Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Roundup - Recent Sips

Its been a really good wine drinking month. I've tasted a few wines that have been on my "wish list" for a while, others that I've been meaning to try and finally found a good excuse to open, and new releases of yet other wines that I taste each year. Since I never seem to be able to write here about all of the tasting that interests me (and that potentially would interest you), here is a roundup of interesting wines from the past month:

Burgundy (yes - I still drink Burgundy wines, and still love them the most!)
2001 Domaine Rollin Pernand-Vergelesses, $30 (375ml). Drank at a restaurant, so retail would be about $12-15, I imagine. I post this to warn you - a lot of Burgundy suffered from too little sun, grapes were under-ripe. This parcel in the plucky village of Pernand-Vergelesses clearly fell into that category. This wine was thin, shrill, and green. Buy carefully in 2001...

2002 Sylvan Cathiard Vosne Romanee, $25 (secondary market). This was a Deetrane purchase at auction on Wine Commune. Too early to open it, and we knew it, but why not taste a bottle when you get a case at auction? This wine was deep ruby colored, a reserved and tight nose that showed a lot of iron, some underbrush. After a half hour open the fruit makes an appearance, lovely red berries and dark fruit too, but then recedes again, replaced by pine and leaves. This wine is chock full or potential, which is why I bought three of them from Deetrane (tertiary market?!?) to lay down in the cellar for a while.

2003 Sineann Pinot Noir Phelps Creek
, $40. What a pleasant surprise this wine was! An Oregon Pinot from cult producer Peter Rosback, but not from the Willamette Valley. This is from Hood River County. I sometimes find Sineann's wines to be too big, to overdo it a little. From a tough hot vintage, this wine is a perfect candidate for overdoing it, but it was great. Pretty garnet color with rich sweet smells of blue fruit and earth. After a half hour open, the aromas really blossomed: distinct mushroom and lavender aromas followed the dark berry fruit. The palate did not live up to the nose in complexity, but was certainly sweet and sappy, with a pleasant earthy finish. I wish I had more of this wine.

2004 Adelsheim Pinot Noir Bryan Creek Vineyard, $48. You know, I'm starting to wonder about Adelsheim. I have been seriously disappointed with their single vineyard wines from the 2004 vintage. Did they change wine makers? Change something else? I will have to call and ask, because the style certainly changed. This wine was clunky and heavy, and not because it's too young. You can sense when a wine is just tight and disjointed, but might unwind nicely. That is not this wine. Too much alcohol heat, too little fruit, nothing really here that comes close to meriting the $48.

2005 Belle Pente Willamette Valley Pinot Gris, $17. Pinot Gris is now the number one white wine coming out of Oregon. There is a lot of great Gris out there and a lot of mediocre wine. This grape, known as Pinot Grigio in Italy, can create crisp and light (and in my opinion, insipid) wine, or as in Alsace, richer more floral, more nuanced wine. Most Oregon Pinot Gris producers veer toward the Alsace style and there are some fantastic wines at really good prices. This is not one of them. Austere to the point of boredom. Sure, the wine has nice citrus notes and it is clean tasting, but there is not enough going on to keep me interested, even as a stand alone sipper.

Loire Valley
2004 Cazin Cour-Cheverny, $12. Rough and tough, an acidic and briny wine, very good with shellfish. Not easy to drink on its own though, and needs food. I'm not yet sure how I feel about this bottle. I liked it more at the Real Wine Attack tasting than I did at home with dinner, and that's the opposite of what usually happens with me. I have another bottle so we'll see in a few weeks...

2005 Domaine de Belliviere Jasnieres Les Rosiers, $28. Away from the more famous Loire villages of Vouvray, Chinon, and Sancerre, there lies the Loir river, the masculine counterpart to the Loire. White grape is still the eloquent and majestic Chenin Blanc, appellations are called Coteaux de Loir and Jasnieres. This producer is the one making waves with wines from these appellations, and there is good reason for this. There are four white cuvees each year, an incredible and fascinating rose made from the forgotten grape Pinot D'Aunis, and a red wine that I have never tasted. The most expensive clocks in at under $30, and all of the wines are wonderful with food, clean, well balanced, and expressive. This wine is no exception. Deep gold in color with an interesting nose, new to me I must say, of soy sauce and ginger, with some honey and roses, although that might have been the power of suggestion, as 'Les Rosiers' is the name of the wine, and there are rose bushes bookending the vines. A sweet nectary palate, a big wine, but lots of underlying tension - the wine feels alive on the tongue. It's not going to get any more interesting than this, folks.

2005 Mark Angeli Anjou La Lune, $26. I first read about this producer on the Wine Doctor's site, and then again on Dressner's site. Even just a quick read and you gotta admit - sounds interesting, right? So I finally grabbed a few bottles and popped one the other night with some roast cod. I am in love with this wine - LOVE, I tell ya. So pure, such a lovely nose of white fruit and flowers with a touch of honey. And the palate is a study in tension: acidity, minerals, sweet fruit, delicate floral flavors, all happening at once. There is a full mouth feel, like a dessert wine. And you can tell that this wine has plenty of growing to do in the bottle. If you have the opportunity, you really should spend the $26 (?!?) on a bottle of this wine. I will certainly be buying more myself.

2001 Bodegas Muga Rioja Reserva, price unknown. Deetrane opened this the other night, and he bought it retail, not from some shadowy crook. How do you like that? I enjoy Rioja in general, as long as I can taste wine and not only new American oak. This wine started off pretty woody, but a little time in the glass brought out plenty of juicy black cherries and a bit of meatiness to go along with the vanilla scented oak. Very enjoyable indeed, and would be better with food, I imagine.

California (huh? I know, I don't usually go there, but it's a crazy unpredictable world...)
1999 Simi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley, $45. I enjoyed this tremendously. Lush and dark, very aromatic with cassis and spices, dark fruit too. Smooth round tannins. Took a while to open up, but very nice. This is 93% Cab and 7% Petit Verdot. Really fun to drink this with a flank steak, so unusual in our household. BrooklynLady really liked it too.

2001 Hafner Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley, $32. Brooklynlady's dad turned us on to this wine. It's his house red, essentially. Not available in stores, you have to order it from the winery or at restaurants. After tasting it at pop-in-law's house a few years ago, I ordered a half case and have been slowly making my way through it. This, the third bottle, was the best so far. I probably should have let them all age a little bit. We cracked this at Mike's house at a recent holiday dinner and everyone, including seasoned California Cab fiends, was really impressed. I thought it was very good - creamy dark cassis and plums, very round and smooth.


Anonymous said...

Not that I need to have the last word, or anything, but I got the 2001 Muga Reserva for $16.99 less 10% case discount at Sparrow Wine (http://www.sparrowine.com/). This is a great place with two outlets in Hoboken and a great website. Plus, it's tax free if you order from New York and they will do local delivery to Manhattan, which costs $10. My brother in law also have the 2001 Seleccion Especial (sort of a special reserve), and the 2001 Torre Muga. The latter is a blend, and is a monster as well that shouldn't be drunk for at least 5 more years.

Marcus said...

Nice roundup Neil, but I see I've picked out a theme for WBW 33 just in time -- with all due respect, you need more Languedoc Roussillon in your life!

Brooklynguy said...

See, even when you buy retail you somehow get a deal Deetrane. Amazing...

And hey Marcus! Long time no talk. Hope your new job is going well. I will definitely be participating and I know that you're right, I do need more wine from south of France in my portfolio. I am psyched to learn by reading everyone's WBW 33 posts. Good topic!

Marcus said...

My new job is communications so hopefully some of that will bleed into promoting my event next month. (Thanks for asking by the way.)

I'm thrilled you will partake!

On a related topic, I echo the comments in your last post about the Wine Doctor. Tremendous resource. Consulted it for WBW 33 backgrounder posts that I'm still working on.


Joe said...

Love the 2001 Muga - you really need to decant that, and serve with a steak off the BBQ - heavenly. I was not impressed with my last bottle of Adelsheim, as I recall, and that price, Yikes?!

Brooklynguy said...

To my two friends from up north:
What, you think I wouldnd't particiapte when you host, regardless of the topic?!? You could have picked elderberry wines and I would be right in there. And Joe, I wish I had done just that with the Muga, and Deetrane is usually reliable for that, but I was babysitting his kids and he wasn't there. The Muga was my reward.

Marcus said...

Elderberry wines was my back-up theme.