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October 28, 2004
This is great chenin blanc. I don't know if that's a modifier that can fairly be applied to this varietal. Sure, "good," "mouth-watering," "satisfying," "impressive" -- all these adjectives work just fine and I've used them before. But great? Is it a grape, at least when fermented dry, that can produce truly great wine? This is one of the few lean whites that has several layers of flavor. Ripe, acidic, solid nose of fruit and white flowers. Sharp palate of lime, grapefruit, and sweeter secondary flavors of pear and unripe tropical fruit. There's a striking wholeness to this wine. It balances bone dryness and lime-sucking acid with a surprising initial fullness of body reminiscent of young, oaky chardonnay. Steely, yet also buttery. Thinning after a long, but finally abrupt finish. Textured. Nuanced. Reminiscent of great Oregon pinot gris. But more. Always more. Always more.
October 26, 2004
02 Kistler, Chardonnay Les Noisetiers
Plush almond nose of vintage champagne. Sweet flowers and vanilla, never overoaked. Buttery mouthfeel; fat-free taste. Symbiotic acidity. Harmony.
October 24, 2004
01 Jayer-Gilles, Bourgogne Hautes Cotes de Beaune
Indian spice blend and porcini mushrooms on the nose. Curry and garam masala on the palate with tart cherries and hints of spicy vanilla. Medium body washes out to unsweetened Kool Aid before the tannins emerge and battle the enamel shredding acidity. Exotic, but waning.
October 23, 2004
02 The Magnificent Wine Company, House Wine
Predominant Columbia Valley cabernet full with a plummy cassis nose and softer, peppery fruit on the palate. Big, leathery tannins on the gums, drying but also highlighting the wood spice in this wine. Chewy. Some steamy alcohol. Dirt. Fruit yields to cocoa which again gives way to cassis. A stable, structured, drinkable wine.
October 22, 2004
03 Owen Roe, Sharecropper's Oregon Pinot Noir
Inky purple. Extracted. Deep, brooding flavors of dark bruised cherries and plum. Initially wild nose that is forced to yield, after a couple hours of decanting, to the ubiquitous berry fruit. Parching, peppery tannins and moderate acidity. Juicy, with an increasingly creamy finish of cocoa powder and alcoholic exhaust. The 03 Sharecropper is an unnerving wine that more closely resembles a zin/petite sirah than Oregon pinot. This has neither the overtly fruity tendencies of Oregon, nor the elegance and earth of some Burgundy. Instead, I'm reminded of the more intense 02 California offerings like Sea Smoke's Ten. In the end, however, a ripened cherry fruit with its hallmark high acid prevails, cutting through the chunky tannins and heady steam. This is more than a wine -- this is a declaration of both a vintage and a winemaker, a grape and a motive.
00 Domaine Joseph Voillot, Volnay 1er Cru Les Brouillards
Elegance, class, and funk. High note acidity that both accentuates and balances the bright red cherry fruit. The acid is a beautiful contrast to the gritty, yet velvety tannins -- Volnay the morning after riding a bull -- that grab hold and encourage this wine to linger for over a minute. Vanilla bean, caramel butter, and toffee ooze late into the finish which itself is pure, precise, and enveloping. And amidst all this fruit and French oak, all this deific structure, is actually a palatial sense of terroir with notes of gravel in the sixth or seventh layer of this wine.
October 12, 2004
95 Eric Rodez, Cuvee Millesime
Clean and pure, this brut champagne from the winemaker who once worked with Krug is luscious with lively lime, full creamy yeast, and vanilla. The high-note acidity is briefly jarring, but overall controlled after nine years, lending generous structure that's offset nicely by the ripe fruit. The 95 Rodez has all the parts of great champagne -- exhibiting an equal depth of grand cru pinot noir and grand cru chardonnay -- but leans a bit too far toward the juicy citrus and, at times, overwhelms its underlying charisma and elegance. The finish is climactic, peaking with a final burst of lime and nearly flinty yeast before trailing off thin.
October 01, 2004
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