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Friday, May 26, 2006

Friday Wines - Round Two

It's been a busy week around here, including a long field trip we took today to check out other wine venues in the Metroplex, not to mention Memorial Day coming up. I have at least two other posts in mind for the weekend, but let's get some good bottles in your hands first, shall we?

White under $20

2004 Shoofly Buzzcut White McLaren Vale ($11.99)
Some wines can only be made by blending grapes and this dry white has four. Verdelho gives it a fascinating blend of melon and kiwi with a pleasant herbal note. Sauvignon Blanc lends some sharp acidity to make the wine crisp. Viognier adds its own honeysuckle, peach and ginger notes and Riesling (not sweet, mind you) tops it all off with dashes of grapefruit and mineral. No oak here! Add it all up and you get the perfect match for a piece of that Copper River sockeye salmon that just came into season.

Red under $20

2004 or 2005 Carchelo Monastrell Jumilla ($8.49)
I'm a huge fan of wines that overdeliver. That's a wine geek term that simply means you get more than you paid for. This one does that in a very big way. Monastrell is the Spanish name for a grape you might know - Mourvedre (the French used to think it was native, until DNA testing showed otherwise, hehehe) Think three things - black cherry fruit, super dark chocolate and a wisp of tobacco spiciness. It's a big grape, with full body and soft tannins. What's the difference between 2004 and 2005? 2005 is more fruit and less earth, but don't be picky about what vintage you buy. Drink it with anything you can throw onto a fire, but my favorite pairing is buffalo burgers!

White over $20

2002 Panther Creek Melon Deponte Vineyard Willamette Valley ($24.99)
Made from a grape called Melon de Bourgogne, this is a white for those who like a challenge. It's unlike anything you've ever had, well, almost, but I'll explain that in a second. When you pour the wine, you'll get lots of interesting aromas - lime leaf, lemons, and a little grapefruit. Lurking in the back somewhere is a little peach, too. In the mouth it's lighter to medium bodied and very dry. The fruit flavors are there, with the limes and lemons dominating. Concentrate on the finish and you'll find the hallmark of this grape. Are you focused? If you are, you'll get a little flavor of sea breeze - that sea salty air, like you get at the beach. All that sound familiar? If it does, you know Melon de Bourgogne is the grape they use to make the French wine Muscadet.

Red over $20

2001 Zealear Cabernet Sauvignon Reprise Napa Valley ($44.99) The Zealear Cabernet Sauvignon is also a little out of the ordinary. It's not your typical, overblown smack you in the face with jam, oak and tannin. Look for a lighter bodied, more elegant form of Cabernet here, with ripe red plum, strawberry and black cherry fruit. The tannins are still here, but ripe and smooth. There's plenty of oak, but it's more restrained than in a typical California Cab. All in all, it's got something you can't describe well, but you know it's a damn good wine. This is a perfect match with your best friends and good conversation or, well, your perfect match.

Enjoy the wines and the long weekend. More blogs to come, so keep looking!



At 5:58 PM, May 30, 2006, Anonymous Christian said...

The Shoofly is a nice bottle and a great package, but it seemed a little too "made" to me. Didn't quite taste like fresh fruit. I had a rather surprising glass similar to it at a restaurant last night, Tortoise Creek Chardonnay-Viognier, from Southern France. I have no idea who sells it. It's not me.

Also, tried the 2003 Hecula Yecla Monastrell ($12) because the shelf was empty of the Jumilla. Very nice bottle, blackberry, dark currant, pepper, a little pie spice and substantial but soft tannin. Yummy!

At 7:38 PM, July 24, 2006, Anonymous Christian said...

I've found the 2003 Carchelo somewhere else in Town, Mark. Any idea who might have any 04 left?

At 7:46 PM, July 24, 2006, Anonymous Christian said...

Also Mark, from Wikipedia.

Mourvedre, Monastrell entry at Wiki. (Has synonym name Morrastel). Recent DNA evidence (3/98) suggests that the library varieties from UC Davis, California and Montpellier, France used in the tests are identical to Moristel and have no relationship to Mourvèdre. The variety thrives in warm, arid climates. With careful vinification and much racking before bottling the wines are capable of ageing well.


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