About this Blog

The blog focuses on the essence of wine and food, not how many points or stars it receives. The opinions are mine and should be taken only as that, an opinion not gospel.

Like many collectors, initially I was very much influenced by wine ratings. I purchased wines based on points, even if I had never tasted the wine. And it was much worse than that. I would drink a wine with a high rating, not like it, yet since it was highly rated I’d rationalize that I did not yet appreciate the wine, or that my palate was not sophisticated enough to understand the wine. How’s that for lunacy? As a result my cellar grew in all directions while my palate narrowed. By the time I realized the style of wine that I enjoyed, my cellar abounded with wines whose styles I did not enjoy. All of these wines were very highly rated, just not my cup of tea, or glass of wine to be more accurate. Fortunately I was able to sell many of these wines to those who either enjoyed them or wanted highly rated wines. Don’t misunderstand, I am not against wines with high ratings, in fact I own many. It is just that I now purchase wines based on the producer, the style and my palate, not the rating. Nor do I shun reading reviews. I very much respect Antonio Galloni, Alan Meadows, Eric Asimov and John Gilman and read their reviews routinely. I pay attention to what they write, not the points they award.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My Memorable wines of 2010

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to get this wine blog up. Well it is January 1, 2011 so here it goes. What better way to start of a wine blog for 2011 with some comments on the most memorable wines of 2010 that I drank. I have included stores that carry these wines where appropriate. For their availability one would have to check with them. Of course these are not the only stores that carry these wines. Wine Searcher.com is an excellent resource in locating wines.

1985 Domaine Huet Clos du Bourg Moelleux 1ere Trie. An absolutely delicious wine. Made from 100% Chenin Blanc. The Huet family are masters of traditionally made wine with soul. Here is a 25-year-old white wine that is just coming into its own. My guess is that this wine will last for another 20 to 30 years. Beautifully balanced and round on the palate with a lush clean finish. Available at 56º Wine, Bernardsville.

2006 Rayas Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc. An absolutely compelling wine. Gorgeous bouquet of flowers and melons. Dazzling purity on the palate with a knockout finish.

1997 Quintarelli Alzero Vino da Tavola Cabernet Franc. Incredible wine that is made from Cabernet Franc in the classic repasso method. Round and delicious on the palate. Continued to evolve in the glass. The only accurate description of this wine is that it is delicious. Quintarelli is an absolute master of making wines from what nature gives him. He says “"Our traditional methods and savors must not be abandoned or forgotten. More than anything else, one can never force nature. One must be calm, have the right method, and have a lot of passion." Aavailable at De-Vino Wine Boutique, NYC.

1946 Lopez de Heredia Tondonia Rioja Gran Riserva. In my opinion Lopez de Heredia is the finest producer of traditionally made Spanish wines in all of Spain. The wines are aged a minimum of 6 years in 100 year old large oak barrels, followed by 4 years in the bottle before being released. They last seemingly forever. The 1946 is an example. The color in the glass would lend one to believe that the wine is from a current vintage such as 2001. The hue is a gorgeous clear red, with no browning evident at all. Round and pure on the palate. Maria Jose de Heredia the cellar master does not recommend decanting any of her wines. “You will miss them if you do”, she says. Available at Wine Legend, Livingston, NJ.

1969 Camille Giroud Pommard Les Epenots. Have had this wine the past two years on my wedding anniversary. The wine is amazingly youthful for a 40 year old wine. The essence of terroir in wine. Unfortunately it is not easy to find.

1995 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo. Bartolo Mascarello is my favorite Barolo producer and the 1995 is one of the reasons why. It is the essence of a great Barolo. Fabulous bouquet, pure on the palate and long on the finish. This is also a reason why I shun ratings, as this wine got 86 points from a major reviewer. AvailableAvailable at NY Winewarehouse in NYC.
and De-Vino Wine Boutique, NYC.

1995 J.L. Chave Hermitage. From magnum this bottle was magnificent. Terroir driven. Full of pepper and spice. Soft on the palate and lush on the finish. The wine kept evolving in the glass. A simply delicious wine. Available at NY Winewarehouse in NYC.

2002 Giaccomo Conterno Barolo Monfortino Riserva. I had the pleasure of tasting this wine from the barrel when I visited the Conterno estate in July of 2008. In a year in which most Barolo producers did not make a wine due to poor conditions, Roberto Conterno may have made his best Monfortino Riserva ever. I had this wine in November, shortly after its release and it was fabulous. Terrific purity and roundness on the palate. I think this will become one of the greatest Barolos ever made. Patience in cellaring this beauty will be rewarded. Available at Wine Legend, Livingston, NJ.

I was fortunate to drink a number of great wines in 2010. The above however stood out amongst the rest.

1 comment:

  1. Mark --

    As you know, we have similar palates and my own notes, which I shared with you and now reproduce below, are largely comparable. I am a little less entrenched in the "anti-modern" thinking than you are, though, and I further think that the problem with the 1994 Sassicaia was more that it was a 1994 than that it was a Sassicaia. Anyway, here are my thoughts:


    NV Laurent Perrier Grand Siècle "La Cuvee" -- very creamy with a long finish; seemed to have age, despite not being a vintage champagne (thank you, Goldy)

    Flight One

    2002 Montet Gevrey-Chambertin – (magnum) perfect; great fruit; very representative of a G-C with lots of finesse; I want more of this – and often

    1989 Joseph Droughin Chambolle-Musigny Amoureuses - a little tired; browning on the edges, but still a strong '89; Goldy liked it a lot more than I did (thank you, George L.)

    Flight Two

    1994 Sassicaia - thin for a Sassicaia and quite disappointing (sorry, AG)

    2001 Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino - showing well, but young (Jeff – you brought the wine of the flight, but that wasn't hard to do!)

    2006 Llanos del Almendro - Tempranillo clone; crap wine -- like grape juice (sorry, Gino)

    Flight Three

    1990 Montrose - spectacular wine; great glycerin/fruit with wonderful complexity; drinking great now with many more years of life (thank you, Emil)

    1990 Massetto - terrific Massetto but it doesn't compare to the Montrose. A thinner, less fruity wine. Nevertheless, it is amazing that a merlot can hold its own after two decades (thank you, George U.)

    Flight Four

    1996 Gaja Costa Russi - modern and a little too fruity for me, but still a lovely drink (thank you, Mark)

    1995 Soldera Intistieti Brunello di Montalcino - despite being open for hours, still tight at the first sip. It evolved admirably and remarkably quickly in the glass. One fabulous Sangiovese; an amazing wine (thank you, Tony)

    Flight Five

    2001 Solaia - baby, with something funky in the finish (AC – better than the Sass, but you let us down today)

    2000 Clos du Caillou Reserve - fabulous CDP that is actually more akin to a Burgundy than a CDP; great finesse – a feminine wine (thank you, Jeff)

    Flight Six

    2003 Climens - amazing for a Climens; more viscous than most; delicious peach and pear notes and a terrific value (thank you, Gino)

    2003 d'Yquem - I love this vintage and this is a consistently fabulous d’Yquem; lots of passion fruit and pineapple (you really redeemed yourself now, Gino)