Louis Tête 2003 Beaujolais-Villages (Beaujolais) – Very clearly showing the fundamental flaw of the vintage, which is not extreme overripeness but a ponderous weight paired with both fruit and structure that are not nearly as ripe as the gravity suggests. Even hot-climate gamay, fully ripened, would at least have boisterous fruit. (8/11)
Cheveau 2007 Beaujolais-Villages “Or Rouge” (Beaujolais) – Cherries and apples, with the succulent tang that characterizes the more straightforward genre of Beaujolais, the most ardent fans of which are much more enraptured by the complexities of the crus these days. But there’s a lot of value in these deft, well-turned short stories…chief among them the incredible cut and barb they provide in counterpoint to food. (9/10)
JM Burgaud 2007 Beaujolais-Villages Rosé “Rosez!” (Beaujolais) – Indifferent, watery pink fruit with a flat granite wall about ¾ of the way through. Boring. (5/08)
JM Burgaud “Château de Thulon” 2006 Beaujolais-Villages (Beaujolais) – More biting than previous vintages, with a sharp zing to the zippy, underripe cherry, raspberry, and cranberry fruit that carries just a hint of floral complexity. It’s unmistakably Beaujolais, but it needs food to tame it; no cocktail wine, this. (5/08)
JM Burgaud “Château de Thulon” 2006 Beaujolais-Villages (Beaujolais) – Basically a bottled version of why one drinks Beaujolais, with the pretty, friendly, fresh fruit upfront and a timeworn gravel foundation underneath. Nothing too structured or firm, just pure essence of…well, Beaujolais. Sometimes, notes need to be recursive to make any sense. (12/07)
Louis Tête 2005 Beaujolais-Villages (Beaujolais) – Very light, but a boisterous little fruit bomb nonetheless, crisp and mildly volatile, with a keening raspberry/cherry core. (8/07)
Burgaud “Château de Thulon” 2005 Beaujolais-Villages (Beaujolais) – Sappy red berries with cedar, pine nuts and buoyant acidity; this wine lives amongst sopranos, and though it sings quietly among them, it sings with appealing purity. Fun stuff. (11/06)
Texier 2003 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc “Vieilles Vignes” (Rhône) – Fruity pear, apricot and white peach with a vaguely spicy ginger soda component. It’s not fat, though it is slightly chubby, and there’s a bright and fresh-faced balance that defies the vintage’s reputation. Good, highly drinkable stuff. (9/06)
Clairette, bourboulenc and grenache blanc. Web: http://www.adonkeyandgoat.com/texier/home.htm.
Kanu 2004 Chenin Blanc (Stellenbosch) – Simple, off-dry melon and filtered stone fruit with the faintest suggestion of wax. Quaffing wine. (9/06)
97% chenin blanc, 3% chardonnay, 6.7 g/l residual sugar. Alcohol: 13.5%. Closure: cork. Importer: Cape Classics. Web: http://www.kanu.co.za/.
Pieropan 2004 Soave Classico (Veneto) – Very tight at first opening, and only coming into its fabulously brittle aromatic maturity with an hour of aeration. Mixed rocks and dried white flowers dominate this wine, which straddles some sort of line between Teutonic and Italian with flair and masculine style. (9/06)
90% garganega, 10% trebbiano di Soave. Alcohol: 12%. Closure: cork. Importer: Empson. Web: http://www.pieropan.it/.
Sella & Mosca 2004 Vermentino di Sardegna “La Cala” (Sardinia) – Wet garden vegetables and solid, albeit monolithic, yellow-green citrus. There’s a lot of heft and a not insignificant alcoholic presence here, which is slightly less than ideal for a flavorful but medium-bodied white wine. Still, the flavors are appealing. (9/06)
Alcohol: 11.5%. Importer: Palm Bay. Web: http://www.sellaemosca.com/.
Jadot 2005 Beaujolais-Villages (Beaujolais) – Hard-edged red cherry and raspberry with a dark, sun-burnt gravel base. There’s little complexity or fun, yet the wine is varietally-correct. It’s the overstructuring that kills the sprightly gamay verve, but one could certainly do worse in a pinch. (9/06)
100% gamay. Alcohol: 12.5%. Closure: cork. Importer: Kobrand. Web: http://www.louisjadot.com/.
Sella & Mosca 2002 Cannonau di Sardegna “Riserva” (Sardinia) – Boisterous strawberry bubblegum fruit, with an exploding tapioca texture and lots of obvious but fun spice…some of it wooded. (9/06)
Cannonau is a synonym for grenache. Alcohol: 13.5%. Closure: cork. Importer: Palm Bay. Web: http://www.sellaemosca.com/.
Jean David 2004 Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages Séguret (Rhône) – Thick, dense leather and blueberry compote with a dry, mistral-swept mouthfeel and a surplus of lingering Provençal herbs. Highly structured and ungenerous. This needs time, but I wonder if there’s enough non-structural extract to reward extended aging. (9/06)
62% grenache, 17% carignan, 8% counoise, 6% cinsault, 4% mourvèdre, 3% syrah. Alcohol: 14%. Closure: cork. Importer: Violette. Web: http://www.domaine-jean-david.com/.
TJ Wines “Jonesy” Old Tawny Port (Australia) – Akin to pedro ximénez, though perhaps without quite so much prune. It’s painfully sweet, showing overripe, baked and caramelized blended sugars and a dark raisin concentrate character that speak of long, old-barrel aging. The acidity is a bit volatile and spiky. This is really much more reminiscent of one of the Aussie liqueur muscats or “tokays” than its authentic Portuguese namesake. (9/06)
Alcohol: 18%. Closure: screwcap. Importer: Grateful Palate. Web: http://www.kellermeister.com.au/.