Tasting Wine: The year’s memorable reds

Last week I gave you my most memorable white wines of 2007. And now, the reds:

Paul Pernot Beaune 1er Cru Clos du Dessus des Marconnets, 2005 (Burgundy, France)

Paul Pernot is a fixture in Puligny Montrachet. Now in his 70s, he is still very hands-on and, with the assistance of his sons Paul and Michel, crafts beautiful wines pretty much across the board. His 2005 Clos du Dessus des Marconnets is one of most enjoyable wines I’ve had from Burgundy in a long time. Though young, it is very approachable and exhibits fruit and mineral vibrancy. Loaded with strawberry preserves, rhubarb, toffee and plenty of terroir, this is a Burgundy drinker’s dream.

Suggested retail: $29

Batic Cabernet Franc Reserve, 2003 (Vipava, Slovenia)

What can I say? I love this wine. Sharing a culturally invisible border with Collio, in Friuli, Italy, the Vipava Valley in Slovenia will be hometo many great wines in the future. Medium bodied with violets, coffee beans, chocolate and red fruit, this wine has the varietal character I expect from cabernet franc and then some. This wine is on par with the some of the greatest wines made in Chinon, which is widely considered to be the best region for cabernet franc.

Suggested retail: $22

Bodegas de la Real Divisa Marqués de Legarda Rioja Gran Reserva, 1920 (Rioja, Spain)

Yes, you have read correctly, this wine is from the 1920 vintage. This is an old, historic estate in Rioja and the name, which means “wines of the royal currency,” comes from the relationship it enjoyed with the royal house of Navarre. Unlike most of Rioja’s other historic properties, Bodegas de la Real Divisa is still owned by the original family. Silky, with cola, cherries and hints of cumin, white pepper and cedar, it was magnificently fresh and mature at the same time. If you have the time and a little extra cash, it is well worth seeking out.

Suggested retail: $250

Have a happy and safe New Year’s. If you drink, please don’t drive, or wait until you are sober. I say it every year — a taxi is cheaper than a DUI.

Pamela S. Busch is the wine director and proprietor of CAV Wine Bar & Kitchen in SanFrancisco.

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