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April 23, 2006

97 Fattoria di Felsina, Fontalloro

This is an infirmary wine: sick, but well taken care of and, at certains times of night, haunting. Sangioveto returned to its native Tuscany, the Fontalloro is a strong, now stern expression with brawny flavors of tart cherry and bittersweet chocolate. It's even sauvage on occassion, wild but eminently drinkable, decidedly fruity, but unshy of its rustic roots. The tannins have all but withdrawn, the acid mellowed--I suppose this is what one would call mature.

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April 22, 2006

03 K Vintners, Walla Walla Valley En Chamberlin Vineyard "Roma"

Raspberry mocha truffle... with sprinkles. The 03 Roma is really two wines--some of the best damn cabernet and some of the best damn syrah I've had from Walla--each equally bold and distinct. First, the 70% cab hits on the nose with smoky burnt rubber and wildfire bursts that remind me of Dubrul. It's rich, decadent, and no less dramatic on the palate, championing the grapey flesh of ultraripe Washington cabernet. But then syrah bleeds in, flooding bright raspberries so fresh and concentrated that I can taste their jam, tiny seeds and all. Cabernet buoys the wine, though, underlying it with such a glorious mocha flavor that I nearly have no need for Starbucks anymore. No, I can't see myself drinking anything that isn't Roma right now, or tasting anything else after its long finish of Irish coffee, Big League Chew, macerated cherries, and sweet maduro tobacco.

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April 20, 2006

99 Gerard Bertrand, Corbieres Les Cailloutis "Terroir"

So dark in fruit it nearly seems spoiled, but clean with nice spice in the background, Bertrand's "terroir" doesn't necessarily highlight anything about the soil of Southern France. It's instead a bold amalgam of rich fruit that proudly twists its medieval old world heritage into an enthusiastically modern profile of grenache, syrah, carignane, and mourvedre. (Immer says it's the carbonic maceration now popular in Corbieres.) The plummy aroma along with concentrated flavors of smoky dates, blackberries, sweet cassis, and framboise might even give off some violets with the right food.

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April 16, 2006

03 Chateau Davril, Bordeaux

I would rather drink this red blend of non-cru merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and cabernet franc out of two stryofoam cups. She will put her feet beside me, her face checked with mayonnaise, her spring sweater covered in baguette crumbs. I, eating the last bits of our jambon-buerre, think even the garbage boats drifting through the Seine are gorgeous. The wine's muddled blueberry/blackberry flavor is consistent. While it never evolves, nor does it ever degrade. It carries into a thin mapley finish long enough for us to consider each moment and then sip again. To enjoy its juicy, slightly damp taste and coarse texture. To even appreciate its green, stemmy nose as something human and therefore fallible, instead of idoled and therefore flawed. Long enough to say we enjoy wine because it humbles us. It humbles us, as complex, as wonton, as longing as we are, that joy--pure joy--is in the latent pulse of satisfaction. Thanks, Kyle.

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April 08, 2006

03 Domaine Jean Royer, Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Prestige

A promising window into 03 Rhone, the luscious fruit-forwardness and brambly intensity of the 03 Royer is powerful and intoxicating. What starts off as a here's-your-blind-test-for-CdP wine reaches its apogee when its syrupy raspberries turn to flavors of beef fat, cartilidge, licorice, and coffee bean for support. Afterthoughts of marachino cherry and navel orange zest make the pressing wine a bit more welcome to all palates.

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April 06, 2006

98 Yamhill Valley Vineyards, Tall Poppy Pinot Noir

You wait for things like this to happen. One of the few truly Burgundian Oregon pinots I've ever had (as opposed to the many watery mistakes that winemakers-cum-PR-execs elevate to the hollowed pseudonym), it's a wine that brings new charisma to the tacitly French varietal. Despite the sappy garnet color, I'm convinced that Tall Poppy's choice vines have at least one errant root extending to the Cote de Nuits. The exotic Asian spice, beef broth, and berry aromas take me back to an alluring Jayer-Gilles I had all but forgotten until today. The wine powders in my mouth, plushly blanketing it with savory flavors of beef boullion, macerated dark cherries, sage, and plums. The concentration is deep but yielding. The finish shows great life. Thank you, Michael.

2 Comments:

Blogger Nilay Gandhi said...

Tasted recently alongside an Italian black truffle cheese, the 98 Tall Poppy has picked up a stronger cranberry flavor.

9:26 PM  
Blogger Nilay Gandhi said...

It was dying toward the end of 2006. And now it's dead. If you have a good bottle, though, let me know.

4:41 PM  

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April 01, 2006

02 Ridge, California Geyserville

This is really good. Take that in a good way--I'm speechless (well, as speechless as I can be). The juice is more reminiscent of good overripe Cali cab and syrah than zinfandel, with long flavors of muddled blackberries, milk chocolate, and fleshy peppers. But, compared to other zin-heavy blends, the Ridge isn't over-the-top--not like Lytton Springs. It's an incredibly well-balanced wine, and this distinguished finish of creamy black tea that lingers as I type this is driving me mad. Great concentration, clean, firm. "It stands tall," said a friend tasting this blind.

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