Notes from a blind tasting lunch

Domaine Franck Besson Rose Granit (nv) – a very pale pink with grapefruit and some faint cherry in the nose, this 100% Gamay from Beaujolais had good balance and was very pleasant. Despite being labeled NV, it is probably a 2017.

Blanc de Brulescaille (Cote de Bourg) – this 100% sauv blanc was surprisingly pleasant with citrus mineral nose and good balance.

2010 Pierre Gonon St. Joseph Blanc Les Oliviers – opened at the end of all the other wines, this exhibited a very intriguing toasted pine nut nose, some floral and tropical elements, and a delicious long finish. Good show!

2007 Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia – medium colour, very decent cherry nose, balanced and with a dry tannic finish. Worked better with food at this point.

2006 Louis Jadot Volnay 1er Cru Clos de la Barre – very impressive showing here. Medium colour, excellent nose of floral notes and dark cherry hints at the end, fairly ripe – enough so that we thought it could have been new world. Good acidity and excellent balance.

2001 Tardieu Laurent Vacqueyras Vieilles Vignes – colour now lightening in this wine, with good berry fruit and some garrigue in the nose, and sweet in the mouth with smooth finish. Punching above its weight.

1994 Pahlmeyer Merlot - first bottle I’ve opened of this since release. I’d seen some notes indicating signs of age and figured I should take a look, but this was in superb condition, with a juicy red fruit nose with definite hints of pepper, rich ripe in the mouth and with exceptionally long finish. The interesting thing was that no one jumped to merlot. The oak must have been assertive in youth but was now well integrated and it drank like a top level California Cab. It was so different from a French merlot based wine that it was akin to two different cultures using the same alphabet to produce works in completely different languages. RP rated this as the best merlot produced in California at the time. As to whether I would prefer to drink this wine or another merlot (Masseto, for instance) is another hard question.

2013 Jonata Todos – another interesting wine, m้lange of syrah and sangiovese with several others in small amounts. Fairly dark, with a subdued nose but in the mouth, instant pleasure, sweet and juicy, well structured and with good length. Developed some chocolate raspberry elements in the nose with airing. Along with the Pahlmeyer, wines for sybarites to enthuse over.

2002 Ojai Syrah Roll Ranch Vineyard – dark wine showing a jammy sweet nose incorporating smoky black fruit, a tad riper than the 1997 I still have in the cellar, ripe, just a tad heavy and with a good length of finish.

2006 California Cult Classics Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach Vineyard – made locally from excellent fruit sourced from good vineyards in California (initially, at least with the help of Signorello) this is still very dark, with a toasty oak nose with hints of cocoa and plum. Still showing well.