Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Newsflash: Great American Wine!!!

I had a nice visit from a fried where we enjoyed the following with 3 separate meals.

1997 Kalin Livermore Valley Semillon
Golden tinge to the yellow. It has a rich, waxy, and leesy nose with some stone pitted yellow fruits underneath. Portrays a sense of underlying concentration. Kind of coiled. Great balance between the concentration and some acid lift. Nice mineral and fruit skin undertones. Very cool wine that drinks well now, but could go for a long, long time. Terry Leighton makes some of the best white wines I’ve ever had from California.

1997 Nikolaihof Riesling Smaragd Vom Stein
Delicate and powerful all at once. Diving but light as a feather. Really, really good wine. The nose is swirling with nuance and layers. Meadows of flowers, rain dripping off Autumn leaves. There is a certain momentary perfection that reminds you that this isn’t a dream within a dream, but that sometimes, life is real and beauty if right in front of you. Take that Derrida.

2002 d'Angerville Volnay 1er Champans
Very disappointing. I was hoping to check in and see what was up. Seemed really muted and never could seem to give anything. I know it is on the young side, but with Champans, you can usually see what is going on. A frustrating and perplexing experience.


Sharon said...

Re: Champans. That sucks.

slaton said...

My only experience with Kalin was the '96 semillon drank early last year. While I found the wine's complexity and depth striking, I didn't love it. It seemed pretty oxidative and was loaded with butterscotch and a honeyed, baked apple richness that I wasn't quite my thing. Sometimes we need an intermediate to bridge our way to an unfamiliar style, though. And since tasting the Kalin I've fallen for the '81 Tondonia Blanco, which shares a few of its characteristics.

the vlm said...


It happens. I'm not convinced by the 2002 vintage in general. In the Nuits, I much prefer 2001.


Funny that you and Sharon should post on the same entry and you mention "oxidative". I'm often confused by the way that Sharon uses "oxidized".

What you describe is Semillon with age on it. It does spend a bit of time in barrel, but isn't made in what I would call an "oxidative" style.

From the Kalin website:
"The grapes (75% Semillon and 25% Sauvignon Blanc) were hand-picked and sorted, crushed and pressed. The juice was fermented in French oak barrels for ten months. The wine was racked, clarified by bentonite fining, and bottled without filtration in August 1998."

I like the Tondonia whites a lot as well, but I think the Kalin is a better wine. I do like semillon as a grape and that may have something to do with it. Many of the grapes in the Tondonia are shit varieties.

slaton said...

Caramel, butterscotch, nuts, soft/baked apples...I associate those flavors with older whites (particularly chardonnay) that are beginning to show some oxidation due to age. Oxidative probably isn't the right word to use since I wasn't implying anything about the winemaking - just that this was showing some oxidation as the result of age. How best to distinguish between "interesting flavors that are the result of age/oxidation" and "oxidation that has resulted in a dead or bad wine"?

I'm admittedly not a big fan of semillon, although I haven't gone out of my way to drink a lot of it. But generally I'll pick Chablis, dry chenin or Muscadet over white Bordeaux, and older Vouvray Moelleux over older Sauternes.

"Shit varieties"...LOL