Enough of the polar vortex! Let's drink!
Jakob Neumer, Rhinehessen, Geyersheis, 2006
Color a very mature-looking brownish gold. Feels old, but still holds some some interest, with lemon-apple oil, some cilantro wash on the end. A bit oxidised, but still has a fresh lanolin spine to it. Perhaps this was better some 2-4 years ago? 13.5% Judgement reserved, but I'll probably avoid this producer in the future. A pox, to be sure.
Rhys, Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains, 2009
I'm still trying to get a handle on Rhys wines. I feel like the better wines they make are the syrah and chardonnay over the pinot noir, and this bottle doesn't do anything to dispel that opinion. There is an initial fruity burst on the nose that then becomes mute. Plenty of black raspberry and blackcurrant and a rather dark color, floral perfume. Wood char and stems on the mid-palate and end. Root beer, horehound, and turning spicy like a little hot chilli pepper. Only 13.3%, but feels warmer. Still pretty young.
Emidio Pepe, Trebbiano d'Abruzzo, 2008
Reductive, sulfury stink on the nose. There is apple skin, kumquat and lemon oil, with some linseed oil-mineral solvent on the finish. Yeah, not really that attractive, but it somehow works with the right food.
Chapoutier, Crozes-Hermitage, 'les Varonnieres', 2006
Initially, a pleasant smoky-floral (lavender and thyme) nose. Very plummy at first with rather soft tannins, pan-blackened meat on the finish, but then falls on the palate the more you drink, becoming piney. Good, but doesn't seem to fully deliver the promised land. 13.5%
Domaine Saint-Anne, Saint Gervais, 'les Mourillons', 2009
I wish this producer was more widely and consistently distributed. This is an excellent bottle of syrah. An initial nose of sweaty saddle blows off revealing blackberries in sugar syrup cooked with hibiscus flowers. Some green leafy elements turn this into a balanced meal. Sweet, but not thick, with a nice saline counterbalance. Major yums and good QPR at around 20+/bottle (when you can find it). 14.5%
Chateau Branaire-Ducru, Saint Julien, 2000
Delicious Old-School Bordeaux! Fresh and pure, still youthful despite showing some secondary development.
Digioia-Royer, Chambolle Musigny, 2008
Cherry and strawberry on the nose. Crunchy red fruits and hard candy, missing a middle with high acidity, this might be as good as it gets.
Navazos Niepoort, Vino Blanco, 2010
Yeah, what the hell is this? It's a funky white with oxidised flavors of lemon pear and light butterscotch and willow branch. A honey-saline note on the finish. Similar to a rounder, softer sherry or a Lopez de Heredia white. 12% This is not cheap either, at $30+/bottle. Okay, but I think I've done my part for science here.
Dutraive, Fleurie, 'cuvee de la Grand Cour', 2010
The 'big heart'? This is in a beautiful place right now with fragrant violets, very light and lithe. Drink with your sweetie.
Musto Carmelitano, Aglianico del Vulture, 'Pian del Moro', 2007
From 80-year old aglianico vines grown in volcanic soil. The nose is like fresh squeezed black raspberry juice, after being mute at first. I hesitated opening this, as the color was black as spades and it intimidated me. But this is (surprisingly) approachable in the mouth, despite being fuller and having more stuffing than the regular bottling. Black raspberry, dark cherry, salinity, some oak noted but seems to be integrating well. Yes, there are strong tannins, but it seems no crime to open one if you want to experience authentic aglianico from da boot. I am holding onto my other bottle, however, for another 5-6 years.