Susan & I tried these over the weekend:
1. Failla Viognier AlbanVnyd/EdnaVlly (14.5%) 2005
: Med.dark gold/burnished bronze/aged color; strong very ripe/pineapple/mango/Alban-like some oxidized/toasted hazelnuts/aged Viog charred/Fr.oak rather complex nose; quite tart intense very ripe/mango/pineapple/Viog bit hot/alcoholic some oxidized/nutty/toasted hazelnuts some charred/Fr.oak fairly complex flavor; very long quite tart very ripe/pineapple/mango/Viog/overripe bit alcoholic/hot/fumey some oxidized/toasted hazelnuts/old Viog some caramel/charred/Fr.oak complex finish; still very much alive and the acidity should carry it out further; lots of overripe Viog character and some quite interesting/aged Viog character.
2. Marjan Simcic Chard Opaka (14%; www.GiulianaImports.com) GoriskaBrda/Slovenia 2009
: Med.gold/burnished bronze color; rather smokey/pungent/apple cider/phenolic/apple peel slight herbal/hazelnut/earthy bit dusty attic/Kansas root cellar ripe apples/apple sauce/stewed apples rather savory complex nose; soft/ripe some tannic/phenolic stewed apples/apple cider smokey/tobaccoy/used pipe rather bitter/apple peel rather earthy/savory/complex flavor; long rather tannic/phenolic/bitter apple cider/stewed apples/apple sauce bit spicy/cinammon earthy/fusty attic/root cellar/funky finish; no recognizable Chard character whatsoever; obviously a skin-contact white but made in a reductive manner; an interesting/eccentric expression of Chard but way overpriced. $57.50 (SFW&S)
3. WindGap PinotGris WindsorOakVnyd/ChalkHill (#910; 4 brls/107 cs; 12.8%) 2011
: Very light rose/watermelon/orange slight bricking color; really beautiful/perfumed/fragrant spicy/cranberry/cinammon very spicy really lovely nose; quite tart quite phenolic/tannic very spicy/cranberry/cinammon/nutmeg quite savory very interesting/complex flavor; very long savory rather tannic/phenolic very spicy/cranberry/cinammon slight earthy/appley/apple cider/apple peel finish; clearly a skin-contact white but in a reductive style; quite an interesting/savory rose w/ no PinotGris character whatsoever. $32.00
4. KentRasmussenWnry Dolcetto NapaVlly (13%) 1994
: Med.light color w/ considerable bricking/browning; somewhat interesting licorice/pungent some cedary/old red/pencilly some oxidized nose; light licorice/pungent some charred/pencilly/cedary/old red pretty dried out/tired/astringent flavor; a few interesting things buried in there but pretty much dead & gone.
5. AN/2 AnimaNegra vi de la Terra Mallorca (vines > 50 yrs old; indigenous varieties; 13.5%; www.WineBow.com; MantoNegra/Callet??) Falanis/Mallorca/Spain 2009
: Med.dark color; strong toasty/vanilla/Fr.oak slight earthy/raspberry bit unclean/brett pleasant but not distinctive nose; soft quite hard/tannic/rough/rustic slight bretty/earthy/unclean/loamy light raspberry/earthy/dusty strong toasty/Fr.oak/vanilla flavor; med.long hard/tannic/astringent/coarse earthy/dusty/raspberry strong Fr.oak/vanilla/toasty finish; needs age but not sure it'll ever outlast the fierce tannins; a rough/coarse wine underneath all the Fr.oak...like putting lipstick on a pig; pleasant enough if you like Fr.oak.; pricey at $28.00 (AV)
And a wee BloodyPulpit:
1. Dolcetto: KentRasmussen was one of the first to make a Dolcetto in Calif. In its youth, this was quite an attractive/interesting wine. Like some of us...that youth has come & gone. Bottled in this ugly cobalt blue btl...for which I always gave Kent a raft of $hit over.
2. WindGap/Simcic: The first Simcic btl I tried was horribly TCA-infected, so this was a replacement btl. The Simcic (Marjan, not Edi) Opaka wines (RibollaGialla/SauvBlanc/Chard/Merlot) are his top-of-the line wines and priced accordingly. I believe he also has a PinotNoir, but not listed on his WebSite. They are priced accordingly.
These two wines were a very interesting contrast. Both are obviously skin-contact white/gris wines, but made in a reductive manner w/ no signs of oxidation. Both were rather complex and very difficult to come up w/ good/accurate descriptors. About the best I could come up with for the Simcic was "interesting/savory". It did not offer up a lot of pleasurable drinking. OTOH, I thought the WindGap was more than interesting and did offer up some pleasurable drinking. For a 3'rd the price of the Simcic, you can get a WindGap, a Cowan Isa, or a Forlorn-Hope GWT that do provide pleasurable drinking. Torn as to whether to try the Simcic SauvBlanc or PinotNoir now.
3. Labeling: Neither the WindGap nor the Simcic wines had any indication whatsoever on the label, front nor back, that they were made as orange wines. If I were an ordinary consumer and tried these phenolic-laden/tannic wines, I'd be pretty peeved with what I got. Fortunately, I had my suspicions that they were orange wines and planned the meal accordingly. But these folks making orange wines ought to indicate so on the label so us poor consumers aren't blindsided when we open one.