Thawing out the Winter of discontent

winter vineyards.jpgtBoW feels the Winter thawing. The financial markets may still be in the dumps however if you are sitting on some cash it is getting time to think about scooping up the coming bargains. Here are some guiding examples of what you might look for and one you might avoid.
Prodigal05.jpg2005 Prodigal Pinot Noir $30: The first vintage from a winemaking guy who dropped out, got his PhD and a veterinary medicine degree only to return to the vineyard 40 years later. This is the Appellation (lesser) wine; only 275 cases. The Estate is better but the 2006 is even better yet. Translation: we need to get the 2005 vintage out and raise some dough for the next series. Unfortunately, the 2005 appellation wine could not be more ordinary. My local vendor who I am trying very hard to get on board with has put tBoW on another weak tout. While I am happy to help this academic turned farmer get started with my purchase of his entry-level wine I wish it was sold that way; “here, this guy who blew off his advanced degrees needs our support”. For Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir it is indistiguishable. Sometimes with SRH wines this is actually good. It is not over-the-top-ripe. I guess at $30 it is “fairly priced” but for $30 it is not priced fairly when I can have the next wine down for half. Some barnyard, some cherry, mostly kind of bland. Just not very interesting. Maybe I am just cranky. 14.5%
mas carlot 2004.gif2004 Mas Carlot Les Enfantes Terribles Costieres de Nimes $12: Got this at the established local vendor Woodland Hills Wine Company. Parker gave it an 88. What does a Parker 88 signify? Certainly this is a “so-what” score. Nobody is running to the local wine store to find this little gem. He talks earth, ripe and no hard edges. Actually, the wine has a definite bretannomyces flavor thankfully on the good side of brett. It is ripe and it is soft. 50-50 Mourvedre and Syrah a blend I like. I would not buy it again but I would buy it before I ventured twice the funds on another SRH Pinot Noir of which I never heard. 14%
alessandriaSG95.jpg1995 Alessandria Barolo San Giovanni $48: Got this from Mission Wines in South Pasadena. I rarely get over there any more but I did like the store. The Allessandria wines are not well known outside Barolo. No big name cachet. However, they can be lovely and this is a case in point. tBoW loaded up on Baroli from 1993, 1995, 1996 and 1997 following a 1999 trip to Piedmont. These wines are ready to go. Some are past ready and have been described. This Allessandria is small production Barolo in the modern style; i.e., they age in barriques instead of cement vats. Check out the photo of traditional aging items taken in Piedmont in a very famous and big name winery. This wine is past its prime, brick red color, yet it still offers lovely delicate fruit; with an aroma sometimes referred to as dried flowers. It is delicate. There is cinnamon. It is lovely. When I have a Barolo like this one I understand why Barolo is referred to as the Burgundy of Italy. Although Nebbiolo and Pinot Noir are similar in weight they do yield quite different aromas and flavors. They also share the same ability to evoke exotic and delicate flavors, excellent balance, lightness and delicacy like a dandelion flower floating by on a late spring afternoon. 13.5%
ilpontefront2000.jpg2000 l’Uvaggio di Giacomo Il Ponte $21: Swell opportunity to revisit this bottle which tBoW has enjoyed since its release. Found it languishing in a local wine shop. The color is a vibrant deep dark red brick. The nose is full and rich. The wine has matured beautifully. It drinks very well. Is it a Super Tuscan ala’ Tignanello or Sassicaia or Flaccianellla? No. It is Jim Moore’s take on what can be done very well with Tuscany varietals grown in Napa and environs. At this price it is a very good bargain and definite U20+1. Excellent bottle. The winemaker shows off his graphic chops with the label he conceived and designed. If you track the entire almost wrap-around label you will see how the Golden Gate bridge blends into the Ponte Vecchio. NIce.
Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone in love who reads this blog.

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