Memorial Day Mash

A cool and dreary start to the summer. LA is known for June Gloom (AM coastal fog that works great for early morning tee times) but this is something else. Overcast and slight drizzle for the unofficial start of summer. [ed. that was 7 weeks ago, now in the 90s plus daily] tBoW hosts three couples who are ready and willing to try anything we put in front of them. What more can one ask from a guest?
The tasting choices were like a juke box on Adderal. Bottles flew out of the cellar as fast as we could purge. elviopertinace.jpgWe covered California pinots, white Bordeaux, a Paso white, and Baroli that must get consumed. As they say in film noir, the usual suspects showed up…and I do mean people and wines.
1996 Cantina Vignaioli Elvio Pertinace Barbaresco Vigneto Marcarini: Tobacco nose and flavors. Cherry puckering fruit, too many tannins for 12 years. Not enough fruit left. Anutha bummah from this selection. I think. 13.5%
sottimano.jpg1995 Sottimano Curra Vigna Masue Barbaresco: I am fighting with the 1996 vintage in Barolo. When I tasted the vintage in the Clerico cellar with Domenico himself it was magic. The wines were forward, rich and elegant. So many now are tough. The chance to taste this 1995, a “harder” vintage, more than ten years later was welcomed. One of the premium vineyards for this label. Tannic, puckering, needs decanting. Opens up after several hours. Still not very impressive wine. 13%
volpaio.jpg2000 Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico: Costco purchase? Parker 90. Was opened last so it did not get much attention that evening. Next evening it was nice enough. You have to like Sangiovese, of which I am not a big fan. Too sweet and rakish. Balanced, sweetish, light to medium weight. Holding up nicely for 8 years old. 13%
WSSonCoast2005.jpg2005 Wiliams Selyem Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir: If this were basketball this would be a “make-up call”. The Chianti brought by “igottatellya” is all but forgotten whenever he opens his WS stash. Of course, wrestling a glass from him of the nation’s finest domestic pinot noir is another matter. This is the first bottle opened from the 2005 and 2006 vintage resting comfortably in the tBoW cellar. So there are many more to come. [ed. cue wicked Dr. Evil laugh] We (the ubiquitous Dotor√©) selected carefully, being sure to crack the wine most likely to be ready. This eliminates all the vineyard designated wines. Going through the sealed case and reading every label is a lesson in the marriage of a label with mega-cachet and lesser known Russian River-Sonoma growers. Seeing your vineyard on a Williams-Selyem label brings prestige. We hardly recognized the names. This wine had all the seductive flavors and qualities we associate with WS wines, especially the ones for “early” opening. Vanilla, creamy, forward fruit, some understated smoke. Soft but not flabby. It went quickly. Summer’s challenge? Not to plunder the entire two cases. 14.2%
2004 Paul Lato Gold Coast Vineyard Pinot Noir
: With the Italian debacle behind us and a strong pinot wind in our sails we headed for the Santa Rita Hills. Paul Lato is one of the finest examples of wines from this region. tBoW put it in a bag and poured on the heels of the Williams Selyem. More tannic but that is no surprise. Restrained at first. More structured than the WS but then this is the flagship. Showing smoke and dark dense pinot fruit. Not an SRH fruit bomb. Excellent. So different than WS and outstanding on its own. It is not Rochioli with all the complications and complexity. It is fine wine. Paul made 70 cases. 14.5% [ed. special credit to Grape-Nutz where I lifted the photo of Paul; an outstanding wine blog for all wines regional; highly recommended reading].
martinon06.jpg2006 Chateau Martinon Entre-Deux-Mers $10: Recommended by Hi Time Wine Cellar as a go-to summer white. Like white loafers. Reminds me of Jim Moore’s l’Uvaggio di Giacomo Vermentino. All the bright acid, lush fruit. Almost oily in weight. Somewhat reminiscent of the Argentine Torrontes wines. Wonderfully good. Here is a nice review on the Entre-Deux-Mer region. Love that alcohol level. 12.5%
TCVermentino_2006_bottle.jpg2006 Tablas Creek Vermentino: Another excellent white wine from TC. Strong, spiney, good acid. Sharp, lime flavors. Serious, even. But for current drinking. Anytime with anything. Before dinner. 14.5%
calotvv.jpg2005 Calot Morgon Vieilles Vignes Cuvée Unique: North Berkeley Wine purchase. Pinot pedigree (Morgon borders Burgundy) with Gamay fruit. Unusual. Read the NBW notes on the winemaker. Excellent, fruity but not overtly forward wine. Tannic balance. Will last a year in the cellar. Jump on it.
It is going to be a very good summer.

Got something to add?