Seattle Wine Blog

This blog is dedicated to commentary on all aspects of wine, especially short entries to help you find the best wines without the usual hype and spin. These are my frank, independent opinions, usually based on tasting wine at a public event, off the shelf or at the winery. "All creative acts must arise out of a specific soil and flicker with a spirit of place" -D.H. Lawrence

Monday, August 27, 2007

It's A Style!

Let's start with a tasting note - 2002 Shafer Hillside Select. "That's dark!" - deep dense purplish red . "Oh, that's big and jammy." A nose of currents, blackberry, raspberry, and mocha. In the mouth it has a sweet feel, very fruity, but also lots of tannin. Surprisingly it is medium to full-bodied, but not that big. Well, big enough - 14.9% alcohol. Made to the gout Parker, he gave it "100" points, but it's not to my gout. Maybe a meat and potatoes guy would love it, or a Godiva chocolate dame, but to me it lacks elegance and grace. It did taste better with meat and it did taste better the next day. Personally, if I were going to spend that kind of money I would rather have a first growth Bordeaux such as Chateau Latour or Chateau Petrus. They are big, but at least they don't taste like Sachar Torte or Cherry Garcia. In fact, I preferred a 2000 Fombrauge St. Emilion we tasted the day before. It was medium bodied with delicious fruit flavors and some tannin in the finish - a somewhat similar structure to the Shafer, but on a human scale. Of course, I may be biased toward Fombrauge because every time I think of it, I think of pioneer Seattle wine merchant, Randy Seeley, rolling the name off his tongue with a very appealing nasal Anglo-French accent and the emphasis on the "brauge". Okay, so Fombrauge is not a "great" wine, but it is delicious and one tenth the price. Perhaps the Shafer is just a big wine in a big bottle for big egos. It not really just a matter of style. It's a matter of culture. No wonder the European wine gurus are disturbed by the gout Parker. While it's true that they are envious, they have a point. Do American wines have to be big and brash, full of shock and awe , or can they join the civilized community of world wine.


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