2000 Garreau Cuvee Armande, Bordeaux
A couple years ago I picked up a dozens at auction for $10 each after reading reviews by a dazzled Parker. It was lovely at first showing lots of rich red Merlot fruit, but it's gotten darker with time and not in a good way, picking up that tell-tale soy sauce note of a wine not aging well. The rest of the case is going into the party queue.
2004 Portteus Zinfandel, Yakima Valley, Washington
Brought to dinner by a friend. They were apologetic about it thinking we'd dislike the lighter body and acidity compared to the California style, but that's exactly what we did like about it. Medium bodied with raspberry, cranberry and bramble notes. I was shocked to note that the alcohol is 16%--would have guessed no more than 13.5.
1996 Coto de Imaz Reserva, Rioja
Juicy berry fruit, strawberry jam and just a little leather. No oxidized notes present but the jam makes me wonder if this bottle in fact didn't get a little cooked. A pleasant drink but I would have hoped for better.
2000 Brewer-Clifton Rozak Ranch Pinot Noir, Santa Ynez
In the nose, restrained black cherry and plum fruit with a persistent note of celery leaf and herb. A non-match in the mouth: shy fruit with surprisingly high acidity on the midpalate and a short finish, much of which filled out when experienced immediately after taking a bite of the roast pork we had for dinner. Might be a bit closed but, for now, this is strictly a food wine.
2001 Guigal Cotes du Rhone
With this vintage I resumed my decade-long program of buying an annual case of this quaffer sight unseen and couldn't believe what I found here. A dark, almost black wine tasting of stale, unsweetened black licorice. YUCK. Certainly none of the grenache-y red fruit basket and black pepper I was used to, nothing like anything I remember about vintages 90 thru 99. Disgusted, I tossed them in a corner to rot, and every year I've tested a bottle and found no change. So last night, in anticipation of a deluge of fall wine shipments, I opened one thinking I might just make some room in the cellar and poor these rotten Guigals on the rhododendrons, and lo and behold, it has become wine. Still shy, but every couple of sips another flavor emerged: black fruit, fennel, flowers and black cherries in the first glass joined by herbes de Provence and eventually bacon and some minerals in the second. I hate to admit that it took me all the way until bacon to figure out what was wrong all these years with my grenache--it's not grenache. This is syrah. And now, finally, it's quite good syrah.
2002 Blue Mountain Stripe Label Pinot Gris, British Columbia
Gorgeous, multi-facted pinot gris fruit of pear accented by little bursts of complex melon and citrus flavors. Best showing yet, lovely.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov