Tuesday, January 31, 2006

January 30 2006, More Chinese New Year Tastings

Our motly crew gathered at a house for some wines during Chinese New Year. Unable to wait up, the tasting group had already downed 3 bottles by the time I got there ( 2 champagnes and a Comte Lafon Mersault Charmes).

Up next - a white :

'02 Ramonet - Chassagne Monrachet 1er Cru- Les Chaumees
Nuts & minerals, hints of fruits, well balanced and good acidity. Extremely aromatic with that slightly raw and slight bitter finish of a Chassagne. 92pts.

After that the gloves were off and out came the reds :

'82 Chateau Margaux - Bordeaux
Green peppers, faint leather, a bit thin to my palate. Cork was soaked which tells me this was not showing its best though perfectly drinkable. Great finesse, delicacy, smooth tannins. 94 pts but suspect a good bottle should rate much higher.

'86 Talbot - Bordeaux/Saint Julien
Very nice. Leather hide & cassis, good body, nice tannins ( though seemed a tad harsher than the Margaux) showing very well although the cork was again soaked, excellent finish. This was showing better than the Margaux overall. 95+points ( Think this still can improve a little more).

'86 Leoville Las-Cases - Bordeaux/Saint Julien
Very closed, slight hints of chees, not ready at all and a bit disappointing. Did not really open up with time and air and started get a bit more sour instead. 93+(?)pts.

After this... the boys still didn't have enough and raided the host's cellar... and found this beauty ( it was all Chef Chau's doing - we had no part in this Steve.....honest).

'95 Chateau Latour - Bordeaux
One of my favorite 1st growths in the '95 vintage so I am biased. Puillac nose of green peppers, Cassis, faint leather ( coming on nicely - not present when 1st released ), although I could not really coax the lead pencil aromas out too much, excellent mid palate and great finish. 96 pts

And now a complete change of pace......

'03 H.Dohoff Norsheimer Delchen AP#1804 - Germany/Nahe
Nuts, slight petrol, remarkable balance of sweetness and acidity ( we take this for granted from Donhoff but is just so hard to get this right ). Great finish. This was just infanticide.... 95+pts.

And if that wasn't enough..... One final red...

'97 Dominus - California

Ripe fruits, hints of leather hide, very "bordeaux" nose. In the mouth it was a slightly different story but very nice tannins. Suspect it needs another 5-7 years to really come together and smooth itself out. 95 pts.

Happy Chinese New Year to everyone.

Friday, January 27, 2006

January 26, 2006. Two New world Pinots

No more !@)*# Merlot I hear you say?

Alright lets try Pinot Noir then but can one fine really good new world Pinot Noir? The answer is yes but a rarity. Most people are going to be disappointed or frustrated if they think a new world Pinot is going to have a nose like a "Burgundian" Pinot - It usually is not the case.

'01 Kooyang - Pinot Noir / Haven Vineyard - Australia
Red fruits, "Australian" pinot noir nose ( don't ask me you can recognize it after a while), tart and showing less fruit than 18months ago. This is telling me the wines are not going to keep for too long drink up within 2-3years of release is my guess. 87pts.

'01 Walter Hansel - Pinot Noir - Alyce - Russian River
Deep, dark, brooding, good acidity & depth. An "almost Burgundian" nose but then not exactly ( but still very nice). Briefly after airing, there were hints of animal aromas which didn't stay around as the nose shifted again to fruits.... I'm smiling at this point. The complexities in the nose will be lost without a decent glass. We used the Riedel Extreme Pinot Noir and it showed nuance that lessor glasses couldn't. With 10-15min air, the mid-palate got more harsh and tannins become more prominent - acidity also. I think this one is a keeper and would be interesting to see what some bottle age would bring (7-10years?). 93(+)pts.

January 25, 2006. Chinese New Year Wines. Part.1

Thursday night we banged out quite a few wines. Most of them German.

'03 Rothenberg Nackenheim AP#1104
Flowers & nuts ( hazelnuts?), hint of lychee may fool you into thinking its sweet but couldn't be (13.5% alcohol). I am wondering if this thing is pure Reisling as it seems to have a hint of Gerwurtztraminer. 87pts

'04 Rheinhesen Kabinet AP#1205.
High acidity, closed and tight, little bit of petrol smell - more like a Reisling. 87pts

'03 Provenance Pinot Noir
Pinot noir from Australia, unmistakable Australian Pinot Noir nose. Bubblegum, vanilla, tannic! Someone else brought a Riedel Extreme and revealed the more pleasant pinot noir aromas but still unmistakbly new world. 85pts

'04 Tarra Warra Pinot Noir
Not your typical nose. Can't quite classify this one. To me a better mid palate and tannins than the provenance . 86pts.

'98 Chateneuf Du Pape - Pierre Usseglio /Cuvee De Mon Aeiul
Cndp in spades and then some. For those who like game aromas in their wine this one had it in spades. Smelled like a guinea fowl died in the bottle. Not for everyone but I thought this was real fun - probably better matched with partridge, quail or even lamb stew or some pungent cheeses. Tannins were fine but overall still seemed way too young for a 6 year wine. Probably needs another 7-10 years. 91?(+)pts.

'02 Louis Jadot - Clos Vougoet
Wrapped in foil initially - blind tasters beware. I thought this was a new world pinot initially because of the nose. Incredibly tight and tannic - I would never have guess this to be a Burg. not to say a Clos Vougeot. Way too tight and suspect its shut down and closed for business. 91?(+)pts.

'04 Gunderloch Auslesse AP#1505
Hazelnut & Almonds, really really high acidity, detected perhaps some carbonation also? Does not seem to have the "weight" or visocity of an Auslesse... I'm thinking it taste more like a Kabinett. High alcohol level as well. 84 pts. If they labelled this a Kabinet I might have scored it higher!

'04 Gunderloch Nackenheim Rothenberg Auslesse AP#1303
This is more like an Auslesse. Excellent acidity, sugars with some weight and defintely much higher viscocity. 92+pts

'02 Gunderloch Nackenheim Rothenberg TBA #2203
Much deeper in color and much heavier and thicker. Getting into syrup territory. Apricots, honey, good acidity and balance. My only criticism for wines at this level is this one was a bit too one-dimensional and monolithic - good but not inspiring. 92pts.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

January 3, 2006 - Happy New Year

As this is the first entry in 2006. A happy new year to everyone reading this blog.

Some tasting notes from last year.

1993 Tenuta Ornellaia - Masseto
Getting along in age here. Leather, iron, figs. A bit light and not much on the finish. This being only 12-13 years old I'm getting a bit concerned about the ageing length of this cult wine - not a good showing at least for the '93 vintage. Storage conditions were very good as evidenced by a low level of seepage in the cork itself. 89-90 pts.

1993 Grant Burg - Messach
Black fruits, figs. Initially dense & oily, hint of sweetnees in the fine tannins. 30minutes later becoming a bit more "gritty" with aeration - nice mid palate. The finish is somewhat short or clipped. 91+ pts.

2000 JM Boillot Pommard - Burgundy
I forgot to note down which Pommard it was ??!! Very nice - what else can be said "pinot noir" nose of fruits, animal and cheese aromas all rolled up together. Nice acidity and not too tart. Integrated nicely with time although nose was best in first 30minutes. 90 pts.

2002 JM Boillot Puligny Monrachet - Burgundy
Beautiful nose propped up by a wonderful minerality on the nose and in the mouth. Flavors of citrus/lime coupled with minerals persisted in the mouth for a good minute. Wine gracefully faded over time and did not become unbalanced ( this is the best way to go IMHO ). This is further evidence (to me anyway) that 2002 white Burgs is just a spectacular vintage especially in the hands of capable winemakers. More than ever I think this is the best white vintage in a decade or more. This wine will be even better with 5-7 more years of good storage. 90pts.

Both of the Boillot wines had a very pleasing nose raised expectations in other aspects as well. In the end of the day these were village wines and should not be expected to be "transcendental experiences". Back to Earth anyway.