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2009 La Pousse d’Or Volnay 1er Cru Caillerets is an unbelievably beautiful wine. With Father’s Day dinner at Uchiko it showed fresh cherry and berry with earth and black tea. Smooth as silk on the palate and long on the finish. This just showed so well and disappeared so quickly. Glad to have two more bottles in the cellar.
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2000 Vietti Barbaresco Masseria is approaching maturity in my opinion. It is a touch past its prime even, I think. While it still has balance and all the great berry, tar, marzipane and menthol notes, the fruit is beginning to wear thin and the tertiary flavors are not developing how I would have wanted them to. I have noticed in general that my Viettis have not made really old bones. So drink up and enjoy what it has to offer now.
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1998 Giovanni Corino Barolo Vigneto Arborina is drinking at peak right now. While it still has plenty of fruit, the tertiary notes are beginning to dominate. Roses, licorice and marzipane on the palate and a fine acidity that plays nicely along. Tremendous finesse and balance. An outstanding Barolo that has enough sediment for an army at the bottom of the bottle. Lovely stuff.
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2005 Domaine Roger Perrin Châteauneuf-du-Pape Reserve des Vieilles Vignes is still such a puppy. From what I can tell, this is normally a 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre blend from almost exclusively more than 100 year old vines. And that assemblage explains the wine’s expression perfectly. It has this really deep and dark cherry fruit, orange peel, dried herbs and licorice palate that is incredibly intense but completely balanced. Nothing sticks out as being out of place or lacking harmony. On the finish, it has this really interesting salinity and dark chocolate note. Realistically, this needs another 5 years before it can be “popped and poured” but it already shows well with some decanting now.
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2003 Château Branaire-Ducru is in an awkward phase…when I first poured this, it was hard to believe this was the same lush wine I had tasted many years prior. It was incredibly backward and the fruit was in hiding. After many hours of air, the wine started emerging from its shell and provided a little more aroma and flavor. It did have the tell tale St. Julien cassis, pencil shavings and cigar box, but it never fully emerged from hiding. With bottles like this I find it hard to know if it was the particular bottle that is the issue or if other bottles would show the same profile. Not 100% sure what to recommend here, but based on my past history with this estate and vintage, I am leaning towards “hold”.
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2001 Pio Cesare Barbaresco is like stepping back in time. This wine is made so backward and serious that it reminds me of the Piemonte wines of days gone by. There is some dark berry fruit in here, but it is driven by earth, menthol, pine and mossy tree bark. The whole palate presence is savory with a saline note and lacks the “sweetness” and approachability of many of today’s Barbarescos. I would not quite call it “punishing” at age 17, but it is not accommodating. Because of how it is built, this is a wine that will need 25 years before it begins to drink well without extended aeration and I would not be surprised to hear this wine being at peak at age 40+. What an awesome ride this one is.
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2004 Roger Sabon Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Prestige is as people say “the good stuff”. Raspberry and plum with black cherry in terms of fruit. Provencal herbs, pastille and earthiness on the palate, too. Finishes very strong and maintains plenty of freshness and balance throughout. I actually slightly prefer this over the Grand Veneur from last night, if for no other reason that this shows more savory and makes for a slightly better companion to a roasted chicken.
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2004 Domaine Grand Veneur Châteauneuf-du-Pape Les Origines is a terrific CdP. Very traditional dark cherry liqueur, dried herbs and black licorice. Feels very fruit forward and loaded with truffle and earth which is a byproduct of the large Mourvèdre component. This has massive palate presence and a strong finish and accordingly, needs to be paired with very flavorful foods like grilled lamb or beef. Still could have used several years of aging, but this was my last bottle. Delicious stuff for sure.
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2004 Domaine de la Janasse Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes is as good as you you think it would be. Pure black cherry, tar, licorice and dried herbs. Needs quite a bit of air at age 14, so no need to rush on this one. Plush texture and long finish. Really a pleasure to drink.
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2001 Delas Frères Hermitage Les Bessards is such a disappointing wine. Second bottle and consistent with the one before. Hollow midpalate, short finish, weak fruit, slightly shrill acidity upon opening and not much other than some sour cherry, bacon fat and ground pepper on the palate…all of it kind of flabby to boot. This is not a good wine in Hermitage terms in any vintage. But to have made this from a banner vintage like 2001 just boggles my mind. Based on this and other Delas wines in the last few years, Delas has now joined Chapoutier (although for different reasons) as a producer I will not buy again. What a shame.
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2015 Juliane Eller Alsheim Spätburgunder Juwel is all about the fresh strawberry and red cherry fruit with a Darjeeling black tea note, earth and a green tobacco note on the finish. Lovely wine that will pair with lots of foods. The fruit is sweeter than in 2014 and shows slightly less acid. It is a rounder, less Burgundian style, IMO, yet still incredibly fun to drink.
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2001 Mauro Veglio Barolo Vigneto Arborina with the first ramps this year for me. Just a killer pairing. The wine shows pretty rosewater, marzipane, tar and leafiness, and the earthiness of the ramps just turns both items up to 11. No rush to open this at all, but drinking great with some air.
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2003 Château Lagrange (St. Julien) is a bit of a conundrum. It’s got tons of fruit, but it still shows a lot of vanilla (oak) when first poured, which I find obtrusive. After sitting opened in the cellar, the oak has faded some, but the plush, rich cassis fruit is still in a vanilla-shrouded state…it is better on day 2, but not what I think it should be. There is also some chocolate covered cherry flavor in here, but my personal preference is for the 2002 over the 2003. Still drinks ok, mind you…just doesn’t live up to its potential in my humble opinion.
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2010 Josef Walter Bürgstadter Centgrafenberg Spätburgunder trocken last night with dinner at Fabi + Rosi was off the charts. Red cherry and raspberry, crushed leaves, tree bark and earth. Very lithe and elegant yet very powerful on the finish. Always amazing how Herr Walter manages to balance the elegance and power in these wines like he does.
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