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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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2005 Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Les Bousselots with our sushi at Tomodachi in Austin to celebrate my daughter’s birthday tomorrow. This wine is absurdly good. Much bigger and brawnier than I expected. Came out of the bottle angry and packed with power but mellowed into a very pretty and silky texture as it got more air. Cherry, blackberry, earth, tobacco and some herb undertones gave this tons of complexity. Masculine in style and able to cellar for another 10-20 years in the case of my bottles. Awesome. Oh and the food wasn’t too shabby either😉.
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2013 François Raquillet Mercurey Vieilles Vignes. This is a super delicious and “gluggable” wine. Pure cherry and strawberry balanced by bracing acidity. Maybe a little rustic on the texture and finish, but I think that is more of a feature than a bug. Ultimately a crazy value and one that is easy to justify buying a case of.
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2003 Château Canon-la-Gaffelière is one of those wines that I expected to be good…but was even better than I could have hoped for. Despite the record heat in Bordeaux in 2003, Canon-la-Gaffelière made a beautifully balanced wine that is bursting with cherries, plum and spice and a pretty, velvety texture that veers into silkiness with added aeration. Lots of room to improve, but this nevertheless drank seemingly close to perfection. This follows the 2001 which is also outstanding and establishes a style of the property for me that I find charming. 55% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.
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2000 Domaine Jamet Côte-Rôtie is simply magic in a bottle. Pure violets and bacon fat, this has the texture of Grand Cru Burgundy. All silky and seductive. Perfect balance, and still ample structure and fruit to keep improving. This is the kind of wine that really proves the rewards of cellaring. So insanely good.
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2015 Weingut Gold Cabernet Sauvignon Großheppacher. I really want to like this. I have tried it multiple times now and no matter how, when and how many times I try, it just doesn’t grow on me. Not that there is anything obviously wrong with it…it just feels too one-dimensional and frankly rough around the edges (almost rustic) and with a shrill and wild kind of acidity. One of the VERY few wines in the Fass portfolio that I just don’t like.
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2004 Domaine de Cristia Châteauneuf-du-Pape Renaissance. Unbelievably good. Followed over the course of two nights. 70% old vine Grenache from vines planted before WW1. This has a depth, power and complexity that is really very special. Super balanced but I might have preferred a touch more acidity. Raspberry liqueur, cherry and dried spices on the palate. Finish goes on and on. And this has the legs to improve further, I believe. Stunner of a wine.
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2003 Château Beausejour Duffau and 2004 Domaine de la Janasse Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Chaupin to celebrate with our good friends Kiko and Ron on Saturday night. Both wines are just beginning to show well and have room for improvement. The Beau is a very typical example of the old school style of Beausejour before the recent change in the winemaking team. Shockingly high acidity given the ultra hot vintage and everything is in perfect balance. Amazing how they were able to make a wine with this much freshness. One that can and will continue to develop for years and even decades. The Janasse was the real star in my opinion. This is the old vines cuvee of theirs and it blew me away. Kirsch liqueur, sweet cigar tobacco and spices galore. But despite all that dark fruit, there was pretty acidity balancing things perfectly. I think this is drank as well as it possibly could.
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2005 Charles Joguet Chinon Franc de Pied Les Varennes du Grand Clos. One of the greatest wines made in the Loire. Unfortunately, the vines that used to produce this wine had to be uprooted after the 2006 vintage because they had been ravaged by phylloxera. This is ultra deep and dark and shows pretty tobacco and black pepper to add to the inky blackberry flavors. Mid palate and finish for days. Too bad this was my very last bottle.
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2006 Fattoria La Gerla Brunello di Montalcino is an awesome wine. I have been a fanboy of La Gerla for many many years…ever since my old friend Ron Duncan introduced me to a 1997 La Gerla, as a matter of fact. And this vintage will be as good as that 1997 one day. It is approachable now but it has solid structure, beautiful acidity, supple and plush red fruit and plum, and a finish that is killer. It will pair with a variety of foods, but I am serving it with beef and summer grill onions tonight which will be a beautiful pairing. Fatty beef, the creamy and roasted flavor of the onion and the acid of the La Gerla to cut through all of it. Stupendous.
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