The wine resources are not very encouraging here in Yankton, but there is a ray of hope! A fellow faculty member invited me to join him for the monthly tasting series at a local bar. I went hoping only to meet some other local wine lovers, without any expectations for the tasting itself. Any expectations I might have had were far surpassed. Firstly, on walking into the bar, I see that one wall is a horizontal display wine rack. The by the glass list is solid (and the prices very good), and there are fine ports and sherries at the bar. This place, god bless the owners, is trying to make it as a wine bar.
So we sit down, and my friend offers to buy me a glass to start with. Seeing my go to Cab Sauv, Louis Martini, on the menu, I can't resist finding out, after a very good but rather soulless 2009, if the 2010 is a proper Martini Cab:
Louis M. Martini, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County 2010
Classic crystalline ruby. Heady, dark, rich nose of leather, olive, blackberry, and black cherry. Similar on the palate, with hints of herbs, and stone/gravel/earth on the finish. Juicy but with some old school restraint. It seems that the Martini style is evolving, but still has soul. 5 years ahead. * * 1/2 [9/27/12]
We made our way to the tables, and had a look at the tasting program. And I was just plain thrilled to see a tasting list that was not just good but was actually interesting. With the wines, some excellent heavy hors d'oeuvres (the cost for all this was a remarkable bargain).
Catedral, Reserva, Dao 2008
Black cherry, blackberry, and blueberry, with lots of leather, nice earth/iron/slate, and some oaky spice. A nice tartness supports it. Tempranillo comes through prominently here. * * 1/2 [9/27/12]
Carmenet, Pinot Noir, California 2009
Nice Burgundian gaminess, with blackberry and cherry. Wonderful density and juiciness, definitely some Cali ripeness, but with finesse. Very well done. * * * [9/27/12]
Trivento, Malbec, Reserva, Mendoza 2011
Wonderful brier notes, and leathery depth. Dense dark berry fruit with an almost tarry edge, nice minerality, and excellent balancing acidity. Quite French in spirit. Love it! * * * [9/27/12]
Darci Kent, Gruner Veltliner, Rava Blackjack Vineyard, Monterey County 2009
Classic GV character on the nose, with vegetal notes, creme fraiche, citrus, pear, and slate. Similar on the palate, with citrus rind, ripe pear and apricot, and some salty notes. Less acid and slate than in Austrian GVs, but this is instantly recognizable and quite faithful, while bringing the nice ripe fruit that Cali has to offer. * * 1/2 [9/27/12]
CK Mondavi, Moscato, California 2010
Moscato done right! Not the slightest bit of sparkle, and only just off-dry, with tropical fruits, pineapple, and lime. Quite excellent actually. * * 1/2 [9/27/12]
I talked quite a bit with the distributor rep who was presenting the wines (I was sitting at the same table as his wife) - he was a motivated, knowledgeable fellow who wants to raise the bar for wine around here. It seems I'm in good hands!
"The sun, with all those planets revolving about it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else to do"
(avatar: me next to the WIYN 3.5 meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory)