Clos de Tue Boeuf 2004 Cheverny, $12
A mix of flowers, perfume and beety elements, along with sharp strawberry and raspberry fruit and lots of minerals. This is somewhat bitter, a little tannic and highly acidic. Overall, I find it enjoyable but it definitely needs food. Excellent match with a potato/onion/red pepper/jarlsberg omelette. Two days later, it’s similar at first, but with time in the glass, earthy, fungal pinot noir notes emerge in a blend that previously seemed gamay-dominant. Importer: Louis/Dressner.
Moccagatta 1995 Barbaresco Basarin, $28
The nose starts out a bit hot and porty, but gradually evolves to cedar, tar, roses and black cherry. On the palate, the initial impression is that it is still overwhelmingly tannic at 11 years of age. The tannins remain throughout, but very pleasant black cherry, cedar, tar and some briary elements emerge to provide good flavor complexity. The acidity is bright, giving it (combined with the tannins), excellent structure. I’ve read that this is an internationally-styled wine and new oak is noticeable on the nose, but not so much on the palate, unless it’s what contributes to the tannins. Not my favorite approach to Nebbiolo, but I find it enjoyable on its own terms, especially with food. It's an outstanding match with a chick pea/feta casserole. Importer: Bacchus Imports.
Domaine David et Denis Alary 2001 Cotes du Rhone Villages Cairanne, $14
The nose starts out with a fair amount of barnyard, followed by raspberry and plum fruit, dark earth and some spice. On the palate, there is bright, textured raspberry fruit with dark earth and more spice. Very tannic at first, though the tannins recede with food and with time in the glass. An excellent CdR with bright, pure fruit, great intensity, lots of earth and spice, and good acidity. Terrific match with black beans and tortillas; it can stand up to some spiciness. The next day, it’s still excellent but with more Mourvedre-like dark earth aromas and flavors, along with some floral elements. One more day later, garrigue shows up and it seems even more harmonious. This would probably do well with some age on it, but it’s delicious now, one of the best CdRs I’ve had in some time. Importer: Weygandt-Metzler.
Chateau La Cardonne 1996 Medoc, $13
For a 10-year-old Bordeaux, the color is remarkably inky. But the visual intensity doesn’t translate to jamminess. Rather, this is hugely structured wine; in an odd way, you can almost smell it. The aromas lean more toward the black fruit side of the spectrum (black cherry perhaps) with graphite and earth, and a little cedar and herbs. The palate follows. It’s big-bodied with plenty of tannins and acidity that strengthens the backbone even more. Very enjoyable overall and an outstanding match with leftover chick pea/feta casserole. I've got another bottle left and will give it a couple more years.