Friday, November 19, 2010

Bigger Than Your Head Reviews

Let's be honest: wine reviews can be a bit ridiculous. For most of us, even food lovers, there are many flavor descriptors used in wine tasting notes and reviews that we'll never experience on a plate, let alone in our wines. However, there are also those instances where I read a wine review and think: wow, I want to drink that wine. Now. Nevermind that I just brushed my teeth.

Fredric Koeppel, who has won the American Wine Blog Awards Best Wine Reviews category three years in a row for BiggerThanYourHead.net, writes those latter kind of reviews. Below I've copied his recent post about Foursight:

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AND THE SMALL SHALL LEAD THEM

Nothing wrong with large producers; they often make fine wine indeed, though they can also err in trying to be all things to all consumers and churning out labels at every price-point. What I really love to write about however are the small, family-owned wineries that nestle in the hills and dales of our country’s wine regions, making a few thousand (or few hundred) cases of a small number of wines and selling them or marketing them as best they can, without the benefit of marketing teams and agencies in New York or San Francisco.
Here are reviews of sauvignon blanc and pinot noir wines from two such wineries. These were samples for review:

Foursight Wines produces fewer than 1,000 cases annually of sauvignon blanc and pinot noir from the Charles Vineyard in Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley and a Mendocino gewurztraminer. The winery was founded in 2006 by longtime growers Bill and Nancy Charles, with their daughter Kristy Charles and her husband Joseph Webb. That’s it. The wines practically teem with authenticity and integrity and a sense of connection to their cool, coastal region.

The Foursight Charles Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Anderson Valley, is exceptionally clean and fresh and invigorating. It’s like drinking a deconstruction of a grapefruit — without being anything like a snappy, over-eager New Zealand rendition — with the tang of the pulp, the slight bitterness of the pith and the oiliness of the rind, combined with a spicy tangerine-lemon element and a brilliance of limestone-like minerality. The wine is juicy and tasty, yet spare and delicate; made all in stainless steel, it radiates purity and intensity. 216 cases were produced. 14.1 percent alcohol. Now through 2012. Excellent. About $20.

The Foursight “All-In” Charles Vineyard Pinot Noir 2007, Anderson Valley, is an understated beauty. Fermented with wild yeast, unfined and unfiltered, it offers a beguiling limpid ruby color that’s almost transparent at the rim. Scents of lightly spiced red and black cherries hold undertones of red currants and mulberries with touches of smoke and leather. Lovely balance and integration produce an entrancing mouthful of pinot noir that glides across the palate like satin; a few minutes in the glass add notes of moss and briers, while structure and texture remain subtle and supple. The wine aged in French oak, 20 percent new, the rest two-year-old barrels and older. A pinot noir for devotees of the classic elegant fashion. 407 cases were produced. 14.1 percent alcohol. Drink now through 2013 or ’14. Excellent. About $46.

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