Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Happy Wine Blogging

I need a break from the heavy stuff tonight (not that I've been terribly deep lately, but Hugh linked to this article I wrote last October today, and that has been the subject weighing on my mind since his show last night).

You might recall that I had planned on some happy wine blogging for this week. Rather than split it all apart one post at a time, I am collecting my notes from different wines tasted this week here:

Ramitello Di Majo Norante 2001

An interesting wine from the Montepulciano region of Italy. I was expecting something lighter, like a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. But this was no light wine. It has a nose of earth and dark cherries. On the palate we had those same flavors, along with a hint of leather. The tannins were very firm. Quaffable, but a bit of aging to mellow those tannins and bring forward a bit of the fruit might be a good idea. This wine suggests lambchops more than pasta.

Roo Shiraz

Darn me, but I didn’t make note of the year. It’s the one in stores now. This is not a premium Shiraz, but an everyday wine. On sale it was about $10. And judged by that standard this is a truly stellar offering! Raspberry and blackberry notes leap out of the glass, along with intriguing eucalyptus notes. That fruit is also very forward on the palate, with the herbal notes sliding in subtly afterward. A really intriguing structure for an inexpensive wine. It lingers nicely. Much more complex than I expected, and without sacrificing that powerful jammy fruit everyday Aussie Shiraz is known for. Pair with a spicy grilled steak.

Giesen Marlborough County Sauvignon Blanc 2004

There may be no other wine on the planet that says “summer” to me more strongly than New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region. And there’s nothing wrong with having a bit as winter creeps in to remind us of what we’re leaving behind and what we’ll look forward to during the months of snow and ice. If you’ve never had a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, this one is a great introduction. It’s one of the best bargains of the lot – consistently excellent, inexpensive, and also characteristic of why these wines have become so popular in the last decade. The 2004 does not disappoint. A nose of pineapple and honeysuckle. On the palate it’s a tropical blast of forward fruit that slowly turns toward gooseberry and green chili as it fades. Pair this with nothing - savor it for itself. It's the closest to summer we'll get until May.

Francis Coppola Diamond Series, Red Label Zinfandel 2002

Coppola is one of my favorite wineries. But it was their elite wine labels which won me over, and those are far too expensive for casual drinking. The Diamond Series wines were created to get them into the mass market, and they’ve done a very nice job. The 2002 Zinfandel is not the greatest Zin I have ever had. What it is is a refreshingly straightforward presentation of this grape. Blackberry, raspberry, and black pepper. Nicely structured tannins. No need to age, this drinks well now. The wife says pair with duck, but I’d go with almost any red meat dish.

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