Monday, July 07, 2008

Role Reversal

Two wines, one 14.5% alcohol and the other 13.5%...which is from California and which from France? Well, I guessed right but for the wrong reasons. The 14.5er as it turns out is from a satellite appellation in Bordeaux (what the !*&#!@! is with this kind of alcohol level from here?). The Chateau Haut Colombier, Premiere Cotes de Blaye, 2005 is from that super Bordeaux vintage - a lot of minor chateaux made good stuff that year. A nice dark stained cork, it comes out opaque in the glass. On the nose it's antiseptic mixed with black fruit, but not in an unpleasant way! This is full bodied and structured - the acids keep it lively in the mouth, there are tart blackberries and the tannins are teeth coating. A good wine, and a good example of "cheap" Bordeaux at $18.
On the other hand, the R.H. Philips, Toasted Head, Cabernet Sauvignon, North Coast, 2003 clocks in at an unassuming 13.5%. But it's unmistakably new world in style - as soon as you open it you can smell the pungent oak wafting out - and it doesn't disappoint if you like the "oak monster" - they char the ends of the barrels (the "heads") as well as the sides to deliver this kind of flavour. There's also cherries and blackberries hiding behind all the toasty oak. However, if you leave the glass for a while and come back to it, it falls a little flat...reminds me of a soft drink - better drink it soon after opening. So, this is a delicious wine (if you like the style), but drink it sooner rather than later once the bottle is open. I rate it "good", and reasonably priced for what it is (one dimensional tasty juice) at $20.


At 3:20 p.m. , Anonymous Carsten said...

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At 8:53 a.m. , Blogger Nancy said...

I like your post about the two wines, and I like the photos, too -- you must be a gardener so I have to ask: aren't those oenothera (evening primrose)behind the second bottle?

At 9:00 p.m. , Blogger Crush59 said...

Er, I have no idea what the flower is...a friend planted them. I do like pretty gardens, though...


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