Month: November 2015

  • Tinhorn Creek Gewurztraminer, 2014

    Much loved. You may be hard pressed to find it. For us, sweet to the point of cloying without a lightness the varietal demands and without the balance the reviewers claim. Ever eaten a series of lychees then hit upon one overripe, sweet to the point of annoying, cloying? That is sort of this fragrant […]

  • Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico, 2011

    Lively. I believe that’s what the professionals say about a wine of this sort (i.e., the ones they score in the mid-80s). All the component parts of a good Chianti delivered just slightly below the bar. Fruit? Check. Scads. Light tannins? Check. Smooth finish? Perfectly palatable if unremarkable. You can score this in the US […]

  • Waxwing Lester Family Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2013

    Words fail me a bit on this one.   As a sipper, as a stand alone wine, as an evocation of Pinot, this is sensational. It has a powerful and enticing bouquet, the “attack” is heavy like Grenache leather and Cabernet pepper, but it immediately softens, the finish is velvet, soft, elegant, accomplished.  All you […]

  • Jean-David Seguret, 2013

    Our favorite “ordinary” wine of 2015 was the Mus-C; the JDS comes within inches of meeting (and exceeding) the challenge. It has that earthy, pungent sincerity of wine, none of the aplomb, pizazz and spectacle of, say, a California Cab. Other highlights: Biodynamic, indigenous yeasts, no enzymes, no stabilizers, sulfurs only when and as needed. […]

  • Chateau Tour Saint-Fort, Saint-Estephe, 2005

    From the cellar: Shag carpet. It is that smooth. A gorgeous Bordeaux, no doubt, but (and this is an ongoing problem) the critical raves for 05 have become tiresome, the expectations too high, and the wine, overall, great but not Ben Hur meets Avatar meets Titanic meets Ridley Scott on a soundstage epic. Good is […]

  • Evening Land Seven Springs Pinot Noir, 2011

    This wine is so subtle it makes Ricky Jay’s sleight of hand look mechanical. You know the old WASP adage “put on all your jewellery then take one piece off”? That is sort of this Pinot: First make a Merlot, then take away all the character.   Which is not to say it’s not a […]

  • Louis Roederer Brut Premier Champagne

    A split before dinner. How civilized. It’s been a few years since we popped a Roederer. I’d forgotten how much the toasty yeast balances with the fruit. There is more fruit than perhaps you expect, but the finish has a lovely caramel note that is sharp and pleasant. If only all the apple cider artisans […]

  • Quinta do Cardo Reserva, 2010

    The tannins are striking. There is a floral, velvety bouquet, and a deeply impressive (Robert Parker type) fruity finish. But like a smooth take-off that undergoes brief turbulence, the tannins are a bit of a shock to the system. A high scorer with the pointsters it nevertheless seems well-intentioned without perfect balance. For those with […]

  • Carmina Burana Riesling, 2014

    A barrel fermented Riesling that echoes some of the finer Oz examples; we were reminded of Western Australia’s Alkoomi. Despite the reviews, we didn’t find it too acid although it has a piquant resonance; pear aromas, a tart quince like undercurrent on the palate, a short, lemony finish. Straightforward honest delectable white wine. Leftover Chinese […]

  • Rockwell-Brown Bordeaux Blend “Red Mountain,” 2010

    Banana. That’s what came to us, on the first super fruity sip, that delicious if nearly synthetic banana ripeness. And then, on the palate, it unfolds with layers of deep fruit, nectar of the gods. Stellar.     The vineyard apparently went bankrupt, they auctioned off their assets, and we scored two precious bottles of […]