Great White Wonders of 1999
(June 11, 1999) My beautiful bride loves the color red, but shes allergic
to red wine. So when her birthday rolls around, we open up lots of -- you guessed it.
This year, once again, our wine-geek buddies were nice enough
to gather for a blow-out White Night.
WHITE NIGHT LINEUP. Sorry I couldn't nab all the
bottles for this shot. It was a rowdy crowd...and thirsty enough to drain a bottle of
badly corked '93 Marcassin Lorenzo, while I looked on in horror. For blackmail-quality
photos of selected participants, click here.
Heres what I took notes on:
*1995 Penfolds Yattarna Chardonnay (third from right, above) was not at all what
I anticipated What would you expect from the long-awaited "White Grange?"
Well it wasnt big, fat and flamboyant, but tight, focused and very acidic.
Plenty of oak, but well within bounds. I wonder how much acid was added and how the wine
**+1996 Sine Qua Non Omadhaun and Poltroon (fifth from left) is a nifty
double-play. Its got the sex-appeal of a Chard -- and the slippery mouthfeel of a
big white Rhone. Showing better than it was some months ago.
***+1994 Zind-Humbrecht Gerwurztraminer Clos Windsbuhl (fourth from left) is a
love-it-or-leave-it tour de force. So fragrant, so intense, so thick, so long, so in your
face! You like rose petals and lychee? I love em. I thought this wine blew
everything else off the table. But Phylis took two sips, turned up her nose and got back
to the Chards
***+1996 Marcassin Gauer Ranch Upper Barn (second from left) is the
ultimate Chardonnay power play. Amazing attack, dominates the palate, smothers your senses
in tropical fruits. It was showing a few oaky splinters tonight, but I suspect thats
because its still very young. The 92 Gauer is now at its peak; this one could
do with some bottle age too.
**+1996 Kistler Cuvee Cathleen Chardonnay (not shown) falls just a bit short of
the Marcassin. Oak-averse folks will say its better -- but Ill just say
its more acidic, less oaky and not quite as long.
***1995 Kistler Camp Meeting Ridge Chardonnay (far right) is another winner in
the Kistler style that rings my chimes a little harder. Seemed more pulled-together
tonight than its younger sibling.
Cristal 1990 Champagne (not shown) disappointed me. Cooked bottle?
And what, you may ask, did Phylis like best? ***1996 Peter Michael Belle Cote!
(Third from left.) Yet another strong showing for this very complex, very showy, yet very
classy new Chardonnay from Peter Michael.
Top of page Back to articles contents page