Wines from this week (pre-Sandy)
With a vegetable pizza (tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, and peppers), the 2010 JP Brun (Terres Dorees) “L’Ancien” Beaujolais. It’s usual lovely puppyish self of a wine. Crunchy red (cranberry/raspberry) fruits, juicy without being jammy, nice length, bright. B+
Thursday I broiled some chicken breast and made a toor dal with vegetables, wine was the 2011 Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Kabinett #16. Bright, light, elegant, vibrant acid core, tasty tasty tasty.B+/A-
Friday I made halibut and sauteed arugula, with salad, leftover dal, and a half bottle of the 2009 Auvigue “Solutre” Pouilly-Fuisse. Acceptable Chardonnay, pear fruit with enough acidity to keep it alive, but there’s no real core here. That’s ok at $7/375. B-
Later I walked a few blocks to Rob’s house, where my local wine group (plus a couple of Rob’s friends) were having our monthly tasting. Rob had out some nice cheese, sausage, fruit, olives, plus a couple of greeting wines:
2011 Pumphouse (North Fork)
Bland, fat, no guess re varietal comp, seems “generic wine white” like a low end Pinot Grigio. C+
On to the blind red wines. Usually we have a theme of a variety or a region, but this time Rob came up with “bring a wine (red, available for under $30) that your spouse would love, and be prepared to tell why.” I have a much better night guessing than usual, but it was as much social engineering as tasting
Wine #1- whoa, Nelly. This is huge, hot, and not up my alley. Jammy, alcoholic. For once I’m on- I take the first guess- Zinfandel. The owner (not a regular) continues to solicit opinions, so I assume I’m wrong. Finally he says “yes, Zinfandel- from where?” I guess Paso Robles, which is says is correct (though he corrects my pronunciation). I should stop here. 2006 Norman Estate Zinfandel (Paso Robles). C
Wine #2- this is also big, but seems a bit more balanced to me. Tannins, blacker fruits, a little hint of merde. Then Rob mentions he got it through me. Aha, that narrows it down to a few dozen wines, and I get the Haven B&B on first guess. OK, this one was inside knowledge, but better than I usually do. 2006 Havens Black and Blue B
Wine #3- all streaks must come to an end. Light to medium body, moderate acids, cherry fruit. As it’s Fred’s I’m thinking Loire, but doesn’t seem to fit (and then someone guesses that and is told no). I miss with Chianti. In any case, a nice lighter quaffer. I’m surprised at a French guy bringing the 2009 Italo Pietrantonj Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. B
Wine #4 - Roger’s “mine should go next” following Fred’s makes me guess Italy. Roger confirms. Light, smooth, some tar and roses over dried cherries, I guess Nebbiolo, told no. A few more guesses and then Roger says it’s a Barolo (this isn’t the geeky group). Not bad for a under $30 Barolo (though I was thinking Nebbiolo d’Alba or something)., 2006 Settevie Barolo (there’s a prominent “7” on label if more than 1). B/B+
Wine #5- Wow, this is really quite nice. Light to medium bodied, red fruits, a nice nose with sandalwood/incense and floral notes. I ponder Burgundy, but guess Italy, I’m right but my mind is on the wrong end of the country, I’m thinking some Alpine wine when it’s the delicious 2010 Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso. B+ My WOTN
Wine #6, mine so no guesses. This was opened about 2.5 hours before being served. On opening it seemed tight, but I thought showed well (in a lighter mode a la 2007) by serving. Red fruits, forest floor, meat. I think Burgundy was quickly nailed, but guesses were older (I didn’t think it tasted old at all, I think these guys are just used to me bringing older wines. 2007 Jadot “Narbantons” Savigny 1er. B+/B
Wine #7- ack! Volatile nose, pruney, madeirized. This is clearly a wine that had a bad cork. 2006 I Perazzi Morellino di Scansano D (but pretty sure this was off bottle not wine).
There wa a Prosecco at the end. Oops, just realized I forgot a red wine. Rob’s friend Greg brought 2 wines, the first was a blind red. Simple, easy, I guessed Rhone and he confirmed, but it was actually a VdP. No further info. He said his wife really only drank Prosecco, so he had brought the NV Ruffino Prosecco. A bit offdry.appley, simple, inoffensive. C+/B-
Saturday I made a bread stuffing for a pork tenderloin, with the 2008 Grosset Springvale Watervale Riesling (Clare Valley). Very appealing- crisp, minerally, with a touch of petrol. Citrus fruit. Very nice, good length. B++
Sunday I spent most of the day in hurricane prep (refastening a drain spout, tying down outdoor stuff, clearing nearby storm drains) but invited some friends for dinner. Lobster salad, steak in a red wine sauce, baked potatoes, and green beans.
NV Moutardier Rose Champagne
Sweet strawberries, a nice bitter touch to the finish, but seems a bit coarse and it’s rather short. B-
2007 Fevre “Bougros” Chablis GC
Beautiful bottle of Chablis, pure and long. Citrus, Granny smith, and earth. Excellent length. This might age well, but with PremOx I’ll just drink em young. A-
1988 Gruaud-Larose (375)
This is rather advanced, not sure if storage (recent acquisition) or just format, but still has some interest. Cassis fruit with a touch of prune, cigarbox, a little ashy on finish. Not shot, but a bit tired. B-
2010 Cameron Hughes “Lot 344” Merlot (Oakville, Napa)
This was cooking wine, but made it to table as well.Midbodied, not very distinctive, blackberry and black plum, a touch of menthol. Pleasant enough. B-
Storm is really kicking up, better post while I have power, good luck all East Coasters!
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.