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Dale Williams

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WTN: Memorial Day (cheapies, plus Hug Syrah)

by Dale Williams » Tue May 30, 2006 12:05 pm

Sunday some good friends came over for a dinner. Lovely May night on
the patio, Betsy have made a Southeast Asian feast:

spring rolls with pork, shrimp, herbs, jicama, noodles, sprouts, etc.
chicken satay with an incredible  peanut sauce
straw mushrooms with Chinese broccoli
Our friends brought berries for desserts.

The best match with the food was the leftover Christoffel kab. But we
also had:

2003 Roucaillat Blanc (Coteaux Du Languedoc) A recommendation from a local store. Perfumed nose, a bit herby, with
quince and pear fruit and mineral finish. Unfortunately, not enough
acidic zip for me. Actually, this $15 wine would probably do ok in a
tasting to whte Chateauneufs. On the other hand, I really don't care
for CdP blanc.:(  B


2002 Hug Cellars "Bassetti Vineyard" Syrah (San Luis Obispo)
OK, no sane person would match this with the menu. But my friend Joe
prefers red,and big New World Syrahs/Shirazes are his fave. So I served
this and saved mine for after meal (the perfect situation for this
wine). Big, in your face blackberry and blueberry fruit. Lots of
vanilla-ey oak, long intense finish with black pepper and flint. Not a
style I generally favor, but in the context (as dessert, on a lovely
night with friends, watching my friend be wowwed by the wine) I really
enjoyed this. If you served it to me with dinner I'd probably go high C
to B-, but Sunday night a  B+/A- .


Saturday AM we had decided to throw a last minute Memorial Day party.
Sent out some emails, and wondered how many folks would come. Marinated
some skirt and hanger steaks on Sunday. Monday AM we attended our
little village's Memorial Day parade -I love the small town parades-
fire trucks, HS marching band, scout troops, and the veterans (WW2
riding in convertibles, more recent vets marching). Then came home to
see who would show. A decent crowd showed up, and 6 dogs to boot. A
pleasant warm  afternoon with dogs (both hot dogs and barking dogs),
croquet, beef, corn, watermelon, Japanese eggplant with leftover peanut
sauce, mango salsa and chips, sesame noodles and desserts. More beer
and seltzer was consumed than wine, but I did sample a few bottles:


2005 Chivite "Gran Fuedo" rosado (Navarra)

This was a big favorite of mine several years ago, but then I didn't
see for a couple of vintages. A Chivite rep assured me at an offline
that it was coming back. No longer $5.xx, but with the weak dollar $9
seems reasonable. Bright wild strawberry fruit with a hint of black
raspberry, there's a little white pepper and chalk note to the finish.
Is this "serious" wine? No, but a lovely refreshing rosé that's
perfect served very cold. B, but A- for value.


2004 Loosen "Dr. L." Riesling QbA
 As noted before, this is quite the deal at $9. Lime and peach fruit,
clean finish, lively and not too-sweet. B/B+


2002 Wyndham Estate "Bin 444" Cabernet Sauvignon (South Eastern
Australia)
 This was a bottle someone had left at a previous party. I
thought too warm for CS, but there's always someone who wants a red
from a variety they recognize, and indeed this was one of the first
bottles opened. I sampled later, found it a bit grapey. To its credit,
it was recognizably Cabernet Sauvignon, with blackcurrant fruit and a
hint of mint. There's a bit of sweet oak, but it seems sweet overall
anyway, and with a very short finish. Pass. C+


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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Rahsaan

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Re: TN: Memorial Day (cheapies, plus Hug Syrah)

by Rahsaan » Tue May 30, 2006 12:47 pm

Similar thoughts about the Roucaillat, it came highly recommended but lacked sufficient acid or character for me.
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Dale Williams

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Re: TN: Memorial Day (cheapies, plus Hug Syrah)

by Dale Williams » Tue May 30, 2006 1:02 pm

Rahsaan,
out of curiosity, do you generally like Rhone whites in general? It's not a category that thrills me. I've had some good Hermitage,then almost faint when I see the pricetag. I own one bottle of CdP blanc, and never buy CdR. So not sure I'm best judge of the Roucaillat (not that that ever stopped me from judging!!!).
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Rahsaan

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Re: TN: Memorial Day (cheapies, plus Hug Syrah)

by Rahsaan » Wed May 31, 2006 8:02 am

out of curiosity, do you generally like Rhone whites in general? It's not a category that thrills me. I've had some good Hermitage,then almost faint when I see the pricetag. I own one bottle of CdP blanc, and never buy CdR. So not sure I'm best judge of the Roucaillat (not that that ever stopped me from judging!!!).


Yes, that is a good point, I'm not a huge fan of Rhone whites and I'm not a huge fan of Southern Rhone wines in general, preferring the Northern rhone for re and white. White-wise I have not tasted extensively but have been especially impressed with Clape's whites, and would very happily drink them. Southern wise I have been impressed with a scattering of whites from various appellations, but always the "fresher" "lighter" examples, and I buy them much less often than the northern wines. Provincial in my tastes perhaps.

Anyway, I think the problem with the Roucaillat is also one of producer style, as it seemed too oaky, and of course the vintage..
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Dale Williams

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Re: TN: Memorial Day (cheapies, plus Hug Syrah)

by Dale Williams » Wed May 31, 2006 9:35 am

I'd give the wine another chance in a cooler vintage, even with my lack of attraction to Rhone whites. I didn't actually think it especially oaky. But I think most Rhone whites (especially Southern) are unlikely to get my dollars that could go farther in the Loire or MSR; or wow me more in Cotes de Beaune or Wachau.

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