My Purple Teeth

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Wine Sips: 6.12.11

2008 Les Vins de Vienne Condrieu

$55—13.5% alc

My Rating: 91 points

Four superstar Northern Rhone winemakers—Yves Cuilleron, Pierre Gaillard, Francois Villard and Pierre-Jean Villa—combined forces to produce this co-op Condrieu bottling. A picturesque golden-yellow wine offers a full throttle, lusty nose that’s so aromatically colorful it tastes like a Mardi Gras mask. Blood orange, mango butter, marmalade, apricot preserve, pink rose and spiced toast twirl together in a seducing bouquet of pure exoticism. Notes of lychee and green tea pop on the fleshy, albeit slightly soft, palate and continue to sing on the long, expressive finish.

2007 E. Guigal Saint Joseph Lieu Dits

$55

My Rating: 92 points

A wine of stunning beauty. With a refined intensity and caressing tannins, this Guigal effort is gorgeous with its smorgasboard of black and blue stone and berry fruits, cola, olive, bacon and Narcissus flower. It finishes strong and persistant with precise notes of  blueberry and crushed coffee . 

2009 Tardieu Laurent Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc Vieilles Vignes

60% Roussanne, 40% Grenache

$65—14% alc

300 case production

My Rating: 91 points

Full bodied with a dense concentration of fruit, this white still manages to practice impressive restraint. While it shows a slightly soft side, there’s enough acidity to buttress the ripeness of lemon curd, apricot, white blossoms, gingerbread and coffee flavors. 

2006 Costers del Suriana Clos de L’obac  (Priorat)

$95—16% alc

200 cases imported

My Rating: 92 points

Even with 16% alcohol, a percentage so high you could almost dub it Porty, this Priorat has the guts to keep the heat well-tamed. Brimming with a core of melted strawberry, date and plum, it is limned with violet, cedary herbs, Asian spice and pain grille. Voluptuous, ripe and luscious in the mouth, there’s plenty of firm structure to keep this wine from turning slutty.

2007 Tardieu Laurent Saint Joseph Les Roches Vieilles Vignes

$40

My Rating: 92 points

This Saint Joseph combines all the rustic, meaty Syrah typicity with a streamline, graceful structure. Supercharged with blue and black fruits, the nose is intoxicating with its well-delineated and uber-distinct leather, molasses, black pepper, violet and crushed coffee nuances. 



06/18/2011 12:06
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Wine Sips: 6.12.11

2007 Kaiken “Mai”

Mendoza, Argentina

2,000 case production

My Rating: 91 points

2007 is the first vintage of Kaiken’s new top shelf wine Mai. As Kaiken is a Chilean wine producer, this bottling marks their first effort east of the Andes Mountains. Aged in 100% French oak barrels for 18 months, this is no Lilliputian effort. Brazen and thickset, this 100% Malbec unleashes a massive nose of blackberry and coconut flake, fruit cake and cedar, black plum, date and pain grille. Intense and voluptuous, there’s plenty of spice and crushed coffee bean sprinkles about the velvety tannins. Unfatiguable, this wine combines the endurance of a long distance runner with the intensity of a sprinter, powering across your palate with a mighty finish and remaining synchronized along the way. Sure, at 15% alcohol there a bit of heat. But with the concentration and flesh this wine possesses, it’s hardly distracting. 

2006 Hugel “Classic” Pinot Gris

Alsace, France

$24—12.5% alc

My Rating: 90 points.

With five years of age, this Alsatian effort sustains a riff of freshness amongst its hints of maturity. Illuminating acidity lights up the fleshy palate, highlighting the flavors of quince paste, chanterelle mushroom, Golden Delicious, warm pineapple and sweet honeysuckle. Highly concentrated, this wine remains refined and never crosses into the realm of fatiguing.

2009 Henri Bourgeois “Petit Bourgeois” Sauvignon Blanc

Vin de Pays de la Jardin

$12—12% alc

My Rating: 88 points

Combining elegance with the electric snap of a summer lightning storm, subtle complexities of green apple, green melon, thyme, lemon and citrus blossoms paint the scene. And with its racy, chalky mineral drive, it’s impossible not to think of the Loire Valley.

2009 Mocali Morellino di Scansano

Tuscany, Italy

$15—14% alc

My Rating: 90 points

Alluring Old World funk of Narcissus flower and saddle leather threads the dried blueberry, red plum and blackberry core, with black pepper, tar and coffee bean adding to its balanced, complex intrigue. And for being only two-years-old, this wine demonstrates impressive integration and drinks wonderfully right now.

06/12/2011 21:29
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A Few High Quality Sips From Spain

2004 Baron de Lay Gran Reserva (Rioja)

13.5% alc

$40

My Rating: 91 pts

This is the kind of wine that inspires you to run your fingers through fresh soil after sniffing a glassful. Beautiful, traditional Rioja earth tones of turned soil, mushroom and leather waft from the glass, filling out with plum, cherry and blackberry fruit. Integrated, poised, and quite elegant, the long finish speaks precisely of spice accented plum and crushed coffee bean. 

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2004 Marques de Murrieta Rioja Gran Reserva Castillon Y’Gay Especial (Rioja)

14% Alc

$58

My Rating: 90 pts

Melted strawberries, red currant and red cherry meld together for a fine tuned, sexy nose. And the secondary notes of apricot skin, coconut, fresh earth and cedar only add to the allure. While this lacks the palatable refinement of the 04 Baron de Ley, a few more years in the bottle could very well file down the rugged edges of this otherwise intriguing effort.

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2007 Bodegas Vinyes Domench Furvus (Montsant)

14.5% alc

$34

1600 cases made—350 cases imported.

65% Garnacha, 20% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Syrah.

My Rating: 91 points

While the tannins are stacked, the fruit ripe and the alcohol high, this wine still manages to display some refinement. Compelling is the nose with its fig, red plum and cherry core that’s shaded in with tar, orange zest, mocha and baked cranberry. Persistant across the palate, spiced raspberry manifests on the slow-to-fade finish.

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2007 Can Blau Mas de Can Blau (Montsant)

15% alc

$45

35% Mazuelo, 35% Syrah, 30% Garnacha

My Rating: 92 points

The rugged, mountainous terrain that Montsant wines hail from is apparent in this brawny effort. There is no doubt, this is the Mr. T. of Spanish wines. Jacked with tannins and thick, dense black fruit, this husky blend impresses with its steadfast persistence. With slightly baked and compote fruit tones, the niceties of chocolate liqueur, lilac oil, pressed coffee and subtle char further add to its full-throttle character. While it’s already almost overwhelming, the finish lingers on uninterrupted with a slight espresso bitterness.

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06/08/2011 22:51
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Weekly Wine Sips: 6/6/2011

2006 Bodegas Frutos Villar Muruve Reserva

Toro, Spain

100% Tinta del Toro

14.5% alcohol

$20

My Rating: 89 pts

This thing packs force like a heavyweight boxer. With gutsy black and blue compote fruit, this wine slams you with a massive uppercut of dried ginger and clove, tobacco, caramel, mocha and vanilla. Slightly audacious, its polished, thick, velvety tannins carry the intense fruit across the palate, ending on a slightly black tea bitter note. It screams at you with Herculean force for a slab grilled meat; and trust me, you’ll want to feed it.

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2009 Anne Pichon Viognier

Languedoc-Roussillon, France

$15

My Rating: 87 pts

While I love Anne Pichon’s 2008 Roussane, her 2009 Viognier was good, but certainly not a knockout. Forward on the nose like an oversexed girl, this Viogner has you pinned against the table with its evocative aromas of ruby grapefruit, peach cream, lemon zest, white pepper and papaya. Part juicy, part rough-cuffed, this easy libation ends on a minerally, white pepper note.

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2005 Travaglini Gattinara

Italy

100% Nebbiolo

$30

My Rating: 91 pts

Here’s a wine that throws darts like a master, hitting all the boxes of interesting aromas and textures. Licorice, crushed autumn leaves, hickory, dried cherry and blueberry notes pick up leather and floral nuances with air. One whiff of this Gattinara and I was transported 13 years back to a mid-October afternoon. I saw myself as a child again, helping my dad rake leaves in the yard outback. And by help I really mean jumping in the piles he just completed. Leaf dust getting into my small nostrils, an early autumn chill falling upon us.

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2009 Catena Chardonnay

Argentina

$13

My Rating: 89 pts

When I get an oaked Chardonnay, I can spot it from a mile away: the creme brulee, buttered popcorn and caramel flavors of new oak barrels are all to easy to spy. Yet this was impressive for the fact that I didn’t start to notice the oak tones until after sitting with the wine for some time, despite it having seen oak for 14 months—80% French (30% new) and 20% American. Mandarin and white flowers, lemon and apple, fennel and spiced honey were all loosely tied with a wisp of smoke. While the palate seemed to have a touch of residual sugar remaining, the nuances of apricot and yellow plum that surfaced brought enough interest, allowing me to overlook the kiss of sweetness. 

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2009 Talbott Logan “Sleepy Hollow Vineyard”

Santa Lucia Highlands, California

$19

My Rating: 89 pts

Speaking of oaky Chardonnays, here’s an oaked up Chard that can be spotted from a mile away.Yet with all of the hearty oak tones, the elevage was certainly done judiciously, eschewing immoderation by all means. Aromas of poached pear, baked pineapple and nectarine cream are detailed with honeysuckle, ginger and light caramel tones. Buxom, rich, and lucious,  flavors of flakey pastry and lemon join the masses. While it finishes a tad short and warm, this is still quite an impressive effort.

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06/06/2011 22:46
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Bikinis and Sirens: A Love Affair with Málaga.

I admit. I have fallen for Málaga like an innocent tourist in New Orleans gets snared by a gypsy’s mojo. And I had no idea what was coming.

Hailing from Spain’s Andalucía region, Málaga is a sweet wine vinified from Moscatel de Alejandría grapes, which have been dried on soleo—esparto grass mats—for 7-20 days, ultimately creating an ultra concentrated wine. These dessert nectars are so thick they coat your palate like SPF-100 suntan lotion lacquers your flesh.

But I recommend this wine to not be enjoyed freely. While tasting a thimble-full would merely be a tease, more than a full glass of Málaga would be too much, easily bringing the pleasantly sated diner into the realms of uncomfortable engorgement. When you finish your first glass, it may seem hedonistically brilliant to indulge in a second. Unfortunately, the law of diminishing returns applies: Due to its richness, the enjoyment factor of every sip following the first slowly wanes. Through my diligent experiments, I can assure you that the second glass will never taste as good as the first. But with a modest pour and a sliver of warm apple tart on the side, ideal eurphoria will be had. 

The 2007 Viñas Viejas 3 arroused me with its raw exoticism. Brimming with apricot, mango butter, pineapple and mandarin, this ambrosial libation is as intricately layered on the nose as it is on the palate. But as sweet as this wine is, a bolt of acidity keeps it lively, preventing it from falling into the hideous extreme of obnoxiously flabby and saccharine. If this wine wore a bikini it would definitely show some flesh, but it wouldn’t be saggy. ($70/ 375 ml; My rating: 92)

And while the 2007 Viñas Viejas 3 thrusted forth with its tropical exuberance, the 2005 Esencia de Almachar exercised more mature aromas of cedar and dried bitter orange peel, marmalade and brûlée, black tea and toast. Viscid, it drizzles from the bottle more slowly than chilled molasses, flaunting its aristocratic amber-gold hue. In fact, any oenophile trying to slurp in air to accentuate its gorgeous flavors will find it nearly impossible to do so, as its staggering viscosity plugs up any open space between your pursed lips. If this wine were a mythical creature, she would certainly be a Siren. Even the neighborhood fruit flys followed her mellifluous aromas, becoming more seduced the closer they came. ($125/ 375ml; My rating: 93 pts)

05/30/2011 22:51
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Wine Sips: The Femme Fatale, The Kitchen Sink, The Zin From Nowhere, The Boulder, The Twister, The Pulled Silk Wrap

I must preface the following edition of wine reviews by apologizing for my erratic postings as of late. Recently, I started an internship at Wine Enthusiast, an incredible opportunity and experience to say the least. Working there is certainly keeping my schedule quite full, although I endeavor to space these posts more consistently moving forward.

With that said, here are a few wine sips from the past few weeks:

The Femme Fatale: 2007 Mauro Vannucci Piaggia Il Sasso Carmignano

Carmignano, Italy

70% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot

14.5% alc—$40

Rating: 91 pts

Personified, this wine is a sexy woman swathed in a titillating black skirt, pouting with a coy broodingness in the corner. Yet despite her moue, when you talk with her she’s quite open knit and accessible, rather suggestive with her willingness and ease.  Her scents of dried blueberry, sour cherry, violet, licorice, fig paste, and tobacco are as seducing as her silky, polished, blackberry and boysenberry kiss. She’s the kind of woman who is difficult to forget, lingering forever on your tongue and mind. 

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The Kitchen Sink: 2007 B. Kosuge Dry Stack Vineyard Syrah

Bennett Valley, California

$2514.5% alc

Rating: 91 pts

*200 cases made

Thick with copious fruit—ranging from black currant to blueberry and blackcherry to red plum—narcissus flower blooms against black olive tapenade and traces of tar, mushroom, leather, and baking spice fill in any remaining space. The kitchen sink of a nose is teeming with so much nuance it’s best to keep the plunger in reach to prevent orthonasal clogging. Burly and ripe, this Sonoma County Syrah will wallop you with its black iron fist.

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The Zin From Nowhere: 2008 Joel Gott Zinfandel Napa Valley

Napa Valley, CA

14.4% alc—$17

Rating: 88 pts

Whenever I see a wine label scrawled with the broad “California” appellation I frown in contempt and run the other way. Usually, though perhaps not always, the fruit used in these AVA unspecific blends is third rate, sourced from several vineyards from any of the 15 delimited Napa Valley appellations. Obviously these wines lack a sense of place. If I hailed from 15 different places, I, too, would be troubled with a lack of identity. But this wine actually wasn’t so bad—especially for the $14 price tag. Raspberry ganache, black cherry, strawberry and fig fill the glass, all wrapped with a string of sticky caramel. Full bodied, intense and boldly flavored, there may not be a sense of place, but it’s still enjoyable.

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The Boulder: 2007 Concha y Toro Gravas del Maipo

Maipo, Chile

88% Syrah, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon

$15015% alcohol

Rating: 91 pts

*200 cases made.

The first vintage of this supercharged Valle Central Syrah blend is as muscular as a boulder lodged into the side of the Andes Mountains. Opaque ruby with staining tears, the aromas are as dark as the color suggests. Blackberry, blackcurrant and black cherry cobbler fruit are underpinned with cedar, graphite, coffee, date, and a slight green pepper pyrazine characterthanks to the judicious addition of Cabernet Sauvignon. Intense and concentrated, the wine’s well-integrated structure is so impressive and steadfast you could stand on it without worrying about it caving under your weight. Although, you may cave under its $150 price tag.

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The Twister: 2009 Claude Lafond Clos Fussay Cote de Cuvee Reuilly

Reuilly, France

12.5% alc—$18

Rating: 89 pts

This wine is like playing the game Twister—it has one foot in the New World and a hand in the Old World. From grapefruit to lime, and apricot to passionfruit, this Reuilly covers quite a bit of ground. Heightened with typical Sauvignon Blanc greenness, notably green bell pepper and mint, the searing acidity and chalky minerality is well placed against the focused, generous fruit.

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The Pulled Silk Wrap: 2004 Marques de Vargas Reserva Rioja

Rioja, Spain

75% Tempranillo, 10% Mazuelo, 5% Garnacha

14% alc$25

Rating: 90 pts

The texture of this wine is unmistakeable. On your tongue, it feels like wearing a silk wrap that has a few pulls in its fabricas if a piece of velcro was briefly introduced to itadding a little traction to its otherwise slick feel. Tactful and poised, dried blueberry, sour cherry, and lingonberry commingle with tobacco, cardamom, and mushroom. Find it, buy it, drink it.



05/22/2011 13:02
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Wine Notes: The Boom Box, The Sweatpants-Wearing Girlfriend, The Grim Reaper’s Scythe, The Koolaid Man

2009 Don David Torrontes

Cafayate Valley, Argentina

$17—13.9% alc

Rating: B+

A flashy, exotic, colorful white with flavors that thrust across the tongue as loud as a boom box cranked high by the old schoolyard. Crushed rock, white pepper, and loads of honeysuckle and orange blossom hit you first. And if that’s not enough to get you jammin’, there’s plenty of orange marmalade, apricot, and candied citrus, too. While its weight and conspicuous decibles of flavor may stray from away from finesse, there’s enough cut by the acidity to keep it all from muddling together into one deafening mass. Beware of extreme flavor volume: may cause palate fatigue.

Try pairing with: Grilled swordfish and a mango salsa.

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2009 Bodegas del Palacio de Fefinanes

Galicia, Spain

$22—12.5% alc

Rating: B+/A-

With acidity as keen as the Grim Reaper’s scythe, the summer’s oppressive heat is no match for this wine’s incisive cut. Yet equiposed to the wine’s laser sharpness is its silky feel, making this wine as sleek as a white Lambourghini. And the white Lambourghini, too, will cut through the summer’s heat—top down, of course. There’s plenty of purity in this wine with its white flowers, green apple, white stonefruit, and wet, stony minerals. The flavors ride across the palate with an elegant intensity, picking up citrus flavors until the amount of saliva that amasses on the finish washes it all away. It’s clean and mouth-drenching. And yes, that puddle by my feet is saliva.

Try pairing with: Oysters on the half shell.

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2009 Argiolas Vermentino “Costamolino”

Sardegna, Italy

13.5% alc

Rating: B/B+

Dressed quite simply with aromas of white flowers, fuji apple, and a sliver of apricot, this full-bodied white is like hanging out with your girlfriend when she’s just loafing around the house in her sweatpants, t-shirt, and sans mascara. She’s enjoyable company but not the prettiest to look at.  She’s enjoyable and pretty in her simple form. 

Try pairing with: Grilled prosciutto and seared peach pizza.

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2009 Domaine La Garrigue Cotes du Rhone “Cuvee Romaine”

75% grenache, 25% syrah

14.5% alc—$15

Rating: B+/A-

There is a shit ton going on in this glass. Intriguing are its serpentine aromas that perpetually twist into new aromas and then back. The glass was so crammed with such vigorous aromas that I’m suprised it didn’t shatter from all the force: plum, kirschy cherry, earth, fig compote and lavendar 

grosso take on dried coffee and strawberry jam tones with time. Pop-and-pour, this wine demonstrates its youthful temperament with its slightly rugged tannins. Decanting it proved to mellow the traction and allowing the dark, concentrated flavors to break through the tannic buffer like the Koolaid man breaks through your parents’ walls.   

Try Pairing With: Pappardelle pasta with a wild mushroom ragout

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2004 Ondarre Rioja Reserva

75% tempranillo, 15% mazuelo, 10% garnacha

Rioja, Spain

13.5% alc—$12

Rating: B+/A-

The mushrooms hit you first. Followed by traces of blacktop tar, leather and baking spice. But then like flowers blooming in May, buds of color start to arise, breaking through the brown aromas with plenty of vibrant black cherry and raspberry flavors. Poised and steady across the palate, its light, sandy tannins and bright acidity lend great framing to its otherwise bucolic picture.

Try Pairing With:  Leg of lamb with blackberry compote.

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05/02/2011 23:11
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Wine Notes Round Up: The Sexy, The Restrained, The Deceiving.

2009 Abbazia di Novacella Kerner

Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy—14% alc—$17

Exotic and coyly sexy, a temptress of a wine. This wine is like going on a date with a seemingly decorous woman who seems straightjacketed with prudeness. And then suddenly after dinner she tears out of her gentility and turns into an unrestrained nympho. The wine begins refined and elegant, but as the night goes on becomes lustfully aggressive with passionfruit, papaya, crushed basil, white pepper, cardamom, and mineral. What a sexpot.  Grade: B+/A-

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2004 Angelique de Monbousquet

60% merlot, 25% cabernet franc, 15% cabernet sauvignon

St. Emilion, Bordeaux—13% alc—$20

Deception at its best. With its fruitcake, cassis, blackberry, and meat notes, the aromatics of this Bank Bordeaux blend had my mouth salivating, but it didn’t have the stuffing on the mid-palate. Full bodied with plush, silky tannins, I felt the mid-palate fizzle out like a 4th of July sparkler caught in the rain. Rating: B-

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2009 Marchetti Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi

Marche, Italy—12% alc—$15

Will you pass the lightly grilled shellfish and seafood, please? Enjoy this vibrant white on a summer’s day with sandy toes and an umbrella. Elegantly packed with apricot and mango, white flowers, citrus, and crushed rocks, there is a sultry weight on the mid-palate echoing the flavors of the tropics at its best. Rating: B+

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2007 Trimbach Pinot Gris Reserve

Alsace, France—13.5% alc—$20

What initiated as a finessed wine with tinctures of quince, wax, canteloupe, and spiced lemon confit soon turned into a quince paste bomb—exploding uncontrollably with quince, quince, and well, quince. Structurally well-crafted with a tangible bust, this is a powerhouse wine and will appeal to those who love the flavor of, well, quince. 

Rating: B

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2007 Goat Roti Syrah-Viognier

South Africa—$17

With all its dense ruby pigment I bet the winery could have printed the bottle label using the wine as ink. The 2007 Goat Roti is South Africa’s riposte to France’s Cote-Rotie. And while certainly syrah’s typicity is noted, the wine lacks the finesse and craftmanship of many Cote-Roties. There is so much oak in this blend (French and American) that sniffing the wine transports me to the bowels of a winery’s cellar where all their oak barrels are stacked. But peel away the thick planks of oak flavor and you’ll find dense, concentrated layers of blackberry and black currant, meat and pepper. Rating: B

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2007 Rene Rostaing Cote-Rotie

France—$65

If you thrusted a pepper grinder in your right nostril and some slices of cured meat from your local boucher in the other and then sniffed a concoction of blackberries, boysenberries, cigar, minerals, and burnt rubber shavings, you’d have a sense of this wine’s parfum. Expressing great precision and fine, chalky tannins, dried flowers and tar emerge on the palate with a persisting finish. C’est bon. Rating: B+/A-

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2009 Pazo de Tapias Godello “Alma de Blanco”

Spain—13.5%—$14

Restrained at first, it’s not long before this godello tears of her clothes with sexual exhilaration only to fully straddle you with exuberant fleshy fruit. Expect her to shower you with plenty of delicious kisses that taste like an amalgam of pineapple, lemon, apricot, quince, fennel, mineral and white pepper. Rating: B+/A-

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04/25/2011 13:37
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Holding Your Breath For A Wine’s Second Night

There aren’t too many $20-and-under wines I’ve tasted that show better the second night than the first. And even after experimenting with vinous tools that proclaim to increase the longevity of a wine—such as the Vacuvin—these are usually quite otiose. Like a man with a broken heart, most of these wines on the second day have lost their fervor, precision, and libido they were brimming with on day one. 

For the past two nights I have been tasting the 2006 E. Gugal Crozes-Hermitage. On the first night I thought the wine was a pretty good expression of Crozes-Hermitage’s typicity—aromas of cracked pepper and gamy cured meat wafted from the glass, sporting a slightly leaner frame than its more mature and studly brother, Hermitage. If you can fathom blending one pound of black peppercorns, a slab of bloody vension meat, burnt rubber shavings, raspberries, blackberries and a handful of violet petals into a funky elixer of sorts, you would have some understanding of this wine’s flavor profile. And I swear, mom, it’s good!

But I wasn’t thrilled with its oral character. In actuality, the flavors on the mid palate were quite meek, perhaps caught between the small crescendo of tannins that built upon the palate. And the finish wasn’t much better, either; it was bereft of a certain precision. Imagine yourself sneezing without covering your nose. Certainly your germs wouldn’t travel in a focused, tightly knit, linear trajectory across the room; they would scatter outwardly the farther they got from your nostrils. Those microbes would roam wherever they wanted, and that’s what the finish was like for me: unorchestrated.

Certainly, I assumed, this wine couldn’t possibly withstand the elements and express itself even remotely well on night two. But tonight I was proved wrong. 

Night two was even better than night one. A full 24 hours later, this wine’s mid palate filled out, becoming more expressive, ample, and harmonious; and the finish became more incisive. Just as mom’s famous beef stew is good on the first night, it always seems to transcend its original form after spending the night in the refrigerator, marinating in its own juices. By night two it has garnered more flavor, tenderness, and integration. And so too did this wine.

2006 E. Guigal Crozes-Hermitage

12.5% alc—$20—Rating: B+

Meaty, earthen, and peppery, this Crozes-Hermitage boasts all the feral, smutty scents that syrah is reknowned for. Amongst the cracked pepper, burnt rubber shavings, and raw game, raspberry and blackberry fruit are accented with a corsage of violets and narcissus. The tannins build like a small crescendo across the palate, but with air they are filed down and the wine becomes more plump and flavorfully expressive.

04/21/2011 00:00
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Wine Notes From Above The Table

In addendum to the wine notes posted yesterday from below the table, here are some recent bottle notes from above the table. 

2009 St. Urbans-Hof Ockfener Bockstein Kabinett

Mosel, Germany

$20

The name of the wine is certainly a mouthful, isn’t it? Ironically, the wine itself is a mouthful of beautiful white flowers, grapefruit and meyer lemon spritz, white peach, papaya, and kumquat. I certainly can’t forget the protruding minerality, either. And while the wine itself has 50 g/l of residual sugar, the scandalous amount of acidity balances it, creating a wine that’s neither overly sweet nor dry, but silky, round and complete. Rating: A-

 

2005 Celler de Capcanes ‘Mas Donis Barrica’

Montsant, Spain 

$15

There are some wine regions that are contiguous with other wine regions, sharing stylistic similarities but not necessarily the distinction. And while these adjoining regions usually don’t proffer wines as reputed as the more prestigious regions’, their wines are often considered “baby” versions with baby pricetags. To me, the Northern Rhone’s Crozes-Hermitage is like a baby brother looking up to his more mature, more studly brother, Hermitage. And quite similarly, I find the wines of Montsant be the less prestigious version of Priorat—a poor man’s variant so to speak.

The 2005 Celler de Capcanes ‘Mas Donis Barrica’ is a blend of 85% garnacha (grenache) and 15% syrah, and at six years of age it boasts a transparent brick-ruby hue with a faint aura of burnt orange at the rim. There was so much leather radiating from the glass it was as if the wine was keen on bondage, strapped down to the stony, forest floor, tightly trussed with worn-in leather. Layers of sour cherry, plum, and dried blueberry were accented by pain grille, brown spice, and herbs. Sure, the worn leather was kinky in an animalistic way, but the wine overall was quite refined. If it were animate, it would certainly wear a neck-tie and most definitely a dirt stain on its pants. Rating: B+

04/18/2011 15:00
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