Sunday, August 27, 2017

Domaine du Grand Tinel Chateauneuf du Pape, 1990

This 1990 Grand Tinel was made before the estate started putting their best grapes into the luxury cuvees. It is 70% Grenache and, even in 1990, many of the Grenache vines were nearing 100 years of age. Parker always advised drinking this wine when young, but I have always liked the way the 1990s has matured.

Good color but clearly no barriques at this point of time. Considering its age (27 years), this wine is not showing a great deal of aromatic complexity but there is plenty to like in the mouth. Ripe strawberries and cassis. Luxurious mouth feel and a smooth finish. I would say that it's at least as good as the last bottle I had about a decade ago.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Chateau de Plaisance Savennieres,1999

At the Chateau de Plaisance website, the winemaker recommends drinking Savennieres wines either 1) before three years of age "for fruit" or 2) after 10 years. And that is pretty much what I have discovered about Savennieres; wines between the ages of 3 and 10 can be so difficult to drink that it's easy to think of them as being overly mature. Conversely, I have never gone wrong by keeping a Loire Chenin Blanc for a decade or two--over even longer. I have bottles from the early 1980s that are still drinking terrifically.

The color is a fairly deep gold--what you would expect from an 18-year-old white wine. The smells, though, are lively and intense. Grapefruit, minerals, flowers. Chenin Blanc depth. More of the same in the mouth. The tense grapefruit is countered by the ripeness of white peaches. Amazing grip; clings to every surface of the mouth, leaving a desire for more.

Domaine du Cayron Gigondas, 1988

Domaine du Cayron is without question my favorite Gigondas, and the 1988 vintage has given me pleasure for many years. Tonight's bottle may be the best I have had, and I expect future bottles to be even better.

Deep and dark. The cepage is 70% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Cinsault and just a touch of Mourvedre for color. That touch is doing its job quite well. The bouquet is bold: black fruits, garrigue and menthol. Smells like a young wine albeit with a great deal more complexity. In its youth, this wine was a bit funky, but there is no funk tonight. Fills the mouth with powerful flavors. More black than red fruits. As far as I am concerned, this wine defines Gigondas. And I love it.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Louis Latour Pernand-Vergelesses Blanc, 1998

The last bottle I had of this (November, 2014) was pretty seriously over the hill--very deep color, oxidized smells and flavors. It must have been suffering from bad storage or transportation before it came to me. Or maybe it is simply bottle variation. This bottle is beautiful--just what I expect from a mature white Burgundy. Louis Latour's Pernand-Vergelesses vineyards are old, low yielding and located "within a stone's throw" of the famed Corton hill.

Deep (but not overly deep) gold. Bright and lively in appearance. The bouquet marries mature Chardonnay fruit with French oak--well integrated. Flavors are lovely--mellow, smooth and rich with dried fruits and nuts.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Terra di Briganti Sannio Aglianico, 2007

The Wine Enthusiast used terms such as "thin," "easy,""frank" and "upfront" to describe this Aglianico from the Sannio area of Campania. On the first night, I agreed. It was thin, almost tart but very enjoyable with tomato-based pasta. On the second night, the wine became much more serious. Sour and sweet cherries, flowers and spice. Very aromatic. Very complex. On the palate, the tartness of the first night is now depth and concentration. Clings and pleases. Long finish.

Aglianico is often called the Nebbiolo of the South, and this wine has the firm tannins and high acidity of a good Barolo. It is now 10 years old but just beginning to open up. Wish I had more.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Val de Sil Valdeorras Godello, 2008

The more I have of this Godello, the more I like it. Paired with grilled whitefish, it enhances rather than overwhelms the relatively subtle flavors of the fish.

2008 Val de Sil Godello is now nine years past its vintage date, and the deep gold color is indicative of its maturity. There is nothing old, though, about its aromas and flavors. Minerals, baking spices, white peaches and flowers. There is a stony strength on the palate that reminds me of a good Premier Cru Chablis along with the aromatic complexity of a good white Bordeaux. This is my last bottle, and I am not familiar enough with Godello to predict where it is going from here. But I suspect it has room to grow.