****+Wine of Merit: Marcassin, Zio Tony ranch, Russian River Valley, chardonnay, 2004: Wow! One must stop for a moment and appreciate. I have had other vintages of this wine and not been nearly as impressed. And yet this bottle of 2004 requires a complete rethinking and re-examination. At the same time complex and subtle, this chardonnay speaks to a sophistication and lightness of hand that I do not associate with Helen Turley, or new world chardonnay for that matter. Wonderful, lithe, balanced, frisky, and a sea-salty, lemon-zesty crushed sea shell verve (to balance out the more typical creme brulee notes) that I just loved. Perfectly balanced and structured. Long, mineral, lime-y finish. Just a superb chardonnay. Go figure.
***+Chateau Margui, Coteaux varois, rouge, 2006: A wonderful, spirited wine. A 60/40 syrah/cab mix from provence, this wine reminds me of the Galileo saying, "wine is sunshine held together by water". I can taste provence in there, its sun backed stones, garrigue, red and black currants and berries, the spice market in Aix en provence...delicious. And cheap ($17 a pop, $38 in mag!). Have it with a simple roasted chicken with new potatoes and count the blessings. Great.
***+Medlock Ames, Estate, Sonoma Mountain, merlot, 2003: Medlock Ames knows merlot. This iteration is firm and deep, with excellent plum and black currant, violet, mint, baker's choclate and pepper. Voluminous, with solid structure and good oak presence...never overwhelming. A wine to drink with air, or hold.
***+Jocelyn Lonen Winery, Lonen Reserve, cabernet sauvignon, 2003: Just wonderful. A wine made by the late Joshua Krupp, with fruit sourced from the Krupp's Stagecoach vineyard. Lovely concentration, rich and full...real Stagecoach terroir. Lush, velvety black cherry, mocha, cigar box with touches of fennel seed, earth and ripe plum that makes me think cab franc. Long, fine finish. Yum!
***+Woodward Canyon, Charbonneau vineyards, Walla walla, cabernet sauvignon, 1989: Yummy cab from another era. 12.3% abv, good acid structure, suave, gliding wahington state cab. Aromas of black cherry, dark chocolate, melted licorice, tar and a touch of bbq sauce. Integrated and harmonious front to back. Just a lovely wine to have with some slow cooked short ribs. Ah...the pleasures of food and wine.