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Monday, December 03, 2007

Tasting Notes

As of this week, I'll be officially posting wine tasting notes on Grape and Grain, the wine and beer blog for Stimmel's market. While I wait to be added as a site administrator for the blog, I thought I might as well cross-post my notes here. The theme of the tasting was "Around the World."

1. Faively Bourgogne 2005. (France/Burgundy; 100% Chardonnay) $21.99/bottle
The first thing I noticed about this very interesting (and good) white Burgundy was that it smells like movie popcorn, with a combination of toast and butter aromas. On the palate the wine is buttery, with sour apple fruit and just a hint of smoke and minerality. Good acidity for pairing with food.

2. Chateau Gigognan Clos du Roi Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2003 (France/Rhone). $49.99/bottle
This red is very different for a CdP, but if you give it a chance I think you'll like it. Rich and full-bodied, with flavors of black olive and brine followed by pronounced black licorice on the long finish.

3. Justin Orphan 2005 (California/Paso Robles; blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, petite verdot, and petite syrah) $24.99/bottle
Simple but good, with bright, ripe cherry fruit and lots of vanilla. A bit on the oaky side for my taste, but lots of people will love this easy-to-drink red.

4. Planeta Syrah 2004 (Italy/Sicily) 39.99/bottle
Very nice wine. Loads of black currant and dark berry fruit with well-integrated herb, black pepper, and salt/blood flavors. With efforts like this, it's no surprise that Sicily has recently begun to get international attention for its wines.

5. Numanthia Termes 2005 (Spain/Toro; Tinta de Toro) $39.99/bottle
Wow. Robert Parker gave this wine 94 pts., and I think he's right [edited: it was the 2004 vintage that RP awarded 94 pts]. Deep, rich, lush, and powerfully tannic, this very young red is already elegant and smooth--hedonism in a bottle. Still, I'd wait five, even ten+ years to drink it. If you would ever consider spending $40 on a wine, make it this one (which easily drinks like a $100+ wine).

6. Tait Ballbuster 2006 (Australia; 80% shiraz, 10% cabernet sauvignon, 10% merlot) $17.99/bottle
Very ripe, concentrated dark berry fruit, layered with earth, minerality, and a touch of oak. More complex, and more enjoyable, than the average Aussie "fruit bomb."

7. Churchill Vintage Porto 1997 (Portugal) 76.99/bottle
I don't usually fall in line with "expert" opinions, but the Wine Spectator's description of blackberry and lead pencil are right on. Richly-textured, dense, and lightly sweet, with still-discernable tannins.