2004 Dom. Les Fines Graves (Jacky Janodet), Chénas:
From 40+ year old gamay vines in a vineyard full of stones; needs about two hours in the decanter to open and comes across very Burgundian with depth, medium weight, solid black fruit, mineral and good cut; really terrific with roasted chicken and surely has at least a mid-term aging curve. About $13.
1993 Lopez de Heredia, Viña Tondonia Rioja Rosato:
This ain’t your mama’s rosé; transparent copper color; smells of ripe pomegranate that’s slightly oxidized; more stone and mineral driven on the palate with flavors that follow the nose and add light fino sherry tones, good viscosity and balance, juicy intensity; long, slightly oxidized finish. Not for everyone but a wine of distinct character, authentic to its place and uniquely flavored. When decanted and allowed to air awhile, it takes on several levels of flavor. Fascinating juice that has a virtually unlimited shelf life. About $20.
(Enjoyed with a frittata that included the last zucchini of the year – a match made in heaven; truly.)
1992 Sullivan, Cabernet Sauvignon:
From a vintage I have always thought better than its press; cherry cola and ripe currants on the nose with a clear mineral component and an accent of milk chocolate; fresh and juicy in the mouth with flavors that follow the nose, excellent grip, quite intense and bright; very long, somewhat drying finish. Not especially complex but so fresh and clean that I don’t care. Decanted off substantial sediment.
This producer has made some of the most tannic wines I have ever encountered, especially in the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s. And this has that kind of rusticity (probably best with rare, red meat) . . . but it also has some beautiful fruit, a dose of nuance and, ah yes, 13.2% alcohol. In no danger of diminishing. About $45, on release.
1994 Laurel Glen, Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Mountain:
A recent 1993 version of this wine was so developed, I thought I’d try this bottle; a bit reduced initially and so I decanted the wine off moderate sediment; still red-black to the rim and opaque; classic cassis driven nose with some warm blackberry and mineral scents, very slight bottle bouquet; elegant and restrained in the mouth with well integrated tannins, bright acidity, discrete flavors that follow the nose and add a judicious note of unsweetened, dark chocolate, intense and concentrated but not completely together yet, some complexity and some development noticed; medium length finish, with a somewhat drying note of unsweetened, dark chocolate. And 12.5% alcohol; ‘the good old days.’ About $40, on release.
(This showed much younger than the ’93 I mentioned above; not near the complexity or secondary development and it still has some integration to complete.) Hold.
Aside: Several years ago I consigned most of my California wines to a local restaurant. Over those years that consignment has made me enough to buy some really nice variety for the cellar. But recently, the restaurant was sold and any of my wine that was left, was returned. To my good fortune, this happens at a time when I have renewed an interest in CA wines and most of what was returned was at least ten years old. Things like several vintages of Laurel Glen cab., Mondavi Res., Snowden, Sullivan, Fisher, Lamb Vnyd., some Lajota cab. francs, and some Sullivan and Paloma, merlots.
All the fancy, big-hype stuff was sold off and I couldn’t be happier with both that fact (read profit) and the goodies that remain. So now my posts will start to contain notes on these older CA wines.
And a tip of the hat to Russell Bevan who ‘forced me’ to retaste the 1994 Togni, cab. the last time I was at his house. That, in itself, has sparked my interest older CA wine.