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1998 Sottimano Barbaresco Currá. Burgers & Barbaresco (B&B) tonight and this wine is drinking at absolute peak. Cherry, plum, thyme, eucalyptus and rose water on the palate. Beautiful nose and beautifully vibrant and alive. We had its sister wine last night (1998 Cotta) and that one was decidedly past peak and beginning to show less than ideal. And if you think it is barbaric to have a wine like this with burgers…try it. You may be surprised.
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2012 C.V.N.E. (Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España) Rioja Cune Reserva was the clear winner of the every day drinking wine contest. This is so much more polished than the Monsanto that preceded it, it isn’t even funny. Dark berry fruit with dried herbs, cold smoke and a hint of dill pickle (from the oak barrel) were consistent from nose to palate and this showed round and generously, but had plenty of acid to keep the tension alive. At $12 this is substantially less expensive than the Monsanto and a world apart in quality.
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2013 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva did not wow in a side-by-side battle of every day wines. It does have some decent cherry fruit on the palate and some woodsy underbrush and dried herb notes, but the acid seems slightly off and shrill. At $18 this is too expensive for what it is and lacks some typicity in my book. Still perfectly drinkable but somewhat uninspiring.
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2004 Mauro Veglio Barolo Vigneto Arborina with roasted lamb. My last and best bottle to date. Started off flabby and ripe on night one, then appeared bricking and brown on night 2, and finally drinking gloriously on night 3. Rosewater, tar, plum, and menthol. One of the best bottles of Barolo I’ve had in a while. Based on the phases this went through, I would guess that peak drinking window is still several years away, but at age 13 it is already drinking very well if given the right amount of air. If you open this and don’t like it, I suggest patience to let it come into its own before writing it off. It’s a temperamental one, this one. 😲😁
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2001 Domaine Jasmin Côte-Rôtie is a wine that is oddly advanced at age 16. Incredibly wild and animale with tertiary and barnyard aromas and flavors dominating. With some air, it mellows somewhat and a nice berry and olive tapenade comes to the fore, but in the end, this is a disappointing showing for a wine of this pedigree and especially from a vintage like this. I have one more bottle which will be opened soon.
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Last night’s lineup. Cliff notes are that the Beau was my favorite and is drinking at peak right now. The Delas St Jo is slightly past peak and is beginning to summon some balsamic notes which I would dislike if it got more pronounced and the Cristia was a Grenache monster full of raspberry and red licorice. I do think that is best consumed sooner rather than later, as well, because I am not sure the fruit will outlast the acid with another 5-10 years of ageing.
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2010 Fattoria Galardi Terra di Lavoro as a treat to ease into the weekend and what a barnburner this is. Or as Gary Vaynerchuk would say “this one is bringing the thunder”. Super dark plum and blackberry on the palate. Floral and woodsy Mediterranean underbrush, tobacco and camphor on the nose. Beautiful structure, fresh on the palate and enough tannins to last decades. Always one of my absolute favorite wines, but 2010 is even better than usual and will go strong for 30+ years. Wow. Served alongside orechiette al pomodoro con ricotta di campania.
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2013 Château Thivin Côte de Brouilly Cuvée La Chapelle is all violets, Blackberry and black pepper. Super dry, super robust and very focused. Drank really beautifully but it wasn’t as complex as I would hope for at its price point. It was a wine of pure pleasure rather than an intellectual wine. Overall still something I would consider buying if I can get it at the right price.
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2011 Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Calderara Sottana is as good as I was hoping for it to be. Earthy and fresh with a dusty and rocky dark berry core. Plenty of grip and structure to boot. Just great stuff and if you’ve never had this, you owe it to yourself to give this a try. Incredibly delicious.
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2004 Parusso Barolo Mariondino is a freak wine and one that I find very problematic. It is actually not a bad wine in and of itself. It has pretty good fruit and balance and even complexity….but it is so atypical for its origin that making traditional food pairings is impossible. If you open this to go with some nice ravioli in butter sage sauce or even some ragu, forget it. This will obliterate anything in its path with its exotic fruit profile. It is a better match for really spicy or full flavored dishes like southern Italian pastas or even Fajitas etc because it tastes like Cannonau or Primitivo…no way I would ever guess this to be Nebbiolo. Because it is so atypical and borderline spoofed, I would personally not buy another bottle of Parusso. Avoid.
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Last night’s lineup of reds with friends over. The 01 Branaire was fantastic with beautiful cherry, cigar box and graphite and plenty of time left before peak drinking. The 04 Raymond Usseglio was superb as well. One of the most savory and backward and traditional wines from CdP that I have been drinking recently. Not a hint of dried fruit or anything else suggestive of high degrees of ripeness. On the contrary…almost a “cool” CdP that operates entirely with freshness, savory and salty blackberry flavors and an imposing structure that required hours of air before showing its best. There was also a bottle of 03 Chapoutier St. Joseph Les Granits that was deeply flawed by poor wine making. Secondary fermentation in the bottle pushed wine through the cork while I was opening the bottle and the wine was an acidic, volatile mess. I have had more flawed bottles of Chapoutier than all my other Rhone producers combined in the last few years. Make of that what you wish, but I will never buy another bottle of Chapoutier.
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2007 Domaine Charvin Châteauneuf-du-Pape is still a puppy. Incredibly young and backward, this took days before it began drinking well. Once it did, it was raspberries, plum, and dried herbs all the way. This is realistically a 15-20 year wait from the vintage date before it’ll drink at its potential. Very promising. 85% Grenache and 5% each of Mourvedre, Syrah and Vaccarese.
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2014 Feudi di San Gregorio Irpinia Rubrato was up with dinner tonight. I picked this wine to go with a Campania dish of pasta, san marzano tomato, ricotta and plenty of mint and lemon. The wine itself needed some air before it was ready to drink. Pure cherry and dark raspberry flavors with an animale kind of italian yellow jasmine. It is tannic, but not excessively and there is some black licorice in there. Really a pretty incredible #wine at $18.99 and the perfect companion for a weeknight pasta, pizza or otherwise simple dinner.
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2003 Château Malescot St. Exupéry with seared duck breast. Lovely food and wine pairing. This is riper and more velvety in texture than I would expect from more typical vintages, but in the context of 2003 in Bordeaux, it could actually be considered a constrained wine. Lovely balance and incredibly floral violets, cassis and cigar box. Almost reminiscent of St. Julien in its flavor profile. The wife and I both thought this was flat out delicious.
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