Domaine de la Pepière 2004 Vin de Pays du Jardin de la France Marches de Bretagne Cuvée Granit, $11
For me, this is the wine value of the year, the decade, as long as I’m at it, why not the century? The nose is extraordinary, mixing vibrant cherry fruit with tons of oregano and other herbs along with some minerals. The palate follows almost precisely. There are some tannins and very good acidity, giving it structure but the texture is smooth. Excellent match with eggs baked with goat cheese, pesto, onions and potatoes.
Pinhal da Torre 2002 Ribatejo Quinta do Alqueve Tradicional, $8
On the nose, this has a mix of barnyard, herbs, earth and red fruits. On the palate, there is red berry and plum fruit accented by a fair amount of earth and some herbal elements. Decent acidity, very smooth, a good quaffer with a little complexity. Very fine match with pasta with broccoli, olive oil, parmesan and almonds.
Walla Walla Vintners 1999 Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Franc, $25
Blech. This is low-acid, porty and oaky. Not enjoyable. Three days later, it starts out just as bad, but with some time in the glass, the the palate opens up to bright black cherry fruit with some briary, herbal accents while the oak recedes into the background. However, the nose remains unpleasant. This is a winery I once liked, but the more I’ve grown averse to heavy-handed new oak treatment, the less I’m enamored of them.
Icardi 2003 Barbera d’Asti Tabaren, $11
Hmmm. Smells and tastes just like Welch’s grape juice. Both sweet and simple. Victim of the vintage, I suppose, as this is a wine I usually enjoy. The next day, however, it’s much better, less of the grape juice and more complex earth, herbal and briary smells and tastes. It now has structure, too.