Cellar rats and other tasty vermin

jayz-pimpin1.pngHere dey come. You know what I’m talkin’ ’bout.

HOLIDAYS. So get out your stocking hat and start diggin’…see what you got layin’ round the cellar, or stuck back in the closet. Guests comin’ and they have expectations! Here’s a couple snorts tBoW found for hanging out on Jay Z’s yacht when he runs out of Cristal.

layunta07.jpg2007 La Yunta Torrontes $5: Leftover from the Argentina Discovery. I am pretty sure I found this Torrontes in a local Chimmichurra market. Hails from the La Rioja region which is halfway between Mendoza and Salta (northernmost wine region bordering Bolivia). Juice from the 40+ year old vines is aged 6 months in French oak. Pretty fancy! And it tastes good, too. Bright, lemon-lite fruit. Fresh, good acid backbone. Excellent wine and before the meltdown I would have said outstanding value at $15. A definite re-buy and a strong candidate for the end-of-year-two Best of tBoW wines list (summer 2009). The alcohol is also commendably restrained at 12.5%

andelunatorrontes2005.jpg2007 Andaluna Torrontes $10: FINALLY. After striking out upon return from Argentina with NO HELP from the Andeluna distributor I found this wine on clearance in Bristol Farms. The wine is pale toned. Bright fruit with typical Torrontes acid. Citrus flavors. Firm. Torrontes remains an undiscovered grape that easily fits with the world’s most versatile varietals. Love it. Read what tBoW had to say about Andeluna following his visit there. 13.3%

The next three wines are Pinot Noir representing California’s three principal growing regions known for Pinot Noir. These wines make a worthwhile contrast of the regions’ qualities.

ojaiclospepe2002.jpg2002 Ojai Vineyard Clos Pepe Pinot Noir $50: A wine with this much pedigree must deliver on its promises. Of course, we have had so much disappointment lately with big pimpin’ (spendin’ the G’s) pedigree wines that we now approach them with caution. Here is Adam Tolmach, legendary practically-a-hermit winemaker, original Rhone Ranger, crafter of the original “acid” wines so intense they were hallucinogenic. Then we have Wes Hagen, famously meticulous grower extraordinaire of SRH Pinot Noir, winemaker at SRH flagship winery Clos Pepe, notoriously enthusiastic La Purisima golfer. Something great had to happen. And it did. At six years the color is dark, the juice is viscous (thick), and the nose is…slightly closed. Earthy, spicy but not like a Pinot Noir. Smells like a Bordeaux. But it tastes like a Pinot Noir. In fact it tastes like the quintessential big and brooding Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir. At first the flavor profile is narrow, singular. Closed. Then she opens and she is big and beautiful, still lean and smoky with gorgeous fruit. And the alcohol is acceptable at 14%. A very good job all round!

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2004 Davis Family Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir $35: Ripe, in your face, up front fruit. Bright and showy. A crowd pleaser for wine drinkers in love with the style. Not nearly as intense as the Ojai Clos Pepe and certainly not restrained as the next wine from Oregon. However, the wine has its own charms; great pinot fruit, moderate alcohol, and easy to swallow. 14.1%

bellepentePN2005.jpg2005 Belle Pente Murto Vineyard Dundee HIlls Pinot Noir $34: The very successful birthday tasting where we broke out the 1998 Lange Pinot Noir prompted an immediate tBoW hunt to assess the current state of Oregon Pinot Noir. We learned you will not find many U20 wines. But you can buy wines at the $35 price point that are very nice. This is one. The fruit is sourced from 6 acres devoted to Belle Pente in the Murto vineyard. This is their 10th vintage. Current 2006 release is 828 cases. Recommended by venerable Woodland HIlls Wine Company staff the wine showed dark color and a peppery nose. Initial flavor has some green olive. The wine showed complexity opening up to reveal mild smokiness and deep dark pinot fruit. Definitely a New World wine and definitely without the ripeness seen with both SRH and RRV efforts. tBoW would return for more, especially in the current economic climate should it go on sale! Note and applaud the low alcohol. 12.9%

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