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

© Copyright 1997 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

Dinner in St. Pete (Dec. 13, 1997)
I've just returned to my hotel room after a fine evening out with Tim Baker and Judy Stark at one of their favorite places in St. Petersburg, the Brown Dog restaurant, a little neighborhood place that looks like a saloon from the front but that turns out to be a really great, reasonably priced eatery --their current shtick (which changes seasonally) is a "three kitchens" menu, with separate choices featuring pan-Asian fare, American Southern, or high-tone French with a few Alsatian and Italian accents. We tried 'em all, of course, and over the course of the evening opened some really excellent wines:

Hubert Clavelin et Fils non-vintage Chardonnay Brut-Comté Cotes du Jura Sparkling Wine - Pale gold, with a lasting fountain of pinpoint bubbles. Apples and yeasty bread-dough aromas. Off-dry, tangy, perhaps a bit thin, but still a remarkably good bubbly for a reported retail price under $10.

Clos Baudoin 1995 Vouvray Prince Poiniatowsky - Pale brass color. First aroma impression is the characteristic "ripe cheese" of Vouvray, Brie or Camembert, quickly opens up to delicious apricot and honey aromas. Full, tart and rich, just off-dry at first but with such zingy acidity that it seems to finish bone-dry. A hand-import from the winery, truly memorable.

Beringer 1993 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve - Inky dark reddish-purple, opaque. Delicious aromas, cassis and spicy oak and dark chocolate. Lots of bitter chocolate on the palate with black fruit and anise; full, ripe and tannic; a brooding wine, needs time, opens up some with the lamb, smoked duck and pork on our plates. While we're tasting it, Tim's friend Greg wanders by with a glass of 1994 Phelps Insignia that absolutely blows away the Beringer on complexity and style points, at about 2/3 the cost. It's a fine wine, certainly in the top rank of CalCabs. But worth a $60 price tag? Har!

Anthony Road 1995 Finger Lakes (New York) Late Harvest Vignoles - Clear bright gold, seems noticeably darker than when I sampled this same wine at the winery in September. Apricot and mint aromas with the whiff of volatile acidity that I often pick up in dessert wines (even d'Yquem). Lovely honeyed apricots on the palate, toothache-sweet fruit (17.5% residual sugar from 35.5% brix at harvest) well structured with zingy acidity 1.23 g/100 ml total acidity). Excellent balance, remarkably intense.

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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