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August 31, 2005
The aromatics are very bright and layered with several citrus fruits and hints of roasted peppers. Zesty, enticing, and spirited with round orange, lemon, and spicy lime flavors right out of the bottle, it fades by the finish to a good European-styled white table wine.
August 29, 2005
97 Domaine Parent, Corton Grand Cru Les Renardes
I had to delete my notes and think about this for another hour. What begins as a funky, light, mushroomy table pinot noir that reminds me of taleggio cheese grows fierce. The easy-sipping texture--I thought this wine was on its last legs--suddenly gets exponentially tannic and spicy. It grows a pair. Cinammon cherries, cranberries, red currants, plums, and tart raspberries make up the delineated palate, while all the spice and jam behind that fruit surge through the slightly nutty finish. There's a lot of power here.
August 26, 2005
03 Brooks, Rastaban
The greatest structured Oregon pinot noir I have ever had, this wine has as much in common with the delicate, often shy red varietal as carignane or syrah. That said, it fits right into the bastard family of Brooks' other off-road pinot noirs: the Janus and the Maysara Delara. It's smoky and raunchy with the most amazing acid--as if my tongue is being seared on a hot bed of citrus-scented coals and rawhide. The flavors only increase with every passing moment, developing from thick Rhone-ranger tar to burnt cherries, black pepper, porcini and morel mushrooms, and Mexican vanilla. How can I sleep tonight?
August 25, 2005
02 Alice et Olivier de Moor, Bourgogne Aligote
Chardonnay, Normandy style? I don't know what would happen if you grew grapes in Normandy, but this Burgundian cousin of chardonnay is a good representation of Norman apple cider. Its acid can be aggressive, but at its singular core this wine is dry green apple extract and cloves with no detectable oak. It's hard-nosed and needs a few minutes to blow off, but hides a soft, cooling yet volatile texture beneath its tough surface. Though a decent summer sipper, it does best with food, finding its identity next to earthy spices, acid, and raw red onions.
August 22, 2005
04 K Vintners, Columbia Valley Viognier
No one goes to a rock show just to see the opener. Honest to the varietal, Charlie's first white wine enchants with the powdery smell of oranges and lilacs. The rest of the wine--though almost too easy to drink in warm weather--is far more simple. The palate is oddly acidulated with spikey surges of bite and flavor. At its best, it shines with nutty notes of mild rice pudding and tangerines. It's very light for viognier, with a slightly oily but mostly untextured mouthfeel. As a result, there's no length and the flavors zip right by. If only I had a tastebud in my throat.
August 21, 2005
86 Trimbach, Riesling Clos Ste. Hune
Minerally and smoky with exhausting aromas of diesel and dry honey, Clos Ste. Hune's smell is the story of Alsace. The flavors are crisp, peachy, and endlessly tart, but second to the wine's dry, fascist presence, which I quickly come to obey. At the end, I taste rich butterscotch, crabapples, slivered almonds poached in olive oil, and brothy white meat.
August 20, 2005
03 Sea Smoke Cellars, Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills "Southing"
Despite the treachery of this vintage--its intense rain and heat--the Southing grapes excelled. This is a rock star pinot--flashy without being too well-groomed; clever, without really being all that intelligent. The huge alcohol and thick, bloody body come together with the acid and a trace of clean tannins. Despite such power, the focus is gorgeous fruit: tart, syrupy cherries that belong more inside a crepe than in this wine. Wild blueberries round out the finish, slightly dusty, with lots of nervy wood spice and subtle French vanilla cream.
August 19, 2005
00 Domaine Marcel Deiss, Riesling Saint-Hippolyte
The residual sweetness is surprising, slightly encumbering the taste and texture of this otherwise pleasant, everyday riesling. As expected, it's really enhanced with food. Great with most cheeses, it'd probably be best with an onion cheesecake or lemon ricotta crostini, complementing--not contrasting--the fat. The aroma is resilient, volatile while still full with thick spiced vanilla, tangerines, and apricots. The palate is not as complex or very long, but just smoky and minerally enough (barely) to keep the sugar from being cloying.
August 15, 2005
96 Rymill, Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon
A delicate gift from what some consider the most Bordelais of Australian climates, the 96 Rymill is aging gracefully. The wet earthy smell eases into a lightly oaky palate that expresses good purity and reservation. This is a passive wine that, despite its strong notes of leather and thimbles of grapey fruit, seems to have some unrealized goal in mind as it flows from flavor to flavor before stealthily drifting away.
August 14, 2005
03 Magnificent Wine Company, Walla Walla Valley Syrah
Yet another Rhone-inspired syrah from Charlie Smith, this time from his second label, the 03 Syrah is edgy, peppery, and strong. With so much texture, it seems nearly as sauvage as some Cornas, and the decadent aroma of cayenne pepper and fatty pork sausage back that up. Ultimately, it is a fruit-driven, New World wine. The great ripe wild blueberry flavors the region has become so famous for are in full effect here, finishing slightly creamy with lots of jam and fine sandpapery tannins.
August 13, 2005
01 Celler Ardevol, Priorat Terra d'Hom
The robust, pruney, nearly figgy aroma hits with the power of a fortified wine and really captures the essence of the sun-baked, heat-retaining soil of Priorat. Though spicy up front, the fruit flavors are supple of blueberries, minty oak, black pepper, dark chocolate, and roasted fennel. The finish is aggressive--slightly smoky with more plums, refreshing citrus, and fine food-friendly tannins on the front of the teeth.
August 08, 2005
01 Dunham Cellars, Trutina
Balanced and subtle, this Dunham Bordeaux-style blend of cabernet, merlot, and cabernet franc is textbook. It's neither shy nor cloying, with mild flavors of sweet blueberry, black currants, and very minty chocolate sauce--though the clean fruit dominates. The aggressive spice adds nice texture to the wine, but can't cover up the slight, lazy finish.
© 2005-2011 Nilay Gandhi