Monday, January 18, 2010

29 PresentS

I'm now 29. And so is the wine I'm drinking tonight (at least rounding up) -- the 1981 Louis J. Foppiano 1981 Russian River Valley Petite Sirah Estate Bottled. According to a sticker on the bottle,it was a gold medal winner at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair.

I popped the cork at about 10 am to let it Audouze (highly recommended, IMO, for old PS), and I'm enjoying it right now, about 7 and a half hours later.

Not surPriSingly, this one is still alive. Certainly has one foot in the grave, but the other is well outside it.

Color -- starting to go tawny/brick -- thin 1/8" translucent rim, dark burnt purply orange, amazing depth of color for a 29 year old wine -- I still can't see my fingers when I tilt the wine glass except around the edges.

Nose -- some of the tawny port notes from oxidization (the cork broke), really complex bottle bouquet, some red fruits (cherry compote, raspberry, black cherries), and faint white flowers.

Palate -- mouthwatering acidity. Not a ton of fruit to speak of, and definitely old world. Tannins very fine, I'd call it silky but they're too rustic -- maybe velvet dust would be the best description.

After about half an hour in the glass, it really opens up. The red fruit comes out, perfectly balanced, aromatic, WOW. I would never guess that this wine was nearly 30.

Thanks, Louis!

In other news, and totally by coincidence, Foppiano '03 Reserve showed up as part of my samPleS today...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Israeli PS Update

For whatever reason, Daniel Rogov has tasted a few wines of interest to PSychos of late, and I'll excerpt his PoSts and notes.

Sea Horse, Munch, 2008 (Barrel Tasting): 100% Petite Syrah made from 35 year old vines. Almost inky black in color, firm and intense, almost inky black in color, a wine with muscles but that seems to know how to behave like a gentleman. Rich and deeply concentrated, opens with wild berry, and chocolate notes, goes on to reveal minerals, anise and sage, all on a gently peppery background. Finishes with the tannins rising together with persistent notes of espresso coffee. Best 2011-2017. Tentative Score 90-92. (Tasted 13 Jan 2010)

Chillag, Petite Sirah, 2006: From a vineyard in the Jerusalem Mountains at 750 meters above sea level, Petite Sirah as Petite Sirah should be. Oak-aged for 24 months, almost impenetrably dark garnet in color, dense and concentrated, opening with lavender and peppery notes, those yielding to chocolate and licorice and only then black cherry, blackberry, cassis and plum flavors. In the background look for tobacco and toasty oak and, on the long, chewy finish a note of espresso coffee. Unfiltered, so do not be surprised if you find a bit of sediment here, that doing no harm whatever to this muscular but oh-so-enchanting wine. Best 2011-2016. Score 92. (Tasted 15 Jan 2010)

Margalit, Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Reserve, 2008: Cabernet Sauvignon, as always blended with Margalit's "special" and remarkably concentrated Petite Syrah, this year 88% and 12% respectively. Intensely dark garnet, throwing purple, orange and green reflections, full-bodied and with spicy wood and still firm tannins just starting on the road to integration but showing fine balance and structure. On first attack traditional blackcurrant and blackberry fruits on a spicy background, the wine opening in the glass to reveal black cherries and then raspberries and espresso coffee. Nor is this the end for on the long, long finish tempting hints of black olives and saddle leather. Approachable by 2011 but best only from 2013-2025. Perhaps the best to date from Margalit and certainly one of the best wines ever produced in Israel. Score 95. (Tasted 11 Jan 2009)
Rogov's notes on Sea Horse
Rogov's notes on Chillag PS
Rogov's notes on Margalit

Friday, January 15, 2010


The first of my PSamPleS from the ProducerS is the Big House 2006 Prodigal Son. It's from PaSo Robles, clockes in at a relatively PSlender 13.5% ABV, and a pH of 3.75. It was released in October 2008, has a suggested retail price of 14.99 and comes with a screwtop. The Producer recommends pairing it with smokey/grilled/bbq meats.

On pour (into a Riedel Vinum Syrah glass), the color is an extremely dark ruby, with a thin translucent rim. It smells incredibly juicy. It's a little tight on pop and pour, but has lots of nice structure, and is medium-to-full bodied (i.e., light for a PS). The nose initially smells like Ocean-Spray Cran-Blueberry with a bit of clove and black pepper. The tannins are very fine and silty, the finish is about 25 seconds long. There's a bit of awkward bitterness on the transition from the midpalate to the finish, but I suspect that will alleviate with air and time, as it got less pronounced but didn't disappear.

As it opens up, the palate turns to candied black cherry and the tannins fade. Right now, it's all elbow-and-knees but I think it will improve with a few more years in the bottle. OK for the MSRP, but if you can find it for cheaper (and I'm sure you can) it becomes a pretty nice value. Not a bad way to show off the light-bodied side of PS, but I'm not really blown away.