced at $35 when everything Allemand does is north of $60. I bought some, tried it and went back with a vengeance. Consumer one; retailer zero.)
2007 Dashe, Zinfandel l’Enfant Terrible:
McFadden Ranch, Potter Valley, Mendocino County, 13.8% alcohol, 100% zinfandel; this takes me back to when zinfandel was not synonymous with big, alcoholic and overdone – clean, almost crisp nose of spice and red fruit; bright in the mouth and, at first, showing somewhat closed with plum, black raspberry and spice flavors – becomes more open with air but also more concentrated and structured; medium long, tannic finish. This appears to need cellar time but also finds an audience tonight with Diane and me in the company of some manchego. $26 and more than worth it.
Day two: more translucent in appearance and less concentrated but much more of whole cloth; all in the high registers with very little bass/mellow/grip going on. I’d say this comes very close to ringing the bell but just misses. But what a chance the winemaker took and for that, he has my respect.