A little while back, I was fortunate to join 10 other wine lovers for a fun dinner at Peach Farm in Chinatown. A crazy variety of wines were brought along and they were paired with the usual crazy variety of dishes that poured out of the Peach Farm kitchen all night long.
N.V. Peter Lauer Riesling Sekt Saar. This was a 2011 bottling, according to the label. It smells pretty much like fizzy Riesling to me, with strong aromas of blue slate, peaches, smoke, sulfur and quinine. In the mouth, I don’t find it to be as fun as on the nose—with a bitter, botanical and steely twist to the core flavors of pear, apple, peach and slate. It grows on me over time, though, especially through the creamy mid-palate that leads to a rather smoky and mineral-tinged finish. It’s an unusual profile for me, but ultimately I’d have to say I find it interesting and fairly enjoyable.
2005 Edmond Vatan Sancerre Clos la Néore. This is just outstanding, beginning with a clear, precise and stony nose featuring classy aromas of lemon peel, white peach, minerals and herbs that fan out more and more the longer you stay with it. In the mouth, it features delicious pit fruit flavors to go along with lemon, grapefruit and mineral tastes that have subtle grip and sneaky explosiveness through the mid-palate. It’s an effortless wine with great push and fine balance. It’s impossible not to like and one of the best wines of the night, in my opinion.
2011 Joseph Mellot Père et Fils Sancerre La Chatellenie. This wine features a decidedly pungent and piquant Sauvignon Blanc nose of bright pineapple, grapefruit, gooseberry, smoke, struck flint and sulfur aromas that come across as decidedly youthful. In the mouth, though, it has a much more rounded, soft and almost sweet-fruited profile to it, but with a decent undercurrent of tangy grapefruit, melon and smoked herb tones. There’s a pretty little orange blossom note on the finish, but in general this could use a bit more cut to it for my tastes.
2006 Maison Albert Vevey Valle d'Aosta Blanc de Morgex et de la Salle. This wine is light and very pretty on the nose, with petrol, slate, lime zest, peach, river rock and meadow flowers wafting up in a gentle and lilting fashion. In the mouth, it’s subtle and friendly, with pleasing mid- to light-weight flavors of lemon, pear, chalk and minerals showing fine balance. It’s a wine of simple pleasures that I find myself liking a good deal.
1999 Nigl Riesling Senftenberger Hochäcker Niederösterreich Kremstal. The Nigl was totally dead on arrival from oxidation, sadly.
N.V. Lamoresca Bianco Sicilia IGT. I thought this was just a horrible wine—flawed, disgusting, and pretty much undrinkable. It smells like putrid rotting fruit and significant amounts of sulfur—making me think that it’s perhaps seriously reduced. On the palate, it’s just as bad—tasting of caramel, apricots and something that makes me think of sucking on dirty socks. I’ve heard good things about clean bottles of this Vermentino, but my advice is “buyer beware”.
2008 Eyrie Vineyards Melon de Bourgogne Oregon. This wine was served blind. It presents fairly full aromas of yellow apples, seashells, mica, smoke and a bit of pineapple. On the palate, it’s very crisp and perhaps even a bit lean on the entry before fleshing out a bit in the mid-palate. It shows steel, sea foam, graphite and pineapple flavors that are cool, toned and subtle. The finish is perhaps a bit short, but there are lots of interesting facets to this wine.
2006 Lazy Creek Vineyards Gewürztraminer Anderson Valley. This wine is a bit funky on the nose, showing aromas of dried sweat, dead flowers, apricots, lychee, slate and spice. In the mouth, it’s not quite so exotic, tending more toward bitter-tinged copper, litchi and rosewater flavors that are a bit austere and aggressively acidic. I can’t say it was a favorite of mine on this night.
2012 Weiser-Künstler Riesling Feinherb Mosel. This is very light and transparent on the nose, with airy gentle aromas of apple, mineral and sulfur. In the mouth, it’s youthfully prickly, with an airy, floral flavor profile that’s a bit simple and occasionally cinched up. I’d prefer to give this another year or two before trying it again.
2006 Vollenweider Riesling Spätlese Mosel Saar Ruwer. Here one encounters a big and bold nose of peach, pineapple, grapefruit and flint. In the mouth, it delivers a nice shot of sweet peach and apple juice flavor to go along with pear and browned apple tastes. It has a lot of density and a fairly thick texture, and just pops with all of that fun fruit. I wouldn’t call it particularly complex or nuanced, but it sure is tasty and chuggable.
2001 Reinhold Haart Riesling Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Spätlese Mosel Saar Ruwer. This lovely wine envelops the senses in gorgeous aromas of peach, slate and petrol that represent pretty much all you could want in Mosel Spatlese from a top vintage, in my opinion. In the mouth, it’s luscious and pristinely beautiful with its flavors of apricot, peach, fruit cup and slate. It shows great lift and fine mellow sweetness, along with excellent density of flavor. The balance is impeccable and the wine is drinking perfectly right now.
N.V. Domaine de la Grande Colline Vin de France Le Canon Rosé. This wine is exceptionally cloudy in appearance, with a peachy color to it. It’s really floral on the nose, with fun and uplifting scents of orange blossoms, peach fuzz, lychee and pistachio to it. There’s peach, orange cream and lychee-flavored core to it on the palate, but also a lot of steely tin and aluminum underpinning that make for an unusual counterpoint. It’s very dry on the finish, but it leaves a peachy impression that’s kind of wacky and fun.
N.V. Domaine de la Grande Colline Vin de France Le Canon Red. Here one finds a moderately wild and savory-styled bouquet redolent of tobacco leaf, tilled earth, burnt wood, ash and toasted herb aromas. It’s very earthy on the palate, too, with savory-tinged flavors of dark berries, earth, leather and briny bits that can be a bit austere and overly acidic at times. It’s juicy and interesting, but I don’t find myself really connecting with it very much.
2012 Weingut Knauss Trollinger Wurttemberg Trocken. This is very fresh and fun on the nose, with lots of wild berry, maraschino cherry and strawberry fruit aromas supported by pretty red floral overtones. In the mouth, it’s nicely acidic and zippy, with tangy cherry, strawberry and raspberry fruit coming through in a light, pure and forward package meant for early drinking. It keeps it simple and I enjoy that, though I don’t believe others were quite as positive as I was.
2004 Clos Rougeard (Foucault) Saumur-Champigny. Oh man, this is just ridiculously nice on the nose—with gorgeous aromas of leather, horsehide, moist earth, black cherry and tobacco leaf that just feel classic and classy in every way. In the mouth, it delivers old world goodness in spades, with fantastic flavors of leather, tobacco, tea leaves, earth and tasty dark red and black fruit. This was the wine of the night for a lot of folks, including myself.
2002 Domaine de Bellivière Coteaux du Loir Le Rouge-Gorge. This is darkly earthy on the nose, with funky leather, pink peppercorn, sticky tar, tobacco leaf and savory broth aromas. In the mouth, it’s again very earthy and savory and still a bit tannic and tough-skinned for my tastes. Blackberry and sour cherry fruit flavors are supported by chewy acidity and old-fashioned structure. It’s a funky, unique sort of wine, but I didn’t like it quite as much as many people I overheard at the table who seemed to really enjoy it.
2011 Domaine d'E Croce (Yves Leccia) Vin de Pays de l'Île de Beauté Cuvée YL Corsica. I find this wine to be very peppery and maybe even a bit skunky on the nose, with tons of blood, singed iron, peat, grilled meat, leather and dark earth aromas. In the mouth, it’s burly and manly, with lots of smoke, pepper, earth and funk flavors that are still pretty tannic and strapping. This young wine needs time.
1999 Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée de mon Aïeul. This wine is still a very dark opaque color. Following suit, the nose is still pretty young and primordial, featuring dense and almost impenetrable aromas of black leather, dark clay, black cherries and black raspberries that are cool, muscled and wiry. It’s more ready to go on the palate, thankfully, with solid black cherry fruit stuffing showing rather ripe and sticky. The finish is a bit chewy, and I’d have to say on the whole that it’s still several years away from peak drinking.
2000 Clos du Mont-Olivet Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Cuvée du Papet. This wine is brighter on the nose than the Usseglio, showing off almost candied aromas of roasted cherries, red currants, licorice rope and leather that are pretty overt and may show some nutty undertones, too. In the mouth, I think this can’t be a pristine bottle, as it seems a bit burnt around the edges and nutty underneath the dark cherry, currant and fig paste flavors. There’s also a ton of smoke, ash and burnt wood tones that take away from any holistic feel the wine might have. Indeed, I drank another bottle of this a week or so later and it showed considerably better, I thought.
1997 Cavallotto Barolo Bricco Boschis. CORKED.
1996 Ridge Petite Sirah York Creek Spring Mountain Napa Valley. This is dark and opaque in color, with a nose that pops with aromas of peppercorns, leather, black raspberry, caramel, toasty oak, menthol, smoked herbs and eucalyptus. In the mouth, it’s chewy, dark and serious in tone, with leather, brimstone, black pepper and black cherry flavors that seem sort of primordial but somewhat accessible nonetheless. It turns a bit tougher with time, but I still find it pretty enjoyable.
1995 Domaine des Baumard Coteaux du Layon Cuvée Le Paon. There’s an exceptional nose to this wine, with caramel, baked apricot, orange blossom, iced tea and copper kettle aromas that are rich and lovely, but also fresh, tangy and nuanced. It’s refined, classy and filigreed on the palate, with apricot, copper, dried pineapple, yellow raisin and caramel flavors that show restrained but giving sweetness. It’s just well-done and highly enjoyable.
1998 Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Rangen de Thann Clos St. Urbain Vendange Tardive. I like the bouquet here, as it leads with fine aromas of burnished oranges, baked apricots, crème brulee topping, lime zest and liquid caramel. On the palate, it’s creamy, rich, dense and sexy, with lots of caramel, roasted nut, botrytis spice, lime and baked apricot flavors that are unctuous and round. It could stand to have a bit more acidity, but the flavors are luscious and pliant and mouth-coatingly delicious.
1988 Château Suduiraut Sauternes. There’s a highly appealing bouquet to this wine, showing off lovely and gentle aromas of yellow fruits, nectarine, clotted cream and pretty botrytis spices. In the mouth, it’s unctuous and creamy, with loads of apricot, peach and marmalade flavors that slide along the palate with ease and leave a pleasing aftertaste.