Browse Tag


Lirac opera

Roussel “Domaine du Joncier” 2000 Lirac (Rhône) – Bizarre, lactic, twisted, mute, and just no good. Clearly damaged in some way, but when and how I can’t possibly guess; previous bottles have been progressing nicely. Steve Edmunds tastes it, and is equally baffled as to the specific flaw, so I don’t feel so bad that it’s a mystery to me. (5/08)

Rectorie ball

[glass]Parcé Frères “La Rectorie” 1998 Banyuls “Cuvée Léon Parcé” (Roussillon) – Long, opaque sheets of cocoa-dusted raspberry fruit paste baking in the Catalan sun. Only mildly sweet, with most of its structure faded, leaving an easygoing core of fruit-derived blackness bracketed by softness. Quite good, but needs to be consumed. (It must be noted that the provenance of this bottle was questionable; perfectly-stored bottles may be fresher.) (4/08)

Aïeul of the tiger

[vineyard]Pierre Usseglio 1999 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Cuvée de mon Aïeul” (Rhône) – Somewhat inaccessible. An espresso of bubblegum and angry scowling, with a lot of weight and intensity hanging out in the green room, entirely unwilling to hit the stage. This is nowhere near ready unless you like your wines with a side of pain And I don’t mean the French word for bread. (4/08)

Fennel, anise, Llicorella

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)

Costera someone else for a change

[bottle]Argiolas 2006 Isola dei Nuraghi “Costera” (Sardinia) – Quite tannic, perhaps overstructured. Dark, dark licorice notes rest atop a thick stew of fire-roasted black cherry and coffee. This is grenache? The finish is more telling, with the lighter fruit and expected bubblegum notes in evidence, but this is a very broody wine. (2/08)


[label]Sella & Mosca 2004 Cannonau di Sardegna “Riserva” (Sardinia) – Fruity, fresh, and fun. Strawberry bubblegum with a gravel foundation and fine balance. This is an extremely reliable wine, though I suppose it sacrifices some uniqueness for that reliability. (2/08)

Another word for a truck

[bottle]Argiolas 2006 Isola dei Nuraghi “Serra Lori” (Sardinia) – Vivid strawberry with a rocky edge. Less fun than many rosés, but not exactly serious either; call it pleasantly battleworn. (2/08)

Tàmara paste

Cantina del Vermentino 2004 Cannonau di Sardegna “Tàmara” (Sardinia) – Chewy, juicy, and wet. Slightly hollow, however, and roughens up on the finish. There’s lots of polish, but I’m not sure what’s being polished. (2/07)

Shot from a cannonau

[bottle]Sella & Mosca 2004 Cannonau di Sardegna “Riserva” (Sardinia) – Showing the beginning stages of a faint browning in both color and taste, but still a fun stew of sun-dried fruit, perhaps a bit of tomato skin, and a gravelly texture. One of my favorite red wines for things that usually go better with white. (2/08)

Here comes Montsant aClaus

Sin-Ley 2004 “G-2” Garnacha Montsant “Afinus” (Cataluña) – Very structured, with a ripe bisque of fine particulate lead forming a rich, velvety envelopment of tannin. The core isn’t much less thick, which dark plum and chokecherry dominating. This feels a lot like a Priorat, though it lacks the deformities (natural or artificial) that so often afflict the pricier, more cultish bottlings from that appellation. I think time will be very kind to this wine, but it has a certain sort of primary appeal now…though it will need something fleshy to battle back the tannin. (12/07)