The Meat Goes On - Porterhouse, Mar. 8, 2008

The idea was one white and all reds to come from either Bordeaux or Piedmont, but as will be quite obvious, rules are made to be broken.

Rene Mure, Alsace Vorbourg Grand Cru, Clos St. Landelin, Riesling Vendages Tardives, 2001

Hailing from Mure's Clos St. Landelin monopole in Vorbourg, this is more or less their flagship wine, which I bought in Paris; and, since ignored by virtually all English-speaking wine writers, a wine I knew little about and had to guess whether I nailed its drinking window correctly. I predicted it would be ready but on the young side and in the event, I was right. Spicy aromatics that are typical Alsace, I guess, though they could also have been typical Pfalz: minerals, peaches and baked apples. Though what I term typicity here goes beyond a grocery-list of aromas but rather how the aromas interact with each other. Slightly alcoholic at first and at any rate, a delicate frame that is somewhat overloaded with spices. Maybe time will tone it down. 91.

Caves Des Papes, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Les Closiers, 2000

The nose shows a lot of strawberries and raspberries, and in my opinion - in the minority, I must confess - a bit Pinot-ish at first. Though it picks up some nuances and spices, the major weakness is the palate, where the tannins overwhelm the fruit to such an extent I don't believe time will resolve the imbalance. 86-87.

Cuvee Du Vatican, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Reserve Sixtine, 2000

A much better CdP, albeit a bit too precise. Though after making that resevration, I must admit I'm biased towards the wilder breed of Rhone reds(I'm thinking of the red Marcoux, which is my notion of a wild, affordable CdP). Whatever, a balanced wine that needs, I'd say, a couple more years in the cellar, at which time it might be less mannered and more to my liking, because there is already a streak of spiciness on the nose that is very promising. A well-made wine, though, by any standard. 90.

Prunotto, Barolo, 2001

A well made wine with a juicy acidity that nails it as Italy. I wish I could say more about it, but a couple of pounds of cow had just arrived at the table, somewhat distracting me. I probably wouldn't have called it amazing even with more of my cerebral functions operational, but it is a well-made Barolo. 89-90.

Chateau Talbot, St. Julien, 2003

Whaddaya know, another excellent 2003. A classic profile with lots of leather complementing ripe fruit on both nose and palate. A taut yet elegant structure with more leather on the finish. Guess Bordeaux is too varied to generalize about even in a very hot vintage like 2003. 92.