[Image: Bunch of Grapes]
Today's Wine Tasting Note

© Copyright 1997 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.


Dinner tonight (Oct. 20, 1997) in Ann Arbor with Joel and Sally and their friends John and Jennifer. It was Monday night, a week night, a situation that calls for moderation, but we still managed to pull cork on a few good bottles ...

Domaine Daulny 1996 Sancerre
Clear pale pea-green. Full "boxwood" aromas (or, more inelegantly, "cat spray") with aromatic notes of pine. Full and tart flavors, ripe and complex, forward fruit and piercing citric acidity, all hanging together in a long finish. Importer: Kent Beverage Co. Inc., Wyoming, Mich.

Stellenbosch
Grape pickers in
Stellenbosch.
Kanonkop 1993 Stellenbosch (South Africa) Pinotage
This delicious wine, hand-imported by Joel, is Kanonkop's special "Auction Reserve" bottling, and probably as good as Pinotage gets. Very dark ruby, with good earthy aromas (only faintly reminiscent of the "paintbox" that's characteristic of Pinotage. A brief sulfury whiff of rubber bands is offputting, but it fades almost immediately to unveil rich layers of red fruit that bring smiles to our faces. Red fruit and snappy acidity on the palate, earthy and ripe. Pinotage at its best. (Prompts a discussion of Pinotage and Zinfandel, each very characteristic of its home country and no other, generally not rising to world-class levels but definitely attention-getting when it does.)

Domaine Bois de Boursan 1989 Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Dark garnet in color. Clean black-fruit flavor, a bit shy on the nose. Black-fruit flavors, tight and very tannic indeed. Not showing much of the "organic" Chateauneuf style, good potential but quite "dumb," needs time. Importer: J et R Selections Ltd., Mt. Pleasant, Mich.

Constantia

Constantia,
near Cape Town,
is South Africa's
oldest grape-
growing region.
Photos from
South Africa Net

Klein Constantia 1988 Vin de Constance
A fabled South African dessert wine of a century and more ago, celebrated by authors as diverse as Dickens and Jane Austen but lost for generations, now reconstructed by the descendant of the original firm. A unique, idiosyncratic and startlingly good dessert wine made from orange (?) Muscat, wearing its nine years very well. Clear copper in color, rather dark if judged by the standard of a Sauternes or Riesling of similar age. Delicious orange-blossom aroma with burnt-sugar and caramel notes and a pleasantly subtle hint of dark chocolate. Flavors follow the nose, adding a floral note reminiscent of something heady and exotic like bougainvillea, seems to fill your head and then the room. Poetic? Maybe, but Constantia somehow inspires that. Lovely wine. Importer - Silenus Wines Inc., Waltham, Mass.

Quinta do Crasto 1994 Vintage Porto
Inky blackish purple (not decanted). Deep black fruit and bitter chocolate aromas with overtones of stone fruit. Flavors consistent with the nose, fruity and ripe, huge tannins. Long and a bit hot on the finish. Open since Friday, and Joel says it's lost a bit of its "hedonistic" fruit, but it's still impressive. Importer: Broadbent Selections Inc., San Francisco.

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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