My wife and I joined another friend of ours and his son for an afternoon of tailgating last month, with a few wines to go with our grilled sausages, burgers and the like.
2009 Rhys Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains. This is a lovely Chardonnay for my tastes, starting with plush but elegant aromas of lemon meringue, stones, honey and butterscotch. In the mouth, it really shines with a beautifully oily texture, perfect weight and tasty flavors of lemon ball, butterscotch, yellow fruit and quartz. It shows great balance, solid intensity and a very pleasing mouthfeel. It’s drinking just great right now.
2007 Rivers-Marie Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast. Here one finds a nose featuring earthy aromas of sassafras, cola nut, mushroom, barrel spice and mixed wild berries. In the mouth, it shows off a sappy, pithy texture carrying purple and blue berry, wild cherry and toasted brown spice flavors along to a layered and fun finish. It’s a bit woody at times, so I might suggest holding a few more years, but it sure tastes nice today, as well.
1995 Penfolds Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz Bin 389 South Australia. This is warmly sun-baked all around, with soft, mellow and sun-kissed aromas of baked cherries, strawberry jam, baked clay, dusty warm earth and fine eucalyptus playing out with gentle sweetness on the nose. It’s sweet-fruited and resolved of tannin on the palate, but still holding onto solid structure and a well-toned texture to carry tasty flavors of dried plum, date, currant and crushed stone along nicely to the balanced finish. It’s time to drink up, but I definitely enjoy this moment in its evolution.
1996 Paolo Scavino Barolo. This is showing some age on the nose, with aromas of warm bricks, baked earth, dried cherries and rose petals coming across as pleasingly soft and gentle. On the palate, it still delivers plenty of fruit in a mouth-filling package, but with resolved and aged flavors of dried cherries, red currants and strawberries the order of the day at this stage. It feels warm, open-knit and easy, with a fun twist of citrus acidity giving it a tangy and piquant finish. It’s maybe a bit simple in some ways, but it’s easy and fun to drink.