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August 31, 2006
If you ever dreamt of a wine like this, you would need to buy new linens. The red eye aroma of burnt espresso brownies and stout flavors of sweet maduro tobacco, plums, and tar outsize any lay ideas of what merlot can be. There is no signature blueberry here; no thin, coddled finish. It's its own atmosphere, dense with layers of sappy fruit, smooth tannin, wood spices, and at least one bar of 80% cocoa. If anything, there's so much here it can be confusing. But the fresh Italian roast keeps me awake through it all. And you can tell that--once this has had more time to brew--somehow it will be better.
August 29, 2006
02 Coche-Bizouard, Premier Cru Meursault Charmes
After two days and a dozen other wines, I think I still taste this chardonnay. Decadent, lush, powerful, and yet somehow reserved, the 2002 Coche-Bizouard is a gift of gaudy proportions. It has tonnage to its weight, lugging dense flavors of creme fraiche, lemon custard, stones, and golden apples like tires across the palate. This is apple pie ready to be put into the oven. Its youthful wood spice dominates, redolent of Christmas with nutmeg and cinammon. But it's the terroir of this 1er cru that sets it apart from other Burgundies--a couple quick whiffs of mineral that command a hefty markup, but really complete Meursault. Thank you, Danielle.
August 28, 2006
00 Fattoria di Felsina, Fontalloro
Not that Toscana should ever need a comparison to Piedmont, but the heady tar-covered berries that waft from this bottle sometimes seem more like nebbiolo than sangiovese. The 2000 Fontalloro is drinking beautifully right now, balancing kirsch with earthy, damp terroir. But the sexy mouthfeel sets it apart from nearly any other Chianti, including the winery's own 1997. The wine is powdered silk spritzed through an atomizer, with enough grit to hold everything together and carry the ripe, southerly fruit into a long, moving finish. The climax is nearly Shakespearean.
August 27, 2006
85 Diebolt-Vallois, Cramant Brut Blanc de Blancs
The 1985 is Diebolt-Vallois' best current-release champagne. It comes from a spate of recently-disgorged wines that, collectively, show just about the entire profile of bubbly chardonnay. Against the 1979, it's usually much creamier, classic, and less exotic. Usually. This time around, the wine's evolved into a dissertation on the taste of toasted almonds. It could use a little more acid, but only because I'm a fetishist. Otherwise, the soft, yeasty, buttery brioche profile is second to few and puts this champagne among the great blanc de blancs on the market today.
August 25, 2006
The Short Pour, Issue Two: Fixing a Hole
August 17, 2006
04 Dry Creek Valley, Fume Blanc Estate DCV3
I think I've just been infected with chimera. What looks deceptively clean--pouring with the limpid clarity of San Pellegrino Panna--unfurls on my palate like it's seeking revenge. From its musky aroma of old, dusty books, I feel like I've uncovered something in the attic that my parents never wanted me to see. Canned pineapple rings, pickled jalapeno pepper juice, lychee, and spritzy melon cocktails round out the flavor. I need a lozenge.
August 12, 2006
03 Pelissero, Barbaresco Vanotu
The season is on fire. The whole season of spring burns with this wine. A classic barbaresco, Pelissero names it for his grandfather--"Vanotu" a Piedmontese cipher for the elder Giovanni--and I really think this is a wine the old man might have tasted in his youth. Redolent with a gushing bouquet of white peaches and garden mint, floral in the mouth, and dark in its tight finish of bitter black licorice and tar, this is an unadulterated wine to brood over for the next several years. Thank you, Paolo.
August 05, 2006
03 Jack Creek Cellars, York Mountain Kruse Vineyards Pinot Noir Reserve
Great land can tame even the wildest fruit. The luscious Jack Creek Reserve could have been classic Paso Robles zinfandel in another life. But something about these mountains makes it pinot noir. And perhaps it's no great compliment to say a pinot noir tastes like pinot noir, but it's worth pointing out in California, where some are closer to syrah. Of course, the cool, coastal, 1500-foot-high York Mountain AVA offers far more subtlely than Paso proper, making this wine fruit-forward, but never flabby. It speaks to the skeptic and the swain of Cali pinot. One side says there's nothing more here than Diet Pepsi or RC Cola--aspartame and acid. But the other side tastes ripe black cherries backed with silky tannin, hints of cured black olive skin, peppery spice, and a toasty smoke barrel finish. I'll try to think about that part tonight. I'll pair it with a dream about roast duck, perhaps. I really do dream about duck and wine. Yes, I sleep well.
August 03, 2006
02 Tenuta di Valgiano, Colline Lucchesi Palistorti
We're inventing a new fruit. It's called the Italian cherry. And it doesn't grow anywhere in the world, but deep inside the rootstock of sangiovese grapes from Toscana's best estates. This wine is my proof. It's the reason we age wines--and the reason we don't have to age this one. Its old, dying soul is fresh with the sappy flesh of cherries tinged with tangerines, cola, stewed beef, tomato paste, and a rustically tannic, acidic, spicy, bloody mineral finish. And then, black pepper an hour later. I wonder if they ever eat anything in Lucca, or if they just drink this wine.
August 02, 2006
04 Domaine Combier, Crozes-Hermitage
Imagine walking through a garden of violets after eating a pancetta, ricotta, lemon zest, and olivada panini--fingers damp with brine and oil. Add to that the smell of hand-spun silk saris and you have this ambitious declaration of fruit-forward Northern Rhone syrah. It drinks as silky as the metaphor it conjures, playful and whispy at times, while at others luxurious and refined. I could wrap myself in it.
© 2005-2011 Nilay Gandhi