Thursday, February 01, 2007

Eap on Wine: Reserve edition

I'm not Professor Bainbridge, but this stuff is kind of cool. Here are some notes from a wine tasting I went to last night, where I got the opportunity to taste several reserve wines that retail in stores or restaurants for $60-120.

Kistler Chardonnay 2005

Sold to restaurants for 40$; toasted almonds and lemon on the nose, full of cream and tropical fruit (guava, papaya, more citrus, perhaps lemon or orange). When warm it delivers a punch; big mouthfeel, lingering finish, nice lemon bite at the end.

Chateau la Nerthe Chateauneauf du Pape 2003

Grenache, mourvedre, syrah, cinsault, other (56/12/24/6/2%)

Elevage (53/47)

Élevage is French for breeding or upbringing. It also refers to the maturing or raising of young wine until bottling. Élevage is also sometimes described as the educating of a wine.

Heady vanilla on the nose, accompanied by some earthy herbs; soft on the entrance with a nice blackberry/raspberry thing which explodes into a nice pepper on the front of the palate as it finishes. Others were able to pick out more particular spices, particularly baking spices like nutmeg.

Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2004

Plum and chocolate on the nose. Full bodied, with luscious fruit (plum, cherry, strawberry) along with a herbal oak/cedar showing on the palate. Delicious spice resolves into a nice white pepper as it finishes.

Cain Concept Napa Valley Red Table Wine 2003

Cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, petit verdot, merlot (75/10/9/6)

The nose is ecstatic with buttered popcorn; I got a little bit of red cherry prior to the popcorn. Initial swishing hit the very back of my palate with cedar and herbs, midpalate with lots of that popcorn which lingered for a while. Finished rich and strong, big but polished tannins. The descriptor sheet from the winery noted plums and dark purple fruit, which was also apparent.

Sterling Vineyards Three Palms Merlot 2002

Vanilla, cherry, cinnamon on the nose. Others got buttered popcorn on the nose too, but I thought the butter was more apparent on the palate. Otherwise this is very rich, tannic merlot, not a not of spice in comparison with the Duckhorn or the Chateau le Nerthe. Also observed blueberry, plum, cherry. Great with a blue cheese and I’m told fabulous with lamb.