Browse Tag


Let it Bea

Bea 2006 “San Valentino” (Umbria) – This is not beginner wine. Strappy, with glass shavings in the cat o’, tropical storm lashings of biting fruit somewhere between lavender and your darkest nightmare, with crushed flowers in coal dust tempura and high-speed injections of razor-wire acidity. Alive and elusive, with sharp teeth to bite and sever the arteries of the unaware. Reading back over this note, I’m reminded of the frequent reader complaint regarding similar verbiage: “yes, but did you like it?” Well, here’s the thing: the wine’s really not concerned with being liked, and in fact is about much more than that. It’s that, as much or even more than the usual organoleptic qualities, that I like. It’s not even that the wine’s an intellectual rather than sensual pleasure. In fact, I’d call it, at heart, a primarily psycho-cultural pleasure. (8/11)

Let it Bea

Bea 2007 “Santa Chiara” (Umbria) – Whitewashed fruit, dried into powder and then reconstituted into something utterly fascinating. It’s like drinking light in fine particulate form. Persists, persists, persists…and then it’s gone, clean and full of memory. Absolutely compelling. (5/10)

Chiara scuro

Bea 2006 “Santa Chiara” (Umbria) – Dark bronze, rather than orange, yet color aside all the signs of an orange wine are here: stiff tannin, a powerful mélange of spices, dried citrus rinds, and earthen characters, and an insistent…nay, demanding…mouthfeel. Served after a procession of red wines with a cheese course (varied stuff, too…goat, blue, salty & hard, triple-cream), and it performs brilliantly where any given white or red wouldn’t. An absolutely delicious, compelling, complex wine. (9/09)


[banner logo]Bea 2004 “Arboreus” (Umbria) – A tarnished brass sculpture of an orange/apple still life. A ringing broadsword slash of mineral-enhanced tannin. A pale orange sweep of a distant lighthouse, shrouded in mysterious fogs. A biting acid-wash swirled with naturally-derived organic dyes, still aromatic and of variable textures. In other words, this is my fourth or fifth taste of this wine, and I’m no closer to pinning it down than I was before. Endlessly fascinating, it is. (7/09)

Gotta Bea me

Bea 2004 “Arboreus” (Umbria) – Sweet spice. Round, pretty, and very complete. This is the wine version of Miles’ In a Silent Way, and that’s high praise from me. (7/09)

The Rust is yet to cum

Monastero Suore Cistercensi S.O. Trappiste 2007 “Coenobium Rusticum” (Lazio) – Placed on the “orange wine” spectrum, this is the fresh, lively fruit bomb with the heart of a proto-star. The metals on the surface are polished and nearly 100% reflective, the fruit within is intense and leans on crispness and an almost pineapple-like vivacity, and the wine’s acidity is far more prominent – though I can’t necessarily say it’s quantifiably greater – than is typical for wines of this ilk. Along ilk-ish lines, then, this wine laughs while others ponder, sings while others hum, and dances while others prepare for bed. It’s a wine with a sense of humor – now look at the name of the owner of the vines, and figure that one out – and while it’s more complex and contemplative than the vast majority of the world’s wines, within its cohort and context it is the joyful, playful fountain of youth. It gives you hugs, though it whispers philosophy in your ear while it does so. How can one not love this wine? (4/09)

Bea good

Monastero Suore Cistercensi S.O. Trappiste 2005 “Coenobium” (Lazio) – Deliciously weird; vivid and fetid, vibrant and snoozy, white and reddish. Every sip is something new, and while each of those new experiences isn’t always uncomplicatedly enjoyable, the overall impression is one of compelling, complex elusiveness…quite a feat for such a present wine. Everyone will not love, or even like, this. But I do. (9/08)

Aunt Bea

Bea 1998 Montefalco Secco “Superiore” (Umbria) – Very tannic, but aromatically lush with crushed lilacs. Lovely. Young. (9/08)