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Dale Williams

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TN: bad P. Blanc and Zin, ok Gewurz, good Merlot

by Dale Williams » Sun Dec 17, 2006 8:21 pm

Not much exciting in the way of wine this last few days. Thursday we went with friends to a local Thai place. Green mango salad, whole fried snapper w/tamarind sauce, beef penang, Japanese eggplant w/basil and ginger. All pretty good (I avoided the pad thai, as this place serves it awfully sweet). I ordered a glass of Alsace Pinot Blanc. The 2003 Adam Pinot Blanc was pretty awful, offdry and flabby with canned peach and rotten flower aromas. C-
Betsy's Hook& Ladder Gewurztraminer (missed vintage) was a bit better, good acidity for a CA geuwrz, floral typicity,not exciting but a standout next to the PB. B, from a couple sips (she wisely wouldn't trade).

The next day I wasn't feeling 100%, but after long day at work we drove into city to meet my brother and his family, who had flown in for weekend's shopping. They picked Bobby Van's Grill, a steakhouse in midtown with plenty of stuff to keep kids happy (calamari, etc). As my stomach wasn't great I didn't order a steak (maybe1st time ever in a steakhouse), but a pasta with tomato/basil/ricotta. I asked waiter if they had a wine by glas list, he said no, red or white. I said red, he said "CA cab, CA pinot noir, CA red zin, French merlot." Um. So I said what CA pinot, he said he's check. He came back and said "I was wrong, it's French, Barton and Guestier." I ordered the Zin, which he said was "Redwood." I know there's a Redwood Valley, don't know if this was producer or geography, but doesn't matter because in any case it rivalled the Adam for sucking. Sweet, empty, short. C. Steaks were good (I had some of Betsy's leftovers next day), but that kind of combo of bad btg list and bad server knowledge is inexcusable imho at a reasonably expensive steakhouse. Only Luger's has steaks good enough for that.

I was feeling better Saturday, and Betsy made the duck with quince compote recipe from Wed's NYT, designed to be served with WA Merlot. Which I didn't have any of, of substituted the 1999 Albini Family Merlot (Russian River Valley). Rich dark fruit, some chocolately oak notes without being confectionary, some earth. This is clearly Californian, big ripe fruit, but good balancing tannins and acidity. Nice. B+

Recipe was good and ok as a match, but I'm not sure I can see the affinity for Merlot (and don't think it was because I didn't have a WA one). I think a simpler meat or poultry dish would have been better for Merlot, and this dish could use something more acid-driven to counter the compote's sweetness.

Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine, B a good wine, C mediocre. Anything below C means I wouldn't drink at a party where it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.
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Victorwine

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Re: TN: bad P. Blanc and Zin, ok Gewurz, good Merlot

by Victorwine » Sun Dec 17, 2006 9:53 pm

Hi Dale,
There is a Renwood Winery in California (Amador County) who produces Zins and other varietals.

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Bob Henrick

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Re: TN: bad P. Blanc and Zin, ok Gewurz, good Merlot

by Bob Henrick » Mon Dec 18, 2006 12:00 am

Dale, I suspect the Redwood thingie was one of the jugs from Gallo.
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John Treder

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Re: TN: bad P. Blanc and Zin, ok Gewurz, good Merlot

by John Treder » Mon Dec 18, 2006 12:00 am

If there's a Redwood Valley (place name) in California, I don't know of it -- and I've lived here for 60+OMIGOSH! years.

I wouldn't be surprised if Bronco or Gallo labels an "export" bottle as "Redwood Valley".

What you describe (and I know it's hard to describe a wine that has nothing in it to describe) seems like bad Gallo or bad K-J. The trash that gives California a bad name.
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Bob Parsons Alberta

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Re: TN: bad P. Blanc and Zin, ok Gewurz, good Merlot

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Dec 18, 2006 12:03 am

I think it is a Gallo label too. Avoid at all costs I`d say!!!!
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Re: TN: bad P. Blanc and Zin, ok Gewurz, good Merlot

by Victorwine » Mon Dec 18, 2006 9:22 am

The E &J Gallo produce wines under Redwood Creek (Modesta, Calif), but I’m not sure if Zin is included in their portfolio.

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Dale Williams

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Re: TN: bad P. Blanc and Zin, ok Gewurz, good Merlot

by Dale Williams » Mon Dec 18, 2006 10:28 am

John,
Redwood Valley is in Mendocino (I remember because Betsy brought me back a bottle of wine from a music festival). Searching "redwood zinfandel" on CT brought up a bunch, from 8-10 producers (including Gabrielli, for a Rosaphilic blast from the past for old timers).

Pretty poor in any case. I didn't pick up check, so unsure how much this costs, but as the PN and Merlot they offered by the glass were B &G, doesn't say much for their wine program.
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John Treder

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Re: TN: bad P. Blanc and Zin, ok Gewurz, good Merlot

by John Treder » Mon Dec 18, 2006 1:29 pm

One learns, about places in California and about restaurants with unfortunate wine selections. :(
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Mark Willstatter

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Re: TN: bad P. Blanc and Zin, ok Gewurz, good Merlot

by Mark Willstatter » Tue Dec 19, 2006 8:40 pm

Not only is there a Redwood Valley - just north and east of Ukiah, near Lake Mendocino, source of the Russian River, I think - they have their own AVA. There are some labels that may be familiar at http://www.atasteofredwoodvalley.com/wineries.htm - Frey is known for being an early biodynamic/organic winemaker, Graziano specializes in Italian varieties, including some you don't see much in California.
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John Treder

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Re: TN: bad P. Blanc and Zin, ok Gewurz, good Merlot

by John Treder » Wed Dec 20, 2006 12:00 am

Interesting. Overnight trip from here.

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