2009 holiday odds and ends, part 1

Santa Clarita hills 2-08.jpgThe NFL playoffs is a good mark for looking back on the holiday season. Like the San Fernando Valley from the Top of Topanga after a big wind, the holiday wine landscape is suddenly brilliantly clear. Landmarks stand out so much better once the air clears. So much wine flows during the Christmas-New Year there just is not enough room to cover it all in one post. Here is the first of two.
fitou.jpg2005 Fitou Bel Armant Chateau Champ des Souers $15: Toffee nose. Have covered this twice before on this blog. And we still like it! Very appealing flavors, soft, vanilla, fruity juice. Balanced. A Becky Wasserman import, a U20 wine, and one of her personal faves. Here is hoping we see more recent vintages. 13.5%
TCesprit04.jpg2004 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel $39: This cork got pulled during the tBoW Xmas Affair. To the winemaker’s credit the well-wined crowd immediately slowed their conversations and took notice. Nice! Hardy wine. Agrarian?? Sophisticated and showing very nicely at such a youthful age. Kudos to Jason Haas. This series is destined to be the house mark. 14.5%
redortier03.jpg2003 Chateau Redortier Gigondas $19: After the more innocent party-goers had guzzled another glass of delicious juice our guest posed the $100 question “how do you know what to buy?” This is a compliment and the clearest recognition we are pouring nice wines that represent great value. The answer is “buy the importer like this one who is Robert Chadderdon“. This is Syrah dark and with a dirty nose. We reject the bret option because there is also pepper and the fruit in the mouth is pure. As the wine opens the dirty nose blows off and the deep dark Syrah flavors get richer and deeper. Excellent wine. 14%
miles-austin.jpg[ed. lacking label images we turn to pro football images and analogies]
2008 Cortese Frizzante Dell Alto Monferrato Terredicino $13: Don’t you just love it when a guest brings an unexpectedly wonderful wine? This is Miles Austin of Italian white wines, completely surprising and far exceeding expectations. Not really spectacular but so dependable he could become your go-to-wine. Let’s not get carried away. Biletnikoff he ain’t but he does a pretty good impression. The wine is stone dry, bone dry and fizzy. Flinty like a musket barrel. It is very refreshing and the price is so good the guest very thoughtfully brought an extra bottle! 12%
randymoss.jpg2004 August Kesseler Rudesheimer Berg Roseneck Riesling Spatlese $40: The best wide receivers can turn a game around in one play. This wine, like Randy Moss, is highly touted, has an oily feel and telltale petrol nose. There was much talk about Randy stinking up the Patriots with his pouty aroma around mid-season. He turned up at season’s end only to disappear in the Big Game. This Riesling has apricot flavors but not too sweet nor high acid. The same bottle was brought to a different party where it also showed well. But has the showy and much admired wine, like Moss, started its inevitable downward slide? 10.5%
lancienne07.jpg2007 Domaine de L’Ancienne Mercerie Faug√®res $17: Imported by Peter Weygandt which is always a good signal. Dark, brooding chocolate flavors. Mostly Syrah, medium weight, exactly what we like from the Languedoc region at this price point. 15%
Next week conference championships and a chance for Dotoré to get some playoff pool redemption and start the March to find his Mojo.

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