Nothing too crazy, but some goodies to be sure. I'll probably post another one of these later in the week, as I expect to be tasting some middle aged and older right bank Bordeaux - wines I hardly drink or describe on the site.
For now, though, a short list of goodies:
Equipo Navazos No.21 La Bota de Palo Cortado Jerez de la Frontera
From Valdespino, the oldest bodega in Jerez (and a bodega I will be visiting in less than a month, very exciting). This wine is so perfect an expression of palo cortado: the salty tang of amontillado, but with incredible flavor intensity and elegance, as well as a bit more richness on the mid-palate. Still a dry style. This is one of my top sherries. Just amazing.
Gutierrez Colosia "Sangre y el trabadero" Oloroso El Puerto de Santa Maria
I enjoyed a glass of this immediately after the La Bota above. Somehow, miraculously, it refused to be outclassed and certainly held its own. That having been said, it's important to note that these are entirely different sherries. The La Bota No. 21 contains some very old wine, and is the Jerez equivalent of any iconic, benchmark producer you can think of elsewhere. Sangre y trabadero (literally translated as "Blood and the worker," profound stuff, no?) is a younger wine, as well as an oloroso stylistically. So the wine never had any flor form above the wine in barrel. It is still a dry style oloroso, with a low (for oloroso) 18% alcohol. It shows just a hint of the rancio character inherent in oloroso wines, but the predominate quality in this oloroso, this oxidatively styled, fortified wine, is, quite paradoxically, freshness.
[Quick break from the notes. I should mention that the podcast will likely have at least 1 episode from Jerez. Live and direct. Once things get going, I will continue to post episodes (as I posted the trailer - scroll down a few posts if you have yet ot listen) on this site. It is also on iTunes and you can subscribe just like any of your other favorite podcasts. In fact, I encourage you to do just that whenever you are next on iTunes. Things are set up and ready to go.]
2008 Henri Gouges Bourgone Rouge
If anyone has not yet had a Gouges experience, you seriously ought to take corrective action as soon as humanly possible. Buy a bottle, order one in a restaurant, encourage a friend to open one from their cellar, whatever you've got to do. 2008 seems to be all about the charm with red Burgundies: fresh fruit, great acidity and transparency. As with the best of Bourgogne Rouge bottlings, this not only is a delicious drink, but it shows a lot of character reflective of its more specific origin: Nuits St Georges. Pure, focused, slightly floral and mineral dark berry fruit predominates. This is all domaine fruit from two separate .5 hectare plots.
As we are at the close of SF Beer Week, here are a few beers to round things out.
Kern River "Just Outstanding" IPA (draft)
Kern River has, deservedly so, been getting a lot of traction with this brew. I enjoyed a pint of the Just Outstanding yesterday at what is arguably the best German restaurant and bar in the Bay Area, Gourmet Haus Stadt. Hoppy to be sure, but not in the overt, California, uber hoppy to the point of distraction way. This is hoppy beer that is still balanced between alcohol, floral hop quality, and bitter notes. There is a more assertive malt build than is typical of the style, perhaps this is why I liked it more than most other IPA's?
Haandbryggeriet "Haandbic" Wile Ale
Currants, cranberries, lambic style yeast and bacteria, 18 months in barrel...right up my alley. This is one of the most complex and satisfying, intense and ethereal, as well as downright vinous beers I have ever tasted. To the wine drinkers, I'll just say that it somehow simultaneously evoked the Gouges Bourgogne above (pure red fruits) and Radikon's Ribolla (funky/cidery, but without sacrificing purity or focus). To the more beer inclined, I'll just say that if you like sours, Haandbryggeriet continues to make some of the most compelling ones around (I've found their other, non-sour offerings, to also be good and certainly worth checking out). To anyone reading, I'll go out on a limb here and say that for about $11 for a 500ml, this is one of the more gratifying beverages of any kind I have yet to taste.