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2009 Tenuta Grillo Piemonte Cortese Baccabianca. If this doesn’t move you, nothing will. I followed this for three days and it comes out of the bottle with a cloudy tangerine gold color bordering on brown. I expected it to be totally oxidized or madeirized but it wasn’t. It is chock-full of hazelnut and tea-like flavors and while it is dry and in a slightly oxidative style, it manages to have plenty of juicy fruit. Great wine that was even better with food than on its own. 100% Cortese and one worth buying more of.
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Ritual Coffee El Angel La Casa. This is the third and final item from the most recent batch of coffees I ordered and this one falls smack dab in the middle of the prior two in terms of my preference. I find it more complex and charming than the La Pinona, but not quite as interesting as the Nelson Ramirez. But I find I can get a very nice cup from brewing this.
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2007 Mayacamas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon always blows me away. It s what California is capable of in my opinion. The wine has this terrific tension between its parts…freshness in spades yet beautiful ripeness. Incredible depth of flavor yet silky texture. Old world charm/elegance and new world brashness. Blackcurrant and plum fruit playing against the backdrop of eucalyptus herbaceouness. This stuff is like a symphony in the glass. And at going on 10 years old, this is still a puppy. Glad to have 3 more left and one that I believe will truly reward 20+ years of cellaring. Stupendous.
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Ritual Coffee Nelson Ramirez should – on paper – be a lesser coffee than the La Pinona the other day. In this case though, I like the underdog. While I am having a hard time tasting the components as I left the house this morning, it feels like the coffee is, as a whole, more complete and rounded out than the other Honduran. Really nice stuff and I can highly recommend this.
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2007 Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape with dinner tonight. Kirsch Liqueur and dried herbs dominate in a towering structure and massive tannins. Somewhere underneath, there is some raspberry coulis and minerality. Serious wine that may reward serious ageing. That said, perfectly fine to drink now with flavorful foods and some airtime.
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Ritual La Piñona this morning. I think the tasting note from Ritual is pretty much spot on. A very powerful coffee that I think warrants a little less coffee relative to the amount of water…especially if you like your coffee on the smoother side of things. @ritualcoffee roasted this one pretty much on the money and I continue to be impressed with their ability to let the bean shine without putting their roast imprimatur on it.
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2009 Josef Walter Bürgstadter Centgrafenberg Frühburgunder “J” trocken. I’m baaack! And with a beauty to boot. If you drink this and aren’t blown away, I’d be surprised. For a 7 year old early ripening Pinot Noir, this has immense power and precision. Clear cherry/ruby red color with just a touch of bricking around the rim. Elegant and silky texture elegance in spades. But it does have that tell-tale Southern Germany Pinot Noir flavor that I commonly think of as venison with lingonberry compote. Just awesome.
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2015 Maison Dampt Chablis 1er Cru Les Vaillons. So disappointing. @grapeylyle sells the Domaine wines for Sebastien, but this is the negociant bottling. Unfortunately, despite my excitement to find this at the local Costco for only $19, the wine is hollow on the mid-palate, short on the finish, watery and uninspiring. This will be what I cook with…
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2013 Il Poggione (Proprietá Franceschi) Rosso di Montalcino. Well you win some and you lose some…this one was more on the “lose” side of things. Nothing terribly wrong with it and at $19 it is priced barely ok. It just feels hollow and overly simple. Thin on the mid-palate and lacking verve and length on the finish. Serviceable and fine with a weekday pasta dinner, but that is as far as it’ll take you. Flat flavors of plum and cherry with some tobacco and earthiness. Meh.
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2014 Juliane Eller Alsheim Spätburgunder Juwel. This is SO awesome. This is a somewhat atypical Spätburgunder in that it really does remind one more of Burgundy than German Spät. Super finessed raspberry fruit, lemon zest, forest floor and towering structure and acid. Completely translucent ruby red color. This may come across a little shrill to some right now because the acid still needs to settle just a touch, but this wine shows just how amazing a wine maker Juliane Eller is. She captured that terroir without any distractions. In the context of German Spaetburgunder, I like this much better than the similarly lithe Enderle & Moll Liaison. In terms of Burgundy, this reminds me of a villages Volnay. Stunner.
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2005 Bouchard Père et Fils Volnay 1er Cru Taillepieds. A really dark and brooding wine that still seems surprisingly primary. All fruit and structure. Densely black fruited with spice and a solid bit of earthiness. Not drinking at peak yet. Probably needs at least five more years. Very masculine expression of burgundy.
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1998 M. Chapoutier Hermitage La Sizeranne with braised pork shoulder tonight. This is the kind of wine that reminds me why I cellar wine in the first place. Absolutely spectacular stuff. So complex it is absurd. Herb rubbed bacon, salinity, blackberry and blackcurrant. Finish for days and a midpalate to die for. It’s got precision, balance, stucture and freshness in spades. At almost 20 years old, this is beginning to drink at absolute peak although I have been taking this to blind tastings for years where folks have swooned over it. An absolute overachiever.
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2010 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave St. Joseph. What can I say…great terroir, legendary winemaker, and outstanding vintage. The product is an inky dark wine that oozes dark fruit, meat juice and black olive tapenade. It is a 20+ year wine without question. Amazing what Chave coaxes out of his St Joseph holdings and I continue to be a big fan of this wine in virtually any vintage.
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2012 Arnaldo-Caprai Montefalco Rosso. Really quite a good inexpensive wine. The nose is merely forgettable with a twizzler aroma that I often associate with inexpensive wine. But on the palate, this is actually really good. Plum and cherry with some savory bay leaf and rustic earth. Finish isn’t rivetingly long, but together with a solid midpalate, it ends up being very nice. Perfect wine to serve with simple weekday meals like burgers, pasta and grilled meat or sausages. A blend of Sangiovese, Sagrantino and Merlot and $16 at our local Costco.
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