The following are brief notes on some wines drunk during some recent warm-weather vacations, so lots of whites and roses in the mix.
2010 Domaine Labbé Vin de Savoie Abymes. This wine sports a clean, airy, summery bouquet of alpine meadow, chalk, lime zest, melon and peach fuzz. It is lighter-bodied in the mouth, with stony, chalky flavors of light peach, canteloupe, straw and minerals that are supported by easy acidity. It has fine balance and is easily enjoyed.
2010 Juannisolu Vermentino di Gallura. This wine also reminds me of meadows, with light and airy aromas of honeysuckle, lime juice and powdered minerals. In the mouth, it is full of peach juice, lime and canteloupe flavors that have a soft, creamy mid-palate feel to them. It is a nice mouthful of fresh flavors that lead to a clean and easy finish that features a little twist of sea brine that suggests this would be a fine pairing with shrimp or other shellfish.
2010 Gérard Boulay Sancerre Chavignol. This wine is still a bit tight, showing tense and taut aromas of struck flint, lemon pith, kiwi and juniper berries. In the mouth, it amps up the volume and drive a bit and delivers a zippy, dry and very mineral-laden palate impression that suggests flavors of lemon sourball, kiwi and grapefruit. It still feels a bit overly direct and one-noted at times, so even though I like the transparent minerally qualities it displays, I’d wait about another year or so for it to flesh out a bit more.
2010 Terredora di Paolo Falanghina Irpinia. I find the bouquet here to be fresh and lively, with aromas of sun-kissed lemons, white flowers, fine herbs and sea breezes brightening the senses. In the mouth, it is tangy and refreshing, with medium weight and a rounded mouthfeel. It’s easy-sipping, with its lemon, peach, sea salt and mineral elements leaving a clean, fun impression.
2009 Domaine des Hauts de Sanziers Saumur. This Chenin Blanc isn’t the most outgoing wine on the nose, but it does show off some nice clean and clear aromas of beeswax, lemon tea, pineapple, linen and limestone. It is certainly more forthcoming on the palate, where it is actually quite giving, with a nice squeaky sort of waxen texture at times that I find interesting. The flavors of lemon, wax candy, smoke, minerals and herbs ride atop a vein of tangy acidity quite nicely. Overall, it is a tasty and prickly-persistent wine that provides nice sipping pleasure.
2011 Ameztoi Getariako Txakolina Rubentis. The color of this offering is incredibly pale, just barely pink-tinged in color. It is very, very spritzy on the nose and palate. It smells light and airy, with gentle scents of watermelon, cherry water and graphite powder. On the palate, it is intensely zesty, crunchy and essentially frizzante in style. It features lots of smoke, flint, watermelon, strawberry and cherry skin sorts of flavors atop a razor-sharp and tightly-honed framework. This is really the epitome of the term “palate cleanser”.
2011 Château de Trinquevedel Tavel Rosé Vignoble Demoulin. This is a much darker pink color and it features deep but crisp aromas of cranberry, cherry, strawberry and graphite. In the mouth, it is dry, well-structured and dark red-berried, seeming a bit serious but well-made and quite appropriate for food. It’s pretty good stuff.
2011 Cave Cooperative du Vendomois Coteaux du Vendomois Lieu-Dit Cocagne Rose. This rose is 100% Pineau d’Aunis. It presents a bright and vivacious nose of fresh strawberry, talcum powder, lemon peel, pink grapefruit and meadow flower aromas that are very pretty and inviting. In the mouth, it is tangy and minerally beneath the pink grapefruit, strawberry and watermelon fruit. It is clean, refreshing and well-balanced. And it’s an excellent QPR, as well.
2011 J.M. Raffault Chinon Rosé. This Cabernet Franc-based rose is more berry-scented on the nose, showing aromas of cranberry, cherry pit, raspberry, toasted citrus peel and minerals. It is a bit more sappy and toothsome than the previous wine, with a broader palate presence but not quite the effortless prettiness of that offering. Overall, this is a bit more structured, a little more serious and likely to be a bit longer-lived.
2011 La Bastide Blanche Bandol Rosé. This pale pink wine features a rather Provencal bouquet of wilted flowers, wild herbs, pomegranate, strawberry, lemon rind and limestone that are light and airy but pleasantly effusive. In the mouth, it shows more heft and density than I was expecting, with serious bottom notes of red berries and pink citrus flavors fanning out nicely on the palate and leaving a lingering impression. There’s also a refreshing stoniness that runs down the spine and gives this fine balance. This is real nice.
2009 Italo Pietrantonj Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. Here one finds a rather earthy nose of mountain herbs, black tea, old wood, dry earth and black cherry aromas leading to a very gutsy, chewy and full-flavored palate of dark fruit flavors supported by brown spice, earth and dark wood notes. It isn’t inelegant, but definitely a bit woodsy and strapping. It’s a darned good burger wine, in my opinion.
2004 Cantina Sociale Cooperativa Copertino Riserva. This wine features a big-time Old World bouquet loaded with barnyard, tilled earth, pounded leather, tobacco juice, horsehide, peppercorn, black cherry and black plum aromas that are a bit rough around the edges but certainly loaded with character. On the palate, it is already resolved of tannin but still tastes pretty meaty, leather-bound, and earthy beneath the dark cherry fruit. Even though the texture is a bit gritty and the finish can show some austerity, I really enjoy the dry, savory qualities of the wine a good deal.
2011 Sattler St. Laurent Burgenland Neusiedlersee. I’m not crazy about this. It seems a bit candied on the nose, with tons of wild berries and cherry paste aromas riding atop an annoying streak of industrial rubber that turns me off. It is more palatable to drink, where it is dry in tone but loaded with fresh berry fruit and toasted herb notes. Still, I could take it or leave it, really.
1996 L’Ecosse Cabernet Franc Hommage de Joanne d’Arc Napa Valley. This is my second and last bottle of this, and by most accounts this should have been drunk long ago, but I actually found it to be hanging in there quite nicely. The nose smells of liquid smoke, menthol, tobacco leaf, leather, lavender, black cherry and pomegranate. In the mouth, it is medium-bodied, silky-smooth and totally resolved of its tannin. It has an open structure and an easy elegant feel to it. Menthol, peppermint dust and leather bits nicely offset the black cherry fruit, and whole thing just drinks nice and easy, with that Cab Franc leafiness in the background. It is indeed time to drink up, but it doesn’t feel like I waited too long, either.
2000 Columbia Crest Syrah Reserve Columbia Valley. This was a really fine showing. The nose is fun and interestingly nuanced, showing all sorts of aromas that include scents of black licorice, blackberries, black pepper, forest leaves, sarsparilla, mocha dust and spicy cedar shavings that grow sweeter and prettier with time and air. It is silky-smooth and beautifully-woven on the palate, with some soft oak nicely integrated into the warm fruit stuffing and supported by fine-polished tannins. It feels poised and effortless, hanging in there with no problem. The acidity is somewhat recessive and soft, but it works nicely in this style. It is time to drink up, I’d say, but it is in a fine spot right now for my tastes.