Sunday, May 22, 2011
Wine Musings: Vol#106
Wine of Merit: ****++Diamond Creek, Gravelly Meadow, Diamond Mountain, cabernet sauvignon, 1981: They just don't make them like this anymore and it really is a shame. Simply a magnificent wine. A definitive cabernet by any standard (well, ok, at least by mine. No one will confuse this with a Schrader). Tobacco, graphite, red currant, green peppercorn. With time grilled meats, leather. Great structure, front to back. Wonderful, deep minerals mid palate. Amazing balance and integration. Fine, endless, puckering finish. Another ten years left on this bottle. Crazy Good.
****+Gruaud Larose, St. Julien, Bordeaux, 1990: Another wonderful, sophisticated, beautiful wine. A meal in a glass. Blackberry, violets, iodine, blood, nicoise olives, oolong tea, oven roasted Brussels sprouts. So much going on here...and yet perfectly integrated. This wine just unfolds, wave after wave, with time in the glass. Palate coating, long, excellent grip. In no hurry at all. Great wine.
****Kongsgaard, The Judge, Napa Valley, chardonnay, 2006: Perhaps not its finest showing, though still among the best chardonnays available, regardless of provenance. The nose shows that wonderfully typical lemon oil, meringue, anjou pear, cinnamon stick. Hazelnut and a touch of butterscotch. The palate is a little less forthcoming than usual. A bit tighter too. Still, lots of white fruit and citrus. Medium length finish. I think it might be time to drink these up.
****Chateau D'Yquem, Sauternes, Bordeaux, 1989: Always a lovely way to finish a meal. A touch of initial astringency on the nose fades to reveal honeyed peach, apricot, maple and blood orange. Beautiful attack on entry with a coating mouth feel and a note of baked apple and cinnamon. Lingering, spicy finish. Yummy.
****Cedric Bouchard, Roses de Jeanne, Le Creux D'Enfer, Champagne, NV: Perhaps one the best pinot noir saignee champagnes I have ever had. Intense, lively, ebullient in every sense. Bright strawberry, blood orange, queen Anne cherries and rhubarb fruit. Grilled peaches. Superb minerals and a touch of sage. Racy acids, tangy mid palate. A very intense champagne experience. Love it.
***++ Robert Ampeau, Savigny Les Beaune, Burgundy, pinot noir, 1990: Wonderful, mature savigny. Lovely notes of game, red fruit, citrus, green tea, some barnyard. Lithe and medium weight on the palate, red fruit driven, with no drop off, front to back. Finish is medium length and resolving. A great transition wine from the white to the reds.
***+GTS Vineyards, Estate, Diamond Mountain, cabernet sauvignon, 2005: A lovely wine. GTS stands for George Thomas Seaver and yes, this is his vineyard and wine. The wine is made by Thomas Rivers Brown on Tom Seaver's behalf and it shows TRB's house style. Ripe, voluminous, blackberry jam, mulling spices, Christmas pudding notes jump from the glass. The palate is velvety, generous and coating with lots more black fruit, fig and crushed rock. The finish is long and firm, the only real element that tells me this might be from Diamond Mountain, a terroir that generally produces monster wines that are unapproachable at this stage. Just a delicious wine, though I would quibble with the heavy hand.
**Chateau Troplong Mondot, St. Emillon, 1964: Past its prime but not completely without merit. Unraveling, slightly sherried notes of tangy BBQ sauce, caramel, chocolate and plum. More lively on the thinning palate, with better plum notes and hints of mineral and herb. Finish surprisingly pronounced. Older wines like this are always about storage conditions and other variables outside the bottle as well as in, so your mileage may vary significantly. Still, a fun experiment.