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Icardi Langhe Pinot Nero Nej
The only thing I can assume after consuming 5 of the 6 bottles we purchased from Garagiste is that there must be tremendous bottle variation. With a 98 point review from Luca Maroni and a description of "velvety rich fruit and tea spice softly enchant the palate. Seductive and enthralling tannins perfectly balance the fragrance of fruit and a subtle scent of oak. Powerful and majestic, this bold Pinot finishes with refined elegance and a note of aged balsamic, cherry, and vanilla" we were excited to try this wine only to be let down again and again. Color is garnet transitioning to brown at the edge. Nicely perfumed upon decanting, but on the palate it is taut, thin, with sour raspberry, hints of black ollve, and a lot of raisin and sherry. It is neither powerful or majestic or elegant. The second day, it had little nose, less raisin and sherry, but remained virtually undrinkable. In all cases, we have poured this wine down the drain. A total waste of money.
Pegau - Chateauneuf du Pape (Cuvee Reservee)
Decanted 1hour. Fine color with only a little garnet at the edge. Very perfumed upon openng with quite a bit of brett (which blew off after about 40 minutes), leather, raw beef, bacon grease, forest duff, mushrooms, cigar smoke and anise. Medium bodied, elegant and expressive with fruit and acid in good harmony. This is not as big, meaty and dense as some other vintages e.g. 1989, which is perhaps my favorite, but beauifully crafted with black raspberry, interesting minerality, kirsch and white pepper. I think it comes up a tad short mid-palate'fruit may be on its way out?'but the finish is very, very long. Drunk over 2 hours with Thomas Keller's Slow Cooker Cassoulet (recommended BTW as an 'easy, rusticâ?� cassoulet), the wine was a perfect match. Pegau continues to be one of my favorite wines.
Zind-Humbrecht - Gewurztraminer Clos Windsbuhl
Strikingly perfumed with honey, apricot, rose, orange peel, brown butter and showing some petrol after 1.5 hours. Beautiful, bright golden straw color. Drinking like nectar of the gods. Rich with lychee, apricot, ripe peach, but also underlying minerality and slate. Almost perfect balance. A little sweetness, but with good acid. Long, long finish with petrol creeping in at the end. Was worried that maybe we'd kept this a bit too long, but it seems at its peak. One more bottle left and we're thinking about holding it for two or more years. One of the most memorable whites we've ever had.
Chapoutier - Hermitage Monier de la Sizeranne
After a 2 hour decant, consumed over 6 hours. Medium bodied, garnet edge to edge and very closed at first then opening up to mushrooms, spice, hints of cedar and linseed, tobacco, smoke, raspberries and limestone. Fruit is still there, but may be falling out. Requires some coaxing. Soft tannins. Raspberries, currants, tart cherry, minerality, some olive. Fully mature and past its prime.
Giacomo Conterno - Barolo (Cascina Francia)
After a 2 hour decant, and consumed over 6 hours. Still showing great, deep color after 27 years. Garnet at the edge. Nose is memorably complex mix of tar, mushrooms, forest floor, very earthy evolving to dark chocolate, ripe cherries, leather, hints of lavender and licorice. Well balanced, silky tannins. Lots of dark chocolate, raisins, bing cherry, becoming more supple, floral, candied with hints of roasted bone marrow.