Browse Tag


I’m Nashik of Araby

Sula 2010 Chenin Blanc (Nashik) – I’ve watched this particular bottling over seven vintages now, which is kinda fun to say about an Indian wine. Interestingly, while it has gotten cleaner over the years, it has not necessarily gotten better, which might indicate that it’s coming up against some sort of externally-imposed limit. Maybe vine age, maybe terroir, maybe something else. It’s still a bright, light-fruited quaff, still tastes less like chenin (either the Loire style or the fruit-blast South African style) than something more innocuous, still has just-bright-enough acidity, and still goes pretty much nowhere on the finish. In other words, its primary quality remains a delight at drinking a pleasant wine from India. (3/11)

Marching in

Sainsbury’s Sauvignon Blanc (Central Valley) – A whole orchard full of grapefruit, lemon, lime, with just a hint of pith and bitterness. Good flavor for the money. (3/11)

Ride UPS

Mount Brown 2010 Sauvignon Blanc (Waipara) – Mineral-driven, which is to the good, with little tropicality and also no overt pyrazines. Unfortunately, lacking either and not having aught other than some rocks in their place, it’s wan. There could, and should, be more. I suppose I’d be kinder were this made from a less aggressive grape, but while I adore mineral qualities in my sauvignon blanc, it’s a grape that I think should bring some of its own expressiveness to the mix. Here, it doesn’t. (2/11)

Sometimes, it’s just a malbec

Cigar Box 2009 Malbec “Reserve” (Argentina) – The name doesn’t really ,ie, in that there’s a healthy whack of tobacco herein. But mostly, it’s about opacity for the sake of opacity, rather than in service of/consort with other elements. Big, big, big. (2/11)

Tenrazan to date my daughter

Igarashi Syuzo “Tenrazan” Junmai Daiginjyo Sake (Japan) – 500 ml. “Medium-dry” says the bottle, and it certainly is, but as is somewhat typical (at least in my limited experience with sake) there’s as much of a textural feeling of sweetness from the alcohol as there is from any residual sugar. What’s nice here is that the alcohol, so often an incessant bagpipe drone in sake, is completely integrated and well-balanced; you’ll know it not by the taste, but by the headache the next morning. So, what else? White peaches and syrup-infused pears, and rather a lot of both. Almost overwhelmingly fruity, in fact. There’s also…well, this is a little on the obscure and dated side, but a long while ago there was a sugar-substitute (made from ever-beloved saccharine) that came in the form of a clear liquid. This tastes like that. And I suspect it’s not lost on anyone, whether or not they’ve tried the long-forgotten product of which I’m speaking, that to make this comparison isn’t exactly a compliment. I want to like this more than I do, due to its supple form, but I feel like I’m drinking a simulacrum of sweetened fruit. (11/10)

Expensive balls

Karl Joh. Molitor 2008 Hattenheimer Riesling Spätlese 0013 09 (Rheingau) – Heavy, sticky (this feels far sweeter than it probably is), ponderous, dull. Really uninteresting. (10/10)

Nókő Ono

Disznókő 2006 Dry Tokaji (Hungary) – Forbiddingly reduced at first unscrewing, but this does blow off. I’m not sure the wine’s worth the wait, though…under the reduction is a little wan oxidation, a squirt of spritz, some undefined tartness, and a big, flat, horizonless plain of not very much. Nothing wrong, but nothing particularly right. It’s wine. That’s about as far as I’ll praise it. (10/10)

Chopped logs

Brokenwood 2005 Semillon (Hunter Valley) – 10.5% alcohol. Grassy, a little sweaty, and strongly-flavored for all the wine’s lightness of body. (10/10)

Wear a Côtes

Tablas Creek 2006 “Côtes de Tablas” Blanc (Paso Robles) – The bronzed stone fruit has not diminished in intensity since release, but it has taken on a deeper, richer tone, the metallics have been somewhat energized, and there’s more soil in evidence. This is a heavy wine in the grand scheme, though decidedly not so in its local idiom, and is still quite luscious and even a little blowsy. I’m convinced that age will continue to turn this wine, but those who require upfront fruit may want to think about drinking sooner rather than later. (9/10)

Steindorfer on golf

Steindorfer 2009 Pinot Gris Fuschloch (Burgenland) – Surprisingly Alsatian in weight, if not aromatic profile, with more lusciousness than I’m used to from Austrian versions. The pear is bare and unspiced, however, which definitely takes it out of Alsace, and there’s rather more light within this wine than is typical elsewhere. Pleasant, and since it’s very hard to convince pinot gris to be more than that, good enough. (9/10)