2010 Louis Michel, Chablis:
Textbook Chablis for the stainless steel crowd; delineated, fresh, some complexity and good breadth. Not deep or long or in anyway profound but distinctly Chablis (which all by itself, makes it preferable to 99% of other chardonnay) and only $20. Screw-cap.
2010 Chateau de Maligny, Chablis:
Much like the Michel with a bit less approachability and a bit more complexity. Charming now, reasonably priced (low $20’s) and has a future in the cellar. Nice.
2009 Edi Simčič, Rebula:
12.5% alcohol from Slovenia; rebula is also known as ribolla gialla; obviously, not a wine done on its skins this is mildly citric with almond hints on the nose and about the same in the mouth. Not much concentration or complexity and a wine that I won’t buy again; nothing really wrong with it but not much character; about $21.
Vilmart Champagne, Grande Cuvée:
Charming from the outset, strong bead, nuanced and floral. Pretty wine.
Louis Roederer, Champagne Brut Premier:
Fine bead, clean and representative of its place.
1999 Nigl, Grüner Veltliner, Piri Privat:
Exceptional; full, rich, bright, lively and complex; this wine is getting better and better. A long life ahead but superb now.
2009 La Casa, Rueda:
Light, correct and pleasant; a nice aperitif or back porch sipper.
1999 Buena Vista, Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos:
I’m not sure how an American winery gets to use this nomenclature . . . but there it is. In any event, the wine was rich, bright, not over-sweet and unctuous. I liked it.
2001 López de Heredia, Rioja Tondonia Reserva:
One of the nicest surprises in awhile as I don’t often buy tempranillo/grenache/etc.; a little disjointed at first but over two hours integrated into a delicious, nuanced wine with grip and sustain. Complexity is its strongest point, youth its weakest; that is to say, in time, this should be even better. With grilled flank steak and frites, outstanding. About $34 (current price).
1976 Lopez de Heredia, Rioja Viña Tondonia:
Profound! Elegant, constantly changing in the glass, highly complex aromatics and flavors, lovely balance and great length. Over the course of the evening, it had multiple personalities, all of them fascinating. Certainly as fine a Rioja as I have had. Finesse.
The more I drink Lopez de Heredia, the more convinced I am that they are among a handful of producers worldwide that are utterly dependable.
2010 Montesecondo, Chianti Classico:
13% alcohol; 80% sangiovese, 17% canaiola, 3% colorino; biodynamic; “warm” red fruit smells with some dark notes and hints of chocolate; full in the mouth with significant tannin that is well hidden behind young fruit, a bit soft, but good length. I like it but won’t pay $26, for it again. (I hear nice things about the rosso from this house at a less expensive price and will look for some.)
1928 Chateau Lafite (375ml):
From the look of the label, this may be a forgery. Regardless, the wine itself is quite nice; starts disjointed and tannic but after thirty minutes it seems to find its stride and the Pauillac starts to shows. Well past it’s prime but more than simply interesting.
1947 DRC, La Tache:
Not only a rare treat but a birth year wine; substantial ullage. This bottle is also past its prime but the power in the remaining autumnal, savory beverage is remarkable. Little fruit but the nose is expansive and the wine fills the mouth; a paradox, to be sure. Lost little over the course of the evening and showed great character.
1978 Mt. Eden, Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mtns.:
1984 Fretter, Cabernet Sauvignon Lucky Lake Vnyd. :
After time in the decanter, this is exactly what I would expect of a well done 1984 Napa Cabernet. A hint of scorched earth but amounting only to a level of complexity; balanced fruit and structure, not completely resolved yet but quite drinkable and resolutely Napa Cab. Good, not great.
(This is apparently a rare bottling with something like a case or two produced.)
1988 Champet, Côte Rôtie:
I nearly dismissed this wine when opened as the bottle stink was overwhelming. After air, it was wonderful; full of the ash, tar, violet elements so indicative of the AOC with solid, even expressive, fruit and great nuance. Almost, but not quite delicate, in the mouth; the grip keeps it from being too tender. Lovely wine, at peak.
1995 Tempier, Bandol la Tourtine:
Showing little and what was there was not particularly interesting. Perhaps, we are into this too early.
1997 Thunder Mountain, Cabernet Sauvignon Bates Ranch:
Excellent; lively, juicy, almost playful in the mouth. Showing young but approachable. Easy to drink.
1999 Jasmin, Côte Rôtie (mag.):
Considerable brett and very closed.
1979 Chanson, Gevrey-Chambertin:
A pretty, slender wine with enough earth to relate it to the AOC and enough fruit to keep it interesting. Too much oak influence for me but others thought it very nice. A touch drying.
2007 Overnoy/Houillon, Arbois-Pupillin:
Not my favorite vintage from this producer (that would be 1996) but still a wine that is so utterly fascinating for its elegance, complexity and wild nature that it surpasses everything else on the table. Perfectly paired with a lentil and duck confit salad.
2005 Marcassin, Pinot Noir Three Sisters Vnyd.:
Over-ripe for my taste and still quite young. Plenty of stuffing but I can’t get past the cooked elements.
1973 Ridge, Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello:
Started tannic and angry but opened up over the evening and became a much more complete wine, albeit still not resolved. Others were more impressed than I but I didn’t throw my glass away.
1984 Ridge, Cabermet Sauvignon Monte Bello:
Whereas the Fretter (above) was quintessential Napa, there are no torrefied notes from this Santa Cruz Mountain wine. Complete, full, still young and without much secondary development but delicious, nonetheless.
2006 Lagier-Meredith, Syrah:
Always a strong, concentrated look at Mt. Veeder syrah, this comes across as balanced and nuanced. Maybe a bit young but still a pleasure.
1998 la Fleur de Boüard, Lalande de Pomerol:
Good, solid Bordeaux with enough merlot character to denote its AOC and enough character to be of interest. Rounder than expected but not flabby. Nice.
2009 Story, Zinfandel:
2008 Hamilton Russell, Pinot Noir:
South African pinot that tastes like it; a bit dirty to my palate with a lot of whole-cluster character tending toward green. Not my thing.
2011 Cowan Cellars, Mourvèdre Rosé:
This started life pretty acidic and savory. It is softening slightly but the fruit flavors are really coming out and the wine is better balanced. I suspect that time in the cellar will be its friend. Went through ML so it’s pretty stable. Much better as it warms to room temp.