Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wine Review Wednesday (on Thursday): Five Recommended Wines from Around the World

After missing a week of Wine Review Wednesday--I spend last week playing catch-up from having been away the previous 10 days in Argentina; I’ll be posting those tasting notes over the course of the next weeks and months--we’re back today with five recommended wines from all over the world. These represent some of the more notable bottles I’ve tasted recently, are are listed in no particular order.

Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Rutherford, Napa Valley

From the excellent 2007 vintage comes this stellar red by Sequoia Grove. It starts out with a distinct note of smoke on the nose, with back-up roles played by rich, ripe blackberry, plum, coffee grounds, asphalt, and mesquite. The youth of this wine becomes apparent on the palate, which right now is still tightly wound, though the ripe currants are appealing right off the bat. With some air, it really becomes clear what the future holds: Smoky tea, morels, cigars, black cherries, chocolate, and cedar--so much promise. This wine’s spine of acidity, careful balance, and dusty tannins imply 10 - 12+ years of evolution for this masculine, terroir-driven, beautifully crafted Cabernet.

Chateau Tanunda Grand Barossa Riesling 2009

With it alluring aromas of sweet, taut green apple and melon, as well as a flutter of sun-warmed granite in the background, this wine smells both richly expressive and structured. The impressions is borne out on the palate with almost vibrating acidity and more of that great green apple, and balanced out by flowers and something hinting at honey. This is serious Riesling, yet so easy to drink. I’d love to taste how well this has evolved in 5 - 10 years: It has the stuffing to go that long, though it’s drinking brilliantly right now. Yet another great wine from this historic Australian estate.

Bernhard Huber Spatburgunder Alte Reben 2007, Baden, Germany

This old-vine German Pinot Noir starts off with sexy scents of smoky cherries, sous bois, red-apple skin, and the higher-toned perfume of pine and violets. There’s incredible detail to the nose here, and its tarragon and cherries nod in the direction of Echezeaux. The palate starts off a touch stemmy, but this is going to resolve itself with some age. And anyway, it really lends a lovely brightness to the wine’s deeply concentrated cherry and raspberry fruit. This is a stunner, leaning toward Burgundy on the nose, New Zealand on the palate, and utterly unique (and thoroughly wonderful) in its entirety.

De Loach Pinot Noir 2008, Central Coast “Cool Coastal Vineyards”

Almost transparent in color, which is nice considering all the opaque, inky California Pinot Noirs you see these days. It sends a message right from the start that this wine is simply about expressing the fruit as it was grown in this specific part of the state. The nose shows really pretty, subtly juicy wild strawberry and red cherry notes, as well as raspberry preserves and tarragon hovering in the background. The flavors of this wine are remarkably consistent, though a touch sappier and riper than the nose implies. It’s a more feminine style, with a pretty, lingering sweetness to the cherry fruit. Well made. Drink now.

De Loach Pinot Noir 2008, Sonoma Coast “Cool Coastal Vineyards”

When compared to its Central Coast cousin, this Pinot is deeper, richer, and darker in color, as expected from the Sonoma Coast. The nose, too, is darker and shows more roasted aromas, including smoke, mushroom, charcoal, and dark cherries. The palate, too, is much more masculine, and while it lacks some of the delicacy of the other bottling, it’s winning by virtue of its muscle and smoky persistence. The flavors are almost meaty here, with a touch of Chinese five spice, mushrooms, and licorice. Very nice on its own, and a fascinating comparison when tasted alongside the Central Coast bottling.


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