Tuesday, March 31, 2009

TN: 2005 Cayuse God Only Knows Grenache

If there ever could be a wine that can overwhelm yet be so restrained and understated, this is that wine. The best analogy I can come up with is this...You have just scored general admission seats to your all-time favorite band's gig (for me that would be Pearl Jam or Alice 'n Chains or Iron Maiden). You camp out a couple days in advance so you'll be one of the first people in and secure your rightful spot in front of the stage. The anticipation from everyone in the arena is palpable--we are about to have our ears drums blown out! The band finally saunters on stage without electric guitars and a huge drum kit but with acoustic guitars and a single drum. They announce tonight will be a special "unplugged" concert. You can tell everyone in the crowd is a bit shocked but once the show begins they are blown away by how powerful, amazing, and moving a stripped down "unplugged" show can be. that's how this wine made me feel.

A gorgeous meduim-dark red out of the bottle. Initial aromas of enriched red fruits, an ever so hint of smoke, rocks, and a floral component that I could never quite pin down. So lush and smooth in the mouth with crushed strawberries, raspberry ganache, and a little tobacco to leaven out the sweetness. All components seemed to be in perfect harmony. I can't mention enough how luxurious yet understated the mouth feel was, simply intriguing. It finishes very strong with some cocoa notes and sweet spice. I think this wine will continue to develop more complex flavors and undertones as it ages. 95 pts.

Friday, March 27, 2009

TN: 2003 Gorman Winery Cabernet Sauvignon The Bully

The 5th bottle of the inaugural vintage of "The Bully" for me and by the far most disappointing. Everything seems kosher on the nose as it exhibits some typical cab-ness...cassis liqueur, hints of spicy oak, and black cherries. It lost me on the palate so fast I thought I was back in Rome drunk on the metro at 2am. For me, there can certainly be good herbaceous (Cayuse Camaspelo as an example) but this went straight to the dark side, my lord. There was so much eucalyptus in my mouth that I felt like Fuzzy the koala wondering if these damn humans were going to feed me anything else. This taste detracted so much from the wine that I (yes, a greedy little wino) couldn't even attempt to finish the bottle. Luckily, my less discriminating friend was there to lap up the rest of the bottle. 84pts.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

TN: 2003 Betz Besoleil Grenache

Popped and poured this Betz version of a CdP (84% Alder Springs grenache and 16% Red Mountain syrah). More red than blue in the glass and more red than blue in the mouth--which is what you'd expect but RM syrah can be powerful. Ripe with aromas of cherries, strawberries, earth, liqueur, and even some herbs. Medium bodied showing a nice plushness from the almost sweet tasting strawberries and rocky minerality. The only knock from me would be a bit of heat on the finish which dissipates rather quickly. Not as animalistic or primal as his 2006 but very well made. 92pts.

TN: 2001 Dunham Syrah Columbia Valley

Forgot I had this puppy and had a sensational experience with an 03 last week so figured I'd see if this was up for the challenge. It was showing some signs of life slipping away but still had enough chutzpah (not exactly fluent in Yiddish) to satisfy for a Sunday night. Still deep, dark purple wafting up aromas of vanilla oak and blueberry. Surprised by the sneak attack of some tannin but the ripe fruit compensates and balances it out. Not a particularlylong finish but satisfactory nonetheless. Good relaxing sunday night wine. 89ts

Friday, March 20, 2009

TN: 2003 Dunham Syrah Columbia Valley

Yes, it's a bit ironic that I'm "Washington Wine Guy" yet have neglected to even mention or write a note about a Washington wine (especially considering it's WA Wine Month). Just haven't had a chance to drink one lately until last night. Celebrated a big Husky wine with a very nice bottle of Dunham Syrah. I should have some juicy tidbits about a couple of newcomers in the next day or two, so stay tuned!

Popped and poured this baby and it was cruising from the get go. Deep purple in the glass with aromas of ripe blue fruit, meat, spices, and an ever so slight hint of vanilla oak. This was much more ready and approachable than the bottle I had a couple years ago. Lush on the palate with tangible density, ripe fruit, and smooth acidity. A nice lingering finish left me thirsty for another bottle. 91 pts.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Chablis Offline with friends at Cafe Campagne

Thanks to everyone who braved the actuality of spending time with me in an enclosed space. Terrific night at Cafe Campagne with great wines, food and company. Everyone brought a bottle of Chablis (Phil and Damon brought two). I'm sure some purists consider us baby killers but what's a non trust fund baby going to do? I'm a fairly new Chablis-head so this was especially a kick ass experience for me to have the opportunity to drink ten or so different Chablis. I came away even more obsessed than I went in. Here are some brief notes:

N.V. Chauvet Champagne Brut -- yeasty, tasty (brief enough?)

N.V. José Michel & Fils Champagne Brut Pinot Meunier -- Travis picked this out. Pear, bright, energetic, pretty good.

2007 Vincent Dauvissat (René & Vincent) Chablis 1er Cru La Forest-- What a wine to kick off the festivities. Virgin tight but oh so good. Bracing, structured,minerals, citrusy, stone fruits. Will only improve. Can't imagine PC could get much better. Daaaaammmnnnn good.

2006 Vincent Dauvissat (René & Vincent) Chablis 1er Cru La Forest -- A little creamier and rounder than the 07. Nice minerality with a fatness (in a good way) that coats the mouth. Darn good.

2006 Domaine William Fevre Bougros Cote Bouguerots Grand Cru -- Wow, dense with a great mouthfeel. Tart apple, pear, crushed rocks, even a bit nutty. Damn good.

2006 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume Vignoble de Vaulorent -- A step below the 07 Dauvissat but very good as well. Minerals, stone fruits, decent acid but just a touch light. Good.

2000 Domaine William Fevre Chablis Grand Cru Grenouilles -- Very honeyed in color. Definite smell of creamed Sherry and hazelnut. Damon's call of carmelization was a good observation. Round, creamy with good depth. For me, seemed to be at its peak. Good.

2000 Domaine William Fevre Chablis 1er Cru Montee de Tonnere -- Seemed to have more life than the 2000 Grand Cru. Good verve, minerality, acid. Surprised at how young it tasted. Very good.

2003 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses -- Most everyone was shocked at how good this was. Not that everyone was expecting it to be bad, but with 03 being so hot i think we figured it would be overripe. Not at all. Firm acidity, pear, ripe apple with a hint of creaminess. Pretty good.

2005 Domaine Pinson Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos -- A little toasty. Possessed some oakiness. Tasted kind of like a New World Chard to me. Rich, round, fatty. Good.

2004 Domaine William Fevre Les Clos Grand Cru -- Miles to go for this baby. Just as good as I remembered it from a year ago. Soapstone, iodine, sea salt, lemon peel, and a tasty richness that coats your mouth. So good.

2006 Jean Marc Brocard Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru -- My WOTN. Power packed sucker with nose of exotic stone fruits, oyster shell, minerals, star fruit. Rich and pliant with citrus zest, ripe pear, honey, tart melon. Will continue to get better. So f'ing good.

2006 Dönnhoff Norheimer Dellchen Riesling Großes Gewächs Trocken -- Dale and I bought some of these recently so figured it was a good time to try one. Don't remember too much except that it had all the makings of a spatlese on the nose but was very dry on the palate. Loved that. Can't wait to drink more.

2005 Bitouzet-Prieur Volnay 1er Cru Taillepieds -- Phil was gracious enough to bring this. A nose that Oregon Pinot could only hope for. I only had one drink of this as two chicks stopped by our table and as I was next to them, I felt obligated to give them my wine. Never make that mistake again! Everyone was diggin' on it and when we found out it was only $45...Red Burg may be worth it after all.

2005 K Vinters Wells Vineyard -- I brought this and was so disappointed. I had been taken aback by this wine a year ago and now it smelled like the back of an airplane in the early 80's -- smoky. So smoky that I couldn't get much fruit from it at all. Not sure it it's done or what.

Monday, March 9, 2009

TN: 2005 Saxum Bone Rock Syrah

Popped this herculean wine Saturday night to celebrate my Dawgs' Pac-10 Championship. After several bottle of Saxum, one cannot imagine that these wines can get any better or top the previous bottle but that would be wrong. Just plain wrong, my friend. This was a powerhouse from the get go. Resisting my natural urge to pop and pour, I opened this beauty and let it sit for over an hour. Immediate aromas are intoxicating with the likes of black cherry, kirsch, a little gaminess, five spice, tobacco, and a smack of pure blue fruit. Massively dense on the palate but somehow surprisingly seems light on its feet. Gushes of concentrated black raspberries and boysenberries balance out the heat to give you a delectable sweetness without ever losing its laser focused, even scary elegance. Bacon, some smoky oak, and hints of gaminess further harmonize the scale of sweet and savory. A lingering and thought provoking finish leads me to the belief that Saxum is easily one of the top three of four Rhone Rangers in the US. Monumental stuff! 97pts.

Friday, March 6, 2009

TN: 2006 McPrice Myers Grenache L'Ange Rouge

Popped and poured myself a glass of this tasty little vixen. It immediately reminded me of exactly how it performed the last time I drank this almost a year ago. Kind of tart with a bitter aftertaste, so I decided to let it sit for at least an hour. Talk about a transformation. It went from library schoolmarm to school girl stripper. No more tartness and no more bitter aftertaste, just silky smooth goodness. Loads of strawberries, raspberry liqueur, and ripe cherries. Medium bodied with a tangible amount of weight on the palate, this baby is just Sam Perkins good (Big Smooth to those of us in Seattle). The alcoholic and tannic bite of a finish previously was replaced with a luxuriously sweet finish with this bottle. Just needed some time to settle down. At $32, I'm going to buy more. 93 pts.