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Notes from a post-Boston Wine Expo offline. They’re briefer than they should be, because I’d been taking notes all day, and all day the previous day, and furthermore was abandoning my sacred note-taking duty by trying to socialize. As a result, they’re not only shorter, they’re less creative than usual: a few nouns and adjectives hastily scribbled, in some cases. I’ve tried to flesh out the notes where I have enough of a memory of the wine to do so, but such was not always possible.

[label]Sauzet 1998 Puligny-Montrachet Les Referts (Burgundy) – Waxy and salty, with loam, peat, and bitter melon. Wan and disappointing. There’s some positivity from others, but this just isn’t for me. Thankfully, it’s my very last bottle of white Burgundy not from Chablis or the Mâcon, so I can now leave the wines to those who covet them. Chardonnay from the Côte d’Or is something I can occasionally appreciate, but almost never enjoy. (2/07)

Clos du Tue-Bœuf 2004 Touraine “Le Buisson Pouilleux” (Loire) – Hazy, naturellement. Soap, lanolin, fennel, raw paper pulp and sand. Highly individualistic, yet highly unappealing except as a sideshow freak. 48 hours of air bring the tiniest bit of sauvignon blanc character up from the hellstew, but there’s an acrid Pine-Sol note as well. I know there are those – many of whose palates I admire – who love this stuff, but I find it actively wretched, maybe even repellent, and unquestionably flawed. (2/07)

Rijckaert 2002 Pouilly-Fuissé En Bulands “Vieilles Vignes” (Burgundy) – Creamy old wood with melon and stone, followed by some deeper bronze notes. Good, but professionally done to the point of being slick. (2/07)

Thomas-Labaille 2005 Sancerre Les Monts Damnés “Cuvée Buster” (Loire) – Strong, silty minerality with grass and hay, softened by light residual sugar. The gorgeous texture – like a sheet of creamed granite – doesn’t quite make up for a general lifelessness. Perhaps the wine’s just youthfully indecisive, because given the length and quality of the finish there certainly could be an upside here. (2/07)

Loosen-Erben 1983 Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Auslese *** 007 84 (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer) – Creamy, steely and somewhat filmy, with simple, clean old riesling flavors. I think this one is somewhat past its most useful stage of life. Certainly I don’t get much Würzgarten out of it. (2/07)

Gautier 2005 Vouvray Sec (Loire) – Chalk, wax, aspirin, limestone and lime rind. Fairly simple, basic Vouvray with all the components intact. I’d prefer a little more crispness, and definitely more persistence, but there’s certainly nothing actively wrong with this wine. (2/07)

Van Volxem 2004 Riesling Kanzen Altenberg “Alte Reben” 11 05 (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer) – Smoky quartz and plenty of matchstick with incredible concentration on the midpalate. Really, there’s almost overwhelming concentration on display. And yet, almost bizarrely, the finish is simplistic; not knowing any better, I’d almost guess it was internationalized riesling. Very light sweetness is dominated by a liquid that is more about weight than aroma or texture. I think this has a long future, but right now it’s a little too powerful for it’s own good; it’s very impressive, but somewhat obstinately adolescent. (2/07)

[label]Edmunds St. John 2004 “Bone Jolly” Gamay Noir Witters (El Dorado County) – At long last, a non-corked version of this wine. Hallelujah! And it shows exactly the qualities I’d hoped for when I stuck a half-dozen (five of which have been corked) in the cellar: big, pretty fruit maturing into a beautiful, graphite-laced structure, and finishing with delicacy and poise. (2/07)

Torrepalino 1995 Etna Rosso Solicchiata (Sicily) – Soft, ash-drenched red fruit. Mostly, but not entirely, dead, with spiky acidity poking through the well-worn holes. I find a certain decrepit charm, our group’s one avowed necrophiliac likes it, and most of the rest of the room pronounces it undrinkable. But the terroir does most definitely show. A few years ago, this might have been really interesting. But what the hell…it was only $2. (2/07)

Gauthier 2005 Chiroubles Châtenay “Vieilles Vignes” (Beaujolais) – Tannic underneath the crushed, dried floral nose. Pretty, sharp and drying at the same time. There are appealing elements here, but ultimately I find it a little hard to like this wine. With time, matters may well be different; I don’t think I’ve ever tasted aged Chiroubles, but this is the most likely candidate I’ve yet encountered. (2/07)

Dard & Ribo 2004 St-Joseph (Rhône) – Refermented ass cheese. Vile and irreparably flawed. Yet another tragic victim of the low-sulfur winemaking fetish. (2/07)

[labels]Desvignes 2000 Morgon Côte du Py Javernières (Beaujolais) – Structured blood and iron, with morels and dark fruit in the mix. The finish shatters into iron filings. Gorgeous wine that’s not turning into some sort of Burgundy analogue, but is instead following its own delicious path; a beautiful marriage of a stupendous terroir and a terrific producer. It’s most certainly ready to go, and the organoleptics are probably at their most appealing, but I don’t think there’s any danger of it falling apart anytime soon either, given the still-weighty structure. (2/07)

Hubert Lignier 1996 Chambolle-Musigny (Burgundy) – Sharp raspberry with an ungenerous, shyly abrupt finish. I find this wine very difficult to warm up to, yet others in the room seem much more enticed. Is it closed, is it bad, or is it just me? All three seem equally likely. (2/07)

Morgenster 2001 (Stellenbosch) – I didn’t forget to type an identifier here…the wine just doesn’t actually have a “name” by the usual standards. It’s a Bordeaux-style blend, showing spiced mushrooms, nuts, and juicy/spicy blackberry froth. Good, though 2nd and 3rd-day tastes show rapid decline (and to be fair, the wine had been open for many hours before the first taste). A solid effort, but I don’t know that I’d risk aging it. The signs of New World obviousness abound, and those are the sorts of wines that last rather than age. (2/07)

Jasmin 2001 Côte-Rôtie (Rhône) – Elegant violet-studded pork, with far too much soft-bodied restraint…though the finish lingers on and on, showing a gentle persistence of absence. The next day, it tastes like nothing. The day after that, it’s the void incarnate, actually removing existing tastes from the palate. The most logical conclusion is that it’s impenetrably closed, and while there are a few nice elements that can be teased into revelation, there seems little point in drinking this now. Let it age in the manner it deserves. (2/07)

Anheuser 1999 Kreuznacher Krötenpfuhl Riesling Beerenauslese 49 00 (Nahe) – Metal and red cherry, strawberry, raspberry and orange. I’m a sucker for red fruit notes in white wines – most often, chez nous, found in German or Austrian riesling and also in Sancerre – and this is no exception. Extremely sweet, of course, yet everything is in balance. I like it, a lot. (2/07)

Dönnhoff 1994 Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Auslese (Nahe) – Long and sharp, showing ripe but almost shockingly crisp apples in the midst of a surprisingly high-acid brew. Little to nothing has softened or creamed here, and the entire package is rather simple and direct. Given the producer and the site, the most likely conclusion is that it just needs more time, though I admit to harboring minority doubts about the wine’s balance. Still, even I’d bet on Dönnhoff before I’d bet on my guesses. (2/07)

2002 Taurasi (Campania) – I didn’t forget to indicate a producer; this was hand-bottled (under a plug-shaped plastic doodad) and labeled with pen on a sticky label by a relative of a relative, then gifted to us a few years ago during a visit to Rome. I’ve since waited for a good time to open it, feeling that the closure wouldn’t allow any sort of typical Taurasi aging curve, and a few expressions of enthusiasm for aglianico from guests gives me the opportunity. At first whiff, some of the classic homebrew flaws are in evidence – brett, some volatile acidity – but as the wine airs, these are subsumed into the wine’s classic, typicité-revelatory qualities. There’s the blackest fruit well-laden with dark tannin, wild backcountry acidity, and a spicy, mineral-driven core swirling with razor-edged iron shards. (The next day, the flaws are gone, leaving only the blackberry-dominated fruit, tannin, and all that aforementioned ferric goodness.) One guest hesitantly jokes that it might be the wine of the night, but even given the stiff competition (and acknowledging a likely reduction in objectivity, given the source) I’ll state it with full confidence. This is a remarkable achievement, and without question the best true amateur wine I’ve ever tasted. (2/07)

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Copyright ©2006 Thor Iverson.