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Two Mature Wines for a Cold Winter’s Weekend


In searching my tasting notes for Domaine Les Pallieres I realized that I have not tasted the 2000 since December 1997.  The light amount of snow and ice this past weekend (and new episode of Downton Abbey) provided the perfect excuse to pull corks on the Pallieres and Harveys. The Harveys Vintage Port was bought almost four years ago for roughly $35 per bottle.  A John Harvey & Son selection, this was specifically imported into the USA by Heublein.  Many of the established British wine merchants with their extensive connections and experience bottling their own wines, carry their own house selections.  They generally represent good value.  Having shopped at Harveys during my Bristol days I readily snatched up 5 or 6 bottles of this port.

The Pallieres was a solid drink with its strength lying in the earthy nose.  At its peak this is an enjoyable but not thrilling wine which was easily upstaged by the 2003 Domaine Santa Duc, Gigondas.  The Harveys was thoroughly enjoyable.  It has been a few years since we last opened a bottle, when the alcoholic spirits were already poking out.  While that is a bit distracting, the nose and initial flavors have an enjoyable complexity; a glass of Dow’s 10-year-old tawny tasted ripe and young in comparison.  While this will chug along for some time I would recommend drinking it over the next five years before the fruit fades too much and the spirits take over.

2000 Domaine Les Pallieres, Gigondas – $33
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  True to my old note the nose is very earthy and rustic with lean fruit.  In the mouth the red fruit mixes with notes of minestrone soup, hints of ripeness and a healthy dose of fine+ drying tannins which cover the lips.  The higher-toned red fruit becomes lifted towards the finish leaving impressions of some minerals.  A solid drink that may be drunk without thought or a good precursor to better quality Gigondas.  Now-2017.

1983 Harvey’s Vintage Port – $103 (available in Switzerland!)
Imported by Heublein.  This is a Martinez Vintage Port.  There is a nose of cedar, tobacco, and hints of sweetness similar to BBQ bark.  In the mouth the black cherry are sweet at first with spices developing as the flavors expand in the mouth.  The first half is subtly complex.  The finish starts off spicy before the spirit reveals itself.  The flavors thin a bit in the finish with evidence of heat but the aftertaste is pleasing.  This bottle is comfortably within its mature plateau.  Now-2017.

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