I am always amazed when I
taste an old wine and it has developed into something almost magical. Three of the wines I recommend this month fit into that category. I don’t get to taste these wines very often, so I am grateful to my friend Bill Vandermarel for reaching into his cellar for me to enjoy these wines.
The first is a 1978 Chante
Cigale from Chateauneuf-du-Pape. I spent several days tasting Chateauneuf-du-Pape back in March and if this is what those wines will become, then I understand why it is Robert Parkers favorite region. This wine was layered with black fruits, elegant spices and soft florials. It was really amazing.
The second is a1982 Leoville Barton from Saint Julien in Bordeaux. 1982 was the vintage Robert Parker made his reputation on and this wine is a fine example of what Bordeaux can do. The tannins have developed into soft layered fruit that linger on your pallet. The
oak, mushroom and wet hay are there but are subtle and balanced. This is a great wine at it’s peak.
The third wine is a 1970 Chateau Mouton Rothschild. It is not often that I get to enjoy a first growth Bordeaux, but every time I have I am amazed at what can
be accomplished with great wine making. This wine is elegant beyond belief. It has layers of fruit, oak, mushrooms, and floral, each in perfect balance. The wine lingers and seems to unfold on your pallet. The wine is ready to drink now, but also has the structure to continue to lay down.
From my recent trip to Napa:Valley
there are two wines I will recommend.
The first is Pam Starrs ’03 Cabernet Franc. This is the best Cab Franc I’ve ever tasted. It is a little rough at first but once it opens up it is complex and full of black fruit and earth – a rarity for California. It’s a bit pricey at $50/bottle, but worth it.
The second is the ’05 Pinot Noir from Etude Winery. Pinot Noir is a difficult wine to make, but when a winemaker gets it right it is an amazing wine, and Etude has gotten this one right. It is dense and multi dimensional (also rare in California) with deep fruit that lingers on
and on. At $90/bottle it is a bit too much, but for those of you looking for a great California Pinot Noir this one really fits the bill.