Sunday, June 15, 2014

Domaine du Chante Perdrix Chateauneuf du Pape, 1989

I've had this wine many times, and it's one of my all-time favorite Chateauneufs. What better wine to treat myself on Father's Day?

The color is a light brick red with lots of amber. You could easily dismiss this wine as over-the-hill just from the appearance,  but I know better. This has happened before. The bouquet is also slow to open. But after 30 minutes the haunting scents start to unfold. Wild berries, dried and fresh. Nothing pretentious or showy; just pure beauty. On the palate is where it sings--wild berries and spices from grandma's kitchen in the Southern Rhone. Very savory but also lovely ripeness. It's possible this wine is rolling down the other side of the hill; if so, there is still plenty of pleasure.

Louis Latour Savigny les Beaune Blanc, 1996

The last bottle of this wine that I opened was on March 10, 2008 (look up the note if you're interested). I was worried that I might have waited too long. And maybe I did. Six years ago, the wine was incredibly good; tonight, for lack of a better adjective, it is damn good. If it's lost a tiny bit of its past charm, I'm not going to lose any sleep over it because I've been drinking good wine every day since.

The color is a beautiful deep gold, brilliant and clear. The oak was integrated nicely into the citrus-oriented fruit smells. If the wine has lost anything since 2008, it would be freshness; but there is certainly nothing stale or flat about it. The flavors are rich and concentrated but with good acidity and an aftertaste that seems to last forever. The finish of this wine is enough to bring me back for sip after sip. Unfortunately, it's my last bottle.

Most Savigny les Beaune wines are red, of course. Whites make up only about 3.5 percent of total production. According to the Louis Latour web site: "We find the best terroirs of Savigny-les-Beaune ten minute drive to the north of Beaune, in the extreme west of the appellation in the village of Bouilland. It was on this site that the Chardonnay grapes are harvested.This is not a surprise if some growers compare these vineyards and the composition of their soils to those of the famous and near Corton-Charlemagne."

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Paul Jaboulet Crozes-Hermitage Domaine Thalabert, 1988

Like so many other vintages of Jaboulet's Domaine Thalabert, this wine continues to change with every bottle I open. And the change always seems for the better. Thalabert is one of the best and most ageworthy wines in my cellar.

Deep ruby color. Mature amber tones and a great deal of sediment. The cork is difficult to extract, but the wine is lovely. High toned Northern Rhone bouquet: Provencal olives, cassis, black fruits and leather. The flavors are similar. Good fruit on the mid-palate--dark berries and blue plums with olives and spice. Somewhat lean. More herbaceous than most Thalaberts, but this only adds to the complexity. Very long and lively finish. My last bottle of this was probably five years ago and seemed at its peak. This bottle is at least as good.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Perrin Reserve Cotes du Rhone, 2009

Year after year, two of the best budget wines on the market are from the Perrin brothers--this Perrin Reserve Cotes du Rhone (about $9 to $11) and La Vieille Ferme Ventoux (about $6 to $8). They are perfect expressions of traditional Southern Rhone vitality at traditional Southern Rhone prices.

At five years of age, the 2009 Perrin Reserve is a good medium ruby color. Smells of dark cherry, earth and black pepper. On the first night, I thought the earthy smells might indicate a touch of brett, but, on the second night, it was more clearly a dark licorice/cassis/mineral scent that is often found in Syrah wines from the vicinity of Vinsobres. (And the Syrah grapes for this wine are indeed sourced from Vinsobres vineyards). Full; rich fruit flavors on the palate. Delightfully accessible but by no means simple. Every bottle of this I open always prompts the question: why don't I buy and drink more of this wine?

Friday, June 6, 2014

Domaine Sainte-Anne Cotes du Rhone, 2001

This is the first time I have detected secondary characteristics in a Domaine Sainte Anne Cotes du Rhone. They are, for my taste, a very positive development.

The color has matured a bit, and there is sediment on one side of the bottle. Gone is the overt tonic fruitiness that is the hallmark of Domaine Sainte Anne and, in its place, a more complex bouquet of flowers and spices. On the palate, there are deep cherry tones, and the finish is long and complex. More savory than sweet at this stage of development, and I like that.