Sunday, November 29, 2009

A. Margaine non-vintage Brut Premeir Cru Champagne

Medium-pale straw color, long-lasting streams of very small vigorous bubbles.

Very restrained smell, apple and orange as it warms.

Green apple taste, orange, buttered toast if you go looking for it.

Very good bottle for $43.20, idiosyncratic in a good way, does your champagne land butter-side up or down?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Vincent Girardin 2006 Bourgogne Chardonnay Cuvee Saint-Vincent

Brassy golden color.

Apple and tropical fruit smells, oak in the back.

Flavors primarily of apple, with hints of ripe peach, of papaya, and of milk. Oak hovers.

Very good bottle for $23.99, clearly a high percent (but not, I suspect, 100%) of this has been through malolactic fermentation but it retains the chardonnay character without the taste being softened to mush by the process.

While this wine lacks over-oaky flavor, it does make me reconsider my low opinion of malo chard and I can appreciate what oak there is.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Coopers Creek 2007 Gisborne Viognier

Pale greenish straw color.

Peach and flowers smell.

Apricot and peach fruit, dry, petillant,

Very good bottle for $17.99, worked well with a sandwich of leftover turkey on a roll.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Robert Oatley 2008 Rosé of Sangiovese

Orange-pink, perhaps a bit darker than most rosés.

Strawberry, grapefruit, cranberry, floral smells.

Dry strawberry, blackberry, lemon flavors, some petillance on the tongue.

Very good bottle for $15.99, a bit more body then the typical rosé. A rewarding taste of summer, even in the winter.

Update: I held off on posting this until I opened another bottle to accompany a roast turkey Thanksgiving dinner, which was a quite successful match!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Schramsberg 2005 North Coast Brut Blanc de Blancs

Cork a little reluctant to leave the bottle, took a lot of twisting of the champagne star! I shall buy a champagne key and see if that works better.

Very pale straw color, greenish tint, vigorous long-lasting cloud of tiny bubbles.

Some stink on opening (like the ghost of Nixon) that blows off almost immediately (again like the ghost of Nixon) with the bottle's initial exhalation. Thereafter apples, melons, sugar-cane, grapefruit and river-washed stones.

Tastes of apple, mouth-puckering lemon, toasted Arnold's white.

Very good bottle for $14.73 / 375ml, a reminder that Champagne isn't the only area that can make very good fizz.

PS: Champagne key FTW!!1!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Kreinbacher Birtok 2006 Somlo Old Vines Cuvee - Oreg Tokek

The cuvee consists of 60% Olaszrizling, 20% Harslevelu, and 20% Furmint.

I continue my exploration of Hungarian wine, the unexplored country.

Pale straw color.

Fresh clean citrus smell, ripe apple.

Dry melon flavor, saline texture, hints of grapefruit, light-to-medium-bodied, tart, slight bitterness at the end, which also seems warm. Admirable intensity.

Olaszrizling is grown in many places, though not as many as it used to be, but only in Hungary, I think, is it generally accepted as a source of fine wine.

Fine bottle for $22.87, I feel justified in learning more about Hungarian wine, which is so little known here.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Disznoko 2006 Tokaji Dry Furmint

Rich straw color, petillance forms on the glass..

Smell of melon and granny smith apple.

Rather thin-tasting green apple flavor, lacks concentration, good acid. I think I detect aging on the lees, but no oak.

OK light-bodied wine for $16.80, I'm not eager to buy this again, but I would compare it to Muscadet, which I do like quite a bit. Maybe this needs a simple seafood dish. I considered this as an accompaniment for Thanksgiving dinner, but rejected that possibility on the first taste.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Perrier-Jouet non-vintage Champagne Grand Brut

Extremely pale golden/amber color, tiny vigorous bubbles.

Fresh apple smell, fresh-baked yeasty toasty bread. Pepperidge Farm remembers!

Dry apple and toast flavor, a sandwich not to dismissed out of hand!

Damned good bottle for $23.39 / 375ml, lightweight but sincere Champagne.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Firriato 2007 Grillo Sicilia Altavilla Della Corte

Grillo is a grape often used in Marsala, a wine most often used in cooking chicken or veal but this is simply a rarely-seen IGT-labelled Sicilian Grillo.

Very pale straw color, some petillance.

Smell of apple and melon.

Dry flavors of apple melon and orange peel.

Good bottle for $14.40; a light-bodied wine that won't overpower very delicate food.

I'm not sure how significant is is, but grillo is Italian for grasshopper.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Messapicus 2005 Nero d'Avola

Dark purple-red color.

Dark stone-fruit smells, cedar and leather.

Very fruity flavor, blackberry and plum, seems sweet at first.

Good bottle for $16.99. From time to time it does seem too sweet, but on further consideration, that's just fruitiness, which is a good thing. I keep telling myself that.

There is noticeable sediment in the bottle, but it seems compact and it seems to stay put until I rinse the empty bottle.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Jean-Maurice Raffault 2008 Chinon Rosé

Medium orangey-pink.

Full cherry / raspberry smell.

Dry to slightly off-dry, a flavorful bowl of fruit, red raspberry, pineapple and peach, with minerals herbes provencales (I wonder what herbs of the Loire are called), long tart finish. Refreshing and food friendly, perhaps food-insistent.

Good bottle for $14.95. Turn up the heat and pretend it's summer! (100% Cabernet Franc, a grape that succeeds so well nowhere better than in Chinon.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chartogne-Taillet non-vintage Brut Champagne Sainte-Anne

Pale straw color, long-lasting streams of tiny very vigorous bubbles.

Smell of ripe apples and toast.

Big ripe (maybe slightly over-ripe) apple flavor, Bartlett pear, cherry, toasted almonds, creamy texture.

$41.40 is an outstanding price for a bottle of very good real Champagne. My love for Bollinger Special Cuvee isn't diminished, but I must reconsider its status as "my everyday Champagne".

Update: The problem of posting out of order - now Paul Laurent non-vintage Brut Deluxe Champagne Cuvee des Fondateur at about $30 / 750ml, is certainly my everyday Champagne.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Moet & Chandon Champagne Nectar Imperial

Pale honey color, vigorous tiny bubbles.

Freshly risen bread-dough smell, peach pie, apple, and citrus.

Sweet peach, apple, and berry flavors.

Interesting bottle for $24.85 / 375ml. I was lead to expect this was a Brut competitor to the Bollinger Special Cuvee with its high degree of reserve wine. I find it instead closer to a demi-sec which might or might not have a comparable percent of reserve wine. (Who can tell thru the residual sugar?). Since I have a special regard for Special Cuvee, perhaps I'm prejudiced.

I say it's demi-sec and I say 'to hell with it!'

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Matteo Correggia 2004 Nebbiolo d'Alba La Val dei Preti

Medium-dark ruby color, orange at the edges.

Plum and fresh-turned earth smells.

Plum, red cherry flavors, licorice and strong tea and well-balanced oak in the finish.

Good bottle for $27.99, a fine example of a lighter-style Nebbiolo.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A. Margaine non-vintage Brut Rose Champagne

Very pale pink color, delicate. Many tiny bubbles.

Freshly-toasted bread, citrus and berries smell.

Apple and citrus flavors with a few blackberries, generous with the fruit, seems just a little sweeter than I expect from a Brut.

I recognize that pink Champagne is a bit of an affectation, but I'll try any Terry Theise Estate Selection, and have not yet been disappointed by that policy. Despite Jancis Robinson dismissing this wine and it getting a poor rating in Richard Juhlin's book, I enjoyed this $49.05 bottle. As I write this it's a Formula 1 weekend, and that calls for fizzy wine, more, it's Monza this weekend, and that calls for Champagne!

(Ah! It's clear (even if only to F1 fans, who know Monza was in September, that sometimes there's a delay between writing a post and publishing it.)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Midslope 2007 Rasteau "Rhone Red"

Dark purple color, reddish glints.

Big warm blackberry smell, strawberry, oak, some acetic acid that makes me suspect a significant percent of cabonic maceration.

Blackberry flavor, more than a hint of banana/strawberry, warm with alcohol at the finish. Fruity but dry, big 14% abv.

Good bottle of $18.99, puts me in mind of a Beaujolais with the volume turned up to 11. Mixed blessing and all, but overall I approve. I'd approve more for $5 less!

A second bottle opened days later exhibited the same characteristics.