We started a new notebook at the beginning of the year — conveniently, we were running out of pages in the old book just as 2007 was running out of days. The new notebook is apparently mainly a story of whites, which seem to have both more numerous and better than the reds we’ve tasted this year. We’ve had some nice reds (see below), but quite a few mediocre ones. Spain and Portugal in particular rather disappointing — a lot of notations to the effect of “nothing special” and “too much oak” even on some older wines where you’d think the oak would have had a chance to integrate more.
Most of these were Vintages wines; current availability unknown.
Chateau de Cruzeau 2004, AOC Pessac-Leognan, 12.5%, $22.75. Characteristic (<– we hope) elegant white Bordeaux, subdued mature nose, yeast, minerals, lemon, “smoke” (i.e., oak). Pineapple and minerals, lanolin on palate, which is “paradoxically lean yet unctuous” (J.).
Kruger-Rumpf 2004 Munsterer Rheinberg Riesling Kabinett (Nahe), 10%, $16.85. Citrus (lime), “honey-dipped rocks”, limestone, medium intensity. Off-dry with med+ acid. An elegant, precise wine. Can stand up to Asian food e.g. a lightly sauced stir-fry.
Alois Legder 2005 Pinot Bianco (Alto Adige), 12.5%, $20.65. Pinot Blanc from northern Italy, juicy Chinese yellow pear on the nose with minerals, hint of oiliness, lees, tropical fruit. Silky smooth on palate; very well balanced.
d’Arenberg The Last Ditch Viognier 2006, 13%, $19.95. A ripe, lush Viognier from McLaren Vale. Minerals, yeast, lemon, coconut/pineapple on the nose. Dry, medium body and acid with good balance and length. A sumptious wine with enough acidity to keep it fresh. Well-integrated oak.
Blason de Bourgogne Cuvee 2006 Saint-Veran, 13.5%, $18.95. A white Burgundy (Chardonnay) from near Pouilly-Fuisse but without the P-F price tag. Dried mangoes, crisp pear, upside-down pineapple cake, mineral/limestone, sugar/syrup at room temperature. Dry, med acid and body. Elegant — rich on palate with good grip and acid.
Andre Blank Close Schwensi 2006 Pinot Gris, AOC Alsace, 13.5%, $18.95. A rich, well-balanced Pinot Gris from Alsace. They also make a nice Pinot Blanc. We had a surfeit of good PGs this year — should also mention Gerard Neumayer Pinot Gris 2006 and Bortuluzzi 2006 Pinot Grigio (the latter doing a mean impression of a good Chablis, but with “stoned fruit” on the nose, according to J.’s notes).
Domaine Roger Lugnot Pouilly-Fuisse “Terroir” 2006, 13%, $27.95. An elegant white burgundy; terroir on the nose — minerality, rocks, walk in the woods after a rain shower; hard to place the fruit (maybe apple?). Dry, med acid, med+ body. Worth the extra $$ (assuming you like the style). Birthday gift for J.
Another birthday gift, from last year: Domaine Louis Moreau Chablis 1er Cru Vaulignot 2004, 12.5%, $26.95. Fresh nose of limestone, lemon, green apple; barely dry with med+ acid, med body; good balance. “Pure class” according to J.
Roccolo di Mizzole 2005 Valpolicella Superiore, 13%, $16.85. I’m a big fan of a good Valpo, though they’re hard to find these days except in a Ripasso style. Sour cherry, spice, earth, wood, oak on the nose, dry with med+ acid and bod, med tannin; a focused wine with good follow-through from nose to palate. J. tasting blind mistook for Cab Sauv. Good food wine.
Duque de Viseu Vinho Tinto 2004 (Dao), 13.5%, $12.95. A good value from Portugal on the Vintages Essentials list. Spice, toast/oak, dark berries (blackberries); mature nose dominated by charred wood. (Yes it’s rather oaky.) Good follow-through on palate; good food wine, good value for money.
Chateau Croze de Pys 2005, AOC Cahors, 13.5%, ~ $18. Vanilla oak on the nose, fresh/stewed cherries, brambly terroir, spice. Very dry. Good follow through from nose on palate. Soft well-integrated tannins. Could use another year or two.
Flat Rock Cellars Gravity Pinot Noir 2004, VQA Niagara, 13.5%, $29.95. This is Flat Rock’s premium Pinot: intense cherry, preserved pork, floral (violet?) notes; complex and changing. Wild mushroom, earthy, barnyard notes. Very dry, med acid and body. Characteristic and classic but J. feels it’s a bit “light” compared to a good Burgundy e.g. a Savigny. I likes more than J.