Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Delaunay Pouilly-Fuisse

Delaunay et ses Fils
Pouilly-Fuisse, Bourgogne, France
$17.14 -- Spec’s, Austin, TX

Color: Light limey yellow
Nose: Lime, sunflower
Body: Light to medium
Front: Lemony
Middle: Apricot, butter
Back: Wood, orange
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Cork

This is a layer cake of chardonnay loveliness. There's way more going on in the palate than I can describe. Sometimes it's like opening a closet in your grandmother's house, the sweet smell of nostalgia and the elusive mystery of years of some sort of something making itself known, unforgettable, but not identifiable either. Sometimes it's like opening the door to your dad's old Corvette with the leather seats, the cracking dash, the years of exhilarated sweat and open windows. Cooking a delightful leek and cream sauce chicken dish gave me the excuse to open this one and now I can't believe I put 5 tablespoons of it into the pot.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tudal Napa Valley Cabernet

Tudal Family Winery
Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley
Napa, California
$24.84 -- Spec’s, Austin, TX

Color: Deep strawberry jam
Nose: Cherry, earth-after-rain, wet leather car door panels in the nose. The nose is really one of the best things about the wine
Body: Medium to full
Front: Tart cherries
Middle: Caramelly cedar
Back: Spice, coffee
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Cork

At this price, this is a sensational wine. It’s a blend of four different sources, including Oak Knoll grapes, and it’s got all the great stuff Napa is known for, but more old-world character than is common there. The fruit is noticeable up front, but then it gets Bordeauxy in the later stages of the palate. I’m having it with thin slices of cold mesquite-grilled sirloin left over from Austin Land and Cattle restaurant (which carries BV’s Tapestry by the glass, fantastically) while listening to Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, and it’s making for a great evening.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

La Crema Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

La Crema Winery
Pinot Noir
Sonoma Coast
Healdsburg, California
$19.95 -- Total Wine, Durham, NC

Color: Medium strawberry
Nose: Cherry, cassis
Body: Medium
Front: Cassis
Middle: Smoke
Back: Blueberry and cognac, cedar sawdust
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Cork

I've been spoiled lately, by virtue of drinking two of the best American Pinot Noirs I've ever had: Red Car's Amour Fou and Daedalus's Labyrinth. But this isn't bad--it's got earthy notes in it, a little smoky in the middle, which tempers the fruitiness beautifully. I like a little imbalance in my pinot, apparently, and this is as even-tempered as an IBM service representative. But it's also just as competent. I have a feeling that, like good service representatives, it's benefited from age; it certainly got better with about a half-hour of air.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Chateau de Barbe Blanche Bordeaux

Chateau de Barbe Blanche
Merlot, etc.
Cuvee Henri IV
Lussac St.-Emilion, Gironde, France
$19.95 -- Total Wine, Durham, NC

Color: Dark strawberry
Nose: Blueberry, mint
Body: Full
Front: Berries
Middle: Leather, clove
Back: Mocha, smoke, more berries
Burns clean?: Mostly
Cap: Cork

A couple of years ago I bought this wine and loved it. I put a few in the cellar and this one I wrote "2008" on at some wine-illuminated moment of planning for the future. It's a really great wine: complex, old-world, structured, and slow to reveal its beauties. After it had been open about 2 hours it finally relaxed into its full richness, where it stayed for a long time. So I think this one will age even more.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Mount Veeder Napa Cabernet

Mount Veeder Winery
Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley
Rutherford, California
$38.00 -- Total Wine, Durham, NC

Color: Dark ruby
Nose: Blackberry, eucalyptus
Body: Full
Front: Plums
Middle: Tannins, graphite, blackberries
Back: Mocha, cedar
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Cork

This is an extraordinary cabernet. It's complex, well structured, evolutionary, and balanced. I had a bottle of this as a guest on the Thompson Publishing expense account back in December 2007 and thought, this is a ludicrously good bargain they're getting--so I had no regrets about not ordering the Opus One. It still is a great deal, and it'll age plenty, I reckon. It benefited from decanting, this time, as compared to the last time I drank it.