Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A German, a Frenchie, and two Washingtonians walk into a bar...

Decided it was high time for a dudes night out with three friends and wine. Remember when you were 25 and dudes night out involved nachos and beer? Now, it involves bistro fare and wine geekery. Can't decide which is better!! On this night, it certainly was the wine guantlet we threw down. Dudes night needs to happen more often.

2007 Donnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling Spatlese
This blonde beauty was opened a full 24 hours in advance for a slow oxy. I always get nervous when my friend Dale tells me he is going to open or decant early. One previous decant too long later and he's still hearing it from me! No need to fret with the Donnhoff, as it was predictably brilliant. I say predictably because every Donnhoff I've drank has been terrific. Golden-hued with aromas of white peaches, honey, crushed rock, and a hint of marjoram. I didn't get any sweat, like Dale, but he once smelled sweat in a candy cane so what does he know! Kind of a sleeper on the palate as the wine initially has trouble delivering, but as it warmed up the flavor bomb was dropped laced with an acidic residue. Orchard fruits galore, chalk, and a healthy dose of minerality. A satisfyingly long, gripping finish had me wondering aloud why I don't drink riesling everyday. A touch dryer and this would have been 95 points easily. 93pts

1998 Pegau Cuvee Laurence
Popped and poured this 11 year old CdP. Ruby red with a slightly purple core. Gorgeous nose of cherry liqueur, underbrush (sous bois for you fancy shmancy boys), herbs, red licorice, and hints of game. Really chocolatey in the mouth. Think chocolate covered cherry liqueur rolled in roasted herbs. Medium in weight with notes of black cherries, asphalt, and coffee as well. A nice underlying structure and minerality give the wine nice length. I can see how some would consider the finish drying, but that didn't bother me. A beautifully aged CdP. 92pts

2006 Cayuse Syrah Armada Vineyard
Splash decanted this beast for about 15 mintues and then poured it back into the bottle. Before pouring it back into the bottle, I decided some sniffs were in order. Boy am I glad my right hand was firmly planted on the counter as the smell of this wine literally almost knocked me on my ass. 100 point nose for me. Stinky animal fur, rare game meat, cabbage, sour pickles, and even a little raspberry. I showed amazing restraint (generally not a word that describes me) and did not pour myself a glass, instead waiting until dinner. After a Donnhoff and an aged CdP, I was salivating as my glass was filled. Ruby red with flecks of purple, the nose continued its display of perfection. More meat, cabbage, fur, and bacon. I finally took a taste and realized this wine possesses some kind of crazed intensity that reminded me of Mike Singletary, eyes wide, circa 1985 and I was the trembling quarterback across the line of scrimmage. Every note and nuance seems to be magnified in this wine. The fruit and game meat, especially. The length leads me to believe this wine will age for years. As good as this wine is now, it needs some time to settle down but when it does--lookout! 96 pts

2007 Reynvaan Syrah In the Rocks Vineyard
Popped and poured. Dark purple exhibiting intoxicating aromas of blue and black fruit, bacon, violets, a smokiness, and an ever so small touch of funk. Some may consider this wine "Cayuse light" but I really think that is doing a disservice to Reynvaan. Yes, Christophe may be their wine consultant and the vineyards are close in proximity to Cayuses' but their wines are distinctly different. Super-concentrated ripe fruit and not as much carnivorality (Did I just add a new world to the Urban Dictionary?), plus a little more elegance. Full bodied with gobs of blackberries, black raspberries, meat, and a lushness that happily coats your mouth. A relatively big wine that basks in its ability to balance itself out with sticky tannins and a nice undercurrent of deftly applied woodsmoke. I can certainly see this wine getting better and that is scary. 94pts

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