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November 29, 2005

04 Chateau de la Vielle Tour, Bordeaux Blanc

Sharp and smoky like a burning evergreen, Vielle Tour's blend of sauvignon blanc, semillon, and muscadelle is as dry and tart as the white country wines of its Loire neighbors to the north. I can't help but be both drawn to and dismissive of its rawness. The aroma reminds me of green mango skins and the one or two times in my life I've cut into a fresh starfruit. Cold, salted, unsweetened lemons hold the palate down like a tongue depressor.

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November 27, 2005

02 Joseph Drouhin, Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru

OK, "-Chambertin," I get it. Considering all the punch that these north-Burgundy pinot noirs pack into a bottle, I shouldn't be so surprised that even the delicate ones, like this Charmes, can be fierce. If Volnay is "an iron fist in a velvet glove," Drouhin's 02 Charmes is that glove wrapped in chicken wire. The sweet cherry flavors are concentrated, then suddenly suave, until the prickly tannins meet with some exotic spice for a powerful albeit abridged finish. It has gotten more aggressive over the past year.

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November 22, 2005

01 Gros Frere et Soeur, Clos Vougeot Grand Cru "Musigni"

From the revered upper end of the Clos, adjacent to the elegant Musigny grand cru from where it takes its name, the 2001 pinot has round aromas of watermelon, exotic cardamom/curry, black pepper, sweet cinammon, and good cheesy funk. Pretty's always had a good reputation. But, with closed, tart tastes of cherries and red grapes, the wine is very singular right now.

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November 19, 2005

00 Artadi, Grandes Anades

Like a well-seasoned gourmet meal, the Grandes Anades is so cautiously crafted that I can hardly focus on its flavors as much as its construction. Most striking is the stemmy, wild cured meat aroma. I can picture a white rectangular platter of chorizo, pearl onions, and grilled fennel before me. The flavors complement, but with more salt--like the leftover deli pastrami sandwich and chocolate lava cake I know I shouldn't be eating after midnight. That spice takes over and lingers on an otherwise light finish as the tart wine opens to cumin, black cherry, and a few specks of vanilla bean.

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November 16, 2005

NV Soligo, Prosecco Brut

Wonderfully tart, refreshing, clean, and dry, this sleek offering is a nice simple detour from Champagne's great sparklers. It's an ideal aperitif of lean lemon flavors and good minerality. Some dry proseccos verge on being medicinal in the finish, but here the fruit hangs on--light, breezy, and unaffected.

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November 09, 2005

01 Meo-Camuzet, Richebourg Grand Cru

This is pornographic pinot noir. It's heavy, decadent, but nonetheless spry--an upside down pyramid of sensations. The nose justifies cost. Whatever esoteric metaphors the wine conjures--I keep thinking of tying a cherry stem with my tongue--it is not to be lost in its talk. The point of all this--the perfect aroma; the layered tastes of cherry, raspberry, red currants, chocolate, and toasted walnuts; and the moving balance of sweet fruit, acid, and unfiltered creaminess--is simply to enjoy pinot. The Meo-Camuzet is not a hard wine, not like Romanee-Conti--in fact, it resembles ripe California pinot noir at its core and the finish is unduly short. But it makes me want to surrender. Thank you, Michael.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Jim Online said...

The ingredients speak for themselves. Wine, as a classic drink is making my mind go nuts. I started drinking when I was young and I have never experienced drinking a great wine.This will be the first. And i am excited to let it in my system.

12:46 AM  

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November 07, 2005

04 Bodegas y Vinedos del Falon, D.O. Calatayud Vina Alarba Old Vines Grenache

With grenache growing in popularity among critics and terms like "old vines" becoming more mainstream, it's nice to see that quality has yet to suffer. The fresh Vina Alarba sets itself apart from the tacky, often grapey, and oddly tannic grenache that's flooding the craft market. While such grenache--from Spain and the Rhone in particular--is delicious, it's also too predictable. This interpretation is much brighter with sweet cherry and watermelon flavors, rough wet-suede-like tannins, and an exotic smoky aroma.

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November 06, 2005

04 Sineann, Gewurztraminer Columbia Gorge Celilo Vineyard

The Alsatians might actually prefer this Oregonian version to many of their own. Inspired by the plush, decadent style of Zind-Humbrecth, Sineann's single-vineyard gewurztraminer has a textbook taste profile of spicy lychee, pineapple, and sizzling minerals. But that's typical. What isn't is how these tastes are rendered here, in the medium of what could actually be coconut custard instead of wine.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Jack said...

Okay, you have me intrigued about this wine. I have yet to find a US Gewurtz that even slightly resembled one from a great Alsace producer like Zind Humbrecht.

But I'd like you to elaborate, if you can, about the coconut custard aspect.

9:55 AM  
Blogger Nilay Gandhi said...

Think of creamy, spicy, toasty oak that doesn't get in the way of fruit. You usually get vanilla notes, but here it's like coconut. The Celilo has some residual sugar, too. The wine's not sweet because there's good acidity to balance, but it adds to that texture. It's rich, but not overbearing--the way oak feels in good white burgundy. As I understand, though I have not had it, Sineann's Resonance Vineyard gewurtz is even richer.

3:00 PM  

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November 02, 2005

01 Chateau de Flaugergues, Coteaux du Languedoc La Mejanelle "Cuvee Sommeliere"

I already take quickly to southern French wines, but this one downright stunned me. It's burly syrah (at least, that's what I think it is) with brooding black cherry pit flavors and a spicy lavendar aroma. The tannins are stemmy and bring a lot of focus to the simple, but fulfilling fruit. Bitter dark chocolate flavors come out right as the wine gets a little thin, adding surprising depth slightly reminiscent of pricey Tuscan cabernet.

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