White Wines

SAUVIGNON BLANC DOMESTIC

Rochioli Sauvignon Blanc ’98

Very light straw color. I believe this is the first vintage in which Tom Rochioli has put what was formerly called the “Old Vine” batch into this. Great nose of melon, and a whiff of cut hay. Slightly tart at the front, but with a delicious flavor of gooseberries and bitter melon. Turns sweet as it escapes, with a nice finish. Good balance, and I wish I had bought it… EXCELLENT MINUS MM. 10/99. This wine rocked like Morcheeba.

DOMESTIC WHITE

L’Ecole#41 Semillon, Columbia Valley, Washington State

This winery is Hot! With its December releases of 97 & 98 wines there is much to enjoy from Walla Walla. This is the best L’Ecole Semillon yet, upon release. Golden and straw in color. Wild aromas of fig, clove, inscence and apricot. Mouth-filling viscosity and smooth mouth-feel combined with intense apricot, pear, tropical fruit flavors and vanilla notes. School is in session, this is how to make American Semillon! $14. – CG

ITALIAN WHITE

Elena Walch Gewurztraminer 1998

From the Alto Adige region of Northern Italy, a region not generally known for Gewurz. Medium straw color. Fragrant nose of flowers, and cut fruits. Bright, cleansing attack, with good acidity. Very focused and true, with a fine amount of flavor. VERY GOOD

Umani Ronchi Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi CaSal di Serra 1997

From the Marche along the eastern coast of Italy, bordering the Adriadic sea, lies the city of Osimo and the Umani Ronchi Winery. The best way to picture it is the “upper calf” of the Italian boot. This winery, year after year produces fine, fairly priced reds and whites. This single-vineyard Verdicchio varietal wine is medium-bodied and luscious. Unexpectedly rich and viscous in the nose and mouth. Golden in color with a nose of melon, fig, apricot and tropical fruit. Very modern in style. If you have never had Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi before, to me it is very similar to well made domestic Semillon. Smooth, velvety mouth-feel finishes with a hint of toasted oak and spice. A bargain at $11-CG

FRENCH WHITE

Pierre Sparr Pinot Gris Carte d’ Or, Alsace, France 1998

Man I love this kind of wine. Forward, intense, mouth filling, playful and affordable. Perfect for the fare of the Holiday season to come. Aromas of very sweet fruit, almost candied leaning toward apricot, tropical fruit, violets and candied pear. In the mouth an abundance of intense pear, dried flowers and rounding out with a slight, pleasant nutty note. This wine finishes dry with great acidity. Give me some Indian food and a bottle of this and you will have a friend forever. An absolute bargain at $12 – CG

AUSTRALIAN WHITE

Tatachilla Winery Wattle Park Chardonnay, S. Australia 1998

Yellow straw in color. Banana and tropical fruity nose. Simple and strait forward with good friendly fruit, what I like to call cocktail wine. 80/100. -CG.

Tatachilla Winery Adelaide Hills Chardonnay, Australia 1998

Overblown and loving every minute of it. Full blown color, golden yellow, almost looks oxidized, but it’s not. Nose of very toasted oak and pine notes. This wine is not for the squeamish. It is an assault on the palate with it’s obvious forward and opulent tropical fruit and lush extraction. Don’t ask me to suggest a food pairing……Stick of butter, Pickles? I don’t know. Have it with your really loud friends that are worth 16 bucks a bottle. 85/100.-CG

OTHER WHITE

Dry River Sauvignon Blanc 1998

From New Zealand, this winery is perhaps the best in Kiwi-land. From Pinot Noir and Gris to Riesling and Sauv Blanc,
they are at the top of their form. More golden in color than I’d have expected, and without the cat’s pee aspect common in so many SBs. Nose fairly muted to start, and then becoming showy with a half hours airing, but never really SauvBlanc-y. Rich palate of ripe yellow fruit. Long, with good amounts of glycerin and superb texture. EXCELLENT MINUS

Vina Santa Monica Chardonnay, Chile 1997

An off nose of white pepper and sherry. Seen better days…. I hope. Bitter and uninteresting. Avoid. NR. $8. -CG

PORT

DESERT WINE

Domaine de Petit Quart Bonnezeaux Vendange Grain par Grain 1997

Even better than the ’96 consumed a few weeks back at Bucko’s La Jota bash. Medium gold color, with admirable viscosity. Great nose of pineapple, apricots, candied lemon peel and honey. Precise attack, with superb weight, extreme concentration and wonderfully layered. Like lemon-honey in the mouth. Quite sweet, with enough acidity to hold the package together, but
not as obvious as in the ’96. It would never be able to cellar at my place. Long as any wine I’ve had in recent memory, and frankly, my wine of the night, and perhaps the best Loire dessert wine I’ve had. That’s a statement. OUTSTANDING. MM. 10/99. It rocked like Kiri Te Kanawa.

Weinbach Gewurztraminer Qunitessence de Grains Noble ‘Cuvee d’Or’ 1994

Light gold in color, looking very thick. Lemon pledge scents (in a good way), syrupy in the mouth and very Gewurz-y flavored. Pure and focused it was only medium-log on the finish. Deceptive in it’s simplicity, and a true revelation in what can be done with the varietal. Best Alsatian Gewurz I’ve ever had. Scratch that. Best Gewurz, period. OUTSTANDING. MM. 10/99. This wine rocked like the New York Philharmonic.

Babcock Berry Select Late Harvest Riesling 1986

Quite amber/brown in color. Excruciatingly sweet, with 37% finished sugar. Nose of coal and raisins. Very heavy, and nearly cloying, with only a semblance of the acidity it needs. Super-ripe pineapple and apricots with sultanas. Not as great on the finish as the weight might have implied. VERY GOOD MINUS. MM. 10/99. Rocked like Sade, somewhat monotonic.

Chateau Tirecul ‘Cuvee Madame’ 1996

Dark gold, hugely viscous. Great nose, very sweet, what more can I say?? I’ve posted far too many times on
this wine to keep giving you descriptors. When you open one, you won’’ be disappointed. It never fails to wow the crowd, but my palate was a bit fatigued after the Pride Mt., so it was just OUTSTANDING MINUS. MM

CHAMPAGNE

J. Lassalle ‘Cuvee Angeline’ 88

It’s always a nice thing to start with a good bubbly. This one qualified, and I had never had it before. Super
presence on the palate. Clean yet very complex. Lots of citrus on the attack, with enough of a yeasty element to hold it together nicely. By the time I got too it, it wasn’t terribly effervescent, but the finish was very long, and I did go back for seconds. EXCELLENT. MM. 10/99. This wine rocked like K.D. Lang, kinda sultry…

Nicolas Feuillate Brut N/V

Great Bubbles!. This is a winner. Lovely nose of dough, green apple and pear. Full-bodied and extremely well balanced with great length. Start your festivities off here. $28. A bargain among some very expensive competitors.

Laurent-Perrier Rose’ Brut

Oh Yes!. Here it is. This is what I will be enjoying at the big party. Awesome nose of rose pedal, medium bread notes, and tropical fruits. Totally lush with a very sweet strawberry attack and finishing slightly salty and dry with perfect balance. $60.

Veuve Cliquot Vintage Brut 93′

Industry standard for great bubbles. Full-bodied, exceptional texture with great yeasty notes and intense tropical and citrus flavors. Treat yourself this millennium! it only comes around every few years or so. $80.

Argyle Brut 96, Oregon

Always a great sparkler, very rich and full of creamy luscious bubbles, medium toastiness with crisp green apple and pear flavors, smoothly covering and coating the mouth. A great value in sparkling wine at $16. Indulge, get two.

Bruno Paillard Champagne.

Here is a fantastic bubbly you may not be familiar with, Bruno Paillard. Beautiful, clean aromas of perfume, floral, and clove. Great mouth-feel and flavors. Medium bread and toast with exceptional balance. $30.

Mure Cremant D’Alsace

Produced from a field blend of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Gewurztraminer, this is a bubbly for all you cool – hip people. Wild nose of apricot, pear with hints of Riesling. Lightly carbonated with delicate bubbles and lovely mouth-feel. Bone dry finish. Go for it at $35.