No Spitting Allowed: Drinking in the '09s

Wine reviews with honest verdicts

An occasional review of wines that find their way into our glass where they are tasted and toyed with before actually being consumed.


2009 Henri Gouges “Clos des Porrets” Nuits St. Georges

The first of our series of five '09 wines is not at all taxing, although it is tight and tannic and needs decanting at this early stage. It has that gamey under-taste that I love to find in red burgundies, with bright cherry flavors and a hint of green herbs.

Verdict: A big pinot noir that is not designed for wimpy drinkers. ($62)


2009 Parducci California Pinot Noir

Very light cherry and cola flavors with some dry steminess and a little toasted vanilla. Throw in a touch of smokiness and you get a wine that is angular and not at all elegant, but nevertheless enjoyable quaffing.

Verdict: A light but pleasant carafe wine to be tucked into the fridge before and after opening. ($12)


2009 Vale do Bomfim Douro Reserva

No debating that this a delicious bottle — very good blackberry flavors up front with dusty chocolate and black raspberry tastes in the finish. Good acidity to balance the fruitiness, with moderate tannins in finish.

Verdict: Perfect wine for lighting a fire, pulling up a comfy chair, and toasting the onset of winter.  ($23)


2009 Arkenstone Howell Mountain Sauvignon Blanc

An interesting sauvignon from red-wine territory, this is a cosmopolitan wine with flavors of dried apricot mixed with a touch of chalkiness and a tangy minerality in the finish.

Verdict: A intriguing dinner date with a Napa Valley body and New Zealand dry wit. ($48)


2009 Graham’s Quinta dos Malvedos Vintage Port

A single-vineyard or quinta vintage port, which usually serves as backbone of the house blend, this a very smooth, balanced, and fruity wine is ready for easy drinking now, although it will improve somewhat with age. Velvety marinated Bing cherry and ripe black raspberry flavors with excellent balancing acidity and a final, playful bite of tannins.

Verdict: A “Port-a-prêt” wine that’s a knockout, not a knock off. ($58)