Browse Tag


In front of the camel

Terre Rouge 1999 Syrah Sentinel Oak Pyramid Block (Shenandoah Valley) — This is the first (from a once-mighty stash) that I’d call fully mature, though I say that believing it’s a bit of an outlier. A thicker, pastier version of the classic Rhône “meat liqueur,” here more texturally hide-like than the norm. It’s in a really, really good place…or, at least, this bottle is. (5/16)

Knows down

Edmunds St. John 2002 Syrah “The Shadow” (California) — The crazy trajectory of this wine (ready, not ready, past ready, not ready, etc.) continues. This is the not ready version, and so the strappy, leathery tannin still battles with the deep bass throb of the fruit. I’d say time will tell, but it’s really that the next bottle will be completely different. (5/16)


[overnoy]Overnoy 1995 Arbois Pupillin Rouge (Jura) — Delicate, delicious, earthy, sun-dried fruit full of space and absence. A bit of sweat. I’d say it’s pure transparency, but actually it’s slightly impure…and all the better for it. This is what so many natural wines are trying to be, yet only sometimes achieve. (4/16)

Between a rock & a hard place

[lenoir]Lenoir “Les Roches” 2006 Chinon (Loire) — A disagreement about the quality of these wines (it’s 2 pro-, 2 anti- in our over-lubricated group) leads to a quick cellar run, and while this is pretty and somewhat rustic it doesn’t make a strong case for itself…though personally, I wouldn’t be opening one of these now; all my best experiences with Lenoir involve a lot more age. If it seems like I’m not saying much about the wine…well, I’m not, because there’s not much to say, other than the previous. Leave it be. (4/16)

Thick as a Brich

[albino, eunaudi, zenato]Albino Rocca 1995 Barbaresco Vigneto Brich Ronchi (Piedmont) — Floral dust, which is usually a beautiful outcome for aged nebbiolo. And it’s nice, but it seems muted…either from a little too much age or a little too much effort in the cellar, back at conception. I’m carping; this is a nice wine from which I apparently expect more than it’s willing to give. (4/16)

Kelly Ripassa

[zenato]Zenato 1995 Valpolicella Superiore “Ripassa” (Veneto) — One of those “wait…I still have this?” finds from the move five years ago. Still, I didn’t get around to it until now.

It’s actually holding well — that much non-sugar dry extract has to count for something — and what’s left is like a dense dried fruit residue layered with dried fruit paste. That sounds worse than I mean it, but it’s not really a wine for drinking anymore (which it was in its youth), it’s a wine for contemplating, thinking “huh,” and moving on to something more quenching. (4/16)

My belle

[csm]Chateau Ste. Michelle 1995 Meritage (Columbia Valley) — I would absolutely have guessed this would be presentable and drinkable. I would not have guessed it would be pretty good. It’s a safe wine that manages to show some nice tobacco-leaf and drying-fruit development despite the corporate baggage it carries. I like it a lot more than the allegedly superior Saint-Julien that it easily outshines. (4/16)

Boried now

Borie “Château Ducru-Beaucaillou” 1995 Saint-Julien (Bordeaux) — Something is off with this bottle. Like razors in an field of herbs, it’s nothing but anger and pyrazines. (4/16)

Horse at 11

[coudert]Coudert 2005 Fleurie Clos de la Roilette (Beaujolais) — Autumn into winter, with the structure slightly exposed. I wouldn’t think this would hold much longer, but I’ve been wrong before. Nonetheless, I’m drinking mine. (4/16)