2005 Dom. l’Ecu, Muscadet Expression de Granite:
A beautiful deep, rich wine with vitality and . . . just the slightest hint of cork taint.
(Aside: As a percentage of bottles bought and tried, Muscadet continues to be the one with the most TCA. Why? Does the chemistry of the grape lend itself to the bug; are the corks worse in the area; does the aromatic profile of the wine tend to exaggerate TCA aromas; are more wineries infected? Just askin’?)
2001 Edmunds St. John, Syrah Wylie-Fanaughty:
Almost a barrel sample; carbonic, grapey with just the slightest hint of Syrah; in the decanter and back in the cooler for tomorrow.
Following day, still intensely young with little complexity but plenty of fruit. At 12, this is still a toddler.
1998 Hirsch, Riesling Gaisberg (magnum):
The last bottle of several of these, this is in top form; smells sweet but tastes dry, full in the mouth but not clumsy, remarkable depth and complexity across the palate but still of a piece, and as long a wine as I have had this year. Needed only a few minutes to open completely and stayed at peak throughout the evening. Reminds me of the heights to which Austrian Riesling can climb. A masterpiece.
2007 Ferrando, Carema (white label):
A rare beauty in perfect form; without the weight of recent Barolo and Barbaresco but so perfectly balanced and pure that it shines by comparison. A wine with which one has a conversation, preferably in the corner, alone. Stirring.
2006 Monsecco, Gattinara:
Not as stern as I would expect but still firm, balanced and fairly well open; delicious Nebbiolo, moderate complexity (but there seems to be more to come) and a simply lovely texture in the mouth. Yum.
2006 Donkey and Goat, Syrah Fanaughtly Vnyd.:
Accessible and quite aromatic with some feral notes and a good deal of complexity. An example of why I enjoy Syrah so much; of the earth but still full of fruit.
2009 Rhys, Pinot Noir Bearwallow Vnyd.:
More savory than fruit driven with a horehound sort of flavor that tastes like the candies but without the sweetness; quite long. Too early to make judgments here.
2008 Calera, Pinot Noir Ryan Vnyd.:
Very pretty wine, distinctly feminine but not thin or weak; texturally elegant, too. A joy to drink now.
Three Ribolla Gialla:
2012 Grassi, Ribolla Gialla Napa Valley:
13.2% alcohol from the Vare Vineayrd in Napa; smells of apricots and nutmeg with white fruit backing; richer than expected and fruit sweet (I don’t think its RS), developing breadth in the mouth; good sustain. Not as dry or as linear as the one I make and no tannin (the Grassi sees very little skin contact) but bright and charming. Excellent with fried calamari.
2010 Angoris, Ribolla Gialla Colli Orentali del Friuli:
13.0% alcohol; time in bottle has made a difference in both color and depth; this is darker than the Grassi, I think it had a bit of skin contact and its flavors are more bass notes than treble; not acidic but not flabby and little tannin. Interesting but not as compelling as the first.
2012 Cowan Cellars, Ribolla Gialla Russian River:
11.7% alcohol; darkest of the three but somewhere in between the first and second in flavor/acid profile; some bass notes, some treble but not as developed as the second; obvious tannin, as this was fermented to dry on the skins. The most complex of the three but in need of time in the bottle.