Browse Tag


Border Colli

[galea rosso]i Clivi 2000 Colli Orientali del Friuli Galea Rosso (Friuli-Venezia Giulia) — Keening, yearning fruit poised between supple lusciousness and Alpine brittleness. This is really good right now, though I don’t think there’s any hurry, either. (11/16)

The more, the terrier

[cowan cellars]Cowan Cellars 2015 “Jack’s Rosé” (North Coast) — Poised between tension and fragility, yet in the end it’s much friendlier than either. Refreshment through a gauzy historical filter. Fun, too. Let’s not leave that out. (Disclaimer: the winemaker is a friend.) (4/16)

Two to Onetangi

Onetangi Road 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Malbec “Reserve” (Waiheke Island) – After a picture of this half-emptied bottle hit Facebook, one friend asked me if what I was tasting was representative of Waiheke Island’s climate. My answer, then and now, was that it’s really hard to tell. There do seem to be some fairly distinct mesoclimates on what’s a relatively small island, but I suspect that the greater differences are competency-related. It’s perhaps worth noting that this winery doesn’t appear to exist anymore. As for the wine itself, it’s green beyond where even a traditionalist would wish it to be (better Waiheke Island Bordeaux-style blends retain an appealing proportion of varietally-essential pyrazines), and getting to that strange point where the green is mixed with a gummy purple texture that’s just not all that appealing. It’s not bad, but blind I’d guess some supermarket Chilean wine from an operation that didn’t have the money to slather industrial winemaking makeup over the thing. (12/11)

Isn’t it Peconic?

Peconic Bay Spirits “Signature” Grape Brandy “sono rinata” (New York) – Apparently merlot, and be warned that it’s a clearer, more grappa-like style than it is a deep, wood-aged style. Or rather, I wish someone had warned me. Because I don’t care for this at all. It tastes like corn, and the alcoholic bite is harsh and ungainly. (8/10)


Casimir Gascon 2006 Vin de Pays des Côteaux de l’Ardèche Merlot (Rhône) – Wretched. I couldn’t finish a second sip. Stewed peanut butter, rancid butterscotch, weeds, and nastiness. (7/10)

Pozzan pans

Pozzan “Annabella” 2007 Merlot “Special Selection” (Napa Valley) – Over-toasted (assuming there are barrels involved; I don’t want to over-presume), charred…the Starbucks dark roast of merlot. (5/10)

Cullen the herd

Cullen 1995 Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot (Margaret River) – Dense and a little roasted, with razor-like tannin and a certain alcoholic weight (though there’s only a bit of heat). Coconut, blackberry, and…not much else; the center is hollow, there’s volatile acidity hanging about (and sure to get stronger), and the wine finishes with both feet and a large portion of its torso in the grave, though it’s still swinging its fists as it descends. A bit brutal to drink, honestly, and it appears to have suffered the fate so often predicted for modern-style wines (though what it was actually like young, I have no idea). Some at the table opine that it’s actually having a mid-life crisis, and while I concede their greater experience with the wine, I don’t see it based on what’s on display. (3/05)

Ain’t it?

James Irvine 1994 “Grand” Merlot (Eden Valley) – Huge, structured, full-bodied, and yet balanced in a very New World, thermonuclear fruit device fashion. Blackberry, blueberry, and plums abound, but there’s also an appealing graphite texture and pretty fair acidity. The wine is just massive, which makes the fairly abrupt fade on the finish a little disappointing, if not entirely surprising. In its style, this is quite impressive. (3/05)