Cape Gazette
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Wine

A Bordeaux Blanc can be tough to locate

By John McDonald | May 27, 2013

I find myself guzzling more and more wine as the drumbeat of the daily news screed floats across my screen or the pages I read. While I am unsure of all the details, I watched all the hearings as were televised on lamestream and C-span. I have little doubt, based on a very long career managing as few as 10 and as many as 400-plus employees on occasion, quite a few of our public officials are lying and breaking the law. Don’t know how far up it goes, and I am sure it is bipartisan, but I do hope the underlying rot is fully exposed and exorcised from body politic. I have doubts because of the conduct of the investigation. Never heard of starting near the top. I would go to Indianapolis, grab a pencil neck and explain carefully, “If you don’t come clean entirely you will do five in Jessup correctional in Maryland.” Amazing the clarity such moments bring. For the unlearned, Jessup’s nickname is “the cut.”

I sampled a lovely Bordeaux Blanc; they are tough to locate anymore. 2010 Chateau Thieuley Cuvee Francis Courselle Bordeaux Blanc is a beautiful blend of 50 percent Semillon, 40 percent Sauvignon Blanc and fragrant Sauvignon Gris. Nose is lemon butter, pineapple and a hint of subtle toast. Drink now to 2017, $22, 88 points.

Poggio il Castellare Brunello di Montalcino is a producer I write of frequently. Rarely a poorly made wine and often stellar. The 2007 were recommended on release by nearly all, at 94 points, at $35, with a window 2014-25. I’m very happy to report it is aging wonderfully. Best, there is some out there being sold under $50. Still a great bargain.

Balsam, dried fruit, ginger, cola, cherry, cassis aromas waft. They ride a balanced, complex frame with firm structure. The finish is long, and the opening bouquet adds roses and floral notes. This is Sangiovese like none other. There are some '04s around for $45. Your wine store guy can find it, but there will be some premium on single bottles, maybe a break on cases. If you can locate three each 2004-07 buy them. Eschew the ‘03. Decent, not great.

While on Italians, most claim that the Baroli Riservi window was 1996-2001. Truth is the 1995, which was overshadowed by the writers, may be better. They followed a bad run from 1991-94 and came onto market hot, but were immediately, and wrongly, over touted by comparison to the '96. Of course, hindsight is also 20-20. Recommended here at $98 in 2001, the 92-point wine is now well over $300/bottle.

The 2001, 93 points, recommended at $125, is in the $500-plus range. Recent findable release 93-96 points is 2008 and on market $120. I realize many won’t afford these, but I write to a fairly wide audience and much of my mail comes from upper-tier buyers. The info is on Giacomo Conterno Cascina Francia. However, there are other very reputable makers: Bruno Giacoso (another of my favs), Cerreto Bricco Roche, Pio Caesare and Sordo are names that come to mind. One caveat - be very careful from whom you buy anything more than 8 years old.

As I was writing, a three-pack B di M 2007 flashed on: Fuligni, 95 points; Nardone, 93 points; and Castellare, 94 points as a package; $125 no shipping. Not a great price but a very good deal. Great wine, average QPR.

Cali Napa Beaulieu Vineyards is on the market with a new, move-out leftover wine blend named Beaurouge, a blend of of varietals and appellations providing layered, fruit-forward wine. Smells sweet, but it is dry. Merlot softens mid-palate and Cabernet Sauvignon core, little splash of Petit Verdot completes the blend with a hint of violet.

Red fruit aromas, hints of vanilla, red and black fruit on the palate, with a touch of vanilla. A tad acidic, medium tannins. Some complexity on the palate, but only a tad; well-balanced wine, classic BV notes in a very complex blend. I counted six different grape varieties mentioned on the label. Decent price for the quality; drink now (would benefit from one-plus hour decanting) or cellar for a few years, but probably no more than five.

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