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Friday, May 09, 2008

Friday Wines – Proxy Edition



So here I am at work and I actually have a finished post, ready to go, for my blog. Alas, the corporate powers that be have blocked access, so I can’t post. Luckily, I have a friend who can post it for me, by proxy. Here goes:

White wine under $20

2005 Lucas & Lewellen Chardonnay Santa Barbara County ($15)

Traditionally, California has relied on its extra fat, butterball style Chardonnay, a wine my father would characterize as “so fat you can’t see its eyes.” That means lots of oak, lots of malolactic fermentation and little fruit.

L&L shows California really can make Chardonnay that relies on the grape’s fruit character. Crisp aromas and flavors of green apple, white peach and nectarine shine here, with acid for great structure and texture. Light and refreshing, revitalizing even, with good balance. I’d drink more Cali Chardonnay if it were built like this.

Red wine under $20

2003 Rutz Pinot Noir French Cuvee Pays d’Oc ($12)

Rutz has produced a highly drinkable, good quality Pinot Noir with the French Cuvee. It balances cherry and strawberry fruit with spice, cola and earthiness. It has good fruit/acid balance and medium body. You can’t ask much more from a Pinot Noir at this price!

I’ll be honest – there’s little Pinot Noir worth drinking under about $25 dollars. Now that’s not me engaging in what the French call le snobisme; Pinot Noir is virtually impossible to grow and even harder to vinify so it’s just going to require extra cash to produce good ones. Think of Pinot Noir the way women think of a purse or a pair of shoes – the more you spend, the better quality!

White wine over $20

Nonvintage L’Etoile Doux Paillé AOC Banyuls Grand Cru ($36)

When you pour the Doux Paillé, it’s hard to believe it’s red wine, but it is. It looks like iced tea, but is all hazelnuts and almonds drizzled with butterscotch and maple. It’s not all candy, though – acidity balances the sugar, while minerality adds complexity, depth and sophistication.

This is the Alessandra Ambrosio, a Brazilian supermodel of a dessert wine. At first glance, she’s coolly graceful and detached. You don’t dare approach her; she’s too rare, too angelic, too volatile for you. Then, somebody cracks a joke and it breaks her pouty, I’m-too-serious-for-you model face. She smiles. Your confidence rises. She waves and you know you can talk to her – she wants to talk to you, even. Wait, was that a wink??

This will match any dessert with milk chocolate, coffee, nuts or caramel or you can pour it over vanilla ice cream. Out of vanilla ice cream? Substitute whatever part of your loved one’s anatomy you choose.

Red wine over $20

2006 Thorn-Clarke Shotfire Shiraz Barossa Valley ($25)

This wine is like a velvet glove, well, in a velvet glove. Even the aromas of blackberry, black currant, charcoal, smoke and chocolate are soft and expressive. Black currants, black cherry, spice box and licorice envelope the palate. A smoky, spicy oak slinks in behind the fruit and earthy character in the finish. It’s got power, to be sure, but this isn’t like most Aussie Shiraz – turning on the power like flipping a light switch. Shotfire powers up slowly, more like an iron. Wait: you’ll be rewarded for your patience.

That’s all from me. Make sure you buy your mother a bottle of wine for Sunday. If she doesn’t drink wine, then buy her one anyway – might as well get her started, eh?


Mark




5 Comments:

At 9:10 PM, May 25, 2008, Anonymous WineGent said...

Mark, The Thorne Clark has become a favorite of mine. It seems consistantly good over the past few years. For the price? A steal. Great blog! Lets trade links! WineGent

 
At 7:09 PM, January 20, 2009, Blogger alicia kristine said...

mark... are you coming back? I lost your card about a year ago, found it, awesome blog!!! Are you still at CM? I've asked you for wine advise every year except this last... I had a newborn:)... Love this blog... hope you are back soon!!

 
At 5:37 PM, July 11, 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm waiting for some writing..............

 
At 5:39 PM, July 11, 2010, Blogger Blosser Hill said...

Yooo Hooo Where are you?

 
At 9:07 AM, June 30, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So glad you're back. Tell us all the good wine news

 

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