Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Blind flight of red, Blind flight of white.

Last week was another exciting meeting of the motley crew of wine retailers, importers, home contractors and others which currently comprise my monthly tasting group. Benjamin selected the wines and did an absolutely killer job bringing some cool stuff. Especially considering the fact that he has kids and is in the middle of escrow, which I imagine keeps him more than a little busy. I thought that I would do things a bit differently with this recap. Wines for each flight will be listed with my personal tasting notes, in reverse order of our group's ranking (worst to first). Then I will reveal the wines with some further commentary.


This wine was awful. Cooked, green nose. Not good green. A combo of green and weird tropical notes on the palate. It's gotta be NZ sauv blanc, I was thinking. A consensus last pick.

Very mineral on the nose, with a fairly decent wollop of new oak as well. This reminded me of WINE A1, with more fruit, of a sweeter quality, and a richer mid-palate.

Apple and melon rind on the nose. A whiff of salt peanuts. On the palate the wine is fresh, clean and shows a lot of fruit and balancing acid, with nuanced, balanced oak. Folks were thinking Graves on this, while I was thinking higher quality California SB. Mow that I think of it, Gary called northeastern Italian Sauvignon Blanc.

In addition to being the group pick, this wine was my clear favorite. Clearly it had a bit of bottle age, with a slightly leesy quality adding dimension to the the intense green apple skin aromas. The wine showed citrus zest galore on the incredibly lively palate. Very intense, electric. Acidity, very high. My style of wine. To me, this was clearly good quality Pouilly Fume, from a cooler vintage. I was guessing '04.

Well, you will notice that the probable theme here is Sauvignon Blanc. And the wines were:
A1 - San Michele Appiano Sanct Valentin Sauvignon Blanc Alto Adige 2003
A2 - Didier Dagueneau Pouilly Fume 'Pur Sang' 2003
A3 - Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2004
A4 - Didier Dagueneau Pouilly Fume 'Blanc Fume' 2004

2/4, so not a bad personal showing there. But what a call on the Italian SB for Gary - I'd have never guessed that! The '03s were tough to call: so ripe that they appear to be from the new world. That having been said, they are still very fresh and vibrant, though the '03 Pur Sang just is not my type of wine, nor do I think it ever will be.


B1 - After the SB theme, I stuck my nose into this glass and thought that maybe we'd be doing obscure Loire reds. Was this cot? Clearly this was merely a case of thematic suggestion, as the wine was a whole other story on the palate. It tasted of dark cherries - rich, young, spicy fruit. Probably southern French.
B2 - The nose on this seemed brighter and more red fruited than the wine below. Same on the palate, though its clipped finish showed some astringency. A bit hot. OK, now I suspect we're dealing with southern Rhone wines. Cotes du Rhone or chateauneuf du pape.
B4 - This one appeared to be at least 4 years older than the others. More faded, opaque, brick color. Indian spices and cooked cherries on the nose. It was muddled and not fresh on the nose, a little bit more fresh on the palate. At this point it was pretty clear that we were dealing with Chateauneuf du Pape. I nailed the vintage on this guy, but thought that the others were a lot younger - '05s to be exact.
B3 - Here's the super modern cuvee. Flashy, new oak. Jammy black cherries. Extracted. This could basically be from any number of places: Ribera del Duero, Portugal, Bordeaux. Something about the wine in the context of this flight, however that people really enjoyed. I voted it second favorite, in a grouping of wines I did not much like.

B1 - Vieux Telegraphe Chateaneuf du Pape 'La Crau' 2000
B2 - Grand Veneur Chateauneuf du Pape 2000
B3 - Domaine de la Mordoree Chateauneuf du Pape 'Cuvee de la Reine Des Bois'2000
B4 - Domaine Font de Michelle Chateauneuf du Pape 2000

Once the wines were revealed, we discussed how we all thought they were a bit alcoholic, not the kinds of wines we would typically crack open and enjoy. Nonetheless, they showed much better with Benjamin's hearty lamb stew, prepared lovingly with a bottle of chateauneuf du pape.