The Stars My Destination

Musso, Barbaresco, Bricco Rio Sordo, 1998

The classic dynamic of a robustly mature Nebbiolo - the sweet cherries pull one way; the tar, earth and iron another, both forces in balance. No sign of age, in fact, the fruit and tannins still feel bright and fresh, even polished, after all these years.

Scarpa, Barbaresco, 2001

Lovely but less so than the Musso. It's not as complex and the balsamic vinegar and sautéed cherries don't have the same tension and give and pull dynamic.

Domaine Seguin-Manuel, Pommard Premier Cru, Clos Blanc, 2010

It's the curse of red Burgundy. Pinot Noir will bless you with good to immortal aromatics in almost every vintage, even if the winemaker and/or the vineyard are mediocre. Getting the palate right requires skill, even in a great vintage like 2010. And this is what we have here, a nose that impresses much more than the palate, and even the nose is only decent. The aromatics are complex, with lots of iron and rust, but too forward to be really great. I prefer subtlety and nuances, a wine that asks me to make my way inside. The palate mixes sweet, simple fruit with rusty tannins. The bottom line, this is a good Premier Cru, not outstanding, without the muscular tension I'd expect from 2010. 

Olek Bondonio Barbaresco Roncagliette, 2018

I'd been wanting to try this for a long time. Just to get an idea of the house style. My expectations of such a young cru from a problematic vintage like 2018 was that it would be approachable. Well, it is, but it also shows all the drawbacks of youth. It's not very complex on neither nose or palate, just red cherries with hints of mint. The texture is smooth, because the fruit smothers the tannins. Alas, for me, Nebbiolo's great interest is in the complexity and grip of the tannins, so I didn't get a very good idea of the potential. 

Remirez de Ganuza, Rioja, Blanco Reserva, 2019

A lovely white that is a sort of reductive variation on the white Rioja idiom. Initially with obvious signs of oak on the nose, and none on the palate, it needs air to work off the air and show lemons with spicy nuances. Needs three-four years.

Alain Graillot, Crozes-Hermitage, La Guiraude, 2017

I've had decently mature Guiraudes in the past and when they peak, they show a lithe, elegant frame, sensual fruit skewered by fine, yet rusty, tannins, and layered with a dollop of bacon fat. The 2017, however, is far from its peak, a bottle sacrificed on the altar of friendship. At this stage, it's all luscious, sensual, fleshy texture, fresh fruit coasting on acidity, adorned by the North Rhone's signature black pepper and very subtle hints of bacon, any signs of complexity buried within.