© Copyright 1998 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.
Le Chevalier de Sterimberg 1990 Hermitage Blanc - Clear pale gold. Odd but intriguing mineral and medicinal scents laced with aromatic hazelnuts and almonds. Full and rich flavors, tart apple fruit with a slight bitter edge and nuances that follow the nose, remaining consistent in a long finish. None of us are quite sure what to expect in an older white Hermitage; some of the signs suggest that further aging wouldn't have been wise, but it's certainly still very much alive. U.S. importer: Frederick Wildman & Sons, NYC.
Huet non-vintage Vouvray Brut ($18.99) - My third taste this year of this excellent Loire bubbly, with consistent notes: Clear, bright-gold, with good yeasty and earthy aromas; flavor consistent, crisp, dry and tart, with a long finish. Importer not shown.
Burgans 1997 Rias Baixas Albariño ($10.49) - Clear straw color. Delicate peach nectar and floral aromas. Clean, crisp flavor, peaches and citric fruit, prompts comparisons with Viognier, but I find it more well-rounded than most Viogniers. Fine wine. U.S. importer: Cutting Edge Selections Inc., Cincinnati.
Beringer 1990 Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - Dark garnet color, slight haze. Delicious cassis and dark chocolate aromas with a whiff of black olives. Big, juicy fruit flavors follow the nose, soft tannins barely evident. Ready, but in no way over the hill. Twenty-four hours later, oak seems more evident, and the tannins are gone; still very tasty, sweet oak and black fruit, but it seems a little more "veggie" than the night before.
Beringer 1993 Napa Valley Howell Mountain Bancroft Ranch Merlot - Inky dark reddish-purple, opaque. Deep, brooding black fruit, plummy, hints of raisins. Tannic and tight, lots of fruit and good potential, but even with the beef tenderloin it doesn't give up much. A day's airing doesn't make much difference; it's still hard and lean after 24 hours in the opened bottle, showing a little more oak but still cloaking its fruit behind a heavy curtain of tannins.
Joseph Phelps 1991 Napa Valley Insignia - Inky dark reddish-purple. Blackcurrant and cassis aromas, very nice! Closed and tannic at first, but opens up in the glass to layered complexity and goes very well indeed with the beef. Shows best of the three reds after 24 hours, with classic cassis and light aromatic cedary aromas and a full and rich flavor, tannins still present but softening to reveal ripe black fruit and mocha notes of black coffee and cocoa. Wonderful wine.
Château Guiraud 1988 1er Cru Sauternes - Bright gold. Honey and apricots in a classic Sauternes nose; flavors consistent, honey-sweet and structured. U.S. importer: Jean-Claude Boisset Wines USA, San Francisco.
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