TN Nebbiolo, Chardonnay, Merlot, PBlanc, & Rhone blend

A few days with a couple of real winners, a couple of good QPRs, and a
couple mild disappointments- but no bad wines.
Thursday was lemon chicken with potatoes, wine was the 2005 Blanck
Pinot Blanc (Alsace). Adequate acidity, good apple and citrus fruit.
Pleasant enough, but without much in the way of depth or complexity. I
just don't get excited about PB, just not my favorite. Still, ok for
under $10. B-
A red-drinking friend dropped by, I opened the 2001 Giovanni Rosso
"Serralunga" Barolo. I thought this was supposed to be a fairly
traditional maker, but there was some new-oaky vanilla on opening.
Tannins are somewhat bruising (ok, so that's traditional) and this is
more interesting than pleasurable night #1. Nights 2 & 3 there is some
leather and tar over the dark cherry fruit. Never really draws me in,
however, and half a bottle is used in cooking. I've got a couple more
I'll put away, but this doesn't have the verve I expect even in a too-
young Barolo. B-

Friday Betsy made kale with proscuitto and Parmesan over toast (from
Zuni Cafe cookbook, recipe is a favorite around our house) before
fried sole with lemon. Wine was a simple one, the 2005 VRAC Macon-
Villages (yes, dumb name for a bottled wine). Simple but a just match
for the fish- crisp, unoaked, with a little lemon of its own (over
some clean apple fruit). Far from complex or compelling, but a decent
value at its $9 sale price (and a real deal at the $4 I paid). B-/B
I felt like a glass of red (first cool evenings of year), but the
Barolo didn't excite. So opened the 2004 Texier Cotes du Rhone
(regular, not Brezeme). Light and floral, a little meaty note, bright
red fruit. Nice wine (that probably should have been paired with
food). B
Saturday was a gorgeous breezy day. Betsy had my car as hers was in
body shop (parking lot fender bender, other driver took
responsibility), so I tried to use stuff from freezer and co-op
delivery (Lucy the Basset and I went into town several times, but she
can't go in groceries). Betsy came home to grilled porterhouses,
eggplant, and corn, along with green beans with bacon. Wine was the
1997 Pavie-Macquin (St Emilion). This was maybe my favorite under-$50
'97 (other than maybe Poujeaux), and I bought more when it went on
sale a couple years later for $25 at a NJ store. And found a much
different wine. Later I heard re the distributor having vast stocks on
1997s in uncooled warehouse. These weren't over the top cooked, but
noticably less fresh and vibrant than other bottles. So here I was
down to one, but uncertain if an original or closeout bottle (nowadays
I mark bottles). Hey, happy days! This is a good one! The oak has
integrated nicely, some mocha/cocoa notes over a lush body of cassis
fruit. Round but not flabby, tannins mostly resolved, good length.
Great companion to the steaks. This is a fine example of a modern but
not over the top Right Banker. Seems fully mature to me, very tasty. B

Sunday while Betsy was working I made a kind of coq au vin meets pollo
cacciatore, using a lot of Barolo and CdR. Sides were a beet salad
and leftover beans, wine was the 2005 Giacosa Nebbiolo d'Alba. Tight
and ungiving at first, opens nicely over an hour to sport some violets
over a base of raspberry and cherry fruit. A revisit much later in
evening shows a bit more weight, with plenty of black cherry fruit.
Better for my tastes than 75% of the Barbarescos I encounter. 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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