Friday, May 18, 2007
Friday Wines - Can You Believe This Weather? Edition
Tuesday night, I came out of my apartment and somehow it was 65 degrees, so I decided to go on a 5 mile walk. Did a little thinking about Friday wines and that's how I arrived at these selections. Try one of these wines to see if that walk did me any good.
White Wine under $20
2004 Mount Cass Reserve Riesling Waipara Gravels Wairapa Valley ($19)
The 2004 Mount Cass demonstrates just how luscious Riesling can be. Dry, but with sufficient ripeness for some to think it's sweet, with an intense core of lime fruit rippling with pineapple and apricot. After the waves of fruit, frosty minerality and an acid rush. Then, something very special- a tingle of resiny spiciness in the finish. Where's this come from? About 10% of the grapes used in this wine had Noble Rot - botrytis cinerea - a fungus that eats some of the water in the grape, leaving behind higher concentrations of fruit, acidity and its own unique flavor. The real thrill of this wine? - balance. Fruit, acid, minerals, concentration, extraction, structure and finish - it's all there.
Red Wine under $20
2004 Chapel Hill 85%Shiraz/15%Grenache McLaren Vale ($16)
Shiraz/Grenache is one of my favorite blends. Think of this as an out of control oil spill on your palate - a big, shiny slick of black currant and blackberry flowing everywhere you give it a chance to go. Just when you think it can't be contained, a layer of strawberry, cherries and white pepper surrounds the black mess, defining its boundaries. The texture here is lush and soft and decadent but the acid keeps it from becoming fluffy.
There's a weird notion out there that the only good wines are ones made from a single grape. Don't you believe it. Done well, blending creates wines that exist outside nature.
White wine over $20
Non-vintage Laurent Perrier L-P Brut Champagne ($40)
With aromas of lime, freshly baked bread and a touch of vanilla, this is a beautiful Champagne - dry and creamy without being oaky and crisp without being too acidic. Don't linger on the nose - flavors of lime custard topped with fresh whipped cream and dusted with hazelnuts await. If you're used to drinking Veuve Clicquot and Moet White Star, L-P Brut will give them a run for their money.
It's May and in Texas that means graduations. Now I'm all for drinking Champagne as a celebration, but I think it's wasted if that's the only time you drink it. Personally, I think the perfect time to drink Champagne (or any sparkling wine) is because today is a day that ends in the letter "y."
Red wine over $20
2004 Nicholas Cole Cellars GraEagle Columbia Valley ($27)
This is a wine made in the St.-Emilion model - a blend of 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Cabernet Franc and 12% Merlot and there's plenty to like about it. As a Washington wine, it's a more elegant and lighter than wines made in California. Sweet black cherries and raspberries show up in the first act, with a lilty, earthy green peppercorn spice making an appearance in the second act. The big finish of the show is a hint of black currants and some grippy tannins. What do you have with this bad boy? Classic Steak Frites - a big plate of thin, crispy fries and some blood-rare sirloin sliced on the bias. No salad necessary.
This weather's not going to last. Grab a bottle or two of these wines in the evening and have a little dinner on your patio, back porch, balcony or verandah. Soon it'll be Africa hot.