A few notes on a handful of wines this week which didn’t make the blog…
I wasn’t really familiar with Ayala until a few months ago… I had seen it, but just something I had never tried. Surprisingly quite impressed when finally forced to taste, and have bought a few bottles since. Ridiculous pffft, with steady trails and maintains bubbles for several days. Pale straw, creamy round nose, and if there ever was an argument to decant sparkling: THIS IS IT. Really fluffs up the 2nd or 3rd day, growing creamier and fruitier as the almost-garish initial gas dissolves. A beautiful Champagne!
NV AYALA ‘Brut Majeur’ Champagne France 12.0
Finding a RED Teutonic on a shop-shelf is not exactly common occurrence in California, and buried alongside the Pinot Gris, a Pinot was a nice find. Not a stunning wine by any means–pretty much as you would expect: solid, moderate barnyard, easy green and vegetal, surprisingly round and ripe with a shocking bit of California-like ripeness and texture.
2018 TRIMBACH ‘Reserve’ Pinot Noir Alsace France 13.0
Light classic garnet Grenache transparency, flush with ripe, dark plum and raspberry nose-and-mouth, the latter peppery and thick. Spicy oak coats smooth earthiness with plentiful acid, a bit of heat, and soft tannin.
2018 T-VINE Grenache Frediani Vyd Calistoga Napa Valley 14.7
Fairly typical home-wine from a client with his own vineyard, a small band of enthusiasts and dedicated wine-making facilities, drinking perhaps 5 years too late for optimum enjoyment. None-the-less, it is reasonably well-made, but shows classic signs of oxidation, uncleanliness, VA and vague lab-stabs at chemistry. Densely fruited: thick and ripe and headed porty, but with sharp acidic bite brightening the mouthfeel.
2013 RED CLAW Merlot Atascadero Wine Group Paso Robles
My least favorite vintage of the teens–rated 95-96: an instant roll-your-eyes death-knell for my palate. This wine shows all of the classic chubbiness and ridiculous ripeness, although I have gone on record numerous times stating ARTEMIS is the tree I would die on if forced to drink corporate supermarket top-shelfers. It’s just so damn yummy! Gobs of oak; berry and cherry black and thick and sultry; tannin mired down in peppery RS: the whole package not only a study of early accessibility, but also managing a noticeable thread of classic Napa Valley spirit. Chewy and balanced, you can do MUCH worse at the price-point.
2012 STAG’S LEAP WINE CELLARS ‘Artemis’ Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 14.5