Short notes from a tasting of wines proposed for the wine list of a “new style” Japanese restaurant.
Q Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma 2004 – Fine, gentle, flowery nose. Sweet, fruity. Refreshing. No overripe guava or gooseberry character. A simple wine but a good drink. Went perfectly with the soft shell crab maki.
Q Vineyards Chardonnay Sonoma 2004 – Fruity, steely. Slight, well judged oak. Again, a simple, inoffensive wine. OK but not interesting or distinctive. A good match for Japanese fried chicken Kara-age.
Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc 2003 – A Rhone blend of Rousanne/Grenache Blanc/Viognier. Oaky. Deeply flavored. Smoky, soft, complex and a bit heavy. Long, dry finish. Perhaps a bit too much oak. This hasn’t quite come together yet. Maybe a year or two might improve it. Judgement reserved.
Napa Ridge Coastal Wines Pinot Noir 2003 – Sweet, strawberry syrup, simple, candy-like. Cloying. Boring. Didn’t like this at all.
Saintsbury Garnet Pinot Noir Carneros 2004 – Earthy. Ripe strawberry. There is a prickly sensation on the tongue. A touch of brett. Very dry finish. A very distinctive wine and a vast improvement over the Napa Ridge.
Summerland Merlot Santa Barbara 2002 – Plummy, soft, sweet fruit. Textbook Merlot. Again, boring.
Longfellow Syrah Dry Creek Napa 2002 – Oaky, sweet, medium-bodied, slightly fat. Good to drink now and well matched by the lamb shank braised in red miso and the braised pork belly. Very expensive, though, and in my opinion, not worth the price.
Seigneurs d’Aiguilhe Cotes de Castillon 2003 – The second wine of Chateau d’Aiguilhe and the wine I was really looking forward to. Smoky. Still has some tannic grip. Sweet, plummy fruit. Can be drunk now but maybe one more year will smoothen it out as it’s still a bit chunky. Excellent stuff and at a good price, too. By far, the best red of the tasting.