Browse Tag


Tohu are you? Tohu? Tohu?

Tohu 2007 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough) – A textbook historical summary Marlborough sauvignon, combining the brash green of the old and the sweeter tropicality of the new. Not particularly exciting, to be sure, but highly representative. (2/09)

Go south young pinot

Montana “Brancott” 2007 Pinot Noir (South Island) – A wretched nose of rotting garbage and moldering stew makes it very, very hard to put this wine in my mouth. But I persevere. And the palate isn’t all that bad. A little strawberry, some red cherry, perhaps a bit of raspberry, light and relatively friendly, though edging towards unwelcome lozenge flavors. But ugh, that stench. (2/09)

A plea for marsanne-ity

[label]Tahbilk 2006 Marsanne (Victoria) – Friendly, appealing yellow fruit. Simple and clean, with fair acidity and not much in the way of additional interest, but definitely quaffable. (1/09)

Don’t squeeze the Charvin

[vine]Charvin 2006 Vin de Pays Principauté d’Orange “à côté” (Rhône) – If the Charvin Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a concerto, and the Côtes-du-Rhône is the orchestra without the soloist, this is the first scribbling of the composer on an otherwise blank page. Suggestions of Rhône-osity come in the form of dark, earthy undertones, a bit of leather and smoke, a hint of herb…but none of these ideas are developed or fleshed out. In other words, the wine lives up to its position in the hierarchy. It’s quite drinkable and seems admirably unspoofy, but this is a wine for enjoyable quaffing en pichet in an Avignon bistro, not for shipping across the ocean to acquire a series of markups and a marketing budget. Still, if you have to drink something, you could do a lot worse. A lot worse. (1/09)


[vineyard]Neil Ellis 2007 “Sincerely” Sauvignon Blanc (Western Cape) – Slashing, biting, and razoring as sauvignon is occasionally wont to do, but while it edges right up to the precipice of underripeness, it never quite completes that dive, and the result – while tongue-numbingly sharp – is a sort of cheap thrill ride for the palate. Green, most assuredly, but in a good way…though it’s no cocktail sipper, and will require sharply acidic food to tame its wilder impulses. (1/09)


Ken Forrester 2008 “Petit” Chenin Blanc (Stellenbosch) – While the whitish-yellow fruit here is fairly soft, it’s a good deal heftier and more present than base-level chenins usually are; this would appear to be a signature of Stellenbosch chenin, which picks up weight that it rarely attains elsewhere except in extreme late-harvest conditions. It’s not overweighted, though, and at a good price it’s a quite fair bargain. It doesn’t endure careful attention, but it’s not intended to. (1/09)


[vineyard]Delta Vineyard 2006 Pinot Noir (Marlborough) – Another bargain pinot noir from one of the few countries that seems to be able to do it well. Here, however, the blood orange and beet characteristics that seem so prevalent across the range of New Zealand’s pinot noir terroirs are left a little exposed by a not-quite-sufficient quantity of berries. In the presence of better overall fruit, these characteristics add a dollop of interesting complexity to such wines. Still, this isn’t bad, and will do quite well in a pinch. Finishes with a touch of bitterness. (1/09)

Man, dog

[vineyard]Dog Point 2007 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough) – Sophisticated. None of the edges and raciness that used to define Marlborough sauvignon blanc are here; this tastes significantly more like an Old World sauvignon, though what it does take from its location are a certain size and intensity. Acid is tamed but well-balanced, the fruit moves through gentler, more yellow realms (rather than the usual green), and there’s a soft, almost sandy texture that brings to the fore a very appealing mineral foundation. The finish is supple and long. Very, very good. (1/09)