2002 Martínsancho, Rueda:
Verdejo, in the hands of Angel Rodríquez, is not your lightweight, elegant white; rather it is expansive on the nose with lots of spiciness; full-sized and strongly flavored on the palate (despite being 13% alcohol) and built to accompany food. This vintage is rounding into another excellent effort and was terrific with smoked salmon spread on crackers.
1991 Chat. Montelena, Cabernet Sauvignon:
Black-garnet in color with only the slightest hint of browning at the rim; cabernet fruit and barrel on the nose with a hint of soy sauce; focused but round in the mouth with barrel tones, some very clear cassis notes and some peppery, ripe (but not over-ripe), black fruit; medium length. Good balance; the barrel notes, although apparent, are not overblown and the wine has a clarity and presence that are pretty interesting. Has lost some tannin (substantial sediment) but still has good grip and is a bit drying on the finish.
2002 Joël Taluau, St.-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil VV:
Spectacular nose of crushed black raspberries and fresh herbs with mineral hints; remarkably concentrated on the palate with good grip, focus and complexity; a worsted texture, and a long, bursting finish with fine tannins evident. A little early to be into this one but for a worthy cause – Mark came over and volunteered to cook (a CIA trained chef in our home version of ‘Ready, Set, Cook’) and he wanted a cabernet franc; so he got a good one. Although showing young, it is not closed or disjointed; rather, it is exuberant and structured. Really, good juice.
1995 Rubino della Palazzola:
After many years of being overly tannic and out of balance, this wine has found its groove. Focused aromatics and a black fruit driven, very well balanced palate that seems to ask ‘why did you ever open a bottle before now?’ Very good and, at least on this night, more enjoyable than the Montelena. No hurry.