Doin' the Demi-Doux: Day 2 of Zach's VT wine weekend (part 1)

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Doin' the Demi-Doux: Day 2 of Zach's VT wine weekend (part 1)

Post  Michael Malinoski on Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:09 am

By about 1 or 2 pm on Day 2, the drinking began anew:

2006 Sea Smoke Chardonnay Santa Rita Hills. Served from magnum and served rather chilled. The nose here is surprisingly minerally, with botanical herb, limestone, yellow pixie stick dust and lemon drop aromas that are not real complex or layered, but also are not overly buttery or oaky, either. However, as the bottle comes up to temperature, a bit more toasty, smoky wood notes begin to emerge. In the mouth, it is less focused, with effusive flavors of coarse toasted oak planking, blatant vanillin, lemon cream and butter that grow stronger the longer it sits in the glass. There is some nice lemony fruit in a fuller-bodied package beneath all of that, but as one stays with this for a while, the acidity retreats and the wine gets goopier and less defined until it is sadly undrinkable. I am not really sure if this is likely to improve, but there were times I thought I could glimpse a positive future for this wine and others where I just wanted to write it off.

2004 Louis Jadot Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Abbaye De Morgeot. The nose here is young and a bit restrained—featuring aromas of finely-crushed stones, quartz and slightly sweet peach pit. In the mouth, it is fairly linear in the entry and mid-palate, but really opens up toward the back with flavors of apricot, mango and white peach. It is young, but the soft acids make it approachable at this stage—and it ought to improve a bit over the short term.

2001 Chalone Vineyard Pinot Noir Estate Grown Chalone. Warm macerated cherries, toasted caramel, beets, raspberries and wood smoke can be found on the nose. The flavor profile is much the same, with a welcoming warmth of fruit, medium body, tangy acidity and gentle spices. It is easy-going for the most part, with soft tannins that grow with time but never really interfere too much. I got the sense that many in the group were not as positive, but I found the wine pretty easy to drink.

1996 Chateau Pichon-Longueville Baron Pauillac. Leo didn’t think there were enough bottles open, so he randomly dipped into somebody’s stash and came out with Andy’s bottle of ’96 Pichon Baron. I think many of us thought this might have been better saved for dinner, but Andy said “what the hell, why not?” Personally, I’m glad he did, as this was certainly one of my favorite wines of the weekend. For starters, the nose is wonderfully complex and really engaging. It features aromas of dirt, more dirt, sweaty old saddle leather, dried black cherry, pencil lead and sweet tobacco juice. Over a few hours’ time, notes of jalapeno, coffee, tomato leaf, horse hair and sweeter red fruits also fold in. In the mouth, this is perhaps a bit less readily mature—showing a leathery textural edge and some occasionally austere acidity. However, there is a fine core of dried black cherry and black raspberry fruit that grows in intensity with time and air in the glass. It also picks up more drive and lift the longer one stays with it. There are plenty of tannins still kicking around and the wine finishes dry and a bit restrained, with a sense of being even better in another 3-5 years. Still, this was a clear favorite of mine and provided a bit of calm before the storm of all the young bruisers to come.

2001 Carlisle Zinfandel Sonoma County. Served from magnum. The nose of this Zin offers up a cornucopia of crushed bramble berry notes to go with some soft dirt and leafy elements. For all the brambly notes, it is actually a bit aromatically restrained compared to my expectations. In the mouth, however, it is much more boisterous--with all kinds of spiced plum and berry confiture flavors that actually seem to sting the palate and coat the teeth with their pure intensity. Interestingly, it is never really gobby or goopy—it just delivers a hard slap of wild rich fruit, spices, lively acids and alcohol. There are things I like about this wine, but I just can’t drink very much of it.

2005 Castello del Terriccio Toscana IGT. This wine has a heavy, rough-hewn aromatic profile, with notes of tire tread, dark chocolate, black beans, blackberry fruit and skunky forest ferns that I do not find especially likable. It has an herbal edge on the palate to go with some chalky chocolate, black raspberry and blackcurrant fruit flavors. It also has tons and tons of mouth-coating chalky-feeling tannins. There’s plenty of body to the wine and some sense of purity to the black fruit, but it is so dry and raspy right now that I can’t really tell what it will be like when it is hopefully more approachable in 3-5 years.

2005 Two Hands Grenache Aerope Barossa Valley. This wine hits the nasal cavity with an absolutely pure mélange of bright and super-sweet red fruit like maraschino cherries, sweetened cranberry sauce and sticky strawberry fruit roll-ups. There are also some interesting mint, tomato leaf and classy cocoa dust notes lending a helpful counter-point. In the mouth, it is again absolutely pure red-fruited, with a deep, sweet core of fruit that is brightly backed by fine freshening acidity. That acidity and freshness prevents it from feeling over-done or goopy, but there is no denying that this is a sweet cocktail of a wine, though in the best sense of that term. Really, this goes down just so easily and has to be considered a very pleasant surprise. Even Andy’s Francophile palate seemed surprised to find pleasure here. If nothing else, this offers a really interesting palate calibration for those who would write this off without trying it.

2002 Rudd Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Grown Oakville. This offering seemed to slip between the cracks a bit, as I don’t recall hearing a lot of chatter about it while it was out on the counter. It has rich, dense notes of cassis, jalapeno pepper, chocolate, volcanic ash, and espresso roast on the luxuriant nose. In the mouth, it is brawny and muscular, with a classic California Cabernet profile. It is cool-fruited but welcoming--with blackberries, black currants, iron, mint and dark chocolate flavors framed by tongue-coating, mossy tannins. The texture has a nice glossiness to it and while still young, there is some layering beginning to show. I would hold off for another 3 -5 years, but this is nice.

2005 Switchback Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Peterson Family Vineyard Napa Valley. This is a real dark, opaque color. The wine’s alcohol is really nostril-burning for a while, but that eventually settles down to reveal aromas of briery berry fruit, sweet black raspberry and a hint of chocolate. It seems a bit raspy and alcoholic in the mouth initially, but again it begins to settle down after 30 minutes or so in the glass. Eventually, one can really begin to focus on the huge gobs of black currant fruit offered up here, along with the rounded glycerin feel of the texture. The acids are quite soft and the tannins rather sticky at this point—and the whole package is really an un-evolved sort of fruit bomb at this point. I was not a real big fan, but could see this being more interesting in like 7-10 years (at least I hope so, as I own some myself!).

2001 Bodegas y Vinedos Maurodos Toro Vina San Roman. The bouquet of this Spanish beauty is absolutely gorgeous. It is a sexy mix of silky black and blue fruits, tar oil, soft ash and melted milk chocolate that just coats the inside of the nose with deeply layered waves of sweetness and asphalt. Really, I could smell this all night. It is again silky smooth in the mouth, with low acidity and a languid glossy feel, but also plenty of toughly tannic structure to contend with. Those tannins seem soft at first, but the wine just gets drier and drier, and more pinched the longer one stays with it. That contributes to a bit of a puckering feel toward the finish. The red-fruited flavor profile is quite nice, but this wine comes across as needing just a bit more time in the cellar to allow the tannins to better integrate. Still, this is an outstanding wine.

2004 Sine Qua Non Syrah Poker Face Central Coast. This was one of Zach’s extremely generous offerings to the group. It had been open 3 or 4 hours by the time I tried it. There’s rich rhubarb and black raspberry fruit on the nose, accented by soft spices and a hint of inner tube. It smells OK, but hardly what I would call other-worldly. On the palate, though, it begins to more readily show its chops. It is extremely creamy in texture, really caressing the palate with a core of velvety fruit that shows effortless concentration without any sense of ponderous weight. There is some fine layering starting to show and it has a nice spiced blueberry fruit profile that exhibits a real easy sense of flow. The acidity feels very soft, but as with just about all SQN bottlings I’ve tasted (all in the past few months), the wine comes across as expertly-balanced and the tannins well-integrated. I admit that I do like this (perhaps even more than many at this gathering), but I just can’t see paying the premium Zach did in the secondary market for it.

2003 Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno Toscana IGT. This is by far the best of the Super Tuscans tasted this weekend. It was decanted a few hours by the time I got to it. The color is absolutely inky black. The nose offers up fresh and satiny notes of graphite powder, cool blackberry fruit and new black leather shoes, with tinges of grilled bell pepper. It is similarly cool and glossy in the mouth, with black fruit in abundance. It is smooth and rounded, with full body but also tannins that grow grainier on the tongue after a while. I like this wine and would like very much to give it another try in a few years.

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Re: Doin' the Demi-Doux: Day 2 of Zach's VT wine weekend (part 1)

Post  Todd F r e n c h on Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:11 am

Thanks for the notes - I've got the 2002 Rudd also, and now I know to let it sit a while

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Re: Doin' the Demi-Doux: Day 2 of Zach's VT wine weekend (part 1)

Post  Tyler Rico on Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:13 am

Todd F r e n c h wrote:Thanks for the notes - I've got the 2002 Rudd also, and now I know to let it sit a while

Definitely let it sit a while, I would say 3 years + at least
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Re: Doin' the Demi-Doux: Day 2 of Zach's VT wine weekend (part 1)

Post  Zachary L A N G on Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:18 am

That dunn shows some AMAZING promise, but way too young

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Re: Doin' the Demi-Doux: Day 2 of Zach's VT wine weekend (part 1)

Post  Michael Malinoski on Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:27 am

Rudd, Zach, not Dunn, Rudd. Lost a few brain cells that weekend, eh?

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Re: Doin' the Demi-Doux: Day 2 of Zach's VT wine weekend (part 1)

Post  Zachary L A N G on Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:28 am

ehhh, same thing! hahah, yes RUDD - the best part is that was one of my bottles!

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