TN: An (almost) noteless idyll

Sometimes, it’s nice to put away the tasting notes for a while. Wine enjoyment is about many things other than the analytical, and it’s important to remember that (such remembrance is often catalyzed by a good glass of something-or-other). Furthermore, a brief hiatus from notation can help recharge the analytical batteries.

So, with a few days and nights on the Jersey Shore with the family, I managed to taste –well, drink – a dozen (maybe more) wines of which I have nothing other than the most general impressions. There was a pleasant Spanish white blend that included some verdejo, and then a varietal verdejo that carried a rather nasty burnt grass streak. A Prá Soave Classico Superiore was soft but ultimately forgettable, while a Sicilian grillo was full of lusty – if alcoholic – and sun-drenched lemon. There was a rather dramatic Slovenian rebula (a/k/a ribolla gialla), as well; possibly the only wine on which I’d taken a comprehensive tasting note. And quite a few others I’ve forgotten.

On the red side of things, there was less variability, but also less excitement. A Rosso Cònero was full-fruited and tasty, while a corked Taluau 2004 St-Nicholas-de-Bourgueil was followed by another with zippy green fruit; both were better than a too-soft Filliatreau 2004 Saumur-Champigny “La Grande Vignolle.” Others fade into distant memory.

From there, the family festivization moved to Philly. A classically South Philadelphian Italian red sauce joint offered a Fazi Battaglia 2003 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico (you know, the one in the fish-shaped bottle), which was overripe, and a Duca di Salaparuta “Corvo” 2002 Rosso, showing the usual thudding nero d’avola.

(The careful reader will notice that the notes are getting more specific. That’s the aforementioned battery-recharging. I don’t just make these things up, you know.)

Finally, over dinner at a suburban BYO, it was time to once again re-engage those briefly-dormant notation skills and take two wines to task:

Guillemot-Michel 2000 Mâcon-Villages (Mâcon) – Sweet chanterelle and delicate honeydew with a touch of botrytis-like candied apricot. Sweetly-pretty, and prettily off-dry, but surprisingly agile moving from apéritif to table. Lovely right now, though those who want more complexity (and are willing to sacrifice some fruit in the process) will want to keep waiting.

Banti 2000 Morellino di Scansano Riserva “Ciabatta” (Tuscany) – Dying under the weight of its wood, which is a bit surprising as there’s not that much of it. But sangiovese doesn’t always handle wood that well, and here’s an example of what happens: nasty toast and char aromas dominate some rather harsh black fruit. Better at release, pretty unpleasant now.

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