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April 30, 2005

04 O'Reilly's, Pinot Gris

Clean and elegant. Vats of O'Reilly's pinot gris are usually topped with a small proportion of David's Owen Roe 30-year-old vine pinot gris. As I understand, a mistake was made, and more Owen Roe than intended was added this year. The result is a pinot gris that challenges the brash nectarous fruit of other New World examples (including past O'Reilly's). Lightly herbal aromatics lead into silky medium-bodied white fruit, which finishes with calm hints of coconut, vanilla, and pear. Impeccable.

1 Comments:

Blogger Nilay Gandhi said...

I had the 04 Owen Roe last night. It's a phenomenol wine, but for drinking now I actually prefer the lightness and balance of the O'Reilly's. The Owen Roe is very close to Alsace in style. It's minerally to the point of being salty. Ripe pears emerge in the finish which fades off quickly into coconut. It's a smokier, heartier wine that should do quite well over a few years.

9:02 AM  

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April 29, 2005

03 Ponzi, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Tavola

It radiates with unctuous beams of blueberry, blackberry, and black cherry, and a long smoky finish of nutmeg, cedar, and tarragon butter. The only thing that fades when I drink this wine is the strength in the back of my knees. The nose is mushroomy -- decidely in touch with the Willamette Valley terroir. Though many claim that 2003 is an unruly, overripe vintage, this Tavola shows little signs of anything but the richness and balance of 2002. For all the dramatics of Ponzi wines, the 03 Tavola is nothing but mature, wholesome, and complete. After 30 minutes open, the tannins really emerge; raspberry and French vanilla flavors come to dominate.

1 Comments:

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Ponzi does make a nice Pinot, thanks for the review.

8:09 PM  

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April 28, 2005

02 Domaine du Salvard, Cheverny

This cheverny somehow makes sauvignon blanc friendly, without gutting it of any charisma. The sharp nose is as citric and grassy as that of any decent New Zealand one. The palate, though quite edgy, has an underlying richness of fruit that as much balances the acid as it challenges it. The acid responds in kind. This back and forth is lovely, showing the grape's sweet and saline sublimity. Pleasure and pain, but never the two in excess. The finish is short, but enthusiastic with budding flavors of peach, apricot, and clover honey.

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April 24, 2005

02 Domaine Joseph Voillot, Bourgogne

This is a flattering wine that insists on appealing to anyone who has loved. It is as seductive as good Volnay, with the fruity pureness of Rully. A bright cherry blossom bouquet is complemented by spicy undertones of mustard seed and filet. Lean flavors cool the mouth with balanced strokes of cherries, strawberries, and their acid--and lead into an expressive finish of creme caramel, spicy tannins, and chalky terroir.

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April 19, 2005

04 Carmen, Curico Valley Gewurtztraminer

Carmen boils with the spicy alcohol nose typical to the varietal, but carries a strange -- albeit pleasant -- underlying scent and flavor of banana taffy. Lychee. Tingly, minty mouthfeel highlights the drying acid which is just bold enough to keep these tropical flavors from being cloying.

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April 17, 2005

97 Chateau Rounieu-Lacoste, Sauternes Haut-Barsac

A delicate, shy Sauternes. Bright, summery tangerine and melon nose that sadly overpowers the rather thin palate. Oddly sweet and herbal, yet intrusively dry at times, the sugar drifts back and forth with volatile acidity. Hardly harmonious, but more than quaffable. The meaty, caramelized onion finish makes this wine particularly food friendly, especially with a savory cheesecake. [From half-bottle.]

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April 15, 2005

02 L'Ecole No. 41, Seven Hills Vineyard Estate Syrah

The 14.9% abv is initially nerve-racking, but the wafting aroma that filled the room when I opened this wine--fresh pepper and day-old sliced plums--convinced me that I had to give it some time. The alcohol is glycerine instead of distillate, and merges with sinful flavors of blueberry compote, chocolate-covered raisins, and cherry syrup. Three days later, evaporating in the decanter I left on the side table, the wine is less brambly, but still full-on with fruit.

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NV Andre Clouet, Bouzy Grand Cru Grand Reserve Brut

Much like the Silver Brut with higher dosage, the Grand Reserve sears with stoniness, yet manages a soft quaffability that makes me want to lay out in a sun room and drink all day. The signature salinity yields to a precious denouement of candied orange peel and biscuits. Depending on the bottle, it can be too bubbly and intense--too Bollinger--and have a finish so clean that it reminds me of great bottled water. This is a great wine; maybe Clouet set the bar too high with the new "1911" tete de cuvee blend of the 95, 96, and 97 vintages.

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NV Andre Clouet, Bouzy Grand Cru 1911 Brut

Calm, rounded, and very complete. The 1911--a blend of three aged vintages (this one from the 90s)--is much more traditional than the other minerally Clouet champagnes. The edginess common to Clouet is slightly muted, but still obvious on the powerfully sharp phenolic nose. This wine is nicely creamed out with fine bubbles and delicate structure. Long flavors of smoky lemon, clove, and wood spice. See comments for updated notes.

2 Comments:

Blogger Nilay Gandhi said...

My most recent tasting of this wine (12/17/05) was a blend of the 95, 96, and 99 vintages. It's a truly great wine, powered by the focused burnt nut aroma usually reserved for good old Burgundies. A friend insightfully described it as the smell of a hair salon.

10:10 AM  
Blogger Nilay Gandhi said...

The 95/96/99 has gotten even better, and is probably peaking right now. It's richly toasty and oozing with sweet vanilla cream. Very full bodied for champagne, and vinous.

6:31 PM  

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April 14, 2005

95 Oddero, Barolo Vigna Rionda

Ripe, slightly pungent aroma of mole and plum sauce. The flavors are quite different, but equally expansive -- much less concentrated than the nose, and zeroed in on sweet orange and spring flowers. Decent finish with mild tannins hanging on as the wine quietly fades out.

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April 12, 2005

02 Domaine Schoffit, Pinot Blanc Auxerrois VV

Creamy pear nectar, quince, lemon curd, and brie flavors emerge out of a wholesome, bright, and spicy nose that verges on the exotic. Much like Zind-Humbrecht, this Schoffit is full and ready to explode with volatility, but quickly controlled in the long finish of minerals, waxy fruit, and a fatty terrine funk that lends great power to the delicacy of this wine.

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April 06, 2005

00 Vinas Elias Mora, Toro Crianza

This is a proud Spanish wine. Spilling over with gooey oak accents and hot alcohol, the power of everything this wine is built on is actually matched by dense, spicy, and layered tempranillo. Blackberry, cassis, and fortified grape flavors are full and expansive, especially after an hour of decanting. Bright floral aroma. Mature leathery finish.

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April 05, 2005

03 Domaine d'Elise, Chablis

Rich lemon curd and zest. Flowers and stones -- a wonderful expression of the clean terroir of Chablis. Zingy, but also quite full in fruit, which the mild acid carries into the finish. Great length, balance, and intensity.

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April 02, 2005

99 Chateau Behere, Pauillac

Tinged orange and brown on the edges, this wine is perfectly approachable and ripe now with still a couple years of life left. The aroma is deep of beef broth, cassis, and violets. The palate is classic -- firm, but very fine-grained tannins -- with immediate and lingering flavors of pencil lead, spicy crushed berries, stewed meat, and mouth-watering acid. Powerful, yet nuanced.

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April 01, 2005

03 Gautheron, Chablis 1er Cru Les Fourneaux

This shimmering bronze wine might as well be a statue for chardonnay. Not nearly as nervy (yet) as the 2001 VV, the 03 Les Fourneaux exhibits a grace and intensity rarely seen in Chablis. It is both full with waxy pineapples and rich buttered pecans, and cleanly mineral with New Zealand sauvignon-like acidity and a delicate creme fraiche finish. Grassy and herbal. As the wine opens up, it intensifies and picks up a mitigated sharpness. Though I've only had a couple 03 Chablis, I'm guessing the sun beat down hard on those vineyards that year -- and the grapes took it in stride.

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