Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
On Monday I was fortunate to attend a lunch at Eleven Madison Park hosted by Maggie Harrison, the proprietor of Antica Terra winery in Amity, Oregon. In short, Maggie's pinot noirs from Willamette Valley are not of this world. In 2007, in which it rained 9.5 inches prior to harvest, she produced an aromatically complex and soulful wine. Tasted alongside other wines of the vintage, it clearly stands head and shoulders above the rest. With that in mind, I headed to the lunch with high expectations. Unfortunately, my palate was slightly cracked that day, so I tasted the wines only briefly. All things considered, however, Harrison produced a remarkable line-up.
The 2008 Antica Terra ***/**** to be released to the mailing list next week, is vibrant and glossy in the glass, the color of dessicated roses, that reminded me of Middle School romances and Rilke, of notes scribbled furiously in journals and hidden under pillows. On the nose you find strawverry, briarpatch, a touch of chalk, with spice and cracked pepper on the finish. Like a good kiss, this wine leaves you wanting more.
The 2008 Botanica ***/**** -- a barrel selection -- is more concentrated. More purple than rose, more opacity, more gravitas, more fruit, more plump, more sweet. But here I find that some of the romance -- the complexity and turbulence that marks unrequited love -- has been sacrificed for what is sure to be a wine to be taken seriously by critics and journalists. Perhaps it is the romantic in me, but I found this wine less charming than the Antica Terra. It has the mark of being made too easily (by picking out the best barrells in a cellar full of them) by a modest but artful and potent winemaker. Perhaps the fault, if there is any, is mine.
We also tasted Maggie's cult central coast syrah, Lillian. The 2006 *** (which I had previously tasted blind against Danforth's 2003 Sonoma Syrah ***) is blackberry in color with musk and blood and pure ripe fruit on the nose. It shows some new wood, which is very lovely, and does not overpower. I have two bottles in my cellar, which I will wait another 3-10 to open. The 2007 **** is crazygood. Purely opaque, with crushingly handsome dark fruit scents on the nose, new wood (vanillia, smoke? spice?) and a tremendous hold in the mouth. Really a very pure wine that has a long life ahead of it. I haven't checked the scores, but this is likely to receive 95+ if it hasn't already.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
A surprisingly significant and relevant wine today. I found a couple bottles of this 2001 as well as a 1998 at auction for probably 30 cents on the dollar. The 1998, despite being an excellent vintage in my opinion for right bank Bordeaux, was lank and somewhat green. This 2001 was explosive, fairly concentrated, with dry and silky tannin, with a touch of mild blackberry jam and violets and an enjoyable if not particularly lasting finish.