Freedom Pies

Convivio

Tasted February 18, 2010 by Keith Levenberg with 1,132 views

Flight 1 (2 notes)

White - Sparkling
N.V. Tarlant Champagne La Vigne d'Antan Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut France, Champagne
95 points
From the 2006 disgorgement, 80%/20% 1999/1998. A wonderful showing for this bottle, I think the first one I've ever had that showed real maturity to it. The fruit is golden and sumptuous, and almost plump and bulbous in mouthfeel but at the same time it conveys this sense of fragility, like you could stick a pin in it and it would pop on your tongue like a water balloon. If this bottle is representative the prime drinking window for this wine begins now... although I'm not sure I've ever had this wine perform the same way twice.

Flight 2 (8 notes)

White
2008 Gaia Assyrtiko Thalassitis Greece, Aegean, Cyclades, Santorini
88 points
Refreshing, juicy stuff, pretty much what I've come to expect from a Greek white. The color is barely any deeper than water and the acidity is so acute it's like it got a spritz of lemon juice. An ideal fish wine.
White
2007 Contrade di Taurasi (Cantine Lonardo) Grecomusc' Italy, Campania, Campania IGT
88 points
Captivating from the first sniff with its intensely smoky gunpowder aromatics. Dampening the intrigue is when Jeff wonders whether it's just the sulfur talking, and indeed it might be because the enticing scent blows off after awhile and leaves the thing smelling more like hairspray, not all that appetizing. It doesn't taste quite as distinctive as it smells, either, the fruit deep and brassy in stark contrast to the Thalassitis, but not much else to say about it.
White
2008 La Sibilla Falanghina Campi Flegrei Italy, Campania, Campi Flegrei
88 points
From past experience with this wine, I know that when you first open it it tastes very much like a Vin de Savoie, a light and streamwater-pure wine without much else going on, but if you come back to the leftovers after a week or more it turns into this tour de force of beach sand and oyster shells. Well, this one was opened today so it was still in that simple Savoie phase, but having a more traditional, deeper-toned falanghina after it made me appreciate how unique it is even before the minerality blooms.
White
2007 Cantine Farro Campi Flegrei Le Cigliate Italy, Campania, Campi Flegrei
86 points
After the La Sibilla, this is more in line with what I usually expect from Falanghina -- a deeper-toned, more broad-shouldered southern style white.
White
2005 Carl Schmitt-Wagner Longuicher Maximiner Herrenberg Riesling Kabinett Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
81 points
Better a few years ago, apparently. Now, this is way too sweet and fat and not nearly acidic enough. The fruit's turning mature into that diesel-fuel thing.
Rosé
2007 I Vigneri di Salvo Foti Vinudilice Italy, Sicily, Etna DOC
63 points
Apparently made from grenache, which would explain why it's so terrible. Smells like a combination of stewed tomatoes, Smarties sugar candy, dirty diapers, yeast, and amaretto. Totally yucky. It doesn't taste as bad as it smells, but how could it?
White
2007 Weingut Meinhard Forstreiter Grüner Veltliner Tabor Austria, Niederösterreich, Kremstal
93 points
This has shed a lot of the stoniness and roughness that used to be front-and-center here, and now it's instead characterized by a tightly coiled juiciness with the minerality surfacing only on the back, which is laced with something almost menacing that sets this apart from all the other whites today.
White
2006 Weingut Meinhard Forstreiter Grüner Veltliner Tabor Austria, Niederösterreich, Kremstal
92 points
This has developed very interestingly and become much closer in character to the '07 than I would ever have imagined possible. It might be a little thicker but it's just as juicy and bright and laced with a little gravel, no sign at all of the worrisome butter sensation that I remember from my first bottle of this when it came out, but certainly more tightly coiled and now in serious need of bottle age to unwind itself.

Flight 3 (6 notes)

Red
2004 Cappellano Barolo Piè Franco Otin Fiorin (Gabutti) Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Showing pretty typically for a young Barolo, tannic and not intended for drinking now. Fortunately not so tannic that it tastes like chewing on cotton, but definitely shows some muscle especially on the back end. There is some cherry fruit that manages to assert itself through the structure that still has some youthful gumminess to its mouthfeel.
Red
2001 Cappellano Barolo Piè Franco Otin Fiorin (Gabutti) Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Much more like the '04 than the '99, quite tannic but showing more of a stoniness on the entry and more streamlined fruit, insofar as it shows any fruit at all. Food smooths this out a bit, but again this is not an age at which you want to drink any Barolo, particularly a Cappellano.
Red
1999 Cappellano Barolo Piè Franco Otin Fiorin (Gabutti) Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Now here's a shocker, expecting another dry, tannic, and challenging-to-drink young Barolo, but this is stunningly accessible with a suavity that's almost pinot noir-like, and totally open-knit. A wonderful demonstration of Piè Franco elegance; you will not find any other '99 Barolo as supple as this.
Red
1998 Marchesi Alfieri Pinot Nero San Germano Italy, Piedmont, Monferrato
87 points
Against my better judgment I keep bringing these to events where they can't get the airtime they need and come off tasting surly and tannic, and so it is here. Next to three Barolos, and this tastes so tannic it may as well be a fourth - dry and abrupt, actually more Barolo-like than the '99 Cappellano, which came across very much like pinot noir. The air it was able to get went part of the way to smoothing it out, but what it really needs is more bottle age.
Red
2007 Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso PrePhylloxera La Vigna di Don Peppino Italy, Sicily, Etna DOC
90 points
This starts out dense and tannic, pretty consistent with the other Terre Neres I'd had and at first threatening to be completely inaccessible. But let it sit and it becomes much more open-knit, and you can see a lot of distinct character poking out. For one thing there's an intense pepperiness to it and a few other non-fruit elements like an oatmealy/graham cracker thing. Oak influence? Maybe, but fortunately it doesn't taste woody or toasty. And eventually it becomes really streamlined. To be sure it remains structured enough that I could never call it weightless or seamless, but it manages to cut an elegant silhouette just the same. I wish it didn't cost over twice as much as the other bottlings, though.
Red
N.V. Frank Cornelissen Magma 6 Vigne Alte Italy, Sicily, Sicilia
67 points
Two bottles, one of them decanted a few hours in advance and the other one poured right away. The freshly opened bottle had a sweeter, sucking candy scent, and tasted just as candied, with its combination of what is clearly a noticeable amount of residual sugar and incredibly high alcohol. The decanted bottle tastes the same, maybe augmented with something deeper and darker on the back end, but the smell is less sweet and more poopy. A funny thing to note is, before we tasted it, we were all impressed by its light, pale color. Then we realized that the reason it's so light must be the staggeringly high proportion of ethanol, which is of course clear. This did not exactly convert me into an admirer of Mr. Cornelissen's idiosynchratic school of winemaking. While this wine is certainly unusual, it's not the kind of unusual that makes it an intriguing curiosity. It's just unappealing. Although, going back to it after the glass of Port certainly made it behave more like a table wine.
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Flight 4 (6 notes)

Red
2007 Catherine et Pierre Breton Bourgueil Franc de Pied France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Bourgueil
85 points
Not sure what happened to this since the last time I had it, which I totally forgot about, but now it's become possibly the most vegetative-smelling wine ever made, like someone shoved a bucket of broccoli stalks and underripe pea shells right under your nose. It's almost difficult to bring myself to taste it after that, but it actually doesn't taste bad, certainly nowhere near as vegetal as it smells. I keep sniffing those vegetables and then looking at that bright fresh-fruity magenta color and remarking on the incongruity.
Red
2002 Catherine et Pierre Breton Bourgueil Franc de Pied France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Bourgueil
flawed
Corked. I guess the joke's on me after I bitched about them putting subsequent vintages under rubber cork.
Red
2005 Charles Joguet Chinon Franc de Pied Les Varennes du Grand Clos France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Chinon
90 points
Much more subdued than the way it showed on release - the acidity has already moderated and the fruit is much paler. But it's not closed, and the impeccable balance illustrates why this is such a fine vintage at Joguet - there's not one hair out of place here.
Red
2005 Domaine Bernard Baudry Chinon Franc de Pied France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Chinon
93 points
Baudry's has always been my favorite of the Loire Valley franc de pieds and this shows why, with a weightlessness that manages to outclass the Joguet, which was pretty classy stuff to begin with. But at the same time it's a little wilder than the Joguet, sharper in acidity and with a green-pepper scent.
Red
2003 Domaine Bernard Baudry Chinon Franc de Pied France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Chinon
92 points
This is about as syrupy as Chinon ever gets - much more primary-fruited than my own bottles of this, brimming with sweet raspberry fruit, but still weightless in its touch.
Red
2002 Domaine Bernard Baudry Chinon Franc de Pied France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Chinon
97 points
By far the best red of the night, a masterpiece, captivating from the very first sniff with its aroma of sweet fruit and cedar. Combine that with its ethereal palate presence and it reminds me of the first Baudry franc de pied I ever had which made me go wild over the stuff and remark that it's like a Lafite-Rothschild but even more feminine. This ought to be even more amazing once the remaining wisp of tannin resolves itself.

Flight 5 (5 notes)

Red
1995 Antonio Bernardino Paulo da Silva Colares Chitas Reserva Velho Portugal, Lisboa, Colares
93 points
Rarer than rare. I've never even heard of a bottle of Colares on these shores, much less seen one. A knockout at first, there is just so much going on here that it's hard to keep track of, but eventually it amalgamates into a supple, vaguely claret-like wine characterized by restrained red fruit enriched by the flavor of cigar tobacco and a certain leatheriness. There is still tannin here, enough to give it a little kick of dryness but nothing rough or abrupt.
Red
1995 Luis Pato Bairrada Quinta do Ribeirinho Pé Franco Portugal, Beiras, Bairrada
80 points
Vastly different from the 1996, this comes across sweet and positively candied.
Red
1996 Luis Pato Bairrada Quinta do Ribeirinho Pé Franco Portugal, Beiras, Bairrada
93 points
Interestingly, more similar to the Colares than to the '95 vintage of the same wine. And maybe even more perfumed than the Colares. But a similar profile in its restrained claret-like, tobacco-enriched fruit.
Red
2007 Domaine Gauby Côtes du Roussillon Villages La Muntada France, Languedoc Roussillon, Roussillon, Côtes du Roussillon Villages
68 points
Dark, dense, syrupy sweet fruit, built like a Parkerized California syrah.
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Red
2004 Cantina del Taburno Bue Apis Beneventano IGT Italy, Campania, Beneventano IGT
89 points
This is a pretty large-scaled wine, maybe bigger than I can handle at this point in the night, but it's got complexity and character, not just a heavyweight. It's aromatic with a tobacco-tinged palate presence that's both angular and crunchy, giving it nice definition and some linearity.

Flight 6 (1 note)

Red - Fortified
1991 Quinta do Noval Porto Vintage Nacional Portugal, Douro, Porto
What a letdown. Couldn't taste anything here besides sharp, wincing alcohol. It tastes sweet but it's so vacant it's difficult to put my finger on WHAT tastes sweet, since I barely notice any fruit. On the plus side, a few sips of this did make it possible to go back to the Cornelissen Magma and have it taste like actual wine instead of sugar candy, which was an interesting sensation. I have to hope these bottles were stored indifferently.
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