Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A pepsi-coke challenge weekend, wine style.

I enjoy comparative tasting. Whether tasting a few olive oils, wines, beers or chocolates, there is always something new to discover. Here are some recent discoveries:


To answer the question (and oft repeated statement) above, I would say, at least based on this particular bottle, 'Not really.' The '04 Pucho showed lots of dark fruit and more advancement than I was expecting. It was spicy and full of wet earth, albeit a dense chunky wet earth as opposed to a more nuanced, decaying wet earth. It was ok with the chicken, but came across as rather monolithic. Now the Chinon was a different story. It was initially strict, with that classic savory-herbal cherry-berry cab franc profile. As it opened up, though, I began to better appreciate the silky texture of Loire cab franc gliding across the palate. The savory and earthy flavors giving way to floral notes and bright acidity. Excellent with the roasted chicken, which I prepared very simply with salt, pepper, half a lemon, a few garlic cloves, and several sprigs of rosemary, popped into a 500 deg oven for 40 minutes.


Vermentino is certainly very much at home on the island of Sardegna, especially when it comes from Gallura on the northeastern portion of the island. The 2006 Mancini Vermentino di Gallura showed broad melon, apple and citrus flavors. It tastes bigger than its 12.5% alc would suggest.

Former folk singer/hippie Steve Edmunds pays tribute to his northern California musical heritage with his 2007 Heart of Gold, a blend of Grenache blanc co-fermented with Vermentino. Nearly 50-50. At first it tasted lean, citric and closed. After a day in the fridge, and serving at a more ideal temperature (cool room temp vs cold fridge temp) the wine was much more expressive. Another winner from Edmunds St. John. Way to go Alice for giving Mr. Edmunds some props in a recent SF Chronicle article.


This was a brown bag tasting we did for customers at the store. Overall a pretty good selection; as predicted the wines were not always easy to peg as CA or Oregon the way that some people are stylizing PN these days. I don't have my notes in front of me, but I remember a few favorites ('06 Chasseur PN Russian River, '05 Foghorn PN Monterey, '06 Westrey PN Oracle Vineyard Dundee Hills), one disappointment ('05 Eyrie PN Dundee Hills) and a few utterly disagreeable wines ('05 Domaine Serene Evenstadt, '06 Et Fille Kalita Vineyard PN Yamhill-Carlton, Aubin Cellars 'Verve' Stoller Vineyard PN Dundee Hills).


qynohtna said...

Joe, Im a huge Cabernet Franc fan. I visited Olga Raffault and her husband back in the mid '80's and my importer friend, Phillip Melot ( owner of the Hotel de la Madeleine, Sarlat, France - as well as the mayor of the town of Sarlat - we drove around the Loire Valley back then with Sidney Moore ( owner of the Mayflower Wines & Spirits wine shoppe, Washington D.C. M. Street ) and that day at Olga's Phillip who trained and was a professional chef made an amazing meal with foie gras and some just-ripened baby asparagus and the Cabernet Franc as well as the Chenin Blanc of Olga was served - wow. Sublime, does not get much better than that. I'm glad you liked her wine. I don't believe there is any correlation in taste between the Cabernet Franc and the Mencia, at least not any that I think sticks and really makes the point. I do like Mencia but find it's flavor profiles so different than the Loire Cab Francs which I adore! Cut my teeth/palate on several bottles of Cab Franc way back then in the early 80's with my mother when we drove down together from Paris, just the two of us. We ended up in the town of Bourgeuil across the river from Chinon. I was hooked, it was the late morning - nice.
I've got to get to see the movie BOTTLE SHOCK since I knew Steven Spurrier back in the early 70's when he worked with Patricia Gallagher and Jon Winroth and I took their first wine class at the ripe old age then of 21! Nice memories. Cheers, TONY

Joe Manekin said...

Ah, memories! Sounds like a terrific trip. My time in the loire in '06 was all too short - only an afternoon, overnight and then the next morning. It was on Franck Agostini's (Promex) trip which was unfortunately Bordeaux focused. Oops, did I say that? Anyway, it was a terrific trip - my first in French wine country - and I will always be appreciative for it.

Wow, you go back to Spurrier's earlier days, huh? You are truly old school and as such welcome here anytime.