Pierre Boisson Bourgogne Blanc 2009


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


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


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)

Benovia Winery 2009s: Another Winner from a Glorious Vintage

Benovia Sonoma Mountain Grenache 2009:  Ruby.  Cherry-lavender aromas have a hint of salt, kirsch, and animale. Intensely concentrated, the round and ample fruit flavors are initially bright and generous, but become more sophisticated, darker, and more nuanced on the finish.  Full-bodied.  A great wine for leg of lamb. Drink now-2016.  (91+)

Wine of the Week: Bonny Doon Bien Nacido “X-Block” Santa Maria Valley Syrah 2008


Bonny Doon Bien Nacido “X-Block” Santa Maria Valley Syrah 2008:  Gloria in excelsius Syrah!  The phenomal Bonny Doon Bien Nacido “X-Block” Santa Maria Valley Syrah 2008 captures the most delicious attributes of this variety, and is a must find for all Syrah lovers.  Dark ruby with a brilliant sheen.  Broadcasts enticing aromas of blackberries, black cherries, fur, grilled beef, cookie dough, iodine, eucalyptus and freshly shredded mint, white pepper, and soil.  With aeration, the nose becomes meatier and more sauvage, and turns resolutely towards the umami end of the spectrum (think toasted sesame seeds, iodine, and dried seaweed).  Exquisitely balanced, with soft tannins that belie the grip on the palate, this mid-weight effort improves in the fridge over the course of four days.  A stunner of a Syrah that is drinking exceedingly well at present, and is pleasantly devoid of any reductive elements.  One of my favorite Syrahs tasted in 2011, from anywhere in the world, this is surely a wine to purchase by the case.  13.9% alc.  $42  Drink now-2018.  (93)         


Salcheto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2007


Salcheto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2007:  This Salcheto bottling is the rare Vino Nobile that evinces a potential for ”noble ageing,” and drinks as well now as it will through the end of the decade.  Dark ruby with faint glycerin lines.  Exudes a complex bouquet of wild berries, black cherries, kirsch, iris, and balsam.  Great acidity on the attack, where the flavors are well integrated and the texture smoother than expected.  Some bark and mushroom notes come through on the midpalate.  Medium- to full-bodied, with a refined, dry finish.  Pairs equally well with steak as it does with pasta and red sauces.  From the Prugnolo Gentile clone of Sangiovese.  If you love aged Sangiovese (think great Chianti Classico Riserva and Brunello), I highly recommend purchasing six bottles of this, and drinking 3 now and 3 over the next decade.  Your patience will be rewarded.  13.5% alc.  $35  Drink now-2019.  (91+) 


Wine of the Week: DuMOL Finn Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2009


DuMOL Finn Russian Rivery Valley Pinot Noir 2009:  This is a lesson in master blending.  It is rare to find a Pinot Noir comprised of grapes grown in three different vineyards that offers such complexity and flavor in a harmonious package.  The key is finding compatible fruit sources that are grown in similar (but not identical) conditions, and which play separate roles in the blend.  The DuMOL Finn 2009 bottling is comprised of a mix of Calera, Swan, and Martini Pinot selections, along with Dijon clones 943, 115 and 777, which were sourced from DuMOL’s Estate Vineyard and the Hanna Vineyard, both of which are off of Occidental Road, as well as the more northerly O’Connell Vineyard.  Each of these vineyards are located within a 10-minutes’ drive from each other in a hallowed Russian River Valley “Pinot Noir Triangle,” which runs from the corner of River Road and Laguna Road, south to Occidental Road, and as far east as Piezzi Road.  The DuMOL Estate Vineyard is the only one of the three that also technically resides in the more verdant Green Valley sub-appellation of the Russian River AVA, and the grapes from the home site provide a fresh, dark-fruit scented complement to the savory red-fruited notes attributed to the O’Connell Vineyard and the crisp, tangy notes from the Hanna fruit.  Translucent purple-ruby.  The aromatics are a divine bouquet of iris, lily, fruit blossoms, and black and red berries.  Refreshing on the attack, with lively berry fruits and a round, smooth texture.  Medium- to full-bodied, with a generous expression of richness on the midpalate and finish.  14.4% alc.  Drink now-2025.  (97+)

Wine of the Week: Chateau Lusseau Graves 2005


Chateau Lusseau Graves 2005: If you want to drink Bordeaux at Thanksgiving, this is your bottle. Dark ruby in color.  Possesses an enchanting bouquet of tobacco, black cherries, plums, warm stones, and freshly turned soil.  On the palate, the tannins are firm but round, and provide excellent structure.  Medium-bodied, with exquisite balance and a long, dry finish. Because the proprietors use only 10% new French oak, the dark fruit flavors demonstrate great purity.  Prior bottles tasted earlier this year needed time to settle, and I am happy to report that the wine is now fully integrated, and is ready to go!  From a blend of 45% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet France, and 5% Malbec.  Notably, this property is farmed organically.  A wine to purchase by the case.  13.5% alc. $30  Drink now-2015.  (90+)

Wine of the Week: Arnot-Roberts Clajoux Vineyard Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2008


Arnot-Roberts Clajoux Vineyard Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2008: Dark ruby. Offers a spicy nose of red currants, red raspberries, blackberries, and oak.  Fantastic energy and acidity on the midpalate, where the spicy red and black fruits are complemented by a hint of walnuts.  Full-bodied, with round tannins.  14.1% alc.  Drink now-2020.   (94+)