Monday, June 30, 2008
Sunday night Nattles and I had a lovely dinner with one of my co-workers, her husband, and another couple. There was much food and drink, especially for a school night, but the heartiness of the food and extended time period of the evening made for easy metabolization of the wine. I woke up Monday morning and felt pretty good. Decent enough energy at work, especially after lunch and a few ounces of kombucha. Anyway, a good time was had and without further adieu let's get to the wines.
Clairette de Die Raspail 'Grande Tradition' NV
This 100% muscat sparkler from Languedoc was 100% appley deliciousness. At 7.5% alcohol it is also very easy to drink. It tasted of orchard fresh apples, almost in a simpler Mosel spatlese kind of way. Yeah, if you were to take a fruity Mosel spatlese, put it in a sealed tank and make a charmat method sparkler, it would taste similar to this. Interestingly enough I had the wine today as well, and while it was very tasty the character was decidedly less appley, and more of the typical Muscat grapeyness with sweet, exotic citrus notes. Either side of this wine, the apples from Sunday night or the more typical Muscat flavors of today, works for me. The wine went well with the chicken and apple sausages, as well as the crocodile (yes, crocodile) sausages we were eating.
Schloss Schonborn Johannisberger Klaus Riesling Kabinett 1994
At first whiff, I thought that this Kabinett had headed too far down the road of ash and decay for my tastes. But it quickly revived itself and turned out to be a tangy, quince and citrus filled riesling, with characteristically sharp '94 acidity. A bit simple at first, but it improved and showed nicely after some time in the glass.
Hughes Beaulieu Picpoul de Pinet 2007
This simple quaffer was not as pleasurable as I remember from past vintages. A bit metallic and astringent on the finish. A bit more simple as well. Bottle shock, maybe?
Xavier Frissant Touraine Ambois 'Cuvee Renaissance' 2005
My hunch was that this, one of the two wines I brought, would work great with the short ribs. And did it ever. 50% Cot, 30% cab franc, 20% cab sauv from this talented grower in Touraine makes for a very fine food wine. Cot contributes the full, dark fruit flavors, cab franc the herbal savor and acidity, and cabernet some more of the herbs as well as conveying a bit of added tension to the structure. Once the wine had a chance to flesh out it really shined with the short ribs, which were tender and expertly prepared by aspiring Top Chef Derek Hena. If you like the Domaine de la Pepiere Cuvee Granit, I would try this Frissant, I prefer it.
Vincent Paris St Joseph 2006
Pure syrah, simple as that. Violet, white pepper, and mixed berry fruits on the nose, with juicy blue and red fruits on the palate. It's definitely softer, less tense and less spicy than his Cornas wines, but of course that is to be expected. Vincent Paris makes honest, tasty syrah, which comes as no surprise given that the famous Robert Michel (see Neal Rosenthal's new book) is his uncle and probably taught him some things. This wine reminds me that I really need to explore more northern Rhone syrah - the real stuff - not the ocean of Crozes Hermitage and assorted negoc wines aged in new oak.
City Slicker Syrah Santa Barbara 2006
Speaking of new oak flavors...this is a wine that my co-worker bottled with her dad, through crushpad here in San Francisco. It is juicy Santa Barbara syrah that is not my style but definitely well-made and easy to like if it's what you're into.
Domaine de Fondreche 'Nadal' Cotes de Ventoux 2005
These wines are always awarded high scores and it's easy to see why - they are extracted, anonymous tasting southern Rhone wines. That having been said, the O'sud, which is the cheapest of this series, is usually lighter on its feet and more lively tasting.
Domaine de la Pigeade Muscat Beaumes de Venise 2006
I don't like Beaumes de Venise and I didn't really care for this either. It reminds me of orange marmelade, spiked with alcohol. Bitter and hot. Not really refreshing. Then again, I'm not much of a dessert wine person.
Thanks to Chiara and Derek for the hospitality - next dinner's at chez moi.