Saturday, January 19, 2019

Jean Descombes Morgon, 2005

Along with the 1995, this 2005 Morgon is one of my favorites from Jean Descombes. Now in its 13th year, it is hanging on to the vibrant black raspberry fruit that attracted me when the wine was first released. The 1995, which lasted me until about a year ago, took on complex mature notes that are still in the future for this lovely 2005.

Deep ruby color. The berry fruit smells are apparent as soon as the cork is popped. Also some flowers and gamay spice. Very lively on the palate. Very fruity but not at all simple. I still have one bottle and I'm sure it will age as well as the 1995. But I doubt that I will have the patience to wait.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Domaine du Grand Tinel Chateauneuf du Pape, 1995

I've enjoyed the 1990 Grand Tinel many times over the past two decades, and this 1995 appears to be made in its likeness. 1995 was the first year that Grand Tinel started reserving some of the produce from the estate's oldest Grenache vines (100-135 plus years of age) for a luxury cuvee, but I would guess that at least some of these premium grapes went into the traditional cuvee.

Good dark color. Very Grenache--macerated red berries and cherries. Also a good dollop of cassis, probably from the Syrah. Very concentrated, like summer fruit pudding. Ripe, lovely, just the right amount of alcohol (14%) to provide warmth and body. A wine to cuddle up with on a cold winter night.

I believe I have at least one bottle of the 1990 left and am looking forward to trying it soon.

Smith Woodhouse Vintage Port, 1991

Smith Woodhouse Vintage Port 2003 375ML Half BottleSome online reviews have suggested that this 1991 Port is maturing faster than would be expected. After sampling this bottle slowly over the last several weeks, I don't agree.

The bouquet is rich and fruity, although not particularly complex. Flavors are sweeter than I expected--blackberries, blue plums--and, again, lacking a bit in complexity.

That initial reaction, however, came on Christmas day, when other things were competing for attention. Several weeks later, for whatever reason, I find significantly greater depth and interest both on the nose and the palate, cocoa, dried fruits and dark chocolate as well as the blackberries and plums. I like it...although not as much as the 1995 Smith Woodhouse Madalena I had earlier this year.

Parducci Small Lot Blend Mendocino County Pinot Noir, 2013

Parducci Small Lot Blend Pinot NoirI remember my amazement when I walked into Harding's Grocery in Kalamazoo and saw this wine selling for $4.99 a bottle. It was a special offer, and I stocked up. Whether from the Anderson Valley or other nearby vineyards, Mendocino County has a well deserved reputation for producing fine Pinot Noir.

From the beginning, this wine has been very good, but the bottle tonight is spectacular. Fruity, floral, spicy scents waft up from the time the cork is pulled. Cherry, red spices--exciting to smell and even more exciting to taste. Great fruit, great acid, lovely to drink right now.

Later in the evening, I opened a bottle of 2011 Bourgogne Pinot Noir from Nicolas Potel. The Pinot traits were very similar. Contrary to stereotype, however, the Burgundy was slightly sweeter, fruitier and less intense.

Collovray et Terrier Macon-Villages Tradition, 2014

From the 1990 vintage, I bought at least a case of this producer's Macon-Villages. (At that time, it was labeled Domaine Deux Roche Macon Davaye.) A decade later, the 1990 wine had developed greater complexity but was still youthful in appearance and flavor. This bottle from 2014 is drinking beautifully today but significantly more mature in every respect.

Deep yellow color of a mature Chardonnay. Still has the lovely citrus, peach, apricot scents that attracted me to the wine several years ago. But the fruit has mellowed and taken on tones of honey, nuts and grains. Very much what I expect from a mature Saint Veran or Pouilly Fuisse. I love it but plan to drink my remaining bottles sooner rather than later.

Collovray et Terrier also make a very good Saint Veran, and I remember paying an extra buck or two to buy this wine in quantity too during the early 1990s.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Paul Jaboulet Crozes-Hermitage Domaine Thalabert, 1983

Crozes-Hermitage wines come from vineyards "in the vicinity" of the Hermitage hill. Most of these vineyards are on flat land, and the wines are often pretty ordinary--not worth keeping for 35 years. Jaboulet's Domaine Thalabert is a notable exception. In the 1980s, when the wine sold for about $8 a bottle, I bought at least a case every year and put several bottles from the best vintages in the cellar. Today, I am very happy that I did so. This 1983, a birth year for my son, may be the best I have had, and it is showing beautifully right now.

Bright ruby red, with only minimal amber tones. Needs about two hours of aeration to show its best but then the hallmark scents of Thalabert come through with clarity. Black raspberries, cassis, black olives. I love the black olive scents, and in this vintage, they are present but not overwhelming. From the tip of the tongue to the mid-palate, the flavors are notably concentrated. Black fruits, spice, pepper. Depth and complexity that continue through a long finish.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Vincent Saincrit Coteaux du Layon, 1999

When first opened, this wine seemed a bit simple and straightforward. Re-corked and resting in the cellar, it has continued to improve for more than a week.

Deep copper color. I have Coteaux du Layon wines from the 1970s that are much lighter in color. But that is probably because the winemakers added a healthy dose of sulfur dioxide to maintain the youthful color while the ageworthy Chenin Blanc worked its magic. In my re-corked bottle, that magic is taking place. Dazzling complexity. Ripe melon, honey and hard candy. I suspect the grapes had a good level of botrytis. Sweet but certainly not simple.