Friday, August 7, 2009

FIREHOSE - Down with the Bass

Consider this a musical dialogue with one of my esteemed blogging peers, Mr. David McDuff. In case you missed it, he recently posted an amazing archived 1985 interview (conducted on January 3rd, my birthday, in fact) with Minutemen prior to a gig at the original 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., during their Double Nickels on the Dime promotional tour. If you were ever into this band, 'zines, or simply curious about an important slice of musical history citing what was arguably the most important record label in the 1980's, you need to read DMcD's interview.

Below, though, is a clip from Mike Watt's slightly jazzier, and at times surprisingly jam band-esque group, firehose (not to be confused with hard rockers Firehouse), from their album "Flyin' the Flannel."

Orange Wines -PT. 2

I found this second flight to be more along the lines of what I have come to expect in an 'orange wine': deeper, spicier, more cidery aromas and flavors with red fruit sneaking in. No doubt due to the longer skin maceration times of the wines in this sequence. While I was pleased that one of my favorites, 02 Radikon Ribolla, really shined, I was equally disappointed that the 01 Gravner did not show as well, to my taste anyway.

Flight 2, "Oh Josko, where art thou?"

1. Gravner 2001 Ribolla Gialla "Anfora," Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Venezia Giulia IGT
Personal notes - smelled indistinctive. Tasted a bit murky and 'marshy' (an in the moment descriptor - honestly I'm not sure what I meant there). If I would surmise a guess, it was that this seemed to lack focus and distinction. A disappointment given the pedigree.
Wine notes - Ribolla gialla. 6 to 7 mo. maceration on skins in terracotta amphorae, followed by 3 yrs in botte (ed. note - 'botte' is plural for 'botta' or cask; thanks for clarification, Slaton)

2. Damijan 2003 "Kaplja," Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Collio
Personal notes - not too expressive on the nose. Better on the palate, with stone fruits and mandarin essences.
Wine notes - Chardonnay, malvasia istriana, tocai friulano.

3. La Stoppa 2004 "Ageno," Italy, Emilia-Romagna, Emilia IGT
Personal notes - Smells great! Very intense. Spicy red cherries smell. Bit of brett ("brett factory" was uttered by another taster). Intense spicy red fruit flavors reminded me of top notch kriek, just vinous and not as sour.
Wine notes - Malvasia bianca, trebbiano, ortrugo. 30 day maceration on skins, then pressed into neutral barrels & stainless

4. Zidarich 2000 Vitovska, Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Carso
Personal notes - sort of white burgundy-like aromas. Strange, though. One taster likens it to 'nursing home pee.' Oak still shows on the palate. Definitely an outlier in this flight. Not a tasty one at that.
Wine notes - Vitovska. 8 to 10 days skin contact, then racked into mid sized Slavonian casks. Note: from the wine we drank it would appear Zidarichhad not yet started using extended skin contact back in 2000 vintage.

5. Radikon 2002 Ribolla Gialla, Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Venezia Giulia IGT

Personal notes - terrific, spicy, red fruit inflected aromas. Familiar wine, this. On the palate, great cutting acidity, with a linear quality and a whole lot to like. Nutty, sans soufre finish. I was not surprised to learn that this was Radikon's 2002 Ribolla Gialla, a wine I had brought to the dinner. It's not for everyone, but I love it and will continue to defend it. Awesome wine.
Wine notes - Ribolla gialla. 3 1/2 month maceration on the skins, including entire alcoholic fermentation. 4x daily punchdowns. Racked into neutral botte for 36 mo. No SO2 ever added.

6. Vodopivec 2004 Vitovska, Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Venezia Giulia IGT
Personal notes - Smells a bit like nail polish remover! On the palate, however, there are very pure red currant and mixed berry flavors. A mineral core to the wine. The purity here is striking. I wavered between this and the Radikon as to which was my favorite of the flight.
Wine notes - Vitovska. 15 day fermentation on the skins, then racked into botte & aged 2 yrs.

Please see some other takes on the SF event:

Organizer Slaton Lipscomb's notes
Richard Jennings' take

And for some New York City flavor (36 orange wines tasted - wow!):

Thor Iversen's write-up of the New York City tasting.
Might as well check out the incomparable Alice Feiring's take on it all
And many people's favorite critic and champion of the weird, Eric Asimov, was also reporting.