Wines from last weekend.
Saturday night deck sipper:
1978 Pontet Canet, Paulliac, Bordeaux
Cork broke in three pieces but the wine was perfect: plummy fruit with cedar, leather and lots of dust. Lovely youthful fruit, terrific length. One of the best seventy's vintage Bordeauxs I've had. This bottle and an 85 we opened about six months ago says that PC needs to be added to my list of favorite BDX. A real swooner, I'll give it an A.
Then, when neighbors started hopping over the fence to share the fire in our fire pit:
2001 Havens Merlot, Napa, California
Jammy huckleberry fruit with a vanilla pudding finish. Not quite how I remember Havens wines, but it scored high with our non-wine neighbors and made a good dessert wine for me.
Sunday dinner with neighbors:
1999 Krutzler Blaufrankisch, Austria
Flakey sediment arrived in the first one ounce of pour, so we strained the remainder of the bottle. Deep maroon color with a bit of clearing on the rim. In nose and flavor, spiced black cherry flavors and cranberry tartness on the finish. Assertive, and though not a huge wine it's bigger than any of us thought a red wine from Austria would be. A B+ within the context of the evening, though an A as far as my experience with Austrian red wines goes.
1998 Cascabel Shiraz, Fleurieu Peninsula, Australia
This cool climate spit of land dangles off the edge of the McClaren Vale right into the ocean. There, a woman from Spain attempts to make wines in the style of her homeland--and she succeeds. I loved this Shiraz--no, let's call it syrah--upon first tasting it years ago and time in the cellar has rewarded me just as I'd hoped with a wine no one would guess came from Australia. Medium ruddy red color with an orange hue. Cherry fruit, bacon fat, clove cigarette spice, a bit of good brett and leathery secondary flavors make a pretty comely wine. My favorite of the day. B++.
1993 Gary Farrell Bien Nacido Vineyard, Santa Barbara County, California
I didn't even know Gary Farrell made S.B. Country wines. Tawny rose color, mildly cloudy. Smells and tastes of old pinot, with light cherry, orange peel and dried rose notes. It's owner admitted he shook it up a bit on his way over, which might explain the cloudiness and why the wine wasn't as interesting as a wine this age can be.
1995 Yamhill Valley Vineyards Reserve pinot noir, Willamette, Oregon
I first tasted this full-bodied wine without understanding the vintage it was from, and thought, "hmmm...pretty nice for a 2000." You could have knocked me over with a toothpick when I realized it was a 95, one of Oregon's poorest vintages. Neither color nor body gave it away. Deep garnet with just a little orange on the rim, floral and plum nose, ripe plums and a mildly annoying iodine note in the midpalate with a hint of fresh green herb. Of wines I've had from this vintage, only St. Innocent's 95 Brickhouse was better. A B compared to other wines present but an A for effort.
2004 French Rabbit pinot noir Vin de Pays
Vic put this milk-carton wine in a fancy decanter, expecting it to outperform its package based on the wine salesman's recommendation. Why do we listen to these wine salespeople? Grapey bazooka bubble gum nose on strawberry-raspberry flavors with a bit of black pepper. Tasted like something George DeBouef would make out of Bakersfield grapes. Ghastly. D for quality, but an F for the insult to pinot noir.
And then last night:
1983 La Cardonne, Medoc
Brownish purple color, immediate bandaid nose. Tastes of plums, soy sauce and iodine. A wine necrophiliac who dropped by liked it okay, but it was too over the hill for me to risk killing a brain cell over, so I opened:
1995 Woodward Canyon Merlot, Washington state
Lovely berry fruit and good acidity made this a pleasant, if simple sipper. No sign of any particularly interesting secondary development, though other bottles have shown some promise. C+.
Then with bow tie pasta tossed with raw garlic and an herb-and-tomato marinara:
2000 Antonio Sanguineti Nobile di Montepulciano, Italy
Raisiny rasberry and sandalwood flavors with rustic tannins. Seems to be at peak. A good, rustic style of Italian wine and nice match for the pasta. C+.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov