Random Notes, Carelessly Arranged

Just catching up on some random TNs while there is a brief lull in New York geek-related activities...

Lucien Crochet Sancerre La Croix du Roy 1997: Pale straw color; happy lemon-limey nose with a lightly chalky undertone. Tangy & crisp & bright, a good package of vivid Sancerre, but not much of a quality jump over Crochet's regular cuvée, which I also like very much and find very similar. I'm not sure this is worth the extra six or seven bucks, but it's good flavorful Sancerre, by gum. I'll probably end up saving my pennies for more of the regular stuff.

Frederic & Valerie Alquier Roussane-Marsanne VDP de l'Hérault 1998 (60% rou, 40% mar): A pale gold-tan wine with a pleasant creamy-bright nose, pretty hints of Bartlett pear, lemon & honey-ginger. At first sippage there is a slippery-waxy impression in the mouth, on top of a good skeleton of bright acidity that leads into a tangy citrus-ginger-cream finish. Very nice, just super QPR at around $10, this wine only adds further resolve to my rule to automatically buy as much as I can of any wine I see with the name 'Alquier' on the bottle. The bad news is that Andrew Scott scarfs up all the rest of the bottles, the good news is that he promises to save a few to open when I come a'knockin, as is my wont, unless the trailer's rockin.

Joseph Phelps Gewürztraminer California 1994: From the bargain bin, a pale medium gold-colored wine, yes, you can tell it's gewürz--soft hints of lychee & apple juicy notes on the nose. Tastes heavy & flat, there's some ripe limp fruit there, just a hint of attar, fades quickly into an odd flinty finish. Not offensive, not very good, on the way out. No, I don't know why we bought this, either. Maybe some kind of a mixup at the checkout counter.

Canet-Valette Saint-Chinian 1996: Medium, slightly translucent red; aromatically light but friendly--light plum & earthy sous-bois [Yes! Underbrush!] notes. A soft, small wine with tart cherry-plum fruit tinged with leafiness. Good grip; crisp and light-bodied; some fine-grained tannins and a medium-length finish. Small, pleasant, inoffensive, not bad for $10, but doesn't do much for me, really; add a few points if you're a cud wino.

Domaine du Poujol Coteaux du Languedoc 1996: Medium garnet. Interesting nose, light layers of dark redfruit, smoked meat & eucalyptus. Not a Duranteesque nose, just quiet and layered and beguiling. Tastes kinda the same--small and fleshy and berry/smoky/gamy. Low acidity, fairly soft, fine tannins. A small, fleshy wine that won't age a bit but is very pleasant for near-term drinking. Oh, and it's only about $10, so it's another good buy.

Château de Lascaux Coteaux du Languedoc 1996: Medium garnet. Bright dark cherry/berry nose, hints of dark chocolate & menthol, fairly forward but nicely balanced. A richly-flavored wine that isn't terribly complex but has a silky profile--there's an almost zinlike hint of Robitussin to the fruit, but it's held in and coiled up tightly. A pleasant, balanced wine with some nice character, and another QPR fave at around $11.

Ridge Zinfandel Paso Robles Late Picked 1997: Yeek, speaking of zin, the lush zinberry in this one just leaps out of the glass at your nose, plush black cherry, velvety and sweet-smelling, with a hint of raisin & a touch of rubbing alcohol that bothered Lisa more than it did me. Tangy & tart (Lisa: "sour") this wine is a little all over the place, a bit wacky. Big and Robitussiny-rich, good backbone, plenty of acidity but turning slightly bitter on the finish. I'm more ambivalent than when I had this last and it seemed more together. Could it be cracking up a bit this soon? Seems odd. More research is called for. Oh, wait, that was the last bottle. Erph.

Burge Family Old Vines Grenache Barossa Valley 1995: Medium-dark garnet; plum & raspberry compote on the nose, very dark, with white-peppery & toasty-coconut notes. Sharp-as-a-tack acidity right off the bat leads to a wave of tart dark plum/berry fruit, segues into dark bitter tarry quality. Slightly gritty tannins don't detract much, but sour-bitter edge to the fruit makes this rather unpleasant to drink. Okay, it's trite to Aussie-bash, but this is not good stuff.

Good thing there are some sweeties...

Bonny Doon Malvasia Bianca Vin de Glaciere 1991: Orangy-amber color. Holy chrome, there's a scary weird dark gooey thing coagulating in the middle of the bottle after I open it. It's like a lava lamp... yes, we have sighted a case of stringiness. We hold the bottle up to the light, peer and know not what to make of it. I shake the bottle vigorously, and it goes away. Phew. We steel ourselves in the name of science and pour some of the stuff. Mandarin-orangey notes on the nose, hints of clove, simple & tangy-smelling. Orange rind & peach-tinged fruit emerges through some medium sweetness. There's just enough acidity, and the fruit is earthier than the slightly glossy muscat of more recent VdGs, but it's also simpler and more one-dimensional, plus I think we're still a bit weirded out by the odd goo and are happy just to escape with our lives.

Château Suduiraut Sauternes 1990: As with every other recent vintage of Suduiraut I've had, this one is fairly deep in color compared to its Sauterney cellarmates, medium gold-amber. Rich, multilayered nose, orange-rind, vanilla-apricot; in the mouth it's sweet and lush, mellow and rich, with a nice orange-caramel-citrus tang in the midpalate and what seem like woody tannins emerging to only slightly bother an otherwise long pleasant finish. Actually drinking fairly smoothly, even at this age.

Château de Fargues Sauternes 1990: Pale gold. Apricot & orange marmalade on the nose, with a big splash o'botrytis & butterscotch. A big and lush-smelling young Sauternes, tangy and sweetly viscous in the mouth, more marmaladey than tropical, good strong acidity and a tangy apricot-orange finish. A bigger, more vivid wine than the Suduiraut, younger and more in need of time to settle.

Domaine des Baumard Quarts de Chaume 1997: Pale straw-yellow, with hints of gold. Fairly quiet nose on this one, rich & soft & tropical, slowly coming around with some air and swirling, gradually becoming effusively pineappley-botrytisy-apricotty. A big, rich, sweet wine, not quite as stuffed-full as the Pierre-Bise QdC, but doesn't dance quite as close to the edge of over-the-topness either, with plenty of spine to balance all the fruit and sugar. Turns nicely pineappley on the finish. Very good stuff. I'll say it again so you can be sure I meant it: very good stuff. It's overpriced, but it's sure tasty.

Okay, that's all for today. Gotta get back to the ironing...

Compleat Winegeek | TN Archive | Essays | Glossary