Here's what the NYCR editors are drinking now...
Northern Rhone whites just do not get enough love.Of course, there is a very good argument that Northern Rhone whites are almost prohibitively expensive, and thus price themselves out of the love they deserve. The best bottles fetch Napa Cab-style sticker prices. Too bad.On special occasions, this is a go-to wine region for my wife and me. She loves Northern Rhone whites, and with this outstanding viognier, it's easy to see why.It smells and tastes like a peach puff pastry, but just when it starts to get so rich that it borders on buttery, it amps up the stony, racy edge. It's an extremely fresh wine with a big body.
Given the price, it will be awhile before we return to Condrieu, but I'll have high expectations for the next occasion.
Tasting so many wines when or shortly after they are released, I don't always have as much time as I'd like to look back.
So over the weekend I pull this wine from my cellar to pour for a couple wine geek friends familiar with Waters Crest.
When I first reviewed this wine in September of 2005, I said:
"Extended maceration gives this wine a deep, rich garnet color and beautiful extraction. Aromas of cocoa, exotic spice and wet topsoil reach right up out of the glass. This red is full bodied and mouth-filling, with lush chocolate flavors. Jim made only 130 cases, with long-term aging in mind."
We're not quite at what I'd call "long term" yet, but I don't think this wine has much longer to go.
Not that it's dead yet either. My bottle was incredibly smooth -- to the point of having nearly no structure left at all.
The chocolate and intense character has faded quite a bit, but the spice remains with a leafy-earthy component that I described as beet greens over the weekend stepping forward. That's akin to the "top soil" note from five years ago.
If I had to guess, I'd say this one isn't going to improve anymore in bottle. In fact, it's probably just a bit past peak. Not dead, but getting tired.
I left the bottle with my friends and apparently it fell off the table by a couple hours later. If you have any of this, drink up.
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