So named because this is endlessly long, a result of being extremely busy the past several months and unable to post frequently.
Chateau de Pez 1995 St.-Estephe, $21
Superb. Cassis, cherry, chocolate and earth on the nose and palate. Bright bold fruit, good concentration and density, decent acidity, very smooth texture, oak is integrated, and the overall impression is of great balance and structure. Outstanding match with marinated grilled butterfly leg of lamb.
Clos Roche Blanche 2001 Touraine La Closerie, $15
Much better than a bottle drank over a year ago. This is more balanced, nuanced and mature without the bitter note that to my taste marred the earlier bottle. Very pleasant smooth cherry fruit with some herbal accents and very strong mineral notes. Bright acidity, nice texture, both mellow and delightful at the same time. Outstanding match with a homemade pizza with garlic top pesto, tomato sauce, mozzarella, red peppers and sweet onions. Importer: Louis/Dressner.
Clos Roche Blanche 2002 l'Arpent Rouge, $12
Cranberry, strawberry, minerals and white pepper on the nose and palate. The nose is somewhat reticent and the palate somewhat light, yet it’s delightful for my tastes -- refreshing, interesting, smooth and food-friendly. Excellent match with leftover garlic top/basil pesto. The next day, it’s even better with more flowers and perfume on the nose, more minerality on the palate, and more intensity on both. Outstanding match with an omelette with potatoes, onions, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and parsley, and mozzarella.
Domaine de Vacheron 2002 Sancerre Rouge, $27
I just love this wine. It has a super nose with rich Pinot cherry, roses and cinnamon. The palate follows with bright Pinot cherry, earth, cinnamon and minerals. It’s silky smooth, and has above-average concentration for a Sancerre rouge, perfect balance and bright acidity. Excellent match with alder-smoked sockeye salmon, grilled sweet onions and Pont l’Eveque cheese.
Domaine Dupeuble 2004 Beaujolais, $11
The nose is dominated by flowers and women’s perfume with some beetiness and maybe a slight touch of banana. On the palate, there is lots of bright strawberry/raspberry fruit, accented with some earth and beets. Very smooth, reasonably concentrated for a Beaujolais. Overall, I find it pleasant though I would have preferred less perfume and beets. It did go very nicely with leftover rotini with fresh tomatoes, basil, onions and mozzarella. The next day it’s better with more complexity and some nice herbal elements emerging on the palate. Surprisingly, I find it goes very well with pupusas. Importer: Kermit Lynch.
Iché 2002 Vin de Pays de l'Hérault Les Hérétiques, $7
Terrific nose dominated by garriguey herbs, flowers, earth and some red fruits. On the palate, there are nice red fruits, accented by earth and herbs. Bright, refreshing acidity, relatively light body, smooth texture, a real delight. Phenomenal QPR. Importer: Louis/Dressner
Kellerai Nals & Margreid-Entiklar 2002 Sudtiroler Vernatsch Galea, $12
[In Italian:] Cantina Nalles & Magré-Niclara 2002 Alto Adige Schiava Galea
A mix of light, tart cranberry, strawberry and cherry fruit with lots of minerals on the nose and palate. Bright acidity, smooth, very pleasant. Excellent match with garlic top pesto. Importer: The Country Vintner, Oilville, Va.
Forchir 2002 Grave del Fruili Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso Villa del Borgo, $12
This has a great nose of dusty raspberry, cherry and plums, with earth, herbs, minerals and a bit of bitter almond as well. The palate is identical. Slightly coarse but enjoyable texture, great acidity, good concentration. Excellent match with regular pesto.
Frescobaldi 1999 Chianti Rufina Nipozzano Riserva, $15.50
The nose starts out with barnyard aromas that quickly fade, leaving black cherry, plum, smoke and earth in their place. On the palate, there is rich black cherry and plum fruit with nice earth, a little smoke and a slight touch of minerals. The fruit dominates but there is decent acidity and complexity, and the texture is smooth. Very enjoyable, food-friendly wine. Excellent match with garlic top pesto and panzanella. The next night, it’s similar but minerals are much more prominent, which I like.
Dominico Eguren 2003 Protocolo, $5.50
Very pleasant cherry fruit and a little plum, too, accented by smoke, earth and herbs. Oak is not noticeable, which is nice; acidity is adequate, especially for the vintage, though I would have preferred it a bit brighter. Very smooth, not overly complex but good QPR.
Reininger 2001 Walla Walla Valley Syrah, $30
Terrific nose of violets, red and black fruits, herbs, smoke and a touch of chocolate. On the palate, raspberry and blackberry are accented by earth, chocolate and a touch of bitter oak (though not too much). It’s quite dense, full and fruity but with enough acidity and tannins to provide some structure. It makes an excellent match with leftover grilled marinated lamb. Three days later: I like it even better. The nose is more restrained now but the palate is more balanced with no oak evident at all; this is mostly about bright, complex fruit accented by lots of chocolate and some herbs.