First, David Coffaro wines are brilliant: last year's Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel & Cuvees are worth finding. Have to buy through him coffaro.com .
We know Italy well: northern regions, are our faves. When we drink French, it's special. This weekend we opened a French Cotes du Rhone Villages, Sablet, 1999. Wonderful.
- Domaine des Espiers; Phillipe Cartoux.
- Find this and drink now; maybe next year; we had this in our cellar for a year at least, so I don't remember the cost--20$?.
- Open at least half-hour before drinking; an hour would work, believe it or not. We took our time with this bottle: provided intriguing discoveries from five minutes to forty-five minutes (when we poured the last glass.)
- Needed plenty of air and encouragement to open.
- notes, 5min: very purple, dark; (nose) bitter chocolate, prune, raisin, corriander (dried cilantro)--did take a few minutes to develop a good nose, we worried about whether it was over the hill.
- Glad we waited.
- notes, 10min: currant front (black or red?), not too fast finish, consistent, bitter yet tart, slightly astringent, low acid (but not a bad thing.)
- notes, 25min: spicy nose now, bitter chocolate still, less fruit more spice (what spices?)
- 30min: black cherry, black currant, fruit coming out, no longer tart, more flavorful, better finish.
- notes, 45min: good finish...this wine needs time, maybe open and decant 30mins before drinking; good air before pouring first glass.
We found an 11$ Maculan Tocai blend, "Pino and Toi", 2003, from the Veneto. Great sitting and reading white. Maculan is well-known but we haven't seen this. Were informed to serve cold...don't. People think white wine should tast like candied fruits for some reason.
Put this one in fridge 1/2 hour befor serving if you must have it cold; otherwise, keep it in your cellar until opening.
- Too cold, this wine is pale and lacks nose and fruits, is yeasty tasting.
- Close to room temp, but slightly cold: light nose, herbal hints, green tea perhaps, yellow and green citrus; mellow, almost hidden tart (that opens out as wine approaches room temp); almost sweet and slightly sour, floral (bitter petals, again herbal); very pale (so surprising how it opens to complexity rather than remains simple); a tiny bit frizzante (doesn't distract; have to invert or swish to notice.)
- 60% Tocai
- 25% Pinot Bianco
- 15% Pinot Grigio
- A complex and well-crafted wine; chilling this wine cuts its complexity and spice, relegating the available flavors to light citrus and herbs. Allowing it to be open from slightly below room temp brings out a run of flavors from citrus to spice as you drink it.