Chateau Saint Jean Plan de Dieu Cotes du Rhone Villages 2011

Featured

Chateau Saint Jean Plan de Dieu Cotes du Rhone Villages 2011:  An aromatic whirlwind, the intriguing berry-oriented bouquet is complemented by scents of lignified stalks, allspice, tapenade, and bark, with a pleasant lactic undertone.  On the palate, the wine is seemingly enrobed in ganache and black raspberries, with a delicious core of chocolate brownie-like flavors at the center.  Truly irresistible.  An inspired blend of 65% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 5% Carignane, and 5% Mourvedre, aged in concrete.  Pair this with roast chicken or chicken mole dishes.  14.5% alc.  Drink now-2017.  (91+)

Wine of the Week: Chanin Los Alamos Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011

Featured

Chanin Los Alamos Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011:  Ruby with dark shadings.  A stunningly pure black cherry, mineral, and earth melange both on the nose and on the palate.  On the attack, this starts out delicate, then slowly builds up, stone by stone, into a precise, augmented mineral wonder of California Pinot Noir.  Medium-bodied, with the dark berry fruit flavors, mild acidity, gentle tannins, and underlying tilled earth components in total equillibrium.  I am reluctant to use the “B” word, but this is rather Volnay 1er Cru-esque.  13.6% alc.  Drink now-2016.   (92+)

Tenuta San Guido Le Difese 2010

Featured

Purple-ruby robe.  A full glass of delicious intrigue on the nose, where ripe black currant aromas mix with earthy scents of dried clay and a hint of smoke.  Medium-bodied, with moderate tannins and subtle acidity.  Still quite youthful, with a lot of push from the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes (70% of the blend), while the Sangiovese grapes (30%) add notes of black cherries.  Hints of basil and wood emerge with time in the glass.  Pairs well with red meats and meat-driven pasta sauces.  13% alc.  $30  Drink now-2015.  (91)

Wine of the Week: Chateau L’Isle Fort Bordeaux Superieur 2009

Featured

Chateau L’Isle Fort Bordeaux Superieur 2009: Red ruby.  Exhibits a tantalizing aromatic blend of plums and violets.  On the palate, this velvety, medium-bodied offering shows delicious dark plum fruits, with a hint of chocolate and cassis.  A blend of 58% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Franc and 14% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Lovely for its balance and ripe fruit purity, that is pleasantly devoid of new wood or over-extraction.  A smashing value for $18 per bottle that captures the greatness of the 2009 vintage. Consider this the steal of the vintage.  Drink now-2018.  (92)

Deux Montille Bourgogne Blanc 2009

Featured

Deux Montille Bourgogne Blanc 2009: Clear yellow with a brass tinge.  Offers a focused, restrained nose of hay, lemon, and ginger.  Fresh, with great acidity on the palate, this is clean, lithe, and mouthwatering.  The flavors are equal parts mountain spring water, lemon-lime, and moss.  $28  Drink now-2013.  (89)

Bookster Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Featured

Bookster Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2009: Nearly opaque, with a black-violet hue.  Ripe Cabernet aromas reminiscent of blackberry jam, cola, and cassis are set off by a hint of eucalpytus and toasted bread.  Full-bodied, dry, and tannic, this is mouthpuckering on the intense finish.  The waxy black fruit flavors need time to integrate with the tannins and substantial alcohol, but this should come together with time in the cellar.  Drink 2013-2018.  14.8% alc.  $55  (90+)

David Duband Nuits St. Georges 2009

Featured

David Duband Nuits St. Georges 2009:  Pale ruby, nearly clear at the rim.  Savory notes of pan-seared beef, black pepper, clove, cinnamon, and sesame seeds swarm the nose, while the palate is awash in concentrated flavors of black and red fruits, spice, and dusty earth.  Medium-bodied, with good acidity.  The tannins should meld with the fruit more seemlessly in a year or two.  $60  Drink now-2015.  (88+)

Pierre Boisson Bourgogne Blanc 2009

Featured

Pierre Boisson Bourgogne Blanc 2009:  A ripe bouquet dominated by fragrant scents of lily and honeysuckle leads to aromas and flavors reminiscent of lemon jelly candies, poached pears, ginger, and rock dust.  Comes across fat and wide on the palate, like a baby Meursault, and should begin to uncoil within the next few months.  $27  Drink now-2014.  (89+)

Clos Chanteduc Cotes du Rhone 2009

Featured

Clos Chanteduc Cotes du Rhone 2009:  Inky violet robe.  Showcases an electrifying nose of crushed red cherries, raspberries, allspice, vanilla, nutmeg, and cloves. On the palate, the wine is drier and more stoic than a federal judge, with equal measure of concentration.  After 20 minutes in the glass, notes of kirsch, rosemary, thyme, anise, and autumn leaves come to the fore in a delicious blend of fruit, spice, and wood.  Truly delicious and fun to drink, although the hint of warmth on the back end leads to a slightly heady finish.  Pair this with a lamb chop and enjoy the ride.  $17  Drink now-2015.  (91)

Block 7 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2010

Featured

Block 7 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2010:  Ruby.  Inviting aromas of sweet red berries, vanilla, and sassafras lead to a soft-textured, decidedly smooth wine in the mouth. Medium-bodied, with fresh berry flavors and more flesh than structure.  Pairs extremely well with salmon.  File this under “pleasure-driven wines” and enjoy it over the next two years.  $25  Drink now-2013.  (90)