I managed to drink a little bit of wine over the last six months. Don't ask to see my liver. I will say that it didn't feel like a lot, but it certainly looks like it. The following list includes wines that I drank domestically, as well as wines from my recent trip to Europe. Most of the wines were consumed at dinners. But the recent wines from the Northern Rhone were tasted at the Marche au Vin in Ampuis in January, and the later vintage Cotat's were tasted at the winery a few days before the Marche. I also attended a forty person BYO tasting in Westchester where I tasted a few dozen wines. All in all it was pretty good drinking. I hope you enjoy the notes.
Please forgive me but I have been late in posting my wine tasting notes. Many of these notes date back to the springtime. A number of them come from a trip to France and Spain back in April where, in spite of the bad exchange rate, I found great bargains on many of the wine lists of top restaurants. In particular, I had a good run of Clos St. Hunes, with examples from 1973, 1979, and 1982. I also had a spate of unbelievable Riojas at local tastings, including great bottles from the 1925, 1928, 1947, and 1949 vintages. Of course, let's not forget a number of other stunning bottles from the various regions I enjoy drinking. And while I know reading about them is not the same as tasting the wines, I hope these notes convey the feeling of drinking them.
1961 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Monfortino - Beautiful, mature, round, elegant, sophisticated, deep, etc. I can go on and on. A compelling experience and the best bottle of wine I drank all year. A+
1985 Bruno Giacosa Santa Stefano Riserva (red label) - Amazing depth, amazing extraction, amazing complexity, amazing finish, amazing, amazing, amazing. A tad alcoholic. A
1978 Gaja Barbaresco Sori Tilden - Super stuff with lots of power yet classy and polished. More like the old fashioned Gajas than the wines he made post '1980. A+
1982 Gaja Barbaresco Sori Tilden - A great bottle of wine. Amazingly smooth and supple while still retaining all the characteristics of Barbaresco. A
1982 Aldo Conterno Barolo Grand Bussia - Powerhouse of a wine. Great extraction, great structure. Will be a great, great bottle in 5-7 years and will last for decades. A 1990 - Way to young to drink. Hold for 15 more years. Tremendous power. Will rival the '82 for greatness. A
1982 Aldo Conterno Barolo Vigna Collonello - Huge wine. Good barolo red meat. Like the smell of fresh pork blood before they make a boudin noir. A-
1985 Aldo Conterno Vigna Collonello - Nice but young. A bit alcoholic, which is expected for the vintage but not too hot. Chalky on the finish. B
1978 Gaja Barbaresco Sori San Lorenzo - Lots of fruit although very rustic. Still tannic. High minerality that seems un-Gajalike. Needs another 5-10 years but I am not sure this will ever be a harmonious wine. B-
1982 Aldo Conterno Barolo Bussia Soprano -Fully mature and highly evolved. Lack of breeding showed. The average Joe would probably find this superb. Almost old bones but still has the charm of delicious old wine. B-
1990 Marcarini Barolo La Serra - Not in the same league as the big boys but no slouch. Lovely cherry fruit with some cedery tones. Still tannic and needs 3-5 years. C+
1990 Scavino Barolo Canubbi Boschis - Fruit wasn’t deep. Not elegant either. 14% alcohol but seemed hotter on the palate. This wine was a mess. C-
1985 Ruffino Chianti Riserva Ducale - Commercial juice but aging well. Nice to drink today but will be very good in 10 years. C+
1990 Ruffino Chianti Riserva Ducale - More powerful than the '85, but I expect it to turn out pretty much the same. Drink it now or in 15 years. C+
2000 Paolo Bea Montefalco Rosso - Good concentration and pretty cherry color. Black olives and bramble. Needs 5-6 years. C+