Other wines tasted: 2005 Lanius Blanco Alella. (C.I.V. USA, Sacramento, CA)
($25; 100% chardonnay) Yellow-gold. Smoky, strongly oak-influenced pear and pineapple aromas. Dry, oaky pear and peach flavors are tightly wound and hard-edged, yielding little quarter with aeration. Pretty anonymous, but would fit in nicely amongst a group of mass-produced, oak-chipped chardonnays. What is the point of this?
($40) Ruby-red. Smoky, tobacco-accented redcurrant and cherry aromas, with an earthy rhubarb quality adding complexity. Tart red berry flavors display a slightly brusque, wound-up personality that carries through the finish. There's good clarity here but will it loosen up?
($30; for 500 ml.) Bright red. An intriguing mix of red berry, raisin, botanical herb and floral qualities on the nose, with a deeper element of pomegranate molasses. Firm, dried red berry flavors are given an exotic twist by bitter amaro and floral pastille, which contribute a strong digestif character-in a good way. Finishes dry and chewy, with an explosion of rooty licorice and bitter cherry skin flavors and outstanding persistence. Wild stuff.