2001 Pio Cesare Barbaresco

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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Verve Coffee Papua New Guinea Kunjin

Verve Coffee Papua New Guinea Kunjin is an odd one. I have been grappling with this coffee for over a week and I think I have come to the conclusion that the beans in this one are just not up to snuff. When I brew this in my Hario V60, it turns out hollow on the midpalate and short/insipid on the finish. I think Verve nailed the roast on this, so I don’t believe that is where the problem lies. In the end, I experimented with different brew methods and found the beehive dripper to render a fuller, better cup, although it did also taste slightly more bitter. I am therefore fairly certain that this coffee benefits from brewing methods that promote more extraction and bring out the dark tobacco and bitter chocolate flavors. Using this to pull espresso or even an Aeropress may be more appropriate. In the end, I can’t do either of those methods, so this will be a pass for me in the future.

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2004 Roger Sabon Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Prestige

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

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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Camber Ethiopia Shakiso Mormora

Camber Ethiopia Shakiso Mormora is a marvel. I brew A LOT of great coffee from great roasters using great beans at my house. But this one is possibly the best I have tasted in a very long time. This coffee has it all. It is floral, shows citrus acidity, nutty flavors and a star anise and Christmas cookie spice component. The complexity of this coffee blows my mind and Camber Coffee hit a Grand Slam with this masterpiece. I am usually pretty disciplined about only making one carafe of coffee a day, but with this coffee, I have been making two the last several days…it is that good.

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2001 Delas Frères Hermitage Les Bessards

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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Heart Ethiopia Yukro

Heart Ethiopia Yukro has been on deck for just over a week and I am glad I checked back in with one of the first roasters that helped me “see the light”. Glad to say not much has changed. The roast that Heart have put on this is absolutely perfect. Light but not too light and just enough to bring out the sweetness and nuttiness in this coffee. I think the only thing I am slightly surprised by is that the beans had just a touch less acidity than I was expecting, but that is really a minor quibble. It is a surprisingly round and smooth coffee that should quite literally be a crowd pleaser.

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2003 Château Lagrange (St. Julien)

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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2011 Podere Poggio Scalette Il Carbonaione Alta Valle della Greve IGT

2011 Podere Poggio Scalette Il Carbonaione Alta Valle della Greve IGT is a huge wine. Every time I open one of these in their youth, I kick myself a little bit for not having more patience. This shows dark, brooding with insane structure, dry extract and acid and it is a monument of a wine. All blackberry, charred meat and camphor on the palate. It really needs 10-15 years to begin showing well and it will likely outlive me. Stunner, but stay away from it for now as it will reward you later.

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2004 Bouchard Père et Fils Volnay 1er Cru Caillerets Ancienne Cuvée Carnot

2004 Bouchard Père et Fils Volnay 1er Cru Caillerets Ancienne Cuvée Carnot is the biggest and ripest wine among the 2004 Bouchard wines I have had. I am pretty sure virtually nobody would guess this as a 2004 and many would even have trouble identifying it as a Burgundy. It is decidedly medium weight on the palate with oodles of black and red cherry and just a hint of tobacco leaf and forest floor aromas. But there is lots of flavor and dry extract in here to go hand in hand with a precisely balanced acid structure. It lacks a little elegance and there is no hurry to drink this at all. It drinks well with some air, but it is at least 5 years from peak and can last for another couple of decades with good storage for sure.

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