Friday, December 25, 2009

The Friday Lineup

A weekly commentary on selected wines tasted.
Christmas 2009 edition.

1998 Pommery (about $75). A lovely Champagne to sip on a Christmas morning with a truffled cheese omelet in front of a wood fire. Fairly full and robust with mellow apple flavors and a great roasted, toasted finish – just right for this breakfast fare. Enjoy!

2008 Hess Selection Monterey Chardonnay ($12). Good wine for the price – straightforward Chard with rounded fruit and a touch of spicy oak. Buy.

NV Biltmore Estate Blanc de Blancs ($25). A nice sparkler with touches of dried spices and lots of bubbles. Although the Biltmore Estate is in North Carolina, the Chardonnay grapes come from California’s Russian River Valley. The label says little about this provenance or process, so it may be confusing to customers who think they are buying a Tarheel wine. If you’re just looking for a nice sparkling wine in this price range and aren’t interested in parentage, well, why not? Consider

2007 Domaine du Vissoux Cuvee Traditional Beaujolais ($19). I love this style of Beaujolais with it’s fresh fruit and a gamey, meaty finish. Yet it is light in body and alcohol – 11.5%. My kind of quaffing wine or for drinking with sandwiches and burgers. Buy

2007 Guy Breton Morgon Vieilles Vignes ($27). Also light and gamey with a candy finish, but not as interesting as the Vissoux . Consider.

2006 Frank Family Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($45). Sweet blackberries, lots of corn oil and butter, and fruit forward – it’s half way to a reduction sauce in the glass. Still very young. Consider.

Candor California Zinfandel, Lot 2, nonvintage (about $20). Very generous and big wine with ripe black raspberries and caramel flavors and nutty tannins, all clamoring for attention. Few quality houses bother to make nonvintage wines these days because they don’t get much respect from the press and from drinkers who have been told that vintage is everything. But this is a good case study for serious wine drinkers about the possibilities and strategies of making NV wines. Produced by Austin Hope of Treana fame, the Zin grapes are from Lodi and Paso Robles vineyards harvested from the 2007 and 2008 vintages. The ’07 was barrel aged for 12 months, the ’08 for six, and they were blended four months prior to release. It’ll be interesting to see if Hope continues the line and the blending of vintages. (BTW, there are probably some folks in Bordeaux who would like to be doing some blending these days to move its in-between vintages.) Buy.

Until next time...

Roger Morris

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