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geo t.

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  1. We enjoyed these two wines recently with Nancy, Mel and Bruce Leiserowitz; both were most fine paired with grilled hanger steak, sautéed polenta and mushrooms in a reduced sauce. 2000 Domaine Bois de Boursan Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Felix, $79.99, 13.5% alc.: This dark garnet monster exudes big leathery black currant, black plum, earth and smoke flavors and aromas, accented with just enough oak to notice; very intense and concentrated, it’s showing significant tannins and not – quite – searing acidity. As it opens with air, it turns sweeter, with notes of violet, cola and a certain creamy quality throughout. I double decanted this before our drive, but it could have used at least four hours in the decanter to show its best now. What it really needs is a lot of time, as it’s likely a fifteen year wine, and then some. Great stuff here, but be very patient. Imported by J et R Selections, Mount Pleasant, MI 1998 Domaine Mordoree Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée de la Reine des Bois: Bruce had decanted this dark garnet, and I never did take a look at the label for the specifics as to alcohol content, but then, who cares? What’s important is what’s in the glass, and this one exudes sea air over red and black currants, with some smoke in the background. Flavors echo, with some added leathery, peppery nuances and considerably less tannins and acidity than the Cuvée Felix, being much smoother than the previous selection. Kim also found it to be spicier, while Bruce noted some vanilla and an almost shiraz – like quality. The sea air never does blow off, and indeed dominates the nose, in a very good way. Although marvelous and much more approachable than the Bois de Boursan, opening this now is still jumping the gun (although we’d never have known without trying it, now would we?), so try to hold off on it until at least 2008; you won’t be disappointed. Imported by Kysela Père et Fils, Ltd., Winchester, VA Reporting from Day-twah, geo t.
  2. We made the mistake of drinking some so-so '02 Paringa Cab and Shiraz during Game 2, so we went back to the well, so to speak for Game 3, with much better results all around. 1990 Marchese di Gresy Barbaresco Gaiun Martinenga, $85, 14% alc.: Kim absolutely raves about this somewhat rusty ruby garnet, calling it “voluptuous” and “fabulous,” and she has a point. While the slightly tarry, smoky prune and dried sour cherry aromatics aren’t exactly exuberant at first, the flavors certainly are, with plenty of smoky, dusty dried sour cherry, black cherry, leather, a little licorice and subtle elements of road tar in the background. There are still some tannins here, along with good acidity and a lovely finish, and after it had been open for about an hour, it reminded me of a hypothetical cross between a red Burgundy and a Chateauneuf du Pape, of all things. Quite simply, a marvelous wine, and still on the way up, if this bottle is any indication. Imported by Paterno Imports, Chicago, IL 1995 Luigi Pira Barolo Marenca, $44.99, 14% alc.: The ruby dark garnet color of this intense Barolo is showing just a little rust at this point; the nose, while muted initially, opens to show floral overtones to the dark plum and black cherry aromatics. There’s nothing stingy about the flavors, which echo the bouquet in a big way, gaining an earthy, leathery quality with air. This has dense, intense concentration, along with tannins that beg for another five years minimum in the cellar. Kim wasn’t nearly as impressed with this as with the di Gresy, but give it enough time, and it’ll soften up, develop more complexity and really start to sing. A Marc de Grazia Selection, imported by Vin Divino, Chicago, IL Reporting from Day-twah, geo t.
  3. Yup, we enjoyed these two fine wines during (and every bit as much as) Game 1 of the NBA Finals. 1990 Tenuta la Poderina Brunello di Montalcino, $165, 13% alc.: Kim characterized this rusty ruby colored Brunello as “musty,” but it reminds me of nothing so much as my mother’s very aromatic cedar chest, with flavors and aromas of prune, dried black cherries and above all, cedar! As it opens, even more cedar emerges, along with some sea air and smoke. Tannins are pretty much resolved, but there’s still plenty of acidity, and it finishes very nicely. A very fine wine in its prime, soft, yet rich and delicious, and so satisfying and harmonious. Imported by Winebow, Inc., New York, NY 1998 Villa Poggio Salvi Brunello di Montalcino, $59.99, 14% alc.: This ruby dark garnet exudes road tar, underbrush and dried sour cherries on the nose, and there’s a lot more of the same on the palate, along with something like peanut butter, and as it opens and fleshes out, spicy notes of licorice, leather and balsamico emerge. It shows good concentration and intensity, and it’s not so tannic that you can’t drink one tonight; deep, dark and tasty, this is a fine glass of wine that really needs at least another five years to show it best. Imported by Premiere Wine Merchants, New York, NY Reporting from Day-twah, geo t.
  4. Not odd characteristics for a zin that saw plenty of new American oak, marlowe. And not really vegetal either. You may or may not want to try one yourself so as to see what you think; your mileage may vary.
  5. 2001 Ridge Syrah/Grenache Lytton Estate, 14.8% alc.: This dark garnet is a 50 – 50 blend of syrah and Grenache, but you can hardly tell that from the aromatics or flavors, which are all about red wine from Ridge. The nose explodes with beautiful Draper perfume in all its glory, bursting with blackberry, black plum, blueberry and just the right amount of oak. These follow through in the somewhat fat, somewhat creamy flavors, where a little chocolate emerges with air. The tannins try to fight it out with the big fruit and Mr. Ridge personality, but finish in 3rd place, as this is drinking so well already. It reminds me of the ’95 Ridge Pagani Mataro, which was also gorgeous when it was released, but showed almost no varietal character whatsoever. Kim and I love this wine, and while it will improve over the next three to five years, we’ll have a hard time keeping our hands off until then. 2001 Ridge Geyserville, 74% Zinfandel, 18% Carignane, 8% Petite Sirah, $30, 14.4% alc.: This was my first taste of this dark garnet Geezer since ZAP '03, and perhaps the time has helped it come around some. Initially less aromatically effusive than the ’01 Syrah/Grenach (which it was tasted immediately after) it shows less overt Draper perfume over blackberry, black raspberry and blueberry, accented with a subtle note of chocolate. The nose brightens up noticeably with air, and the flavors echo in a somewhat subdued kind of way, not being as sweet and forward, but rather more claret – like, and with a nice touch of that ol’ bramble and briar. With an hour’s worth of air, the flavors start to open as the bouquet did earlier, becoming somewhat sweeter and more expressive, gaining a little leather along the way. The tannins can use some time, but this is drinking quite well right now. Classic Mr. Ridge claret, with not a Bordeaux varietal in the mix. Reporting from Day-twah, geo t.
  6. 2002 Ridge Lytton Springs, 75% Zinfandel, 20% Petite Sirah, 5% Carignane, $50 (Beverly Hills Grill, Beverly Hills, MI), $30 from the winery,14.7% alc.:We took the opportunity to get our first taste of this dark garnet while dining out with Scott “The Geek” Tobias, and we were most delighted with it. It exudes plenty of that Draper perfume, with luscious flavors and aromas of reduced raspberry, black raspberry and a little blueberry, prettied up with just the right amount of sweet oak and little hints of coconut and dill that compliment, rather than detract from the character at this point. Scott added impressions of “coffee, caramel; really spicy, almost picante.” It shows good acidity and a nice long finish, along with tannins that will take it quite a way down the road, but if you’re one of those who prefer Zinfandel in all of it’s young and vibrant expression, this has more than enough lovely fruit to charm your socks off right now. As “The Geek” put it, “This is refined, yet powerful, what I look for in a really good Zinfandel.” 2001 Ridge Lytton Springs, 76% Zinfandel, 17% Petite Sirah, 7% Carignane, $30, 14.7% alc.: The color hasn’t changed since the last time we tried it, but there never was nearly as much coconut and dill to the big oak as there is with this particular bottle. Flavors echo with added raspberry, blackberry and even a little blueberry. Substantial tannins can’t quite restrain the big fruit or the big oak; as it opens there’s more and more big, luscious, almost jammy fruit, literally exploding on the palate, with a good long finish, but the coconut and dill never dissipate. Much like the ’97 Geyserville, this needs five years or so to sop up all the oak, judging from this bottle; the fruit is killer and the tannins I can handle, but the oak is just too much right now. Reporting from Day-twah, geo t.
  7. The party was at Anne and Putnam Weekly’s place in old Day-twah, and it was one not to miss, not only for the fine spread of food, but especially for some serious Rhônes that don’t get opened all that often around here. I’ll refrain from waxing poetic about a fine time had with good friends and new acquaintances and get right to the meat of the subject, namely the wines. 1998 Domaine Santa Duc Gigondas Prestige des Hautes Garrigues, 15% alc.: Putnam describes this dark garnet monster as “a train wreck,” and one taste will tell you just what he’s talking about. It’s all deep, dark black fruit on the nose, with licorice, dark bitter chocolate, earth and tar on the palate. Still plenty of tannins to resolve here, along with good acidity, a long finish and a bit of an alcoholic bite, this is some years from optimum drinking, so forget about it until its tenth birthday or beyond. 1998 Domaine du Pegau Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée da Capo, 16% alc.: A legendary cuvée made only in the very best vintages, this deep dark garnet isn’t showing much on the nose besides leather right now, but the flavors pick it up bigtime with black currant, blackberry, leather, earth and alcoholic heat. A very intense wine that needs a lot of time, and one probably wouldn’t be wrong to sit on it until 2013 or beyond. A Robert Parker 100 pointer, it is a blend of 90% Grenache and 10% of the other twelve permitted varietals. 2001 Dugat – Py Charmes – Chambertin Grand Cru, 13.5% alc.: True, this deep, dark garnet red Burgundy strayed from the theme of the evening, but in fact, this is a big wine that has an almost Rhône – like quality in the mouth. It’s all deep dark plum and black cherry, with just a hint of the barnyard on the nose and a note of smoke as it opens. Very dry, and rather thick; Putnam describes it as “sappy.” The wine needs years, but has the stuffing to go the distance; try it in 2012. 2001 Domaine le Sang des Cailloux Vacqueyras Cuvée de Lopy, 14% alc.: I’ve heard great things about this inky garnet cuvée, and it more than lives up to the advance billing, with plenty of cola – root beer and sea air on the nose, all of which carries over into the flavors with big leathery black plum and black currant on a full bodied frame. It’s tannic, but no so much so that you can’t drink it now with some air, and indeed, it opens dramatically in the glass. Classic Sang des Cailloux Vacqueyras, and a perfect example of why I love the wines from this producer. 2000 Domaine Mordoree Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée de la Reine des Bois, 14.5% alc.: Here’s another one that we don’t get to taste too often, and it’s some seriously good stuff. Deep, dark garnet in color, with a whiff of the barnyard and black fruit nose, this also opens dramatically in the glass, showing big smoke, leather, pepper, dark chocolate and black fruit. Double damned good, and by the last sip, absolutely delicious. 1992 M. Chapoutier Ermitage “La Pavillon,” 13.5% alc.: I’m not the biggest fan of Chapoutier’s wines, but this ruby garnet syrah will make me think again about that. It’s showing little, if any bricking to its color, and throws a mature nose of saddle leather, spice, prune and a little smoke, all of which echoes so nicely in the flavors. Tannins are pretty much resolved, with fairly low acidity. Very mellow and flavorful; yum yum yum yum yum! 1991 Ridge Monte Bello, 13.1% alc.: OK, so this isn’t a Rhône, but there weren’t any objections voiced when Tom Natoci opened it, and indeed, it was one of the wines of the night. It’s pretty much everything I remember it being from the last time we tasted it at Ridgestock, with all that Draper perfume over lovely cassis, black currant, chocolate, perfectly proportioned sweet oak, just a touch of cedar and sea air and a little herbal note lurking in the background. Soft, smooth, rich and delicious, this is just starting to develop those secondary nuances that give fine mature cabernet sauvignon so much character. 1990 M. Chapoutier Hermitage Monier de la Sizeranne, 13.4% alc.: Amazing! Two Chapoutiers that I really like, and both tasted on the same occasion! There’s no rust to the dark garnet color here as of yet; flavors and aromas show slightly musty (a good thing, in this case) leather, plum and prune, being rich, smooth and delicious. Tannins are resolved, acids are low, and there’s a soft herbal element in the background that makes it even more attractive. A ’91 version of this was also opened, but showed a little less of everything that this one had to offer, not to mention a slightly sour, vegetal quality. 1990 Domaine du Pegau Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Laurence, 14% alc.: At that point of the evening when Gary Kahle opened this, the note taking was getting a little fuzzy, but not because there was anything wrong with the wines, this one in particular. The deep, dark garnet color isn’t even hinting at any bricking or rust, and the sleek, smooth flavors and aromas are all prune, plum, leather, underbrush and smoke. An absolutely lovely Châteauneuf du Pape, and one that I would like to have gotten to know better. 1999 Voge Cornas, 13% alc.: This one looks like ink, and has a character something like bacon fat and coffee spilled all over patent leather shoes. If that sounds weird, it’s actually quite tasty, and remarkably approachable for so young a Cornas. Very fine indeed. 1999 Eric Texier Cote Rotie: I dictated this final note to Kim, who dutifully recorded my brief impressions: slightly astringent, with a lot of garrigue, black currant, bacon and a little hint of violet; sleek, streamlined, and drinking quite well for its relative youth. Wow, what a lineup! If we’d had red Rhône mojo like this in early May, the Detroit Red Wings might still be playing hockey, instead of golf. I’d be hard pressed to pick between the ’92 Ermitage “La Pavillon” and the ’91 Ridge Monte Bello as my WOTN, but then not only did nothing suck, there was an amazingly high level of quality across the board. Many, many thanks to Anne and Putnam for allowing us the opportunity to sample such rare and wonderful wines, and thanks also to those in attendance for their generous contributions. Reporting from Day-twah, geo t.
  8. 2000 Allegrini Palazzo Della Torre ®, Veronese IGT, $15.99, 13.5% alc.: We've always liked previous vintages of this wine, but never took the time to take notes. Kim described this big bold dark garnet as "eminently drinkable, right out of the bottle," and she was correct. It exudes an effusive, almost overripe bouquet of black cherry, black berry, plum and chocolate, with hints of tar lurking in the background. The flavors echo nicely, with somewhat better manners, where the chocolate morphs into a cocoa - ish character. Not too tannic, with just enough acidity and a fairly long finish that finally turns tarry right towards the end, this wine could easily be mistaken for an Aussie of Californian red, but don't hold that against it. 1999 Allegrini Palazzo Della Torre ®, Veronese IGT, $18.99, 13.5% alc.: This deep, dark garnet shows less dusty cocoa than we remember from our last taste, but like its successor, gives lots of deep dark fruit on the nose, with some barnyard, licorice, tar and underbrush to mix things up. The dense, intense flavors echo with medium tannins that aren't intrusive, and a nice long finish. This is a big powerhouse that can continue to develop for a good five years anyway, but you might have trouble keeping your hands off now. Allegrini Wines Imported by Winebow, Inc., New York, NY (From Tasting Notes from the Underground - Random Italians) Reporting from Day-twah, geo t.
  9. The first three wines were tasted as samples which were opened the day before we tried them, and yet still showed quite well. 2001 Château Courouneau Bordeaux Superieur Cuvée Pierre de Cartier, 13% alc.: This ruby dark garnet, composed of 100% organically grown merlot from 30 year old vines, shows a pretty nose of cherry vanilla and chocolate, with deeper, darker fruit on the palate, along with some tobacco leaf and cigar box. The mid - palate is somewhat creamy, and the tannins show themselves mostly on the finish, where more tobacco comes out as well. Very nice for around $19.99. 2000 Château Le Clos Daviaud Montagne Saint - Emilion Cuvée de la Trilogie, 60% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Franc, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12.5% alc.: The aromatics of this dark garnet claret don't exactly jump out of the glass, but with a little coaxing, they do show earthy black currant, cassis, cherry stick and hints of decaying vegetation. Flavors echo and expand, gaining a bit of woody cigar box and a hint of black olive. The tannins are very soft, and the mouth feel is smooth; I'm sure the extended aeration helped this, but let's not hold that against it. Very nice for around $16.99. 2000 Château Haut Bernat Puisseguin - Saint - Emilion, 13% alc.: A ruby dark garnet, with a rather shy, slightly meaty red and black fruit nose, this is not in the same league as the previous two selections. Made from 100% merlot, it shows fairly ordinary, dry earthy black currant and cassis flavors, with moderate tannins. Fans of traditional Bordeaux should like this, and it certainly works well with food, but at around $20.99, it's easily the most expensive of the three. And, since we enjoyed the '01 Château Courouneau Cuvée Pierre de Cartier so well, I picked a bottle of the '00 a few days later, and liked that even better. 2000 Château Courouneau Bordeaux Superieur Cuvée Pierre de Cartier, $17.99, 12.5% alc.: Dark garnet, with a note of oak and hints of toast and coffee over black currant and blackberry on the nose, these impressions more or less follow through in the flavors in a very dry fashion (no surprise there, I suppose), with soft tannins and a smooth mouth feel. As it opens in the glass, it shows more and more fruit, becoming almost fat, and decidedly plum - y, with a little dark chocolate, wet earth and blueberry for good measure. Drinking well now with some extended air, it should only improve over the next two to five years. Imported by Peerless Importing Co., Jackson, MI (From Tasting Notes from the Underground - More Francophilia) Reporting from Day-twah, geo t.
  10. It was another gathering of the charter members of the Gang of Pour; Lowell Boileau, Scott Tobias, Kim Adams and this taster convened at Gang Central to taste three late model Bordeaux that I’d found at the local Costco at good prices. We got things started with some pink stuff that didn’t seem to go over all that well. 2002 Domaine Tempier Bandol Rose, $22.99, 11 – 14% alc.: Salmon pink, with a dusty watermelon nose, this follows through and fleshes out in the flavors, gaining some strawberry over a moderately earthy base. It’s not bright fruit here, but I like it for what it has to show, with medium intensity, fairly low acidity and a so – so finish, where Scott and Lowell commented on a Vaseline ® petrolium – like element. Our two guests weren’t much taken with this, while I always find something to enjoy with these. Kim commented that it “needs a hot summer day on the beach and a good chill,” but in fact, we both quite enjoyed a glass on the following day, when it seemed to have perked up some. Different strokes… With that, we moved on the clarets, which had all been decanted an hour before hand. 2001 Château Cantemerle Haut – Medoc, $18.99, 12.5% alc.: A coffee – like essence comes across immediately on the nose of this dark garnet, causing Lowell to exclaim, “Rich coffee; I’ve never smelled anything like this before!” Kim added an impression of “…bacon… fabulous, huge nose!” The flavors echo, with youthful, hard black currant and cassis character, along with what Lowell described as “raw chocolate, bittersweet, like molé.” It goes well with some nice Spanish “Drunken Goat” cheese, and despite some serious tannins, opens nicely with air, except for the finish, which really dramatizes the tight young nature of the wine. Give this at least five years in the cellar, but there’s no reason to think that it isn’t a 10 year wine and more. 2001 Château Haut – Bages Liberal Pauillac, $18.99, 12.5% alc.: With his first whiff of this deep dark garnet, Lowell exclaimed, “I can tell this is better already!” And indeed, it’s all about sweet, refined cassis, black currant, blackberry and chocolate flavors and aromas, with a pretty kiss of restrained oak. Silky, dry and delicious, it also shows a certain woody aspect, from older barrels, perhaps? Elements of tobacco leaf and fine leather emerge as it opens, and it becomes ultra – smooth, almost luxurious in texture; it wears its elegant veneer so well, with the substance to back it up, definitely being a step or two up from the Cantemerle. Although drinking pretty well for so young a Pauillac, it will certainly benefit from seven to twelve years of cellaring. 2001 Château Carruades de Lafite Pauillac, $29.99, 12.5% alc.: An almost inky garnet, with a stingy nose of woody black currant and cassis that carry over and expand in the flavors. Silky, yet tight, this doesn’t show the same kind of opulence as the Haut – Bages Liberal at first, but it opens to show a reserved, refined elegance of its own, and a classic, traditional Bordeaux character. Notes of plum, dry leather and a hint of chocolate emerge with air, and the “woody” aspect shows more as well, but it’s not corked; again, I wonder if it might not be from the use of older barrels. I bought two more of these, and based on this taste, I won’t open one until 2011, to see how it’s coming along. Château Cantemerle Haut – Medoc, Château Haut – Bages Liberal Pauillac and Château Carruades de Lafite Pauillac are imported by Wine Warehouse, Los Angeles, CA It was fun tasting these strapping young clarets (all three went quite well with brown rice, seaweed and dirty hot dogs), and of course, it’s always good to get together with Lowell and Scott. Initially, the consensus seemed to favor the Haut – Bages Liberal, but Mr. Boileau found that coffee – like aspect of the Cantemerle most intriguing, and ultimately named that as his favorite of the evening. Interestingly, our friendly neighborhood Costco ran out of the Haut – Bages Liberal very quickly, so I couldn’t pick up a few more of those, which would have been my obvious first choice. Reporting from Day-twah, geo t.
  11. geo t.

    TN: 2001 Nalle Zinfandel

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Winger, I am intensely jealous. Although a recent convert to Doug Nalle's Zins, I lust after them as much for what they are as for what they are not, and you describe that perfectly. I can only rue the fact that I haven't followed this one from even close to the beginning, unlike a certain online personality that shall remain nameless here. Know what / who I mean? }8^)> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  12. geo t.

    TDG: Liquid Literature

    Nice. Real nice! Kim and George
  13. These wines were initially sampled by a small select group, then gassed and capped for two days. Each bottle had a substantial quantity remaining when I finally got to taste them, and most were showing quite well. With the exception of the Château Haut – Bailly, they will retail for $25 and under in the Detroit market. 2001 Château Lascaux Bordeaux Supérieur, 13% alc: Deep dark garnet color, with cassis, black currant and subtle sweet, toasty oak on the nose; flavors echo with added hints of tobacco leaf, cream and vanilla. Very dry, with plenty of tannins, good acidity and a nice finish. Quite enjoyable. 2001 Château Haut – Bailly Pessac – Leognan Grand Cru Classe de Graves, 12.5% alc.: Deep dark garnet color, with a beautiful perfume featuring a perfect kiss of oak over cassis, black currant, plum, a hint of chocolate and a certain floral element; these impressions follow through on the palate with additional red and black berries, hints of cedar and wood, silky tannins and a very nice finish. Drinking very well right now, but better prices can be found around the country than $45, which it will retail at or around in the Detroit market. 2001 Château Beynat Côtes de Castillon Cuvée Léonard, 13% alc.: Dark garnet, with straightforward wood, black currant and cassis flavors and aromas; a fellow taster described notes of eucalyptus and tea. Deep, dark and dense, this has the tannins to go ten years no sweat. Sturdy, structured and well put together. 2001 Château Les Grands Chénes Medoc, 13% alc.: Inky garnet in color, with a lovely bouquet featuring sweet oak, blackberry, cassis, plum, and hints of blueberry and eucalyptus; it could almost be mistaken for a Californian Cab, based on the nose, which may or may not be a prime selling point, depending on the taster’s persuasion. Flavors generally echo the aromatic qualities, though a little less expressively, finishing with drying tannins. Good structure, good presence, good future. 2001 Château Rozier Saint – Emilion Grand Cru, 12.5% alc.: Dark garnet color, with aquarium aromatics right away, followed by berries, plum, black currant and some nice sweet oak; these follow through on the palate, but this isn’t as dense or as structured as the others. Medium bodied, and medium intensity at best, and not too strong on the mid – palate or finish. A middleweight pretender, this is pleasant enough for early drinking and every day fare, but that’s all. All wines imported by A.H.D. Vintners, Ltd., Warren, MI Reporting from Day-twah, geo t.
  14. The two bottles of Chablis were from the same stash, which were stored under ideal conditions. The was nothing oxydized about the characteristics of the first bottle, unlike a '96 Lamblin Blanchots that we opened about a month ago. That one had to be retired, regretfully. The first Chablis - Vaudésir was delicious in its own way, and was thoroughly enjoyed by five tasters.
  15. 1994 Joseph Drouhin Chablis - Vaudésir Grand Cru, 13% alc.: A pale to medium gold colored chardonnay, this gives plenty of butterscotch, pear, pineapple wet stone and mineral flavors and aromas at first, with a good dose of obvious oak. It's rich, with excellent acidity and concentration, and a long, lingering finish; it's just starting to develop a hint of nuttiness to the flavors. This is a wine that goes through a continuous evolution in the glass, because after about an hour and a half, the personality morphs into a slightly funky, mossy wet stone character, with the oak receding into the background and a chalky note emerging as well. Lovely and delicious, this seems to be still on the way up, and it wouldn't hurt to decant it for a while before drinking A second bottle tasted with Alan Kerr a few weeks later showed rather differently, but no less impressively. The butterscotch, pineapple and nuttiness were nowhere to be found; instead there was plenty of fig, chalk, stony mineral, and as it opened, honey dew melon and red grapefruit. With moderate acidity and a long, long finish, this was also absolutely delicious. Interesting and instructive as to how individual bottles will go their own separate ways over time to develop distinctive characters. 1996 Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches, $56.99, 13.5% alc.: The aromatics of this medium straw to pale gold are rather stingy at first, not giving much more than a little wet stone - mineral; the flavors are more generous, with their pure chardonnay fruit taking on a soft pear - like character and blending seamlessly with that stony minerality. We decanted this about half an hour before tasting, and as it opens over a few hours, the bouquet blooms nicely, if not effusively; a soft nuttiness emerges, along with some subtle oak and just a hint of butterscotch on both the nose and palate. After an hour or so in the glass, it turns creamy smooth and velvet - like, rich and yet restrained at the same time, with deceptive acidity and a long, long finish. All about balance and finesse, this lovely wine makes a fine match for pan seared ahi tuna and asparagus dressed with a light blood orange vinaigrette, caramelized onions and du puy lentils. It is certainly one of the very best white wines we've had all year, but I still like the Chablis - Vaudésir better. 1996 Joseph Drouhin Meursault - Perrières Premier Cru, $46.99, 13.5% alc.: A medium straw to pale gold in color, this shows reticent aromatics of soft hazelnut and pear that echoes and expands on the palate with zippy acidity and wet stones that linger on the finish. It has a silky elegance to it, with medium intensity; well - integrated oak remains mostly in the background, and hints of butterscotch, vanilla and bees wax emerge as it opens. The finish flops a bit, leaving only a mouthful of river stones, and one wonders if this might not be a year or two past optimum drinking. A nice wine, but it doesn't ring our bell like the Chablis - Vaudésir or the Clos des Mouches. Joseph Drouhin Wines Imported by Dreyfus, Ashby & Co., New York, NY Reporting from Day-twah, geo t.
  16. geo t.

    WTN: 7 from Lolonis

    Thanks for the welcome, Alex. I work for Papa Joe's in Birmingham and Rochester Hills.
  17. Noted Metro Detroit area wine raconteur R.J. Tibus stopped into the place where I am gainfully employed with a guest recently, one Petros Lolonis, of the Lolonis Winery in the Redwood Valley of Mendocino County, California. Mr. Lolonis was in town to promote his product line in retail and restaurant establishments, and R.J., being his local distribution rep, was doing double duty as both teller of tall tales and chauffeur. I first tasted the fruit of the Lolonis family’s labors back in the late ‘70s, in the form of Fetzer’s Lolonis Vineyard Zinfandel. Petros father began planting grape vines in Redwood Valley over 70 years ago, and the family has carried on with the endeavor, selling grapes to Christian Brothers during Prohibition for sacramental wine, and afterwards, to the likes of Charles Krug, Geyser Peak, Italian Swiss Colony, Parducci and Sebastiani during the ‘40s and ‘50s. In the mid-50s, Petros brother Nick convinced their father Tryfon to switch to organic farming, and they’ve practicing those methods ever since. Beneficial predators such as ladybugs are used instead of pesticides, and cover crops also used to keep pests away from vines, as well as to return nutrients to the soils. In 1982, Petros and his brother Ulyssus established the Lolonis winery, which now produces a range of bottlings, both red and white, which are made by Ed West, along with Consulting Enologist Jed Steele. Being that I was at their last stop of the day, Petros and R.J. bestowed upon me their entire case of samples, and here’s what we found. (Note that prices listed are those in said establishment where I’m gainfully employed.) 2002 Lolonis Redwood Valley Fumé Blanc, 13.5% alc.: Pale straw color, with clean green apple and pear aromas that, while pleasant enough, don’t exactly jump out of the glass. Flavors echo and expand with good acidity, but there’s only moderate sauvignon character here. Still, it has good presence and intensity, and matches well with Kim’s flavorful curried chicken and rice. Sees no oak, fermented in stainless steel. 2001 Lolonis Redwood Valley Chardonnay, $18.99, 13.4% alc.: Pale to medium straw color, with creamy pear flavors and aromas, and an added fig – like note on the palate. It moves along with good acidity on a medium full bodied frame, is moderately oaked, and while it’s not too complex, it’s easy to drink, and goes well with the same chicken and rice dish as the Fumé Blanc. A decent $17 chardonnay that shows more varietal typicity than the sauvignon blanc. Aged 7 months in French oak. 2001 Lolonis Redwood Valley Zinfandel, $17.49, 13.8% alc.: Ruby garnet color, with sweet toasty oak over raspberry and black cherry flavors and aromas. Medium bodied, with good acids and intensity, moderate tannins, and a decent finish. A good burger – pizza – pasta wine, and drank almost as well on the night after. 2001 Lolonis Redwood Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, $18.99, 13.8% alc.: Ruby dark garnet color, with a sweet toasty oak, red currant, raspberry, cherry stick bouquet that follows through in the medium full bodied flavors with earthy underarms, good concentration and a decent finish. Not too complex, and a little “brighter” than I tend to like my cabernet, but not a bad wine by any means. Aged in French and American oak. 1999 Lolonis Redwood Valley Merlot Private Reserve, $25.99, 13.8% alc.: Ruby dark garnet color, with a somewhat stingy sweet oak, black currant and black cherry bouquet that follows through in the flavors with added earthy undertones. Medium full bodied, it seems a little lean on the mid – palate back on through the finish; not terribly complex, it’s only marginally better than the wines in the regular line. Aged in French and American oak. 1998 Lolonis Redwood Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve, 13.8% alc.: Ruby dark garnet color, with a toasty oak, tar, black currant and cherry stick nose, this seems typical for the vintage, being a bit light on the palate and somewhat hollow in the middle. Showing soft tannins, decent acidity and a decent finish, this isn’t very “cabernet – like” for my tastes. A good wine, but that’s all. 2001 Lolonis Redwood Valley Orpheus Petite Sirah, $29.99, 13.8% alc.: Dark garnet color, not quite inky; toasty oak takes a backseat to the chocolate, blackberry and black cherry flavors and aromas. There’s a good dose of tannins here, as you’d expect from petite sirah (there’s some valdiguie, also known as Napa Gamay blended into this), and while it seems to lack some depth at first, it fills out with air, becoming rich, rough and not quite rowdy. Easily the best wine of this bunch, and one that will benefit from some time in the cellar; should be showing at its best on or about its 10th birthday. Aged in French and American oak. I found these wines to be well made; they perform correctly, doing what they’re supposed to, but with the possible exception of the Orpheus, they’re not very exciting. They don’t have that extra “something” that makes me want to buy more of them and take them home. Still, they’re interesting to taste, and a good choice for those looking for organic wines. (Sulfite content is only about 50 parts per million; the legal limit is 250 ppm.) I certainly enjoyed my conversation with Petros. Many thanks to him, and to R.J. Tibus for letting me sample the wines of Lolonis. Reporting from Day-twah, geo t.
  18. The '01 model was good too, Curly. Unfortunately, as is so often the case, this is a little more expensive in my neck of the woods, but still, it's flying off the shelves at $12.99. The Zin's not too shabby either... }8^)>
  19. Now this is my kind of tasting, Brad! Wish I could have been there. Tried the '95 Pegau early this hockey season, and found it to be seriously in need of more cellar time. Haven't had that '98 in a while, since 'o1 in fact. Then, I thought it was a solid 10-year plus wine, and in need of that time to soften up some sizable tannins. Just had that '99 Pallieres again about a month ago, and liked it quite well. Would have loved to have tasted those Beaucastels. Cheers, geo
  20. I'd just like to say once again, that the wine was really good.
  21. I go by each wine individually. No hard, fast rules, nothing written in stone. Unless I have info or a recommendation from someone, I'll err towards caution and give it an hour or two. Once I've tried something, I'll have a better idea of how I'll proceed in the future. Obviously, tighter, tannic wines need longer.
  22. I'd like to first respond to your question with specific regard to the wine in this thread, and once again, I'll tell you no, nothing was lost as far as the primary fruit aromatics. It kept getting better and better. In many respects, it behaved like a relatively young wine. I certainly wouldn't give any wine so much air that it loses its fruit or falls apart, but in this specific case, it could have benefited from even more air, IMO. Now, in a more general sense, I won't argue that one needs to be judicious as to how long to let a wine breath. I wouldn't give a 1952 Domaine Ponnelle Bonnes-Mares too much air at all. Of course, I say that because one tasted a few years back was beautiful right from the get-go, and was only decanted to avoid sediment. Once again, as Mark points out above, this is all a matter of personal preference. Once again, your mileage may vary.
  23. Frankly, this has not been my experience at all. The wine in question in this thread, for instance, lost nothing in the way of "the most delicate aromatics." I know, because I sampled it when first decanted, then sipped it over a period of extended time, and it only became more harmonious, both on the nose and the palate. This has been my experience again and again, with both red Burgundy and domestic pinot noir. You don't like the idea of extended aeration? Fine, don't decant! I'll opt to do otherwise. Is there no question of losing some of the fruit aromatics? I addressed that question in the message to which you replied. ?!
  24. No, what I'm saying is I like it the that way so its better for me. I have found over my years of tasting that I'd MUCH prefer to give the wine some time to breath and open, rather than observe the wine's evolution and have it hitting its stride just about the time I'm taking my last sip. Your mileage may vary.
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