Marques de Rsical Rioja, 2002 and Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia, 2000 (I think): A few weeks ago I had a dinner club meeting that happened to be the night before my friend, Meg's birthday. Meg has been on an Iberian wine kick lately so I broke out these two Spanish wines. Both wines are made primarily frm the tempranillo grape and both were excellent, but they were very different which speaks to the importance of "terroir" or in non wine snob, the soil, climate and region in which the grapes are harvested. The Marques de Riscal was smooth with balanced notes of berry, smoke and leaher. The subtle way in which it presents its flavors is due to the time it was aged in oak barrels as well as the time I held onto it. The Lopez de Heredia was a lot bigger and more rustic, but with a lot of bright cherry notes. Lopez de Heredia is great at producing powerful wines that do not overpower most dishes.
Kistler Chardonnay: I didn't catch the year, but it doesn't really matter to me because I've always enjoyed Kistler's Chardonnay. One of the few buttery, oaky California chardonnays I like. They somehow seem to balance the fruit just right so it's right on the edge of being out of balance, but holds its ground. If you like minerally, acidic Chardonnays that show a lot of citrus or green apple, this one is not for you.
Marc Bredif Vin Moelleux Nectar 2000: I hesitate sharing this one because I bought it at the vineyard on my trip to The Loire and it's virtually impossible to find in this country. One of the best dessert wines I've had lately (and I drink a lot of good dessert wines). We drank this at the conclusion of Meg's pseudo-birthday dinner and it was the hit of the evening. As the name suggests, it tastes like fresh peach nectar without the thick pulp and tongue coating. If you get a chance to have a Bredif Nectar from any year, go for it.
Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Brut Belles Annees, NV: One of my favorite sparkling wine and for $40, you cannot do better (for those who swea by Veuve, I promise this is better). Tight bubbles, but slightly less effervescent than most champagnes. Bright fruit and acid with a lot of minerality that somehow does not overwhelm. Almost too easy to gulp, which I learned while watching Justin Bieber perform "Let it Be" on the New Year's Eve special. And I almost killed the bottle while listening to Ce-lo Green murder "imagne.". What is it with less talented musicians wanting to "honor" The Beatles by destroying their music?!?
So now it's 2012 and one of my goals is to post more consistently in the future.
Until the next sniff, sip, quaff, or random musing about wine or the state of the music industry,
Cheers and Happy New Year,