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Jim Jones in Tokyo

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WTN: Dinner with Friends (Herm Bl, Loire Sparkler, Napa SB, Giacosa Barbera)

by Jim Jones in Tokyo » Wed Sep 20, 2006 4:35 am

DINNER WITH FRIENDS (HERM BL, LOIRE SPARKLER, NAPA SB, GIACOSA BARBERA) - Tokyo (9/9/2006)

An apertif at home
  • 2001 Ferraton Pere & Fils Hermitage Le Reverdy - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
    Rich and deep yellow color, with a bit of a waxy hue. Nose is simple but rich with suggestions of lanolin and slightly candied tropical fruit. Palate is of medium weight and shows simple apple and apricot fruit. As it warms up, a bit of richer fig fruit comes out. A bit hot on the abrupt finish. An odd combination – never quite fat, but more because it lacked the weight to be fat (and was, in fact, a bit hollow in the middle), not because it had any tautness to it. Disappointing. Two days later from the fridge, this has evolved a ton. Nose has taken on a bit of herb and creamy lemon. Palate has that same lemon cream I love from (and look for in) Hermitage Blanc, along with a bit of stoniness. Still a bit hot and still a bit light in the middle, but much more interesting and with a little more verve. Nonetheless, not something I’d be looking to buy again. Some age will be kind to it, but won’t do enough.
With slightly aged gouda
  • 1995 Eclat de Cray Crémant de Loire Chapelle de Cray Brut - France, Loire Valley, Crémant de Loire
    Picked up as a curiosity and to have around for times that bubbles were desired, but not the fullness (or price) of a Champagne. Despite age, the color is on the lighter side of yellow and mousse is still lively, even though we drank this out of water goblets. Nose is simple but pleasant, showing a bit of bread, much ripe peach and apple, and perhaps a wee bit of freshly cut fieldgrass. Palate presents as a bit sweet and heavy initially, but picks up a little zip after a few sips. Flavors are again fairly simple like the nose – mostly peach and apple, but with a bit of honey. Not as zippy as I would like, particularly from the Loire. Chenin blanc flavors but without the evident acidity to make it work. Not bad, but I’m not racing back for more. Perhaps I’m jaded. Everyone else liked it more and would consider it for a value house sparkler. I just thought it lacked freshness. Perhaps it should have been consumed younger, though it showed no notes typical of an over the hill bubbly.
With a lightly dressed heart of palm and field green salad
  • 2005 Duckhorn Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Lightish grassy yellow. Nose is immediately redolent of grass, but quickly moves past that into white peach and grapefruit, with a wee bit of white pepper. Palate is similar in flavors, mostly peach and grapefruit, with decent acidity but not quite the zip I like from Sauv Blanc. Much closer to an unoaked Graves than anything from the Loire or New Zealand. I used to like this wine a lot when I was first starting to take wine seriously in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s. Nothing wrong with it now, but nothing of real interest. Better than the normal random bottle brought by fellow guests, but not something I’d buy.
With a hearty, reduced-tomato sauced pasta
  • 2001 Bruno Giacosa Barbera d'Alba Falletto di Serralunga - Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Barbera d'Alba
    Medium cherry hue, clear and bright – even radiant. Nose of deep sappy herbs and bright cherry, along with a nice bit of leathery funk. Palate is absolutely incisive with great acidity that might be tough alone but just sings with a stout vegetarian, reduced-tomato pasta sauce. Nice cherry fruit, much deeper than on the nose, some more herbs, even a hint of something deeper – coffee or spice? Tannin comes out on the finish, but in a cleansing and resolving way, rather than a harsh one. Brash and brawn with balance. Not sure how this would have done alone and didn’t get to see because it was too damn good with the food to save any.

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Jim Jones
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Bob Parsons Alberta

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Re: TN: Dinner with Friends (Herm Bl, Loire Sparkler, Napa SB, Giacosa Barbe

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Sep 20, 2006 10:54 am

Great notes in all the postings today, Jim. I always struggle in deciding which wine to serve with tomato based sauces, the acidity you know. Really appreciate your notes on the German wines in the other thread.
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Jim Jones in Tokyo

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Re: TN: Dinner with Friends (Herm Bl, Loire Sparkler, Napa SB, Giacosa Barbe

by Jim Jones in Tokyo » Wed Sep 20, 2006 8:11 pm

Thanks Bob.

Depending on the exact nature of the sauce and pasta, I will sometimes drink different things, but I have a hard time beating good Barbera for any acidic, tomato-based pasta sauce. And the prices aren't bad either. I just generally avoid the nuevo wave-o Barbera wines that have seen a lot of barrique. These don't seem to deliver the same magic.

Then again, I tend to avoid nuevo wave-o wines in general. But you probably already knew that.

Jim
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Re: TN: Dinner with Friends (Herm Bl, Loire Sparkler, Napa SB, Giacosa Barbera)

by Jenise » Thu Sep 21, 2006 11:00 am

Your experience with the Duckhorn mirrors mine. I remember liking it a lot more ten years ago, but bottles from two different recent vintages disappointed identically for not having enough acid to carry the soft fruit.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov

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