Monday, March 31, 2008
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Sunday, March 23, 2008
2005 Bordeaux in my experience has had a somewhat mixed showing thus far. So, what about the Rhone Valley?
According to Wine Specator, Robert Parker, and virtually everyone else, 2005 was an excellent vintage for the Rhone Valley, although Parker seems to prefer 2006 to 2005, and there's some question whether the North or South produced better wines across the board.
To really get into the 2005 vintage mood, we dined at Oray on Saturday night. Orsay struck me as really old school French, with a Parisian vibe and smoky dark room feel like when you stepped outside the Opera House would be right there.
The first two wines we tasted from the 2005 vintage in the Rhone Valley were, to put it mildly, exceptional: 2005 Chateua Saint-Jean Chateauneuf du Pape and the 2005 J.L. Chave St. Joseph "Offerus."
The 2005 Chateau Saint-Jean CdP was a really gorgeous purple color. Good fresh kirsch, a touch of allspice, gobs of ground white pepper, fresh tapenade and ground green and black olives, dried herbs and liquid stones in a medium bodied, fancy French perfume styles CdP, with sweet acidity and sweet, fine tannins, and a minor cherry finish. I think this is a 2 or 3 star wine, very probably 3 stars, and in any event, at $40 retail this is an excellent wine from this vintage at a very decent price. Reminds me of the Sabon Prestige Chateauneuf du Pape 2001.
The J.L. Chave Selection St. Joseph "Offerus" from 2005 ($20, 1 star) was the best vintage of this wine I have tried going back to 2004, 2003, and 2001. With a seriously dark purple color, white pepper, cloves, tapenade and crushed green and black olives, gorgeous purple and red fruits (strawberry, currant, black cherry), and impecable balance. In my experience this wine drinks very well very young and will not live in the cellar. (The 2001 and 2003 were excellent young, but have faded fruit these days and are no longer recommended for the long term.)
2005 La Ferme du Mont "Cotes Jugunda" Gigondas - $25 - 1 star. Deep plum color. Nice spring flowers on the nose with chalky minerality underneath. Good warm fruits on the palate with some leather and mineral notes, refreshing zesty acidity that balances out the fruit notes, but a clipped finish.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
2004 Far Niente Napa Valley Chardonnay *** Yellow gold. Overt black licorice, anise seed, and gobs of vanilla. Very pure palate, soft and moderately sweet with a very good balance, nice acidity, and moderately long, stoney finish. Excellent, and to my mind the best Chardonnay in Napa after Kongsgaard.
2004 Peter Michael Mon Plaisir *** Gorgeously pure pale yellow gold. Restrained nose of hay and anise and fresh cut grass. Hints at petrol, too. Seaweed and sweet stainless steel with black licorice kicker. Rarely gets better than this.
Disappointing Bordeaux: 2001 Le Gay and 2005 Lanessan ... and Reevaluating the 2001 Leoville Poyferre - 1 star.
The 2001 Le Gay had off scents of mold and wild acidity and was undrinkable the first night, but showed some mellow red fruits and vanilla hints by day 2, by which time I could manage to drink a glass without being totally revolted. It is a flawed wine to say the least.
And there is simply nothing more to say about the 2005 Lanessan than, "Undrinkable."
Obviously, this was an extremely disappointing showing for these two wines and out of mere respect I'm going to taste new bottles shortly to confirm (or refute) my initial impressions.
In retrospect, the 2001 Leoville Poyferre was a GOOD wine, cleanly outshining the Le Gay and Lanessan, and easily deserving 1 star.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Next up for SLAKED!
2001 Ch. Leoville Poyferre - St. Julien
2001 Ch. Le Gay - Pomerol
2005 Ch. Lanessan - Haut Medoc
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
Friday, March 7, 2008
Bright dense purple and cola syrup color. Good depth of fruit on the nose with menthol, mellow cherry and light red licorice notes. Extraordinary concentration by day 2: Coconut and mellow vanilla, pina colada-esque, with unidentifiable blue fruit notes shining through. Best Ridge Zinfandel of the 2005 vintage, and the best I've tasted recently except for the sold out but virtually perfect Lytton East 2003.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Pale gold. Bright acidity. Black licorice, fennel seed, and white flowers - lily, white rose, daisy petals. Bees' honey and honey mellon, with light white-chalk texture. Excellent ballance and a bright long finish. 4 stars.