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tasting notes

Hounds, unreleased

[esj bassetti]Edmunds St. John 2001 Syrah Bassetti (San Luis Obispo County) — The reason I work out: I want to be old enough, one day, to say that I’ve had an ESJ made from syrah or the Southern Rhône grapes that was over the hill. Leather and dried blackberry jerky, powdery soil, firm structure, but mostly just about force without excess. Let it age. (7/16)

Mary Lincoln

Dashe 1999 Zinfandel Todd Brothers Ranch (Alexander Valley) — Some of these are fruitier than others, some are more resolved than others, but they all have this in common: dirt and a hard-edged structure. This is one of the gentler, more aromatically generous versions, and it’s eminently approachable. (7/16)

Drawing out a blanc

[tablas creek blanc]Tablas Creek 2004 “Côtes de Tablas” Blanc (Paso Robles) — Dried honey, wax, amber, a bit thuddy (but then what does one expect from these grapes, in Paso, at age 12…even from Tablas Creek?), but elements of this wine have certainly rewarded aging. If you like it prettier, drink it earlier. I like both. (8/16)

Fréd, you’re late

[trimbach cfe vt]Trimbach 2001 Riesling “Cuvée Frédéric Émile” “Vendanges Tardives” (Alsace) — Soft steel dripping with dewsparkle and the sweet nectar of honeysuckle. Beautifully balanced, precise, yet the sweetness is a bigger factor than the heft at the moment. More age? Perhaps. (7/16)


[trimbach 2001s]Trimbach 2001 Pinot Gris “Réserve Personnelle” (Alsace) — Narrowed to a metal spine with a pear-scented patina, brushed by a passing fennel frond. (7/16)

Soft rock

[trimbach 2001s]Trimbach 2001 Gewurztraminer “Cuvée des Seigneurs de Ribeaupierre” (Alsace) — Tepid. Tinned lychee, light minerality, vapid rose. What happened here? (7/16)

Drink up, or Elsa

[hacienda elsa]Hacienda Elsa 2003 Bierzo (Northwest Spain) — Mencia’s dried flowers on full display, with an only semi-leaden thud of overweighted structure. But while there’s more resolution in store, I think the fruit will die before that’s finished. As European 2003s go, this is one of the good ones. (8/16)

Sorbée course

Vouette & Sorbée Champagne Extra Brut “fidèle” (Champagne) — Disgorged 9 October 2013. One of my absolute favorite Champagnes of all time, this is so vinous and delicately red-fruited, yet retains the essential dancing vivacity of Champagne rather than stomping into dark-fruited meunier-land. Brilliant, flawless, and the absolute best partner for Vacherin Mont d’Or you could ever possibly imagine. (7/16)

Verset, can you see?

[verset cornas]Verset 1999 Cornas (Rhône) — Beautiful. Elegant. Stunning. Fine particulate wild boar aroma, deep and ancient earth, supple structure providing just enough grip but yielding to any sophisticated exploration. The most elegant Cornas I’ve ever tasted. I repeat: beautiful. (8/16)

Verset 2000 Cornas (Rhône) — Corked. Arrrrrgh! (8/16)