Thursday, May 01, 2008

California Sunshine

Being a 'blog drinker' can be hard work. It's not so bad when I have to drink a bottle every two days...but then I get invited to friends..so more bottles are available.....that's not the problem though..I have to then write up about the evening and the wines...such hard work! So here we are you lucky readers....
The 4 regulars..Volker, Robert, Axel and myself met at Volker's house. The table was full of Tapas...ideal when drinking wines. The promise was of 4 wines..one white..the rest reds. All served blind..the 3 reds had been decanted.











Knipser Riesling Auslese Trocken
Halbstück 2003

Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
I guessed at a 5 year-old Spätlese trocken...so wasn't too far away.
Volker and myself had bought a few bottles at a tasting a few months ago...Yellow-gold colour, classic Riesling nose..nutty..citrus fruit aromas, melons and peaches, AND..petroleum!!
Ripe fruit, very clear definition, full, again citrus acidity but the fruit (Restsüße) just wraps it up to present a super Riesling...minerals and spices..perfect now.
Points 17.5

Wines 2 & 3 served together...and the sight of the first one told me..and everyone..this was Pinot Noir. After trying them both..I found similarities and thought same vintage..maybe German Spätburgunders...they turned out to be Californian...both Burgundian in style...but I really should have known as I have had wines from both growers recently.

Calera Pinot Noir 'Ryan' 2004
California, U.S.A.
Medium-pale colour, brown rim..
burnt, smokey aromatic nose..
red cherries...sweet fruit on the
palate but the correct dose of
acidity ensures it remains
well-balanced and lively..
quite fleshy..has 14.5% alcohol
but it carries it well and at no
point do you get that 'hot' feeling.
Points 17.25




Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir 2004
'La Bauge au dessus'
California, U.S.A.
A little deeper than the above in colour....
nose more intense..sweet strawberry fruit..
with currants...smokey note..very fruit driven.....there are firm tannins..
but this should not deter lovers of
Pinot Noir. Jim Clendenen is a master of
this grape......a velvet feeling will
have you drinking this now...
and why not..but this will continue
to evolve over the next 4-5 years.
Points 17.75




The last decanter on offer contained definitely no Pinot Noir.

Viader Napa Valley 2005
California, U.S.A.
Deep ruby-red colour...intense dark fruit....creamy sweet oak...classy.....
This is 69 % Cabernet Sauvignon and 31% Cabernet Franc....and the style could only be from California...this could not have been a Bordeaux. One always has the impression of a little Syrah in the mix...you could even call this a feminine style..but it's the high proportion of C.F. that makes this very approachable now....
elegant and supple..very compact but it is just so drinkable...mint and violets appear..smooth...and a long finish. This ain't cheap..thanks Volker.

Points 18




An excellent selection..and another example that California has got it back together....the two Pinots were very European....and the Viader was beautifully balanced. Bravo!




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