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boston wine expo


[Barolo vineyards]Tasting notes from the Boston Wine Expo. Note the usual caveats about speed-tasting in boisterous environments, where mistakes are rampant and palate fatigue is a factor. These are brief impressions, not full examinations; the phraseology reflects these conditions.

Part 3: Italy

( For the previous year’s notes, look here.)

Marchesi di Barolo 2000 Barolo Sarmassa (Piedmont) – Licorice espresso. Goregous and balanced. Still quite tannic and primary. Beautifully composed, with a long finish. Really, really nice. (2/08)

Fantino Conterno 2003 Barolo Sorì Ginestra (Piedmont) – Pretty, leafy, and floral, with elegant spice and gravel. It’s very tannic (no surprise), but that’s the only real point of imbalance. (2/08)

Paolo Scavino 1999 Barolo Carobric (Piedmont) – Overextracted in every way. Actively offensive. (2/08)

Silvio Grasso 2000 Barolo Ciabot Manzoni (Piedmont) – Gorgeous, silky tannin. Seductive and beautiful, maybe even a bit lush. More forward than I would expect at this stage. There’s a pleasant note of old cheese here, but there’s also a lot of wood. It’s a good wine, but it’s not really why I like Barolo. (2/08)

G&F Mascarello 2000 Barolo Monprivato (Piedmont) – Slightly sour, minty, and strange. Impossible to access right now, but I don’t much like what I’m tasting. (2/08)

Fratelli Giacosa 2006 Dolcetto d’Alba San Rocco (Piedmont) – Dirty and difficult. Very acidic. (2/08)

Fratelli Giacosa 2001 Barbaresco Rio Sordo (Piedmont) – Sweet, gentle spice. Cherries. Already mostly mature, which is kind of disturbing. But it’s not a bad drink. (2/08)

Antinori “Guado al Tasso” 2003 Bolgheri “Superiore” (Tuscany) – Plum-flavored Port. Over-concentrated. Tannic and dull as hell. What is the point of wines like this? (2/08)

Antinori 2004 “Tignanello” (Tuscany) – International to its core, showing big blueberry and blackberry, albeit with surprising acidity. The finish is short, and it’s far simpler than it should be at this price, but the balance is at least acceptable. If one must drink this sort of wine, this isn’t a bad one to try. (2/08)

Giampaolo Motta 2003 “Giorgio Primo” (Tuscany) – Acidic strawberry, some good raw materials, but massive, overwhelming tannin obliterates most of what’s drinkable. I can’t possibly assess something this out of balance. (2/08)

[tuscan vineyard]Castell’in Villa 1995 Chianti Classico “Riserva” (Tuscany) – Dense. Strawberry and herbal dirt, with dense (actually, thoroughly solid) tannin. A bit hard, but long. Needs continued aging. (2/08)

Brancaia 2003 “Il Blu” (Tuscany) – Sour wood, dill, weeds, and hints of red fruit. Very dense, but with what? The finish is long and dusty. (2/08)

Quintarelli 1998 Valpolicella Classico “Superiore” (Veneto) – Concentrated and dense. Black licorice, strawberry, black cherry, and a solid, graphite-textured structure. Gorgeous but still fairly repressed; this isn’t done going wherever it’s going. (2/08)

dal Forno Romano 2002 Valpolicella “Superiore” (Veneto) – Fabric softener texture and aroma. Dense, hard, and absolutely no fun at all. Red licorice dominates the finish. This is pretty awful. Thankfully, it’s neither famous nor expensive. Oh, wait… (2/08)

Anselmi 2004 Capitel Foscarino (Veneto) – Sulfurous and tight, but pretty nonetheless. Grapey, with lovely, floral fruit. The finish is short, and has some dry botrytis-like characteristics. Overall, the effect is a little odd. What’s going on at this property? (2/08)

Jermann 2005 “Were Dreams…” (Venezia Giulia) – Fig and peach. Nice acidity. Pure, sunny, clean, and short. It’s good, but it’s not all that interesting. (2/08)

Vivallis 2007 Pinot Grigio (Trentino) – Crisp, dry, and powdery. Melon, ripe Granny Smith apple. Simple, pure fruit. Absolutely not complex in any way. (2/08)

Vivallis 2007 Nosiola (Trentino) – Floral, with very good acidity. Fun, clean, and sandy. Again, very simple. (2/08)

Vivallis 2007 Traminer Aromatico (Trentino) – Light aroma, only the faintest suggestion of spice, and overt crispness. Uninteresting. (2/08)

Vivallis 2007 Valdadige Schiava (Veneto) – Sour strawberry, cranberry, and herbs. Difficult and weedy. Ick. (2/08)

Vivallis 2007 Lagrein (Trentino) – Dirt and tar. Exceedingly underripe. Horrid. (2/08)

The Spain truth

Tasting notes from the Boston Wine Expo. Note the usual caveats about speed-tasting in boisterous environments, where mistakes are rampant and palate fatigue is a factor. These are brief impressions, not full examinations; the phraseology reflects these conditions.

Part 4: Spain

Llicorella “Gran Nasard” 2002 Priorat “Mas Saura” (Cataluña) – Beautiful. Rocks fill a gorgeous, plummy, dark berry fruit salad with good acidity. Long and crisp, balanced throughout, and potentially stunning. (2/08)

Llicorella “Gran Nasard” 2003 Priorat “Gran Nasard” (Cataluña) – Juicy black fruit over stones. Dry rocks fill the mouth. Big, balanced, and good; even, perhaps a little bit of fun (in the context of Priorat). (2/08)

Ferrer Escoda “Bàrbara Forés” 2006 Terra Alta Blanc (Cataluña) – Drying apple skin tannin, medium-bodied, and crisp. And yet, still not interesting. (2/08)

Ferrer Escoda “Bàrbara Forés” 2005 Terra Alta “El Quintà” (Cataluña) – Some obtrusive oak, sticky peach, and flowers. Too thick, and lacking life. (2/08)

Ferrer Escoda “Bàrbara Forés” 2004 Terra Alta “Negre” (Cataluña) – Dense blueberry and lots of graphite-tinged structure. Good, but a little short. (2/08)

Ferrer Escoda “Bàrbara Forés” 2002 Terra Alta “Coma d’En Pou” (Cataluña) – Warm oakspice and baked cherries. Just OK. (2/08)

Natur Montsant “Mas Franch” 2004 Monsant Negre (Cataluña) – Licorice and coconut with big blueberry fruit and some bitter syrup. It’s a little like Amaro, but sweeter, with some freshening minerality in the mix. Average. (2/08)

Natur Montsant “Mas Franch” 2004 Montsant “Optim” (Cataluña) – Huge minerality. Long and stony, with dense tannin and some chocolaty bitterness. And yet, it’s a bigger wine than can be supported by its structure. It might turn out OK eventually. (2/08)

Canals Nadal Cava Brut (Cataluña) – Coarse chicken-flavored salt. Really. Clean otherwise, but exceedingly odd. (2/08)

Canals Nadal Cava Brut “Reserva” (Cataluña) – Bigger and more complex, with lemon, light yeastiness, and a pale sweetness. (2/08)

Antoni Canals Nadal Cava Brut Natural (Cataluña) – Makrut lime, lemon, apple, and lots of grassiness. Pretty tasty. (2/08)

Canals Nadal Cava Brut Natural “Gran Reserva” (Cataluña) – Fruity, showing lemon and clean, crisp apple mixed with skins. Long, with a notion of true complexity. (2/08)

Antoni Canals Nadal Cava Brut “cupada selecció” (Cataluña) – Oaky-tasting, and the rest is somewhat muted. Uninteresting. (2/08)

Ron Burgundy

[leaves]Tasting notes from the Boston Wine Expo. Note the usual caveats about speed-tasting in boisterous environments, where mistakes are rampant and palate fatigue is a factor. These are brief impressions, not full examinations; the phraseology reflects these conditions.

Part 5: Burgundy

Latour 2002 Meursault-Perrières “1er Cru” (Burgundy) – Candied wood, baked and stale. A gross monstrosity. (2/08)

Jean-Noël Gagnard 2001 Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot “1er Cru” (Burgundy) – Light wood, cream, mild spice, and sand. Pretty but overly soft. There’s not really all that much to this. (2/08)

Guy Bocard 2002 Meursault-Charmes “1er Cru” (Burgundy) – Caramelized spice, dill, and lots of wood. Somewhat stale and falling apart. And a little oxidized? There are a few signs. (2/08)

Amiot 2001 Clos de la Roche (Burgundy) – Smoky. Dense with huge lobes of meat. 100% animal. Long-finishing and utterly fascinating. Not for the faint of heart, though. (2/08)

Armand 2000 Pommard Clos des Epeneaux “1er Cru” (Burgundy) – Pretty and soft, with cherries and strawberries. Elegant and lithe. Caresses the tongue. (2/08)

Bouchard Père & Fils 1997 Beaune Grèves Vigne de l’Enfant Jésus (Burgundy) – Big fruit, full of dark cherry and blueberry, but with a drying, short finish. Otherwise, clean and straightforward. (2/08)

Latour 2002 Château Corton Grancey (Burgundy) – Lightly beet-infused. Soft, short, and disappointing. Eh. (2/08)

Domaine de Corcel 2003 Pommard Grand Clos des Epenots “1er Cru” (Burgundy) – Dill and nuts. Soft. Very strange in a number of ways, number one being that it’s not tannic. It doesn’t much matter, however, because it’s no good either. (2/08)

d’Angerville 2004 Volnay Taillepieds “1er Cru” (Burgundy) – Good, crisp acidity. Roughrider cherries and dirt. Long, somewhat imbalanced towards acidity (but I’m fine with that), and in need of time. (2/08)


[cairanne]Tasting notes from the Boston Wine Expo. Note the usual caveats about speed-tasting in boisterous environments, where mistakes are rampant and palate fatigue is a factor. These are brief impressions, not full examinations; the phraseology reflects these conditions.

Part 2: Rhône Valley (other than Châteauneuf-du-Pape)

( For the previous year’s notes, look here.)

Domaine Boisson 2006 Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages Cairanne Blanc “l’Exigence” (Rhône) – Roasted apricots from a can. Skeletal and strange. There’s no meat or skin on these bones. (2/08)

Lafond “Roc-Epine” 2007 Lirac Blanc (Rhône) – Banana marshmallow, some violet, leafy and floral. Pretty. (2/08)

Domaine Boisson 2006 Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages Cairanne Rosé (Rhône) – Fresh raspberry blossoms in sunshine. Clean and precise. Nice. (2/08)

Lafond “Roc-Epine” 2007 Tavel (Rhône) – Strawberry bubblegum, bones, and shells. Seems short, but grows with air. Not bad. (2/08)

“Le petit vin d’Avril” Vin de Table (Rhône) – Blueberry, gravel, leafy tobacco. Slightly underripe and tannic, but fair enough for the price. (2/08)

Pierre Usseglio 2006 Côtes-du-Rhône (Rhône) – Simple, nutty, and clean. Bubblegum-dominated fruit. Medium-bodied. Decent. (2/08)

Boiron “Domaine Nicholas Boiron” 2006 Côtes-du-Rhône (Rhône) – Peppery, burnt fruit. Very full-bodied, but what it’s full of isn’t very good. (2/08)

Olivier Hillaire 2006 Côtes-du-Rhône “Vieilles Vignes” (Rhône) – Walnut and sour dill. Ick. (2/08)

Lafond “Roc-Epine” 2007 Côtes-du-Rhône (Rhône) – Burnt bark, light bubblegum, some blackberry. Good fruit, soft and pure, with improvement on the finish, but that initial impression of char is unpleasant. (2/08)

Domaine Boisson 2006 Côtes-du-Rhône (Rhône) – Shoe polish, blueberry, and freshly-stripped bark. Abrupt. (2/08)

Chaussy “Mas de Boislauzon” 2006 Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages (Rhône) – Full, lush, and juicy. Dark, smoky fruit. Meat emerges on the finish. Quite good. (2/08)

[tavel]Domaine Boisson 2006 Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages Cairanne (Rhône) – Big red plum and some juiciness. Crisp for a southern Rhône. Short, though. (2/08)

Domaine Boisson 2006 Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages Massif d’Uchaux “Clos de la Brussière” (Rhône) – Big. Meaty but clean, with plums and blackberries present. Graphite-textured structure. Long and solid, though it sheds a bit of complexity on the finish. Impressive and ageable, though not quite up to its initial promise. (2/08)

Domaine Boisson 2006 Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages Cairanne “l’Exigence” (Rhône) – Some alcohol, but otherwise the noseis tight. The palate, on the other hand, is fairly explosive, with huge, dark fruit, brown earth, tar, and milk chocolate. Dense as hell. The finish is equally massive, though the burn reemerges. Good, but also one to be wary of. (2/08)

Alain Boisson “Domaine Cros de Romet” 2006 Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages Cairanne (Rhône) – A big, chewy herb fest: thyme, rosemary, etc. Very tannic. This will live for a long time on its structure, though whether it will ever show anything interesting is an open question. My guess: it won’t. (2/08)

Lafond “Roc-Epine” 2005 Lirac (Rhône) – Strawberry and anise. Very, very simple. Light structure, if any, at this point. (2/08)

Lafond 2005 Lirac “La Ferme Romaine” (Rhône) – Balanced. Bubblegum fruit and walnut with darker tones. Chewy. Some heat. Pretty good, nonetheless. (2/08)

Faraud “Domaine Cabassole” 2004 Vacqueyras “Vieilles Vignes” (Rhône) – Meat and crushed granite. Dense, tough. Unyielding and not much fun to drink. (2/08)

Stehelin 2005 Gigondas (Rhône) – Big and generous, with meaty, dark cherry fruit. Long and very tannic, but the structure only compliments the wine, which is a top-quality monster. Needs endless time, I think, but it should be a beauty someday. (2/08)

Guigal 2001 Hermitage (Rhône) – Dill and sour fruit. Weird. Good structure, but this is either completely off the map or closed in a very, very strange way. (2/08)

Mom & Pape

[vineyard]Tasting notes from the Boston Wine Expo. Note the usual caveats about speed-tasting in boisterous environments, where mistakes are rampant and palate fatigue is a factor. These are brief impressions, not full examinations; the phraseology reflects these conditions.

Part 1: Châteauneuf-du-Pape

(All wines are red unless otherwise noted. Further, all 2006 reds are barrel, pre-bottling, or pre-release samples. For the previous year’s notes, look here.)

Michel “Le Vieux Donjon” 2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc (Rhône) – Beautiful. Nuts, stones, and spice. Richly fruited. A white-out of flavor. Long, with good acidity. Really excellent. (2/08)

Avril “Clos des Papes” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc (Rhône) – Malted. Twisted, gnarled bones and stones. Higher-toned, showing some anise-heavy licorice. Interesting and complex. (2/08)

Moulin-Tacussel 2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc (Rhône) – Banana skin, papaya, and pineapple. Simple and angular, with a medium-weight finish. (2/08)

Baron Le Roy de Boisenaumarié “Château Fortia” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc (Rhône) – Flat-fronted. Tropical fruit with crisp acidity. Closes quickly despite initial freshness. (2/08)

Pierre Usseglio 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhône) – Big and modern. Toughens on the finish. Peanuts and sticky fruit. This cuvée has, for me, turned an unpleasant corner of late. (2/08)

Pierre Usseglio 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Cuvée de mon Aïeul” (Rhône) – Spice, blueberries, flowers. Exciting and long. There’s “more” to this wine, and thus it handles its nods towards modernity better than the normale. (2/08)

Michel “Le Vieux Donjon” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhône) – Gorgeous. Full-throated. Meat and herbs. Very tannic now, but the balance is terrific, and this has massive potential. (2/08)

Moulin-Tacussel 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Tradition” (Rhône) – Medium-full, tannic, and juicy. Plummy, with good acidity. Tannic. This is better than usual, and in fact I thought this house did better in 2005 as well; are things changing here? (2/08)

Moulin-Tacussel 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Hommage à Henry Tacussel” (Rhône) – Chocolate, orange peel, and minerality. Thick and tannic. Far too dense to taste now, though based on the preliminary evidence I’m suspicious of the results. (2/08)

Boiron “Bosquet des Papes” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Cuvée Tradition” (Rhône) – Herbed bubblegum. Full and fruity, with a medium-length finish. Mostly balanced, though there’s a snippet of heat late in the game. Good. (2/08)

Boiron “Bosquet des Papes” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Chante le Merle Vieilles Vignes” (Rhône) – Big structure. Herbs, plum, lavender, bubblegum. Structured and balanced. Impressive. (2/08)

Olivier Hillaire 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhône) – Cylindrical. Metallic and a bit harsh, with alcohol showing throughout. (2/08)

Olivier Hillaire 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Les Petits Pieds d’Armand” (Rhône) – Peanut butter and jelly on toast. Very juicy fruit. Chocolate-covered cherries. Acid is prominent but well-integrated. Long finish. Upfront and promising, though not very traditional. (2/08)

Olivier Hillaire 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhône) – Walnut and sour dill. No good. (2/08)

Lafond “Roc-Epine”2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhône) – Balanced. Bubblegum fruit with darker tones, plus walnut and other nuts. Chewy. Some heat on the finish, but a better-than-usual effort from this perennially-underperforming house. (2/08)

Baron Le Roy de Boisenaumarié “Château Fortia” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Tradition” (Rhône) – Good balance, quite traditional. Herbs in a light brown tone. Fine tannin and acidity. Fun and pure, though not at the top level. (2/08)

Baron Le Roy de Boisenaumarié “Château Fortia” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Cuvée du Baron” (Rhône) – Pure. Red and pink fruit, bubblegum, with more structure (especially tannin) but less fun. Shaped like a diminuendo symbol. (2/08)

Baron Le Roy de Boisenaumarié “Château Fortia” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Réserve” (Rhône) – A syrah-dominated cuvée. Pepper dust, leather, and blueberry. Full and tannic. Very interesting, though it does stand out amongst grenache-heavy company. (2/08)

[cdp vine]Courtil-Thibaut “Clos des Brusquières” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhône) – Peanuts and bubblegum. Oddly synthetic. Very simple. (2/08)

Laget-Royer “Domaine Pontifical” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhône) – Lovely nose. Full and spicy. Structured. Under the enticement, however, there’s not a great deal of substance. (2/08)

Diffonty “Cuvée du Vatican” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhône) – Tight, over-structured, tough, and short. (2/08)

Diffonty “Cuvée du Vatican” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Réserve Sixtine” (Rhône) – Big and chocolate-infused. Too tannic. Biting chunks of structure. There’s some stuff underneath, I think, but it’s really far too early to tell for sure. Essentially, I think this is over-extracted. (2/08)

Mestre “Domaine de La Côte de l’Ange” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhône) – Medium-fruity. Plum, bubblegum, and thyme. Soft and almost pretty, perhaps even verging on fluff. It’s fun, though. (2/08)

Mestre “Domaine de La Côte de l’Ange” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Vieilles Vignes” (Rhône) – Fuller and more structured than the normale, but still balanced. Some sour peanuts on the finish. (2/08)

Chaussy “Mas de Boislauzon” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhône) – Thick and forward. Chocolate, fruit, herbs in the background. Dense and structured, but reasonably balanced. Turns linear on the finish. (2/08)

Chaussy “Mas de Boislauzon” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Quet” (Rhône) – Excellent balance in a warm, spicy, milk chocolate style, which not everyone will or should appreciate. There’s a bit of heat. This is very well done, but it would be difficult to call it CdP. (2/08)

Chaussy “Mas de Boislauzon” 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Tintot Spécial Cuvée” (Rhône) – 100% old-vine mourvèdre. Earthy, big and lush. Mouthfilling. Dark and brooding, showing nuts and chocolate. Long and balanced. This has excellent aging potential.

Château La Nerthe 1999 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhône) – Dill and huge acidity. A gross perversion of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Yuck, yuck, yuck. (2/08)

Coulon “Boisrenard” 2004 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhône) – Thick with herbs (dominated by lavender and mint). Dense and solid – perhaps overly concentrated – with meat and garrigue ascendant. Good, but it would be better if it took its foot off the accelerator. (2/08)

Not-so-fresh notes…but lots of ’em

There’s been an unsightly barrage of notes over on oenoLog of late, but to view them in a more useful form, check out the main site. There, you’ll find notes from last year’s Boston Wine Expo (a last-minute clearing-out in preparation for the posting of this year’s notes, of course; we’re all about timeliness here at oenoLogic, what with New Zealand travelogues posted three years after the trip, etc.), including a long rundown from Italy, and shorter ones from Bordeaux, Burgundy & Champagne.

A little more extensive digging will also reveal more promptly-posted (that is, within a month or so of the actual event) notes from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the rest of the Rhône & Southern France, North America, the Jura, the Loire, South Africa, and New Zealand.

And now, I can proceed to avoid posting the 2008 notes until just before next year’s Expo, right? Right?