Tuesday, November 20, 2007

2005 Poggio ai Ginepri - Bolgheri, Tuscany or my "baby Sassicaia" as I call it.

Before reading this wine note, keep in mind that the recommended date range to start drinking the 2005 Poggio ai Ginepri is 2010. I say this because when I first opened it with my friend Lisa to see what the wine was like, we both agreed it was good but somewhat “tight.” However, I put the cork back into the unfinished bottle and went back to it four days later and it was much more open and completely accessible and just plain good.

The wine itself, a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 25% Syrah was red brick in color with a very earthy (peat moss in particular) and herbal aroma. The earthiness lost some of its force after being open for a while but the herbal qualities remained. Also present were leather and light hints of smoke, both of which here enhanced with time. Medium bodies with a medium long finish. Shorter when first opened but much longer later. The texture was also very refined in a way. Somewhat “steely” but with fine tannins that suggest the quality down the road with some bottle age.

I call this wine a “baby Sassicaia” but only in my own home. It really has very little to do with the real Sassicaia other than coming from the Bolgheri region of Tuscany with the Poggio ai Ginepri being just south of Sassicaia. Also, I can afford the $18 for this bottle from Sherry Lehmann but not the $200 for the real thing.

Excellent solid B wine with room to improve.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Mollydooker - 2005 Two Left Feet

The 2005 Mollydooker Two Left Feet is a big big wine that has gotten a ton of hype from the wine press for a couple of reasons. The first is that the Mollydooker venture is headed by Sarah and Sparky Marquis, formerly of Marquis Phillips, an Australian wine group known for producing a fantastic line of wines. The 2nd is the scores received by both Wine Spectator and Robert Parker, the later giving the 2005 Two Left Feet a 94!

Well… I had to find out what all the hype was about!

Referencing Parker’s tasting note, the Marquis’ motto is “We make wines that make people go wow - through attention to detail and commitment to excellence.” This wine certainly made me go “wow” on the first whiff. It’s got a strong aroma of chocolate, anise, blackberry, fig, fennel, and spices. I’m not sure I nailed all the aromas correctly but the bottom line is that there’s a lot going on here. The other thing that stuck me about the wine is the color. That of a purple abyss. As for taste, you really get a sense of the dark fruit and licorice more than anything else. However, there’s also a note of alcohol at the end, not surprising since this clocks in at nearly 16%. The finish is long, soft, mouth coating, and last for about half a minute.

This blend of 65% Shiraz, 19% Merlot, and 16% Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely a good wine. However, you really have to be a fan of this big, in your face and bold style of wine. If you are, then go for it. You will certainly not be disappointed. However, if you are at all on the fence regarding blatent new world styles that express themselves along these lines, then beware. This probably isn’t for you.

That said, I fall into the later camp and as much as I appreciate the Mollydooker as a well put together wine, I can’t give this anymore than a B rating. I also feel that the scores lavished on this wine by others is a bit misplaced as I see the wine in an almost polarizing light. You’ll either love it or it won’t be for you. The wine is just too big to allow for any passive drinking. That said, to me a score of 94, an A, an 18+ out of 20, whatever the equivalent, is a score that should reflect a wine where the quality AND pleasure of drinking are hard to argue. This wine doesn’t fit that bill for me.

Still, $20 for a wine that “makes people go wow”, even if its not for you, is something to take notice of.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Wines in the Cellar

One of the things I’m guilty of is holding on to wines that I really should be drinking. The reasons for this are many. For one, some wines like the handful of classified growth Bordeaux I have, I feel like I have to wait for a special occasion. Another reason is not wanting to open wines that we bought on vacation. That $10 euro wine we brought back from Italy that’s probably already started its down-hill slide… still in the cellar. With some, I loved the first bottle so much that I don’t want to open the second because I wouldn’t be able to find a replacement.

Anyway, I’m trying to get over this and I think I took a baby step forward with the 2003 Perrin & Fills Les Sinards Châteauneuf-du-Pape. We had some friends over for dinner, went through the first two bottles and I was looking for a third to open. This was it.

The wine was deep purple in color with really earthy notes of smoke and leather mixed in with dark fruit including blackberry and black cherry. The wine was smooth with a nice long and lush finish. It’s a blend of 70% Grenache, 15% Syrah, and 15% Mourvedre.

I loved this wine and gave it a B+. It also made me want to explore the Rhone Valley more, an region I know relatively little about.

I didn’t sit on it forever. I might not have know what I was missing.

P.S. - One thing I like about Perrin & Fils is that they have a blog!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

2003 Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva

Sometimes I get swayed by the pretty pictures on the bottles. Such was the case with the 2003 Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva. Not so much that it’s a pretty label but the picture of the castle reminded me of my trip to Tuscany and the Chianti region.

A good Chianti will also take me back to the place in my memory as well. This wine worked just fine for that. It’s ruby colored and medium bodied with strong cedar and price notes mixed in with red fruit. (I need to brush up on my red fruits to figure out exactly what was there.) Nice medium long finish and good balance between the tannins and acidity.

I liked it and thought it was a solid B. With the rising prices of European wines because of the weak dollar, I also thought the price was relatively speaking, ok. It was $17 from Garnet Wines on the Upper East Side.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Another Bordeaux Bargain? - 2003 Chateau Gigault ~ Cuvee Viva

The 2003 Chateau Gigault Cuvee Viva from the Cotes de Blaye region of Bordeaux was a wine I purchased for $14 from Zachys, a store not necessarily known for their good deals. However, I can’t argue with this one.

The wine is dark garnet with strong notes of smoke and cassis but also with an herbal quality. It’s a full bodied and big wine with a plush, long finish. This is definitely in the more “modern” style of Bordeaux so don’t go looking for elegance here. However, if that’s ok with you, it’s a fantastic wine that I would give a B+ to. It’s a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.

A note on the price. I purchased this as a future from Zachys for a price that’s lower than the current $16 to over $30 range found on WineZap.com. At that price, I think this wine is a steal. However, its not so transporting that I would still feel that way about it had I spent $25. Also note that the 2005 Future is selling for $20 at Zachys, again a price that I don’t think qualifies as a bargain anymore.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

2004 Abbaye de Tholomies

The 2004 Abbaye de Tholomies is from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France and honestly, was another wine that swayed me to try it because of it’s marketing on the back of the bottle. In this case, it was the fact that the winery used to be run my Monks “back in the day” which was somewhere in the realm of 1000 years ago. While, marketing is marketing and suckers like me fall for it.

In this case, it worked. The wine is garnet in color with dark fruit aromas dominated by cassis, plum and spices. Soft texture and a long finish. The wine is a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre.

Another solid B wine that was picked up at Garnet on the Upper East Side for $16.