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Last night, we decided to go out for dinner as we often do on a Friday when the kids don’t have some sort of practice for sports. Rather than to go to our tried and true spots, we wanted to try something new. The second […]
Sweet Bloom Arnaud Causse Pichincha Ecuador is mindblowingly good. The coffee is crazy intense on the palate. In wine terms, this is like a tannic Cabernet Sauvignon. It also has an absolutely stunning citrus acidity that is obvious when one drinks this black. And a pleasing sweetness that balances the coffee out. The roast on this is more or less identical to the roast in my other favorites like Verve and Ritual. My second homerun from Sweet Bloom Coffee in a row and also my second Ecuadorian coffee that I have liked in a row. I see a pattern emerging…
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2005 Domaine Henri Boillot Beaune 1er Cru Epenottes is such a delicious wine that is in “the zone” right now. Still has beautiful red cherry fruit, laser focused acidity, a full midpalate that shows underbrush and tobacco leaf and a long sappy finish. Stunner.
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2002 Château Lagrange (St. Julien) is a very fine wine. Going on being 16 years old, this still comes out of the bottle black and angry, and with bold vanilla and coffee notes which indicates this saw oodles of new oak…but as I followed this for two days and gave it air, it kept changing and coming into balance. It mellowed and became more focused with beef blood, black currant, tobacco, and a pepper/salt note on the finish. For those of you who have not been buying Bordeaux for long…I purchased three bottles of this in 2005 for $26 each. Insane value even considering I have stored it for over a decade.
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2004 Domaine de Marcoux Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the kind of CdP I love. It is all raspberry, licorice and dried herbs. It has fantastic length on the midpalate and finish, amazing freshness and a total balance, screaming with elegance and finesse. Even though this is from a less heralded vintage, I find this extremely seductive and fun to drink. The fact that this is mostly old vine Grenache defines this wine. A+ effort.
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2015 Château La Fleur Montagne-St. Émilion is a decent mid-week wine to drink with grilled meats, poultry or barbeque. This is from an excellent vintage which really helps because it has surprisingly lush plum and berry fruit on an otherwise awkward structure. Also shows some really rustic, dusty, dirty, earthy flavors and plenty of acid. All-in-all, it is a real and honest wine that is not spoofed, and it has managed to retain the site characteristics one would expect. This is exactly the kind of inexpensive Bordeaux that we drank years ago at uncomplicated restaurants in Bordeaux with good, simple, local cuisine. Certainly a good value at $15 per bottle, but it won’t wow you like the Grand Crus from the same vintage (or even lesser vintages) do.
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2014 Carro Yecla followed the disappointing Gourgonnier and slayed it. It supposedly never saw oak, but has a pronounced vanilla note on the nose and creamy palate that I would usually associate with use of new oak barrels. After a little while, that dissipates and what is left is a velvety red that delivers black fruit, licorice and some dark chocolate. For less than $10, this is as good of a wine as one can buy at a grocery store and one that can be consumed by novices and wine geeks over a grilled piece of meat or an uncomplicated dinner like tacos or pizza.
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2015 Mas de Gourgonnier Les Baux-de-Provence is a disappointing wine. I really wanted to like this…but for a bottle that’s North of $20, this fell flat. One-dimensional, flabby raspberry fruit with a peppery and tobacco leaf note on the finish after a fairly hollow midpalate. Maybe I don’t get this, but it just isn’t even close to where a $20 bottle should be to be worth it. And that is WITH me having fond memories of visiting Les Beaux-de-Provence many years ago. Made organically, but that is no factor in a wine this mediocre. Stay away.
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2012 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Crozes-Hermitage Domaine Raymond Roure is a fantastic bottle of wine. Red and black fruit with olive tapenade and a pronounced dried herb/garrigue note that seems slightly unconventional for Crozes. That said, this has a soaring structure, plenty of acid and is both clean and complex. If you are expecting rusticity from this, you will be disappointed because it really drinks more like an Hermitage than a Crozes-Hermitage. And that, I believe, is the “secret” to this wine. The more time in bottle you can give this, the better. If you open one now, it needs a decant of several hours to show well. Treat it like an Hermitage and in another 5-10 years it will begin paying dividends.
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Sweet Bloom Colon Merino in the cup this morning. While Verve and Ritual continue to generally be my two favorite roasters, I wanted to revisit a different roaster just for fun. And Sweet Bloom Coffee doesn’t disappoint. This is a very nice coffee that is ultra soft and round with tea-like body. It is floral and sparkling with zero bitterness or rough edges. This is a coffee everyone can find something to like in….coffee snobs and noobs alike. One added benefit is that Sweet Bloom’s prices are very fair, so a great roaster to sample to get into ultra high quality coffee.
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2016 Juliane Eller Weissburgunder Juwel grabs you by the neck, slaps you in the face and leaves you in shock with your mouth agape after the first sip. This might be one of the most laser focused and delineated whites I have had in a long time. Razor sharp acidity and vivid minerality are the stars and sweet white peach fruit is the support cast. For anyone thinking Germany is a one trick Riesling pony…they should try this and it will change their preconceived notions. Buy all you can because it is priced very fairly (still). Seriously. @juwel_weine created magic in a bottle with this.
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Ardbeg Uigedail is the perfect Superbowl after-dinner tipple. Smoke, peat, salted caramel and orange peel. This whisky is SO tasty. I do think that, while purists will decry the ice cube in the tumbler, it really needs that little bit of water to open up and unfurl its complexity. Unreal.
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2005 Château Gazin Pomerol is my Superbowl wine tonight. What a beautiful young bruiser this is. Bing cherry, mint, eucalyptus, fruit cake and salted dark chocolate. This is easy to like but really 10 years away from maturity. While it is incredible to drink now, in 10 years this will be a near religious wine experience. Whoa.
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