Monday, July 11, 2005

11 July 2005 - Tasting Notes

Faillenc Saint-Marie Syrah Rose 2004, Vin de Pays d'Oc, France
I tasted a pink wine today that prompted this thought: Now that it's cool to drink dry pink wine, is it possible that someday we'll be able to handle a slightly sweet pink wine? I know, it sounds too much like white zinfandel, but if we can accept Riesling with a touch of sweetness, why not a delicious, refreshing, compelling, and yes, slightly sweet, pink wine? The wine was a 2004 Pays d'Oc Rose made from Syrah, at Domaine Faillenc Saint-Marie. Brilliant deep pink color, intense berry/floral smells, and sappy, lively, slightly but distinctly sweet flavors. Was it the best wine I tasted today? No, it was actually a pretty good day for tasting, but this little wine was the most fun. Interestingly, the 2003 edition of Faillenc Saint-Marie was dry -- delightful, refreshing, and dry. And it sold quite well. So why did the winery change direction in '04? I would like to believe that they tasted the wine from tank, noticed the sweetness, but thought "hey, you know, this is flat-out delicious, let's bottle it -- now!"

Monarchia Pinot Grigio 2004, Hungary
Hungarian Pinot Grigio. Have you noticed that cheap Italian Pinot Grigio isn't cheap anymore? It's just as ordinary, just not as cheap. So, today I taste a Pinot Grigio from Hungary -- not hunger, Hungary. Beats, no, blows away, any $10 Italian Pinot Grigio -- geez, it even has some flavor! Chalk it up to the cost of land and labor.

Amancaya 2003, Mendoza, Argentina
A fifty/fifty blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec from a collaboration of Nicolas Catena and the Edmund Rothschild group. Good wine, lively, intense, balanced -- and reasonably priced. That's the notable part -- a glamorous partnership in South America producing a delightful everyday-priced wine, instead of a collector's item.

La Spinetta Barbera d'Asti '03 Ca di Pian
Giorgio Rivetti is one of Italy's great winegrower/makers. So, when I tasted the '02 Ca di Pian earlier this year, I fully expected a successful wine despite a terribly difficult vintage. Nope, the wine sucked, and was doubly disappointing because it was made by Rivetti, and it was more expensive than the terrific '01. He redeems himself with this one -- deep, dark, delicious and compelling as usual, and the same price as the '01.


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