I went to a party.
I drank some wines.
I took some notes.
Here are those notes that I took on those wines that I drank.
But first, a few disclaimers:
My apologies to all who may be offended, shocked, frightened or discouraged from participating in this forum as a result of these notes that I took. I strongly urge anyone who is posessed of such disquieting emotions to consider my online Chris Coad persona (as separate and distinct from my offline Chris Coad persona, who is taller) as a cautionary character study best kept at a suitable Brechtian distance, rather than as an example of the usually fine work that goes on in this fine online community.
For the record, I welcome disagreement, although I cast no aspersions on those who do not. Feel free to use whatever epithets you desire to impugn my palate, character and/or parentage, although calling my cats 'ugly' does go just beyond the pale, in my opinion.
In response to numerous electronically transmitted inquiries, I am not, by the way, as of April 6th, 2000, in the business of retailing, importing, manufacturing or otherwise procuring wine or wine-related products including, but not limited to, grapes (whole or crushed, fermented, unfermented or partially fermented), grape juice (frozen, fresh or with juicy bits of pulp), commercial yeasts, glass (or non-glass) bottles, labels or closures of various and sundry types too numerous to enumerate.
Thank you for your time. I hope I've covered all the proper bases.
Now, without further ado, those notes that I took on those wines that I drank at that party I went to.
Pindar 'Sunflower Chardonnay' North Fork of Long Island 1995: Caramel, butterscotch, vanilla, no perceptible fruit. Crisp and tangy wood water. Perhaps my yelp of "Are you trying to kill me?!" at my kind host was overstating the case, though. 'Not exactly to my taste, although surely capable of pleasing others' is what I really meant to say.
Eklund Pinot Noir Carneros 1997: Medium garnet. Not much on the nose, quiet cherry-vinyl hints, slightly candied. Crisp and quiet, with some tangy cherry-earth fruit that turns tarry on the finish. Simple, inoffensive, not too bad in a semi-jammy kind of way.
Claire-Dau Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers 1983: Muddy pale ruby. Good whiff of earthy, barny gaminess over faded cherry-raspberry fruit. Tangy & tart in the mouth, not as rich as it smells, with knifelike acidity dominating the faded fruit. Sharp and a bit sour to taste. Smells nice, though.
Esmonin Griotte-Chambertin 1990: Medium to medium-dark garnet. Silky-smelling, with pretty cherry-clove-truffle notes. Brightly acidic, but there's a good dose of velvety-tight cherry fruit to clothe the steel spine. Tart, tightly wrapped flavors flow into a red truffley finish. Nice now, could use a little time to loosen up.
Clos du Mont Olivet Châteauneuf-du-Pape 1994 (magnum): Medium translucent garnet. Sweet, spicy pumpkin-pie, leather and quiet red berry nose. Medium crisp, smooth and layered, a small, complex wine that comes to a spicy-earthy finish. Nicely balanced, supple and delicious, one of my favorites of the night. Oddly, I've had a run of surprisingly accessible and friendly 94 CdPs lately, and this one continues the streak.
Château Cos d'Estournel St. Estèphe 1970 (magnum): Rich medium-ruby color. My first impression is surprise at the youth and vigor of this specimen--it seems just a bit frayed around the edges but still very young and strong, with just a hint of bricking at the rim of the glass. There's clear cassis on the nose, along with a hint of funky mushroominess. Tastes bright and sharp, with lean red fruit and medium-crisp acidity, some slight fine tannins. Not very complex, the flavors are a bit one-noteish, but crisp and solid and very drinkable. With air the wine start to fray more visibly, turning a little rough around the edges, but all in all very nice. Get to it quickly, though.
Château La Mission Haut-Brion Graves 1977: Medium ruby, with brown-amber at the rim. Nice nose of tobacco, oregano and very muted red fruit. Nice initial rush of earthy soft red fruit fades and turns dilute in the midpalate and then goes into a free fall and simply stops. Pity, as there's nice ash-like layered fruit at first. Not a good showing for this La Miss.
Château Leoville-Barton St. Julien 1987: Medium ruby. Small nose of soft cassis with a pronounced herby streak, along with cedar and graphitey minerals. Small and rich at first, with crisp dark silky fruit that has a pleasant tang to it. This is very compact and well-balanced--there's a bit of a hole in the midpalate, but the wine recovers and turns rocky-herby on a nice long finish. A pleasant surprise, one of the nicer '87 Bordeaux I've had so far this week.
Navarro Correa Syrah Mendoza 1991: Medium-light garnet. Plenty of sweet vanillin oakiness here, along with white peppery red fruit. Light, smooth and tangy, simple but decent, with a bit too much unintegrated oak for my tastes.
Guigal Hermitage 1986: Medium translucent ruby. Spicy muted raspberry on the nose, with hints of leather and roast yam. A bit lean and faded but there's some decent tart fruit here. Smells better than it tastes, though, and the impression in the mouth is of a wine that is on the other side of its prime.
Renard Syrah Napa Valley Arroyo Vineyard 'Cuvée Jacques' 1997: There's a cute picture of a dog's face on the label (I guess it must be 'Jacques'). A doggy cuvée, what a notion! Sweet dark smoky oak over ripe blackberry-raspberry fruit with some menthol hints. A big, ripe syrah that is a bit medicinal but takes a nice tar-licoricey turn on the finish and, for such a lush wine, has decent balance. This is a big crowd favorite among the mostly non-geeks assembled, and I can see why, as it has a certain brash charm that keeps you sipping just a little more. And that dog idea just slays me.
Twelve Staves Grenache Mclaren Vale 1997: Okay, any wine with a name like that is asking for bad oak jokes. In the interest of decorum and the feelings of vast masses of skittish lurkers I will refrain. Medium-dark garnet. Smoky, sweet vanilla-toast notes flit over dark cassis & raspberry fruit. Tangy, ripe and somewhat generic, although the dark red berry fruit rallies nicely on the finish and the acidity doesn't seem particularly pointy. Decent, nothing special. Wouldn't eight staves have been enough? (Sorry, sorry.) Seven tatty prongs fried in safflower oil, then lightly dusted with confectioner's sugar.
Cappellano Barolo Gabutti Otin Fiorin Franco 1994: Very pale light red. Translucent, insubstantial nose of soft cherry, leather and sage. Doesn't taste like much of anything at first, passes over the midpalate without incident, and segues into a watery finish. Soft and inert Barolo light. Very strange; I am confused by this wine. Can anyone explain it to me?
Domaine d'Aiguelière Coteaux du Languedoc Montpeyroux 1995: Medium-dark garnet. Clear hit of Band-Aid brand bandage strips on the nose hovers over smoky-pepper-berry-cassis fruit. Tangy, meaty & smoky-oaky, with some hints of green herb. Rich, rough and rustic (the three Rs), smoky, bandaidy and a little odd. I want to like it more than I do, as there's some rich rough fruit here, but the charred oak is a bit distracting.
Peter Lehman Cabernet Sauvignon Barossa 1994: Gosh, I hate it when people carp endlessly about overoaked wines. Won't anybody think of the children? Okay, here goes... lovely toasty vanilla-coconut notes emerge beguilingly from a lush straightforward cassis base to invigorate the senses. Plenty of rich, ripe, forward cassis fruit, it's all here at once right up front, a warm wave of chocolate-tinged fruit, with a good tight core and almost enough acidity to get by, plus some more sweet oak to titillate the palate. Creamy and richly, simply fruity. Six and a half hand-sanded prongs for typicity.
Sausal Zinfandel Napa Valley Private Reserve 1992: Medium garnet. Earthy black-cherry-raspberry nose with a tiny hint of raisin, this zin has spread a bit and gotten a touch diffuse around the edges but still smells fairly rich & velvety. The flavors are slightly muted and more earthy than brightly fruity, but it's a friendly, silky earthiness and the wine is pleasantly crisp and balanced, with good structure. An example of a zin with a bit of bottle age doing something interesting instead of just coming unglued.
Edizione Pennino Zinfandel Napa Valley 1994: Medium to medium-dark garnet. A bit of a raisiny quality to the nose, the black cherry fruit is quiet and muted, aromatically this wine is a bit limp & fleshy. Tastes a bit limp as well, flattened-out and somewhat spineless, meaty soft red fruit just lays there and waves its flippers at me. In contrast to the 92 Sausal, this seems tired and zestless.
Hoopers Vintage Port 1985: Very light color, medium-light ruby, ambering at the rim. Lots of cocoa on the nose, earthy red fruit with cocoa powder. Fairly sweet and light bodied but the earthy matte ghost of red berry fruit has spread and feathered nicely--a light, sweet, earthy, feathery wine that has some light acidity to go with the light flavors and flows into a long cocoa-puff finish. Small and light, but very pleasant.
That is all the wines I drank that night.
There are no more.