Browse Tag


The difference between Loveau and Lustau

Lustau “East India Solera” Sherry (Jerez) – Very, very, very sweet. No surprise there. Sticky nuts, caramelized and ensyruped, taking on the character of liquid toffee. What more is there to say? You either want something like this or you don’t. (4/10)


Pojer e Sandri Vigneti delle Dolomiti “Merlino” (Trentino) – Fortified lagrein. Intriguing. More high-toned and powdery than most fortified reds, which could well be a function of latitude, and whirling a bit under a heady sensation of crushed purple flowers. Good, mostly, but it doesn’t quite achieve the spicy richness of its more southerly brethren. Not that I’d expect it to. (12/09)


[vineyard]Graham’s 1996 Porto Malvedos (Douro) – Still sticky-fruited and jellified, all blue/purple/black berry syrup and slippery sweetness. What structure there is has been forcefully relegated to the background. Easy-drinking, and as it airs some hints of a graphite-textured tannin finally emerge from some remote refuge. Needs more time, but on the other hand quite drinkable now. (12/09)

Dow before me

Dow’s 1990 Porto Quinta do Bomfim (Douro) – Red cherry, black pepper, and spice…sweet, rich, and full-bodied, but balanced. I think. There’s a minor bit of developmental appeal now, but I’d let this one hang around a fair while longer. (12/09)

Stinky infant

Quinta do Infantado Tawny Porto Medium-Dry (Douro) – After much dalliance upon the occasion of this producer’s first appearance on U.S. shores, I gave up ever buying their wines, due to the vast majority of them (approaching 90%) being corked…but only mine. Everyone else seemed to be able to enjoy the wine in untainted form. I can certainly claim no evidence of systemic taint, and in fact it seemed to be very much a personal vendetta the TCA gods were waging against me (and, unfortunately, against the producer’s wines when they were so unlucky as to be carried home by me, or opened by someone else in my house), but trying to find an intact bottle was just hopeless. So after a hiatus of a few years, I decided to dip my toe in these stanky waters once more. The result? What else? Corked. Corked into oblivion. Obviously, I am not meant to own or drink these wines. (9/09)

Let me stress, per the comments below: this is, as far as I can tell, my issue and my issue only. I am personally cursed by being virtually unable to experience a non-corked Infantado. My results should not — and in fact, have not — been replicated by others.


[bottle]Lustau “East India Solera” Sherry (Jerez) – Not as powerfully sweet as the initial whack of molten brown sugar suggests, perhaps because a thin acidity and faint haze of oxidation combat the syrup. That said, it’s still a very sweet wine…a brown sweetness that bridges the shoulder between the leafy decay of fall and the woodsmoke of a winter fireplace. Though to be honest, it’s less interesting than that. (7/09)

Gallina milk

[label]Lustau “Almacenista” Oloroso Pata de Gallina “Juan Garcia Jarana” 1/38 (Jerez) – Rich brown spices tinged with molasses, slow-baked stone fruit, fuzzy earth tones, and a certain gelatinousness. The wine comes in rolling waves, but those of a receding tide; the spaces in between are a little bare, leaving only a thick film of sweetness in their wake. I’ve always said that I appreciate sweeter styles of oloroso, and this is quite good (albeit probably not quite worth its tariff), but it would be better with a little less covering sugar. (4/09)

Beaulon, beauloff

[vineyard]Château de Beaulon Pineau des Charentes “Vieille Réserve Ruby” 10 (Cognac) – Like a ruby Port open just a few hours too long, this is a sweet collection of reddish berries transitioning to syrup, a persistent but not unpleasant throb of oxidation, and a little bit of warming burn that never affixes itself to any particular moment in the tasting experience. It’s quite appealing if you like this sort of thing, and while it’s not particularly serious, I’m not sure it’s meant to be. (4/09)

Ferris Buller’s day off

RL Buller & Son Tawny Port (Victoria) – Smells like butter, and not the freshest kind either. Sickly-sweet, with the emphasis on sickness; in fact, there’s a hint of…well, I don’t want to gross everyone out, so never mind. If you can avoid smelling the wine, the palate is actually quite fruit-forward and enjoyable, with more red stuff than one expects from a tawny, and certainly more acid than seems likely. But that smell never really goes away, unfortunately, even over several days. (3/09)


KWV “Full” Tawny Port (South Africa) – Stale butterscotch, nasty old barrels, and brackish water. Insipid dreck. This is awful. (3/09)