Browse Tag


Mosca on the Hudson

Sella & Mosca 2005 Cannonau di Sardegna (Sardinia) – A normally-reliable crowd-pleaser, here tasted from two bottles and found wanting from each. The strawberry bubblegum with a little more grate to it is present, as expected, but it cannot escape the two-ton lead weight pressing down on it. It’s not that the wine is overly heavy, it’s that it’s squashed. If both bottles are corked, it’s imperceptible and they’re identically-infected, which seems low-probability. Maybe a bad batch, or damaged, or just not very good. (2/10)

Purple Cayron

Faraud “Domaine du Cayron” 1998 Gigondas (Rhône) – Powerful, and beautifully poised between its axe-hewn youthful structure and the richer, blood-on-stones development that comes with age. The “fruit” may be reddish, the herbs green, the soil grey, but the heart and soul of this wine are of the deepest black. There’s no lack of still-vibrant tannin. Very, very good. (12/09)

Bosquet of flowers

Boiron “Bosquet des Papes” 1999 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhône) – Smoked bacon liqueur (aside: why hasn’t anyone made such a thing? I’d buy it). Porcine. Pretty straightforward aged CdP; this might have an upside, and it certainly doesn’t seem to be weakening in any way, but right now it’s a rather large but uncomplex portion of the pig. That’s never bad. (3/09)

Star Tours

[label]Reynaud “Château des Tours” 1998 Vacqueyras “Réserve” (Rhône) – Open several days, with a few glasses absent by the time I get to it. Darkly concentrated blackberry and even darker smoke liqueur, with a counterpoint of walnut soda. Open-ended, by which I mean the initial impression of fruit does a reverse dovetail and leaves an ever-increasing gap as the wine progresses towards the finish. A fruit microbomb, not sophisticated in the least, but not truly explosive either. Freshly-opened bottles have been impenetrable, and given the state of this wine I see absolutely no reason to open any more at this stage. (2/09)

Mosca on the Hudson

Sella & Mosca 1999 Cannonau di Sardegna “Riserva” (Sardinia) – Over the last nine years, this has turned from grenache to aged cabernet franc. How’d that happen? Razor-edged fruit, sharp and porcupine-y, bristles with narrow-gauge redness around a gravelly core. It’s interesting, but I think the wine’s more appealing in its fresh and fruity youth. (12/08)

Sella & Mosca 2004 Cannonau di Sardegna “Riserva” (Sardinia) – Strawberry, sun, and bubblegum…though the latter is a very minor component in comparison to the other two. It seems somewhat insulting to call any wine gluggable, but this one definitely is. One of the most reliably appealing quasi-mass market labels out there. (12/08)

…and The Edge

Bonneau 1988 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Réserve des Célestins” (Rhône) – Like drowning in a zero-gravity sea of satin, this wine seduces and entices but never grounds itself, preferring to float and writhe. There’s hickory, fermented roots, a bit of that 70s-style coconut tanning oil mixed with a supermodel’s extremely sexy perspiration (visualize it, don’t analyze it), and a lot of soft, incredibly delicious fruit from the reddish-pink realm. And there’s tannin in the graphitic style, like that of a top Bordeaux in the early days of its maturity, that rumbles along the palate, resetting and refreshing, before another sleepy-time wave of silk. The caveat, perhaps, is that it’s perhaps all a bit easy; the appeal of the wine is purely reactive and animalistic, without much of an intellectual component. Still, what a beautiful wine…still years from full maturity, but absolutely compelling now. (10/08)

Chocolate grenache

Lafage 2005 Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes “Côté Grenache Noir” (Roussillon) – A huge burst of gum-flavored grenache-y fruit, as if the grape had been turned into that chewing gum with the liquid center (Bubble-Yum or something like that?). Very pleasant, very easy, very fun. Don’t look for more, because it ain’t there. (8/08)

The trouble with Tribouley

Tribouley 2005 “Orchis” Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes “Vieilles Vignes” (Roussillon) – Extremely quaffable. Strawberry and a great deal of bubblegum, with a slightly darker blood orange component, presented in a simple, pure, and direct fashion. The effect is a wine full of the flavor of the rich hot-climate wine that it is, but with the spirit of a much lighter wine. A good value, as well. (6/08)

A fine fennel of fish

[vineyards]Soard “Domaine de Fenouillet” 2005 Beaumes-de-Venise “Terres Blanches” (Rhône) – Beaumes-de-Venise is the most ungenerous, unfruity, unyielding appellation in the Southern Rhône; it’s not the tannin (as in Gigondas) or the roasting (as in Rasteau), it’s the quartz-driven, completely mineralistic dominance of the fruit that renders the wines completely impenetrable to fruit-hounds. Here, it’s the essence of the wine, with a little dried-and-hard drapery of the blackest fruit, but without the proper balancing structure; as a result, it’s a little like putting rocks in one’s mouth, rather than drinking a beverage. Time might help, and this is certainly not a wine for youthful quaffing, but I just don’t know if this has a promising future. (5/08)