Friday, March 24, 2017

Domaine Sainte-Anne Cotes du Rhone Villages, 2004

This wine is just begging to be drunk...right now. That does not mean it will not continue to develop (Sainte-Anne's 2001 Villages is also drinking well right now), but if you like good wine, there is no reason to wait.

Beautiful ruby color. The bouquet is very floral but also plenty of ripe red fruit. The strawberry Grenache on the palate is irresistible. Luscious fruit flavors that get better with every sip. Multidimensional but all of the dimensions come back to rich, ripe red berries. Probably not as complex as the 2001 Villages at this point but more seductive. It matches up well with hanger steak but would also do well with just about anything.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Kuentz-Bas Gewurztraminer Tradition, Alsace, 1983

I like an occasional bottle of Gewurztraminer but rarely can find anyone to enjoy a bottle with me. That's the main reason this wine has lingered in the cellar for these 30-some years. While it hasn't made the transformation from an ugly duckling to a beautiful swan, it is every bit as good as it was in the mid-1980s when I bought it for less than $5 a bottle.

Deep gold but not a whole lot deeper than it was in its youth. Still bright and lively. The classic Gewurztraminer smells are powerful. Gewurz means spicy, but, as Jancis Robinson has pointed out, it would be hard to find a spice on your shelf that resembles the aroma of Gewurztraminer. Roses and barber shop are better terms. On the palate, too, it's full bodied and powerful. Nothing shy about this wine, and there is no reason to apologize for lack of subtlety. There is plenty to like in this wine.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Domaine Creve Coeur Cotes du Rhone, 2011

Based on everything I read, this Cotes du Rhone is 100% Grenache. Smelling and tasting it, I would swear that it has a fairly high percentage of Syrah.

Deep and dark. Smells tannic and a bit backward. Mostly black fruits--blueberries, blackberries, plums. On the palate, though, reasonably deep fruit flavors come forth. Again, plums and berries. Very little of the red berry, spice and pepper that I expect from 100% Grenache, but, nevertheless, an enjoyable wine. I would buy more.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Deux Roches Macon Villages Tradition, 2014

This Macon, along with all of the wines of Collovray et Terrier, were big favorites of mine during the early 1990s. I was delighted to see this Macon on the shelves once again. It comes from one of the oldest vineyard areas in Burgundy, very near to Saint Veran and Pouilly Fuisse.

Brilliant and deep yellow with hints of green. This wine has seen no new oak, although it has spent some time on its lees, but the aromas and flavors have at least as much complexity as oaked wines from Burgundy or the New World. Inviting smells of white peach and apricot. Same on the palate but with bright acidity. A very inviting wine. Goes beautifully with whitefish or with fish stew. Wish I could find some of the Saint Veran.

Murgo Etna Rosso, 2014

This is the wine that attracted me to the Italian Table flight at Vino Volo (see below). For the past several years, I have been enjoying occasional bottles of the 2008 Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso--a very good wine that is maturing nicely. This 2014 Murgo doesn't have the same appeal to me, perhaps because it needs more time in the bottle.

The colors are deep and saturated. Black fruit flavors--plums and backberries. Big and rich with a nice bittersweet finish. For me, though, this wine lacks the elegance and class that the Tenuta delle Terre has offered from the beginning.

Piancornello Campo Della Macchia Tuscany, 2013

This is a blend of Sangiovese, Colorino and Syrah. The color is a rather rusty red, lighter than I expect from a Tuscan blend of these grapes. And the smells and flavors also leave an impression of a more mature wine. Tobacco, ripe cherry and dried fruit.

Castelfeder Lagrein Rieder Sudtirol-Alto Adige, 2014

Lagrein is another "new" Italian wine for me. Actually, it is a very old wine grape that is no longer very widely marketed, at least in my area. I liked Castelfeder's Lagrein and, at the right price (under $15), will come back for more.

Alto Adige is in northeastern Italy, in the Alps. From this area, I am inclined to look for white wines such as Pinot Grigio, but this red wine is much sturdier than I expected. In my flight of three (including wines from Tuscany and Etna), it is by far the darkest in color. The smells are beautiful--small red berries, violets and spice. And it's full bodied enough to stand up to a spicy chili