Vinoterra Mtsvane 2005

I have never, ever seen a wine of this particular color before. This is an ungodly shade of sherry-peach-cream that I had no idea was possible outside of a 1970s makeup counter. Honestly, I’m surprised. Just when you think you’ve seen and drunk it all comes something completely outside and unthinkable to surprise you.I would have expected some oxidation on the nose given the color; instead, I get something like toffee and walnuts… for a moment until that tell-tale Sherry-like smells kicks in too. There are also wildly varying notes of cold cream, fine leather gloves, and cucumber. Overall, it has the effect of suggesting an English garden complete with ladies enjoying a cream tea: all kinds of curious, elegant smells suggesting flowers, finger sandwiches, kid leather, and freshly washed faces. Bizarre, I know, but honest: I’m not ridiculously far off the mark here.Relatively light at first, the flavor quickly solidifies in the mouth, showing slight oxidative notes as well as what feels like moderate tannin. However, things change up in the middle of palate, suddenly broadening out into tea roses, Brazil nuts, macadamia, and burnt cream. Although not a big wine (there is neither residual sugar nor noticeable alcohol), it nevertheless feels serious, solid, and frankly a bit like homework: the noticeable tannin prevents a sense of freshness and all of the fine aromatics on the nose are lost in the kerthunk of the wine driving its point home. However, there is also a fairly unbelievable suggestion of violet-encrusted strawberries, somehow, hiding in there among the oxidative notes and tannins. In short, I have absolutely no idea what the hell is going on here. If there was ever a wine so complex as to be bewildering, then it’s probably this one: my only real complaint is that there are so many things going on here and yet so few of them seem to belong in the same bottle.If this wine were a perfume, it would be Odeur 53 by Comme des Garçons: truly, this is remarkable, but drinking it is feeling awfully postmodern somehow. Serve with lavender crème brûlée, Marcona almonds, macaroons, and a bowl of Corn Pops. Why not?   Vinoterra
Price: $20
Closure: Cork
Source: Retail

Two Georgians Tsinandali 2004

This wine smells like overripe pears and heavy white flowers. There’s a somewhat overwrought perfume here reminiscent of cheap floral perfumes dusty from neglect, stashed behind the counter of a small town drugstore. There’s almost a slight citral note here, too, but ultimately what is there isn’t there for long; this wine doesn’t smell fresh or old, just reticent.Somewhat medium bodied in the mouth, the entry of the wine is unremarkable, but blossoms strangely into something resembling a weak tisane of elderflowers and mint. It’s all tinged by what I’ll describe as the taste of cheapness: it’s got that strange, overcropped feel you get in developing countries that have yet to rejoin the world of modern winemaking techniques. It reminds me of cheap Slovene wines or indifferent mass-produced French ones.There’s good, well-judged supporting acidity on the finish, and the flavor – such as it is – does linger for a while. Ultimately, this seems to be a case of wasted potential; everything here could be good given reduced vineyard yields, but someone went for quantity, not quality, and what we’re left with is a bottle of wine that’s good enough to make me sad for what could have been, but nothing more than that.