We know it’s the thick of summer when cognitive haze from the PM seems indistinguishable from the typical cloudy overcast in the AM. Looking back is easier than being there if we glide like Roller Girl does in the outstanding Burt Reynolds comeback film [ed. tBoW has Le Large cinematic hangover, do scrutinize the trailer above and Heather Graham's debut couch scene below]. Summer IS presently in full stride and we are not always able to describe all the wines we are sampling. Here are some of what has been left on the bar with a cork in it next to the detritus of night work. Quite a haul, too, with some really nice wines from Paso, Provence and Israel just to tease your curiosity. And there will be even more next week with the Field Mouse in town.
2010 Risata Moscato d’Asti $11: Peaches with spine. Very colorful deep blue bottle, the label painted on. Once you start with Moscato it is hard to stop. Super chilled on a hot day is the toughest situation to resist. In a spa, pool dipping…better have a couple bottles on hand for yourself and half a dozen if you have company. U20 in the extreme. 5.5%
2006 Arnot-Roberts Alder Springs Syrah $50: Somewhat new operation that sources grapes making 2,000 cases of mostly Cabernet, Chardonnay and Syrah. They hail from Healdsburg which certainly helps them gain access to vineyards they covet. This is a big meaty red with a bacon nose. No pepper; hint of briquests. Twenty minutes later the coffee liqeuer emerges. Has a dark and deep red robe. Tannic at 6 years post harvest. Rich but not toothsome New World Syrah that shows some elegance. In the end this is a double barrel of red wine. Is it complex? Not sure. It certainly has lots of flavor. 14.8%
2011 Prieure De Montezargues $15: This is a Tavel cru vineyard that specializes in Rose. Meant to be served C-O-L-D. A blend of 55% Grenache Blanc, then mostly Cinsault with the balance from the other main Rhone varietals. Good acid and bright fruit. Pumice stone feel and flavors. Please sir can I have some more? If you like U20 wines then you like Roses. 13.5%
2005 Linne Calodo Contrarian $55: Notable and collectible Paso Robles white Rhone blend from Matt Trevisan, one of the original winemakers to make the move to these varietals. Matt was also one of the first to “unnaturally” blend varietals not usually found in the same bottle; like Zinfandel and Mourvedre. That is why this blend of 64% Rousanne and 36% Viognier was attractive. At 7 years it is quite alive but showing age. The nose is unexpectedly full-on barnyard. Flavors are soft. Oak is apparent in the creamy texture and flavors. Feels like a California Chardonnay. But the nose also shows tar and rosemary. Subtle…tar and roses? The bottle was a perplexing and intriguing pleasure. 14.4%
2009 Foxen Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley $56: Too young! Alcoholic nose. Not integrated. Gawky and awkward like the freshman centers the UCLA Bruins keep tossing in their lineup. Not quite one of those Central Coast Pinot Noirs that should be labeled Syrah BUT getting there. Smoky character but simply too much alcohol to taste anything else. 14.7%
2007 Yarden Galilee Golan Heights Gewurtztraminer $16: Golden color, sweet syrupy, apricots and toffee. Served in a split. U20 alert! 11.5%
1985 Warres Port $50: Served in a split. Dark with brick perimeter. Intact. Softly sweet. Subdued and still with plenty life. Past its prime and ready for drinking. 20%
Château Suduiraut 2003 Castelnau de Suduiraut $15: Served in a split. The second label of a notable Sauternes wine…so the grapes are younger. Golden yellow. Seductively youthful like Heather Graham’s unforgettable Roller Girl in Boogie Nights. Full of apricots, pineapple and honey. Unctuous, with weight. Served alongside and topped the Warres. At this price it is a very good and special bargain. U20 again!