Some friends of ours had us over recently for some lasagna dinner after a driving tour of some of Somerville's more "effusive" and "creative" outdoor Christmas light displays.
2004 Domaine Guiberteau Saumur. The nose features slightly shifting angles on a consistent theme—with fine aromas reminiscent of wax, lanolin, clover honey, citronella candle or beeswax at any given time. It is lusher and features greater depth than the 2005, with beautifully framed flavors of fleshy white peach, nectarine pit, quinine and chalk flowing across an interestingly squeaky texture. It narrows a bit toward the smoke-tinged finish, but leaves it feeling balanced and focused in a nice way. Great QPR on this one.
2003 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva. Aromas of spiced plums, roasted cherries, dried leather and dark soil come across as gutsy and a bit rustic-feeling, in a really nice way. It is surprisingly dense and meaty in the mouth--perhaps a reflection of the vintage—with a pretty core of luscious sweet cherry and tar flavors for the first hour or so. It is soft-textured and fleshy, though a bit grainy at times. Later on, it turns a bit darker-fruited, with warm notes of rich plum and dark cherry taking over from the sweeter red cherry profile from earlier on. The wine stays pretty open-knit throughout, with the acidity there but hardly forward. The mild-mannered tannins don’t really come into play much at all, except perhaps toward the back of the palate, where the wine shows a bit more structure at times. This is a warm and friendly wine that was really pleasant and held pretty well to much of its old-world charms, but which seemed to beg for more acidity and structure if one plans to cellar it for any real period of time.
2006 Poggio Antico Rosso di Montalcino. I did not care for this wine as much as others at the table. To me, the nose is a bit raw, with coarse aromas of tire tread, Baker’s chocolate, black raspberry and grape stems that are not nearly as interesting or suave as the Monsanto. It is raw but pure in the mouth, feeling rather primary at current. It does sport a lush texture and a certain sense of density of fruit that are promising. However, there is not a lot of tannin structure here, though there is some squeaky acidity in play.
2005 Savignola Paolina Chianti Classico. There are some simple pleasures to be found in this QPR Chianti. The nose features black cherries, confectioner sugar and forest greens in a fresh, airy bouquet showing decent lift. On the palate, it is certainly lighter, fresher and more acidic than the two previous wines. The acidity in particular is strongly mouth-smacking, but there is enough plump fruit to match it. The flavors are a bit simple and straight-forward and the body is light, but never thin. The acidity seems to become a bit more focused and taut as the night goes on, actually making the wine come across as more cinched up over time--just as the fruit turns a bit darker and meatier and more serious. That last little burst of development makes me curious to follow this wine for a bit over the next few years to see if anything more dramatic emerges.