Browse Tag



Domaine Saint Vincent Brut (New Mexico) – Extremely bright. Lemons, apples, other tart citrus. A little copper adds some interest, but this is mostly about upfront fruit. A party sparkler. (11/10)


Seppelt 1986 Sparkling Shiraz “Show Reserve” (Barossa Valley) – Right out of the bottle, there’s the baked soy and caramel thing that I loathe, and too often find, in Barossa shiraz. But that doesn’t last long, and after an hour or so of nudging and sipping, the last glass is by far the best. Moreover, I fear there was still more to come as the dregs are drained, though of course I’ll never now. The intended froth is still present but the wine is so full-bodied (and this is in a worldwide, not strictly Barossan, context) that you don’t much notice it after the first few sips. Luscious dark fruit, certainly sun-drenched but not overly so, and black pepper, with a more particulate and coal-dust texture than I would have expected. Fun just because sparkling shiraz is, but with a serious side as well. This wine, decades ago and from a different (and older) vintage, was the one that convinced me sparkling shiraz could be something other than a parlor game and the setup for jokes about goat sacrifice. I’m glad to see that little has changed. (11/10)

Admiral Adami

Adami 2008 Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Vigneto Giardino (Veneto) – Among the best prosecco I’ve tasted (the prime example still being the house pour at Corte Sconta in Venice), with crystallized minerality and chalk swimming about a dryish memory-of-citrus froth. Not so much linear as helixed, but still unidirectional in the four-dimensional plane. (Translation of the previous nonsense: quite good.) (12/10)

Donati or nice?

Donati 2008 Malvasia dell’Emilia (Emilia-Romagna) – Difficult. This is no slickified industrial wine, so variable performance is perhaps to be expected. But this is…difficult. Papery, dusty, wrenched, and odd. I keep peering, waiting for an explanation, and then the bottle’s gone and I’m just as confused as before. (12/10)

A Barmès day

Barmès Buecher Crémant d’Alsace Brut (Alsace) – Restrained, salty, tonic-like. Very, very clean, hinting at bitter citrus but delivering only a fraction of what it suggests it might. Nice. (11/10)

A Croser by any other name…

Croser 2001 Brut (Piccadilly Valley) – Crisply acidic and clean, the lingering duo of Mr. Malic and Mrs. Tartaric lifting the basic fruit into the fun range. No depth, but I’m not sure any has been requested or promised. (3/05)

Sofia Vergombera

Verdi 2007 Oltrepò Pavese Bonarda “Possessione di Vergombera” (Lombardy) – Geez, is this the opposite of prosaic or what? Like some of the brittle northern Piedmontese reds, this makes a case for being a tinted version of riesling, but then subverts it with straps and lashes of tannin and an incisored chomp of reddish fruit. Now, I’ve gotten to this point in the note without mentioning its two dominant characteristics: residual sugar and aggressive, somewhat sloppy (like an overeager dog slobbering on your face) fizz. For me, honestly, there’s far too much distraction and flail in this wine for actual enjoyment, but at least the ride is on the breathtaking side. At a festive gathering, this might be a lot more appropriate than it was at my dinner table. (10/10)

Inflorescence Inhenderson

Cédric Bouchard Champagne Blanc de Noirs Brut “Inflorescence” (Champagne) – Ethereal and restrained despite the dark, spicy fruit within. Frothy, and yet the elegance is sometimes a bit much. I find myself wishing for a bit more presence, and then thinking I’m being way too hard on a basically compelling wine. It’s the hype, what does it… (9/10)