Archive for September, 2009
OK, I really don’t know what I’m doing here, I think I’m posting, but have no idea where it will go or how it will be viewed. Whatever, I’ll go ahead and blather into the blogosphere anyway.
Came home late from work last night, with some new, high-end premade pasta sauces we sell in the store. I tried the Tuscan Vodka sauce, and of course I needed a nice Zin to go with it, and what better than a Mr. Ridge? My technique is just to go into the wine room, where most of my Ridge wines are all grouped together, and just grab one. I wound up with an older ATP bottling, the 2001 Del Carlo Zin from Dry Creek. 100% Zin, 14.3% alc. Given the moderate (for zin) alcohol, this was surprisingly ripe, verging on pruney, with some distinct raisiny notes to the fruit. The fruit lacks a bit of intensity in the middle, and the tannins are poking a bit on the finish. Surprisingly, this seems a bit dull and perhaps past it’s best, although PD’s note on the bottle (written in 2003) suggests the prime drinking window is 5 to 7 years. Draper’s usually conservative on his drinking windows, but I think he overshot a bit on this one, which seems like it has seen better days. Overall a rather lackluster and disappointing ATP from Ridge.
Jim Lester came to town recently with a batch of his current Wyncroft releases for an informal tasting hosted by Errol and Patty Kovitch. We’re always up to try new things from Wyncroft, and so were Jim and Cheryl Brennan, Brad Cook, Eagle Eye Import’s president, Jean-Jacques Fertal and the Champagne Warrior himself, Brad Baker. Errol always likes tasting Jim’s wines compared to some other quality wines as a benchmark, and while we did just that, there was no actually “judging” to speak of. Wines were simply opened and enjoyed with a variety of cheeses, breads and other delectables for what they are, and by and large, most were very tasty indeed.
As is usually the case, we started off with some whites.
1998 Vincent Girardin Mersault Les Charmes, 13% alc.: The gold color of this one is just starting to show some amber and oxidation which shows on the nose and palate as well, along with notes of old wood and a faint touch of honey. It almost gives the impression of being corked, but there’s no TCA here; the wine is well past its prime, although not entirely undrinkable. Jim mentions candied ginger, and while others revisit it later and say that it comes around a bit, it’s “No mas” for this taster. Find this wine
Imported by Vineyard Brands, Inc., Birmingham, AL
We brought this next wine back from our visit to the Niagara Peninsula in August of 2008, and thought it would make an interesting comparison of “cold climate” Chardonnays with the Wyncrofts.
2005 Hidden Bench Beamsville Bench Chardonnay Estate, 14% alc.: Clean medium straw in color, with some flint and toasty oak on the nose, following through with a nice ripe core of pear on the palate. Full bodied, but not heavy, with excellent acids. One taster mentions that this “smells like Mersault,” but Jim mentions a note of sulfur wick,” and suggested that the winery “had some problems with hydrogen sulfide and had to add copper to compensate.” He adds a compliment however, calling it “lean and mineral driven,” saying that it would pair well with something off the grill. Smoked chicken seems like a good choice to me. Find this wine
Jim offered the following two for comparison, saying that the 2006 was their coolest vintage on record, while 2005 was the warmest, and the differences are apparent.
2006 Wyncroft Lake Michigan Shore Chardonnay Avonlea, 13% alc.: Showing medium straw color, and somewhat reminiscent of lemon custard with nice underlying acidity, this wine is full bodied, yet somewhat lean at the same time, being not as ripe as some, with excellent balance and acidity. Lester says that it bears a striking resemblance to a 1997 Bouchard Corton Charlemagne a friend opened for him recently, adding that his late wife Rae Lee called it “the most classical Chardonnay we’ve ever made.”
2005 Wyncroft Lake Michigan Shore Chardonnay Avonlea, 14.8% alc.: Medium straw to pale gold color, with a rich core of pear accented with butterscotch, some subtle honey, a little bread dough and a hint of morel mushroom on the finish. Full bodied, with slightly lower acidity than the ’06 and very nice indeed. Jim calls it his version of Kistler. Read the rest of this entry »