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Cristia - Chateauneuf du Pape
Introduces itself with a whiff of volatile acidity which blows off in time to unveil mocha and rhubarb pie notes, hinting at what?s to come in the palate. The second this entered my mouth, I knew it was Chateauneuf time! Holy lord if the plum sauce, hearty fig and garrigue didn'tsing a Southern Rhone tune all the way! While it was a medium bodied wine that kicked off a bit of heat and didn'texactly finish w/ a resounding thud, this was a top notch effort that admirably concealed the majority of its alcohol & structure
Melville - Syrah Verna's Vineyard
I am a huge proponent of Melville Syrah and Chardonnay, and this is one of those New World wines that became more and more provocative with exposure to air. Very rich and full of heady fruit, notions of bacony toast, raspberry jam, licorice and dark chocolate push their way through the palate via plush, creamy textures. Spice elements emerged in time, hinting that short-term cellaring will reveal more nuance & complexity
Ridge - Geyserville
I was not a fan of this wine (and believe I was the only chap at the table that found it displeasing). The scents of brandy macerated fruit and hint of madeirization (I didn'tthink this was oxidized per se, but it hinted at the 'cooked? profile which I do not enjoy) was not compelling to me in the slightest. While the texture of the wine was quite round, I found this effort to be blowzy, amorphous and lacking any sense of precision. I am choosing not to pan the wine, considering it is a profile issue (and one of which others can certainly enjoy) but I cannot consider at anything more than acceptable. The somewhat clipped finish sealed the deal for me.
Donnhoff - Schlossbockelheimer Felsenberg Riesling Spatlese
Another taut, supremely constructed German Riesling that absolutely demands patience. By patience, I don'tjust mean cellaring, I also mean focus. This wine is so subtle and intricate that it gently sneaks up on you w/ complexities that certainly could be over-looked (ie: Didier Daguneau Pur Sang). A slow, quiet eruption of aromas began to brew, calling to mind thoughts of spring flowers, honeysuckle, ginger, quince and tea leaves. The gossamer frame has a pristine clarity and offers brilliant, focused flavors of apricots, petrol and crushed rocks. A slow seduction that overwhelms the taster with a sense of harmony, intrigue and potential?consumers with passion and patience will be rewarded
Roches Neuves - Saumur-Champigny Blanc
Thierry?s reds have garnered most of the attention, but his pure Chenin Blancs are certainly worthy of press as well. In line w/ his explosively fragrant Cabernet Francs, this young Chenin exudes a perfumed of green tea, paraffin, ginger, baked apples and quince. There is an easy generosity to the ripe fruit in the mouth that I adored immediately. While the wine is currently forward & almost lavish for a young Chenin, the finish hints at an imbedded stoniness to come w/ additional bottle age. Could use a touch more length, but is still an excellent expression for a young white Loire.