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November Wine Focus: Wines that make us thankful

by Robin Garr » Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:44 pm

We've chosen a topic this month that's a little different from our usual style, but we hope it will be interesting and, perhaps, will prompt us to look at the wines we love from a different point of view. Since this month brings Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. and the buildup to the holiday season all over the world, we're inviting you to taste and post about wines that make us thankful.

The criteria are wide open. Just thinking out loud, I envision wines that make me grateful because ...
* They are associated with memories of people who were with me and places where I consumed them
* They play a special role in the history of wine
* They play a special role in the history of the world
* I learned something new when I tasted them.
* They are my favorites. I just plain love them.

And that's just the start. You'll have your own ideas, and maybe we'll gather more ideas from each other.

So, with the holidays in sight, whether you celebrate American Thanksgiving Day or not, let's share our notes and our deeper thoughts about wines we love that make us thankful.
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Bob Parsons Alberta

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Re: November Wine Advisor: Wines that make us thankful

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Nov 01, 2018 5:47 pm

I like this idea.What turned me onto Cab Franc just for starters!
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Re: November Wine Advisor: Wines that make us thankful

by ChaimShraga » Fri Nov 02, 2018 8:04 am

I'll spoil the party and write about a wine that makes me feel unthankful, Beaucastel 1999.

My mother-in-law was hit by a car crossing the street on the morning of my daughter's fifth birthday, in 2002. For the first couple of weeks, we were all optimistic about her recovery, because we needed to be optimistic. So I bought the Beaucastel, thinking we'd open it in 2009 to celebrate her new lease on life, along with my daughter's Bat Mitzvah. I was just taking my first steps in the wine world and it was on discount.

Well, the head injuries were too severe. She came out of the coma a seriously impaired invalid, both physically and mentally.

So not a lot to be grateful for there.
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Re: November Wine Advisor: Wines that make us thankful

by Robin Garr » Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:23 am

Not what I was expecting, Chaim, but a legitimate expression of strong emotion associated with wine. Peace.
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Re: November Wine Advisor: Wines that make us thankful

by Jim Grow » Fri Nov 02, 2018 3:25 pm

I remember most fondly a 1983 German Gewurztraminer Kabinett consumed at Blossom Music Center in Northern Ohio at an evening Jimmy Buffett concert when bottles of wine were still allowed in. The weather was perfect and we had great places on the lawn. I avoid German Gew. now for Alsace and Alto Adige buy loved it then.
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Re: November Wine Advisor: Wines that make us thankful

by David M. Bueker » Sat Nov 03, 2018 11:57 pm

I’m thankful to be home to the wine cellar! Eight days away with a grand total of one beer has me hankering for a glass or three.
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Re: November Wine Advisor: Wines that make us thankful

by David M. Bueker » Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:06 pm

I am thankful that I have a (mostly) open mind.

2014 Sean Thackrey Petite Sirah Sirius Eaglepoint Ranch - USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino County (11/8/2018)
Bought a bottle to sample, as I had not tasted the Sirius in a long time. It’s a blockbuster, but handles its nearly 16% alcohol better than any other wine at that level in my experience. I did not even notice the alcohol until I took a photo of the label two hours after my first glass was finished. Overall it really reminds me of being a dry Port. It has the richness of dark red fruit, and a sense of breadth that I get from Port. It’s quite an intriguing wine. I could not drink it every day, but on a cold, rainy fall evening it pretty much hit the spot.
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Re: November Wine Advisor: Wines that make us thankful

by Robin Garr » Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:47 pm

A wine that makes me thankful: Chianti

Chianti makes me thankful because it goes all the way back to the dawn of my journey with wine. I enjoyed it as a teen-ager, allowed a glass while visiting Italian-American friends in Queens and the Bronx. Ours was mixed with 7-Up, and there was nothing the matter with that. It made me feel grown-up anyway.

I wasn't much older, but able to drink legally, when I parlayed that youthful experience to make Chianti my drink of choice with pizza and pasta at Italian restaurants, and felt sophisticated because I knew the wicker-wrapped bottle was the way to go, or so I thought.

Years after that, when I started writing about wine, it went without saying that Chianti would be the first wine region I would visit outside the United States; and the memories of that trip to Florence, Montalcino, Siena and the wine villages and vineyards of the region remain vivid.

I've been back many times, and seen the wicker-wrapped fiasco bottles give way to standard bottles as Chianti – and its upscale sister "Super Tuscans" – gained respectability and, in many cases, went up in price. Sometimes way up in price. The legally allowed "recipe" changed, minimizing the old, traditional splash of white wine to temper the blend but allowing French varietals, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, into the mix. More power to them. Sometimes, though, I still like nothing more than to pick up a bottle with a familiar old label, open it with a bowl of pasta or a pizza, and enjoy. With gratitude.


Ruffino 2015 "Aziano" Chianti Classico ($16.99)

If you want a good Chianti that could serve as the picture next to the definition for Chianti in the dictionary, I don't think you could do much better than the Ruffino "Aziano" Chianti Classico featured in this week's column. It shows the reddish-purple color and ruby flashes that are typical of this beloved Tuscan Sangiovese blend, and its aroma and flavor offer the typical dark cherry and dried-cherry fruit that describe Chianti, plus a subtle earthy note. It's brisk and tart in the mouth, with rational 13 percent alcohol and the mouth-watering acidity that makes Chianti a wonderful companion with the Italian tomato flavors of pasta and pizza sauce and cheese, but it's not too harsh to sip on its own, at least not for me. Sour cherry flavors linger in the long finish, along with crisp acidity and a whiff of tannic astringency. U.S. importer: Ruffino Import Co., Rutherford, Calif. (Nov. , 2018)

FOOD MATCH: As noted, tomato-based pasta and pizza are the standard companions, but Chianti is fine, too, with red meat, game, or grilled poultry, as well as cheeses and cheese sauces that help temper its food-friendly acidity.

WHEN TO DRINK: There's no rush, although it's not a wine meant for extended aging. I'd drink it up by 2020 unless you have excellent cool-temperature storage conditions.

VALUE:
It's a splendid bargain at Wine-Searcher.com's $13 average retail, and I'm not complaining about having spent a few dollars more.

WEB LINK
Here's an English-language fact sheet on Ruffino's Aziano information page.

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Check prices and find places to buy Ruffino "Aziano" Chianti Classico on Wine-Searcher.com.

Find dozens of Chianti Classico wines and vendors, plus a concise article about Chianti Classico [url=regions-chianti+classico?referring_site=WLP]on this Wine-Searcher link[/url].
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Re: November Wine Advisor: Wines that make us thankful

by Dick McLane » Sat Nov 10, 2018 9:07 am

Chianti brings back memories of my latter high school days, when a glass, or bottle, of chianti sometimes graced the table in restaurants or the like on dates and other gatherings. But now I'm puzzled, as I grew up in CT, where at least then, the drinking age was 21, and at least for beer, strictly enforced. So how were we able to buy wine in such venues, unless chianti was exempted? It was so long ago, that perhaps my "facts" have become muddled in my mind, and maybe my chianti memories actually were post high school. Regardless, chianti brings back pleasant long ago memories. I haven't had chianti in a long time, and my next wine purchase may just be chianti!
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Re: November Wine Advisor: Wines that make us thankful

by Robin Garr » Sat Nov 10, 2018 9:14 am

Welcome back, Dick, and thanks for the Chianti note!
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Re: November Wine Advisor: Wines that make us thankful

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Nov 13, 2018 11:40 pm

On my last visit to London, I tried to track down some Straw Wine. Remember a remark Keith Protheroe made a while back about his assocation with Mullineux so thought that would be a good place to start. Well I finally found 2 bottles off Charing X Road so brought them back to Canada.

TN: 2010 Mullineux Chenin Blanc Straw Wine, Swartland SA.

Waxy type cork cover, 375 ml, good natural cork, 8% alc, Lot 0103. Hard to describe the color, maybe a brown light caramel. Tons of vibrancy though. This will fool some folks if served blind..which I intend to do downtown!
Nose is all raisins with barley sugar, figs, marzipan. No tangerine, citrus here folks.
Big entry, dried concentrated fruits, great acidity, huge sweetness. Hard to pin down the fruits, maybe leave open for an hour or so?
Stay tuned..off to find a dessert..
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Re: November Wine Advisor: Wines that make us thankful

by Victorwine » Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:07 pm

I'm thankful to have a cellar of wine that could go well with the heartiest of meals
(a rib sticking pot roast) and the simplest of meals (toast with peanut butter
and jelly). (Anything in between)

Salute
Last edited by Victorwine on Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: November Wine Advisor: Wines that make us thankful

by Rahsaan » Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:11 pm

Victorwine wrote:... simplest of meals (toast with peanut butter
and jelly).

Salute


So what do you drink with peanut butter and jelly? PX? Port? I suppose it depends on which jam is used, but does not seem like a very wine-friendly dish.
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Re: November Wine Advisor: Wines that make us thankful

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Nov 15, 2018 1:58 am

Following up, a nice Chocolate Swirl Marble Cake went well with the Straw Wine which showed more orange flavors on day 2. What about that color eh?
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Re: November Wine Focus: Wines that make us thankful

by David M. Bueker » Sat Nov 24, 2018 9:28 am

Hardy Wallace’s Dirty & Rowdy wines make me thankful that a guy would be so passionate about a grape, Mourvèdre, that does not command trophy prices. He puts trophy effort into crafting varietally true, site reflective wines that exude joy.

Had the 2015 Evangelho Vineyard Mourvèdre last night, and it was a smile in a glass.
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Re: November Wine Focus: Wines that make us thankful

by Jenise » Tue Nov 27, 2018 3:24 pm

I'm thankful for Madame Nicolai of Chandon de Briailles. Though she's no longer in this world, a chance meeting at her winery on the edge of Savigny les Beaunes in the early 90's was the most meaningful of my young life.

I know I've told the story here before, but I'll bore you with it again. We met when we were just trying to turn around in her driveway, not invade, when her little Toto type dog came chasing us down the driveway barking ferociously with tall, thin Madame in pursuit. We got out of the car, then, to apologize for the apparent trespass. They were not open for degustation she said, and we said we knew that but admitted we were aware of the winery's good reputation via Howard Johnson. "Hmmm," she said, arms crossed, eyeing us suspiciously but a little impressed, "Americans who reference Howard Johnson! Very unusual!" She asked a few questions about wines we liked, and then said, "Most Americans come here saying Robert Parker"--on saying his name she spit into the gravel--"and zay only like zuh eezy wines. But you do not like zuh eezy wines. Come, I will pour for you."

It wasn't an offer, it was a command.

And into the undergound cave we went and tasted the most transformational wines of that trip. And I fell in love. What a helluva woman. She had an innate sense of nobility that probably had nothing to do with the fact that she was a member of the important Guerlain perfume dynasty, and grew up in Paris drinking only Bordeaux. "Burgundy," she said, "was for peasants!" But they fell on hard times, and her Russian-descendant husband inherited this run-down little Chateau in Burgundy, so they moved there. And then she decided she should learn to make wine and make a few extra francs. "And now I wear these terrible clothes, like a farmer, and my hands are rough because I spend all day in the vineyards", she laughed. "And I love it!"

While tasting--I asked a foolishly innocent question based on my simplistic acceptance of the whole Wine Spectator thing about buying only the so-called "good vintages". Madame flew into a rage. "You Americans come here, and you only want zee good veentages. Good according to who? And what am I supposed to do with zee veentages you do not think are good? Starve? How shall we survive between your good veentages?" She went on to say she did not think there was such a thing. The vintages were "all my children". Some were early bloomers, some were late. Some were outgoing, some reserved. All had their place. "We do not drink in the order they are made! We only drink them when they're ready."

That morning changed me forever, and I thank her with every bottle we open. As I did last night.

2004 Domaine Chandon de Briailles Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Ile des Vergelesses Pinot Noir
Hugely aromatic--I could smell the just-poured glass I had not yet tasted from three feet away. Cherry, pomegranate, cinnamon graham cracker, and just a touch of that hair-of-the-wet-dog thing that Burgundy acquires in secondary development. But the tannins are resolved and acidity just begins to fade in the second glass. A joyful drink, but time to drink up.
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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Re: November Wine Focus: Wines that make us thankful

by Rahsaan » Tue Nov 27, 2018 3:33 pm

Great story, lovely memories, and nice that the 2004 was so fragrant for a while.

I was also very thankful to meet Claude on our trip to Burgundy this summer, and we had a great visit. The wines had always held a special place in my heart and it was even better to meet the people behind the wines and establish a connection.
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Re: November Wine Focus: Wines that make us thankful

by Jenise » Tue Nov 27, 2018 5:58 pm

Rahsaan wrote:Great story, lovely memories, and nice that the 2004 was so fragrant for a while.

I was also very thankful to meet Claude on our trip to Burgundy this summer, and we had a great visit. The wines had always held a special place in my heart and it was even better to meet the people behind the wines and establish a connection.


I am sorry we didn't get to meet Claude when we were in Burgundy two years ago. I wrote ahead of time and relayed my connection with his mother, but to no avail. Didn't hear back. But yeah, it was cool. In one hour she slayed two American wine gods and replaced it with commonsense thinking I would find far more useful in the years to come.
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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Re: November Wine Focus: Wines that make us thankful

by Rahsaan » Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:43 pm

Jenise wrote:I am sorry we didn't get to meet Claude when we were in Burgundy two years ago. I wrote ahead of time and relayed my connection with his mother, but to no avail. Didn't hear back.


This summer was my first trip and it was incredibly difficult to get appointments. I think it helped that I called/wrote in French, but I didn't use any connections and was mostly rejected. Claude said she usually does not accept random unconnected visitors but must have been in a particularly good mood when my email arrived!

I guess from a winegeek perspective the downside of Burgundy's rising popularity is more than just the price of the wines..
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Re: November Wine Focus: Wines that make us thankful

by Jenise » Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:49 am

Claude's female! I realize there the name could be either, and I've known one female Claude, but I presumed the other way. Oops. But yeah, they did not respond at all, which made me sad. I'm sure your French helped a lot.
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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