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January 30, 2006
This is the basic Beaune or Cote de Nuits of Oregon, maybe better named "Willamette" than anything else. It's hard-pressed to reveal any true depth, but I'm impressed by how well everything here works together. The strong black cherry flavors, buoyed by the slick glycerine texture of high but well-balanced alcohol, boast an underlying earthiness that makes it far more complex than a typical table wine. It has roots in rustic Spain and Sicilia--a muddy tar & licorice smell that frames the light-bodied fruit-forwardness of this wine. It balances what would otherwise be dull, obvious juice. It's not quite terroir, but it is certainly the thoughtful hand of a winemaker that I'm tasting here. The first post-Jimi Runaway Red, made by a warm family of Oregon winemakers in honor of Jimi and blended by Chris Williams, is like a mix between Jimi's murky Maysara Delara and the precise Brooks Pinot Noir. It is a beautiful testament to his life. While it hardly qualifies as cru, it is a wine that speaks of Jimi's vision--one that reveals how important he thought it was to drink good wine simply because we are alive.
January 27, 2006
03 Chasseur, Russian River Valley Sylvia's Pinot Noir
Look. You can't leave the candies in your pocket all day, even if you need them during the chem exam after lunch. They melt; they resolidify; the plastic clings to the outside. They never taste the same. That's where the slightly-sweet Chasseur Sylvia's is determined to go. It moved me in its opening moments--made me think that there are more Californian pinots out there that don't have a strange powdered sugar taste to them. But then, it melts. And now, I feel like Oprah recommending "A Million Little Pieces." It's a beautiful read, even after you realize what's really going on, but I can't get quite the same feeling from the second and third glass of Sylvia's as I did from the first. The nuanced cherry amoebas into something a bit too easy and fictional. The lightly smoky yeast nose is captivating, but ultimately has nothing to do with the sappy, liqueur-like taste of strawberry, watermelon, raspberry, and Eve--the putative innocence of all our coming sins.
January 20, 2006
00 Chateau Bouscasse, Madiran Vielles Vignes
Awesomely earthy with the God-spitingly sinful and dirty strength of truly great, great, great Bordeaux. One-hundred percent tannat from just south of the famous cabernet region, its cured black olive aromas and flavor comprise some of the finest rustic French wine in existence.
January 10, 2006
04 Las Brisas, Rueda White Wine
Somebody pass me a cast iron mortar of fresh mango red onion salsa and a bag of blue corn tortilla chips. And don't hog the sweet mint grilled jumbo shrimp skewers. The orange jelly, lemon, and key lime flavors of this wine taste--I'm sorry--like the sun setting behind the lake in the damp warmth of spring in Europe. The expansive finish is ambrosial in this way, with the smell of white flowers and rosemary. Somewhere there's a kid trying to catch a frog with his hat. Las Brisas mimics New Zealand sauvignon blanc, but is more balanced than many, persistent with tartness yet clean and forgiving.
January 02, 2006
03 Akakies, Amyndeon Kir-Yianni
A rose served best at room temperature (at last!), this northern-Greek Xinomavro-based wine is the beginning of spring. Sadly, I'm stuck in a Midwestern winter, but with this wine and the right food (see Comments or any restaurant in Turkey), we could rightfully be on the Aegean Sea with our toes in the sand. Though I would've never known it was from Greece, this is a wine that makes me want to visit its terroir. When cold, it has an astringent aroma of raw acid. Once at palm-cooling temperature, however, it is lean, floral, and as pretty as a woman's eyelashes. Its green strawberry and pomegranate flavors get even more lovely with food, while never being too fruity. The dry, acid structure drives this wine--drives it straight to my blushing heart.
January 01, 2006
95 Alain Thienot, Brut Grand Cuvee
If it smells like Krug, if it looks like Krug, then it must be ... Thienot? Like vintage Krug, this Thienot has a beautiful toast to its nose and a striking virgin elegance that would be reserved for weddings were I not so wanton for great champagne. It is tight without being austere--my teeth don't hurt the next day--parlaying simple but energizing flavors of lemon, sourdough, green apple, and english muffin.
© 2005-2011 Nilay Gandhi