Slurping Around with P.D.W. October 2012
Monday, October 1, 2012 at 11:10AM
Rick Robbins, M.D.

Hi all - I am sorry I am late. The excuse is as expected -travel such that no real wine-tasting chances appeared until just now. But the wines are worth waiting for in my opinion.

White Wines

2008 Wiltinger Hoelle Kabinett, $14. This is an off-dry Riesling from Germany, the label saying "Feinherb Mosel". The nose is floral/sweet with citrus, dried apricots and some kerosene (a positive in Riesling - very unique). The palate does have some residual sweetness, but this is balanced by nice citrus and acidity, especially at the finish.

2011 Picpoul de Pinet, Caves de Pomerol, Hugues, $8. This well-priced wine has grapefruit and peaches on the nose and palate. While a bit simple, it is very refreshing and bight with excellent acid. It is clean, rich and viscous. Great summer white drunk cold.

Just as for last year at this time, there seems to be a paucity of white wines to recommend. But let me reassure you there are some very tasty Zinfandels as discussed below.

Reds Wines

2010 Klinker Brick Zinfandel, Lodi old vine, 15.8% ethanol. $14. This is Mae West on steroids in a bottle, if that appeals to you. It does to me. It began with a slight stemmy green nose with some anise, and some dark berry fruit. Ho hum. Then on the palate you experience very voluptuous, remarkable, velvety rich dark jammy fruit with dry herbs and anise. Tannis are soft, acidity is sufficient and there is very slight residual sugar. Very clean, no heat. Wow.

2010 Seghesio Zinfandel, Sonoma, $19. Year after year I recommend this one, and the 2010 follows nicely on its predecessors. In contrast to the above, this wine is elegant with a purity of dark fruit, very clean flavors, light oak and medium tannin and good acidity. Not as big and in your face as Mae, but still with power and excellent fruit, balance and length. No residual sugar - quite dry. 14.8% ethanol.

2010 Force of Nature Zinfandel, Paso Robles, Moss Fire ranch, $16. This is in between the above two - 15.4% ethanol; forward nose with dark fruit, slight tarand stemminess and a clean, rich dark fruit palate. The tannins are soft, the acid is bright, and the length is excellent. It is a medium-weight wine with very slight residual sugar.

2010 Van Ruitan Zinfandel, Lodi, $7. The nose has nice dark berry fruit with some earthiness, almost barnyard, but interesting. The palate has bright red fruit, with slight tobacco and dry herbs and earth. The finish is refreshingly tart and does not have residual sugar. An excellent BBQ/party red. 14.8% ethanol.

2010 "Z" Zinfandel, Amador, Massoni Ranch $19. this is a Jeff Runquist wine. The nose is clean with raspberry fruit. The palate is lighter in mouth-feel with nice floral raspberry flavors. There is slight residual sugar, good acid, and evident American oak (dill).

2010 Dunning Vineyard Zinfandel, Paso Robles West side, $18. I will say just this: some folks like a sweet, port-like, late-harvest style Zin. Welcome. This is your drop. There is hay, dry herbs, and sweetness on the nose and palate. It is soft, spicy, sweet, but not too tannic or tart.

2009 Trentadue Petite Sirah "La Storia" $18. The prior release was 2005 and I loved it. No idea what happened to 06, 07, or 08 versions, but the current 09 is very interesting. If it has a flaw, it is in noticeable residual sugar. With dark meats that will actually work very well. The bottle opens with a heavy dose of coconut and dill from the American oak (leading to "uh-oh"), but a few minutes in the glass and that is muted and balanced. There is real power to this wine with rich blueberry fruit throughout, medium soft tannins, good acid, a hint of tobacco, and excellent depth, structure and length. There is finesse - the power is not there by brute force. There is a bit of earth, but this is a quality wine with structure, size, and interest.

2009 Tridente Tempranillo, "Castilla y Leon" Spain, $16. Parker liked it. There is gamey sausage on the nose (more typical of syrah), and lots of dark berry fruit. The palate has rich dark fruit, slight oak char, slight gaminess, with good length and balance and soft tannins. Good, but I would take the La Storia above any day.

Article originally appeared on SOUTHWEST JOURNAL of PULMONARY & CRITICAL CARE (http://www.swjpcc.com/).
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