Thursday, September 29, 2022

Montoya Monterey Pinot Noir, 2020

I usually avoid Pinot Noir from Monterey; they are a bit green for my taste. This was offered for a good price ($35) at Kitchen House in Richland (jour favorite Kalamazoo area restaurant) so we ordered a bottle, and it was a good accompaniment to our meals. 

Medium dark ruby. Many use cherry or raspberry to describe this wine's aroma and flavors, but I find it more tart--cranberries, green herbs and terpenes. Cool climate but not enough sun to bring out the full range of Pinot flavors. Donna likes the style more than I do, and reviews online show that the wine is popular. Retail price is about $15 so it represents good value.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Domaine des Baumard La Caleche, 2017

One of the best white wines I have ever tasted is Domaine des Baumard's Clos du Papillon Savennieres from 1982, which I had with dinner just a few weeks ago. So I quickly put this Baumard wine in my cart when I saw it offered at a closeout price of $11 at MegaBev (formerly Russo's) in Grand Rapids. La Caleche is Baumard's entry level, early drinking wine, 50% Chenin Blanc and 50% Chardonnay vinified in stainless steel to preserve its freshness and purity.

Deep gold, bright and lively. Very aromatic: peaches, apricots, flowers, minerals. Full bodied and rich. A good combination; Chardonnay sweetens the bitterness of young Chenin Blanc. Buttery flavors counter the grapefruit acidity. Peachy, honeyed fruit emerges as the wine warms. Don't serve this wine too cold; it is best at just a touch above room temperature. For $11 (or twice that much), it is a great bargain.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Schug Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, 2010

This 2010 Schug Pinot Noir was matured mainly in large, neutral oak barrels. The fruit, though, from vineyards in western Carneros and the Petaluma Gap, is exceptional and meets my expectations for a fine North Coast Pinot Noir.

Very light in color and body. Takes some time to blossom, but then offers up enticing Pinot scents and flavors. Cherries, cranberries, cinnamon, orange zest and black pepper. Peppery flavors, tinged with orange zest, that cling to the roof of the mouth. Tingling acidity. Perfect. At a good stage for drinking right now.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Wynns Coonawarra Estate Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon, 1998


Coonawarra Cabernet has an almost universal appeal, and this is a classic Coonawarra Cab, with bright upfront fruit and charm.

Deep and dark ruby. Impressive for a 24-year-old wine. Incredibly strong fruit smells and flavors. Black currants, blue plums, cassis and oak. Rich and ripe but also finely textured and elegant. Still going strong in its second decade. 

Coriole McLaren Vale Shiraz, 1998

McLaren Vale is one of my favorite spots for Australian Shira, and this is a good one, although probably a bit past its prime.

Deep and dark. Good color. Syrah herbal notes beginning to show up along with black fruits and spice. Tannic on the mid-palate and missing a bit of freshness. Australian Shiraz simply lacks the acidity of Northern Rhone Syrah, and that is what many Australian wine drinkers prefer. As far as I'm concerned, the lower acidity makes for a less complex and intriguing drink.

Paul Jaboulet Aine Crozes-Hermitrage Domaine de Thalabert, 1983

When I first opened this bottle, the aromas and flavors seemed a bit muted, and I assumed that time was beginning to catch up to this 39-year-old Crozes-Hermitage. Given a couple of hours of aeration and comparison to a much younger Syrah (1998 Coriole McLarenv Vale Shiraz from Australia) on the table, Domaine Thalabert once again demonstrated its seemingly ageless charm.

Much lighter than its Australian counterpart, of course. Brickish red but bright and clear. Two hours after the bottle was opened, the Northern Rhone scents begin to develop and grow. Red as well as black fruits, leather, balsamic. Notably acidic compared to the Australian Shiraz, and that is a plus for me. Black olives, cured meats, black pepper. Flavors get bigger and more complex with every sip. Lives up to my Thalabert expectations.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

2013 Wind Gap Woodruff Vineyard (Santa Cruz) Chardonnay, 2013

I have been writing a lot about Wind Gap Chardonnays recently, mainly because I picked up a good number of them, 2012 and 2013 vintages, at deep discount on WineBid. They are all very good wines.

Deep golden yellow. Intense smells and flavors of lemon, pear and minerals. French oak is also apparent, although not as the star player. Cool climate, high level of acidity, intensity that grabs your attention and clings to the finish.