Friday, November 23, 2018

Vietti Langhe Nebbiolo Perbacco, 2009

vietti_nebbiolo_perbaccoI love Langhe Nebbiolo, and Perbacco is my favorite. At $22-$25 a bottle, Perbacco is neither the least nor the most expensive of its type, but I consider it one of the best--approaching the quality of a good Barolo.

The bouquet is slow to open but impressively deep. Nothing flashy. From the first sip, though, the Nebbiolo flavors dance on the palate. Medium body and weight with smooth tannins and a long, sparkling finish.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Tenuta del Terre Nere Etna Rosso, 2008

terrenere etna red docThere are many ordinary wines from Sicily on the market. But there is nothing ordinary about this wine, produced from low-yielding Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappubbio vines near Mount Etna. It still sells for less than $20 a bottle, but that is likely to change since the current vintage ranked 9th on the Wine Spectator's 2018 list of top 100 wines.

Beautiful ruby color. Crushed berries, flowers and exotic spices. Has the subtlety and grace of a fine red Burgundy. Berries and more berries on the palate. This wine continues to improve with each passing year.

Chateau Belair Haut Medoc, 1990

Chateau Bel Air Haut-Medoc Cru BourgeoisThis is my favorite of three red wines we had for Thanksgiving dinner. Now 28 years of age, it illustrates well the aging potential of red Bordeaux, even from relatively modest appellations.

Some amber tones around the rim, but otherwise no signs of advancing age. Currants, berries, blue flowers. Lead pencil tones on the palate. Long, beautiful finish.

Yorkville Cellars Yorkville Highlands Cabernet Franc, 2009

Situated on the highway leading into the Pinot-centric Anderson Valley, Yorkville Cellars focuses on Bordeaux-style wines. This Cab Franc, made from organic grapes grown in the Rennie Vineyard, is at a good stage of development right now.

Ripe raspberries, fresh and bright. None of the earthy traits you sometimes get from Cab Franc produced in the Loire Valley. Bordeaux in style--stylish and reserved. But the northern California traits are hard to ignore. Good fruit on finish.

Frey Sohler Alsace Muscat Reserve, 2014

I have been on the lookout for a dry Muscat Ottonel from Alsace, and this one is a very fine example.

Medium deep gold. Very floral and spicy on the nose and palate. Good acid and fruit intensity.

Luigi Baudana Dragon Langhe Bianco, 2015

From the first sniff and sip, I find this a special wine. It's a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Nascetto grapes grown in the middle of Barolo territory. The wine was (is) so good that vintners were unwilling to replace these white grape vines with more lucrative Nebbiolo ones.

Medium yellow color. Exciting nose that keeps getting more complex as the meal progresses. Reasonably full bodied with rich but intense and tightly focused aromas and flavors. I don't think there is much Riesling in the blend, but it has a strong presence in the complexity on the back palate.

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.