Archive for Red
California certainly has been producing world class wines, which has steadily risen in perceived quality since the 1976 Paris Wine Exhibition. Take Napa Valley grown & produced Cabernet for instance. The critics’ scores & accolades rival, & in some cases exceed, the very best from France’s iconic Bordeaux region.
One could certainly make a similar case for Chardonnay & Pinot Noir as well.
California is also making great strides in raising the quality & the awareness of their wines made from Rhone grape varietals as well. It has taken some time, but as time goes on, the very best are finally getting recognition, culminating with the selection of the 2007 Saxum “James Berry Vineyard” Red Wine by the Wine Spectator as the numer one wine of their Top 100 Wines issue a few years ago.
Certainly one of the highly regarded estates of Chianti, with vineyard holdings just over 65 hectares at between 1000 & 1700 feet in elevation….with calcareous clay, pebble rich soils. The 2006 was rated 92 points by The Wine Advocate. It certainly displays the dried cherry/red fruit & autumn leaves nuances, one would expect from Tuscan Sangiovese with the pedigree & character would one expect from such a top estate. We were also glad to see the 2006 open up again, eventhough only slightly. The big question is…….is this wine worth $42 retail?
Italian Lambrusco is yet another wine, which I would list under the “Ugly Duckling” category. It is sad that too many wine drinkers have some preconceived notion that sparkling (or fizzy) red wines are not “cool” to drink…..OR….that the rage of inexpensive, sweeter styled Lambrusco in the 70′s & 80′s has forever tarnished the wine.
I can readily understand. I, quite candidly, at one time thought the same. Then, I had my first glass of the Ermete DeMedici Lambrusco “Concerto”….back in the early 90′s…..well chilled…..with an assortment of salumi & cheese. I am now an avid fan of good Lambrusco.
CABERNET SAUVIGNON–’07 Duckhorn; ’98 Hess; ’99 Artesa; ’97 Chateau St Jean “Reserve”; ’01 Philip Togni; ’06 Groth “Reserve”; ’08 Groth “Reserve”; ’96 Heitz “Martha’s Vineyard”; ’05 Palmaz; ’03 Caymus “Special Selection”; ’07 Caymus “Napa Valley”; Ardente “Atlas Peak”; ’97 Livingston Moffett; ’06 Ghost Block; ’05 Flora Springs “Out of Sight Vineyard”; ’03 Flora Springs “Out of Sight Vineyard”….PLUS–’83 Chateau Lynch Bages; ’03 Chateau La Gomerie; ’09 Kistler Chardonnay “Dutton Ranch” & ’09 Kosta Browne Pinot Noir “Sonoma Coast”.
There is always quite a bit of discussion on BYOB policies in restaurants, & rightfully so. As with all such potentially controversial topics…..for me……they just raise questions.
Why do I have to choose a side? Choosing a side can create polarization. I am looking for just the opposite–synergy.
Can’t there be a median? Can’t we look to meet somewhere in the middle? AND…then grow that common ground?
One such effort is what we call the BYOB dinner…..where we come up with a menu (often based upon a wine theme)….complete with wine style recommendations & then invite our regular customers. We set a price (& ask our regulars to leave a little extra gratuity for the staff).
Several years back, I met Mark Tarlov, a movie executive/producer, who was launching a very comprehensive new wine project named Evening Land Vineyards. I remember being flat out astounded at how complex & multi layered this project really was, after hearing Mark unfold the portfolio. The grapes were coming from incredible pedigreed parcels out on the true Sonoma Coast (having purchased the Occidental Vineyard of Kistler fame, located on iconic Taylor Lane); Oregon, where they exclusively leased the highly revered Seven Springs Vineyard; AND some unique & interesting parcels from Burgundy, France which superstar winemaker (& their consultant) Dominique Lafon sourced. In addition, they cleared the land & planted a “dream” vineyard way beyond the Santa Rita Hills appellation western most boundary on a hillside teaming with silaceous clay soils & completely naked to a relentless, pounding sea wind.
2010 Movia Sauvignon
Movia wines are from Slovenia across the border from Friuli, Italy, & are some of the world’s most idiosyncratic, avant garde wines–extreme & certainly interesting.
The estate dates back to 1700′s, passing into the hands of the Kristančič family with a wedding in 1820. The estate extends over 22 hectares of land, about half of which lie on the Italian side of the Goriška Brda (Collio)”.
I have been fortunate to try some of their Ribolla based white wines from 1959 & 1969 (in 2007) & was amazed how they tasted. The latest of their wines we have experienced is this 2010 Sauvignon. It is really different…..and a most interesting drink.
I first met wife & husband team, Schatzi Throckmorton (whose day job is GM of Behrens/ Erna Schein) & Mike Hirby (then–ass’t winemaker of Behrens/Erna Schein), just as they were ready to launch their Relic label. These are two incredibly nice people whose true passion for wine is quite contagious. It was no surprise when their Relic project came to fruition & was deservedly & wonderfully received by the wine media.
Here is what their website explains–
Yes, it was a crazy kind of tasting last night in VINO, which was spearheaded by2 of the regulars. Interestingly, we all share a real appreciation for Napa Valley’s Ric Forman and his wines. (There is another post on this site with a picture or 2 of the vineyard itself).
Here was the “lead off batter”…..showcasing the same graphite/pencil lead/gravel character typically found in Forman’s red wines & therefore found in the bevy of Cabernets tasted later. This one has a little more plumpness in the middle. We were so impressed how remarkably youthful this wine still is.
We did a staff winetasting down at Sansei Waikiki/DK Steakhouse the other night. The staff wanted to learn a little more about Italian red wines. Since we had previously tasted some examples produced from Sangiovese, Nebbiolo & Aglianico before, I decided to show them some wines, which were more “country-ish” in style. Thankfully the wines showed wonderfully.
SELLA & MOSCA CANNONAU DI SARDEGNA “RISERVA”