Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Friends, Bottles & Broken Bones

One of the things I love most about wine is its ability to bring people together. Writing, on the other hand, is a solitary pursuit.

But last week I got the chance to share wine and writing with some friends to celebrate the launch of my first novel, Broken Bones. We got together at Weygandt Wines, one of my favorite wine shops anywhere, to sip some wine and catch up.

I plan on hosting a bigger launch party soon, as well as readings and perhaps another tasting. To keep up with future events, follow Broken Bones on Facebook or me (@IsaacJamesBaker) on Twitter.

Here are some notes and pictures from an awesome night...
N.V. Nicolas Maillart Champagne 1er Cru Brut Platine - France, Champagne
As always, a solid Champers. I got lemon cake, sea breeze, toast and yellow apples on the nose. Crisp and creamy on the palate, with crushed rocks and seashells to accent the toasty almond and yellow apple fruit. Definitely a fan-friendly Champagne, but also showing some serious complexity. (89 points)

N.V. Ulysse Collin Champagne Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs
- France, Champagne
An almost orange color in the glass. Aromas of lemon zest, dried pineapple and flowers, sea salt. Tangy and mineral-driven on the palate, but this also has a lot of depth and power, like dried pineapple and mango, along with some apple peel and apricot. I also get some saline and sea brine notes. A lot going on here, and I dig it. Seems like this has aged well, although I'm not sure of the date when it was disgorged. (88 points)

2002 Meulenhof Erdener Treppchen Riesling Kabinett
- Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Cork and wine were in perfect condition. Lots of apricot, lychee and slate on the note, with some spice and crushed sweet tarts. Ripping acid on the palate, very dry, with flavors of green apple peel, lime and apricot. I also get sweet tart candies, sea salt and crushed rock notes. Dry, nervy, complex, holding up well. (90 points)

2010 Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett
- Germany, Nahe
Every time I drink a 2010 German Riesling, especially a Donnhoff, I have competing thoughts. #1) This wine is so amazing and ripping I just want to drink it all the time. #2) Bury this wine for 10-30 years and don't you dare touch it! Isn't that the hallmark of an amazing vintage? I love 2010s, and Donnhoff's are just epic. I picked up sweet tarts, lime, margarita salt, crushed rocks and slate notes on this one. The palate shows ripping acid, alongside clean lemon-lime and white peach notes. Honey mixes in with the minerals and sea shell notes. Long, complex, deserving of cellar time and, at the same time, immediate praise. (92 points)

2010 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Spätlese
- Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Very rich, one of the richer 2010 Mosel Spatleses I've tasted. Aromas of apricot and papaya drizzled in lime juice and crushed rocks. Chunky pineapple, apricot and honey on the palate. The acid is relentless, though, giving the wine verve. I get nougat, honey and gingerbread cookies on the finish, but also some citrus peel and minerals. This wine could use 10 to 15 years in the cellar, easily, because this density and richness will take a long time to complex, but the racy acid will hold this wine for a long time. (91 points)

2012 Michel Gahier Arbois Ploussard - France, Jura, Arbois
Another solid wine from Gahier. I love the tart red fruit, floral, rhubarb and pickle notes on the nose. Zesty acid, very fine tannins, lots of tart raspberry and strawberry fruit. I get a ton of pickles, tobacco, bay leaf, radish, all sorts of earthy, tangy, vegetal notes, and I love it. This paired really well with a red pepper and garlic pizza. (90 points)

2005 Domaine Matrot Volnay 1er Cru Santenots
- France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Volnay 1er Cru
Tight and dull at first, but really opened up after about two or three hours, and was singing the next day. Floral, spice, tobacco and cherries on the nose. Firm tannic structure, medium+ acid, with tart red fruit. Notes of roses, rhubarb and mineral on a long, crisp finish. It was delicious but I wish I would've let it sleep for another five years. (91 points)

2009 Novy Family Wines Syrah Rosella's Vineyard - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands
Two years since my last bottle and this has aged wonderfully. Opened the day before and tasted, but left the rest for Day 2, when it really began to sing. A kind of roasted plum color. Aromas of black currants, plums, black olive, soil and herbs. I like the tart red and black fruit and the freshness from the acid. Not overbearing or too rich at all, actually quite silky. More braised meat, smoke and charcoal aspects than I remember from before, some olive bring and coffee as well. Long and pure, pretty much everyone enjoyed this. Such a good buy for $28 from the winery; too bad I don't have any more. (91 points)

2004 Cayuse Syrah En Cerise Vineyard
- USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
Beautiful stuff, holding up amazingly well. Smells like every kind of olive, bloody mary, radish, seaweed, roses, wet earth and white pepper, and underneath some currants and plum sauce. Really velvety on the palate, with polished tannins and tangy acid in perfect balance. Juicy and fleshy with raspberry and black cherries, but this is all about the non-fruit flavors: olive tapenade, seaweed, roasted meat, smoke, pickled beets. Also some sweet floral and caramel notes. So long and pure and complex. I love the state this wine is in right now. Not sure how much longer I'd cellar this if I had some. (95 points)
N.V. Duval-Leroy Champagne Brut - France, Champagne
Aromas of seashell, white flowers, minerals, toasted biscuits. I like the combination of tart green apple, lime and sea shell notes with the richer tones of honey, almond and biscuits. Tart but toasty. Digging this. (88 points)

N.V. Chambers Rosewood Muscat
- Australia, Victoria, North East, Rutherglen
Rich caramel, toasted nuts, raisins and orange marmalade on the nose. Rich and honeyed on the palate, packed with figs and dates, caramelized sugar and candy-coated almonds. Rich and bold, lacking enough acid to get me really thrilled about it, but overall this is a lot of fun. (88 points)

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