it’s a WINE blog, schmendrick

Where are the notes on the <$20 wines? We taste enough wines on the weekend (my wife a bissel more often) to post some ratings. Before I get around to posting some notes, I will ask the good dotore’ (generously available for palate abuse) to offer notes on the 1999 Oratorio he bought in Costco years ago and held onto until last Friday June 22. In the meantime here are notes on 3 other wines we busted out.
2005 A. Scherer Pinot Noir: Alsatian pinot noir. Think northern Italy PN. Or Swiss PN. Or Austrian PN. I have tasted PN from each region always on somebody’s good tout. These are wines grown in cold – not cool – regions. PN needs cooldown weather. However, a parka in August is too much cooldown. The problem with any of these wines is they have little fruit. So they come off as “sinewy” when well-made and anorexic when not. On the other hand, if you like lean woody wines with an APB out on the fruit this could be for you. (Interestingly, Mendocino – a north of Napa cool growing region – can produce terrific PNs, i.e., Navarro).
2005 McKenzie-Mueller Carneros Cuvee Rose’: My wife loves McKenzie-Mueller wines. I am quite fond of his pinot noir, cab franc and malbec. His cab sauvignon is very well made, never heavyweight, always balanced. Bob McKenzie has an understandably loyal following. We are in the wine club and order wines direct (25% off) on release. A recent M-M newsletter (I am getting to the point dammit) referred to a request by some clubbies that Bob create a “reds-only” option. These followers apparently do not wish to buy the chardonnay, rose’, etc. offerings that usually accompany the red releases. Bob is thinking about it. I usually take the white wines and the rose’ in support of a family winemaker who is also a wonderful host should you visit his Carneros winery (which you should if you get the chance). We are guessing the rose’ is cab franc. The alcohol is listed at 14.7%. The “standard deviation” accepted in wine metrics is plus/minus 0.5% so the alcohol could be >15%. We prefer wines no higher than 14% and applaud winemakers who keep it close to 13%. We are thinking the “reds-only” folks have been in the club longer than we have.
1989 Chateau Nairac: Golden-copper color, tartrate crystals (?) floating in the soup otherwise looks absolutely perfect. Musty nose but a long way from corked. Still some acid on palate but mostly honeyed…and some mustiness. Never got to the second glass. Dr. M’s call and a good one once again. I bought this after having a delicious 1979 Nairac maybe 10 years ago and I expected more. Of course, 1983 is the Sauternes vintage. I would snap up a 1975, 1976 or 1983 Nairac if I had the chance (of course I would also burst the 20$ cap but c’est la vie).
Best suggestion for “field of reference” when tasting wine…surfing!

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