14 October 2008

Cry me a River

[bottle]Kumeu River 2005 Chardonnay (Kumeu) – The elephant in the room: there’s some obvious reduction at first opening (this wine is screwcapped by one of New Zealand’s most ardent advocates of widespread screwing…wait, that came out wrong). It completely disappears after about 15 minutes, though it’s replaced by a sulfurous, matchstick edginess. And then, there’s brilliant, sunrise-through-a-window acidity, brittle grapefruit, and a lot of primal, grapey rawness. This is structured and strikingly long, and though it lacks complexity now, I suspect time will bring some. Kumeu River remains one of New Zealand’s best producers of this often-insipid grape. (10/08)

Vareij is the spice of life

[logo]Hilberg-Pasquero 2005 “Vareij” (Piedmont) – Smooth blue fruit, candied and dull as hell. Everything interesting has been buffed and polished and ground from this wine, leaving a core of emptiness. The tedium is immeasurable. This is brachetto?!? (with some barbera, but still…) (10/08)

Ale be seeing you

[bottle]Fuller’s 2007 “Vintage” Ale (England) – Strident and uncompromising; the upshot is that I’m not at all sure I like it, but it sure is very much what it wants to be: bitter, raw-grain zing in drinkable form. I’m tempted to say this is brilliant, except that it’s hard for me to be so positive about a beer I really, really struggle to take in more than single-sip quantities. Still, I have to believe that this is a personal issue, and those who like this sort of thing will find it an ale for the ages. (10/08)


Unibroue “Quartre-Centième” (Québec) – Are these beers getting more boring by the year, or am I suffering from malty overstimulation? Should I blame corporate brewing? Is this an actual tasting note? No, probably not. (10/08)

13 October 2008

...and The Edge

Bonneau 1988 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Réserve des Célestins” (Rhône) – Like drowning in a zero-gravity sea of satin, this wine seduces and entices but never grounds itself, preferring to float and writhe. There’s hickory, fermented roots, a bit of that 70s-style coconut tanning oil mixed with a supermodel’s extremely sexy perspiration (visualize it, don’t analyze it), and a lot of soft, incredibly delicious fruit from the reddish-pink realm. And there’s tannin in the graphitic style, like that of a top Bordeaux in the early days of its maturity, that rumbles along the palate, resetting and refreshing, before another sleepy-time wave of silk. The caveat, perhaps, is that it’s perhaps all a bit easy; the appeal of the wine is purely reactive and animalistic, without much of an intellectual component. Still, what a beautiful wine…still years from full maturity, but absolutely compelling now. (10/08)

Cluster bomb

[grapes]Navarro 1997 Gewürztraminer “Late Harvest Cluster Select” (Anderson Valley) – 375 ml., 9.6%. Fully mature, and very impressive, with dark bronzed lychee met in equal measure by freshly-dug black truffle, old peach liqueur (minus the heat), and exotic nut oils. Very sweet, but nicely balanced, long, and laden with spice. (9/08)

Gould & Apple

Glen Fiona 1997 Syrah (Walla Walla Valley) – Massively primary, and yet I don’t know that it will escape that character. The fruit tends towards blueberry, blackberry, and plum, and there’s the aroma (but not the tactile sensation) of freshly-tanned leather, but the tanning liquids are absent, and while the wine is very, very delicious, the structure required for longer aging seems prematurely absent. I don’t think this is going to fall apart anytime over the next decade, so an optimistic hold is warranted (unless you love the boisterous fruit, in which case: drink now), but I suspect this will make old pillows rather than old bones. (10/08)

Off the

[vineyard]Navarro 1998 Pinot Noir “Deep-End Blend” (Anderson Valley) – 13.9%. Very advanced on the nose, and browning, at first opening. Don’t be fooled, as this is a massive deception. With air, the wine takes on flesh, fat, and power, bringing dark – and, truth be told, somewhat obvious – fruit of the fat, Central Valley berry type to the palate, with hints of freshly-ground coffee bean, bitter chocolate, raw morel, and molten glass. It’s very, very intense, and really shouldn’t be opened anytime soon. In fact, air only serves to anger and intensify the fruit, while the structure – still fully intact – shows no signs of dissipating. All that said, I don’t know if there’s complexity or “pinosity” here; the wine seems to take abrupt, noisily-accomplished steps towards all the things that make pinot noir compelling, without any of the accompanying intellectualization or complexity that one expects from the grape and the region. I suspect a little too much effort in the cellar, and I wonder if this might not be the fate of many highly-touted New World pinots of similar ilk. Still, one could do profoundly worse, and while the wine bears the imprint of work, it is in no way trafficked or steroidal. It’s just big and more than a little buffoonish, yet full of skill. It’s Boo Weekley in a bottle. (10/08)

Big Tulocay country

Tulocay 2001 Zinfandel (Amador County) – 15.7%. Based on the color, I’d think about drinking this. Based on the palate, I’d wait. Based on the structure, I’d have to choose against Caol Ila. How to solve this dilemma? Twisted, back-country berries and black pepper-dominated spice mark the wine’s unmistakable origin, but there’s a little more heat than usual (even for often-fiery Amador zin), and a lot of spirituous invective. As a pure expression of “fuck you” Californicated aggression towards even its most spiritually native of grapes, it’s a triumphant achievement, and I honestly do admire it for that quality. I even enjoy it on those terms. As a wine in the greater world of such beverages, however, it’s a bit much. (10/08)


Coturri 2001 Zinfandel Forsythe (Napa Valley) – 15.9%. This tastes very much like the Coturri grenache, which just can’t be good. It’s an overwhelming explosion of slutty fruit given a massive sheen of oak; not the flavor, but the polish, which (for me) is rarely a positive for zinfandel. The acidity is vibrant, and the wine is – despite the temple-throbbing alcohol, which is immediately noticeable – quite chuggable, but there’s just nothing interesting in this bottle. Except, perhaps, the next morning’s hangover. (10/08)

Frick & frack

[vineyard]Frick 2005 Muscat (Alsace) – Muscat through a filter, with its perfumes and exotica dominated by a firm acidic core. Dry. This would all be fine, except that within an hour of opening the wine rather rapidly oxidizes, turning absolutely undrinkably so by hour two. I want to like this producer, given the admirable vineyard work, but wine after wine is, for me, a massive disappointment. Or, like this, an abject failure…though of course, other bottles may perform differently (such are the blessings and curses of “natural” wines). (10/08)

Réserve judgment

Trimbach 2003 Pinot Gris “Réserve” (Alsace) – Not entirely insipid, but that’s about all that can be said. There’s very, very wan pear, and a bit of spare minerality, and an even more useless gesture in the direction of spice. Had I not seen the bottle, I’d think this was one of Hugel’s more insipid, mass-market products. Or Wolfberger. As a Trimbach – even from 2003 – it’s a failure, though I suppose a négociant can’t fail to release their core wines. Avoid. (10/08)

Dollars and Fontsainte(s)

Laboucarié “Domaine de Fontsainte” 2005 Corbières (Languedoc) – Incredibly appealing. Many Corbières are not, having this or that flaw, or a general indifference as their primary characteristic. This one is immediately drinkable, with a fine acidity enveloping tart red berries, gravelly soil with dry, arid aspects, and a cooling, brittle structure. It will probably age for a bit, but why wait? (10/08)

Poverty line

[orchard in snow]Poverty Lane “Farnum Hill” 2006 Kingston Black Cider “Reserve” (New Hampshire) – Sweaty and deeply complex, showing skin bitterness, tart but modulating acidity, and a series of metal sheathes around the core of cold apple-osity. Unquestionably the best domestic cider I’ve ever tasted, though I haven’t tasted more than a few dozen. (10/08)

Ulivi oil

[vineyard]Bellotti “Cascina degli Ulivi” 2006 Gavi (Piedmont) – Asian pear overwhelmed with spice (turmeric, white pepper, mace, clove), zingy and attention-dominating, yet somehow energetically affable and mild-mannered under study. This is a gorgeous, life-affirming blend of complexity and ease, simplicity and sophistication, appeal and mystery. And it’s only the basic bottling; the winery has “better” stuff in reserve. That’s tremendous work. (10/08)

Big Night

Forsoni “Sanguineto I e II” 2004 Rosso di Montepulciano (Tuscany) – This is such a beautiful wine, and has almost single-handedly restored my confidence in the category. Spicy strawberry and black cherry fruit with double-helixed structure and a very, very light bite of chewy skin tannin, this is a wine that loves nothing more than to dine. Don’t disappoint it. (10/08)

12 October 2008

Up the creek

[squirrel]Nalle 2004 Zinfandel (Dry Creek Valley) – 13.9%. A bit more advanced than I’d have expected – just a bit, though – with some of the very pleasant wild-berry fruit (tending more towards red than blue, purple, or black) having yielded to spice and a wavy, still-indistinct earthiness. But it’s such an easygoing pleasure to drink. (9/08)

Bea good

Monastero Suore Cistercensi S.O. Trappiste 2005 “Coenobium” (Lazio) – Deliciously weird; vivid and fetid, vibrant and snoozy, white and reddish. Every sip is something new, and while each of those new experiences isn’t always uncomplicatedly enjoyable, the overall impression is one of compelling, complex elusiveness…quite a feat for such a present wine. Everyone will not love, or even like, this. But I do. (9/08)


JP Brun “FRV100” (Beaujolais) – I would normally say that I could never get tired of drinking this, but after a summer of doing just that, I find that the persistent sticky character to the fruit is just a little enervating, and despite the unmistakable appeal to those who are having their first encounter with its charms (I’m serving this at a non-geek dinner party), I’m left a bit bereft of enchantment. This is a very fun wine, but ultimately I think the Bugey Cerdon is more compelling, perhaps because it’s just less slutty. None of this should be taken as a denouncement of the wine, which is eminently recommendable and incomparably drinkable. I’m just full of jaded ennui, and not to my credit. (10/08)

Julien calendar

[vineyard]Villerambert-Julien 2007 Minervois Rosé (Languedoc) – Sharp, then soft, then anonymous. OK…strawberry, leaves, cranberry, some sun-dried soil, some tomato…but mostly a chug-and-forget rosé. Very, very dry, and perhaps not entirely to its benefit. This has been significantly better in other vintages. (10/08)

Pighin out

[vineyard]Pighin 2005 Grave Pinot Grigio (Friuli) – There’s an initial appeal of grapefruit and green grape, but the palate turns to plastic and paint, and there’s no temperature at which the wine can be improved. Not as insipid a drink as some mass-market pinot grigios, but rather painful nonetheless. (10/08)

Amon Sul

Dão Sul “Cabriz” 20005 Dão (Portugal) – Dark, wild-berry fruit. Tar. Charred espresso. And a massively hollow palate. With more form and midsection, this would have been a nice $10 quaffer. As it is, it’s avoidable. (10/08)


[vineyard]Boutin “Château La Roque” 2004 Pic Saint Loup “Cupa Numismae” (Languedoc) – A furrowed brow of a wine, meaty and muscular, with some smarts and a careful attention to reserve. Well-structured and full of promise. Drinking now requires charcoal-transformed flesh. The finish could be a bit longer, though, so monitor its progress with some care. (10/08)


[vineyard]St. Michael-Eppan 2004 Pinot Nero “Riserva” (Alto Adige) – Mushrooms growing alongside the barn…the animalistic side of this wine is very much on the edge of acceptability, and the averse should take note…with a dark, post-coital midnight sweat over blackened berries. There’s plenty of lightening structure, but the wine is a blackheart, and won’t yield anything refreshing. Still, given the right food, this could be just the thing. I don’t think age will help, as I think the flaws will grow more pronounced. (10/08)

Roilette paper

Coudert “Clos de la Roilette” 2005 Fleurie (Beaujolais) – Told to bring pinot noir for a salmon dinner, I switch to this when the preparation is announced as involving green beans and tomatoes. And it works beautifully, with the food bringing out more acidity than I’ve previously noticed in this wine, yet leaving the irresistible small red berries intact. And then, in the absence of the food, there’s the long, lingering finish of surprising delicacy yet firm insistence. I have no idea what to make of this wine, other than I’m glad I have a lot of it. (10/08)

Blanc slate

[bottle]Tablas Creek 2006 Côtes de Tablas Blanc (Paso Robles) – Grasping for easy acceptance, which it achieves with a quenching blend of stone fruit and citrus, yet blending salts and rocks into the palate that promise further development and a more sophisticated form of excitement down the road. Delish. (9/08)

Tablas Creek 2006 Côtes de Tablas Blanc (Paso Robles) – Approachable and puppy-like in its drinkability, showing a garden of fruit trees (white apricot, white grapefruit, yellow plum) with all its varietal fatness braced and beaten back by fine acidity; a true accomplishment with the grapes in question. I could – and probably will – drink a lot of this. Will I hold it? Only by accident, though I don’t doubt it will develop for a few years. (10/08)


Edmunds St. John 2002 “blonk!” (Paso Robles) – Drinking very well, with moderate stone fruit resolving into something in the spiced stone (as in: rocks) realm, better acidity than one expects from the Rhônish grapes involved, and a long, come-back-for-more finish. (9/08)

A sparkling anniversary

[sign]Roederer Estate “25th Anniversary” Brut (Anderson Valley) – A reliable performer. This version tastes a little more like a balance between ripe chardonnay stone-fruitiness and deeper, redder pinot tones (usually, the wine leans towards its red grapes), and gives the impression of more fatness than it actually possesses; the finish ends up being quite balanced. (9/08)

I want to live, I want to give

Edmunds St. John 2007 “Heart of Gold” (El Dorado County) – Very cranky when opened, not showing any of the fun fruit, structure, or aromatics I expect. Damaged? Probably not, given the source; perhaps just a weird bottle. (9/08)

Hillau, I love you, won't you tell me your name?

Hillau “Domaine Etxegaraya” 2002 Irouleguy (Southwest France) – Dying, thanks to a synthetic cork. I wish I’d thought to open this sooner. I won’t make that mistake with the other three bottles. *grumble* (9/08)

08 October 2008

VT day

[botrytis]Faller “Domaine Weinbach” 1994 Gewurztraminer “Vendanges Tardives” (Alsace) – Heady spiced lychee with light skin tannin. Very intense, as befits the house style, but the structure is considering abandoning this wine; while it will certainly maintain richness for many years (perhaps decades) to come, I’d consider drinking it soon for maximum balance. (6/08)

Schwach the monkey

[bottle]Bernard Schwach “Domaine du Moulin de Dusenbach” 2004 Riesling Schlossberg (Alsace) – Piercing, high-minded and treble-toned minerality comes off the wine in flakes. Long and really, really good. (6/08)

Jessey's girl

Jessey “Domaine du Closel” 1997 Savennières Moelleux “Cuvée Isa” (Loire) – Quite literally smells like garbage. The palate is chalky and rough, with a mineralistic aspect, and while the wine comes off as dry there’s a thickness that can only come from the sugar. However, the wine is so utterly aromatically repellent that only the nasally-challenged could even contemplate actually putting it in their mouth. (6/08)

Wehlen' up

JJ Prüm 1995 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 08 96 (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer) – Carries the lithe lightness of a kabinett, with the power of its full pradikat held in reserve. Gorgeous balance. But it’s an infant. An embryo. (6/08)

How Green is my Valley?

[vineyard]Alesia 2006 Pinot Noir (Green Valley) – Gorgeous and complex, bringing dark berries forth in a vivid essence. Pure and long. Yow. (6/08)

Where are Q and Moneypenny?

Trimbach 2003 Riesling “Cuvée M” (Alsace) – Really intense, with a silk-and-satin texture, and coiled minerality within. That anyone could produce a wine of this poise in 2003 is baffling; that a winery that could is Trimbach is completely unsurprising. (6/08)


Féraud “Domaine du Pégau” 1998 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Cuvée Laurence” (Rhône) – Gorgeous, if shockingly young, with thickly-layered tannin. Needs to return to its rest for a while. (6/08)

Juge & jury

Juge 1985 Cornas Coteaux (Rhône) – Meaty but sophisticated, with subtleties. Impressively long. Very good. (6/08)

Marcillac, Marcillac, Marcillac!

[vineyard]Teulier “Domaine du Cros” 2006 Marcillac (Southwest France) – Huge green and red fruit slashed by razors and shards. Difficult to approach without being flayed. (6/08)

Johnny Carso

[glass]Zidarich 2005 Carso Vitovska (Friuli-Venezia Giulia) – Cloudy as hell, and full of red fruit, soda water, and salted lemongrass. Such incredible texture (“like balsa wood,” says someone). Stunning, but breathtakingly unconventional. (6/08)

Schoenen tell

[vineyard]Deiss 2000 Schoenenbourg (Alsace) – Very sweet and diffuse, though there’s nice enough acidity. Long but pointless, and the finish’s duration is the chief – one might say the only – feature of this wine. (6/08)

d'Angerville mouse

d’Angerville 1997 Volnay Clos des Ducs (Burgundy) – Complex and beautifully balanced, with a long finish buoyed by good acidity and the character of a deep, fruit-ridden Burgundian soil sample. (6/08)

Goonies are Godineau

Godineau “Domaine des Petits Quarts” 1996 Bonnezeaux “La Malabé” (Loire) – Creamy aspirin, dried fall leaves still rich with autumnal color, and a bit of tannin for balance. Long and poised. Delicious, but not at the absolute top; a bit more complexity would be needed for that. (6/08)

Barale...oh, oh

[portrait]Fratelli Barale 1967 Barolo (Piedmont) – Dark and dusty. Almost dead, but that last little bit that clings to life is interesting for its remaining but brief moments of existence. (6/08)

Little Miss Muffet, Sfursat on a tuffet

Nino Negri 1973 Valtellina “Sfursat” (Lombardy) – Sharp acid and old fruit. Past it. (6/08)

Schloss & found

[vineyard]Schloss Gobelsburg Brut “Reserve” (Langenlois) – Grass (with dew) and wet green apple. Ripe and fruity (mostly lemon), with big acidity. Fine, but a bit obvious. (6/08)

Krötenpfuhl moon

Dönnhoff 2006 Kreuznacher Krötenpfuhl Riesling Spätlese 09 07 (Nahe) – Petrol and wet soil, naked and yet refreshed by balanced sweetness. Still, this lacks the precision and definition I’d like; it’s a good wine, but not a very good wine. (6/08)

Maximin overdrive

[estate]von Schubert’sche 1992 Maximin Grünhäuser Herrenberg Riesling Auslese 48 93 (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer) – Severe but incredibly long, with metal in cylinder, shard, and liquid forms, all dusted with aspirin. (6/08)

Autumnal employees

Alesia 2006 Pinot Noir Falstaff Road (Sonoma Coast) – A bit heavy, with good black fruit struggling to get through a clumsy structure. Time might help; it certainly couldn’t hurt. (6/08)

Savennières the asparagus for last

[vineyard]Baumard 1997 Savennières (Loire) – White asparagus and green apples in a soup. Very thick, acid-deficient, but decent nonetheless, and still holding up OK. I see no reason to hold it longer, however. (6/08)


Lillian 2004 Syrah (California) – Blackberry and dense graphite, with some volatile acidity marring the nose. Anonymous and confected, but a lot of people love this style, and I can’t say it’s not a good expression thereof. (6/08)

Nice to have Matheiu

[vineyard]Serge Mathieu 1996 Champagne Brut (Champagne) – Fruity tonic water and tart heirloom apple. There’s a bit of Makrut lime rind, as well. Nice.(6/08)

The church of mold

Jaboulet 1990 Hermitage “La Chapelle” (Rhône) – Corked. (6/08)

Albalonga than there've been stars up in the heavens

Wittmann 1997 Westhofener Steingrube Albalonga Auslese 006 98 (Rheinhessen) – Sweet tropical fruit. Simple and pure in its intent, with good acidity. (6/08)

07 October 2008

Caol Channing

Caol Ila (Gordon & MacPhail) “Connoisseur’s Choice” 1982 (Islay) – Sherry casks, 46% alcohol, $150. Peat smoke, iodine, dried meat and the leather that used to enclose it, with exotic flowers and confiture (mostly Mirabelle plum, but there’s Rainer cherry and peach as well). Unbelievably good, and for me the star of the tasting, though a very strong argument could be made for the Glen Grant 1965 as well. (2/08)

From Glen to Grant

Glen Grant (Gordon & MacPhail) 1965 (Highland) – Sherry casks, $175-200. Sour peat, humid wood, and summer leaves. Then there’s lemongrass, full-bodied spice and chocolate, followed by a finish of smooth apricot and orange. Round and full, with intensity, complexity, and passion. Stunning. (2/08)


Glen Grant (Gordon & MacPhail) 21 Year Old (Highland) – Sherry casks, $110. Coconut and rough wood, baking spices (nutmeg and clove), and while it’s harsh without the mellowing effect of a little water, it eventually turns beautiful and rather supple, showing mixed chocolates, hints of fruit, and toffee cream. Very nice. (2/08)

Have your dogs Speyside & neutered

Benromach (Gordon & MacPhail) 21 Year Old (Speyside) – First-refill Sherry casks, $110. Paper and old furniture turned to ash, toffee, espresso dust, and raw wood, with a finish of apple that hints at cider. Long and lingering, with hints of bitter chocolate at the very end. Complex. (2/08)

Rosebank: not a sled

Rosebank (Gordon & MacPhail) “Connoisseur’s Choice” 16 Year Old (Lowland) – Refilled Sherry casks, triple-distilled, 46% alcohol, $70-80. Apple flowers, light and fuzzy, with a clean, simple nose. The palate introduces tropical fruit and apricot skin, but remains simple and clean. Just OK. (2/08)

Taxi to the Lochside

Lochside (Gordon & MacPhail) “Connoisseur’s Choice” 1991 (Highland) – Refilled bourbon casks, 43% alcohol, $65-70. Pastry with coffee residue, like the last dregs of a morning stop in a Parisian café, then espresso, stale toffee, almonds, hazelnut, and the drying, slightly acrid smell of flor. Flor? Yes, flor. A very dry style. Weird. (2/08)

Speyside Expo Center

Benromach (Gordon & MacPhail) “Organic” (Speyside) – One of the first organic whiskies. $55-60, 43% alcohol. Toffee-coated apples dipped in maple syrup, pinapple, banana, and lush milk-chocolate sweetness, with orange-chocolate candies on the finish. This is too simple-minded for me. (2/08)

06 October 2008

They've come to snuff the Rooster

[vineyard]6σ 2006 Sauvignon Blanc Rooster (Lake County) – The stainless steel cuvée. Very dry and steely, with grass and acidity. Hard-edged and severe, even tooth-stripping on occasion. Persistent, which is promising, but I think this would benefit a great deal from some richness and additional complexity. Lees, perhaps? (6/08)

Row the boat ashore

6σ 2006 Sauvignon Blanc Michael’s (Lake County) – 100% French oak, which dominates the wine despite not being all that heavily-layered. Lots of acidity, still, but with the toast and stale butter notes the wine is exceedingly awkward and ill-composed. (6/08)

A fit of picnic

6σ 2005 “Cuvée Pique-Nique” (Lake County) – Cabernet sauvignon, merlot, petit verdot, and cabernet franc. Green syrup and coffee, with good structure but a rough ride through a choppy palate and an underripe finish. (6/08)

Emerson, Palmer

6σ 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon (Lake County) – Intense cassis, cedar, graphite, and chocolate-covered fruit candies stewed with freshly-plucked herb leaves. In some ways it’s classic, in others confected, and there’s a bizarre lactic element that throbs forward on the finish. The most promising of the reds, but still with a long ways to go. (6/08)

Sixth sense

6σ 2005 Tempranillo (Lake County) – Chocolate and black pepper with bitter tannin. Far from ripe in any aspect of fruit or structure, and pretty vile as a result. (6/08)

Il communication

Mionetto “Il” Prosecco (Veneto) – Light, mildly sweetened paper. Simple and relatively clean. (6/08)

Brut force

Mionetto Prosecco Brut (Veneto) – Bright lemon, crisp ripe apple, and a drying finish. The powdery texture shatters and sparkles late on the finish. Fair. (6/08)


Mionetto “Sergio” (Veneto) – Full and rich…perhaps also sweeter than some…with lightly-spiced pear. Thick and complex, but freshness is sacrificed as a result, and there’s actually a bit of heat on the finish. (6/08)

Red I

Mionetto “Il” Rosato (Veneto) – Plum, blood orange, strawberry, and old raspberry pushed past its ideal maturity. Heavy and deep. Quite striking, and very much a light red wine more than it is a sparkler. (6/08)

Micky Moscato

Mionetto “Il” Moscato (Veneto) – Very sweet and extremely simple. (6/08)

05 October 2008

Three-star general

Château du Tariquet Bas-Armagnac “Classique ***” (Southwest France) – This is the entry-level Armagnac. Raw wood, leafy, and creamy. Chocolate and caramel over pecans and hazelnuts. Lush and seductive, with a long finish. It lacks the more complex and subtle characteristics of better Armagnacs, and it’s a bit dessert-like in character, but it’s quite pleasant. (3/08)

Gascogne guzzler

Domaine du Tariquet “Côté Tariquet” 2006 Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc (Southwest France) – Intensely fruity, with some apparent residual sugar (seven to eight grams), apple, and good acidity. In the context of this appellation, a powerful wine. (3/08)


Domaine du Tariquet 2006 Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne Chardonnay (Southwest France) – This wine sees six months in barrique; half new, half one year old. Some cream drizzled over light, crystallized peach. Short finish. Just OK. (3/08)


Domaine du Tariquet 2006 Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne Chenin Blanc/Chardonnay (Southwest France) – Apricot and grapefruit, with good acidity and a hint of minerality. Long and balanced, and bigger than most of this lineup. A nice wine. (3/08)

Sauvignon money

Domaine du Tariquet 2006 Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne Sauvignon Blanc (Southwest France) – Linear, to the point of pure two-dimensionality. Simple grass braced by acidity. Eh. (3/08)

There can be ugni one

Domaine du Tariquet 2006 Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne Ugni-Blanc/Colombard (Southwest France) – Very crisp green apples. Clean, sunny, and nice with drying skins on the finish. (3/08)

01 October 2008


Aren't you a wine blogger? This is just a big list of tasting notes!

Well, yes it is. If you want something more interesting than produce-section shopping lists and various ways to verbally dance around the idea of a wine smelling like the posterior of a cow, you'll want the other blog.


[vine]Te Whare Ra 2004 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough) – Ripe green leaves, gooseberry, cooked peas, chile pepper…this sort of intense, herbal greenness is exactly what divides opinions on Marlborough sauvignon, though it’s preferable to the newer, sweet and canned tropical fruit style that dominates most mass-market bottlings. The wine is balanced, but there’s not much of additional interest or complexity (the latter isn’t usually sauvignon’s strong suit, anyway); it’s a good “Marlborough savvy,” as the locals say, but not a special one. (3/05)


Montana 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot (Hawke’s Bay) – Mixed cherries and dark berries, with herbal notes throughout. Innocuous, but I’m not sure the intention is otherwise. It’s as good as any mass-produced wine at this level, I guess, and maybe just a wee bit better. (3/05)