Birthday Weekend

Domaine Marquis d'Angerville, VolnayPremier Cru, Champans, 2011
This is a wine I have had a couple of times in its youth. It always played out better than one would expect from 2011. Young, it was especially enticing and sexy. Now that it's entering its maturity, it actually needs coaxing and time to show its pedigree and the sensual crown jewel splendor of a great Premier Cru. The nose shows black cherries, violets, earth and even hints of Pommard-like iron, and is quite complex almost from the start. The palate is a bit anorectic and one-dimensional for the first couple of hours, until its frame fills out and displays the pin-point balance of sexy fruit and tannic grip that we Bourgogne lovers have come to expect from a touted grower and vineyard. The final glass is close to Grand Cru complexity and finesse. (July 17, 2020)

Selbach-Oster, Mosel, Zeltinger Himmelreich, Anrecht, Riesling, 2012
This comes from a plot in the Zeltinger Himmelreich that is harvested in one pass, as opposed to making separate harvests for kabinett, spatlese, auslese etc. The result combines a light frame with a persistent texture and presents a nose that's very Mosel, where age has added to the granny apples of youth a delicate matrix of citrus and summer fruits. I get the same sense of a hedonistic confection I get from an Auslese, but the pinpoint balance and focus are such that it comes off as a dinner wine like a lower pradikat and not a dessert wine, very harmonious with no single characteristic dominating. Finally, one thought I realize I can't prove: the grapes having been harvested in different levels of sugar and phenolic ripeness may have imparted to the wine a subtle complexity you wouldn't get if all the grapes were alike, much like instruments in a band coming in slightly behind or in front of each other and causing a shift in the overall harmonics. (July 18, 2020)

Vietti, Barolo, Castiglione, 2008
Vietti's entry-level Barolo is a blend of various vineyards across the Castiglione Falletto, Monforte, Barolo and Novello communes. It's good, even very good, not exceptional, but showing true Barolo character: earth, tar, truffles. The tannins soften abruptly on the finish, diminishing the impact. At the end of the day, I can think of at least three entry-level Barolos that match it at no more than two thirds of the price. (July 19, 2020)