Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hangin' At The Usual Suspects #13

Everybody's tired tonight. I think the arrival of mild weather has caused us all to relax a little, and realize how stressed we've been since December 18 when all this snow came and stayed and stayed. But we have good, reviving wines!

Alice et Olivier De Moor Bel Air et Clardy Chablis 2007:

Les: This is not premiere cru, but this is the way Chablis used to taste.

Elaine: Minerals and green apple skin.

Dave: Maybe a little cinammon note. (Drinks) Great lemony mid-palate. I can't put my finger on it, but there's an almost cidery quality. Compared to something like--I'm just pulling a name out of the air--a William Fèvre Premiere Cru, it's a little funky.

Elaine: It's a bit leesy for a Chablis.

Karl: This does not go with 'goons. It doesn't taste very good with cream cheese.

Elaine: I can't think of many of the wines we've tasted that didn't at least work okay with crab rangoons.

Karl: This definitely doesn't. It's kind of nasty-tasting against the cream cheese.

Dave: I am reminded of what happens when you add lemon to tea with milk. It's unpleasant. Just shows what great lemony character this has. It's great Chablis.

[We're sitting next to Ralph who's a server at Horizons at the Grove Park Inn. He used to be at Gabrielle's, the ritziest restaurant in Asheville until it burned down under mysterious circumstances. He tells us Duane Fernandes, who worked for Thomas Keller at Per Se in New York, had been the chef at Gabrielle's, and was now at Horizons, and Horizons was offering 20% off to locals on Mondays and Thursdays. He also said the Kobe beef was still $90 or something.]

Brézème Côtes du Rhône 2006, by Éric Texier.

Les: This is land very near Hermitage, that was highly regarded like 100 years ago, and fell into disuse, and Texier found it. It's more like pinot noir than like a Rhone from further south.

Dave: Here's some minty herb on the nose; not medicinal like the Mondeuse from last week.

Karl: Cola and wax.

Elaine: Cherry cola, in fact.

Dave: Black olive.

Elaine: Yes, like those wrinkly black salt-cured ones.

Dave: Bay leaf? Something like Bay leaf? This is fantastically yummy.

Karl: I want to see "fantastically yummy" in the blog.

Dave: I can't really identify any fruit on the palate. There's no one flavor that's sort of anchoring everything else.

Elaine: It really is all about the nose. The palate is satisfying, but you also want to gulp it. It's sort of clean, unburdened by new oak. Really, it's very good. You don't always want syrah to linger. I tasted a bag-in-box wine from this guy. It was like this, although the nose wasn't as interesting. I often look for a charcoal note in syrah, usually accompanied by notes of meat and smoke. All I get in this one is the charcoal.

P.S.: Having been spectacularly lazy about working on this blog during February, I have a lot of catching up to do. Now that I can see the Sun again, maybe I'll get a little more active. Or not.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hangin' At The Usual Suspects #12

A Brief, Gummy Night.

Tonight, we begin with a little something from Slovenia. Les comes out with something called “Toh-Kai,” which is winemaker Aleš Kristancic of the Movia winery seeing what he can get away with now that he’s not allowed to use the words “Tocai Friulani” on his label. Which is only right, since he’s not making Tokai, and he’s not in Friulani (Well, he sorta is, but only partly). Sometimes the EU gets this stuff right. As will be evident, it is already hard to believe this is Tocai, or pinot blanc, or klevener, or whatever. The wine is a release from the “Quattro Mani” series, which is kinda like the Long Shadows Project in the Columbia Valley—celebrity winemakers from elsewhere given access to great fruit. Anyway, Kristancic certainly has license to fool around, if only on the basis of the deep, rich, aristocratic Cabernet Sauvignon he turns out at Movia.

Dave: This really smells like Wrigley’s Spearmint gum.

Elaine: It’s bitter. I’m surprised this is still ’07.

Dave: Maybe a little Maraschino cherry. Odd.

Elaine: His interpretation of the wine is mass-market: It’s juicy and fruity light, but not too light.

[‘Goons arrive.]

Elaine: Look, the color of the ‘goons matches the color of the label: Green and white.

Dave: Parker gave this 91 points? You know, I think it really must be true what they say: The man has a sweet tooth.

Next up, Famille Feillot Bugey Mondeuse 2007.

Elaine: I love these wines! This smells like Ricola.

Karl: Kind of medicinal.

Elaine: That shit that’s good for you. And Heirloom Bing Cherry.

Karl: You really need to swirl to bring up the fruit.

Dave: It smells kinda like Strega, too. Does anybody drink Strega anymore?

Elaine: There is a cru Beaujolais character here too.

Dave: Yeah, I’ve always thought of Mondeuse as Gamay’s crazy country cousin. I’m actually digging the medicinal herb thing.

Elaine: This could be a great flavor for red wine chewing gum.

Dave: That “Toh-Kai” would make a great flavor for white wine chewing gum.

Karl: I bought those wine gums. They all tasted the same.

Dave: Oh, wine gums. Not wine-flavored chewing gum. [Xylis makes a chardonnay-flavored chewing gum, sold in Japan, of course.] (Sips) This has more substance than the Puzelat. I still can't get over that business with Le Telquel. Man knocks himself out to be true to terroir, and gets a vin de pays classification for his trouble.

Elaine: Think of Thierry as traditionally experimental.