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Along the way . . .

Florida Jim

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A quick trip to visit friends in Chapel Hill, Highpoint and Greensboro, NC, and a drive through the Blue Ridge as the snow from a big storm melted was a pretty prelude to reopening up our home in Linville, NC. Although we can’t stay long, it’s good to see how the remodel is coming and touch base with good friends in the area.

Along the way, a few bottles worth noting:

2000 F.X. Pichler, Grüner Veltliner Federspiel Loibner Frauenweingarten:

The more I taste the federspiel wines from top producers, the more I think of them; varietally correct, intense but light in the mouth and perfectly etched. Lovely.

2000 Durand, Cornas:

Maybe the Durand brothers reputation is for modern wines – if so, I like modern Cornas. Lots of flesh, backbone and complexity with good ripe fruit, no wood noticeable and a fine grained long, finish. Authentic and excellent.

2001 J. Palacios, Bierzo:

Although the higher end cuvee from this house carries the stamp of its barrels, this is all about mencia – a delicious, character-driven grape with medium body and a layered palate. Good stuff.

2002 Cristoffel, Riesling Kabinett Ürzinger Würtzgarten:

Sec-tendre in sweetness, bright fruit on the nose and palate and a wine that is fun to drink. Wheee!

2000 F.X. Pichler, Riesling Smaragd Loibner Oberhaüser:

Big-assed wine; engaging from first sip to last and a terrific accompaniment to crab cakes with mustard sauce.

2003 Terres Dorees (Brun), Pinot Noir:

Translucent and transcendent; Brun does as good a job with pinot as he does gamay; one of my favorite wines of the trip.

(Sorry John, it wasn’t the 04 as I first reported.)

2003 Barthod, Bourgogne:

Not up to par; a bit over-ripe and lacking the precision of the 2002 (for example). Not bad but not worth a second buy.

1989 Chat. Beaucastel, CdP:

Rock hard on opening and never showed much over several hours. Tight and ungiving at present.

1989 Veaux Telegraph, CdP:

Tannic but more open than the foregoing wine; much better with food than without.

1989 Pegau Res., CdP:

Generous, resolved, correct and a CdP for a man who has little use for them.

1999 J.L. Chave, St. Joseph:

About as good as the appellation has ever given me; a wonderful, Côte-Rôtie-esque wine that was so well balanced and complex it was hard to put down. A great effort.

1998 Clape, Cornas:

Hard and tough with a stingy delivery; seems to be well-stuffed but just a bit angry here in its youth.

2002 Mugneret-Gibourg, Vosne-Romanée:

Young but obviously deep and pure with a lovely texture. ‘Wish I had a few in the cellar . . .

2004 Bryce Vineyards, Pinot Noir:

An Oregon pinot that started out old world and morphed into something closer to Santa Barbara. Not for me.

2003 Baudry, Chinon Beaumont:

Here’s an engaging drop; nothing serious but so easy to drink and so generous today; of its place and delicious.

1999 Clos de la Roilette (Coudert), Fleurie:

Tight and hard the first day; slightly more approachable on day two but lacking the depth and edge of the 2002. Not its best showing.

2003 Puffney (sp?), Arbois Rouge:

Mostly poulsard, I’m told and a sort of mondeuse type delivery with a bit more tannin. Delicious and odd at the same time.

2003(?) Puffney, Arbois Blanc:

Mostly savagnin I’m told and quite sherried; certainly not something I will buy but a curiosity of some merit.

(The two foregoing wines were tried at a tasting and my notes have disappeared.)

1830 Alvear, PX:

Forty weight meets brown sugar; very unusual and very good.

Best, Jim


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