Friday, April 13, 2007
Friday Wines - The Rare Friday Off Edition
I don't know how this happened, but somehow, miraculously, I have a Friday off. I have no idea how I'm going to waste...um spend it, but it probably won't be wisely. Wise up - go buy one of these bottles to celebrate your Friday.
White wine under $20
2006 Colombelle Vin de Pays Cotes de Gascogne ($10)
Can you say "bargain?" Sure, I knew you could. Old vines Colombard lends vibrant, stunning, concentrated floral aromas and flavors of pineapple, guava and mandarin orange. Trebbiano adds a silkiness to the mouthfeel. Sound sweet? Nope. The acidity in this wine's like a barbed wire fence - sharp enough to keep everything contained.
Red wine under $20
2003 Maestre de Campo Merlot Mendoza ($11)
My friends and colleagues all know that, well before the movie Sideways was released, I decided I don't care for Merlot. Most of it's either been disemboweled (all fruit, no guts) or it's nothing but tannin and no fruit.
We don't get along. Don't like each other. Don't wanna be in the same room.
Not so the Maestre de Campo. It's big, brawny and muscular with structure, but with pure blackberry fruit and a rich, nutty dark chocolate character. Grace, power and balance. Buy cases of it, whether you like Merlot or not. Did I mention this is handpicked?
White wine over $20
2004 Cristom Viognier Estate Willamette Valley ($27)
I was lucky enough to be invited to Pinot Camp in Oregon the year this wine was grown. We probably tasted 100 wines a day for four days. When one, two or three of the producers stand out, that's a very good sign. Cristom was one of those standouts.
This is not your grandfather's Viognier. OK, never mind that Viognier wasn't really around then but this is, to quote the late and magnificent Johnny Carson, "big, big stuff." Rich is the key word here: rich with honey and ginger aromas; rich with apricot, orange marmalade and lemon zest flavors; rich with mouthfeel. All you need to reach nirvana is scallops sauteed in olive oil and blood orange sauce.
Red wine over $20
2003 Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG ($22)
This classic Italian wine from Tuscany. The grape here is a special strain of Sangiovese called Prugnolo and until the rise of Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile was considered the best of the best in Italy.
The nose on this baby is smoke, cherry, violets and tobacco. Don't expect fat, massive, bulky wine. Vino Nobile illustrates that bigger isn't necessarily better. There's rich black cherry fruit, to be sure, but it's medium bodied. I love the tangy acidity that frames the wine and there's more - spicy oak is there, but not intrusive and there's considerable but sweet tannin, too.
That's it for me. Please let me know if there are any hits or misses!