Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Erath Pinot Noir Estate Selection

Erath Vineyards
Pinot Noir
Estate Selection
Dundee Hills
Dundee, Oregon, USA

$23.99 -- Costco, Austin, TX

Color: Medium strawberry with a touch of purple
Nose: Cranberries, strawberries, bacon, cinnamon
Body: Medium
Front: Cherry
Middle: Peach, pie crust
Back: Sage, graphite
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Cork

Give this one some air, and you will be much rewarded. It's a fascinating bottle of wine, with fruit flavors and more earthy, herby-spicy ones mixing together. When it's just opened, the nose is berryish and the palate kind of flat. But after it's been open for an hour and a half, things get much more interesting. This is the best American Pinot I've had for this price; really, for under $30.

The Erath paired well with the baked chicken, garlic, and onion I made for dinner, and with the music: Dan Cohen's brand-new release, Shhhh, a collection of laid-back, astonishingly skilled guitar instrumentals that Cohen both wrote and performs.

Note, 13 January 2010: I tried the Erath Prince Hill Pinot, also 2006, and also great. It was different; a bit more herbiness and different sorts of red fruit. It deserves its own review--someday: I think that it's really going to benefit from a few years of cellaring, which will bring up the volume on some of the earthy flavors that haunt its palate.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Chateau Potelle Cougar Pass

Chateau Potelle
Cougar Pass
Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot
Paso Robles and Napa Valley, California, USA
$15.99 -- Wine Pro, Paducah, KY

Color: Deep strawberry
Nose: Herbes de provence, sour cherries, 
Body: Medium to full
Front: Cherry, raspberry
Middle: Cream, thyme
Back: Soft tannins, graham cracker
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Cork

It's my last night in frozen Kentucky for awhile, and this was an excellent closing bottle. It's festive, with dark fruits and herbiness, but it's also serious in body and texture, a perfect accompaniment to a steak-and-potatoes dinner.

The blend isn't unlike that of Paraduxx, and it's an intriguing combination of fruitiness with more austere ingredients. When this was first opened, for example, it had fascinating mushroominess goin' on, with a whack of currant behind it. It's not young, for a Zin-based blend, so there's some good design behind it.

Potelle's home, I think, is on Mt. Veeder in Napa, so this is a satellite product for them, but it's a good one. The label claims that the fruit is from both Paso and Napa, which is the first time I've encountered such a "freak so fair." Terroir devotees will be appalled, I suppose, so serve it to them blind.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Red Diamond Cabernet Sauvignon

Red Diamond Winery
Cabernet Sauvignon
Paterson, Washington, USA
$9.99 -- Wine Pro, Paducah, KY

Color: Dark garnet
Nose: Oak, oak, raspberr, a smidgen of vanilla
Body: Full
Front: Roasted raspberry
Middle: Chocolate
Back: Oak jam
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Cork

Good with food, the Red Diamond will make you happy if you're a Zin drinker. There's a lot of fruit and a hint of smoke, with oak predominating. I think it's not a cellaring candidate; the tannins are barely there--it's a youthful wine meant to be drunk young, I reckon. But it is a good deal at this price if you're looking for a stout, fruit-driven wine. I found it particularly tasty in combination with my slightly spicy spaghetti and meatballs in marinara; the oak was tamed a bit and the spicy, earthy notes came out more.

Segura Viudas Cava Brut Reserva

Segura Viudas
Brut Reserva
Macabeo, Parellada, Xarel-lo 
Torrelavit, Spain
$9.99 -- Wine Pro, Paducah, KY

Color: Pale gold
Nose: Pineapple, apple
Body: Light to medium
Front: Lemon
Middle: Bread, caramel
Back: Lime, straw
Burns clean?: A little headache; go easy on it
Cap: Cork

A delightful acidity and just enough baked bread to make me happy. This is a great bargain and a good one for mixing with orange juice, cranberry juice, cassis, and so forth. It's a cold day, and a celebratory one, and this is a perfect match for it. For those planning New Years' celebrations, and wary of spending too much on Champagne, this is an excellent choice, I can say from experience.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Bret Brothers Pouilly-Loché

Bret Brothers
Climat "La Colonge" 
Vinzelles, France

$38.00 -- Grapevine Market, Austin, TX

Color: Pale gold
Nose: Graham cracker, apple, mint, wet bark
Body: Medium
Front: Bread and butter
Middle: Cod brandade
Back: Lime, oak
Burns clean?:
Cap: Cork

This is a haunting, many-layered wine. I realize that I've dropped a peculiar description into the middle of the palate profile above, but the middle is quite short, while the front and end of the palate are robust and long. It's not hollow, by any means, but it rewards a little attention to the wine.

I'm having it with my usual smoky spicy almonds and a little bit of cheese, but I think it will actually go well with a wide range of foods.  The soundtrack tonight is President Barack Obama talking about the recent passing by the Senate of the health care bill, and it's as good an accompaniment as I can imagine.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Villa Pozzi Nero d'Avola

Cantine Francesco Minini
Nero d'Avola

Verolanuova, Italy
$12.99 -- Wine Pro, Paducah, KY

Color: Dark garnet
Nose: Roasted Fruit-Roll-Up-stuffed mushroom
Body: Medium to full
Front: Roasted plum
Middle: Rosemary
Back: Black currant jam
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Plastic pseudo cork

This is a lovely wine, fruit-rich and great with food.  It's not many-layered, but it's a crowd-pleaser, with some interesting earthy dimensionality.  It's certainly easy on the tannins, so I'd be surprised if it will age much; it was an excellent match with pizza tonight.

Monday, December 21, 2009

San Román Toro

Bodegas y Viñedos Maurodos
San Rom
Valladolid, Spain

$39.98 [$65.00] -- Wine Library, Springfield, NJ

Color: Inky reddish purple
Nose: Mocha, pepper, vanilla
Body: Full and dirty
Front: Cherry and chocolate
Middle: Raspberry mocha pie, thyme, Slim JimTM
Back: Oak, espresso, soft tannins
Burns clean?: Mostly
Cap: Cork

To my taste, this is a stunningly beautiful, seductive wine. It's by no means for everyone, I can tell, even through my ecstasy of affection. It's tannic; it'll cellar for another 5-7 years easily. It's bossy.  With a spicy chorizo-chicken-artichoke dish, it never even flinched. I'm not sure whether to recommend Rage Against the Machine or Beethoven to drink it with; probably either will work perfectly. I'm'a gonna wait until it's on sale again, and hit 'em up for more.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sattui Los Carneros Merlot

V. Sattui Winery
Los Carneros

Henry Ranch
Napa Valley
St. Helena, California, USA
$27.00 -- Sattui Winery, St. Helena, CA

Color: Dark garnet
Nose: Raspberries, vanilla
Body: Medium to Full
Front: Spicy ripe cherries
Middle: Chocolate cream, pickles
Back: Earthy tannins
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Cork

I'm going to take a political moment, for which I apologize up front. Sattui will soon be changing its label design, and I object. I look at this bottle, with its perfect label, all Napa baroqueness and charming pseudo-old-world-pretension, and I love it. It's perfect.  I'm not nostalgic (much): this is an aesthetic and political judgment. Usually I say, with Hafiz, that all things point to Allah--and if the redesign were as good as this label, I'd say, go for it! But not this time, on either account.

None of this imminent disappointment should distract from an appreciation of the stunning aromatics and rich flavors of this wine, which kicks most Merlots' asses, regardless of hemisphere of origin. It's probably drinking at its peak right now. With the pulled pork barbecue tonight, it was frankly stunning: like pork chocolate mousse.  If you find that description grossifyin', you need to be drinking things like this instead of this.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Albada Garnacha Viñas Viejas

Garnacha Vi
ñas Viejas
Zaragoza, Spain

$13.98 -- Costco, Austin, TX

Color: Deep garnet
Nose: Red currant, black pepper, Blue Angels exhaust
Body: Medium to full
Front: Cassis, raspberry jam
Middle: French bread, white pepper, cream
Back: Thyme, leather
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Plastic cork

This is an intense, complex wine.  It's dark, berry-driven, and fully present, in your face. Zin drinkers will love it. After being open for about two hours, it mellowed out a little bit and became more to my taste. Tonight it was paired with a chicken and leek and cream dish, an excellent combination. My sense is that this wine will be good in a crowd, though it won't have papparazzi. I'm drinking it while listening to "O Tannenbaum," which is a horrific combination, JSYK.

Friday, December 18, 2009

J. Vidal Fleury Saint-Joseph

J. Vidal Fleury

Ampuis, France

$19.98 -- Grapevine Market, Austin, TX

Color: Medium garnet
Nose: Violets, caramel, raspberry, thyme
Body: Light to medium
Front: Raspberry jam
Middle: Pepper, Horsey poo
Back: Orange, oak
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Cork

Vidal-Fleury is a French company owned by the Guigal family, and so this wine unsurprisingly has a lot of shared ground with Guigal wines. It's a classic southern Rhone profile, with a floral and earthy nose and a not-huge body with a delightfully diverse palate.  Splendid with onion soup, and a complex, thought-inducing wine.

Drink this next to a Marquis Philips if you'd like an extraordinary demonstration of the flavor variations you can get in the Syrah grape.

Irony Chardonnay

Life's Strange Twists Wine Company

Napa Valley
Manteca, California, USA

$18.00 -- Wine Pro, Paducah, KY

Color: Pale greenish straw
Nose: Pear, apple, onion
Body: Medium
Front: Pear, white pepper, onion
Middle: Banana, inner tube, onion
Back: A little wood, honeysuckle, onion
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Cork

In general, irony is a word we don't understand too well and use a bit too readily. Alanis Morrisette's song "Isn't It Ironic," which contains a string of examples of mere coincidence, rather than actual irony, is a good negative example. So I was perhaps prejudiced against this wine going into it.

Also, it's worth knowing that I'm roasting onions for an onion soup this evening.

I actually found this wine delightful, despite my dire feelings about its name and the powerful presence of onion in the kitchen.  It's not particularly complex, and has a bit of a short delivery and perhaps a little hollowness.  But I'm going to put on some Kingston Trio Christmas music and have another glass.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Great Maderized Wine Tasting

Hello, ancient beauties.
DOWN IN MY PARENTS' BASEMENT IN WESTERN KENTUCKY are a few wine racks.  The temperature is perfect for wine storage.  For some time, there have been all sorts of interesting things down there, including a lot of white wine bottles so covered with dust that it's hard to see what they are--or were.  The oldest of them date from the Reagan Era (that's President Ronald Reagan, kids), the youngest from the middle 1990s; they span the globe in origins.

A couple of years ago my father suggested that we haul a sample of them up and taste them someday; this week, a cold winter day in Kentucky called out for a couple of good friends, a light seafood lunch, and a case of aged wine.  Today's blog entry may not have much practical use for my readers, but both of them may find it amusing.

Like white people, some white wines age well, and others don't.  But to complicate this, many white wines that are made to age are also deliberately made to taste quite unusual after a decade or so.  An open mind makes wine taste better, no matter the tendencies of the palate.  Going into the tasting, we knew that there were several possibilities: all the wines might taste the same (and awful); a few of them might have survived and be quite good; and we might be surprised by which ones were which.

Still, we did take some precautions. Many of these wines were not built to age, by any means, and none of them originally retailed for more than about $15. So we decided to order them by "guessed likelihood of not sucking" rather than from lightness to heaviness of body as is customary.  What follows are my notes on what happened, accompanied by a couple of photos to show both some of the colors of the wine and the unusual cork phenotypes that we found, ranging from white mold-covered to dirt-covered.  I was exhausted just trying to get the bottles clean enough to put on a table.
All spruced up...mostly. White mold, left; brown "dirt," right.

Monteagle Wine Cellars, Tennessee Seyval Blanc, 1990, 12.5%, Monteagle, Tennessee, USA: A mellow, deep, golden brown color, this one had a nose of burned hazelnut, apricot, and varnish.  The palate delivered old lemon peel, leather polish, and toasted acorns.  It was praised by one of the five members of the crowd, and detested by most of the others.  But in retrospect, most drinkers considered it to be in the top three of the tasting.  In this respect, a complete shock.  Also the first Tennessee wine I've ever had, and only the second Seyval.

Slaughter Leftwich Vineyards, Sauvignon Blanc, 1990, 12.5%, Austin, Texas, USA: First Texas wine I've ever tasted, too.  What a day!  A deep, clear straw color, and a nose that brought poetry from one of the assembled company: "Smells like the hill country...in a dust storm."  Do they make mango varnish?  That's what it smelled like to me; the front palate was a blast of apricot gasoline, then an eerie emptiness in the middle, and a finish of butter and oak.  If you came in on the last 5 seconds of the taste, and then left again immediately, you'd swear it was a California Chardonnay.

Sebastiani Vineyards, Eye of the Swan, Pinot Noir Blanc, 1984, 13.2%, Sonoma, California, USA: This was a piece of my parents' past, and brought smiles of recollection all around.  Yet no stories were forthcoming.  A cloudy golden brown color, this Pinor Noir blanc (meaning it spent just a little time on the skins before being bottled) was the crowd favorite for the day.  With more tannins, and also in a magnum format, it had a better chance in the basement.  Still, 25 years is a long time for what was a bottom-shelf wine at the time!  My pronouncement that it had a nose of wet dog ass mixed with Pine SolTM was mocked, but I stand by it.  Flavors of peach and oak were rapidly followed by something like kirsch-flavored paint thinner.

Cantina di Montefiascone, Est! Est!! Est!!!, Trebbiano, Malvasia, 1984, 11.5%, Montefiascone, Italy: The color of bourbon, mixed with cloudy river water.  The nose?  Sherry, all the way.  If you were a pirate, you could say from experience that this wine tastes like a bad oyster served in a moldy rag.

Federico Paternina, Blanco Seco, Viura (probably), 1988, 11%, Ollauri, Spain: Though white wines have to have a splendid balance of acidity and other things to age well, this one testifies that color doesn't work by the same principles; it had a beautiful, rich golden hue.  The nose, however, smelled like nothing more than spoiled milk (really, it's extraordinary to think such an odor could have been produced by fruit, but some kinds of education are not edifying).  The palate was of pears preserved in acetone. "Here's to temperance," my father pronounced, upon tasting it.

Rutherford Hill Winery, Napa Valley Chardonnay, 1989, 13%, Rutherford, California, USA: I love Rutherford Hill wines, as I've testified elsewhere on this blog.  This one was the best of the bunch, to my taste, but universally hated by my companions.  Its color was a dark greenish-gold, and it had oak and butter, with an aftertaste of snow tire chains--a little radial, a little metal, a little soggy ash.  I drank half a glass.

Viña San Pedro, Gato Blanco, Sauvignon Blanc, 1991, 12%, Lontue, Chile: A hideous brownish-yellow, the nose of the Gato Blanco sported oak, nail polish remover, and roses.  Yes, roses, which didn't bode well.  The palate delivered tart, tart strawberry mineral spirits, with a bit of a novacaine effect.  Admittedly, the latter might have been a cumulative effect, by this point.

Hugh Ryman Wines, Richemont, Chardonnay Reserve, 1996, 12%, Pays D'Oc, France: A sickly bourbony color, the Richemont featured lemon peel, oyster shell, and oak on the palate, in rapid succession, until collapsing into a varnishy haze.  This one was universally despised, though we did have some hopes for it at first because of its youth (and because there are 5 more bottles of it in the basement).  The fascinatingly hideous Richemont cork is pictured here.

Louis Gisselbrecht, Gewurztraminer, Cuvee Reserve, 1988, 12.5%, Dambach-la-Ville, Alsace, France: Another lesson: whatever complex chemical stuff has to happen to keep a white wine going in the cellar in the absence of nice balancing tannins does not apply to the nose, necessarily, either.  This one had a light gold color, perhaps a little dark for a Gewurz but well within reason, and a delightful grapefruity nose.  But sadly, to quote one drinker, "It smells like Gewurz but it tastes like shit!"  Ok, it didn't actually taste like poo, but a strong front of grapefruit rapidly yielded to Testor's model glue and pine needles. One drinker pointed out that glue is not universally despised, but I think glue huffers will be disappointed that the nose on this isn't more in line with its flavor.

Bodegas Olarra, Cerro Añon, Viura, 1984, 11.5%, Logroño, Rioja, Spain: We had high hopes for this one, too, but despite an interesting medium orange gold color and a roasted pear nose, the nail polish, oak, burned hazelnut, radish, and cedar that it delivered ("Agent Orange blossoms," was my phrase at the time) got it dumped out quickly by our assembly.

What have we learned, one dump bucket-full of wine and ten empty bottles and broken corks later?  First, that the variety of bad-tasting things is nearly boundless.  Second, that wine's individuality is hard even for long-term, unbalanced chemical processes to suppress.  Third, that when you do a maderized wine tasting, you should have on hand at least two bottles of really good stuff, and something pickled, to clear palates!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ramón Bilbao Rioja Gran Reserva

Ramón Bilbao
Gran Reserva
Tempranillo (& Graciano, Mazuelo)


$12.50 -- Wine Pro, Paducah, KY

Color: Medium rosy red
Nose: Tootsie roll, a hint of horsey poo, dried cherries
Body: Medium
Front: Cherry cola
Middle: Tootsie roll, coffee, hint of mushroom
Back: Dusty tannins, oak, radish
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Cork

A delicious, aromatic, not-too complex but food-friendly wine. When I say not too complex, I just mean that there's not a clear sequence on the delivery. I don't mean that there aren't lots of flavors in it, because there are more than I have written down above, ones I can sense imprecisely at the edges of recollection. The tastes linger on the palate, too, haunting the flavor. It makes you want to drink more.

This is a case where my food and music pairings are failing me. I really want some Wisantigo Stravecchio cheese, but I'm in the boonies of Kentucky and there ain't none. And I want to listen to J.J. Cale with this: to mellow out completely. But for some odd reason, there's no J.J. Cale here either!  Outrageous. I will have to sing little songs to myself in my head...

Penfolds St. Henri Shiraz

Penfolds Wines
Magill, South Australia

$39.98 -- Twin Liquors, Austin, TX

Color: Inky red
Nose: Blackberry jam, smoke, eucalyptus
Body: Full and creamy
Front: Cassis
Middle: Raspberry, mint
Back: Chocolate, dusty tannins, clove
Burns clean?: 
Cap: Cork

This is a beautifully structured, rich, but subtle wine.  It needs a bit of time open, to be sure, and will cellar for a goodly while longer.  It feels a little closed, to me, compared to the last time I had it, so the 2003 may have gone a bit dormant.  Then again, I paired it with chili, the spice of which might have prejudiced the vino.  In the grand scheme of things, this is a much more elegant, French-style Syrah than one often gets (at least if one drinks the Syrahs that Caveat Emptyer has reviewed!) from Australia.  Dave Brubeck was on the stereo tonight--a good match for the wine.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bon Anno Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

Bon Anno Vineyards
Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley
Napa, California, USA
$26.00 -- Vino100, Lakeway, TX

Color: Dark purplish red
Nose: Baked apple pie, cherry,
Body: Medium to full
Front: Blackberry jam, codfish brandade
Middle: Espresso, black currant
Back: Cilantro, oak
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Cork

Yesterday I spent a lovely evening at my friend Gloria's wine establishment in Lakeway, Texas, the axis of which was this wine.  With some lovely jazz renditions of old standbys on the stereo and a few nice and salty artisanal cheeses and toasted bread on the bar, it was like being in Paris.  Except everybody was speaking English.  And drinking California wine.

This is young, but delicious.  Give it two hours -- the tannins soften and the greenness (the cilantro was not spicy pleasant so much as biting, in context) alleviates, letting the jam and a little sweet spiciness through.  The acid wasn't terrifically strong in this wine, so it might not age forever.  I might get another bottle and lay it down for a year or two and see what happens.  The cod flavor (a good thing) has me intrigued for this wine's future.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Domaine Jean Grivot Nuits-St-Georges

Domaine Jean Grivot
"Les Boudots"
Pinot Noir

1er Cru
Vosne-Romanée, France
$40.99 [$63.99] -- Twin Liquors, Austin, TX

Color: Medium, smoky strawberry peach
Nose: Strawberry, grilled ribeye, ...
Body: Medium
Front: Sour cherry
Middle: Broccoli, pencil lead
Back: Substantial tannins, raspberry
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Cork

The flavor description above is utterly phantasmic.  This wine evolved in fascinating ways over the course of about five hours.  I didn't decant it; just left it in the bottle, and started drinking it after it had been open about two hours.  At two hours it was spicy and meaty; at four hours it was passive and graphitic; who knows what it will be like five minutes after I hit "Publish Post."

I got this puppy on sale, and at the price I got it for, it's divine.  Given how long it's been open and how the flavors are still roiling around, I'd have to guess it can age for much longer; so it may eventually be worthy of the top price for it. Usually I don't rank things against each other, but at this price, I think it's important to note that I enjoyed the Pieure Roch more than this from a complexity and general "what the hell is going on in this bottle?!" standpoint.

Note: Day 2 on this wine; open a total of 9-10 hours: roasted fig, olives, cranberry, thyme.  Ferreal.  This thing will age for some time; like, 5-10 more years.

Chalone Estate Chardonnay

Chalone Vineyard

Estate Grown
Monterey County
Soledad, California, USA

$20.00 -- Grapevine Market, Austin, TX

Color: Pale straw
Nose: Baked peach, biscotti
Body: Full
Front: Apricot, banana
Middle: Salmon, gravel
Back: Peach, graham crackers, bread and butter
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Cork

It's another frigid night in the south--well, most places in North America, I'd guess. There is some minor celebrating going on around the house, so this will be a wine-intense evening. First, a California white in a burgundian style, then an honest-to-Allah Burgundy pinot. In between, fondue and salad with radishes, mushrooms, and other wintery sorts of substances.

This wine has a really interesting nose, which I've only inadequately described above. There's a tinge of heat in the nose, too, but I think that with a little time that will fade and it will get both more fruity and more herby. The palate develops for a long time, and is nicely balanced. The oak comes in at the very end, and fades in really delightfully, to my taste. I'll certainly get more of this wine.

Note: Impressive: It's three days later, and this wine has probably been open for seven hours or more, and then corked for three days in the fridge. It's astonishingly rich, buttery, spicy, even still has a smidgen of acidic peariness or apricot involved. Bread pudding, really.  This will age. If you usually take two or three days to drink a bottle, this is a colossal bargain.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pillar Box Reserve

Henry's Drive Vignerons
Pillar Box Reserve
Padthaway, Australia

$15.98 -- Wine Library, Springfield, NJ

Color: Opaque blood red
Nose: Clove, blackberry jam, a little heat
Body: Full and creamy
Front: Blueberries, cafe au lait
Middle: Cherry, pepper, sage
Back: Asphalt, cedar
Burns clean?: Yes, mostly
Cap: Screwcap

Break out the roasted beets and the grilled lamb and the syrah.  It's winter. Pillar Box is, I assume (loyal readers, spank me if I am wrong), sort of a "second label" of Henry's Drive, which makes a killer syrah.  Back in the day I had the Pillar Box Red, and found it lovely, if uncomplex.  This is a step up in every way, and not terrifically more expensive.

One of the most interesting things about it to me is the texture of the wine.  The flavor profile isn't all that uncommon in Australian syrah.  There's a bit more going on in it than, say, the Marquis Philips wines, but they're a dollar or two cheaper and easier to find.  But they don't have the elegant roundness, the creamitude, of this bottle.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Château Côte Montpezat Cuvee Compostelle

Vignobles Bessineau
Château Côte Montpezat
Cuvee Compostelle

Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon
Côtes de Castillon 
Castillon, Bordeaux, France
$18.99 -- Wine Library, Springfield, NJ

Color: Rich dark garnet
Nose: Cassis, cherry, espresso, mint, mustard
Body: Medium
Front: Cassis, mint
Middle: Roasted bell pepper, chocolate
Back: Thyme, graphitic tannins
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Cork

The nose on this wine is fantastic.  Leave it open at least an hour before you drink it.  The structure of this wine isn't particularly clear, but the flavors and the aroma are superb.  It's a good bargain, too, with a lot of fascinating things going on (mustard and mint?!) that keep it interesting as the wine opens up.

I paired this with a chicken, chorizo, and red bell pepper thing to which I have kind of become addicted. It's a freezing night (ok, 42) and something stewed was called for, along with some toasted bread and interesting wine. And tonight I raise a glass to my friend Jace Everett, who's among the musicians on the soundtrack to HBO's hit show True Blood -- a soundtrack just nominated for a Grammy.