TN: Cali, Loire, Burg, and Rhone

Sunday Betsy made some "club steaks" (she stopped by the supermarket and that's what they had in the Coleman natural beef, though the steaks looked like they were cut by a 7 year old with a butter knife) in a red wine sauce. I served the 1999 Sebastiani Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma). More red than black fruit, a little vanilla touch on top of the red plum fruit. Medium-bodied, soft tannins , not especially long. OK at normal retail, a deal at $5 I paid, but not really exciting. B/B-
Monday some friends who had recently given up a dog (biter) came over to console themselves with our hound. We started off with some pate, olives, and canapes of smoked mackerel with a lemon/dill creme fraiche, accompanied by the 2004 Paul Pernot Bourgogne blanc. Ripe apple and pear fruit is backed by a fresh acidity. There's an almost Pulignyesque mineral note to the finish. Excellent for a simple Bourgogne. B+
Jim had brought some tuna steaks with a ginger-lime marinade, we grilled those along with some squash. Tried with both some open whites and a red, the 1999 Wild Horse Merlot (Paso Robles). Soft forgettable Merlot, Jim liked more than I. Seemed to have a little brett, but that doesn't really bother me. Flabbiness, premature tiredness and short finish do however. Too bad, I've enjoyed Wild Horse wines before. C+
As we say on patio we ran out of reds. I brought up the 2004 D'Andezon Cotes du Rhone. This seemed acidic and out of balance. As a fan of past vintages of this wine, I was disappointed. Luckily I didn't dump in vinegar crock, but tried again last night with some thawed skirt steak (Betsy was working). What a change some air made! Rounder, fuller, with blackberry fruit and a hint of pepper (think this is all Syrah, at least in past). A C+ on night one transformed into a B/B+
After dinner I had a couple glasses of the 2002 Deletang "Les Batisses" Montlouis Demi-sec. That kind of applesauce Chenin fruit with a little waxy note, I'm not really enamored of this - sweetness seems to have the edge on the acidity, and it seems to lack some concentration as well as not having much on the finish. As a huge fan of 2002 Loires, this is a disappointment (though I realize this might just be an awkward point). B-
Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine, B a good wine, C mediocre. Anything below C means I wouldn't drink at a party where it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.
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