Monday, January 15, 2018

Domaine Baumard Savennieres, 1990

Although this wine is not the highly regarded Clos du Papillon bottling, it is from one of the finest producers of Savennieres and from the excellent 1990 vintage. Although it is inching near its 30th year, it is still drinking beautifully.

Deep gold. Rich, rich bouquet of almonds, apricots, honey and spice. Not in the least bit shy or subtle but I get something new with each sniff. I can't think of another wine with such a compelling aromatic profile. And the same complexity is on the palate. Rich without being heavy, ripe without being sweet. Great wine.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Taylor Fladgate 10-year-old Tawny Port

I opened this on Christmas day to go with the plum pudding, and it was very good. But I still have a glass or two left for nights like tonight when I need a lift.

Beautiful rich bouquet. Toffee, roasted nuts, dried fruits and fruit zest. Oh, so rich. Oh, so complex. Just the right amount of sweetness. Goes well with cheese and walnuts. Not as special as the 20-year tawny from Taylor's we had last year at this time. But it does the job.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Domaine Sainte Anne Cotes du Rhone Villages Saint Gervais, 2000

In the view of Rhone wine writer John Livingstone-Learmouth, the wines of Domaine Sainte Anne "are very good wines indeed, but are something of an acquired taste due to being rather rigid and strict when young. The reds age extremely well, and need time to loosen their early tannins." Count me as one of the acquired tasters. This 2000 is drinking beautifully.

Deep, dark robe. A hint of oxidation when the wine is first opened but that blows off quickly. Spicy Mourvedre at its best. Backed by Grenache and Syrah. Silky texture. Ripe berries, violets and spice. Lovely.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Monrosso Toscana (Tuscan Red Blend), 2013

This wine is made by Fattoria Monsanto, one the best producers of Chianti (no relation to the chemical manufacturer). It's a Toscana, sometimes known as "super Tuscan," because it is a blend of grapes not allowed by the traditional Chianti appellation. In this case, the blend is 60% Syrah, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot and 3% Sangiovese (the traditional grape of Chianti).

That particular blend makes this wine what Australians would call a Shiraz Cabernet, but I have been trying for two nights with little success to find a similarity with wines such as Penfolds Bin 389 or Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet.

Deep ruby but not nearly as dark or bluish as an Australian red. Peppery Syrah with dark berries and currants. On the mid-palate, I can detect a slight bit of the slick chocolate texture of a Shiraz Cabernet. The Syrah and Cab traits blend nicely, but if I were to taste it blind, I think I would peg it as a Chianti. Nice finish, nice prospects for the future.

Monrosso Toscana is a very good wine, now selling for about $12 at D&W Market in Kalamazoo. For a few dollars more, I think I would go for the Monsanto Chianti Classico at Costco.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

La Maison de Barsac Terre Noble Barsac, 1995

This wine stood out as a bargain when I bought it in the late 1990s. I can't remember the price, but I am sure it was less than $15. Drinking it tonight it is an even greater bargain.

Deep gold. Powerful smells of almond paste, dried apricots, figs and honey. Very full on the palate. Brown sugar as well as almonds and apricots. Rich and thick. Can almost feel the texture of brown sugar on the finish.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Portado Winemakers Selection Red, 2011

A previous bottle of this wine (tasted in December, 2016) showed peppery, spicy fruit--a cross between a Cotes du Rhone Villages and a fine Pinot Noir. Today, tannins are obscuring some of these traits, but I consider that a good sign. With a few years' time in the cellar, these traits will emerge again with more intensity.

I bought this for $5.99 at Costco. It is available elsewhere for about $10. If you see it, I recommend buying several bottles and having some patience. At this price, you have little to lose.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Concannon Petite Sirah, 1979

I am not a fan of Petite Sirah, but I must admit that it ages about as well as any. This 1979 Concannon, from a magnum, is showing no real signs of age.

Deep, dark color. Very ripe floral aromas. Also ripe and floral on the palate. Has that dustiness that is typical of Petite Sirah. But everything holds together nicely,  not only on the first night but after being stored in a decanter for three days.