Impressions - 4-9-18

2015 Louis Michel, Chablis Butteaux - flinty, dry, more savory than the MdT from this house in this vintage but every bit as typical and character driven. The more Michel Chablis I have, the more I want to have it.
2016 Basel Cellars, Chenin Blanc - Chenin from Washington is new to me but this was powerfully flavored, round, good cut and an oily texture, from 35 year old vines and about $19 SRP. A little blousy and a touch alcoholic but still of interest.
2014 Louis Moreau, Chablis Vaulignot - lovely textures, correct aromas and flavors, etched acidity and good length; quite fine and available in the low $20’s; a nice find.
2016 Edmunds St. John, Heart of Gold - Vermentino/Grenache Blanc blend; in the last month this has become more of a piece and generous than on release. Plenty of cut but plenty of flavor. Mighty nice.
2016 Cowan Cellars, Ribolla Gialla - bright, spicy, textural; true to variety and balanced
2012 Lillian, Roussanne - oily, clean, pretty flavors with the slight heaviness typical of the variety
2013 Valentini, Trebbiano - much too tight upon opening; decanted and set aside for day two - on day two open, appealing yet still subtle. Bottom line - hold.
2003 Emidio Pepe, Trebbiano - citric, energetic and almost sharp but with lots of stuff waiting in the wings; after several hours it begins to unclench. Comparing to the Valentini (despite the decade of difference) this too needs time.
2015 SQN, Entre Chien et Loup - a white blend that is thick, heavy, out-sized and loaded with butterscotch oak. Not for me.
2002 Donnhoff, Riesling Spatlese Oberhäuser Bruke - clean, precise but too sweet for me
1995 J.J. Prum, Riesling Auslese, Wehlener Sonnenuhr - not as sweet as the preceding wine but every bit as precise and crystalline; joyful wine.
Equipo Navazos, 44 Florpower - a non-sous voile table wine from a sherry house that is darkly colored, powerfully flavored and reminds me of skin-fermented whites that are deeply extracted. A rarity but something to seek out - really good!
1998 Trimbach, Riesling Clos St. Hune - so many bottles from this vintage are pre-moxed but not this one; all that St. Hune should be: powerful yet feminine, crisp yet broad, complex yet of whole cloth - glorious wine!
2002 Dom. Pepiere, Clos des Briords - completely shot; oxidized and ugly
1991 Zind Humbrecht, Clos Jebsal SQN - way too sweet for me (it may be wonderful for those who appreciate stickies but not me)
2004 Cazin, Cour-Cheverny Cuvée Renaissance - Demi-sec, a bit tired, and while I get it, I don’t want anymore
2013 Oltretorrente, Timorasso Colli Tortonesi - an odd but not unattractive flavor profile which gets better with air - not sure I like it but not sure I don’t.
2015 Kongsgaard, Chardonnay - intrusive oak smells and flavors and that kills it.
2015 Aurata, Chardonnay - From Oregon and certainly nicely crafted but without character. Not for me.
2013 Terran, Terlaner Classico - an Italian blend of Chard., Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Blanc; resinous, frizzante and upon reflection, pedestrian
1991 Zind Humbrecht, Tokay Pinot Gris Rosenberg SQN - syrup
2015 Aequorin, Chardonnay - from Oregon and, for me, no interest.
1997 Chave, Hermitage Blanc - lock the door, turn off the tv, lets just sit here quietly and enjoy one of the best wines we’ve ever had . . . this is spectacular!
2015 Dom. du Colombier, Crozes Hermitage Blanc - pretty, oily, some mineral, some sweetness but not very compelling.
2015 Guigal, Condrieu - precise, integrated and complex; much more than I expected
2014 Billon, Condrieu Les Matisses - pretty, earthy wine with some complexity
2014 Louis Michel, Chablis Montee de Tonnerre - crystalline, bright, focused and long; truly lovely
1971 Chat. d’Yquem (magnum) - sound and, from what others said, au pointe, but too sweet for me

2012 Sandro Fay, Valtellina Superior Costa Bassa - Nebbiolo from a rocky place; slightly rustic, deeply flavored, balanced and just the right amount of funk (Diane says she remembers bacon tasting like this); whatever, it’s just what I want tonight.
2013 Guigal, Cotes du Rhône - there is little to identify this as from the Rhône but it is serviceable, inexpensive and seems to please the non-geeks at the table.
1999 Kalin Cellars, Pinot Noir - the current release, sous-bois, more savory than fruity, grippy, needed to be decanted and was the better for it, and just plain sensational - not a knock-off for Burgundy, not new world . . . a thing unto its own. ‘Dig it.
2013 Wilde Farm, Pinot Noir Donnelly Creek Vnyd. - correct, nicely balanced but ultimately forgettable
2014 Felton Road, Pinot Noir - screwcap closure, etched flavors, good length and a delight
1995 Chateau Musar, Rouge - the first Musar I have tasted that I liked and I liked this a lot; so complex and yet restrained, lovely weight and texture and a finish that keeps me wondering about the blend. A wow wine.
1995 La Magia, Brunello di Montalacino - a wine that never quite came together for me (others felt differently) but clearly well made.
1998 Domaine de la Mordoree, CdP Cuvée de la Reine des Boise - No, just no.
2009 Podre Brizio, Brunello - correct, amenable, okay
2010 Tenuta di Sesta, Brunello - aromatically extraordinary, beautiful in the mouth and strong all the way to the finish. Yum!
1999 Chateau Haut Briton - closed and in pieces at opening; after an hour, a life list wine: a palate presence that speaks of energy and nuance, aromatics of the gods and such complexity as to make me stop everything else and pay attention. Please don’t talk to me now, I’m elsewhere. Oh my!
2012 Antinori, Tiganello - not bad, but not anything I want more of.
2008 Oreno, Toscana - see above note
2015 Birichino, Cinsault - charm, grace, lilt and excellence; lovely wine
2014 Maybach, Amoenus - who put sugar in the wine?
2015 Vajra, Lange Rosso - Nebbiolo that tastes good now; it won’t make old bones but I don’t care.
2011 Rattalino, Barbaresco - mind bendingly good; of its place, complete, and showing more that I could ever expect; bravo! (Lyle got game)
1996 Sandrone, Barolo Le Vigne - correct, polished, but feels like it was made by folks with a formula
2001 Paola Bea, Montefalco Rosso Riserva - funky, odd and not especially pleasant
1971 Mascarello, Nebbiolo d’Alba - sous bois, funk and soy sauce along with wine; okay but . . .
1961 Luigi Einaudi, Barolo - past prime but instructive
1967 Gaja, Barbaresco - on the way down but not gone
2010 Elio Sandro, Barolo Riserva - a nice wine with some character and some interest but not more than that
2013 Occhipinti, Il Frapatto (magnum) - disjointed and grippy; not what I expected.
1946 Toro Albala, PX - kind of like reduced prune juice with syrup but in a good way; motor oil texture.
1998 Ogier, Côte Rotie - correct, almost plush, delicious; not my “go to” producer but this over achieves
1999 Jasmin, Côte Rotie - more masculine than expected and still, not ready; good wine but hold
1999 Chapoutier, Côte Rotie les Becasses - correct and pleasant but not more
1998 Jamet, Côte Rotie - tight upon opening and took most of the evening to open; when it did, it was grand - on the more rustic side for this house
2000 Jamet, Côte Rotie - great harmony and depth, intricate, precise, complex and all that Jamet can be . . . and showing it!
2001 Jamet, Côte Rotie - one step short of the 2000 but still lovely wine
1998 Gangloff, Côte Rotie La Barbarine - more cigarette ash earthiness than the Jamets; good but not great in the mouth - a pretty wine that comes up a little short
1999 Cuilleron, Côte Rotie - fruity on the nose and in the mouth, loosely knit, slightly unfocused but still delicious
2014 Piedrassasi, Harrison Clarke Vineyard Red Wine - continued to open over the evening and, at about three hours, showed all the complexity and layers I expected; good now, great later
2010 SQN, Stockholm Syndrome - good grief - nothing here for me
2005 Allemand, Cornas Chaillot - the reason they cost so much is that they’re so damn good
2000 Allemand, Cornas Reynard - and sometimes they’re even better than you thought; all night long . . .
2015 Garon, Côte Rotie Les Triotes - more emphasis on fruit and certainly showing its lack of age; interesting but not fascinating
1999 Texier, Côte Rotie - a wine that has been my benchmark for CR is still beautiful; less intense than in its early life, it makes up for it in complexity; a pleasure to drink
1995 Guigal, Côte Rotie La Landonne - ever so slightly corked but still of interest
1999 Gallet, Côte Rotie - the nose out paces the palate but the palate is terrific
1999 J.M. Stephan, Côte Rotie - something is wrong here; aquarium aromas and a chipped palate - bad bottle
2010 Hudelot-Noellat, Vosne-Romanee Les Beaumonts - wonderful secondary development, sous-bois, delicate texture; a treat for the senses
1996 Chave, Hermitage Rouge - glorious but young; needs more time in the cellar and will reward patience
2007 Orvenoy, Artois-Pupillin (Poulsard) - onion skin color, bouquet-garni nose and light as a feather in the mouth; a wine that seems not of this earth; satisfying in an ethereal way.

Best, Jim
Jim Cowan