Sunday, November 26, 2006

Back from Outer Space

First I was afraid- I was petrified
Kept thinking I could never live
without you by my side
But I spent so many nights
thinking how you did me wrong
I grew strong
- I learned how to carry on
and so you're back

from outer space

I just walked in to find you here
with that sad look upon your face
I should have changed my stupid lock

I should have made you leave your key

If I had known for just one second
you'd be back to bother me
-Gloria Gaynor, I Will Survive

Yes it has been quite a while, what with the Thanksgiving holiday and all. I suspect some of you may feel like Gloria Gaynor right now, but the good news is we have worked through the last of the tryptophan and are ready go. We've got lots of fun stuff in works. Tanned, rested, and ready as Nixon would say.

I thought I'd start us off with a bevy of wine notes taken during a killer Pichon-Lalande vertical dinner held here in New York. Sadly, the Pichon notes are destined to dock at another port, but hopefully some of the pre-dinner wines will satisfy your appetites until a certain site is ready to go.

We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving here in the U.S. or a great Thursday through Sunday for the rest.

1999 Moet & Chandon Brut Champagne
A nice if generic bottle of bubbly. Standard Champagne flavors and aromas, if somewhat one dimensional, but very little froth and buzz in the mouth. Almost a bit flat, it should have been better- especially for such a good vintage overall. Pass on this one as there are a number of other Champagnes at this price point that would fit the bill better. (TS)

Intensity: B+
Complexity: C
Balance & Structure: C
Current Grade: C
Peak Grade: C

1985 Dom Perignon Champagne
1985 was an excellent vintage in Champagne and I was looking forward to seeing how this wine fared. Sadly, my wine was accidentally pulled before I had time to finish it. Fortunately, I had milked my glass for most of the evening enjoying its rich almost chewy complexity. An aromatically intense Champagne, it had a nice froth and mouthfeel. Lemon curd, honeyed lemon and earth mingled with other flavors that became more evolved as the wine opened. This is an eminently “round” wine through out- full in every aspect with a long finish and no holes. Enjoy! (TS)

Intensity: A
Complexity: A
Balance & Structure: A+
Current Grade: A+
Peak Grade: A+

1997 Domaine Weinbach Gewurztraminer, Cuvée Théo, Clos des Capucins (Alsace)
A solid Gewurz that got caught up against a Sauternes that showed much better with the foie gras. The wine was very fragrant and aromatic, a hallmark of the Gewurztraminer grape- especially from such an ideal vintage. It was unfortunately a tad flat on the palate. Good mouth coverage and length made up for it a little, but perhaps we were tasting it just a bit too late in its life cycle. (TS)

Intensity: A
Complexity: B
Balance & Structure: B
Current Grade: B
Peak Grade: PP (Past Peak)

1970 Chateau Sigalas-Rabaud (Sauternes sweet wine)
Make no mistake- this is foie gras wine. Unbelievably rich and nutty it matched perfectly with the foie gras and all its accompaniments. Aromatically tight in the beginning it needs some time to open, so make sure you pop it early and don’t serve it too chilled. The 1970 harvest was ripe yet its grapes were lacking in acidity and unfortunately this wine holds true to the vintage. There is no real acid to match against the richness making the whole wine feel a bit dead in your mouth. An interesting flavor profile and full wine nonetheless. I would open this now and not wait any longer. (TS)

Intensity: A
Complexity: A
Balance & Structure: C
Current Grade: B+
Peak Grade: PP

Ed. Note:

A Quick Explanation on Wine Notes and Grades.

We realize that descriptors can be useful and we do use them but as a part of our wine writing philosophy, we try our best to de-emphasize the crazy wine speak that goes on in the industry. (Alder over at Vinography has an interesting piece I just commented on) Instead, we try to give the reader an idea of a wine’s style in relation to its vintage, region, varietal make-up, and producer.

Our grading system is a modified version of standard school grades (A+, A, B+, B and C – do you really care that a wine is a C+? we didn’t think so either).

We believe that a wine can be objectively defined by its intensity and complexity, as well as the most import component- its balance and structure. As such, we have separately scored these attributes in a “report card” along with our Current Grade (or how good the wine was when we tasted it) and our Peak Grade (or how good we believe the wine will be at its best). Trust us, it sounds more complicated than it is.

FYI, it's a work in progress so bear with us and since these are not red Bordeaux varietals, I may have given them short shrift compared to our non-blog notes, so beware. We hope you find the notes at least entertaining if not useful. Cheers!

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