Sunday, August 13, 2017

Louis Latour Pernand-Vergelesses Blanc, 1998

The last bottle I had of this (November, 2014) was pretty seriously over the hill--very deep color, oxidized smells and flavors. It must have been suffering from bad storage or transportation before it came to me. Or maybe it is simply bottle variation. This bottle is beautiful--just what I expect from a mature white Burgundy. Louis Latour's Pernand-Vergelesses vineyards are old, low yielding and located "within a stone's throw" of the famed Corton hill.

Deep (but not overly deep) gold. Bright and lively in appearance. The bouquet marries mature Chardonnay fruit with French oak--well integrated. Flavors are lovely--mellow, smooth and rich with dried fruits and nuts.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Terra di Briganti Sannio Aglianico, 2007

The Wine Enthusiast used terms such as "thin," "easy,""frank" and "upfront" to describe this Aglianico from the Sannio area of Campania. On the first night, I agreed. It was thin, almost tart but very enjoyable with tomato-based pasta. On the second night, the wine became much more serious. Sour and sweet cherries, flowers and spice. Very aromatic. Very complex. On the palate, the tartness of the first night is now depth and concentration. Clings and pleases. Long finish.

Aglianico is often called the Nebbiolo of the South, and this wine has the firm tannins and high acidity of a good Barolo. It is now 10 years old but just beginning to open up. Wish I had more.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Val de Sil Valdeorras Godello, 2008

The more I have of this Godello, the more I like it. Paired with grilled whitefish, it enhances rather than overwhelms the relatively subtle flavors of the fish.

2008 Val de Sil Godello is now nine years past its vintage date, and the deep gold color is indicative of its maturity. There is nothing old, though, about its aromas and flavors. Minerals, baking spices, white peaches and flowers. There is a stony strength on the palate that reminds me of a good Premier Cru Chablis along with the aromatic complexity of a good white Bordeaux. This is my last bottle, and I am not familiar enough with Godello to predict where it is going from here. But I suspect it has room to grow.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Dao Sul Quinta de Cabriz Colheita Seleccionada Dao, 2014

There is good reason to be excited about wines from the Dao region of Portugal. The wine-growing region is surrounded by mountains and the vineyards are 200 to 900 meters above sea level. The vineyards are protected from Atlantic breezes and high enough in altitude to qualify as a cool micro-climate. The soil is granitic, and rainfall occurs mostly in the winter months rather than in the growing season. Both the soil and the climate are conducive to wines with high acidity, relying on finesse and subtlety rather than power. I haven't tried many wines from Douro, but I have tasted enough  to know I want more. This wine, purchased for $6 from Costco, is a prime example.

Deep crimson. Intense smells and flavors--wild raspberries, spice and black pepper. Has many of the qualities that I love in a fine Cotes du Rhone Villages, such as Cairanne or Vinsobres. Has the balance to go well with a number of dishes. And a finish that just won't quit. I want more of this wine.

L. Mawby Leelanau Peninsula Brut Tradition, NV

When I buy French Champagne, I always go for the non-vintage. It's the least expensive bottling, of course, but it's also made for year-to-year consistency. There is a certain rich, toasty Pinot Noir quality in Louis Roederer's Brut Premier that I love, and Larry Mawby seems to have captured some of it in his multi-vintage Brut Tradition. In a flight I tasted earlier this week at the winery, I preferred it to both the Blanc de Blancs and the Grace (Pinot Noir Rose).

There is some apple-like Chardonnay in the Brut Tradition, but the ripe Pinot Noir smells and flavors dominate. Fresh and bright but with some of the complex qualities that come only with maturity.

Travaglini Gattinara, 2011

One of the best wine lists I have encountered recently is the one at Trattoria Stella in Traverse City. I had a glass of this excellent Gattinara there yesterday to accompany buccatini with pork and beef meatballs and a rich marinara sauce. The wine cost me ($14.50) almost as much as my meal, but it was well worth it.

Very deep ruby. Classic nebbiolo smells of flowers and ripe red and black berries. A wine for sniffing, swirling and more sniffing. Medium to full body with good fruit flavors and a velvety texture. There are plenty of tannins in this wine but they are ripe enough to let the fruit glide right through. Having had many mature Gattinaras, I am confident that this 2011 will age well. But it drinks so beautifully now that I'm not sure I would have the patience.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Vincent Girardin Mâcon-Fuissé Vieilles Vignes, 2012

Deep yellow color. There is no other sign of advancing age, but if you have a few bottles of this 2012, I would suggest that you drink up. Smells a lot like lemon curd. But maybe more lime than lemon. Very fresh with bright acids, but still has that creamy mouthfeel that many expect from Chardonnay. Matches well with grilled salmon but would go with many other dishes as well. I like the style.