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Monday, February 23, 2009

Two favorites of mine from the rose and unoaked Chardonnay category

Well…we’ll call it a ‘new favorite’ Rose (wine brings out my fickle nature). Mordoree and Tempier have got the Southeast of France covered, but Sancerre brings a real change of pace to the pink picture & it is certainly a genre that I need to pay closer attention to in the future.

Francois Cotat Rose '07
After Josh Raynolds blew my mind w/ the '99 version of this 100 percent Pinot Noir rose from Sancerre, I had to check out what this wine tastes like in its youth. The very pale salmon hue has transparent brilliance; w/ the mesmerizing clarity of a top rate diamond. The nose is still a bit shy, but promising in its sea air perfumes that hint at damp earth, strawberries on the vine and chalk dust. The entry is sappy, w/ framboise and cherry cordial notes gliding effortlessly over a buried mineral core. Without tasting the '99, I'd have obvsiouly underestimated the wine's longevity and potential evolution, but I think the understated depth is what really sets this guy apart in its youth, 90+ points.

To comment on the ‘scoring rose’ debate, those that want to lavish the Cotat w/ mid 90s marks should do so w/o hesitation or fear of recourse from the longevity police. You can allot 5, 10 or 15 points for Cotat’s rose from an evolutionary standpoint if the ’99 is any indication on what this wine will do in the bottle.

Diatom Huber Vineyard, ’05
Greg Brewer’s pet project w/ completely unoaked Chardonnay is a great niche in the California counter-cultural swing towards fresher, more transparent wines. The light golden speckled colors shake off some serious legs (the 16 plus percent alcohol a la Brewer Clifton is hardly noticeable), and the wine’s bouquet reveals ripe Granny Smith apple, honeysuckle, nectarine and a kinky sense of floral earth. The entry is juicy and enveloping, as pure, unadorned fruit fans out over an impressively rich, yet spry frame. While the ripeness is certainly evident, it’s equally met w/ potent, lip smacking acidity. In the spirit of all wines made by Greg or Steve, the ’05 Diatom keeps a keen eye on balance, 92 points.


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