Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Gabriele Scaglione Tutto Dipende du Dove Vuoi Andare Langhe Rosso, 2011

When Alice (in Wonderland) asked the Cheshire Cat "which way I ought to go from here," the Cat answered: "It all depends on where you want to go." And that, in Italian, is the name of this wine, It All Depends on Where You Want To Go. When Gabriele Scaglione returned to the  land in the Piedmont area of Italy, where he had grown up, this wine represented the decision he made. It is a serious wine, 50% Nebbiolo, aged in oak for 24 months; and it is also an approachable wine, 50% Barbera, that is ripe and spicy, ready to enjoy at every phase of its development. Now nearing maturity, it is beautiful.

Deep ruby red, shading to brickish tones at the rim. Intense Nebbbiolo perfume of ripe fruit, flowers, cloves and dark minerals. Plenty of Nebbiolo tannin along with Barbera acidity. Red and black fruits, black licorice and spice. This is wherre Gabriele Scaglione decided to go, and it was a very good choice. Great wine; wish I had more.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Domaine les Grands Bois Cuvee Maximilien Cotes du Rhone Villages Cairanne, 2012

I love Cairanne, but somehow I have missed until nowthe Cuvee Maximilien from Domaine les Grand Bois. It is now firmly on my radar.

Bright crimson. Dark cherries, black currants, violets, anise seed, black minerals, black pepper and licorice. Certainly has a strong black streak that I usually associate with Vacqueyras. 50% Grenache, 35% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah and 5% old vine Carignan (planted in the 1960s). Ripe black fruit on the mid-palate countered by spice and black minerals. Good balance of acid and tannin and a long, savory finish. Special wine; wish I had more.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Dow;s Fine Ruby Port, NV

I don't drink much ruby port, preferring either Vintage Port or 10 or 20 year old Tawny. At $15 or less a bottle, thoughj, Dow's Fine Ruby offers an excellent value.

Dark ruby red. Cherries, black raspberries, chocolate, a pleasing bit of balsamic. Bold and full bodied. Could match up either with a hearty beef dish or chocolate dessert. Tannic and alcoholic bite that is balanced out by the sweet finish

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Badet Clement Pontificis Pays d'Oc Grenache Syrah Mourvedre, 2019

Pontificis has been my favorite Trader Joe's wine over the past several years. A blend of 40% Grenache, 35% Syrah and 25% Mourvedre from the Languedoc, it reminds me of my favorite Ventoux and Cotes du Rhone wines of the 1980s and 1990s. The grapes are clearly well chosen and vinified according to the best traditional practices. But, alas, Pontificis has been missing from the shelves of my local store for several months now. I miss it; please bring it back!

Bright crimson. Enticing scents of strawberries, cherries, Provencal herbs with a hint of violets. Medium bodied. Very friendly on the palate but by no means soft or simple. The Southern Rhone flavors continue to haunt me long after the glass is empty and the meal is finished.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

2 Lads Fouch Vineyard Old Mission Peninsula (Michigan), 2017

We taste wine on Old Mission Peninsula near Traverse city at least once every year, and 2 Lads is always on my list of places to visit. The view there, from a hill overlooking the bay, is astounding, and the wines produced there offer a good bit of character. This Fouch Vineyard Riesling is a perfect example.

Medium deep yellow. Apple, floral, peach and the petrol that is characteristic of good Riesling. Lots of darker petrol flavors upfront with sweet fruit on the back end. At the high end of dry, the low end of sweet but perfect for drinking with Tilapia and roasted vegetables. Has improved substantially since I tasted and purchased it four years ago.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

The Federalist Mendocino County Zinfandel Aged in Bourbon Barrels, 2017

This Mendocino County Zin has had the ultimate oak treatment: 6 months in American oak followed by another six months in seasoned Bourbon barrels. If you are wary of oaky wines, as I am, you might avoid it, but this bottle was brought to our house as a gift, and I am glad I had a chance to try it. It matched up well with Provencal lamb.

Very deep and dark. Cherries, black raspberries, caramel and vanilla plus some smoky notes. The ripe berry Zinfandel flavors are front and center, though. And the cool climate of Mendocino adds some welcome acidity.The 15% ABV is  barely noticeable. 

Domaine Jean Deydier et Fils Les Clefs d'Or Chateauneuf du Pape, 2000

I have been buying and enjoying Les Clefs d'Or Chateauneuf du Pape since the 1983 vintage. While this 2000 vintage does not measure up to the excellent wines produced in 1988 and 1989, it is still showing very well.

Mature, medium light color. Lifted aromatics. Cherry, menthol, rosemary and thyme. In smell and flavor, the wine is a perfect match for Patricia Wells' Provencal lamb au gratin. Ripe fruit, dried and fresh, and herb-tinged acidity. Classic Chateauneuf at a good stage of maturity.