Banyuls is the wine for chocolate lovers

August 19, 2013

Galloni, my Barolo guru, wrote, “easily the best vintage of this wine I have tasted.” WA, WS and IWC all awarded 93 points. Now the Aldo and Riccardo Seghesio La Villa 2006 is on sale for $32 at Gary’s. Don’t dither if you are a fan; these should sell out quickly. Ruby-colored with a brownish rim, La Villa opens to plum, blackberry, cherry, violet and spice aromas. On the palate, round with fine acid-tannin balance. Window opens next year. If you give them a call ask about the Coltibuono Cancelli Toscana Rosso 2011. I bought some on sale at $10/bottle after reading the Wine Spectator best value review. A terrific blend of Sangiovese and Syrah.

The Domaine Charvin Chateauneuf du Pape 2007 is still young and backward. At a recent tasting it took an hour to open, but when it did, the potential leaped from the glass. It is still deep purple and very aromatic with plums, herbs and spices. On the palate, earthy, mushroom, spice, anise, black pepper and garrigue; the alcohol is masked by the balance and the fruit. Still needs a few more years in the cellar.

Those looking for a CdP bargain, check out Clos du Mont Olivet La Cuvee Papet 2010. Higher rated than 2009, ready to drink in 2015 and priced well under $30. Lovely ruby-colored, it opens to aromas of garrigue, tobacco, roast meat and red fruit. On the palate, more red fruit and briar, although it is not a fruit bomb. The 15 percent alcohol is unobtrusive. An old-style, balanced, rich CdP.

Ruth asked about wine for chocolate lovers. Banyuls, Banyuls, Banyuls. These will take some work from your pals at your favorite wine shop. However, according to most, Banyuls goes best with chocolate. Domaine du Mas Blanc Banyuls Rimage Dr. Parcé would be my choice.

These are fortified, so look for a 2006 or 2004. The ‘04 is very dark with a cherry rim. The bouquet is chocolate, cherries, cocoa and orange peel. On the palate cherries, cocoa and believe it or not, Dr. Pepper. This wine is decadent, but its acidity lightens it up and balances. The finish is very long and filled with sweet cherry flavors. Avoid the 2003.

The weather in Champagne, Burgundy’s Cotes de Beaune and Left Bank of Bordeaux has been horrid this vintage. Hail and torrential rainfall have damaged some of the vineyards. I still don’t have a complete report, but often this destruction reduces yield and provides great concentration if a long, dry late summer ensues. More later as a better assessment comes along.

Most of the other growing regions are doing well. In Cali, Lodi and Paso Robles are doing particularly well as is the Douro in Portugal.

You can buy Cos D’Estournel St. Estephe 2010, rated mid-90s by most and ready to drink in 2022 for $280/bottle. A much better choice would be its next-door neighbor Ch. Lilian Ladouys 2010 rated 89 by Cellartracker and 94 WE, ready by 2015, for $285/case. I’m going with the case.

Many readers know that I work for Grove Market on St. Martin’s Neck in Maryland. As a result, several nights per week, I drive through Dewey Beach on my way home. It saddens me to write that those who run Dewey may have mortally wounded their golden goose. The hotels have vacancy signs; the pedestrian traffic is minimal, even on Thursday and Friday nights.

There are no lines at the clubs, and the late-night food emporiums are starving. The empty pedicabs circle frantically like seagulls looking for a french fry. On a rainy evening last week, it appeared there were nearly as many state, local and rent-a-cops as there were customers on Highway 1. To paraphrase a silenced political mentor, ”Dewey’s chickens are coming home to roost.”

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