Wines from a Busy Winter (France, Spain)
Chateau Cambon La Pelouse Haut Medoc 2000
Opaque, very dark purple, almost black, with a red velvet rim. Green herbs and earth on the nose, with some blackberry, plum, and spice and a hint of violets. (A day later, cool blackberry with a jammy touch has moved to fore, the earth is more like wet cedar, and the green herb is a smoky backnote.) Medium- to full-bodied, with beautiful balance—maybe this wine’s most attractive feature right now. Blackberry, herb, and earth flavors show some lovely nuances with food. Tannins seem to be softening, but still have a good grip. I think Jenise and maybe some others have wondered whether this is headed downhill or in an awkward phase. I can’t say for sure, but the way this developed over two days makes me hopeful. I’ll let my other two bottles hit the snooze button. $13 (close-out). 13%.
Chateau Bellevue Bordeaux 2001
Mostly clear, medium-dark garnet, with some burnt-orange tinting at the rim. Grape jelly, new shoes, and green beans from the garden to sniff at. Light-bodied, filling out slightly over time, with redcurrant and green leafy notes, moderate acidity, and modest tannins. Mostly Merlot, if I’m remembering the shelf-talker correctly. I believe (I do! I do!) there are decent 10-buck Bordeaux out there, especially if you keep expectations reasonable. This isn’t one of them. $9. 12% alcohol.
Vina Sila “Las Brisas” Rueda 2004
Very clear, light-medium, vibrant yellow-gold. White flowers, stones, perfume, lanolin, and grapefruit pith on the nose. Medium- to full-bodied. Mixed citrus flavors with a slightly tropical note—maybe papaya. Soft acids and a round profile, but refreshing nonetheless. Long finish. Hits the sweet spot with grilled salmon. $10. 13% alcohol.
Gramona “Gessami” Penedes 2004
A blend of 60% Muscat de Alexandria, 30% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Muscat de Fontignac. Very clear, watery, barely gold-tinted. Lovely whiffs of honeysuckle and rainwater. Light- to medium-bodied, with a Gewurz-like mix of spice and fruit: ginger, some baked apple, flowers, and light touch of mineral. Braille on the label, which I note because it’s the first time I’ve seen it. An Eric Solomon import, and the recipient of kudos from both Parker and Coad. $14. 11.5% alcohol.
FEAR THE TURTLE ! ! !