2002 Baumard, Savennières:
Beginning to open to show more depth of fruit with quince, citrus and mineral scents and flavors, medium weight, very clean delivery and good balance. Very good accompaniment to smoked trout spread. About $20; I’d buy it again.
1998 Flowers, Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast:
A fruit driven pinot from anywhere – but, to its credit, gentle on the oak, concentrated without being extractive and 13.9% alcohol. This has the balance and strength to age awhile and may be the better for it. Good with a pasta and olive dish. About $44, on release; I’d not pay that again.
2002 Dom. Les Fines Graves (Jacky Janodet), Moulin à Vent:
13% and $13; lucky numbers. Black fruit, bar-b-q sauce, mineral and light smoke tones on the nose; the same on the palate but with greater emphasis on dark fruit, almost no sauce elements and a pleasant, almost refreshing minerality; good balance and sustain. I love wines that can be aged but show well even when they are not at peak – this is one. I’d buy it again.
1994 DeLille Cellars, Chaleur Estate:
A blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc that sees 100% new French oak for 20 months and comes out at 14%. Solid, elegant blackberry fruit obscured by lots of dill-oak. A winemaking error compounded by a $55 price tag at release; no way in the world I buy this again, at any price.
1995 DeLille Cellars, Chaleur Estate:
13.8% alcohol, about 200% better wine than the ’94 with layered fruit flavors, satin textures and real depth but still too much dill/oak. Same mistake, same price, same comments. What a waste.
2002 Overnoy/Houillon, Arbois Pupillin:
A gift to myself after the preceding travesties; fantastic earthy nose with nuance and character; more fruit on the palate but still lots of lightweight complexity and character with great balance and sustain. A wonderful, authentic, wine that goes well with pasta and veggies and, more importantly, makes me forget just how bad Washington cabernet can be. About $23 and I would buy it again, many times over.