Archive for January, 2009

January 2009: Wine Spectator’s Top 100 (2008) – Reranked

tc_nov-08_glassestastingsheetOf the Top 100 wines that were listed in the December 2008 issue of Wine Spectator, 76 were red wines.  Of those red wines, we could find 7 currently available in the Seattle marketplace.  (This excludes a couple of high-end Bordeaux that are still available, but samples for tastings are not.)  We added in two more from previous years’ Top 100 (Terrazas & Allegrini) and just for the heck of it, the Tasting Circle Panel blind tasted these 9 wines to see how their opinions compared.  Here are the final standings:

EXCELLENT (90-94 points)

Domaine Serene 2005 “Evanstead” Reserve Pinot Noir
(TC 93 points/WS 93 points – #68/100)
Region:  Willamette Valley, Oregon; Varietals: Pinot Noir
Fresh field of strawberries & cherries on the nose. Lovely, lush mouthfeel. Bing cherries, subtle oak. Lots going on but in a refined package. Great acidity. Fantastic food wine. Lingering finish. (Theresa)  Nose: autumn spices, dried twigs, red currants, touch fennel plant, meaty. Palate: balanced, forest flavors, savory mushroom, pomegranate, nice lift. (Ken)


Terrazas 2003 Reserva Malbec  
(TC 92 points/WS 90 points – #85/100 in 2005)
Region:  Mendoza, Argentina; Varietals: Malbec
Forest of brambly berries, raspberry, loganberry, blackberries, total luxury, dense. Candied fruits, but not without earthen components. (Catherine) Aromas of dark fruit & plums followed by wonderful flavors of blackberries and plums. Elegant, well-balanced, great acidity & mouthfeel.  Smooth finish with fine tannins. (Jens)


Condado de Haza 2005 Ribera del Duero
(TC 91 points/WS 93 points – #71/100)
Region:  Ribera del Duero, Spain; Varietals: Tempranillo
Purple hue. Pomegranite with earthy, leathery tannins.  Wow – this wine has muscle, but not in the over gratuitous way. More like the nerd by day/superhero by night way. (Gina) Pretty red. Firm flavors. Roasted nuts. Pepper. Pleasant finish. Great on the palate.  Good. (Giuseppe)


Fattoria de Felsina 2006 Chianti Classico
(TC 91 points/WS 90 points – #51/100)
Region: Chianti, Tuscany, Italy; Varietals: Sangiovese
Excellent ruby color. Aromas of cherries with floral notes. Well-balanced with great acidity. Lots of cherry fruit with some spicy, herbal notes. Long, powerful finish with fine tannins. (Jens) Retail: $26


La Massa 2006 Toscana
(TC 91 points/WS 93 points – #31 of 100)
Region:  Tuscany, Italy; Varietals: Sangiovese, Merlot (SuperTuscan)
Intense ruby red. Rich and powerful, beautiful. A blockbuster. Elegant & well-balanced.  Although a bit of a hit from the alcohol. (Giuseppe) Retail: $31


Sierra Cantabria 2004 Rioja Crianza
(TC 91 points/WS 90 points – #71/100)
Region:  Rioja, Spain; Varietals: Tempranillo
Dark burgundy color. Blackberry, blueberry on the nose. Lovely sweetness to the fruit – just the right amount. Candied fruit. Perfect balance of fruit, tannin & acid. Long finish. (Theresa)  Nose: red & black licorice, good-n-plenty to be exact, crushed black currants, vanilla.  Palate: bing cherry, pomegranate molasses, cocoa, bitter, spicy. (Ken) Retail: $23


Allegrini 1997 Pallazzo della Torre Veronese
(TC 90 points/WS 92 points – #38/100 in 2001)
Region:  Veneto; Varietals: Corvina, Rondinella, Syrah, Sangiovese
Subdued aromas of cherries and dark cherries.  Powerful but very elegant. Pleasant with wonderful flavors of dark fruit and dark cherries. Excellent acidity.  Hints of spice & prunes. Elegant finish. (Jens) More bricky in color but still dark. Nose: most mature yet. Earthy, round. A little cheesy. Has an acidity similar to Parmiggiano.  Medium-dry. Still has some licorice-acidity. Balanced. (Ari)


VERY GOOD (85-89 points)

Chateau de Saint Cosme 2006 Gigondas
(TC 89 points/WS 92 points – #88/100)
Region:  Gigondas, Southern Rhône, France;  Varietals: Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre
Black fruit, blueberry nose. Color is a rich magenta. Mellow-baked blackberries on the palate.  Subtle spices of clove & cinnamon. A little hot. (Gina)  Note:  This wine maybe didn’t fair as well as it should have due to not having enough time to air.  Several hours after the tasting was over, we tried it again and it had turned into a different wine:  smooth, subtle spices, beautiful. (Jens) Retail: $38.50


Two Hands 2007 Angel’s Share Shiraz
(TC 88 points/WS 92 points – #83/100)
Region:  Barossa Valley, Austalia; Varietals: Shiraz
On this one, the tasters either loved it:  Exotic Asian spices, star anise, punctuated blue & black fruit, wow, my favorite so far. Tar & licorice, powdered river rock, savory upswing of acid. (Catherine – 95 pts)  Or they hated it:  Really dark & thick. Aggressive nose, some solvent character, dried cherry.  Not balanced.  A little sweet.  Lacking in mid-palate.  Again with the aggressive licorice-acidity. (Ari – 80 pts)


Tasting Panel (Jan 20, 2008): Giuseppe Carraturo, Gina Gregory, Ari Manzin, Ken O’Hara, Catherine Reynolds, Theresa Slechta, Jens Strecker



January 22, 2009 at 6:43 am Leave a comment