With leftover short ribs, a half bottle of the 2009 Devise d’Ardilley (Haut Medoc). Rather primary, black plum, oak, nothing happening here, move along. B-/C+
Cooking wine for a couple of nights was the 2007 Trimbach Pinot Blanc- a hint of sweetness, petrol, pear fruit, very good for very cheap. B-
With fresh pasta with shrimp and radicchio, the 2008 Brocard “Fourchaume” Chablis 1er (not greatest match, I didn’t anticipate how much the radicchio would dominate dish, needed something rounder or a tad sweet to counter). But I like the wine a lot - green apple and bosc pear, citrus, flint, a little herb. Great flavors, maybe a tad soft, but I enjoy. B+
Friday nor’easter Nemo came to town. We were invited to friends, it seemed that dinner fell in a bit of a lull, so we went (with boots in case we needed to walk home). Nice small group, we were greeted by the fireplace with pate and taramasalata canapes and the NV
Tribaut-Schloesser “Tradition” Champagne Brut. Appley, good acids, a touch sweet, not exactly refined but a good apertif. B/B-
First course was a leek soup with morels, accompanied by one of my wines, the 2004 Pepiere “Briords” Muscadet. Balanced acids, saline, apple and lemon, excellent length, in a good place. A-
Main course was red snapper, with green beans,black rice, and the 2004 Blain-Gagnard “Boudriotte” Chassagne-Montrachet. Fresh, young, grapefruit and white pit fruits, mineral, just a touch of oak. B+/A-
There was a red with the salad and cheese, the 2008 Ch. Tour Prignac (Medoc). I didn’t see label at first, I would have pegged this as right bank, plummy Merlot fruit and a green edge I’d have guessed was CF. Decent, not great,. B-/B
The dessert people had flourless chocolate cake, then we made our way home (roads not too bad by my standards, though we had to pause as a poor driver got stuck on a hill).
Saturday was a lot of shoveling and consulting with my volunteer groups as to feasibility of driving, was happy when dinnertime came around and some friends came over. Nancy brought bacon/potato wraps with a chili/sour cream dip, for that I opened the Pinon Vouvray Brut Non-Dose. Good acids, lively mousse, apple and white cherry with a nice baking bread touch. B+
Dinner was honey/chile chicken wings, bok choy with oyster sauce, rice, and assorted banchan. The recipe (Food and Wine) said Merlot as a match for the wings, seemed strange to me, so I opened some Riesling as well.
1989 Beringer “Bancroft Ranch Merlot (Howell Mth, Napa)
So I probably held this for too long, but it actually still was kicking (if not NFL placekicker, at least HS). Still some structure, black plum fruit, moderate acids, lots of tobacco and menthol. Probably better at 12 than 24, but good. B+/B
2003 St Clement “Oroppas” Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa)
I grabbed this thinking Oroppas was a brand name for a blend/Meritage, but turns out it’s enough CS to qualify as a varietal wine. Powerful, oaky, mocha, toffee, a bit hot, this is just not my style. B-/C+
2010 Koehler-Ruprecht “Kallstadter Steinacker” Riesling Kabinett (Pfalz)
quite dry for modern Kabinett, stony, pit fruits, a touch austere, not real long, but goes well with food. B
2010 Selbach Oster “Zeltinger Sonnenuhr” Riesling Kabinett (Mosel)
Full, sweet compared to the K-R, quite vibrant acids, long, B+
The honey/chili elements were less obvious than I feared, so the Bancroft did fine, as did the Pfalz Riesling (the Napa Cab, not so much).
Sunday Betsy was in city for an afternoon/evening rehearsal, I made a pot of chili for our late dinner, I held back on the spices- made it more cuminy than hot so it could go with a red wine. The red wine in question was the 2009 Baudry “Grezeaux” Chinon. Infanticide, but quite fun, even if it should get better. Mid to full bodied, very smooth of the palate, there’s tannin but they are quite easy to handle. Fresh black fruits, green uncured tobacco, smoke, mushroom/umami notes. I think I might have made an underbuying error here. A-
Monday I went a bit cross-cultural, udon in a dashi broth and a mushroom/arugula/feta pizza. Wine was the 2010 Francois Carillon Bourgogne Blanc. This is much livelier than the 2009, and I like a lot more. Vibrant acids, lemon and green apple fruit, a fleeting whiff of hazelnut, good length for level. B+
Tonight I confronted my disdain for tilapia head on (with some advice from folks at FLDG). I did a variation on sauce Veracruz- tomato, onions, garlic, olives, capers, mushrooms, chipotle in adobo, an ancho chile - with some tilapia and a few shrimp. OK, if sauce is powerful enough I can live with (non-Chinese) tilapia. Wine was a thoughtless pick- I was thinking just off dry, but instead of a 2007 Kab grabbed the 2009 Schafer-Frohlich Felseneck Spatlese Riesling Goldkapsel. This is easily Auslese sweetness, not what I wanted with food. But from a wine-only perspective this is spectacular. Powerful and exotic, yet lithe and electrically vibrant. Exciting wine (if not with tilapia veracruz). A-
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.