**UPDATE** Tasting Notes

Latest entries include offerings at various price points from the Finger Lakes, Napa Valley, Burgundy, the Southern Rhone, Washington State, and Corsica. Cheers!

WHITE 9/26/12 2011 Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling, Columbia Valley (11% abv., $9, Safeway): Moderately off-dry with a residual sugar of 2.23 g/100ml, this simple riesling is a blend of grapes from throughout the Columbia Valley. Pale yell0w-gold in the glass, this wine offers aromas of talc, white flowers and citrus. In the mouth, crisp acids surround flavors of lime, stone fruit, and wet gravel; its finish is light but lingering and refreshing. Conclusion: A versatile quaffer – sunny patio gatherings, aperitifs, light meals – and a great value.

WHITE 9/26/12 2006 Louis Latour Puligny-Montrachet “Les Truffieres” 1er cru, Cote d’Or (13.5% abv., $44, Wines Til Sold Out): A deep, brilliant, unexpectedly gold color, this wine is complex on the nose, a slight minerality accompanied by aromas of butterscotch, confectioners sugar, and white raisins; all of which left me wondering if it was starting to oxidize. In the mouth, the fruit, tinged with vanilla, seemed secondary to herbs, spices and some overt oak. There was a mouth-coating viscosity and a tinge of cloves. Conclusion: Not sure what to make of this, to be honest. If pressed, I would have to say that it was suffering from a touch of premox. And while I don’t want to blow through the stash I acquired, I might have to pour another one of these soon for further assessment.

RED 9/27/12 2009 Yves Leccia Domaine d’ E Croce Patrimonio Rouge (13.5% abv., $35, Kermit Lynch Wine Merchants): Light garnet in color with a soft ruby rim, this blend of nielluccio (90%) and grenache (10%) opens with a distinctive barnyard and Band-aid funk, which slowly softens to a savory, earthy mix of candied, dried fruit and sweet spice and herbs. On the palate there are flavors of licorice and dried fruit, herbaceousness and a hint of minerality. After several hours it becomes an entirely new wine, with aromas and flavors of cherry and berries, iodine and iron, with mouth-coating fine tannins and mouth-watering acidity. Conclusion: this is a dinner wine that begs for something substantial, perhaps grilled beef and a side of spinach to match up with its notes of iron. Decant for two-to-three hours to let this exceptional wine come alive. (Note: there is some disagreement still about the nature of nielluccio. Some say it is indigenous to Corsica, while others claim it is a sangiovese clone brought from Genoa. Regardless, it’s worth getting to know.)

RED 10/20/12 2010 Red Newt Cellars Cabernet Franc Glacier Ridge Vineyards, Finger Lakes (14.5% abv., $45, Empire State Cellars): Brilliant garnet-to-rose in the glass, this cab franc offers mild aromas of softly perfumed flowers, fresh earth, and bright herbs. This is an intense wine, with acids, tannins, alcohol, and fruit all in balance. Flavors of red and black berries, herbs, wet stones and vanilla all play together deliciously, all the way through a long finish. Conclusion: an elegant, not insubstantial wine, impressive from start to finish. Will marry well with most meals, but can be enjoyed all on its own. Share with friends if necessary.

RED 11/4/12 2008 Conn Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford, Napa Valley (15% abv., $60, Winery): Deep, opaque garnet leading to intense aromas of cassis, cedar, black cherry, vanilla, and hints of oak. Except for the fine, velvety tannins, everything about this young wine is big, with the flavors mimicking the nose, with the addition of cherry cola and sweet spice, and a long-lingering finish. Conclusion: This small production wine (200 cases; available only at winery or through their wine club) is everything a Napa cabernet should be. A few years will pass before I tap another one. Of course, with only one left in the cellar, I’m kicking myself for not buying more.

RED 11/8/12 2008 Domaine du Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape cuvée reservée (14% abv., $50, Solano Cellars): Opaque, almost purple, with a garnet rim, this CDP opens with a funk but calms after a few hours in the decanter to offer aromas of flowers and damp earth with savory undertones. Intense on the palate but balanced, with flavors of plum, tobacco, fresh cedar, and herbs, this is a structured, almost elegant wine. Satisfying but not as impressive as I was hoping it would be. Conclusion: while certainly drinkable now, this wine needs a few more years in the cellar before it peaks. After that, its longevity is anybody’s guess.

RED 11/9/12 2008 Tudal Family Winery Napa Valley Cuvee (14.5% abv., $20, Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant): This blend of petite sirah, zinfandel, and malbec is redolent with aromas of red berries, black cherry, cedar and damp earth. In the mouth things expand to include hints of cocoa, sweet spice, and a slight herbaceousness. While the tannins are fine and mouth-coating, they are nudged aside by the alcohol, which can’t seem to find a place to sit down. Conclusion: Good balance between the fruit and acid, but the combo of the slightly sweet zin and the insistent PS tannins creates an almost cloying effect. Toss in the awkward alcohol and you’re left, ultimately, with a noticeably unbalanced wine. While drinkable, it’s nothing more than a good Monday or Tuesday bottle. Drinks barely up to its price point, and definitely not beyond.

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