2004 Chateau Charmail

Cassis nose, light vanilla, earthy, dusty minerality with ripe fruit. Old World. Bright medium acidity, ripe black cherry, light vanilla, fruitiness. Tannins are fine and of medium intensity. Youthful but very approachable and very pleasant. The alcohol is medium. This wine is well-balanced between the acid, tannin and ripe fruit. Solid.

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2003 Michele et Patrice Rion Nuits St Georges 1er Clos des Argillieres

Tasted blind. The nose is promising offering sweet, ripe red fruit with the added complexity of  brambles and a bit of pepper. Forward and a hint of tar underneath suggests a hot vintage. The palate delivers a pleasant, consistent experience. Fine tannins. Ripe, brambly, red fruits, white pepper, raspberry and a dark base note. There is very little lift here due to medium-minus acid. The wine improves over a half hour or so, remaining dark in profile. Not finding the heat that the dark profile and tar note allude to. The follow through from entry to midpalate is consistent. Initially the finsih is abrupt and somewhat bitter, but this lengthens and sweetens as the wine opens up. Overall, a very surprisingly pleasant drinker with some development ahead. 3-5 years?

1998 Chateau Rayas Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve

This was an interesting wine to taste blind. The initial thought was a fairly old Burgundy, then possibly Rioja. We made our way next to the Southern Rhone and when its identity was finally revealed and we were very surprised as the nose seemed prematurely developed for a 1998. In fact, it reminded of the ’78 Cuvee de Vatican. That said, there was incredible richness on the palate from the start, light spice, a touch of celery, coffee, well-integrated light tannin and medium+ acidity. It’s got red fruit underneath but a fair amount of surprising tertiary aromas. The nose evolves with air, rounds out and the wine puts on weight, getting more fleshy and filled out by gaining a bit of pleasant liqueur flavor. There is a core of very sweet red fruit. Very interesting indeed….

1997 Henri Gouges Nuits St. Georges 1er La Perriere

      (Made from Pinot Gouges aka Pinot Musigny, a white genetic mutation of Pinot Noir)

Beautiful, opulent, lightly toasty nose with no sign of oxidation whatsoever. Light nutty aromas with apple, lemon zest, honey and candied ginger undertones. Later on, a hint of caraway? It is layered in the mouth with a creamy texture and medium acidity as steady nerve runs through the wine. It is pretty complete. Light lemon notes around the dominant apple flavors, rounded, medium body, medium finish. Very pleasant, a bit of rind on the finish. This wine has a pleasing richness and is still quite fresh, definitely in full stride.

1999 Claude Dugat Gevrey-Chambertin

Garnet color with bricking at the rim. Savory nose with a slightly smokey sweet core and a hint of celery; fairly pretty. Saline entry on the palate, it is firm and shows some dark baker’s chocolate. The fruit is receding and the tannins are drying on the finish and dominate the palate; there is no generosity here. This structure-driven wine is not terribly complex and is tired or tiring. This is not going anywhere. Drink yesterday!