Friday, September 21, 2007

RSVP Tasting: Stuff the boss brought back from his holiday abroad

Wine Guado Al Tasso Il Bruciato 2004
From DOC Bolgheri, Italy
Anticipated Price $30.00 - $35.00
This Tuscan DOC makes reds which blend either Cab, Merlot and Syrah; or Cab, Merlot and Sangiovese, depending on whom we believe---our Fearless Leader, or Hugh Johnson. The palate seems to favor the latter, combining the concentrated raspberry fruit of a Sangiovese with the supple tannins of the Bordeaux varieties. Big, intense nose bops you with more of a Australian/Chilean fist than traditional Italian; oak is obvious but seamlessly integrated. A lingering finish keeps tasters lingering over their glasses; nobody accuses the boss of being self-serving when he pronounces the result “outstanding”.

Wine Bodegas Nazares Tempranillo 2005
From Spain
Anticipated Price $10.00-12.00
Almost a palate-cleanser in comparison to the wine above: Nothing huge in the nose but lots of cheerful spice-and-strawberry on the palate; a mature stylist thinking back on younger days. Spain seems to bridge the gap among old-world and international-style fans at these tastings, tending towards lively wines that don't carry the aggressive dopeyness of so many new-world steroid-bombs. The style rubs off even on the lower-priced quaffers like this one, which had the budget-minded among us scribbling down its name---and price.

Wine Fattoria Di Vetrice Chianti Rufina Riserva 1990
From Italy
Anticipated Price $50.00-55.00
You read that vintage right: 1990---a good year in Tuscany, but a rare one to see on a label today at this price. Quality turns out to be up there as well; this is outstanding Chianti without the warts; medium-bodied with acid nicely in balance, smoothly textured with silky, mature tannins providing a sweet kick in the finish. Flavor-spotters were ripping page after page out of their enological lexicons, leaning particularly on things like dry earth, hay and cherry. For people with the bucks who like their maturity right away.

Wine Chateau Fuisse Saint Veran 2004
From Burgundy, France
Anticipated Price $26.00-30.00
The boss's explanation of the distinctions between a St. Veran and a Pouilly-Fuisse (and how a top producer of the latter came in this case to be bottling some of the former) proved as impenetrable as an account of the various editions of the Bruckner symphonies, and so will not be reproduced here. The wine itself was a pale yellow and had concentrated notes of citrus (the adventurous cited “lemon and crushed grapefruit”) and grass (“hay” to the erudite) on the nose; nice minerality and fully ripe fruit flavors on the palate with balanced acid on the finish. The boss: “Classic, understated white Burgundy”. Perhaps fearing another dissertation, nobody argues.

Wine Araldica Piemontese Cortese 2006
From Italy
Anticipated Price $14.00-16.00
This wine is made from the same grapes as Gavi, a subtle Piedmont white. Introducing it, the lead taster said “It's not Gavi, but it's not thirty bucks, either”. With this set of atrophied expectations (especially to those among the group for whom Gavi was as familiar as the terrain of Moomin Valley) tasters noted a medium-bodied wine with hints of a variety of things on the nose and palate: citrus, lemon, Granny Smith (not Spartan) apples, mineral notes and grapefruit. Acidity was zippy and oysters made a fine accompaniment---at least until the philosophical taster noted that so far, the group has in its six months of existence failed to find a white wine that doesn't go brilliantly with oysters.

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