Browse Tag


Pajzos Whedon

Pajzos 2009 Tokaji Furmint (Hungary) – There’s an overlay to dry furmint that inhabits an aromatic realm I can’t always pinpoint. Mint? Menthol? Something dry, herbal, and chilly, at least. There’s also whitewashed fruit and thin, repeating layers of brittle minerality. This is blockier than some I’ve tasted, but still nice. (8/12)

Stray cat strut

Setzer 2006 Kreimelberg Roter Veltliner (Weinviertel) – I usually find roter veltliner a bit weird, and this is no exception. It’s as if grüner veltliner and Alsatian pinot gris had some sort of illicit vineyard union, because the fruit takes on an almost powdery, raspberry sorbet-like tone. I like it, but it keeps gesturing towards sweetness that might not be there, and thus functions as if it is in fact sweet; remember this when considering food matches, or do as I did and serve it as a fun apéritif. (8/12)

The Felton teen rabbit

Felton Road 2001 Pinot Noir (Central Otago) – This was a somewhat mistaken ager, in that I thought I was hanging on to one of the Block bottlings. Time has done nothing but weakened it, and while the fruit’s matured a bit, mostly the wine’s just softer and more muted. A bit plummy, some of the old blood orange rind that I used to think marked the region (I now believe it to be a clonal issue, since I’ve tasted it from the Waipara and Martinborough as well), some muscular earthiness, all at about volume 5 rather than the former 8 ½. Drink up, if you’ve got any. (7/12)

Patelin the bike

Tablas Creek 2010 “Patelin de Tablas” Red (Paso Robles) – 14.1%. Juicy & approachable. Dark fruit, some soil, some herbality, a dusting of black pepper, but mostly this is about seamless wholeness. That said, while the structure of this wine is usually a “just enough” support, this bottle is a bit spiky. Not sure what’s going on, but I’m sure this won’t be my last bottle, so we’ll see. (7/12)

Don’t ask zwei

Bründlmayer 2010 Zweigelt (Weinland) – Not a 750 ml, but instead a one-liter bottle, which is the perfect size for such an incredibly easy-drinking wine. Gentle blackberry, soft structure, hints of nerve without getting on any…the wine drains itself from the glass, until the bottle’s gone. And by the way, we need more liters of zweigelt. (7/12)


Panis “Chateau du Donjon” 2011 Minervois Rosé (Languedoc) – Heavy. Lurid. Tastes neon-magenta, if I can introduce some synæsthesia all up in this joint. (This bit of age-inappropriate verbiage brought to you by having just read Whitney Adams’ blog.) Alas, it’s a chore to drink. (7/12)

Peter’s wine

Boekenhoutskloof “The Wolftrap” 2007 Syrah Mouvèrdre Viognier (Franschhoek) – This is a wine that often teeters on the edge of respectability for me, but in this vintage it’s on the right side of it. Barely. Incredibly dense, dark, very nearly syrupy fruit, but there’s just enough (dim) light and lift to keep it from being leaden. The floral element is very strong, and while it’s tempting to credit the viognier in the blend, I just don’t see that there’s enough to provide all of it. Maybe the mourvèdre helps. Who knows? For those who like unreconstructed big-ass hootie wines, this is a good low(ish)-cost candidate. (7/12)

Lubenko of America

Sobon Estate 2005 Zinfandel Lubenko (Fiddletown) – 15.1%. Dark pineberry fruit, parchment tannin, and brittle acidity. Sobon is a producer whose wines rarely reach the pinnacles for me, yet this is a more exciting effort than I’m used to from them. There’s some extra peppery verve to it, and that coniferous aroma is exactly what one expects from the region. I really like this. (7/12)

Sobon Estate 2005 Zinfandel Lubenko (Fiddletown) – 15.1%. Absolutely identical in every possible way. Thank the closure. (7/12)

Roy Harper

Bonny Doon 2001 “Vin Gris de Cigare” (Earth) – Mostly grenache, with some mourvèdre, grenache blanc, and roussanne. Fruit-pop wine, bubblegummy and fun, with a rounded, polished, and highly marketable exterior. There’s lots of understated flash here, and while this does mean that there’s less substance than one might want, I don’t believe the wine is aiming for anything other than what it is. In which case it’s a success. (6/12)

Tapping Jeremy

Tablas Creek 2010 “Patelin de Tablas” Red (Paso Robles) – Syrah, grenache, mourvèdre, and counoise, 14.1% alcohol. Immediately appealing. Warm berries, hints of mushroom, herb, and soil. Some spice, some pepper. Everything moderate to low-volume, but well-knit. The kind of wine of which one could consume a lot, which is (of course) the intent behind this newish bottling. (6/12)