Chromatic Quality Problems

This is the kind of post one hopes never to have to write. These are two of a total number of three bags of coffee I recently ordered from Chromatic Coffee. The one missing was a Burundi Kayanza. That was the one I drank first and while I didn’t love it, it was serviceable. These two though are just terrible. Both are overroasted hopelessly, hollow on the midpalate and simultaneously ashy tasting and insipid. It is so hard for me to wrap my head around how a roaster could go from what I have been used to from Chromatic, to this. In reaching out to my fellow coffee afficionado Paul Willenberg, he opined that stuff like this happens occasionally when big changes occur. So I did my research here on IG and noticed that this was my first batch since Chromatic moved to their new facility…and that the roasters are no longer the old school Probats but newer more industrial looking machines. I suspect that is what the issue is, but in the end, it doesn’t matter…a quality drop like this should not happen to a roaster with this kind of track record. This is thus likely my last post about Chromatic and I can no longer recommend their coffees if this is what is now being shipped.

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1998 Sottimano Barbaresco Currá

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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2004 Wittmann Westhofener Riesling Trocken 'S'

2004 Wittmann Westhofener Riesling Trocken ‘S’ is the kind of wine that reminds you why you collect and cellar wine in the first place. At age 13 it came out of the bottle in a gold color that looked like it was a vin jaune. But soon after it starts a total transformation. The color begins to look a little less yellow and the nose doesn’t quite feature as much diesel, and it develops into something that is almost like a white burgundy. It shows honey, pear, apple and hazelnuts and has a smooth but laser focused acidity that plays in the background. Mind bending stuff.

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2012 C.V.N.E. (Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España) Rioja Cune Reserva

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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2004 Mauro Veglio Barolo Vigneto Arborina

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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2003 Château Beausejour (Duffau Lagarrosse) / 2003 Delas Frères St. Joseph Cuvée Francois de Tournon / 2004 Domaine de Cristia Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes

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

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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