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Thanksgiving wrap

December 1, 2008

Over the long holiday (and feast), my family, friends and I got to taste quite a few wines. We hat a lot to be thankful for indeed…

Some interesting quality observations here  – and I see my own palate moving more and more old-skool in terms of the wines I really appreciate.

Here is a quick rundown:

Bodegas El Nido, Clio 2005, Jumilla, Spain: Popped and tasted. It seemed discombobulated overall and needed some air. I remember the  ’02 evolving quite a bit, so I gave this a day with the bottle open to see if it would straighten out. Overtly oaky and cocoa-y – like a confectionary  turducken: maple-syrup-covered-caramel-covered-chocolate-covered-stewed blackberries. Stinging alcoholic bite. Not as bad as I’m making it, but clearly not showing the BEST VALUE EVER that has been associated with this wine. While little varietal flavors (Mourvedre and Cabernet Sauvignon) came through – the finish was long, resolved, and had a beautiful lavender and thyme note. I have 1 remaining bottle of the 04, which I’ll probably share with someone who appreciates the style more.

Denois Brut Blanc de Blanc, NV Languedoc, France: A super-light and fresh brut in an aperitif style. Subtle and tiny-bubbled green apple snap. Short finish. This wont be confused with a great Champagne, but offers good value in an artisan bubbly.

Reuscher-Haart Piesporter Treppchen Riesling, 2007, Mosel, Germany: Yum. 1-liter bottles to boot. Universally appreciated, but uncompromising in it’s roots. Upfront peach, chalk, and apple. Spiced with a hint of cherry. A light suggestion of fruit ripeness. A great house-white and a killer value at ~$14.

Chateau Doisy-Vedrines 2005, Sauternes, France: Big honey and apricots, spoiled by a slight but noticeably  PVC “new shower-curtain” smell that was universally noted. Fair acidity. Being my first Sauternes, I can’t say if this is a typical botrytis-thing, an off-bottle, or some strange taint. Flawed or not, I could see this working well with Rochefort, but I probably wont buy any more of it,  especially with the high level of quality in riper German Rieslings and Loire Chenins at this price.

Pierre Gonon St. Joseph 2006, Nothern Rhone, France: Now we are talking. Beautiful aromatics of olives and black pepper co-mingled with berry fruit. An agile, poised style of Syrah that surrounds the palate and transparently lifts away. Focused acidity. Some subtle bay leaf and balsam build layered complexity. It’s medium-body and the tannins have a decent grip, so I think this will integrate very nicely over the next 5-7 years. A tiny flare of alcohol towards the finish despite the low degree (13%) on label. Wine of the week.

Waterbrook Melange 2006, Washington: Toasty oak and blackberries. Not complex or long on the palate, but a well-rounded dollup of fruit in the sub $10 category.

Columbia Crest Two Vines Vineyard 10, 2005, Washington: More focused and serious than the Waterbrook, this is an even better value. Also endowed with some vanillin-oakiness, there seems to be real fruit power and enough freshness to retain balance. Lush plums and black cherry. Silly value ~$7US;  Is the ’05 Clio 7-times better than this?

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