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Sunday, July 05, 2009

Independent Wines for the 4th

For the 4th of July, Ejehan and I decided to take advantage of our newly created deck, inviting a few thirsty patriots over to partake in some vinous fireworks. A couple friends from Washington D.C. were in town, with eBobers George Chyla, Sherry Chyla, Jamie Manley & his lovely lady all nestling up to our grill for the evening. In addition to the wines, the wife’s beer can chicken seemed to garner most of the attention, as ravenous hands tore into it w/ as much fervor as a rabid dog on road kill.

As for the wines, we began w/ a Kermit Lynch import from Tavel, the '08 Chateau de Trinquevedel. The copper tinted rose showed a lively profile of sweet red cherries, white pepper, pipe tobacco and an intriguing earthy undertow on the snappy, mineral-rich finish. The whites were a pair of beauties from Francois Cotat, w/ his '07 Les Monts Damnes & Les Culs de Beaujeu demonstrating a brilliant combination of intensity and elegance. Their perfumes were packed w/ an array of meadow flowers, chive, hay, honey, quince and macadamia nut notes. Intensely concentrated and tangy, their flavors penetrated the palate w/ a rush of liquid rock & citrus tones that lingered on and on. Evolved and showy, each cuvee should drink exceptionally well over the next 5 or so years. The whites were bookended by a NV Mumm de Cramant, a concentrated, powerfully bubbly full of toasted almond, graphite and sweet fig flavors that danced along the palate, knifing their way to the finish.

The reds commenced w/ a magnum of '01 Vieille Julienne Chateaunuef du Pape, which gained in depth and flavor delineation as it aired in the glass. Classic notes of sweet cassis, blueberry, forest floor and underbrush filled out the medium weight palate w/ great freshness, purity and follow-through. Surprisingly, the '03 Pape Clement strut its stuff right out of the gates, showing none of the blowzy, superficially sweet characteristics that often typify the vintage. Ripe, yet distinctly Graves in profile, the nose of sweet tobacco, cedar, cassis, incense and melted licorice rocketed from the bottle the moment the cork was popped. The flavors enveloped the palate, w/ a juicy, velvety textured wave that cruised on through the finish. The Pape firmed up a bit as it aired, suggesting that it should be drunk without a decant or cellared for at least another 5 years.

Things heated up w/ Sine Qua Non's Atlantis Syrah, screaming a distinctive black pepper and mint leaf note that didn't appear in the previous bottle I tasted. Large-scaled, yet with a bit more lift than most vintages of SQN, the wine is characterized by great density and power, finishing off w/ a molten chocolate cake and blackberry liqueur-like note. We took a quick dip into the Malbec pool as the dessert arrived, swimming through an '08 Achaval Ferrer that showed its telltale graphite and purple fruit profile, pushed along by zippy acidity and great mineral definition.

Wine Points

NV Mumm de Cramant 92 points

'08 Chateau de Trinquevedel 86 points

’07 Francois Cotat Les Monts Damnes 93 points

’07 Francois Cotat Les Culs de Beaujeu 92 points

'01 Vieille Julienne Chateaunuef du Pape 91 points

'03 Pape Clement 95 points

’05 Sine Qua Non's Atlantis Syrah 96 points

'08 Achaval Ferrer Malbec 91 points

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