Some interesting wines from July that did not get individual posts:
2006 Olga Raffault Chinon Rose, $15 (Chambers Street Wines).I'm not taking sides in the rose debate. Instead I will just say that this is my favorite rose this summer. A rose of Cabernet Franc, this wine is more pink than salmon colored, but its a muted and classy pink. Very floral in the nose, fruity but dry with snappy acidity, this wine is a pleasure.
2005 Francois Cazin Cour-Cheverny Vendanges Manuelles, $13.50 (Chambers Street Wines). Cour-Cheverny is a tiny appellation in the north-west part of the Loire Valley. It is the home of Romorantin, the highly acidic grape beloved by acid-freaks and wine geeks everywhere. I usually love this wine, but oddly, I have tried the '05 version a couple of times now and I am not inspired. I prefer the 04. Again, strange - '05 was supposed to have been perfect growing conditions. I have high hopes for Cazin's Cuvee Renaissance, the late harvest wine with lots more residual sugar. You know, the one that ages like a great Riesling, but costs about $18?
2005 Champalou Vouvray, $16 (Big Nose Full Body).
In my pantheon of Vouvray producers, Foreau and Huet are both Zeus. There are lesser gods - gods yes, but not Foreau or Huet. Champalou is one of those producers. Champalou puts out small quanitites of highly prized moelleux (sweet wine), and also several cuvees of dry Vouvray. This is the entry level bottling. I very much enjoyed the crystalline and incredibly drinkable 2004 Vouvray, so how would the "vintage to end all vintages" 2005 be? Not as good, as it turned out. Too big for its britches. Lemon curd and meringue on the nose and palate, with lots of fat. Even on day two, and there is not enough acidity to balance things out. This is good wine, with fresh flavors, but it is in the end, not all that drinkable. Too much meringue. Was this just too ripe, or did the wine maker indulge too much, and not rein things in?
2005 Chateau de Hureau Saumur-Champigny, $14 (Chambers Street Wines).
You know, between Roches Neuves, Filliatreau, and Hureau, Saumur-Champigny has become my go-to appellation for food friendly, delicious, but inexpensive Loire reds. This wine is just fantastic at this price. A nice nose of dark fruit, some flowers, and a bit of tobacco, and a juicy and lush palate that mingles dark berries with some earth and a bit of cocoa. This is not a very complicated wine, but it's SO good, guaranteed to make you smile. This is absolutely a $15 Beauty.
2004 Adelsheim Pinot Noir Goldschmidt Vineyard, $40 (Winery). A venerable Willamette Valley producer, Adelsheim has been putting out quality wine since the early '90s. I must say, though, that I have not been as impressed by their recent offerings as I was by wines from 2002 and earlier. I heard they replaced the wine maker, but I'm not sure. I have yet to really enjoy one of their 2004 Pinots, and that is really sad because I was on the mailing list for their entire (expensive) Pinot lineup. I first tasted this wine in the company of a few phenomenal Burgundies, and it was clearly the inferior wine. But with another 18 months of bottle age, what about now?
No better. Here were my notes from our dinner that night: Nice blueberry and earth smells right out of the bottle, but they drift away rather quickly, leaving not much in its place. Good wine, but so uninteresting, and at $40, incredibly overpriced.
What's interesting, is that this wine received 92 points from Tanzer. Would he have liked it less with dinner? Am I missing something? Who knows. Points are a bit silly anyway, no?
2004 Sineann Pinot Noir Resonance, $46 (Avalon Wines).
Sineann makes several Pinots, a Zinfindel, Syrah, a Cabernet, and plenty of white wine too. The fruit is sourced from all over Oregon and Washington State, Peter Rosback the wine maker is a bit of a cult figure, and the wines get consistently high scores. I figured out a little while ago that although I recognize the quality, the style is not my favorite in Pinot Noir.
I paid a load of money for this wine about two years ago when I didn't understand what I could could get for the same $. Can't hold onto the bottle forever, and a recent good review by Dr. Debs made me think that it's time to open mine.
I don't know - everyone on CellarTracker who tasted this wine LOVED it - 95 points, 94 points, etc. Not this Brooklynguy. I thought it was huge and hot, with little Pinot character, and with nothing to think about. A mishmash of bigness, if you will. My favorite Pinots are elegant, with several, often conflicting aroma and flavor characteristics. This was dull and uninspiring, and honestly for my $45, I could buy almost two bottles of far superior Pinot today. Sorry for the rant, but it's really against myself and my proclivity for spending way too much on sub-par wine a few years ago (and probably today too but the jury is still out).
My notes from that night: Fine fresh cherry smells and flavors, velvety texture. But simple and unidimensional, and a poor value at this price.