Browse Tag


Night, Romney

Mittnacht Frères 2008 Gewurztraminer (Alsace) – Soft spice, fleshy but restrained peach, a generalized sunny shininess. Pretty, basic. (1/12)


Schlosskellerei Gobelsburg “Gobelsburger” 2010 Grüner Veltliner (Kamptal) – Eminently pleasant whites and greens, light but with insistence and a measured length. The faintest dusting of whit pepper, perhaps, but mostly this relies on riper forms of straightforward grüneresque fruit, though not the lush lavishness of which the grape is capable when pushed. There’s sufficient acidity for short-term holding, but actual aging is something I probably wouldn’t try except in a purely speculative way. (12/11)

Kai Winn

Kaimira 2004 Gewürztraminer (Brightwater) – A pale shadow of its once-bright self, showing only the faint chew of skins and a bit of acrid walnut oil. (12/11)

Back in Schwarz

Blackenbrook 2004 Pinot Gris (Marlborough) – Holding up well…so well, in fact, that I have fleeting regrets for opening my only bottle. Well, it’s New Zealand pinot gris, so one can hardly blame me for a lack of confidence. This has taken on more riesling-like qualities with age, and the enhanced minerality and precision are to the wine’s benefit. Yet it hasn’t shed a clear, glass-like pear quality that identifies its variety. In terms of style, it’s chilly-Germanic rather than a richly-spiced Alsatian analogue or weak-fruited Italian. Those who wanted more fulsome fruit should have consumed it at release, but I am far from convinced that this wine is done evolving. Into what is the question. Slightly fruity riesling (with a short finish and less acidity) would be my guess. (12/11)

Women on top

Sobon Estate 2008 Zinfandel Cougar Hill (Amador County) – 14.9%. It doesn’t <i>taste</i> like Cakebread. Well, jokes aside, it’s a richly-fruited zin about halfway in the jelly/syrup stage (which means that there’s still some pine-forested linkage to its expected regional character) with a lot of tannin and what seems to be a fair dollop of oak as well. This in unquestionably designed with cellaring in mind, and while it’s a bit denser than I think would be ideal for its future balance, age it should. (12/11)

Susanna or Sergei?

Sobon Estate 2008 Zinfandel Lubenko (Fiddletown) – 15.2%. Thick, resinous, and skin-dominated zin slathered in oak (not egregiously so for zin, which handles new wood pretty well, but it’s hard to miss). There’s a lot of pine needle here, which I love in zins from this area, but the wine itself is more than a bit of a slog. Maybe time will help, but I suspect it will always be a little over-structured. (11/11)

‘cross the wide Missouri

Shenandoah 2009 Zinfandel “Special Reserve” (California) – 14.5%. Kinda dull, rote, zin-by-numbers…except that it’s flatter than that, bringing charred paper and an air of complete, Kristen Stewart-like indifference to its mission. (11/11)

Pokerville? I don’t even know’erville!

Karly 2009 Zinfandel Pokerville (Amador County) – 14.5%…and yes, the name means what you think; it was apparently the name of the town of Plymouth at one point during the gold rush years, and for the immediately obvious reason to anyone who thinks about leisure-time activities for a bunch of men who’ve spent weeks scratching for little more than riches and mosquitoes. (It’s kind of a shame they changed it.) Bursty fruit, as if the half-wild, half-cultivated berries are being crushed as the wine’s sipped. Or, rather, guzzled. This isn’t a sipping wine. Fruity fun. (11/11)

For he’s a jolly verdelho

Tyrrell’s 2010 Verdelho (Hunter Valley) – Juicy, green, balanced, fun. I don’t think it’s meant to be any more formal than that, so it doesn’t really need more verbiage. (9/11)


Donaldson Family “Pegasus Bay” 2007 Riesling (Waipara) – Sweet lime and grapefruit, and getting just ever so slightly nervy, which is a quality that this solid, reliable wine doesn’t achieve all that often. I don’t know if it’s just a stage or a vintage effect, but this is suddenly more interesting than it was earlier this year. There’s more here, but it’s mostly hidden in a textural monoculture right now, and time will be required to tease out those nuances. (9/11)