11 December 2005

Tasting Notes for December 10, 2005

I got in from Boston at 1:00, my friend picked me up from the airport and then by 2:00 I was at the wine tasting... Actually stopped there before going home. Some might say that indicates a problem, but how could I pass up the annual sparkling wine/champagne tasting?

A lot of these are non-vintage; a few are probably of a specific year, but I was worn out after the flight and didn't grab the dates off the bottles. For that matter, I'm writing these notes up at midnight on the day after the tasting, and I've got to be at work in the morning, and I'm in something of a foul mood. I'll try not to take it out on the wine. Baby, you know I'm not like that, I just get so angry sometimes...

Wine 1: Freixenet Carta Nevada Semi-Dry. Spain. A little yeast, slightly sweet, a creamy finish. Simple, but a good bargain. $11.

Wine 2: Mumm Napa Cuvée M. Napa Valley, California. Crisp nose, crisp acidic flavor, barely sweet and with a tingling finish. An excellent selection for a party opener or palate cleanser between courses. $20.

Wine 3: Nino Franco Prosecco Di Valdobiaddene "Rustico". Veneto, Italy. Lord, I loves me some Prosecco, but not this one. There was a toasty nose, but it was dry and with a dull flavor. Nothing too interesting, and I've had much better for half the price. $18.

Wine 4: Schlumberger Cuvée Klimt. Austria. I haven't drunk much Austrian wine. This is made from something called Welschriesling that is neither Welsh nor Riesling, just an ancient white grape popular in Eastern Europe. The bottling is in honor of the famous Gustav Klimt painting Der Kuß or The Kiss. Unfortunately, I never cared for Klimt and an ex-girlfriend was a huge fan, so the label didn't do a damned thing for me. As for the wine? I wasn't impressed there either. Not much of a nose, dry and crisp with no discernable flavors, really just sort of neutral. Not bad, not good, not interesting unless you're crazy about Austria. $20.

Wine 5: Montaudon Grande Rose. Champagne, France. Yeasty nose, dry and with slight raspberry flavors. Decent, but damn, the price. $35.

Side note: pretty much everything that follows is out of my normal price range. I won't complain about the price, but unless you've got the cash to spare I'd save these for special occasions. I know that alientates me from much of the wineblogosphere, but not all of us can afford to drop $50 on every bottle we drink. I've got a happy niche in the under $25 world.

Wine 6: J Brut Rosé. Sonoma, California. The first wine that made me a happy lad. Strawberry nose, very crisp and dry with amazing berry flavors. Might grab this for Christmas or New Year's Eve. $35.

Wine 7: Montaudon Brut. Champagne, France. This had a weird, funky aroma that turned a lot of people off, myself included. Strange flavor followed, a little crisp, but just too damned odd. $35.

Wine 8: Duval-Leroy Brut. Champagne, France. A Wine Spectator Top 100. Buttered toast aromas, a tiny bit of lemon on the palate, and exceptionally well balanced. A nicely crafted wine. $35.

Wine 9: Pommery Brut Royal. Champagne, France. Yeasty, dry, firm acids and a bit of pear on the tongue. Great wine. $50.

Wine 10: Bollinger Special Cuvée. Champagne, France. Baked bread aromas dominate, with medium fizz and acids. An older tasting, more mature Champagne. $60.

Wine 11. 1996 Veuve Cliquot La Grande Dame. Champagne, France. Here was the big one out of the tasting, and the first Veuve Cliquot I've tried. Oh, I'd love to be wealthy enough to buy a bottle every time I eat a salad, or raw oysters, but that's why I go to tastings. This had the most alluring, but very subtle aroma of pine. And not an artificial pine scent, more the real smell you get while cutting down a Christmas tree. It had great balance of all elements, and there was just the slightest bit of mint flavor on the finish. Really an intriguing wine, and I might just have to get a second job to get this occasionally. $150.

Wine 12: Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto d'Acqui. Piedmont, Italy. A funny choice for a finisher, but they served some chocolate along with it. I had this back in January, and enjoyed it then. Lots of cherry flavors, but creamy and fun. I didn't even eat any of the chocolate yet found touches of that flavor in the wine. Excellent selection for people that don't drink a lot of wine, or for a dessert wine for the more discriminating palate. $20.

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