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  • 1997 Antonio Vallana e Figlio Gattinara

    This was the second bottle of a case purchased 4 months ago. The first bottle was double decanted for an hour before serving but I didn’t write it up as it seemed to be tired and somewhat of a disappointment. Maybe I didn’t give it enough time to settle down after shipment.
    This second bottle was decanted for 2 hours leaving a very modest sediment. It was served with pasta, red sauce, meatballs, and eggplant then finished with a selection of Italian cheeses.
    It proved to be everything I was hoping for. The aromatics and palate impressions were exquisite, filled with suggestions of roses, dried cherry, moist earth tones, baking spices, creosote, tobacco, and a faint touch of VA that added another note of complexity; a classic expression of mature Alpine Nebbiolo. The mouthfeel was super smooth with unfolding layers of tertiary sensation filling the mouth before trailing off a little sooner than I was expecting.
    Compared to its muscular Lange cousins, this is a more delicate expression of the grape. I would put it just a small step behind the magnificent 2000 Gattinara.
    This is right up your alley if you are an acid lover and a nice change of pace for those who favor mature Burgundy.
    As this continued to hold up well during the meal, I plan on giving the next bottle 3 hours in the decanter.
    It is fully into its drinking window now with 5-8 more peak years. It could last longer but I doubt it will get better. I expect to experience some bottle variation but that is part of the package with artisanal wines.

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  • 2010 Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Cuvée delle Vigne Niche

    Our first of three bottles, this was served at ~50F with imported Strozzapreti (an elongated Cavatelli) with a sage, olive oil and ground pignoli pesto that was topped with toasted walnuts. To provide a flavor contrast, we had oven roasted plum tomatoes on the side.
    A bright light golden color, this was initially restrained but opened dramatically as it warmed in the glass and took in some air. It had a silky smooth feel, medium weight, excellent balance, moderate length, and a clean finish.
    As it warmed, it reminded me, in a subtle way, of a mature, but less weighty, Tondonia Blanco. There was a faint oxidative note with a delicate floral mineral, beeswax edge in the nose. In the mouth, there were subtle well focused impressions of marcona almond, hazelnut, pear, apple, white peach, and quince jelly.
    This is an elegant white that is intriguing with the right food accompaniment. It was an exquisite pairing with our pasta dish and seemed in peak form with no indication of imminent decline. But, having no prior experience with this wine, I wouldn’t hazard a guess as to the aging capabilities.
    This is not an aperitif candidate. I would strongly suggest serving it after 30 minutes of air and no colder than 58F with simply prepared fish, chicken, or lightly sauced pasta dishes.

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  • 2003 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Crianza Viña Gravonia

    This was taken from storage at 48F and opened for a light airing while allowing it to come up to ~57F. It was served with chicken provencal, porcini saffron risotto, oven roasted asparagus, and finished with a selection of Spanish and Vermont cheeses.
    This was exquisite with our dinner. It is a distinctive style of white wine that you will love or detest, but never feel indefinite about. It is a wine that needs food and will find few friends as a solo sipper.
    The angular, lightly oxidative, oaky, saline aspects provided a fascinating counterpoint to the green apple, lemon rind, beeswax, vanilla, honey, marcona almond group. With a solid weighty mouthfeel, it seemed very precise, energetic, and well balanced with a finish that slowly trailed off. This was my second bottle of this and I am smitten. Priced ~ $25, it is an outstanding value………if you like this stye.

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  • pigdaddy says:

    1/17/2015 12:27:00 PM - jerwin, the '04 ciacci definitely has potential for considerable upside; believe at 10, it is just on the precipice of secondary development. would be inclined to give it a year or two more, then drink over the next 10+. reminds me of '01 at this stage, though '99 has been our recent fave.

  • wine-strategies says:

    1/5/2015 7:30:00 PM - WTG on the 1997 Vallana Gattinara! I'm on a strict budget this year, otherwise... - IIRC, after Guy suddenly passed, Giuseppina stepped in and made the 1997s - because they weren't going to make themselves and because she's quite a remarkable lady.

  • jerwin1943 says:

    11/16/2013 10:48:00 AM - In VT, a patron cannot bring a bottle to a restaurants that has a liquor license. Wine can only be purchased on premises. However, if the restaurant does not have a license to sell alcoholic beverages, they can get a special permit that allows customers to bring their own bottle. There is a very nice restaurant in Putney (The Gleanery) that is BYOB that we frequent regularly. It is just off exit 4 on I-91.

  • cephomer says:

    11/15/2013 3:09:00 PM - Btw, we own a condo at Stratton and are up there a lot. Why is it that VT restaurants don't permit BYOB...very frustrating!

  • cephomer says:

    11/15/2013 3:08:00 PM - Hey, thanks for the comment Jim. I'm a big fan of dessert wines, particularly sauternes. I looked thru some of your notes and see we have some similar likes. I'll be checking out your wine consumption going forward.

  • jerwin1943 says:

    8/30/2013 2:58:00 PM - I believe it is Kermit Lynch.

  • wine-strategies says:

    8/30/2013 2:37:00 PM - Jim, if it's not too much trouble, can you tell me who the importer is for the '08 Porro Lazzairasco?

  • olracx62 says:

    8/25/2013 2:06:00 PM - thanks, Jerwin. Proud you like my tasting notes. I see you appreciate Italian wines. You'll see that my highest score is for Modus 2007 form Ruffino. You should try to get a bottle (in Italy 30 eur) it is really outstanding. Best, Olrac62

  • GrapeScott says:

    4/7/2013 8:49:00 AM - Thanks for your kind words. As for the SZ Pure Burg glasses, I have only had them for a week or so, but I love them. They have worked well with a variety of different wines I've tried (ironically none of them burgs). I loved my Top Ten full-bodied red glasses but broke my last one after having a 6-pack endure almost 10 years of daily use and runs through the dishwasher. I think I like these Burgs even better, because the bowl is more versatile for the kinds of wines I drink (more pinot and syrah based wines, fewer Bdx).