I have also been neglecting my wine friends, for various reasons, none of which have anything to do with any lack of love. Work, family obligations and a somewhat constricted cash flow - all simply got in the way.
Time to dive right back in the pool of wine.
Jos. Christoffel, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Urziger Wurzgarten, Riesling Auslese Trocken, 1997
I would never have imagined, even in my wildest dreams, that Christoffel makes a trocken, let alone an Auslese Trocken. This takes getting used to, that's for sure. The nose is wonderful, with typical hints of petrol and cold slate and a not quite so typical fingerprint of guayavas. The palate is not quite my style: very bone dry, with only a trace of sweetness on the finish. On the plus side, there's a nice interplay of acidity and minerals that needs time to emerge.
Rene Rostaing, Cote Rotie, Cote Blonde, 1996
DOA. Just like the La Landonne from the same vintage a couple of months ago. Someone up there really doesn't like 1996. Or me.
Purchased from McArthur for about 80 USD.
Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Pessac-Leognan, 1996
The Rostaing's back up wine. This is simply lovely, a text-book example of elegant Bordeaux that unwinds slowly and confidently with air. The nose caresses with cherries and ash while the palate offers a supple structure and savory tannins.
Purchased from McArthur for about 50 USD.
Banfi, Summus, 1999
This is a dependable work-horse, I suppose. I have fine memories of the 1997 from my nubile days but this seems a touch finer, if there is any point at all to comparing impressions formed by such widely different incarnations of the same wine lover. Anyway, the nose has a certain herbal tinge that made me consider South Rhone at first, while the palate balances sweet tannins with a good dose of acidity. Gets the job done.