Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I enjoy comparative tasting. Whether tasting a few olive oils, wines, beers or chocolates, there is always something new to discover. Here are some recent discoveries:
DOES MENCIA REALLY TASTE LIKE CAB FRANC? 2004 PUCHO BIERZO AND 2002 OLGA RAFFAULT CHINON LES PICASSES WITH ROASTED CHICKEN.
To answer the question (and oft repeated statement) above, I would say, at least based on this particular bottle, 'Not really.' The '04 Pucho showed lots of dark fruit and more advancement than I was expecting. It was spicy and full of wet earth, albeit a dense chunky wet earth as opposed to a more nuanced, decaying wet earth. It was ok with the chicken, but came across as rather monolithic. Now the Chinon was a different story. It was initially strict, with that classic savory-herbal cherry-berry cab franc profile. As it opened up, though, I began to better appreciate the silky texture of Loire cab franc gliding across the palate. The savory and earthy flavors giving way to floral notes and bright acidity. Excellent with the roasted chicken, which I prepared very simply with salt, pepper, half a lemon, a few garlic cloves, and several sprigs of rosemary, popped into a 500 deg oven for 40 minutes.
VERMENTINO A LA GALLURA VS VERMENTINO A LA STEVE EDMUNDS.
Vermentino is certainly very much at home on the island of Sardegna, especially when it comes from Gallura on the northeastern portion of the island. The 2006 Mancini Vermentino di Gallura showed broad melon, apple and citrus flavors. It tastes bigger than its 12.5% alc would suggest.
Former folk singer/hippie Steve Edmunds pays tribute to his northern California musical heritage with his 2007 Heart of Gold, a blend of Grenache blanc co-fermented with Vermentino. Nearly 50-50. At first it tasted lean, citric and closed. After a day in the fridge, and serving at a more ideal temperature (cool room temp vs cold fridge temp) the wine was much more expressive. Another winner from Edmunds St. John. Way to go Alice for giving Mr. Edmunds some props in a recent SF Chronicle article.
OREGON VS CA PINOT NOIR
This was a brown bag tasting we did for customers at the store. Overall a pretty good selection; as predicted the wines were not always easy to peg as CA or Oregon the way that some people are stylizing PN these days. I don't have my notes in front of me, but I remember a few favorites ('06 Chasseur PN Russian River, '05 Foghorn PN Monterey, '06 Westrey PN Oracle Vineyard Dundee Hills), one disappointment ('05 Eyrie PN Dundee Hills) and a few utterly disagreeable wines ('05 Domaine Serene Evenstadt, '06 Et Fille Kalita Vineyard PN Yamhill-Carlton, Aubin Cellars 'Verve' Stoller Vineyard PN Dundee Hills).