Wine Tasting Report



 

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Siri's
Leo and Candy Fox and Dave Mosko.
Thanks to Harry Cantrell for arranging a Philadelphia offline in connection with my visit. About a dozen locals ("The Enophillies") gathered Saturday night at Siri's Thai French, a very fine "fusion" restaurant in a suburban shopping center in Cherry Hill, N.J.

A total of 25 wines (if I didn't miss any) were organized into several "flights" of two or three chosen for comparison; four were passed around in unidentified decanters for discussion before unveiling, a wine game that turned out to be fun because no one took it too seriously.

Aperitif
Champagne Trouillard 1990 Cuvee du Fondateur - Pale straw, pinpoint bubbles. Toasty, rich. I like it.

First white flight
Rochioli 1998 RRV Sauvignon Blanc - Big and viscous, oak and grapefruit. A little over the top, but impressive.

Rudi Pichler 1997 Wösendorfer Grüner Veltliner Federspiel - Green pea and mineral aromas and flavors, classic Grüner Veltliner.

Domaine de la Feuillade 1998 Saint-Veran Vieille Vigne - Crisp, appley, tart.

Second white flight
Kistler 1994 Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley Chardonnay - Clear gold, candy-apple and butterscotch aromas. Big, integrated fruit and oak, powerful. Even though I'm not wild about the California style of Chardonnay, Kistler rarely fails to impress. Some find signs of encroaching old age here, but I don't see it in this rich, complex wine.

Domaine Laroche 1996 Chablis Grand Cru "Les Clos" - Shy nose, forward palate, steely and long. An interesting side-by-side comparison between a top Chablis that's elegant, refined, and still young, and an excellent California example of the same grape in an utterly different style. As a vinous Euro-phile, I want to declare the Chablis the clear winner, but can't really make that call; they're both fine.

First red flight
Ch. Ducru-Beaucaillou 1990 St.-Julien - Plummy, cedar, full and tart. Young, tannic, closed. Some discussion over whether it's just young or lightly corked.

Newton 1990 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - dark reddish-purple. Herbal, cedar, structured. Passed around "blind," I toy with the possibility that it may be Bordeaux and don't even come close to hitting the target.

Tom Eddy 1994 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - Chocolate fudge and sour cherries. Tannic, structured. Very good, very approachable wine, one of the top wines of the evening for me.

Second red flight
Quinta do Cotto 1997 Douro - Opaque. Warm and plummy, a bit one-dimensional. May benefit from time.

Murice 1997 Vina Ijalba Rioja Crianza - Perfumed berry fruit, balanced and complex. A good Rioja, and at a reported $15 retail, a good value.

Altos Las Hormigas 1999 Reserva Viña Hormigas Mendoza Malbec - Plummy, warm, tastes more interesting than the nose suggests and improves with time in the glass.

Third red flight
Tenuta Carretta 1997 Bric Quercia Langhe ($22.99) - Leather, wildflowers and black fruit. Big, extracted and tannic. U.S. importer: Winebow Inc., NYC; Leonardo Locascio Selections. I bought it earlier in the day from Wine Ventures in Tenafly, N.J., at the advice of proprietor Craig McManus. It was a good suggestion, and in my opinion one of the top wines of the evening.

Altamura 1995 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - Cassis, oak and tannins. Good wine, but weakest of the three in this flight.

Kay Brothers 1997 Amery Vineyards Block 6 Shiraz - Black. Perfumed fruit, dill, big, structured and balanced. Served blind, I guess Australian right away. Penfolds Bin 707? Not a bad guess, but turns out to be more of a rarity by U.S. standards. My choice for best wine of the night.

More "blind" reds
Rosemount 1998 GSM (Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre) - Very tannic. I can't begin to guess, but finally venture that it might be a Priorat. Not a great guess, being half a world away, but I console myself that at least I recognized the Grenache.

Mondavi 1990 Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - This one fools everybody with its warm, plummy, roast meat and black pepper nuances. Someone says Cote-Rotie, and the stampede begins. It's got to be a Rhone! The disclosure stuns the group and demonstrates how there's nothing like a blind tasting to keep you honest.

First dessert flight
Chateau Liot 1988 Sauternes (Barsac) - Honey and apricots, firm structure.

Clos de Sainte Catherine 1989 Coteaux du Layon - Rich, pineapple and citrus.

Müller-Catoir 1992er Mussbacher Eselshaut Auslese Rieslaner - Full and textured, tropical fruit, mango and papaya.

Second dessert flight
Girolamo Dorigo 1998 Picolit Vigneto Montselapade Venezia Giulia - Delicate, complex, a beauty. Another of my contributions to the evening, a generous gift from Roberto Vigna during our visit to Italy, one that I promised him I would share at a WLDG "offline." Everyone is grateful. Thanks, Roberto!

Genaiserie 1996 La Roche Coteaux du Layon Selection des Grains Nobles - Pale and light, delicate, but suffers from comparison to the more intense wines in this flight.

Adolf Lötzbeyer 1990er Feilbingerter Königsgarten (Nahe) Riesling Eiswein - Intensely sweet, apricots, good acid balance.

Third dessert flight
Domaine de La Rectorie 1996 Banyuls Cuvee Parcé Frères - Veiled nose and muted palate. Not much there. Harry judges it corked, and I agree, although it's another of those hard-to-call wines that doesn't show the overt mustiness of a cork-afflicted bottle.

Delgado Zuleta Monteagudo Pedro Ximénez - Inky mahogany; unctuous as motor oil. Stone fruits and raisins, sweet as syrup. Could literally serve as a topping over ice cream.

Have you tasted these wines?
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All my wine-tasting reports are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores.

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