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December 27, 2004

02 Chateau Grande Cassagne, Costieres de Nimes "G.S." Le Triage

Very fruit forward yet never cloying. Subtle French oak lends such a small hint of vanilla that it almost seems like a natural element of the fruit. Juicy dark grapes and savory blackberries; classic old-vine grenache. The dry dark cocoa powder finish makes this is a surprisingly complex sleeper of the vintage.

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03 Valminor, Rias Baixas Albarino

Rich, powdery nose of white flowers and oranges. This wine smells like the neck of a young bride in June. The palate is as plush as viognier -- a light custard feel -- with pure, ambrosial flavors of tangerine segments, pear nectar, green grapes, and long backnotes of sweet, exotic spices. Full, but clean.

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December 23, 2004

03 Ken Wright Cellars, Meredith Mitchell Vineyard

Chalky, briney, butterscotch nose. Round cherry fruit with smoky apples, brine, and oyster shells on the palate. Salty sea breeze and acidic red fruit, with decent structure. Not too hot. Evolves quite nicely, drinking well at such a young age. Dry tart cherry, currant, and apple brandy finish.

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December 22, 2004

NV Andre Clouet, Bouzy Grand Cru Brut Rose

The nose is refreshingly phenolic and edgy. Mild cherries fill out the wine with a gorgeous round taste and mouthfeel. Nearly creamy, but cut by a very dry, woody sharpness and ideal acidity. The fruit comes out more in the finish -- evolving to raspberries, strawberries and cream -- but is matched at every step by dominating notes of thick toast and lightly sweetened whole grain cereal. Distinct Clouet salinity. From half-bottle.

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Blogger Nilay Gandhi said...

The controlled floral fruit of this wine along with its Silver Brut-like salinity make this wine a great match for Mona Lisa gouda.

8:21 PM  

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December 18, 2004

02 Ponzi, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

There are no parts to this wine. Because of the remarkably rich oak -- oozing with pronounced notes of vanilla, butter, and marscapone cheese -- the wine hits all at once. The 02 Ponzi is a touch young with a closed nose, but quickly opening depth on the palate. The fruit is as ripe as can be with flavors of just-picked blueberries and cherries. The oak doesn't dominate, but it certainly drives the rest of the wine, adding a nearly overdone creaminess that balances the acid and provides a raft for the soft tannins to buoy over the tongue. Some funk eventually reveals itself and I imagine there will be more savory osso bucco notes in the future.

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December 17, 2004

02 Charles de Valliere, Bourgogne Les Brulottes

Vague traces of pinot. Zingy cherries, very high acid. A hint of curly parsley on the nose. Short finish with a stony salinity.

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December 16, 2004

NV Charles Heidsieck, Brut Reserve

Toast, toffee, and hazelnut nose. The acid-driven palate brings out the toast even more with subtle orange oil, ginger, and rounded, slightly creamy yeast. The fruit makes only a marginal appearance to balance the acid and nothing more. This wine's stunning clarity (in appearance and taste) is a testament to the spoils of consistency. Big bubbles. The Brut Reserve seems precisely what it tries to be -- a remarkably well-balanced, structured, and interesting champagne with bold, confident character. Mis en cave 1998.

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December 14, 2004

48 Primitivo Quiles, Fondillon Gran Reserva Solera

Sherry-like, oxidatively nutty nose. Noticeable acidity -- thin, mouthwatering, but never sharp. Full almond taste with a long, unwavering finish. Walnuts. Oloroso taste and feel. 100% monastrel from Monovar (Alicante DO) in southeastern Spain.

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03 Robert Foley Vineyards, Charbono

Tarry shriveled black olives with an almost spicy, cured meat quality. A hint of cream and minimal pure fruit. Solid medium body cut by complementary acid.

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December 11, 2004

NV Andre Clouet, Bouzy Grand Cru Silver Brut

Mineral-driven with a dry salinity that lets the tight citrus fruit and yeast shine through. Yeasty aromas with the nuttiness of chardonnay even though this is 100% pinot noir. Lightly vinous with full orange rind, zesty lime, and grapefruit. Finish hints at those nuts again, but cleans up and shrivels the inside of the lips. Brut zero? Brut negative.

1 Comments:

Blogger Nilay Gandhi said...

Wine Spectator's Matt Kramer just declared this his wine of the year and one of the greatest champagne's he's ever had.

Duh.

9:11 PM  

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December 09, 2004

01 Rosso de Salento, Vecchio Greppo

Bold, funky, wild nose of spontaneously fermented cherries. Creamy with light acid. Flowers, fennel, spicy cherry and raspberry, and a hint of chocolate on the finish. Mostly primitivo.

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December 06, 2004

NV Hop Kiln, Big Red

A blend of 44% zinfandel, 33% cabernet sauvignon, 12% dolcetto, and 11% syrah, this table wine smells of sweat, pepper, and briary red fruit. Balanced acid and tannins. Button mushrooms and buttery raspberries on the palate.

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02 K Vintners, The Beautiful Syrah

Lusty violets, black pepper, cranberries, and plums. This powerful compote picks up an increasing presence from the oak, growing more chocolatey and toasty by the minute. Exquisite acid and tannins; impeccable structure. A subtle gaminess distinct to K wines, behind truckloads of fruit, makes me think of BBQ turkey. Rhone meets Australia. I hate to be corny, but this wine couldn't have a more fitting name. It is beautiful -- and I am more beautiful because of it.

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December 03, 2004

95 Joh. Jos. Prum, Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spatlese

Petrol, tangerine rind, and bay leaf on the nose. High acid taste of tangerines and apricots with a long petrol finish. Supple body is abruptly cut short with the acidity, very light carbonation (bubbles cling to the bottom of the glass), and a tongue-cleaning dryness. The residuals are there, but this wine centers more on the classically vintaged riesling flavors (read: fruited gasoline) that still need time to come together. Balanced, honeyed citrus in its second day; markedly sweeter and fuller in body.

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December 02, 2004

00 Cordero di Montezemolo, Barolo Monfalletto

Carignane-like tar evolves to deep black truffles after 24 hours of decanting. Medicinal cherries with tons of acid and tight tannins on the gums and a hot, splintering finish. Red fruit grows creamy -- I love where this wine is going -- with the funk beginning to subside to perfumey violets and cocoa-dusted meat. The closed nose also opens after a day to alcohol, reconstituted porcinis, and shallots. Difficult, but exciting in the mouth, this is a rustic wine immediately recognizable as low-yield, small production, old school Barolo. I imagine it will take true shape after another full day of decanting . . . if I can hold off for that long.

1 Comments:

Blogger Nilay Gandhi said...

Wild mushroom risotti. I can't even imagine what this would be like with black truffles.

10:46 AM  

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December 01, 2004

00 Noel Verset, Cornas

Animal fur and fresh powdered black pepper nose seasons a savory palate full of duck meat, spice, chicken liver, and mesquite with hints of metal, medium acid, and drying tannins. Old school, this wine is surprisingly light on fruit, though plums do eventually fill the void. Despite its raunchy flavors, this is still a wine moderate in its feel, expressing the wild side of syrah without any sense of overextraction.

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