2004 Pepière, Muscadet Clos des Briords:
A laser clear, integrated, still young, spicy wine that has oodles of cut but never gets too acidic; ripe, very focused fruit but stays light across the palate; it’s precise and balanced and clean in an almost supernatural way, and, it costs $13. As good as the appellation sees and surely has a long cellar life.
I’d buy this at twice the price. Stellar juice!
Mont Marçal, Cava Extremarium:
This bottling includes some chardonnay along with the typical blend of xarel-lo, parellada and macabeo; large, aggressive bead but the head is maintained over the course of the evening; clean, citrus flavors, quite dry and crisp, some depth, good length. This is the top cuvee from this producer but I notice little difference from the fine Reserva of Marquis de Monastrel (which is half the price). About $18, I would not buy it again at that price; although a good wine, there are better QPR.
2004 Dom. les Fines Graves (Jacky Janodet), Chénas:
The label says: “soil of stones, 40 year old vines, aged in oak;” the aromatics are high-toned with a pleasant fresh herb accent to solid and blossoming red fruit; gradually opened on the palate, to precise strawberry, herb and stone flavors with good complexity, excellent balance and a somewhat lacey delivery; delineated, dry flavors that last. No evident wood. Janodet’s, Moulin-a-Vent is a more typical purchase for me; they are long-lived and more structured, but this is a very good wine and may, with a year or more in the cellar, be fine. About $11 and I would buy it all day long at that price.
2004 de Villaine, Bourgogne La Fortune:
Showing more complete than the ’04 Digoine at present but not as deep and concentrated as the ’04 Mercury – anybody know anything about this bottling; the website does not mention it? Elegant with sweet pinot fruit on both the nose and palate, nicely etched and very light hints of herb and earth; beautiful balance and a medium length finish. I think this is for drinking now although this producer has fooled me before as to longevity. About $19 and I would certainly buy it again at that price.
2004 Lageder, Pinot Bianco:
Good, clean straightforward, pinot blanc with good acidty and nice balance. Price unknown. Good, summer drinking.
2003 Pra, Soave Monte Grande:
Very good, texturally viscous wine with lots of layers and spice; good balance and sustain. Not on the level with Anselmi’s, Foscarino, or Pieropan’s, Calvarino, but solid, single vineyard, Soave. Price unknown.
1998 Hirsch, Riesling Gaisberg Alte Reben (magnum):
Little development since release; still, very open nose of pineapple and mineral with good viscosity across the palate and flavors that echo the nose, decent depth, acidity and balance; slight RS, very long finish. Not at peak but showing well and certainly head and shoulders above the preceding two wines which were served at the same time. About $66 for the magnum on release; I’d pay that price again today.