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anderson valley

Copain, no gain

[copain]Copain 2014 Chardonnay “Tous Ensemble” (Anderson Valley) — Confident, bright, straightforward. Slightly underripe white apricot and pollen. Good structure, well-balanced. (5/16)

I Londer as I wander

Londer 2007 Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley) – 14.4%. Were I one of those fruit-concentrate California winemakers who screech “geosmin!” at the slightest hint of earthiness, followed by “flaw!” immediately afterwards, I’d be inclined to do a lot of screeching at this wine, which is full of mushroomy, loamy earthen qualities. There’s some fruit, yes, but it’s baked-pie darkness subsumed by the soil and its own mostly fungal fruits. Do I like it? Yes, a fair bit, but it’s in no way impressive or special. (2/12)


Navarro 2006 Dry Gewürztraminer (Anderson Valley) – Some peach, some almond, some lychee bark, some structure. Some, some, some. That, to me, is the story of so many of Navarro’s wines…which I always like, but rarely think are what they could be. (6/11)

Together forever

Copain 2007 Pinot Noir “Tous Ensemble” (Anderson Valley) – Berries in multi-bushel surplus, cut with structural tannin and just barely enough acidity, but still teetering on the edge between compression and explosion. Not too big for California pinot, with some promising stuff just perceptible within the foundation, but it is big. (1/11)

Boont cut

Anderson Valley Brewing Company “Boont” Amber Ale (Anderson Valley) – Somewhat fulsome, but also somewhat thin in the middle where it counts, and the only thing that’s never in question is that it’s bitter in a raw hazelnut sort of way. A good, not great, beer with character but without commensurate appeal, at least for me. The intrinsically embittered might find more here.(11/10)

Over Londer

Londer 2007 Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley) – Starts with the weird cola/candy thing that used to mar so many California pinots, but that has never been particularly common from the Anderson Valley. So that’s weird. It does eventually round into a sort of form, layering some metallic soils and a still-sweetish red fruit together, but while this is happing the wine flattens and loses some of its life. Not bad, but there’s still work to be done. (10/10)

Oh, brother

Anderson Valley Brewing Company “Brother David’s” Double Abbey Style Ale (California) – Mildly thick and a little herbal, which is a new experience in this style. A little spicy. A little insufficient. (4/10)

Anderson Valley Brewing Company “Brother David’s” Triple Abbey Style Ale (California) – Heady and heavy, with the requisite spice and liqueur-like tendencies, but lacking much other than the bare fact of each. (4/10)

Estate, taxing

Roederer Estate Brut (Anderson Valley) – That this wine seems to grow a shade more leaden every time I taste it might be my imagination, or maybe it’s the case; there’s no way to go back and taste young Roederer Estates from ten years ago, of course, and aged versions won’t settle the issue. It’s good, flavorful stuff, leaning more on its weight and darker fruit characteristics than it would from the soils of Champagne (where even the black-fruited wines rarely carry this much raw density), but all that weight comes at a cost: there’s little deftness and decreasing life. If this is a stylistic choice, rather than just the voyages of my palate, then here’s a vote for an alternative path. I still like the wine, but the similarly-priced alternatives exist in quantity. (2/10)


[bottle]Roederer Estate Brut (Anderson Valley) – This is the most reliably attractive Champagne-style sparkling wine from the U.S., until one is willing to spend a good deal more, and has been for so long it’s almost boring to repeat the recommendation. But why not? Good work should be rewarded. No, it’s not an exciting wine, but it delivers the classic blended-Champagne tastes amped up to about 15, as one would except from California (even from a cool-ish appellation), yet never heavy or ponderous. No, it won’t make you turn away from Champagne if price is no object. And if it is? The appeal starts to mount. (4/09)

The Roederer less travelled

Roederer Estate Brut (Anderson Valley) – Fairly dense (or perhaps wee-heavy would be a better descriptor…if you’re Scottish), showing a pleasant mix of ripe lemon, ripe apple, and gentle intrusions of strawberry and raspberry. Lees are present, but submissive. This is very primary, but I remain of the opinion that this is about the best of the entry-level domestic bubblies. A second bottle is a little heftier and more red-fruited, which improves it for my palate. (11/08)

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