2004 Tenuta delle Terre Nere, Etna Rosso Calderara Sottana:
At its best, with well resolved tannins, a satin mouth feel and ripe nerello mascalese flavors that seem to suggest their volcanic soil origins. My last bottle of a case; I have enjoyed every one of them while witnessing the wine’s development. Well-made, balanced and avoids the tendency toward too much alcohol of this variety.
2005 Dom. Vissoux, Fleurie Poncié:
Open several days, recorked and left on the counter; pure, ripe, unmistakably Fleurie with good structure, ample fruit and some very nice nuances. A wonderful bottle and likely, the wine I most enjoy of all those in my cellar.
2005 Kongsgaard, Chardonnay The Judge:
The following is paraphrased from the website:
This is grown on a rocky hillside just east of the town of Napa, which was acquired by John’s grandparents in the 1920’s as a potential quarry site. The extremely rocky ground produces a miniscule crop of around one ton per acre, yielding less than one-half bottle of wine per vine. Fermented in all new, French oak barrels with the indigenous yeast and bacteria requiring six to twelve months to finish the alcoholic and malolactic fermentations. Resting on the primary lees for fifteen months before the first racking, the wine is clarified by gravity. This allows bottling without filtration or fining after nearly two years of barrel age. The wine is named after John's late father who was the judge in Napa County from 1959 to 1985.
Reading the above description doesn’t make me want to taste the wine. However, I had the chance to do so, on two different occasions, while visiting friends on the leftcoast; turns out, the wine is remarkable. Most striking is the degree and depth of the mineral character in the wine. In my experience, only great Chablis have this broad vein of minerality. There is a very gentle oak note in the nose and the slightest buttery element on the palate. The rest is all concentrated, focused and bright chardonnay fruit that would put many a Montrachet to shame. And my guess is that this will develop with cellaring.
Stupidly priced but then, so is Montrachet.
1991 Montelena, Cabernet Sauvignon:
Clear and pure but lacking depth and showing a distinct, although not unattractive, herbaceous edge. An understated wine and, IMO, somewhat under-fruited. Other bottles have shown better.
1999 Chave, Hermitage:
Touch of brett on the nose; fine aromatics but not expansive; better in the mouth with silken textures and plenty of complexity, not especially concentrated; moderate length. More resolved than I’d have expected and not showing the power that great Hermitage can possess. Odd, but not unpleasant.