Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Costa di Bussia Barbera d'Alba, 2011

Image result for costa di bussia barbera d'alba 2016Tenuta Arnulfa's Costa di Bussia Barbera d'Alba is unusually tannic for a Barbera, probably because some of it has been aged in new French oak. In this case, I think the oak adds another dimension to the wine that is positive.

Medium deep ruby. Smells of red berries, coffee, spice and black licorice. Some lovely floral overtones that mark it as Piedmontese. Rich and full on the mid-palate. Pleasantly dry but ripe and fresh on the finish. Could be mistaken for Nebbiolo. The 2011 is drinking beautifully now but I would not hesitate to keep it another four or five years.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Vincent Girardin Macon Fuisse Les Vieilles Vignes, 2012

SquareRipe apples. That's a quality of good Chardonnay, and this wine is about as ripe an apple as you're likely to find. Medium deep color. Very mellow in smells and flavors. Very much like a fine Pouilly Fuisse. Apples, pears and a bit of honey. 10% new oak but none of it shows. Only fine Macon Fuisse fruit. Beautiful wine. Wish I had more.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Domaine Font-Sane Gigondas Tradition, 2004

Domaine de Font-Sane Gigondas Tradition, Rhone, France label
I like Gigondas but often have a hard time finding the right drinking window. Unlike most Cotes du Rhone Villages wines, Gigondas often has a hard edge in youth but, with few exceptions, is not a wine for long-term aging (two or more decades). After 14 years, this traditionally made Font-Sane (one of my favorites in this appellation) is showing beautifully right now.

Dark color but that reflects the relatively high percentage of Syrah and Mourvedre (compared to Grenache) in the blend. This "Tradition" bottling is made without new oak or barriques. Aromatic nose typical of Gigondas--sweet cherries, red berries, violets and a good dose of garrigue. Big bodied presence but tannins get riper and more approachable with aeration. Good balance, long finish. A very good Gigondas.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Phillips Hill Oppenlander Mendocino Pinot Noir, 2006

labelOppenlander vineyard is only eight miles away from the Pacific Coast--so close that it doesn't really qualify for the Anderson Valley appellation. In many ways, though, its qualifications are even better than those of AV because of the cool ocean breezes and the heavy clay loam soil. According to the label: "Driving onto the ranch, a tow truck is seen pulling a Hudson, both of which have vines, grasses and thistles growing up through their engine blocks. The momentum of the place gives it a completeness." The wine also has enough completeness to satisfy me.

Medium deep. Beautiful scents of rose petals, ripe fruit and savory spices. Reminds me of a Nebbiolo from the Piedmont. Ripe cherry and red plum fruit on the palate along with some pleasant gamey notes. I like this wine.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Vietti Tre Vigne Barbera d'Asti, 2015

A glass of this Barbera d'Asti from Vietti cost me only $8 at Tratorria Funistrada in Burdickville, MI. And it was particularly large fill--close to a third of a bottle. I got my money's worth plus plus.

Deep dark ruby. Has all the traits of Barbera from Piedmont--cherries, berries, spice, licorice and flowers. More finesse and less rusticity than the Barbera d'Alba wines I am used to drinking. Open for business now but should age well. Lots of depth. Ripe, moderate tannins, moderate acidity.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Cascina Pace Langhe Nebbiolo, 2016

My tendency is to give Langhe Nebbiolo a few years in the bottle. But this wine is so approachable that I was surprised to learn that it is from the 2016 vintage. Even though it will probably get more complex with aging, it is drinking beautifully right now.

Beautiful deep ruby red. Fresh scents of red fruits, flowers and spice. Nebbiolo at its best. Very full on the palate, but tannins are ripe, framing but not obscuring Nebbiolo fruit. The finish gets better with every sip.

I had this as a wine-by-the-glass at Trattoria Stella in Traverse City.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Domaine Bois de Boursan Chateauneuf du Pape, 1995


1998 Bois de Boursan Chateauneuf du PapeChateauneuf du Pape on a Tuesday night? With smells of roast pork on a bed of onions and garlic wafting from the oven, why not? Bois de Boursan is one of my favorite Chateauneufs but it's easy to overlook it on the shelves. It's not a wine that shouts at you, but it has much to offer.

The color has taken on some amber tones, but smells and flavors are as fresh as wild strawberries growing alongside a path in the woods. Grenache red berry along with Provencal herbs, flowers and a touch of mint. For a 23-year-old wine it's not lacking in fresh fruit. On the back end, black licorice emerges, a hallmark of Bois de Boursan, at least in some vintages. Lush red berries on a bed of licorice. Long finish.