Vilafranca “Casteller” 2005 Penedès Blanc de Blancs (Cataluña) – Simple, clean, crisp banana, pineapple and stone fruit with fresh, sea-washed acidity and some finishing grassy notes. No complexity, but it’s not needed here. (1/07)
TN: Higher ground
Piñol “Sacra Natura” 2005 Terra Alta (Cataluña) – Big, loud wine, full of flavor, ripe tannin and satin-textured earth, but with certain educated delicacies underneath the volume. Fruit tends towards the black and sun-drenched, with concentrated berries dominating. This is a very summery wine that probably works better in the chill of the winter, with a surprising bit of equilibrium to match. (1/07)
TN: Roally prioratized
Goyard “Domaine de Roally” 1999 Mâcon-Village “Tradition” (Mâcon) – Mushroomy aged chardonnay through gauze. There’s a beige-toned minerality and lightly pleasant spice over a wet, fungal earth foundation, but everything is a little muted. Is the wine just closed, or is this the result of mild cork failure? In any case, it’s very nice, though probably not all it could be. (10/06)
Grape(s): chardonnay. Alcohol: 13%. Closure: cork. Importer: Louis/Dressner/LDM.
Sangenís “Celler Cal Pla” 2001 Priorat Porrera Blanco (Cataluña) – Almost shockingly bronze, and evidence that the cork was not a perfect physical seal points to the culprit. Still, there’s old wood spice and a mild motel iron structure to a fully mature blend of fermented flowers and extremely overripe peach residue. Though this description might not indicate so, it’s a good wine…though certainly not a great one. (10/06)
Grape(s): 40% macabeu, 30% garnatxa (grenache blanc), 30% moscatell. Alcohol: 13.5%. Closure: cork. Importer: European Cellars.
J. Girona “Castell del Remey” 1929 “Reserva” (Cataluña) – The bottle is in shockingly good condition; low neck fill, mushy but otherwise intact cork, a good solid red liquid within. The cork starts disintegrating upon contact with a regular worm-type corkscrew, but a two-pronged tool removes it intact and with little difficulty. At first, there’s just some oxidative fruit remnants and alcohol, but with a little swirling and encouragement the faded core of what must have been a rather gutsy wine emerges for a last, lingering look around. Like the faded remnants of a cool autumn leaf-fall, with subtle urgings of red cherry carried on a dusty breeze, this pulses for a moment, pauses, and then fades finally and decisively away. But even that brief moment of pleasure is a remarkable one.
More blah blah blah on this wine.