Clos Roche Blanche 2004 Touraine Gamay, $13.80
Overwhelming merde and funk on the nose. The palate follows with funky bitterness, with some tart strawberry, earth and minerals underneath. Also some prickliness. Probably a bad bottle; we’ll see what some air does. The next day, it’s better but plenty of funk still remains. Beneath that, some strawberry, earth and minerals are a bit more evident. There is some bitterness on the finish that’s not very pleasant. One more day later and it’s much better. The funk has faded to the background. In the foreground are nice flowers on the nose along with rich strawberry and raspberry fruit, earth and mineral aromas and flavors. Very smooth, refreshing and enjoyable now. Importer: Louis/Dressner.
Chateau de la Tour de l’Ange 2004 Bourgogne Pinot Noir, $12
Light garnet, almost rose-like color, but that has no bearing on the aromas and flavors which are surprisingly intense and dark, at least in comparison to the color. Rich strawberry and some cherry, some cinnamon, lots of dark earth and underbrush on the nose and palate. Somewhat tannic,.decent acidity and no notable oak. Very fine match with leftover linguine in a shrimp/tomato/basil sauce. The next day it seems lighter, a little less concentrated and more dilute-tasting, but also a bit more fruity and less earthy. Not great but a good value for Burgundy. Importer: William Deutsch and Sons, an Alfio Moriconi Selection.
Armando Parusso 1995 Langhe Bricco Rovella, $20
This has a strong nose of flowers, black cherry, earth, and a little tar marred slightly by a touch of oak and alcohol. On the palate, rich briary fruit (black cherry, perhaps?) is accented by tar, earth and a little chocolate. The oak is not very noticeable on the palate. It has very bright acidity which, in combination with the tannins gives it lots of texture and structure. Overall, I find it quite enjoyable despite being a “modern” wine. Excellent match with eggplant/red pepper tian. The next day, it’s very similar, bright, acidic, briary, some complexity, a bit smoother perhaps, not overtly oaky but a bit alcoholic. Importer: Bacchus Imports, a Marc deGrazia Selection.
Marqués de Riscal 1996 Rioja Reserva, $14.40
This wine puts my ignorance of TCA in full view. I simply cannot tell whether it is corked or not, yet I like it anyway (which either means it’s not corked or my sense of smell is weird). Here’s the thing: There is a strong element on the nose that seems like a cross between cardboard and cedar. I like cedar aromas in Bordeaux wines and some Riojas. The cardboard I’m not crazy about but sometimes it seems to fade into cedar. Hmmm. What I most like about the wine is that age has mellowed it into a restrained, almost austere yet very elegant wine, whether corked or not. On the palate, it has nice, mature red berry fruit accented by some earth, cedar and spice, with oak in the background. Very smooth and an excellent match with an assortment of Dominican food.