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Old 12-04-2004, 05:01 PM
Dale Williams
 
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Default TN: Easter weekend wines (and the winners are NZ SB & '02 Sancerre)

Friday I jumped onto train to meet Betsy for dinner before "Xerses", we met at
a Japanese restaurant a friend had recommended. I felt like sushi and told
Betsy just to order me a large assortment as she would get there a few minutes
before me. A quick perusal of the by-the-glass list over edamames led me to
order the 2001 Mollet "Roc de L'Abbaye" Sancerre. Ripe apple fruit, light
acidity, a SB green tang but without much in the way of mineral flavors. OK,
but not exciting. B/B- I decided to try something else as I finished my sushi
(just ok, decent fish, but the chef seemed to have a compulsion to dress up the
nigiri with sauces and garnishes rather than let fish speak for itself). The
short list said "2002 Gisbourne Chardonnay"- I thought I remembered seeing
recently notes on an unwooded Chard from Gisbourne, said "what the hell." What
showed up was the 2002 Brancott Gisbourne Chardonnay. Certainly not unwooded,
ripe melon and pear fruit under a thick blanket of toasty oak. It was a good
thing I had finished my sushi, while it would have been a bad match, it made a
decent dessert. B

We were invited to a party/Easter-egg hunt on Saturday afternoon(I refrained
from the hunt, being slightly larger than the participants). As we arrived the
hostess pointed to a glass of golden liquid with a bit of petillance and said
"there seemed to be one extra glass of champagne". As it was next to a bottle
of Gruet Brut, my favorite New Mexican bubbly, I gladly accepted. And put to my
lips a glass of...........beer. A moment of sensory confusion/discognizance,
then someone comes in "I poured a beer then forgot it". It seems the Gruet was
gone, and the pickings were slim. Quick sips of 2000 Beringers Founder's Estate
Cabernet (no comments, a borderline C) and the like confirmed my preconceptions
and led me to start looking for the beer, but then I found the 2001 Monmousseau
"Blanc de Blancs" Vouvray in the fridge.Unsure of the meaning of the BdB
nomenclature, but for budget Chenin this wasn't bad. Good acidity, spiced apple
fruit, ok finish. Light sweetness balances with the acidity. Not bad. B

That night some friends brought over some Indian food, we tried a variety of
wines:

2001 Falesco Vitiano
Light oak, plum and red berry fruit, ok. B

2002 Brocard "Domaine Ste. Claire" Chablis
Zippy acidity, nose of white flowers and mineral, clean white fruit, no sign of
oak. B+

2003 Cairnbrae "The Stones" Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
I'd never heard of this winery before, but I was very pleased. Complex nose of
gooseberries, peaches, and mineral, followed by a palate of melon, white
fruit, and a dash of pepper. Long finish, bright acidity, very nice wine. A-/B+

Sunday Betsy was working, but I went stag to an Easter party at her sister's
family (who were my friends long before they were my in-laws). A nice crowd and
a delicious pot-luck spread, and some wines:

2002 Pascal Jolivet Sancerre
Very nice Sancerre. Ripe fruit but plenty of balancing acidity, hint of grass,
good mouthfeel, with a long chalky finish. Very good. B+/A-

2001 Michel Lafarge Bourgogne
A little less expressive than 2 previous bottles. Decent cherry fruit, a hint
of tartness, pleasant finish. B/B+

2001 Cline California Zinfandel
Some vanilla oak flavor, ripe sweet red fruit, simple but pleasing. A crowd
favorite, though. B

Also, no notes, but a short trip by a tasting at Zachy's of Iberian wines from
Douglas Poulaner confirmed some ideas I already had:
Of the '02 Castano line, the most expensive (Solanera) is my least favorite, I
prefer the Hecula and the Monastrell.
The Pazo de Senorans '02 is one nice Albariño, but at Zachy's $19 a bit
expensive. The Cuevas de Castilla "Cuvee RS" Rueda is a better deal at $7
(Don't know what RS stands for, but this is a dry wine).
The acclaimed Los Rochas de San Alejandro is ok but I don't see where the
acclaim comes from.
The first time I had the '99 Capcances Cabrida it was $41, the current $30 is
more reasonable. Good alternate to new-wave CdP.

Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine, B
a good wine, C mediocre. Anything below C means I wouldn't drink at a party
where it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no promises of objectivity,
accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.
Dale

Dale Williams
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Old 12-04-2004, 06:00 PM
Dale Williams
 
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Default TN: Easter weekend wines (and the winners are NZ SB & '02 Sancerre)

A couple notes/corrections:
Brancott is the name Montana uses in US.

And off-topic:
That should read "Xerxes", of course. It was a fine opera, done in English with
amusing translation and production. Though I confess countertenors put me on
edge.

The friend of Betsy's from the orchestra who suggested restaurant, when advised
of our lukewarm response, said "oh I wouldn't get sushi there, I only order
noodles". Personally I feel if you're going to recommend a restaurant, be
specific!
Dale

Dale Williams
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Old 13-04-2004, 05:33 AM
Brian Boutel
 
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Default TN: Easter weekend wines (and the winners are NZ SB & '02 Sancerre)

Dale Williams wrote:

I decided to try something else as I finished my sushi
(just ok, decent fish, but the chef seemed to have a compulsion to dress up the
nigiri with sauces and garnishes rather than let fish speak for itself). The
short list said "2002 Gisbourne Chardonnay"- I thought I remembered seeing
recently notes on an unwooded Chard from Gisbourne, said "what the hell." What
showed up was the 2002 Brancott Gisbourne Chardonnay. Certainly not unwooded,
ripe melon and pear fruit under a thick blanket of toasty oak. It was a good
thing I had finished my sushi, while it would have been a bad match, it made a
decent dessert. B


Umm... Brancott is the brand name used in the US by Montana Wines -
otherwise there would be geographical confusion. The Brancott Estate is
in Marlborough, and the label is used in NZ for Montana's top SB. In
Gisborne (note no 'u') their top Chardonnay is sold as "Ormond Estate",
and the "Gisborne" is a step down. Both are oaked. Your description
sounds more like the Ormond Estate, but it could be either.


2003 Cairnbrae "The Stones" Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
I'd never heard of this winery before, but I was very pleased. Complex nose of
gooseberries, peaches, and mineral, followed by a palate of melon, white
fruit, and a dash of pepper. Long finish, bright acidity, very nice wine. A-/B+


It's part of Sacred Hill.

--brian

--
Brian Boutel
Wellington New Zealand


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