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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Terlato tasting report

Just got back from the Terlato Wines / Monarch Beverage tasting at Fleming's Steakhouse. Here's a brief rundown of what I thought were the standouts:

Bollinger Special Cuvée NV, Champagne, France. Creamy, toasty, bubbly -- everything I want a Champagne to be. Wine Spectator 90. $55-$60 per bottle.

Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino 2001, Tuscany, Italy. If I could have had my choice of wines to take home as a door prize, this would have been it. Delicious and complex, with enough bottle age to give it a silky smoothness. I'll be taking a bottle of this home with me very soon, probably to accompany a beef tenderloin. Thank goodness I get a discount. Wine Advocate 91. $65-$70 per bottle.

Wairau River Pinot Noir 2005, Marlborough, New Zealand. Very light in color, but very big in the nose and flavor departments. Delicious. Not yet rated. $25-$27 per bottle.

Rutherford Hill Chardonnay 2005, Napa Valley, California. Quintessential California Chard, oaky and creamy with no trace of bitterness. Either not yet rated or Wine Enthusiast 90; a little confusion on that point. I'd buy it anyway. $19-$20 per bottle.

Chimney Rock Fumé Blanc 2005, Napa Valley, California. No grapefruit or grassiness here, but some distinct smokiness and a nice mouthfeel. Very nice wine, but for $70-$75 per bottle one kind of expects that. Not yet rated.

Two Hands "Yesterday's Hero" Grenache 2005, Barossa Valley, Australia. The wonderful, huge Grenache nose is a tough act to follow, and the palate isn't quite up to the task. It's still awfully nice, though. Wine Spectator 89. $45-$49 per bottle.

Two Hands "Gnarly Dudes" Shiraz 2003, Barossa Valley, Australia. All of the Two Hands wines are excellent, but this is a fruit-forward blockbuster and a bargain to boot. Big jammy Shiraz nose, followed by big jammy Shiraz fruit. Wow. Drink it to wash down a big American cheeseburger. Wine Advocate 90. $21-$23 per bottle.

Two Hands "Brilliant Disguise" Moscato 2006 (500 ml), Barossa Valley, Australia. Apricot and honey coat the tongue, then sizzle off with the light fizzyness. Delightful. Wine Spectator 85. (What was wrong with them that day?) $19-$20 per bottle.

Peller Estate Vidal Blanc Icewine 2004 (375 ml), Niagara Peninsula, Canada. This is some good stuff -- plenty sweet, but the sweetness is moderated by the oak, which also contributes to a creamy mouthfeel. Much more to my taste than its Riesling sibling, which was just ... sweet. Not yet rated. $30-$33 per bottle.

Peller Estate Cabernet Franc Icewine 2004 (375 ml), Niagara Peninsula, Canada. Where the heck to they get Cab Franc in Canada? Well, it doesn't matter -- this is a lovely pink, fruity, sweet (but not too sweet) wine. I was trying to place the taste; I think it was cranberries. If you can find it, squirrel a bottle or two away for Thanksgiving. (Or Canadian Thanksgiving, eh?) Not yet rated. $46-$50 per bottle.
M. Zane Grey, 5:15 PM