Chateau d'Agassac 1995 Haut-Medoc , $13.60
Wonderful, vibrant nose with flowers, cassis and cedar/cigar box/graphite. The palate follows with cassis, cedar and some earth, though it’s significantly lighter and less intense. I still like it, though. The texture is smooth, there are few tannins notable, it’s got good acidity, and the whole impression is rather elegant. It goes great with grilled delmonico steaks and portobello mushrooms. Importer: Monsieur Touton.
1996 Baumard, Savennieres , $2 closeout
The nose is dominated by wet wool funk and oxidized, sherry-like qualities. On the palate, there is some sharp lemony fruit with lots of minerals, some chives and damp earth. I really like the flavor mix, especially the minerality, and the oxidized aromas are within the tolerable range. It makes for an outstanding match with Vietnamese food (Chicken curry, chow fun and spring rolls). The next day, it’s similar, though curiously, it has a little less oxidation on the nose. Again, it’s very minerally and enjoyable. I’m assuming the oxidation is the result of spending too much time standing up on the wine store’s racks; I have another bottle of this purchased much earlier that has been cellared properly, so we’ll find out when we open that one. Importer: Ex-Cellars, Solvang, Calif.
1998 Domaine Heresztyn Bourgogne , $11
This has a really nice mix of Pinot strawberry/cherry aromas and flavors, with lots of damp dark earth and forest floor, some tomato skin and a little touch of cinnamon. There is fine acidity and the texture is smooth, yet with prominent tannins remaining. It’s great now but I suspect this could go a few years longer. Excellent match with crepes. Two days later, it’s mellower, with light, pretty stawberry, cherry and tomato skin more prominent. Importer: Kysela.
Bodegas Marqués de Murrieta 1996 Rioja Reserva Ygay , $15
Mild nose dominated by some port-like scents; not great but not off-putting either. On the palate, there is light cherry fruit, accented by Rioja spice and vanilla, as well as some earth, all in pleasant balance. This is light-bodied, delicate and silky smooth, with good acidity. It tastes mature and is reasonably complex for a restrained wine. Excellent match with red beans and rice. Importer: William Grant & Sons.