The annual "Rednecks and Rhones" in North Carolina has branched out some with other wines than Rhones taking the spotlight on some days. My wife Sara and I drove down from New Jersey to participate in this year's event. I had to make a work related stop and we got there later than expected on Friday. A nice group of folks had the party started and we joined in quickly enough.

The 1995 JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese Riesling was the first bottle drained and we missed it, a testament to the worthiness of the producer. I am sure it was tasty.

2016 Cowan Ribolla Gialla was also on hand and I did not give it the full review having had it a few weeks before. I think this is one of Jim's best wines, at least among those I have tasted. Full-bodied, good grip and with ripe if unobtrusive fruit. This should improve with a year or two in the cellar and looking forward to the 2017 version.

I brought a 2002 Pepiere Muscadet Clos Briords but Jim deemed it oxidized so didn't even try it. It happens but always a disappointment when it does. Thankfully other whites were on hand in abundance.

2012 Lillian
California [Stolpman Vineyard]
Roussanne
13.6%
Deep golden color, cloudy in a youthfully unfiltered way, does hold light inside well. There's an odd stink to the nose which is hard to peg before pie crust, caramel, molasses fill things out, fried lemon peel, peach, apricot, pear fruit, tends to hover just above the ground, minimal lift. Full-bodied, flat and trails off through the mid-palate, curious lack of follow-through given its heft. Dry but not acidic, at times seems gamey and earthy. Vaguely doughy, quick burst of blood orange. Notes of pineapple and guava add energy to flatter apricot, peach flavors. Accent of rubber permeates the finish. Appears to be sound asleep or the like.
87

2015 Sine Qua Non
Entre Chien et Loup
California
15.2%
Bright golden color with good surface luster if mildly dull underneath, full transparency. Butterscotch, raw pie dough, vanilla custard, somewhat mute white pit fruit scents, pear and white grape. On the whole more demure than one might expect. Medium-bodied, spicy with ginger, cumin, allspice notes and a noticeable burst of sweet and sour lemon citrus. Can't say it's devoid of acidity but it is not assertive hence the mouth feel can be flat at times. You easily sense the high alcohol level which brings some burn and a pickled edge. The vanilla, caramel elements proportionate to the whole, not as doughy here. Yellow apple, pear, apricot to pomegranate fruit steady not spectacular. Restrained for the producer. 44% Chardonnay, 40% Roussanne, 8% Petit Manseng, 8% Viognier. Grapes sourced from Bien Nacido Vineyard, Cumulus (Estate) Vineyard, Eleven Confessions (Estate) Vineyard.
88

2002 Donnhoff
Oberhauser Brucke Spatlese AP #8
Riesling
8.5%
Shiny, glassy green tinged gold color, appears to just be deepening into middle age, no lack of vigor. The rubber is there in the nose but not a major factor, wet stone, mixed pink grapefruit to orange citrus, light layer of honey, pineapple, papaya, nectarine, peach fruit scents, here it does seem to still be in a semi shut down mode. Medium-bodied, the sweetness allows greater expressivity in the mouth. The acidity better than expected and adroitly fends off notes of pie crust and raw dough. Juicy pineapple, mango, papaya and nectarine fruit, almost drips down the chin. But the sweetness is balanced by savory herbs, chalky stone and some saline. Tangerine, lime and lesser grapefruit citrus. Lots going on and should show a leap forward once it fully wakes up from slumbering.
90

1998 Trimbach
Riesling
Clos Ste. Hune
13.0%
Deep gold to lightly bronzed, on the dull side with dilute rims. Wet stone, rubber, honey and fried lemons adorn the nose, firm pear, peach, yellow apple fruit scents, orange marmalade still has some blunt power but has relaxed some into itself. Medium-bodied, very firm yet with a dry and dusty texture. Here offers a more tropical array of pineapple, star fruit, kumquat to peach, no lack of sour bite. Very light doughiness but not sustained. Owns more consistent rubber and wet stone elements. The citrus evokes mostly lemon to white grapefruit. Turns more stony and savory as it warms with violets as well. A bottle which merited a decanting before consumption.
90

2010 Equipo Navazos
Sanlucar de Barrameda
La Bota de Vino Blanco Florpower #44 MMX
Palomino Fino
11.5%
Bronzed orange color, fairly dull with almost pinkish rims. Very dry and sherried nose of flour, dough, mint oil, orange peel and apricot pit, hard to ignore. medium-bodied, dry and tacky mouth texture. Here there's richer apricot paste, dried peaches to orange marmalade flavors to anchor it well. Has that same dusty flour but not leesy per se. Dried herbs with a lift featuring more by way of pressed flowers. The acidity is off the hook and totally dominant. Turns very nutty through the finish. With this sort of flavor array it remains nicely fresh throughout. Definitely a unique type of wine.
88

Onto the red wines…

I had naught but a very brief taste of the 1999 Kalin Pinot Noir Sonoma County "Cuvee DD" and thought it a bit tired even for the more or less immortal wines of Kalin. Had been open awhile so perhaps air time had not been kind to it.

2013 Wilde Farm
Pinot Noir
Anderson Valley
Donnelly Creek Vineyard
12.7%
Moderately rich violet to red ruby in color with credible fullness through the rims. Presents a taut nose of cranberry, raspberry fruit, dirt caked pebbles, dried rose petals, orange peels, clean and can seem at times close to empty. Medium-bodied, more of a sappy texture in the mouth, while dry it manages to glue itself to the palate. Sweet and sour raspberry, strawberry, rhubarb fruit with notes of pomegranate and green apple. The tart white grapefruit swells in the mid-palate. Limestone and meadow grasses provide the bass. Tapers off quickly at the end. Not sure what to make of it in the end.
88

2014 Felton Road
Pinot Noir
Bannockburn
Central Otago
14.0%
Purple to ruby-magenta in hue, full rims and very good shine. Ripe, blowzy nose, both briny and briery, stone quarry dust, cocoa powder, green olive pit and cherry, blackberry, close to plum fruit scents. Medium-bodied, more chubby than obese but sheds weight steadily as it moves forward. The acidity level is good but the tannin seems underripe at the finish. Kumquat, plum, star fruit, blackberry flavors, sort of all over the map. However, given its turbulence it manages to hold your attention in a positive manner. (Screwcap)
87

1995 Musar
Bekaa Valley
13.5%
Crystal clear violet to ruby core, while possessed of youthful vigor the rims do display a bright orange hue. Candied strawberry, raspberry scents in the nose, leather and animal fur as well, no volatility or excessive funk, light earthiness, rosemary, overall it does not smell like an advanced, aged wine. Medium-bodied, here much earthier with more leather, close to minerally. Smoky feel to the cherry, raspberry fruit. Spiced orange peel, pressed flowers, pickles, kimchi. It does offer a satiny mouth feel on the whole, any time it starts to gurgle it never gets turbulent. Totally unsure if it is matured or could evolve still further. Unspecified percentages of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, Carignan, Grenache, and Mourvedre.
89

As there were mostly whites and fewer reds we headed to dessert wine before bed.

1991 Zind Humbrecht
Pinot Gris
Clos Jebsal
Selection de Grains Nobles
Dark bronzed to brownish color, yellowed rims, very nice shine. The nose is surprisingly penetrating, launching orange marmalade, pine, tar, sweet grill smoke at you with a balm of mint, honey, poaches peaches and apricots. Medium-bodied, remains super-sweet while the body has slimmed down and become less fleshy. Spicy with ginger notes, more orange marmalade, honey and molasses. Again, aspects such as mint or tar play off each other seamlessly. Layers of apricot, peach, pineapple, nectarine and papaya fruit. The acidity is average but there's no reason it won't hold on for the foreseeable future.
92

At this juncture I was pooped after all that driving. I had a brief taste of the 1994 Graham's Vintage Port but nothing recorded. Time to sleep.

Saturday was relaxed during the day with the usual visit to an excellent local Vietnamese pho restaurant. The drinkin' began in earnest again around 5:00 PM or so and went well into the night. Whites first, of course…

2004 Cazin
Cour-Cheverny
Cuvee Renaissance
Romorantin
13.0%
Sparkly aged golden color that isn't quite bronzed but likely will be one day, some diminishment at the rims. Quite nose, gently smoky with diesel fumes, oily, pineapple, green apple, peach, tangerine, stream water and pebbles, stays quiet. Medium-bodied, the acidity seems to have left the premises so it lacks a real zing to it. That said, the pineapple, grapefruit, papaya, peach flavors have pep yet. More doughy in texture than flavor. Herbs and air time helps to stiffen it up a bit, however, lacks the desired verve and relentless push through the finish.
87

2013 Valentini
Trebbiano d'Abruzzo
12.0%
Very light filminess to the straw gold color, fades a touch at the rims. The nose is quiet and serene, wet pebbles, light nail polish touch, lemon peel, green apple and apricot pits, even an extended decant not coaxing it into giving up much. Light-bodied, taut and linear, zips through the palate like a speeding bullet. The acidity is sinewy but doesn't throw its power around and releases appropriately. Pear, red apple, apricot fruit dry and wiry, no weakling though. Allspice, nutmeg dusting. Very lemony in a resinous manner, like pith on your fingers, then turns tarry at the end.
90

2003 Pepe
Trebbiano d'Abruzzo
11.6%
Very cloudy dark yellow to amber in color, full through the rims, looks naturally filmy not as if something went awry. Inexpressive nose, dry in texture, lanolin, orange peel, apricot pit, wet cut grass, you can struggle mightily and still get nothing from it. Full-bodied, tingly and tangy from the start, any dryness in texture swept away by the broad swath of acidity. Big sour orange to lemon citrus, witch hazel, twiggy at times, apricot, peach and close to cherry fruit. Some flor, pressed flowers, blanched nuts. It's just about what it can be and given the vintage that's a lot better than one might hope.
90

2013 Cantina Terlan
Terlaner Classico
Sauvignon Blanc,
Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay
13.5%
Full yellow golden color with only a slight touch of green. Pretty florality lends it a heavy, steady lift, dewy, peach, pear, apricot scents steady with adequate ripeness, honeyed, basic and guileless. Medium-bodied, good extract and palate grip, acidity firm and maybe too much so for the depth of the apricot, peach, pear fruit. Floral but not longlasting, lemony, straw and stone. Not a lot there unfortunately and what's there tends to fall asleep on the couch.
86

2013 Oltretorrente
Colli Tortonesi
Timorasso
13.5%
Pale, almost hueless with a green tint, great shine to it. Fresh nose of violets, lemon zest, licorice and wet slate, snappy pear to peach pit scents, linear and scrubbed clean. Light-bodied, huge amount of extract on the palate, acidity has punch in spades. Green apple, pear fruit with energetic snap, violets and anise. Sun dried lemon peels and dried stone. Keeps rattling the teeth long after the flavor is long gone. Not quite sure what to make of it, a little rough on its own without food.
87

1999 Ch. Haut-Brion
Pessac-Leognan
Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc blend
14.0%
Has turned a light amber but still mostly dark gold, retains plenty of shine, not that advanced visually. Toffee, bubblegum, candied orange peels, not a crisp nostril presence, peach, apple, pear, the fatness prevents any lift as well as separation of scents. Full-bodied, almost entirely buttered popcorn, toffee, and floral musk. Lemon citrus, mineral, driftwood, if there's any phenolics they seem underripe. Pear, peach, persimmon fruit comes off as a bit dried out. Woody. Mint, anise. Runs hot through the finish. Could make an argument that it's past prime. That or you have to like a lot of oak with nothing in contrast.
86

2015 Antica Terra
Willamette Valley
Chardonnay
Aequorin
14.8%
Filmy but has a solid shiny glow to it, no drop off in the hue to the rims. There is some whipped cream, butterscotch to the nose but it's mostly fresh with floral notes, lime zest, just picked pear, kiwi, pineapple, peach scents, touch minty, admirable persistence without being pushy and dissolves at the right moment. Full-bodied, creamy vanilla and whipped cream do frame the attack, however, the oak is knit in well as it progresses. Brightly sour lime and lemon citrus the main factor throughout. Powdered sugar adorns the pear, apricot, papaya fruit, lots of zestiness to it. The floral side may not be flashy but most consistent element. Not angular but not round either takes some hard turns through the palate. Quite nice.
90

2015 Antica Terra
Willamette Valley
Chardonnay
Aurata
13.8%
The gold hue is deep and even at this young age shows signs of an easy segue to a light amber, pools well even if there is intensity loss at the rims. The nose is a cavalcade of oak, coconut custard, vanilla fudge, butterscotch and buttered toast, really overpowering, crisper lime scents help, some mint, the apple, pear to apricot fruit scents all but totally lost in the mix. Full-bodied, replicates the nose closely although here there is a bitter nuttiness as well. Coconut oil, butterscotch, vanilla bean and molasses, oodles of sweet oak. The acidity may actually be stronger than the primary material can take. Rose petals and lilacs, lime sherbet, close to cotton candy. Really hard to understand what the goal was, particularly since it is evident that no expense was spared in its creation.
87

There was a 2015 Kongsgaard Chardonnay which I did not get to but I will say that in the distant past I enjoyed a Kongsgaard Chardonnay or two.

I would like to point out that Boyce brought this cheese called Alpine Blossom from Austria with a heavily herbed rind and it was delicious.

1971 M. Mascarello & Figli (Tenuta Rocchetta)
Nebbiolo d'Alba
Nebbiolo
13.0%
Cloudy brown core, brick red to yellow rims, fully aged but not washed out. Sour nose of damp leather, wet mown grasses, merde and mushroom, high-toned without being shrill, spiced plums and maraschino cherry scents, the funk wins out in the end. Medium-bodied, highly acidic, has a good deal of body and able to carry it through to the finish. Sage, marjoram spice, boot leather, barnyard mud and straw, roasted cherry, raspberry fruit, plum reduction, mixed white citrus. It's obviously an older wine without feeling tired and it keeps kicking to the finish line. No doubting its liveliness even this far out. (700ml bottle)
90

1961 Podere Luigi Einaudi
Barolo
Nebbiolo
Throwing a good bit of fine sediment, bright brick red core, attenuated red to yellow rims, would be perfectly clear were it not for the sediment. Matted wet grasses, cow patties and muddy earth lay the foundation of the nose, not a lot of lift, salted meats, any cherry, dark berry fruit scents get crushed by the herbaceousness, whatever is in charge length is no problem. Medium-bodied, sour pucker from the start, tannin reduced to chunky residue but acidity still lurches left and right. Leather, leather, more leather, tilled black earth, olive pits, more sour cherry, raspberry to even strawberry fruit, lasts quite nicely to the end. Fallen wood and forest floor notes. You'd have to be a serious jerk to find fault with it at this stage. (720ml bottle)
89

2012 Tignanello
Tuscany
13.5%
80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc.
Purple core solid, broad ruby to crimson rims, heavy ruby rims, clean and as about as brooding as a wine of this type can be. Thick raspberry, cherry fruit with wood spice and pressed flowers, extremely well integrated and collected, touch of cocoa but really there's minimal oak presence, just somewhat blunt. Medium-bodied if not more, the fruit is close to overripe, cherry, red currant and blackberry, cocoa, fresh leather, pine, and not much more as the fruit tends to nudge most else out. Tannin still at the height of its powers whereas the acidity is average.
88

1999 Ch. Haut-Brion
Pessac-Leognan
Unspecified percentages of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc.
13.0%
Purple core achieves opacity, wide and fresh brick red rims, nothing about it suggests an advanced wine. Richly ripe nose dripping with plum, cassis, graphite and cedar, freshly tilled spring earth, there's a heavy pungency to it that teases you and never releases, no substantial amount of tertiary development yet. Medium-bodied, sinewy gristle feel, all muscle and no excess flesh, active pacing even as the tannin remains untamed. Cedar, sandalwood incense, moment of bell pepper snap, violets and vibrantly sour black currant, cherry, plum fruit. Mocha to light roast coffee bean. There's no doubt that it is moving down the path to its true self but it's not yet knocking on the door. Give it a serious decant now and you will be rewarded.
92

1967 Gaja
Barbaresco Normale
Nebbiolo
13.0%
Blackish brick red core, rims brown to yellow, even decanted throws some silt, filmy throughout. Funky nose of merde, peanut shells, muddy earth, nail polish, the cherry, blackberry fruit holding on credibly but on the downslope, autumnal fallen leaves and twigs, for its age has a good cleansing sensation at the end. Medium-bodied and has not lost all its weight, the tannin subsided but even a thorough decant leaves it with a gritty texture. Roasted cherry, raspberry fruit with a decent amount of volatility to it. Acidity unsteady on its feet. Heavy incense musk, sour oranges and leather if not cowhide. Holding on but just. Birth year wine for me so always happy to try a 1967 no matter how it turns out (which most of the time ain't that great).
87

2015 Birichino
Cinsault
Bechthold Vineyard
Old Vines - Vignes Centenaires
Mokelumne River
13.5%
Pink magenta to watermelon in color, transparent with a sleek surface shine, looks just pressed. Lively and bright red raspberry, strawberry, rhubarb, stony with a quick burst of grassiness, then Heath bar crunch, potpourri, garrigues, stones and poor dirt, given the verve of the fruit nothing feels massaged or forced. Medium-bodied, great focus with insistent acidity and tannin which shapes and prods more than clamps down. Ripely sour cranberry, blueberry, boysenberry fruit zips hither and yon. Light twigginess welcome and with the brown dirt notes gives it an anchor. Lemon pulp reduction. Astringent but not green finish. Lively but not a wine willing to enter into dialogue with you, take it as it is.
89

1998 Mordoree
Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Cuvee de la Reine des Bois
Unspecified percentages of Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah.
14.0%
Cloudily opaque purple core, dull brick red to yellow, looks like a still pond in the glass. Fluffy garrigues, biting raspberry, bing cherry scents, tapenade, sour orange to lemon citrus, touch of soy, has textural lift but somehow there's not much being lifted. Medium-bodied, tacky and sour with a clumpy mid-palate, minimal smooth flow. Leathery, wet fallen autumn leaves, cough syrup, The cherry, raspberry fruit isn't quite roasted but it is reduced without sweet jamminess. The barnyard animality dominate now and there's not a lot of softer spots to relax in anymore. Tarry aftertaste. When I first had this wine back in 2000 it blew me away. In retrospect likely was not built to last this long. I have one each left from 1999, 2000 and 2001 and need to get to them sooner rather than later.
86

2014 Maybach Family Vineyards
Amoenus
Cabernet Sauvignon
Calistoga
14.6%
Heavy glow in the incredibly dark purple core that still avoids black, thick red magenta rims that would glow in the dark. Floral musk in the nose with butter cream, butterscotch, molasses and caramelized brown sugar, plum to prune, cherry compote, blackberry jam, pleasingly able to not overstuff the nostrils, hint of bell pepper at the end, milk chocolate, coffee, curious for how it avoids getting in your face with its brawn. Full-bodied with a steady decline towards the finish. Heavy coffee roast here, close to bitter, toasty, really sour orange to borderline grapefruit citrus. Blackberry, boysenberry, blueberry fruit, all the sour dark berry stuff. Tannin feels like wet oatmeal, not dry but heavy on the tongue. Lacks velvety smoothness while at the same time does not offer a naturally roughhewn feel. Can't imagine any substantial integration in its future.
87

2010 Elio Sandri
Barolo Perno Riserva
Nebbiolo
14.5%
Brownish red core, zero purple, red to yellow rims with lower intensity, very good clarity throughout. Candied cherries, licorice, anise and rose petals, nice airy lift but there's not much underneath, vague intimation of earth or matted straw, there's a lot of fullness in the nostrils and it hits all the food groups yet it doesn't coalesce into a choral outburst. Full-bodied, big and brawny tannin that unfortunately lends an astringent bitterness to it. Syrupy, liqueur like raspberry, cherry fruit, nicely pungent inner mouth perfume of leather, sandalwood, pressed rose petals, and tea leaf. There's not much length in the flavors, things start to disintegrate at the end. It's really weird as you'd expect more depth in the fruit and more general sustainment at the end.
87

1996 Sandrone
Piedmont
Barolo
La Vigne
Nebbiolo
14.0%
The purple core has become more of a washed out mixture of crimson and black, the rims a more decided red to orange rust hue with a thin yellow aura. Smoky nose, close to roasted, damp leather, camphor, succinct cherry and blackberry fruit scents, echoes of butterscotch and caramel, overall befuddlingly inexpressive. Medium-bodied, any tannin has been sanded away by time, not flat but very, very relaxed. Lemon peel, old pressed roses, anise seed, mint lend prettiness in the face of the concentrated and more inert blackberry, black cherry to even plum fruit. Some toastiness but on the palate the oak does not come off as obtrusive. Certainly fully matured and never going to get better, a good argument can be made that it was at its best 5-6 years ago.
89

1995 Fattoria La Magia
Brunello
Sangiovese
14.0%
Brownish core, fairly clear, much more orange rust and yellow as it pushes out to the rims. Layers of straw and garden flowers in the nose, while verges on reduced it is not tired or oxidized, more so leaning back in that rocking chair, red cherry, blackberry scents of modest length, has a certain pickled nature to it, loamy earth and musty leather, prune and golden raisin, modicum of baking spices. In the mouth it's medium-bodied with somewhat weak grip, clumpy and while the tannin is shot you kind of wish the acidity still had more pep. Reduced cherry, raspberry, blackberry fruit of tenuous grip, mildly evanescent due to age. Rosemary, sage and fennel, orange pekoe tea, tries really hard to offer some kind of sweetness. Can't shake a pickled quality. Past its prime but not by much, echoes of a wine which was certainly competent in its day.
86

2010 Tenuta di Sesta
Brunello Riserva
Sangiovese
14.5%
Crystal clear rust red with a zinc orange tint, only minor drop off near the rims. Strong warmed caramel at first in the nose then ripe blackberry, red cherry fruit, fresh leather, dried garden herbs, guileless and lacking in diversity but hits the note it hits fully. Light to medium-bodied, tannic still raging and in need of calming down. Licorice, bay leaf, sage, maraschino cherry and raspberry liqueur. There's a suggestion of bark and leaves. Not giving enough to reach a fair judgment so deferred.
88?

2015 Vajra Langhe Rosso
Piedmont, Italy
13.5%
Bright and shiny cough syrup red with fresh blood red rims, immaculately clean. Beautifully fresh lift to it, leather and earth are present but it's the floral mist which gets things swirling and the candied cherry to strawberry fruit scents which leave the most lasting imprint. Light-bodied, clean and linear, the acidity keeps it pulsing while the tannin slows it down. Touch more herbal here and turns very lemony as well. Modicum of earth but none of the leather to animal hide the nose suggests. Close to syrupy strawberry, raspberry, red cherry fruit, clings to the mouth pores. Most floral retronasally. Gosh darn complete and a steal for the price. Unspecified percentages of Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, Barbera, Pinot Noir, Freisa, Albarossa.
90

There was a 2011 Barbaresco from Massimo Battalino called "Quarantadue42" but I didn't get a taste. Or at least one committed to electronic capture.

A magnum bottle of 2013 Occhipinti Il Frappato was present and I *think* I sipped some without notes later on in the evening. I also did not get to the 2008 Oreno super Tuscan.

Add to the list of untasted a 2001 Bea Montefalco Vigna Pipparello Riserva and 2009 Brizio Brunello.

Of course there was no enough wine so we moved onto dessert wines.

1991 Zind-Humbrecht
Tokay Pinot Gris
Rotenberg
Selection de Grains Nobles
11.5%
Moving past orange into semi-brownish territory, looks like a block of amber as much as anything, more yellowish rims. Light rubber and diesel fumes to the nose, just about solely dried apricot and peach fruit, supplemented by caramelized brown sugar, orange marmalade, dense but it's all in the lower register and thus lacking in length, persistence. Full-bodied, sweet and smoky, here the rubber pairs with black tea leaf and tar to glue it to the tongue. The acidity isn't bad per se but doesn't put a real charge into things. Tangerine, orange citrus more sweet than tart. Stays to the script with concentrated, dried fruit character peach, pear, apricot to cherry fruit. Nice enough but there's something about it which nags you into thinking it is slightly off.
88

1946 Toro Albala
Don PX Convento Selección 1946
Bottled in 2011
Pedro Ximenez
17%
Jet black core wit wide aura of fiery oranges and reds at the rims. Date, fig, raisin scents, molten dark chocolate, graham cracker, pie crust, serene and not over the top at all. Medium-bodied and velvety smooth, quite chocolaty, date, fig, candied orange peel, coffee, molasses. Surprising bright acidity keeps it clean and fluid. Ginger root enlivens the finish. Gracefully collected and not a trace of heat, should hold into anyone's old age.
93

I was slowing down big time so don't believe I tasted any of the 1992 Fonseca port. There might have been another port as well, dunno.

So, now it's Sunday and we're all fresh as daisies and ready to rock for a noontime start. I believe in total there were 4 whites and 19 reds and 1 dessert wine. The loose theme was Cornas and Cote-Rotie.

The whites…

1997 JL Chave
Hermitage Blanc
Unspecified percentages of Marsanne, Roussanne.
13.5%
Matured golden color, not quite bronzed but close, filmy throughout. Mint, lanolin, poached peaches, cherries, remains fresh and not showing any sign of oxidation and undue doughiness, candied oranges. In the mouth it's medium-bodied and feels like it has lost some weight. Cinnamon, ginger, orange to lemon peel, here there is a little raw dough. The acidity more broad and blunt than cutting. Uncooked nuts. Has entered a phase of gentility where you don't expect great pronouncements, just a few well chosen words. Finishes short though.
88

2014 Maryline et Christophe Billon
Condrieu
Les Matisses
Viognier
13.5%
Bright gold colored surface, turns a bit dull underneath, lack of intensity keeps it consistent through the rims. Lemony with honeysuckle and orange, tangerine, plenty of stone, doesn't quite have enough oomph to completely fill the nostrils, pacing is quick. In the mouth it's light to medium-bodied, openly knit with breezy honeysuckle, orange blossom notes and a touch of honey. Takes on a little more weight with air and gains depth in the apricot, persimmon, apple fruit. Cinnamon, nutmeg spice. Understated and with more emphasis on stone and earth than fruit. Needs food to fill it out.
88

2015 Guigal Condrieu
13.5%
Bright golden color with plenty of luster. Explosive nose of honeysuckle, orange blossom , mint and poached apricot, peach fruit, sweet baking spices, big and blowsy yet not especially long lasting. Medium-bodied, spicy and tingly and hot with ginger, cinnamon if not cumin spice. Orange sherbet, whipped cream, rose petals, apricot, peach, no lack of fruit here while at the same time evincing more restraint and linearity than expected. If it were not for the heat it would be quite nice. It would not be a "R&R" event without at least one bottle of Guigal Condrieu.
88

2015 Domaine de Colombier
Crozes-Hermitage Blanc
Marsanne
12.5%
Flat surface, layers well into the glass, not deeply hued yet the worn gold reaches fully into the rims. Big, round nostril feel, lemon peel, mint, apricot, dappled pie crust, lilacs and violets led lift, has weight without heaviness and credible scent separation. Medium-bodied and fairly lithe in the mouth, moves with grace and some speed. Well-contoured apple, pear, apricot fruit and a light floral dew on top. The tangerine, lemon citrus perks it up some and minimizes sweetness. While there's no one element that sticks out taken as a whole it all fits together.
89

Le rouge…

2000 Allemand
Cornas
Reynard
Syrah
13.5%
Youthful ruby to violet color, good clarity until you get to the sediment at the bottle bottom, rims strong. High-toned nose of matted straw and sous bois but never gets too funkiness, olive pits, earth, tart red cherry, blackberry fruit zips through the nostrils, broken stone, zips through quickly. Medium-bodied, acidic and fresh with great rapidity, all stone shards, parched earth, olive pits, iodine and beef jerky. Not that gamey, much more emphasis on metal and minerality, stone. The cherry, red currant to blackberry fruit light yet you don't feel it's underfruited, just decided to focus on other things. Momentary floral blossom at the end. Lip smackingly savory, at peak, doesn't convince there's more improvement ahead.
89

2005 Allemand
Cornas
Chaillot
Syrah
13.0%
Good amount of purple left in the core, crimson to brick red rims remain youthful still, doesn't look its age at all. Good lift to the nose, floral and stony with a hint of green olives and minerals, pure blackberry, black raspberry fruit with minimal funk. Medium-bodied, great palate coverage with savory cherry, currant, blackberry fruit with a hint of green apple. Not that floral, spicy and here a lot more cured beef and iodine, Dusty tannin does throw a few bumps in the road. Leather, beef fat and then as expected stone, stone and stone. Drinking very well and the fruit is in an excellent place vis-à-vis the whole, strong retro nasal presence.
92

1999 Gallet
Cote-Rotie
Syrah
12.5%
Filmy reddish purple core that is opaque, rust red rims, maintains a youthful mien. Sauvage nose that cuts through your nostrils, loaded with iron flecks, minerals and blood, lightly feral animal fur and hide, the black currant, cherry, plum fruit scents robust and more than able to resist the more cutting elements. Medium-bodied, the acidity muscular but not so much that it can't allow a nice spread of the dark berry, cherry fruit as well as sweet and sour grapefruit citrus. Wonderful floral lift and an earthiness below too. Campfire smoke and beef jerky, right now in a great place for balancing fruit off tertiary development. Nice soft and gentle finish.
91

1995 Guigal
Cote-Rotie
La Landonne
Syrah
13.0%
Core more black than purple, wide brick red rims with an orange rust tint. Still some sweet oak, vanilla, butterscotch, and cedar, yet the oak has pulled back into blackberry, currant, black cherry fruit, toasted mocha, mesquite smoke, potpourri, light tapenade, age has prevented it from staying overwrought. Medium-bodied, tannin fully massaged and acidity restrained, allowing it to soak into the palate. Ripe strawberry, red cherry, blackberry fruit, curious lack of "dark fruit" flavors. Not that oaky here, little but of toffee and vanilla. Leather, tar, black earth and a measure of slate. Well-collected and balanced but nothing that just blows you away as the rep warrants.
90

1998 Mathilde et Yves Gangloff
Cote Rotie
La Barbarine
13.0%
Smidgen of purple left in the core, crimson to blood red on the whole, the rims bricking but not looking long n the tooth. Solid lifting musk of leather, barnyard mud, pulped grapefruit, violets and something almost menthol like, plum to black cherry fruit with lots of ripeness. Full-bodied, pretty floral musk, pine breeze, iodine, bright minerality, sour orange, leather, while it has good breadth of flavor there's also a certain hard edged quality to it which stunts uncritical enjoyment. That said, the plum, cherry, blackberry fruit has little problem pushing to the end. Molasses and honey soften the finish. Has a somewhat modern feel to it but the lack of sauvage notes don't detract from the overall enjoyment.
90

2000 Jean-Paul et Jean-Luc Jamet
Cote Rotie
Syrah
12.5%
Dull black core, filmy, burnt sunset red rims, lively for its age. Plum, cassis, blackberry fruit is ripe and juicy, the nose offers matted straw, pressed flowers, fresh leather, quite pure, no funk, hard to tease out some gaminess, does not seem like its lost an ounce of ripeness in the ensuing years. Full-bodied, just as ripe and plummy here with cassis, raspberry fruit and a punctuation of green apple. Tar, black earth, not especially minerally with only a hint of olive. Close to no meat or game notes. Purity of fruit and smoky driftwood to campfire wood and not much more. While drinking fairly youthfully does not give the impression of future improvement, just right there in the middle of a plateau. Drink 'em up.
90

2000 Ogier
12.0%
Some purple in the core, wide crimson rims and nicely vigorous colors throughout. Herbaceous nose, almost bell pepper, pulped white grapefruit, grill smoke, metal flecks, herbs, olive pits, loamy earth, sour cherry, raspberry, boysenberry fruit, cigarette ash, good length. Medium-bodied, spicy with some oak toast and buttery notes while there's palpable grassy, herbaceous underpinning. Smoky, stony, the cherry, red currant, blackberry fruit sinewy and long, no problem getting to the finish. Smoky caramel at the end, sour but keeps that brightness going. You might call it simple, or you might call it straightforward.
89

1999 Jasmin Cote-Rotie
12.5%
Dark purple core, wide red rust rims, good vigor, does not look like a wine of its age. There's density to the nose, stony earth, cranberry, sour cherry, blackberry fruit firm and with plenty of thrust, menthol and wildflowers, damp earth, not much lift, grassy and meadow. Medium-bodied, broad shouldered and not in the more feminine style you expect from the house. Full plum, cherry, blackberry fruit, all dark and heavy. Menthol and then garden herbs, tarry earth. Brawny all the way through the finish, almost makes you think it's not ready yet. Oak residue retronasally. It's quite enjoyable but at the same time not the wine you thought it would be based on prior experience with the producer.
89

1999 Texier
Cote Rotie
Syrah
13.0%
Cork was somewhat hard, minor side stains, i/2 inch in a few places, seems sound.
Cloudy luminescent glow to the purple core, heavy brick red rims, brooding appearance. Nose of saline, green grass, iodine, rose petals, lavender, lemon peel, crispy beef, the blackberry, raspberry, red cherry fruit starting to taper off, briny finish. Medium-bodied, wiry and full of reckless energy still, seems like it may never calm down, not volatile but seethes with energy. Boysenberry, blueberry, raspberry fruit going strong and has no problem getting to the finish. Iron, metallic stone, lemongrass, graphite. The acidity sneers as it slashes away. White grapefruit, blood orange add more verve. Has lost flesh yet never feels lacking, juts moving a million miles an hour through the mouth. Has this sort of immortal wraith like quality to it, will never go away.
91

2010 SQN
Stockholm Syndrome
Estate Syrah
Eleven Confessions Vineyard
Santa Rita Hills
15.6%
Onyx black core, impenetrable, if you stare at it long enough there's some purple, dense red magenta rims with no letting up. Buttermilk, buttered popcorn, vanilla fudge, plum/prune to cherry compote, milk chocolate, gingerbread, coffee roast, nothing natural about the nose. Full-bodied, syrupy blueberry, boysenberry, raspberry fruit, creamed coffee, toffee, caramel, no tannin nor acidity, rolls forward by dint of forward momentum. Green apple, raspberry finish with cedar, incense and a big spoonful of Ovaltine. Confectionary dessert that you just can't wash out of your mouth.
88

1998 Jean-Paul et Jean-Luc Jamet
Cote-Rotie
Syrah
13.0%
Basic purple core, rust red rims, some vigor still there. Solid toast and coffee to the nose, leather, tilled earth but no funk whatsoever, floral, quite forward, smells like it was bottled yesterday. Full-bodied, while dry layers itself on the tongue and lets the cranberry, raspberry, blackberry jasmine and violets, orange blossom, leather, touch of muddy earth. Turns more and more sour as it gets to the finish. Hint of olive and brine. Good resonance in the flavors but somewhat simple and not as advanced as you'd think.
90

2001 Jean-Paul et Jean-Luc Jamet
Cote-Rotie
13.0%
Black core, fully opaque, sunset red rims with a burnt touch. Smoky, burnt nose with leather and tree bark, twig notes, coffee bean, cherry, blackberry, blueberry, maple syrup, just gets up in there with reckless abandon, more roast than you'd expect. Full-bodied, soft but broad, the tannin wiry but the acidity has to do most of the work in pushing it forward. Caramel, toffee, sweet grill smoke, pork rinds. Basic plum, cherry, red currant fruit, blockish. Hot and ragged finish, uneven. But before that juicy fruit.
88

2015 Domaine Garon
Cote Rotie
Les Triotes
Syrah
13.0%
Glowing purple core, opaque, heavy red magenta rims with a touch of pink, resplendent surface shine. Dense blueberry, raspberry, strawberry jam in the nose, syrupy feel, molasses, incredibly primary even with a semi-dusty nostril texture, mocha and vanilla bean, molasses, sinks deeply into your nostrils, fruit driven. Full-bodied and layers itself thickly right from the start, mocha and cocoa more than molten chocolate, mint and caramel. The acidity percolate swell but there's not much there to get the fruit really swirling. Caramel, blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, a lot of bright berry fruit. Way too youthful to make any call.
88

1999 Cuilleron
Cote Rotie
Bassenon
Syrah
12.5%
Dark purple with a rust red influence to the core, rust red with a light yellow tint, throws big chunks of sediment even after standing up. Simple plum, currant, black cherry scents, blunt with a rust, iron, mineral edge, finishes with a mildly prunish edge. Full-bodied, acidic, metallic with brown earth, smoky cherry, raspberry, blueberry fruit, smooth without holding interest. More earth and tar, light beef blood, little length. Neither really old world nor new world but likely closer to the latter.
87

Of course, themes do sometimes go off the rails…

2010 Alain Hudelot-Noellat
Vosne-Romanee
Les Beaumonts
13.5%
Clay red to brick red, light orange tint, minimal loss at the rims. Sour blueberry, blackberry, cherry scents, quite heavy for what you'd expect, coffee, orange reduction, wet straw, the lack of lift hurts the length of its expressivity. Heavy and kind of chunky, roasted to extracted cherry, raspberry, blueberry fruit, plenty of power, not so much elegance. Fried lemons and lemongrass, leather. Acidity level is adequate but not shaping, any tannin just clumps it up. Overall has a roasty quality to it which stunts easy flow. Flavor intensity is not an issue but not a genteel wine.
88

2014 Piedrasassi
Ballard Canyon
Harrison Clarke Vineyard
50% Syrah, 50% Mourvedre
14.5%
Bright violet purple core, broad magenta rims, heavy saturation. Plum, blackberry, black cherry, blueberry scents, entirely fruit driven, a bit of straw, highly interesting for how little there is to absorb, hard to find a wine of tis quality with so little nose. Medium-bodied, here there's a lively orange, tangerine citrus element to brighten the mouth entry, cinnamon and gingerbread, light wooly qualities, just bursts through with shoulders squared. Medium-bodied, nice undercurrent of acidity that consistently nudges things forward. Very ripe blackberry, boysenberry, persimmon, green apple fruit with snap at the end. Spicy with a hot bite, ginger, cumin spice, orange reduction, not wooly per se but does show a bit of typical Mourvedre characteristics. Somewhat creamy texture. Rolls on fully through the finish. Great wine but too young to judge it's real qualities long term.
90

2007
Pierre Overnoy
Arbois Pupillin
Poulsard
12.5%
Cloudy rose petal pink to washed out red, fully washed out rims. Lemon, rose petal, strawberry jam, brown dirt and sun dried stone, wonderfully airy nose that does not sacrifice any richness along the way. Medium-bodied, sort of fizzy through the attack, stone and poor earth and a light herbaceousness. Acidity is soft but at the same time consistently present. Enough sweetness to sustain a jammy character to the strawberry, blueberry, raspberry fruit lasting through to the end. Lemongrass, cocoa and straw, not a great deal of terroir going on but the fruit is super fetching. Incredibly accessible.
89

2017 Littorai
Sonoma Coast, California
Vin Gris
Pinot Noir
12.3%
Resplendent salmon pink to orange, 100 watt shine in the glass, all but hueless rims. Tart nose of cherry skins, green apple, pear fruit, pebbles, and lemon pith, all treble and no bass, so swiftly paced that it's gone the moment you register its presence. Medium-bodied due to the extract and strong grip it possesses, nothing easy drinking about it. Goes heavy on the sour lemon to at times white grapefruit citrus which in turns heightens a minerally edge. Strawberry, pear to red cherry fruit ripe while more sour than sweet. Slashes through the palate with a regal bearing which defies you to enjoy it. Certainly a very well made wine but not that fun to sip. (Screwcap: Stelvin Lux+)
88

2009 Scherrer
Russian River Valley, California
Syrah
Sasha
14.5%
Strong burnt red influence in the fading purple core, has a sort of fuzzy look to it, the rims youthfully bricking. Wildflowers and plum, cassis fruit most prominent in the nose along with a huge amount of buttered popcorn and toffee, as a wine arguably in middle age not displaying any meaningful tertiary development, all fruit. Full-bodied, just has enough acidity to shave off the fat. Just as oaky here if not more so, caramel coated popcorn, buttered popcorn, vanilla and coconut custard, and mint. Plenty of pretty violets and lilacs. Here starting to develop a light roasted game quality. But in the end the spotlight remains squarely on the blueberry, blackberry, strawberry fruit, albeit seems to have lost of its initial sweetness.
88

I had a taste of the 1996 Chave Hermitage rouge but got too distracted by the wine to do the note. Hate when that happens. I seem to recall a fairly sauvage profile and fair bit of smokiness and acidic bite.

Likewise for the 1999 Chapoutier Cote Rotie "Les Becasses," just too tired or distracted. Had lots of rich black fruits, soft tannins, sour citrus, nothing surprising about it.

1971 Yquem
Sauternes
En magnum
Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc
13.0%
Bronzed orange color, yellow rims, quite clean, aged but not necessarily old looking. no filminess. Layers of molasses, caramelized brown sugar, honey green apple, peach, cherry scents, mesquite smoke, the smokiness neutralizes any excess sweetness, as it opens more nectarine and pineapple, light medicinal aspect. Medium-bodied, smooth and fluid, the smoky aspect helps lift it as the apricot paste, poached peach and dried pear and pineapple fruit lowers the register. Tangerine and blood orange citrus. Rubber notes through the finish. Energy level remains high but not sure it knows where it wants to go.
89

1996 Regis Cruchet
Vouvray
Hauts de Beaumont Moelleux
Chenin Blanc
12.0%
Fully bronzed color, given this it's quite shiny and clean and sparkles in the glass, solid into the rims. Traces of smoke left in the nose, lots of apple juice, lemon peel and beeswax, needs to warm before you can fully register the peach compote and dried apricot fruit, what it lacks now in intensity of aroma it compensates for with sheer muscularity. In the mouth the acidity retains brawniness and basically carries the show. A quick brush of lactose and dough givens way to honey, lanolin, and smoky minerality. The concentration upfront in the pineapple, green apple, peach and apricot fruit attractive, yet it does putter out some by the finish. Were it not for that acidity it would likely prove sluggish. Nice now but nowhere but down from here.
89

Somehow I think we ended with a white, probably to satisfy a Chablis jones for Jim.

2014 Louis Michel
Burgundy, France
Chablis Montee de Tonnerre
Chardonnay
13.0%
Pale white straw hue, not colorless but close, excellent shine as well as layering down into the glass. Delicate nose which teases you with lilacs, fine spun sugar, lime sherbet, strawberry, peach to apricot fruit, tea leaf, hints at a smokiness which might come to the fore with time, spreads widely in the nostrils. Medium-bodied, firm and and in control from the start. Doesn't fully unleash the acidity and seems to prefer playing nice. Retains that general sweetness of flavor the nose suggests while maintaining a sneaky dryness across the palate. Floral, this overcome by an insistent lime to lemon citrus. Chalk and to a lesser extent minerals. Just the right amount of pear, yellow apple, apricot fruit to smooth out the edges. Does not strike one as a candidate for long term cellaring but a few more years may bring added complexity.
90

Went to bed, got up, drove ten hours home. Great time as always, marked for the generosity and conviviality of all!