As mentioned in our last two reports, Ridge Vineyards VP of Vineyard Operations, David Gates and Ridge Regional Sales Manager, Christina Donley visited southeastern Michigan quite recently on business. It’s no secret that we love Mr. Ridge, so Kim decided that it would be great fun to host a dinner party for them both. We consider Christina to be part of the family here at Gang Central, but this was our first meeting with David, who turns out to be a really easy-going, mellow kind o’ guy. We were also joined by our good friend and wine biz colleague, Rebecca Poling. She’s family too!
The theme was an all pork dinner with Kim and Anne’s cured products, starting with a charcuterie platter with coppa, prosciutto and lonzino (loin), prosciutto wrapped asparagus with truffle butter, grilled eggplant/loin/cheese sandwiches and a stinky cheese. The second course was pasta carbanara with guanciale (cheek). The third course consisted of pressed pork belly with king trumpet mushrooms, sauce and cannellini beans dressed in a black olive vinaigrette with spinach and basil. Dessert was dark chocolate and a 1993 Ridge Essence.
Read the rest of this entry »
My habits have changed drastically over the past three or four years; as Buddy Miles sang with Santana back in the day, “Well my mind is goin’ through them changes.” My life has been all about singing, playing, writing and performing, since daughter Rosie took us to Rothbury back in 2009 and reminded me who and what I really am. For instance, I didn’t watch a lot of hockey last year; hell I didn’t watch much TV, period, and still don’t. I often monitored my Detroit Red Wings games on with the sound down, while I worked on tunes and technique, but I also missed many, and didn’t watch a complete game until the playoffs came around, few as those turned out to be.
I do still love fine wine, however, and in the last several days, I realized that I still love to watch hockey. After not looking at a single game during this lockout-shortened season, I tuned in on all three of the Red Wings’ western Canada road trip this past week, and, in taking the time to relax and watch the action, I was reminded again and again why it’s such a great sport. It’s fast, it’s rough and it’s exciting in a way that no other game is for me. Yes, a lot of the names have changed since I paid close attention, most notably Nicklas Lidstrom, who decided to cash in on a Hall of Fame kind o’ 20-year career in the NHL. Still, there’s the solid core of Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Kronwall, Franzen and Cleary remaining from the 2007-08 Stanley Cup Champion team, and they’re just as much fun to watch as ever. I plugged right into the culture again, and it felt like home. My boys taking 2 out of 3 games didn’t hurt, either, but I did notice that we need a bigger TV…
With all of this, it seemed like the perfect time to revive the Red Wings and Red Rhônes tradition, so here we go. I didn’t actually drink these wines while watching those games, but tasting three fine Rhônes in such close time proximity with my renewed enthusiasm for Red Wings hockey works for me, so that’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it.
Read the rest of this entry »
Master Sommelier Madeline Triffon introduces A Tasting of Ridge Vineyards, with Special Guest David Gates, VP of Vineyard Operations on February 27, 2013 at Plum Market in West Bloomfield, Michigan. The comprehensive line-up included Ridge Zins from the 2010, 2009, 2008 and 2006 vintages, including “East Bench”, “Ponzo”, “Geyserville” and “York Creek” as well as the Paso Robles bottling. The winery sent super-special treats: yet-to-be-released 2011 Paso Robles, Geyserville and Estate Chardonnay. And 1995 “Monte Bello” Cabernet Sauvignon, arguably California’s most historic vineyard! Ridge has not shown this vintage at a public tasting since it was debuted in 1998.
It’s been a while since we checked in with the wines from our friends at Chateau Grand Traverse, so when I ran across a bottle of their Gruner Veltliner “Laika” recently, I had to find out how this project was progressing. I figured it was also a good opportunity to try the latest incarnation of an old favorite, CGT’s Ship of Fools Pinot blend. Both of these tasty wines were made by Sean O’Keefe, and both employ Stelvin enclosures, which we keep liking more and more here at Adams, Heritier and Associates.
2011 Chateau Grand Traverse Gruner Veltliner “Laika” Old Mission Peninsula, 12.7% alc., $17: We first heard about CGT’s Gruner Veltliner project from Sean O’Keefe when we interviewed him back in 2007. He had just planted the vines and was very anxious to see what kind of wines they could produce on the Old Mission Peninsula. This, the third vintage produced answers the question quite positively, if you ask Kim or this taster. It shows an ever-so-slightly hazy, medium straw color, and gives up appealing flavors and aromas of quince and under-ripe green apple, underscored with a chalky minerality that we both like. Bone dry, medium-to-medium-full bodied, with racy acidity and good length on the finish, this is a wine that really wants to be served with some freshly caught Michigan trout, walleye or even whitefish; it should pair well with baked or grilled chicken as well. It was fermented in stainless steel for eight weeks, and remained on the lees for another five months, to round out the mid-palate. We’ll be most interested in seeing how this wine continues to develop with some time in the cellar, and how the CGT Gruner Veltliner progresses as the vines mature over the years. Given what we taste with this one, they’re off to a great start up on OMC! Find this wine
2011 Chateau Grand Traverse White Table Wine Ship of Fools Old Mission Peninsula, 65% Pinot Blanc, 30% Pinot Gris, 5% Pinot Noir, 12.9% alc., $15: With clean, medium color, this one shows a bit riper fruit than “Laika,” and that’s just fine with us. It’s like drinking a bowl of assorted, under-ripe apples, with a little grapefruit thrown in the mix and some mineral to keep its feet on the ground. Medium bodied and more, with excellent acidity and a nice, lingering finish, this one is every bit as lake-food friendly as the Gruner, maybe even more so. We’ve been fond of this bottling since we first tried it back on ’07, and this one is as good as, if not better than, any vintage we’ve tasted so far. According to the good folks at CGT, “The goal for this blend is not to make an overtly “showy” wine, but rather to achieve the perfect proportions of a textured palate and balanced acidity to best accompany our Northern Michigan cuisine. Blanc for finesse, Gris for power and Noir for bouquet and ageability.” We think that they’ve succeeded admirably in all regards! Find this wine
Reporting from Day-twah,
I’ve never been shy when it came to shameless self-promotion for Gang of Pour, so why should things be any different, now that I’m playing and writing music after a ten-year hiatus? I started singing and playing in earnest again almost two years ago, largely through the inspiration provided by my daughter. It was tough at first, but the more I worked at it, the better things sounded. It’s gotten to the point where music has suddenly become a full time job, with the release of my CD, “In My Element” a week ago, rehearsing for two gigs this coming weekend and really cranking up everything that ReverbNation has to offer as far as promotion of songs and gigs. Add to that some great jamming with really fine musicians, and the year is really getting off to a brilliant beginning!
“In My Element” is now available in both CD and individual track digital download from cdbaby; just click on the link below.
Reporting from Day-twah,
geo t. aka Don Coyote
Christmas tends to be pretty low key here at Adams, Heritier and Associates. We don’t get involved in the commercial aspects of the holiday at all. We don’t put up a tree, nor do we buy each other gifts. We do like to have a quiet dinner with some good wine, and that’s what we did again two weeks ago. Kim roasted a chicken along with a lot of root vegetables. I selected a wine that might not seem to be the likeliest candidate to pair, but it was Christmas, we had had it in our cellar for a few years and, since it had been that long since we last tried it, I wanted to taste where it was at, thank you very much. As it turned out, it worked very well with this dinner. (Click image to enlarge.)
2006 Tablas Creek Vineyard Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc Paso Robles, 65% Roussanne, 30% Grenache Blanc, 5% Picpoul Blanc, 13.5% alc.: Pretty pale-medium golden color, with a stingy nose at first, offering only a little something reminiscent of lanolin. Flavors of white peach and pear shaded with notes of lanolin and mineral explode in the mouth, full bodied and intense; great balance, with excellent acids and a long, lingering finish. In no danger of fading any time soon; au contraire, we probably should have let it sit for a few more years, because it still seems to be on the way up, so while it’s great now (and it benefits from extended aeration), it’s still going to get better! Find this wine
Read the rest of this entry »
If you’re in the market for old-school styled Zinfandel, you would do well to check out the wares of Wine Guerrilla. WG head honcho Bruce Patch has made it his mission to source fruit from some of the best vineyards in Sonoma County and craft wines in a manner that allows them to express themselves nicely, without excess oak, extraction, residual sugar or other such atrocities that have too often plagued the grape. I first tasted Zinfandel in 1976, and I’ve been a big fan ever since. As was the case with the previous batch of Wine Guerrilla Zins that I reviewed, these three remind me of many of those from back in the day when I first gained an appreciation for the variety.
2010 WG Zinfandel Sonoma Monte Rosso Vineyard Sonoma Valley Block E44, $42.00: Deep, dark color, almost opaque; classic aromatics of spicy black raspberry with a judicious kiss of sweet oak, which follows through nicely on the palate, less sweet and ripe then the nose might promise, with more earth and hints of dark chocolate. That’s all good in my book, since I don’t care for the excessively ripe style. Sleek, full bodied and structured for several years in the cellar, with acids every bit as prominent as the tannins. A little prickly right now, so this needs some time in the bottle (please, no Jim Croce jokes, let the man rest in peace), or at very least, decant it for a while before drinking now. Almost reminds me of some of David Rafanelli’s Zins back in the day, which also showed this kind of zippy acidity. 200 cases made. Find this wine
It seemed like we had hardly had time to catch our breath after posting our last feature on new wines from Cornerstone Cellars, and they were already sending us more things to try. That’s OK, we’re professionals, and we can handle it. This time, there were three selections from Cornerstone’s Oregon operation, two Pinot Noirs and a Chardonnay. Here’re our impressions:
2010 Stepping Stone by Cornerstone Oregon Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, 13.5% alc., SRP $30: Pretty ruby garnet color; fragrant smoky black cherry nose carries over nicely on the palate with some subtle earthy undertones. Medium-to-medium full-bodied and well balanced, with enough structure and intensity for a few years in the cellar, but I’d be inclined to drink this sooner, rather than later, for its fresh, middleweight charm. It’d be even better for about $5-10 less… AVAs: 45% Yamhill-Carlton, 33% Eola-Amity,15% Chehalem Mountain, 5% McMinnville, 1% Ribbon Ridge, 1% Dundee Hills. Aged in 100% French Oak of which 35 % was new for 13 months and was bottled in June 2012. 137 cases produced. Find this wine
The 2012 archive is presented by date the notes were compiled and submitted. Prior year’s tasting notes may be found here.
November 25, 2012
2002 Dom. Michel Voarick, Corton-Renardes:
Very pretty cherry, horehound, beet root aromatics that are a little sweet and a little savory but not very expansive; tastes of Corton as it is firm, structured and edgy in the mouth. But half way through the evening the wine turns to black fruit and the tannins become quite prominent and somewhat drying. By the end of the night this is all iron and tannin and not something I want more of. I am guessing we got to this just before it falls off a cliff . . . or maybe I just don’t get its aging potential. Find this wine
2004 Giacosa, Nabbiolo d’Alba Valmaggiore:
Tasted very generic at this point; not bad but without depth or character. Hold. Find this wine
2005 de Villaine, Côte Chalonnaise Les Clous:
Pretty chardonnay half leaning toward Chablis and with good length. Needs bottle age to be more but also nice now. Find this wine
2009 Calluna Vineyards, Merlot Aux Raynauds:
Simply wonderful; rich but not flamboyant, structured yet with plenty of savory fruit, lively in the mouth and very long. The depth and nuance of this wine are approaching world class even at this young age. As good a merlot as I can remember – from anywhere. Find this wine
2010 Edmond et Anne Vatan, Sancerre Clos la Néore:
Tart and too young to show much of anything; hold. Find this wine
2007 Dom. Saint Siffrein, CdP:
Delicious, and this from someone with little use for Grenache. Smooth, nuanced, tactile and long. Quite nice. Find this wine
2004 Lagier-Meredith, Syrah:
Of whole cloth now with layers of flavor and a lovely texture in the mouth. Not the most complex syrah I ever had but one of the easiest to enjoy. Drink now. Find this wine
2002 Ridge, Mataro Pato Vineyard:
Satin textured, forward fruit, no mataro funk (which I miss), and decent length. A good wine but not a great one. Find this wine
1990 Ridge, Geyserville:
A biological disaster that may also be cooked and corked. DNPIM. Find this wine
2010 Chester’s Anvil, Gewürztraminer:
I am not a fan of this grape but this was pleasant. A little perm solution of the nose but pretty in the mouth, if a little thin. And yet, something about this wine made me take another glass – I have no idea why. Find this wine
2007 Hanzell, Chardonnay:
Another chardonnay that leans toward Chablis but not far enough. Good minerality, clean fruit, some depth, good length. I hear these age quite well so we may be too early to this bottle. Nonetheless, easy to drink. Find this wine
I recently got the opportunity to try five wines from the collaboration between Nicolas Jaboulet and the Perrin family. I’ve long enjoyed the offerings from both of these venerable families, and I was intrigued as to what they are producing together. Grapes for Maison Nicolas Perrin are sourced from choice northern Rhône parcels; wine selection and overseeing of the winemaking is Jaboulet’s concern, while blending and bottling is handled by Marc Perrin, who produces the wines at the family winery in Orange. They had been opened for a western Michigan trade tasting the previous afternoon, but when Vineyard Brands Mid-West Sales Manager Anne Keller asked if I’d like to try them, I jumped at the chance. To say that I was not disappointed with what I tasted would be an understatement, and they certainly didn’t suffer from extended aeration. Although made in the “international style,” they show great depth and character. These will not be available as the media review samples we receive from Vineyard Brands, and were poured for presell purposes, so this was pretty much my only shot at tasting them for now. Here are my impressions; prices are approximate markups of wholesale listings. Click images to enlarge. Notes in quotations below are From Vineyard Brands Maison Nicolas Perrin tech sheets.
2010 Maison Nicolas Perrin Hermitage, 70% Marsanne, 30% Roussanne, 13% alc., $74.99: A fragrant bouquet of white tree fruit shaded with floral notes echoes and expands in the lovely flavors with nice minerality underneath. Full bodied and thick, almost oily; rich and delicious. I actually liked this so much, I took a second pour before moving on to the reds. You can hold on to this for a few years, but I doubt I’d be able to keep my hands off for very long. “Varieties are vinified separately. Whole bunches are crushed and long fermentation at low temperatures of 12/15C. Ageing in new oak casks during 10 months rounding the wine.” Find this wine