Mont-Ferrant Brut Rosé – Very attractive rosado cava, with strawberry, raspberries and other red fruits in a tangy red cherry and raspberry soft ending. The yeastiness is present but underlies the fruit, and it finishes clean and dry.
Agusti Torello Kripta 2000 – An impressive and balanced effort, with orange, lemon, pear, and nuttiness on the nose, and flavors of orange pear and a honey-dipped green apple slice at the end. Complex bubbly like this can be great on its own, or with light appetizers.
A wealth of delicious Spanish wines to review including a few pretty cavas. Agusti Torello Mata Cava Reserva 2002 – A very attractive nose with some yeastiness, toast, lemon and creamy green apple, the mouth is full and round but dry, with a little floral note and lemon zest at the finish. By itself, or with light foods, this is very stylish.
Chateau Ste Michelle Sauvignon Blanc 2003 Horse Heaven Vineyard is the product of one of Washington’s greatest and coolest vineyards. In most vintages, Horse Heaven is not a sure thing, even with a variety friendly to cool vintages such as Sauvignon Blanc.
But two things have changed: the vintages are no longer so cool in Washington, and Ste Michelle seems to be getting a real handle on the grape. Despite the Bush administration’s ostrich act, global warming is real and cool vineyards are nearly hot. This is laden with white pepper, notes of green pepper and nutmeg, cooked pears and apples and notes of orange and grapefruit. Lengthy, weighty and crisp.
SoloRosa 2004 California Rose – pink wine is not for very everybody, I know. It’s just that most people like it, and the wine press likes to ignore these wines despite that fact. Strawberry, raspberry and red currants flavors in a soft, somewhat simple finish. But simple isn’t bad when it comes to pink wine. Austere is bad, dull is bad. This is none of those.
My friend Damon Ornowski gives me a bottle of Lungarotti Rubesco Torgiano Riserva Vigna Monticchio 1995. I’m pretty excited so I open it that night. At first, it’s plump and youthful. Then some cinnamon starts showing up, like the wet cinnamon note of New World Sangiovese.
Then the TCA shows up. It’s corked. The fruit recedes like a turtle’s head in harsh light. I hate corks.
Courtesy of Fred Dame MS and Jay Fletcher MS, a few remarkable wines to report: Claude Dugat Charmes Chambertin 1995 was all earth and muscle, but showed red plum and sarsaparilla as well as hints of Bretty leather.
The Domaine de la Romanee Conti Grands Echezeaux 1995 was dull in comparison. H2S aromas pervaded the thing. Aargh.
There were some gems, as there should be when people like Randall Grahm are involved. My favourite quote of his? “I think that to some degree all wines are corked,” he said during the panel considering alternative corks and packaging. It was dubbed, “Seeking Closure”, of course.
The Monterey Wine Festival ate my homework. Strike that, it ate my brain. That is the primary reason why this blog fell so miserably behind, though typical human sloth played a role as well. The preparation for it was bad enough, but the execution of the event was mind-bending. Things will change that’s for sure; the program will probably see different ownership next year and I may not play a role, for better or worse.
For the attendees, though, I hope it was good. I certainly believe that we executed well and that only those of us in the background saw the chaos.
A visit to a new spot at the Bellagio in Vegas: 55 Degrees. A fun selection, a very fun display and all wines served in the new Riedel stemless wine glasses. I’m a big fan of everything Riedel does. Until now. These glasses don’t keep the temperature of the white wines (and even the reds) and the wines lose their balance. And why? Just for design’s sakes?