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Hot times by the bay

A short-form San Francisco travelogue; part 6

by Thor Iverson

13 April – San Francisco, California

West Coast Wines (continued)

Showket 2000 Sangiovese (Oakville) – Funky but intense peanut butter and strawberry sandwich, dense throughout and with a buttery, attenuated finish.

Showket 2001 Sangiovese (Oakville) – Tannic, adding blackberry jam to the strawberry, and thick on the nose and palate, showing better balance than the previous wine despite massive fruit; the tannin, firm at first, turns bitter and green on the finish.

Showket 2002 “Asante sana” (Oakville) – A “super-Tuscan” analogue from sangiovese and cabernet sauvignon. A hot nose portending dense, liqueur-style berries. Structured, with decent acidity and big tannin which “balance” this forcefully muscular wine until the finish. Which, unfortunately, turns to a lurid sort of dried celery rather quickly. Still, this isn’t truly awful…

Showket 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon (Oakville) – …but this is. Bell pepper and vegetable-infused chocolate with a fiery, nasty finish. Disgusting.

Te Awa 2003 Sauvignon Blanc (Hawke’s Bay) – Thick, ripe tropical fruit turning flat and candied on the palate…plus (and this isn’t unusual for New Zealand sauvignon blanc) it feels a little off-dry. It’s got a lengthy finish, but it’s a dull length. Like sitting through a Merchant/Ivory snooze-fest.

Te Awa 2002 Chardonnay (Hawke’s Bay) – Peach, apricot, and juicy pear with crisped banana skin and apple. Balanced in the fruit-salad way that many New Zealand chardonnays are, but lacks any backpalate interest whatsoever. Half a wine. Maybe three-quarters.

Te Awa 2002 Syrah (Hawke’s Bay) – Musty pepper dust and grass, silken and broadening on the finish, but ultimately fairly insignificant.

Te Awa 2002 Merlot (Hawke’s Bay) – Green veggies, plum, and asparagus with a layer of unpleasant dust.

Te Awa 2001 “Boundary” (Hawke’s Bay) – A right bank-styled blend, showing a nice balance of black fruit, blueberry, and black dirt with chewy tannin. This is the one they get right?

Duchamp 2002 Syrah “Cuvée Trouvée” (Dry Creek Valley) – Cute name. Too bad the wine’s ugly. Minted lamb burger with a bouquet of flowers and ripe coconut, finishing harsh and peaty with more of that coconut. Bad barrels. Bad, bad barrels!

Kosta Browne 2003 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) – Nice, dusty strawberry and red cherry, soft and not at all bad, though tannin clips the finish in a slightly annoying way. A good value, though.

Kosta Browne 2003 Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands) – Plum and cherry, soft to the point of fluffiness, with a sugary midpalate that particulates to powdered sugar on the finish. There’s a decent, feminine pinot somewhere under all this sugar, but the ants might get to it first.

Kosta Browne 2003 Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley) – 15.25% alcohol (this is the last heat level I’ll note; everyone knows where this is going). Slightly darker, plumy fruit with juicy mushrooms. Somewhat hot, though the flavors are good, but the finish is no less sugary-sweet than the previous wine. Is it residual sugar, overripe fruit, or just the alcohol again? It’s getting impossible to tell these days.

Kosta Browne 2003 Pinot Noir Cohn (Russian River Valley) – Lightly-spiced plum, sweet maraschino cherry, and intense sweetness with only a touch of tannin to combat it. The finish shows sweet anise candy. Labeled as demi-sec, this would actually be pretty good.

Kosta Browne 2003 Pinot Noir Kanzler (Sonoma Coast) – Denser and darker with a bit of kirsch liqueur, more tannin than any previous wine, and banana studded with strawberry seeds. Overtly better-balanced than the other pinots, with good acidity and a decent medium-term future.

Kosta Browne 2003 Pinot Noir Koplen (Russian River Valley) – Succulent strawberry jam with some vegetal notes, medium tannin, and chewy, almost toffee-like sweetness. What is up with these wines?

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Copyright ©2005 Thor Iverson.