Friday, May 11, 2007
Friday Wines - The Princess Bride Edition
You won't understand the title of this entry until you get to the last wine but that way you might read all of the descriptions. It won't matter if you do, though, because any of these wines will add to your viewing of this classic American comedy. Inconceivable!!
White wine under $20
Muramoto Brewery Hou Hou Shou Sparkling Unfiltered Sake ($12)
OK, not technically wine, but wine lovers should definitely try sake. When made well, they will approach the elegance, finesse and complexities of many world-class white wines. They can be less expensive but are sulfite and gluten free.
This is a lovely, full-bodied drink that tastes like pear and honeydew melon dipped in white chocolate. It's unpasteurized and that means two things: creamy, rich texture and complexity from the live yeast cells. And the bubbles? This isn't so much sparkling as it is glittery.
Red Wine under $20
2005 Woop Woop Winery Shiraz/Viognier The Black Chook Australia ($18)
Funky name, good wine. "Chook" is Aussie slang for chicken and there used to be a black one on the label. The name refers to the concentrated black/purple color of the wine. This is a blend of cofermented red and white grapes and blends the best elements of both - apricot, ginger and honey from the Viognier and lifted black plums and blueberries from the Shiraz. Full bodied with just the right amount of stucture and acidity and not short of the tar, dark chocolate and black pepper you love from Shiraz. Anybody have any roo tail for the grill?
White Wine over $20
2005 Signorello Seta Napa Valley ($25)
A blend of 60% Semillon and 40% Sauvignon Blanc, this wine shows you don't need a huge amount of oak and malolactic fermentation to get rich, full-bodied white wine. A touch of spicy stone fruits and minerals show on the nose, yielding to mouthfilling, round flavors of grapefruit, starfruit and lime. The slight new French oak (27%) and 10 month sur lie aging deliver a creamy vanilla note with the honeyed Semillon grape returning on the back of the palate. You're getting this wine cheap for this price - they only made 530 cases. Where's the wine's name - Seta - come from? It's the Italian word for silk.
Red wine over $20
2003 Joullian Zinfandel Sias Cuvee Carmel Valley ($23)
This wine is from a bit of an oddball region, but you should be glad it is. Some Napa and Sonoma Zinfandels are just like their cousins, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay - all jammy fruit, rustic tannins and high alcohol but no balance. Zinfandel is never short on fruit so it's essential to have something to keep the fruit in check. For that you need cool weather - and Carmel has plenty of that. The resulting wine is a superbalanced Zinfandel loaded with blackerry and strawberry fruit, elevated by acidity and a touch of pepper.
I'll make this easy - Napa Zinfandel is like Fezzik (Andre the Giant) in one of my favorite movies, The Princess Bride: big, simple and reliable. Joullian Zinfandel is more like Princess Buttercup: gorgeous, lithe, nimble and elegant.
Enjoy your weekend and remember to avoid the classic blunders: never get involved in a land war in Asia and never, never, ever get into a battle of wits with a Sicillian when death is on the line!