Thursday, December 31, 2009

Pierre Gimonnet & Fils non-vintage Blanc de Blancs Brut Cuis 1er Cru

Extremely pale color, lots of streams of small vigorous bubbles.

Smells of Pepperidge Farm Toasting White, toasted, and apple, fresh flowers, grapefruit.

Flavor of Pepperidge Farm remembering apple and pear, honey texture in the finish.

Dandy-fine bottle for $28.80 / 375ml. Some days Chardonnay that sparkles seems best.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Oremus 2005 Late Harvest Tokaji

From a winery now operated by Vega Sicilia, David Copp's Hungary: Its Fine Wines and Winemakers says the blend used is Furmint, the Furmint-Bouvier cross Zeta, Harslevelu, and yellow muscat, and at least 60% of the grapes are botryris-infected.

Rich amber color.

Honey-sweet smell, peach and mild oak.

Honey and preserved apricot, candy-apple.

Very good dessert for $22.00/375ml, sugar well-balanced with acid. I remember communist-era tokaji aszu, this is similar but very much superior.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sepp Moser 2006 Gebling Kremstal Riesling

Very pale straw color with a small degree of petillance.

Melon, peach, and apple smells.

Grapefruit flavor, peach, mineral.

No white appeals to me more than Riesling. I first learned this grape with an example from Firestone that'd sat too long on the shelves of a local wine-shop, but I've since enjoyed a number of dry, off-dry, and sweet wines from the US, Germany, Australia, and Austria. This is a good bottle of dry wine for $25.99. I'm thinking about opening a bottle of a 1984 Leiwener Klostergarten Eiswein from Erzeugerabfullung Josefinengrund. It's the sweet opposite of this dry wine, but: Drool, drool. I haven't much left!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Gundlach Bundschu 2005 Rhinefarm Vineyard Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir

Medium-dark cherry soda color.

Raspberry smell, leather, oak, fresh-turned earth.

Fruity raspberry flavor, black cherry, balanced oak, as fruity at the end as it is at the beginning.

Very good bottle for $30.99, an impressively graceful medium-bodied wine.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Bodega Norton 2007 Mendoza Torrontes

The color of laundry bleach.

Full smell of young melon, tangerine rind, rain-wetted stones.

Tart dry fruity flavor, crisp green apple, lemon, melon, sprightly.

Excellent bottle for $10.50, Torrontes hasn't yet earned the respect it's due, it still can be an amazing value!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Colome 2005 Valle Calchaqui Salta Estate Malbec

Includes 8% Tannat, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Opaque, dark red/purple at the edges.

Blackberry and plum smells, oak, darkness.

Even the taste is dark, plum, prune, blackberry, blueberry, black cherry, oak is there but buried deep under layers of fruit. A trace of roast beef.

Delightful bottle for $26.99, intense and concentrated. And dark.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Ruinart non-vintage Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne

Moderate golden color, long-lasting streams of small bubbles.

Buttery apple smell, perhaps it's just the power of suggestion, but this all-Chardonnay Champagne smells just like a still Chardonnay does.

As with the smell, the flavor unhesitantly proclaims this as Chardonnay.

Good bottle for$31.60 / 375ml, if the Champagne name wasn't itself a valuable marketing tool, I'd suggest "Sparkling Chardonnay".

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chandon non-vintage California Brut Classic

Pale straw color, somewhat sluggish streams of medium-sized bubbles.

Grapefruit smell with home-made bread rising.

Tart grapefruit flavor, granny smith apple, fruit seems to hide any oak/toast.

Good bottle for $12.70 / 375ml, enough less expensive than a better wine to make up for it, I think. I'm imagining this as the sparkler for friends at a large wedding reception, while family gets real Champagne.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Egly-Ouriet non-vintage Brut Tradition Grand Cru Champagne

Pale golden color, long-lasting streams of pin-point bubbles.

Melon and citrus smells.

Pear flavor, oaky toasty character in the background.

Good bottle for $67.50. It occurs to me that in 2002 Richard Juhlin published '4000 Champagnes' and in his 2008 'Champagne Guide' he claims to have enjoyed 6500. Perhaps it's time I consolidated what I've learned I most enjoy rather than keep trying to find one better bottle. But not right away, maybe later.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ruinart non-vintage Brut Rose Champagne

Salmon-pink color, long-lasting tiny bubbles.

Ripe mango smell, berry, apples, and toast.

Tart berry flavor, ends a bit tart and thin.

Inadequate bottle for $44.88 / 375ml, and pricey(!) I probably won't buy more of this. I wish I liked it better, I greatly admire the bright cheery color of Rose Champagne, but this isn't the one.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Banfi 2007 Brachetto d'Acqui Rosa Regale

Medium red color, far darker than Rose, but not so dark as Sparkling Shiraz. Puntless bottle belies the vigorous small bubbles and the resounding pop of the cork.

Raspberry smell, hint of Muscat.

Fresh-fruit-sweet berry flavor, like something you'd put on pancakes.

Intriguing bottle for $12.70 / 375ml, not something I'd want very often, but a pleasing novelty.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Guado al Melo 2006 Bacco in Toscana Bom Ba Ba Ba

Very dark purple color.

Plum smell with leather and oak.

Tart plum and cherry flavors, mild oak, slightly chalky finish.

Very good bottle for $19.99, a food-friendly match for pasta & tomato sauce.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Clos du Mont-Olivet 2007 Cotes du Rhone Varene

Near-opaque purple color, red highlights.

Earthy stone-fruit smell, hint of uncooked Canadian bacon.

Purple plum flavor, tart black cherry, peach at the finish.

Good bottle for $26.99, 2007 is often said to be an overwhelming year for Southern Rhones, this is a full-bodied wine with plenty of promise.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Chateau Garreau 2005 Premieres Cotes de Blaye

Dark purple/red color.

Full smell of blackberry, leather, oak.

Flavors of blackberry, cherry, coffee.

Very good bottle for $17.99, a serviceable Bordeaux for under $20!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Jean-Maurice Raffault 2007 Chinon Les Geluches

Dark red color.

Smell of oak, plum, cherry.

Plum and cherry taste, currant.

Good bottle for $14.05. Medium-weight. certainly lighter than a Cabernet Sauvignon.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Alta Vista 2006 Mendoza Malbec Premium

Opaque, dark reddish-purple at the edges.

Plum, prune, black cherry smells, roast beef, oak in the background.

Warm plum flavor, blackcurrant, blueberry, peach, mildly oaked, quite tannic at the end.

Good bottle for $14.99, big balanced full-flavored fun.