13 August 2009


[vineyard]Ridge 1999 Geyserville (Sonoma County) – 14.8%. Folks on ye olde internete keep insisting this is at peak, or even on the decline. They’re out of their minds. No, it’s not fully primary anymore, dominated by coconutty oak and jellied fruit. A lot of the former has integrated, exchanging coconut for vanilla, and the latter has definitely deepened to meld more closely with the wine’s darker, black-berried muscularity, but almost all of the aromatic and textural development that makes aging Geyserville so worthwhile has yet to arrive, and there’s rather a surplus of structure at the moment as well. That said, the time at which it would be worth checking in – given sufficient quantities – isn’t far off. Maybe another four or five years? And then holding for…well, I’d guess a long time, at various points along which curve it will be among the great successes of latter-period Ridge Geyserville. (7/09)

Off Brand

Boxler 2001 Pinot Blanc “L20B” (Alsace) – Pinot blanc (and auxerrois) from the Brand, unable to be labeled as such because of Alsace’s often-ridiculous wine law. This wine shows the ridiculousness rather clearly, as it’s both terroir-revelatory and frankly extraordinary. In fact, it’s probably the best pinot blanc I’ve ever tasted…and of the contenders, a rather large number are from this house. Brand dominates, deep and moody with its glowering rocks, while the once-sunnier fruit has turned luscious and creamy. This is not a high-acid wine, by any means, but there’s certainly enough for the stage the wine’s in. What’s most fun is the combination of the intellectual pleasure of a terroir-revelatory wine in its mature glory and the massively appealing drinkability of the wine, which causes it to disappear all too quickly. I could probably drink a magnum of this all by myself, and still wish there was more. (7/09)

Brand identity

Boxler 2005 Muscat Brand (Alsace) – Floral, yes…and as much so as any lover of the grape could want…but the flowers are white, rather than multi-hued, and have shifted from lurid showmanship to stream-side mountain delicacy. The breathtaking Brand minerality, powerful dark crystals laced with coal dust and giving the impression (but not the actuality) of fat, is on display, and succeeds as much as any terroir can in standing up to the grape’s varietal signature. The structure’s good enough (a measure of acidity was no doubt sacrificed in search of the wine’s ideal site/grape balance point). I’m sure this would age, letting the flowers wither away and revealing more and more of the underlying minerality, but I’d actually advise against it; if you want the full expression of site with little standing in the way other than structure, choose a riesling instead. (7/09)

Terri Ciampolo

[vineyard]Montevertine 2005 “Pian del Ciampolo” (Tuscany) – Wow, is this pretty. I thought I’d lost my enthusiasm for sangiovese, but wines like this could re-energize it. Dusty strawberries, flecked with earth and structured by their seeds, with tiny-leafed herbality and a long, faintly buzzing finish full of rocks and light foam. Really, really approachable, but there’s enough structure to eliminate near-term worries. So, hold it for a while? I answer: why? (7/09)

Braised tardives with morels

Trimbach 2000 Gewurztraminer “Vendanges Tardives” (Alsace) – Trimbach’s late-harvest wines, especially their gewürztraminers, are packed to the gills with sugar. Their nearly singular achievement, however, is making it seem like they’re not. 2000 wasn’t a firm, crisp, high-acid year, and yet this wine seems only marginally sweeter than many a “regular” gewürztraminer from some of their hangtime-obsessed neighbors, and pairs that sweetness with a surprising wallop of firm acidity. The fruit’s peach and cashew with only hints of lychee, and the minerality’s copper and salt. Bacon, smoke…only suggestions at the moment, and their full expression is far, far in the future. A lovely wine, deft and delineated…and when’s the last time you read that about a late-harvest gewürztraminer? (7/09)

Words, words, words

[vineyard]Overgaauw 1997 Cape Vintage South African Liqueur Wine (Stellenbosch) – I admire the attempt to avoid using the word “port,” but this seems a little convoluted. The wine, however, is anything but difficult. A burst – nay, a fireworks display – of berries, still structured but with nicely-maturing spices (clove, nutmeg), forward and fruity. “Port” is a category in which South Africans appear to take much pride, but I have to say that after tasted around a dozen on a recent trip, I found the category – and many of the big names – pretty mediocre. Not so this, a library release to contrast with the winery’s more current vintage, and already showing a sophistication and worldliness that many of its brethren lack. No, it’s not up to the full range of complexities in a true Port, but it’s also not done maturing. (7/09)

In a cup

Foillard 2001 Morgon Côte du Py (Beaujolais) – A little delicate and even quiet at first, showing a lot of dust and a fading black raspberry palate. A day of minor exposure to air, at room temp, clarifies and amplifies the wine. The dust is still there, but now it’s texture, and the fruit – nicely expanded, though this is still medium-bodied at best – fills the mouth like a thick haze of mature fruit and foggy, sodden earth. There’s a heart of mystery within, as well, that doesn’t want to be quantified. Lovely. (7/09)

The needs of the Mesnil outweigh than the needs of the few, or the Oger

[tasting room]Pierre Peters 1998 Champagne Le Mesnil-sur-Oger “Grand Cru” Brut Blanc de Blancs (Champagne) – Vibrant, in the prime of its young adulthood, with a throbbing core of life and energy. Ultra-ripe (but not sweet) heirloom apple, lemony yeast, and the last lingering crusts of a flaky pain levain – there’s something more fundamental here than the standard brioche – with firm acidity, fine-grained electric bubbles, and a long, precise finish. Yowzers. (7/09)

Held back

[press]Pierre Peters Champagne Le Mesnil-sur-Oger “Grand Cru” Brut Blanc de Blancs “Cuvée de Réserve” (Champagne) – This is the NV bottling that would have been in stores in 1998, so it’s getting long in the tooth for an NV, even one that was as good as this has long been. Alas, it appears to have reached the end of its useful life, and is now on the downslope…though it should be said that this bottle tastes considerably older than one tasted last year, more than would be accounted for by the time that’s passed. There’s that antiqued bread character, bronze-ish and autumnal, common to older Champagnes, and the way this facet it tiring – paired with a new, elbowy sharpness to the acidity – is the clearest sign of the fade. Still plenty characterful,, but drink up. (7/09)


Allemand 2005 Cornas Reynard (Rhône) – The brooding, dark heart of Cornas, with 50% less apocalypse. Very nearly perfect in form, and thus set up for long aging. Right now, there’s a lot of (ripe) tannin and smoke, but I expect rather a lot to emerge in the years decades to come. (7/09)

On a Calera day

[vineyard]Calera 2006 Pinot Noir (Central Coast) – Friendly berry salad, in a nice mix of ripenesses and aromatics, with an enveloping sphere of darker berries and leafy hints of soil. But this is about primary fruit, for sure, and there’s not a flaw to be found. (7/09)

Catch hheck

Dönnhoff 2001 Norheimer Kirschheck Riesling Spätlese 006 02 (Nahe) – Fairly creamy (already, which is pretty common for Dönnhoff), ranging from slightly underripe stone fruit to a salt-sugar mix that slightly muddles the structure, though I can’t say that the wine really suffers much as a result. Not an intellectual wine, but not really an emotional one either; mostly, it’s about overt and superior pleasantness. (7/09)

Mime rocks

Drouhin 2006 Meursault-Pierrières "1er Cru" (Burgundy) – Ah, chardonnay. How I haven’t missed you. But then again, this is white Burgundy, and there’s plenty to like here…spicy minerality, soft wood, good balance…if one is inclined in chardonnesque directions. Which, for better or worse, I’m increasingly not. (7/09)


Jadot 2002 Savigny-lès-Beaune La Dominode (Burgundy) – Pointed, razor-leafed raspberry and a fair bit of tannin. A sharply-formed wine, perhaps a little brittle at the moment, but with lovely fruit within. Promising. And also, a question: what’s with the “è”? (7/09)


Denis 1989 Touraine-Azay-le-Rideau Vignes de la Gaillarderie Sec (Loire) – Dirty – in a good way – and fairly high in acid. Unmistakably maturing chenin, yet the minerality is as much aluminum and tin as chalk. Another slight shift is from honeysuckle to pollen-dusted stone fruit skin. So how, exactly, is it “unmistakably chenin?” I’m not sure, but there’s just something about the weight, palate impression, and generally Touraine-evocative aromatics that announce “chenin” with clarity and decision. It’s never wise to suggest that a Loire chenin’s nearing the end of it’s life, and yet I don’t know that this has all that much more development left in it. (Emphasis, in that last sentence, is on the “I don’t know” more than the rest.) (7/09)

Rip Van

[vineyard]Terlan 2004 Sauvignon Blanc Winkl (Alto Adige) – What one wants from these Alto Adige wines, especially the site-designated ones, is minerality coequal or superior to varietal character. That said, some varieties just can’t be conquered, and sauvignon blanc is one. Still, I’d call this a success, with quartz and icy steel backing up a shattered-glass impression of chilly greenish-white fruit. A little white pepper’s there, too, on a finish that doesn’t quite live up to the rest of the wine. (7/09)


Selbach-Oster 2007 Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett 027 08 (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer) – From 375 ml, and a gift from a friend who thought I’d either gotten it wrong or had an off bottle in a previous note. At first, there’s an almost milky aroma and texture to the wine, as if cidered steel had been squeezed from a Teutonic cow. Then there’s warming, which brings out both intensity and a surprisingly bit of cream for such a primary wine (guess that cow hasn’t left the vineyard). There’s just a bit of plastic to the finish, and it definitely detracts, but otherwise this is powerful, intense, and balanced…albeit miles from anything that would have been thought of as a kabinett in years gone by. (7/09)

12 August 2009


[banner logo]Bea 2004 “Arboreus” (Umbria) – A tarnished brass sculpture of an orange/apple still life. A ringing broadsword slash of mineral-enhanced tannin. A pale orange sweep of a distant lighthouse, shrouded in mysterious fogs. A biting acid-wash swirled with naturally-derived organic dyes, still aromatic and of variable textures. In other words, this is my fourth or fifth taste of this wine, and I’m no closer to pinning it down than I was before. Endlessly fascinating, it is. (7/09)

Are you Cerdon?

Renardat-Fache Bugey Cerdon (Ain) – Purple nurple in liquid form. Craves salty pork, craves crisp vegetables, craves a humid afternoon, craves a parched desert, desires everything, desires nothing at all. The caveat? It’s getting expensive; the fun was less burdened at $15 or less than it is, now, but pushing into the mid-twenties it’s not entirely untrammeled. (7/09)

Renardat-Fache Bugey Cerdon (Ain) – See the previous note, but with more strawberry dust and Pink Lady apple skin. (7/09)

Don't kill the whale

[label]Ace WineCo. “Leviathan” 2007 Red (California) – Chewy, moderately candied berries, pushed beyond their useful life and then given a chocolate bar for endurance. Textbook, middle-of-the-road, cookie-cutter California red goop, found at all prices and levels of rarity in a point-distributing magazine near you. So is this a pan? No, not really. It’s perfectly fine, and achieves its goals. And look: the warning’s right there on the label. “Leviathan.” You can’t say you weren’t warned. Let’s hope the reserve wine isn’t called “Cthulu.” (7/09)

Trappiste family singers

Monastero Suore Cistercensi S.O. Trappiste 2006 “Coenobium” (Lazio) – There sure is a lot of bottle variation with this wine. I expect a little more consistency from nuns…though I suppose the highly naturalistic Bea influence must deserve the credit and.or blame. This is one of the not-great bottlings, expressed – as usual – not by some flaw, but by an insistent argument for indifference. Some of the skin-contact signs are there in the structure, but the miasmatic minerality is more mushy than complex, and the wine just sort of sits there, lifeless. (7/09)

Voûte early, Voûte often

Chanrion “Domaine de la Voûte des Crozes” 2002 Côte-de-Brouilly (Beaujolais) – Not an appellation I usually think to age, but a bottle showed up in a local closeout bin, and so why not? Sharp cherry, with a zip almost akin to that of soda…but there’s nothing artificial here, just pure fruit. A bit of graphite sheeting hangs around to see what’s happening, but this has largely been stripped down to its core identity. (7/09)


Campbell’s Tokay (Rutherglen) – From 375 ml. Sticky-sweet butterscotch and reduced, slightly charred clove honey. Brown sugar drizzled with grade B maple syrup. Did I mention the sugar? (7/09)


[label]Verdi 2007 Oltrepò Pavese Vigna Costa Riesling Renano (Lombardy) – Less riesling character than in any previous bottle, and while I love the grape I’m not sure the diminishment is to the wine’s detriment. Sea salt and melon, limestone, slightly decayed flowers, and a textural wetness…it gets more intriguing with each sip. Yet I’m also not entirely convinced by the wine, which seems to churn and curl away from clear statements and wholeness. Needs time, maybe. (7/09)

Little canals

Bera 2006 Cannelli “Arcese” (Piedmont) – Open for four days by the time I get to it, but still hanging onto sweet-smelling, perfumed garden fruit and a deliberate lightness. Pretty, even in its diminished state. (7/09)


[vineyard]Grosjean 2004 Cornalin Vigne Rovettaz (Vallée d’Aoste) – Aromatically difficult, and it seems like it should be more generous, so I may just have caught this at a bad time. There’s a tension between a sweet-fruited, earthy-floral core and a rougher, shouldery structure that reminds me a bit of the similar tension in Piedmontese dolcetto, but there’s decidedly more minerality here, and the structure isn’t quite as strident. Seems very promising, but now isn’t its time. (7/09)

The peter

Lapierre 2007 Morgon (Beaujolais) – Corked. (7/09)

How green is my Vallières?

[label]JM Burgaud 2007 Régnié Vallières (Beaujolais) – Tart strawberry, vivid and crisp. There’s some salty ferric stuff, as well, but mostly this is about incisive – or perhaps incising – fruit. (7/09)

Go to the Mât

Dr. Parcé “Domaine du Mas Blanc” 2006 Banyuls “Le Mât Blanc Fruité” (Roussillon) – Despite the name, this is red. Raspberry-sauced chocolate, full and (as promised) fruity, with only the minor interference of oxidation. However, the concentration on fruit brings out some of the grenache-y bubblegum aromas, which (for me) detract from the unique qualities of Banyuls. It’s Banyuls with training wheels, and good in that idiom, but I think I prefer something a little more authentic. (7/09)

More Garfunkel, less Simon

Boxler 2006 Pinot Blanc “L20A” (Alsace) – Spiced apricot, with intensity (in the context of pinot blanc) yet avoiding fatness. There’s auxerrois here, of course, and thus the requisite spice…but it, too, is tamed and manageable. Otherwise, there’s just the right amount of crispness and light, especially into the finish. This isn’t Boxler’s best pinot blanc, but it’s a fine one, and still better than most. (7/09)

Franz the librarian

[vineyard]Schubert 2006 Pinot Noir Marion’s Vineyard (Wairarapa) – Sweet plum, strawberry, and blood orange. There’s a little hint of candy, which I don’t quite like, but then some blacker, almost licorice-like tones on the finish. I think this will get better with age, because the structure’s there, but it’s pretty simple-minded just now. (7/09)

Jurassic chardonnay

Petit “Domaine de la Renardière” 2006 Arbois-Pupillin Chardonnay (Jura) – Prickly, but from energy rather than acidity (though it has that, too), with a rich complexity of stony aromas (both the fruit and the rocks themselves), a light wash of oxidation that adds further complexity, a good deal of concentration, and a long finish. Very, very engaging. (7/09)

Moe, Larrieu, & Curlycue

[vineyard]Larrieu “Clos Lapeyre” 2005 Jurançon Moelleux “La Magendia” (Southwest France) – Ripe, sweet, and pure. Lemon and apple paired, with a heart of cool alpine valley sunshine and little drizzlings of fresh acidity over the top. Pretty. (7/09)

Curses, Foillard again!

Foillard 2006 Morgon Côte du Py (Beaujolais) – Vastly lighter than some vintages, and almost breathtakingly beautiful as a result. Literally so: I’m completely enraptured by the ethereal blend of spice, soil, berry, and soul in this wine. Texturally sensuous but far from slutty. I don’t just want to drink this, I want to bathe in it. (7/09)

Milly first

Cordier 2005 Mâcon-Lamartine-Milly “Clos du Four” (Mâcon) – Light oak spice, good weight, fine balance, but this reminds me why I just don’t buy, drink, or enjoy oaked chardonnay; there’s just nothing here that can’t be attributed more or less to the wood. (7/09)

Foggy hat

Cappellano 2005 Nebbiolo d’Alba (Piedmont) – Dusty red fruit, soft yet strong, with a nearly flawless texture. Absolutely classic nebbiolo, masterfully presented. (7/09)

Bad, bad, but not brown

Leroy 1983 Volnay (Burgundy) – Pretty. Very, very pretty. Showily so. And strikingly youthful; the structure’s resolved, but the fruit is still fairly primary and direct. Maybe boring? I don’t quite know what to make of this, but admittedly my palate is completely exhausted at this point. (7/09)

Mind the Gap

Wind Gap 2007 Pinot Gris (Russian River Valley) – Spicy pear with a slightly lactic note, but not enough to be unpleasant. Intense, big, long, and luscious. Way more interesting than anything the Scholium Project has produced. (7/09)


[barrel & tank]Scholium Project 2006 “San Floriano del Collio” Rocky Hill (Sonoma Mountain) – The reddest of all the wines; this could easily pass for a dark rosé, rather than an orange wine, and at 16.9% alcohol it’s pushing what few boundaries remain. Par for the Scholium course, I guess. Grassy and greasy, yet with sharp-edged pistachios, some fatness, and (big surprise) noticeable alcohol. Anise, as well, plus maraschino cherries and rather intense minerality. In its less admirable moments, it also smells more than a bit like a fetid poire william eau de vie, but I don’t mean to be overly discouraging; I like this more than I’ve ever liked a Scholium Project wine (granted, the competition for this title has not been fierce). (7/09)

Johnn Carso

Zidarich 2005 Malvasia (Carso) – Full and spicy, but ends rather abruptly. Simple memories of walnut are all that linger. (7/09)

Zidarich 2005 Vitovska (Carso) – Mixed nuts. Very tannic, and edging towards desiccation. Simple, and in fact more than a little boring. (7/09)

Jakot, colonel

Radikon 2003 “Jakot” (Venezia Giulia) – Some alcohol here, plus pear and raw, exposed metal. Fat. The heat lingers into the finish. (7/09)


[radikon bottles]Radikon 2001 Ribolla Gialla (Venezia Giulia) – Tight, metal-jacketed plum. A bit hot, which is something I’ve not previously experienced from this wine. Somewhat indifferent. Perhaps an off bottle (or an off taster). (7/09)

Radikon 1997 Ribolla Gialla “Riserva Ivana” (Venezia Giulia) – Soft fullness and salty white soil. Seems more mild-mannered than it actually is…there’s a fair bit of complexity and depth…but the wine’s gentle in every aspect. There’s a very slight edge of heat creeping into the margins, but otherwise all is seamless. This isn’t aging so much as cohering, and in a very appealing way. (7/09)

In the year MM4

Vodopivec 2003 Vitovska (Venezia Giulia) – Big blood orange, juiced and pumped full of oxygen (by which I don’t mean oxidation, nor microbullage, but a breath-inducing vivacity), with a core of steel and walnuts on the finish. Powerful. (7/09)

Vodopivec 2004 Vitovska (Venezia Giulia) – Clementine and aluminum. Fat. Short. And disappointing. (7/09)

Vodopivec 2004 Vitovska “solo | MM4” (Collio Goriziano) – Direct and forceful, but to what end? The power seems in service of vanishingly little. Maybe it’s just shy, but this is a rather intense void at the moment. Perhaps it’s a singularity of some sort. A black An orange hole? (7/09)

Gotta Bea me

Bea 2004 “Arboreus” (Umbria) – Sweet spice. Round, pretty, and very complete. This is the wine version of Miles’ In a Silent Way, and that’s high praise from me. (7/09)


[vineyard]Movia 2007 Ribolla Gialla “Lunar” (Goriška Brda) – Delish. I know it probably wants to be serious, but really it’s more like a Greek island beach party…albeit from several hundred years ago. No tropical umbrellas here. Very appealing, and in an immediate way. (7/09)

Trappiste John, M.D.

Monastero Suore Cistercensi S.O. Trappiste 2007 “Coenobium” (Lazio) – Simple grapefruit rind, with a light spicing dominated by white pepper. And is that celery? It’s like a stealth grüner veltliner has entered the room and is masquerading as a “baby” orange wine. This is initially fairly disappointing, but gains a measure of weight and texture with extended aeration. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to explore this in more detail. (7/09)

Monastero Suore Cistercensi S.O. Trappiste 2006 “Coenobium” (Lazio) – Bigger and fuller-bodied than the 2007, showing a blend of red and Rainier cherries. Round, yet there’s a washed-out quality to the finish, as if the wine rather clumsily gives its all right at the start, and has nothing left for the duration of the race. (7/09)

Monastero Suore Cistercensi S.O. Trappiste 2007 “Coenobium Rusticum” (Lazio) – Extremely tannic. Metal and charred orange, maybe even a bit of ash. Acid-dominated on the finish, which is extremely long. Tight and no fun. My last bottle of this was a stunner. What happened? (7/09)

Tiger Maule

Angiolino Maule “La Biancara” 1996 “Taibane” (Veneto) – Soft. Strawberry, peach, and blood orange. This needs a lot more structure, which is something I didn’t think I’d be able to say about an orange wine.(7/09)

A critique of pure sauvignon

Kante 2006 Sauvignon Blanc (Carso) – The most identifiably-varietal wine in the room, and by a wide margin, though much of that is the familiarity of sauvignon. Is this actually a skin-contact white? It shows few of the characteristics of one, with its vibrant, zingy gooseberry, sharp-edged minerality, and lavish acidity. A good wine, but it seems out of place in this crowd. (7/09)

Red comb

Hautes Terres de Comberousse 2001 “Cuvée Roucaillat” (Languedoc) – Fat, overly lactic, and kind of nasty. (7/09)

La Stoppa, la looka, la listena

[estate]La Stoppa 2004 “Ageno” (Emilia-Romagna) – Dark metallic orange with a heady rush of deep minerality. Sophisticated and striking. Absolutely delicious. (7/09)

Go Bregging

Gravner 2001 “Breg Amphora” (Venezia Giulia) – Bitter almond and apple, with tight layers of complexity and minerality pressed together like an Austrian pastry. There’s a swaggering confidence to this wine that few others of its type can pull off. Yet this is not to say that it’s better, necessarily, just that it’s more overtly self-assured. (7/09)

Ribolla strike

Gravner 1997 Ribolla Gialla (Venezia Giulia) – Heavy, but it’s a good weight. Lush with mandarin-scented Madeleine, plus cotton candy whipped with tart threads. There’s a slightly bitter, Campari-esque note which seems like it should be an “off” character, yet the wine benefits from the counterpoint. This is aging very nicely, and while it doesn’t seem to be showing signs of decline, it’s very likely that I have no idea what those signs might be for this particular wine. (7/09)

Gravner 2000 Ribolla Gialla (Venezia Giulia) – Sweet yellow cherry with some oddities I can’t quite identify. Whatever’s going on, it’s tasty enough but a little distracting. Long. (7/09)

Gravner 2001 Ribolla Gialla “Amphora” (Venezia Giulia) – Slightly bitter, and this time the bitterness takes the form of vanilla, especially on the backpalate. Leafy. A sharp left turn from the pre-amphora ribollas. (7/09)

Old mass

Massa Vecchia 2005 Maremma Toscana Bianco (Tuscany) – A bit of a brett bomb, though eventually the wine starts to show things other than fetid stench, including a silky palate that glides and skates as if on the smoothest ice. A little more attention to hygiene, and this would be a beauty. (7/09)

At the Lispida of light

[label]Castello di Lispida 2002 “Amphora” Bianco (Veneto) – Rich, dark, dusted with cocoa, and luxuriant with the texture of cocoa butter. A very full and blossomy wine, and one that would easily fool many into thinking it’s a red in a true blind tasting. (7/09)

Castello di Lispida 2002 “Terralba” (Veneto) – Soft and pretty apricot flowers with a little kiss of sweet nectar. But then, the wine just sort of disappears. Where did it go? (7/09)

Antece subject

de Conciliis 2004 “Antece” (Campania) – Bitter almond soap with the texture of a whiteout blizzard, and a little sherried throughout. Simple and direct. (7/09)

Klingon wine

Damijan 2003 “Kaplja” (Collio) – Fat tangerine. Short and blowsy. It seems that some orange wines can’t avoid being victimized by this vintage, though there are exceptions. This isn’t one of them. (7/09)

Damijan 2004 “Kaplja” (Collio) – A lovely nose of ripe fruit, flowers, and confiture, but the palate is separated and disappointing. (7/09)

Stop, look, Cornelissen

[bottles]Cornelissen 2007 “MunJebel 4” Bianco (Sicily) – Pine, melting cedar candle, orange rind, and coal. There’s a medium-toned brown hum to the wine, but a sharp declension on the finish; with a little more linger, this could be a star. As it is, it’s merely fascinating, but the fascination is brief. I somewhat preferred a 3 (from 2006) tasted earlier this year. (7/09)

Sveti balls

Clai Bijele Zemlje 2007 Malvazija “Sveti Jakov” (Istra) – Solid, by which I mean uniformly dense rather than well-executed. Plays at being interesting, but it lacks the depth to follow through on its initial promise. (7/09)

How much does it Coste?

Casa Coste Piane 2006 Prosecco di Valdobbiadene “Tranquillo” (Veneto) – Dry as a desert, and rather desert-like in its lack of visible life. I liked this wine a lot more last month. (7/09)


[vineyard]Ca' de Noci 2006 “nottediluna” (Emilia-Romagna) – Lush pear and apricot. Almost buttery. Somewhat flamboyant, but its an appealing showmanship…flirtatious, yet classy. (7/09)

Cà de Noci 2007 “nottediluna” (Emilia-Romagna) – Stale paper with a bouquet of flowers in slow emergence. Acrid. This needs…I don’t know. But it needs something. And less of some other things. (7/09)

Cà de Noci on the left-hand side

Ca' de Noci 2005 “riserva dei fratelli” (Emilia-Romagna) – Sparkling, though it’s more of a slushy froth than a proper pétillance. Apple and acid, with light bitterness and a fresh finish. However, the nose is odd, and mostly absent. Some are moved to a tentative declaration of cork taint (oddly, all such are female), but the importer (who is present) says not. Still, he agrees that the wine seems off in some fashion. (7/09)