Still quite young, with generous fruit and pleasant tannins. It began the evening with a somewhat chocolatey tone, but then developed a gorgeous, sweet blackberry fruit [1/3].
Deidesheimer Maushohle Reisling Spatlese Halbtrocken, Pfalz, 1999, VG+
Sweet, spicey, rich fruit, and velvety, this was killer with Maureen's apple and bleu cheese salad [1/3].
Warre's Tawny, Portugal, ``Otima'', 10 Year, $20 VG
No match for the Nimrod, this is still a fine production. Lighter, with more (delicious) fruit and less wood. The label recommends serving chilled. It's actually good that way, but just as good at room temperature [1/3].
Ravenswood Zinfandel, Lodi, 1998, $12 VG
Green when first opened, it matched suberbly with Italian food. The next night, it had ripened and was delightful all on its own [1/9].
Warre's Tawny, Portugal, ``Nimrod'', 15 Year, $11/glass Exc-
Heavenly. Dark, brooding cedar flavors. Reminds me of the Harveys Oloroso Sherry from last year [1/12].
Champanou White Vouvray, Vouvray, ``Vendange'', 1997, $12/glass VG
Slightly sweet with, yes, I said this, roasted turkey on the finish. Superb with Asian Fusion cuisine, balancing its acidic bite [1/12].
Beringer Zinfandel, North Coast, 1997, $8 G+
No varietal flavor to speak of, this vanilla oak bomb tasted like a ripe Cab. Strange, but not unpleasant at all [1/16].
David Bruce Zinfandel, Paso Robles, 1998, $14 VG
Delicious! Ripe fruit, big nose, and lots of mystery besides [1/18].
Edna Valley Syrah, Central Valley, CA, ``Paragon'', 1999, $16 VG+
Huzza, huzza. This youngster didn't act like one. Dark and mysterious, soft and fruity, but very restrained, with chocolate undertones and a touch of spice. We've never tasted anything like it; it certainly wasn't your typical Syrah. Good thing [1/20]!
Robert Mondavi Zinfandel, Napa, 1997, $15 VG
It took two days of resting after corking, but it finally came around, sweet, ripe, with nice structure [1/21].
Marietta Old Vine Red, California, Number Twenty Six, $10 VG-
Restrained, mysterious, possessing sweet fruit and nice attack on the palate, but disappearing on the finish [1/23].
Columbia Crest Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, WA, 1998, $5.50 VG-
Simple, but delicious. Enough fruit and toasty oak to keep one satisfied, with a nice glycerin feel [1/25].
Silverado Sauvignon Blanc, Napa, 1999, $24 (rest) VG-
Explosively floral with a touch of effervescence, plenty of acidity to give it some crispness [1/26].
De Loach Zinfandel, California, 1999, $9 VG
Ahhhhh. Full-bodied Zin fruit, a touch of dust and dampness, and little oak to complicate the experience. A real bargain [1/30].
Antinori ``Peppoli'', Chianti Classico, 1998, $48 VG+
This "Super Tuscan" Chianti Classico was maybe the best Chianti I'd ever had, with plenty of classic Chianti fruit, but soft, not woody [2/2].
Callaway Viognier, California?, Coastal, 1999, $11 VG
Really delicious. Lively, spicey, floral, wacky [2/3].
Robert Mondavi Chardonnay, California, 1999, VG
This old standby was delicious, holding its own in body, fruit, and spice against the Callaway Viognier. Plenty of toasty oak, but not overdone [2/3].
Chalone Chardonnay, Chalone, CA, 1998, VG+
A notch above the Mondavi California Chard, this was rich, buttery, and exhibited superb balance between the fruit and oak. True finesse [2/3].
Rancho Zabaco Zinfandel, Sonoma, 1998, $8 VG
One of the best wine values around. Rich, focussed fruit with a big dose of vanilla oak. Sometimes I don't go for the oak, but it works here. This is not a unique wine, but it's fun to drink and pairs well with many foods. Improves the night after opening, ripening and opening up nicely [2/4].
Clos du Bois Zinfandel, Sonoma, 1998, $10 VG-
I like this a little less than the Rancho Zabaco and De Loach, but still really enjoyable, with plenty of Zin fruit and little oak. A sweet touch and 14.5% alcohol says this was chaptalized (yeah, like I spell that right) [2/7].
Jepson Viognier, Mendocino, 1999, $17 VG
Delicate, floral, spicey fruit. Classic California Viognier. Yummy [2/10].
Edmeades Chardonnay, Anderson Valley, 1997, $16 VG
Coming on the heels of the Jepson Viognier, I expected to be disappointed, but I wasn't. Buttery, but with finesse I'm not used to in California Chards, and a bit of spice, to boot [2/10].
Galway Pipe Tawny Port, Australia, S. Smith and Son, NV, $20 VG+
Superb for the price. Complex and rich, especially with hard cheeses. I gave this an Exc- last year. It's borderline, but I think the Warre's Nimrod turned my head [2/10].
Rosenblum Zinfandel, Contra Costa, Pato Vineyard Reserve, 1997, $12 VG
Very interesting. Two nights after opening, layers of soft ripe fruit, smoke, and herbs, topped off with a bit of tartness on the finish. A bit tamer the first night [2/12].