Archive for Red
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”
As VINO regulars well know, we have been HUGE fans of winemaker Van Williamson over the years & his tenure at Edmeades Winery. He made some superbly vinous, beasty, yet well textured, surprisingly balanced Zin behemoths which displayed the raw character of some interesting Old Vine Mendocino vineyards, such as Ciapusci, Zeni, Piffero & Eaglepoint Ranch, just to name a few. From 1994 to 2007, it really was an era of Van Williamson in all his glory.
Bordeaux is a geographically defined appellation in France. When one really delves into understanding the wines of Bordeaux, it really can be based upon the soil….& the winemaker.
The other night, we did a tasting of 7 wines from Bordeaux for the staffs down at Sansei Waikiki & DK Steakhouse. The challenge really was “how can we focus the VERY involved information, culture & history to make it more understandable”…..to the point of the server can use it on the “floor” the very next night of service.
Here is what we did………
I distinctly recall Robert Mondavi, the iconic Napa Valley vintner, standing up at one of the early Wine Spectator Grand Tasting events in San Francisco and telling the hushed crowd of attendees that one day California would produce Pinot Noirs which could stand up to those from France.
Although he was generally regarded as the leader of a generation who did just that with the Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon grape varieties, Pinot Noir was sure to be a bigger challenge and most of the wine professionals understood that.
What is currently in fashion, wine wise, is BIG, lavish, opulent, much more forward, red, bordering inkywines…..AND the media spends quite a bit of attention & copy in their publications accordingly. If you think about it, that’s what really sells copy, after all, which is the real intent.
Even when we do winetastings at VINO, it is the “Big Red” tastings which draw the most attention & therefore attendance.
Well, as much time as we may spend ooohing & awe-ing over the 96 pointers, we need to spend even more time finding & featuring well made, interesting, lighter, much more delicious, food friendly styles of wines. Here are 5.
Burgundy is a specific, geographically delimited area of France. It starts in the north with & around Chablis….heads south….to the Cote d’Or (further broken down to the Cote de Nuits & Cote de Beaune in the south)…..down to Cote Chalonnaise….the Maconnais….& finally Beaujolais….with some other, smaller ones in between.
For the most part, Chardonnay & Pinot Noir are the star grape varieties, which can produce something VERY special in the very finest pockets of the region’s Kimmeridgian limestone soils.
The resulting wines are really like no other. Here is recent staff training we did to show our staff how different red Burgundies can be.
As VINO regulars well know, our 2 favorite Chianti wines year in & year out are produced by Fontodi & Felsina Berardenga. A few weeks ago we were treated to some of Fontodi’s wines, which finally came to the Islands (at least legally) after 30 years of trying. The wines made the wait seem worth it.
We were also able to get tiny amounts of Felsina Berardenga wines a few years back.
This iconic Chianti estate is located in the southeastern corner of Tuscany, on the edge bordering Colli Senesi. Their estate is comprised of many parcels, all roughly between 320 to 450 meter elevation with a complex matrix of rocky quartz, calcareous alberese, sandstone & small pebbles soils.
As a consumer, it is so easy to get lost in the world of Burgundy wines. Unlike the Californian single vineyard model which most of today’s wine enthusiasts are more familar with, Burgundy can get quite confusing because of the extreme vineyard/parcel fragmentation over the centuries, mainly due to the country’s inheritance laws.
Even for the wine professional……..keeping track of who owns what….or who it is share cropped with/for (metayage)….or who the grapes were purchased from….is a daunting task. AND, with every generation of the family, this complex matrix inevitably changes.
There is NO easy, quick fix answer.
I was recently asked by a wine publication my thoughts on Bordeaux wines & their viability in restaurants today, given the high prices of the top chateaux.
There will always be a market for Bordeaux wines. The top producers have done a stellar job on marketing themselves over the centuries from Thomas Jefferson to the 1855 Classification to Robert Parker’s landmark reviews on the 1982 vintage (& the ensuing stronger American following) to today & the demand created by the Orient (Japan, Korea & China). The demand is still high…and the prices are too.