Somewhat floral aroma with toasted yeast, pears, and honey. Medium toasty body, opening and showing more fruit in the glass. Crisp, citric finish. A California sparkler that has taken on the depth and rounded flavors characteristic of vintage champagne, so sip it slowly. From by the Ferrer family, one of the top cava producers in Spain with a couple decades of Carneros production under their belts, this wine is an amazing value. Grab it whenever you can find it.
This svelte sparkler from the North Fork is 100% Pinot Noir, with a bready nose, hints of baking peaches, and golden delicious apples. It has very delicate bubbles and lots of minerality—seashells all over the palate. This is a zippy wine, with lime zest and lots of acidity to balance the creamy notes of marzipan and hazelnut. That bit of toasted nuts is just a whisper, though: this wine is mostly fruit and light, a juicy bite of bosc pear and a squeeze of lime. The only hesitation is a hint of bitter pear peel and grass at the finish. Serious, refreshing wine, perfect to serve with steamed clams piled on pasta.
Slightly vegetal green hints are clear tell-tales of wine from Chile, but they do not overwhelm the nose. It also has loads of menthol, black fruit, and a touch of coconut. Blackberries, menthol, tobacco and green pepper are bound by tight tannins. The second night, it still shows telltale Chile-green. Tannins are smoother but the additional time brought the wood, rather than the fruit, to come to the fore. Vanilla and brown sugar overwhelm blackberries and blueberries in a green pepper cup. Not recommended.
There is a solid chalky streak along a touch of brine up front, under a mild butterscotch flavor. The butterscotch gives way to lemon on the midpalate. The finish falls off quickly, but at this price point that is not a surprise. Tasted blind this is pretty good. Weighted for QPR, it is very good.
A total of 240,000 bottles were produced from a harvest that stretched from September 30 to October 18. The nose is earthy and is already showing some cigar aromas—this wine is starting to mature. Quite a smooth texture on the palate but it lacks the richness of 2005. Drink 2012–17. The blend is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot. More wine writing by Stuart can be found on his blog, Worcester Sauce.
What a difference a couple of years can make. When I originally bought a bottle of the 2004 La Coudraye by Yannick Amirault, an acclaimed vigneron from the Loire Valley, this natural-yeast fermented cabernet franc was a pretty tightly wound thing. So much so that it was a little difficult to enjoy, as a fair bit of tannin stuck to your teeth and the aromas struggled to break free. Now, as the 2007 has become the current release, the 2004 has opened up nicely, showing up a nice dose of slowly-cooked, sweet red bell peppers, still structured by tannins that have, however, become much smoother as the wine has calmed down a bit. Not terribly complex, but well balanced and worth the price. Went down nicely with some thick, juicy pork chops served with gnocchi and green beans.
Wonderful nose with coffee, cherries, oak. Cherries, chocolate, blackberries and tar on the palate. Long dry finish, with fruit, plum skins, and toasted coconut. Extraordinary. I would put this up against any $75 big name Australian Shiraz and have another bottle left to drink later. Maybe the key was 25% new oak, rather than the 100% new oak of the big blowsy fruit bombs floating over from the land down under these days.