Browse Tag



Montana 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot (Hawke’s Bay) – Mixed cherries and dark berries, with herbal notes throughout. Innocuous, but I’m not sure the intention is otherwise. It’s as good as any mass-produced wine at this level, I guess, and maybe just a wee bit better. (3/05)

Cuban Cigala

[barrels]Martini di Cigala “San Giusto a Rentennano” 2001 Merlot di Toscana “La Ricolma” (Tuscany) – Sweet blueberry and milky; this feels more like a thickened soup than a wine, despite a sharp bite of tannin that seems out of place. That said, as wines in this style (which isn’t mine) go, it’s reasonably good. But I’d never choose to drink it. (9/08)

That old Galea of mine

[vineyard]i Clivi di Ferdinando Zanusso 2000 Colli Orientali del Friuli Galea Rosso (Friuli-Venezia Giulia) – Smoky meat, mushroom, and fine-grained tannin. But that’s all there is, and this wine is beyond difficult at the moment; I have confidence for the future based on past performance, but it’s not worth drinking right now. (9/08)

Eleven tenths

Château St-Jean de Lavaud 2004 Pomerol “1.1” (Bordeaux) – Big, muscular, and volume-enhanced; while it’s quite drinkable and seems to pant and plead for appeal, it’s just not that interesting. It lacks length, depth, and complexity. Maybe those will come with time, but I’m dubious. (8/08)


[bottle]Le Bonheur 2003 Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon “Prima” (Simonsberg) – A fruit bomb, but a fairly reasonable one, showing thick, leathery blueberry and cassis, blackberry, perhaps some plum (though without the acidity). Not a whole lot of structure, but it’s quite drinkable and pleasant with aggressive enough food…which, given the wine, really needs to be cow muscle or something similar. (8/08)

Peach Melba

[bottle]Kumeu River 1999 Merlot Malbec “Melba” (Kumeu) – Thick, even a bit sludgy, with a loud drone of muddy blackfruit. This hasn’t developed any complexity with age, it has just black dwarfed into itself. It’s not unpleasant in any way, and were it a young wine the performance would be fine, but this isn’t why I held the wine. In any case, Kumeu River has never been famous for their reds, so this was a long shot to begin with. It should “age” for a long time yet, but I don’t know that it will develop. (8/08)

We are the Ciamps-ions

[vineyard]Vie di Romans 1998 “Voos dai Ciamps” Isonzo Rosso (Friuli-Venezia Giulia) – 100% merlot. Cloudy to the point of opacity from sediment, and the shaking that’s caused this mutes the wine in more ways than just the visual. Tight and structured, with dark fruit. Very tough to read. 24 hours later, it’s still full of fine silt, but the structure has softened somewhat, and a little bit of blueberry powder has emerged along with a long, sweet hazelnut finish. It’s friendly, but it holds a lot back; even without the shakeup, it’s in a closed stage. (10/07)

John Stuart running

[vineyards]Vergelegen 2004 “Mill Race” Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon (Stellenbosch) – Classic cabernet peppers, leaves, cedar, and ground-up pencil. There’s a bit of oak soup on the long finish, though. Nicely structured, clean, and promising. (2/08)

Zinedine Zidane

[grapes]Allée Bleue 2005 Cabernet Sauvigon/Merlot (Western Cape) – Big, chewy fruit with chalky minerality. Structured. Obvious wood on the finish. Still very primary. There are gaps and voids in this wine that I don’t think time will fill. (2/08)