Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Cidre

Last night was a sparkling cider evening.  The clouds cleared in the early evening and by the time dinner was ready the sun was setting. 

The cider was an Etienne Dupont Cidre Triple from the 2013 vintage.  Per the label it was produced from a selection of bitter apples from the Pays D'Auge area of Normandy.  I was familiar with the regular cider from Dupont, but not this much stronger Triple.  It checked in at 11% alcohol.

The flavors were a mix of bitter apples and mushrooms. It was bone dry, crisp and refreshing and reminded me most of a dry German Riesling with a few years bottle age.  Quite a long finish and the bubbles stayed busy the entire time.  It is not quite as apple like as the regular bottling at 5% alcohol but it is very good stuff

Dinner was some grilled swordfish and a slaw of fennel, apples and crushed juniper berries.  It was good with the fish, but it was tremendous with the slaw, which was dressed with lemon juice and olive oil. 

2013 Etienne Dupont Cidre Triple.  11% alcohol and $9.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Disappointment to Delight


Old wines can be strange and unpredictable.  That was certainly true of this bottle, a 1998 Hermitage La Chapelle from Paul Jaboulet Aine from the northern Rhone of France. 

There was a small steak from the grill and I was in the mood for a Syrah wine.  I pulled this bottle out of the cellar.  The first mistake was pulling the cork and immediately drinking the wine instead of giving it some time in a decanter to open up.  It was brick red with orange edges and it smelled most of tart red cherries.  There was considerable acid in this wine.  Lots of red fruit tastes but the acid was overpowering here.   Still, it was drinkable with the steak.

The wine was vacuumed overnight and another glass was poured on the second day.  The acid had subsided somewhat and there was more flavor, though still very much on the tart side.  Better than day one but my verdict was that it was a wine past its time.

There was still half a bottle left so it was vacuumed again and opened for the last time two days later to go with a pork chop that was grilled and finished with a sauce of maple syrup and chipotle pepper.  The wine was tremendous.  The acid was back in balance with the fruit and the fruit had darkened in flavor to something more like what I expect from a Syrah based wine.  It was still on the light side but it was mellow, balanced and delicious.  The sweetness in the maple syrup did wonders for the sharp acid in the wine and the slight kick from the chipotle made the wine seem richer.

My last bottle of three of this wine - and by far the strangest.

1998 Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Chapelle.  13.5% alcohol and $105.


Sunday, August 16, 2015

2011 x 3

There was a planning party yesterday for a pig roast on September 7.  Three 2011 wines made an appearance.  Wine number one was a Kinkead Ridge, Ohio River Valley, Cabernet Franc.  Full flavored and fruity with American oak noticeable ($20).  The second wine was Fisticuffs, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  Less fruit flavors but more earthiness.  Light on its feet ($32).  The third wine was a Zincinnati Mendocino County Zinfandel made by McNabb Ridge Winery for Tramonte Distributors in Cincinnati.  Great Zinfandel flavors with proper tannin and acidity ($21). 

By way of experimenting the best wine turned out to be 1/3 Kinkead Ridge and 2/3 Fisticuffs.  

The photo has nothing to do with the party, but it was taken earlier that morning along the Great Miami River that flows through western Ohio.  A long walk at dawn with the dog was as refreshing as the three wines with dinner.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

♫On a Summer's Evening...♪♫

Another beautiful summer evening here and another beautiful wine from Kinkead Ridge.   This time it was a 2011 Revelation white wine, a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Albarino.

The youthful glow is a background in this wine now as the exuberance has given way to  mellowness.  There's a hint of apple and citrus, but there's a lot of figs and melon.  A well balanced wine that was perfect with some roasted chicken leg quarters and a shell, grape and blue cheese salad served at room temperature.

2011 Kinkead Ridge Revelation white wine.  Ohio River Valley.  13.5% alcohol and $13.



Saturday, August 1, 2015

A Summer Evening

The wines that one best remembers are not necessarily the finest that one has ever tasted, and the highest quality may fail to delight so much as some far more humble beverage drunk in more favorable surroundings.
H. Warner Allen
2010 Monte Antico, Toscano.  85% Sangiovese, 5% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.  13% alcohol and $12.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Mauro Veglio Barolo

One of the things I missed this winter was a good bottle of Barolo.  I remedied that situation a few days ago when there was a gift in the form of of a cold front that blew in from Canada. The wine was a 2001 Mauro Veglio, Vigneto Arborina.

I pulled the cork early in the morning and decanted a little more than half into a jug.  The remainder was put under vacuum.

As befits its age the wine was a brick reddish brown in the glass.  There was little to recommend the wine immediately so it sat until evening when a steak came off the grill.

The color had not changed but the wine was now full of aromas of raspberries and red currants and summer flowers.  It was a pleasure to sit and smell the wine.  The flavors were strong but not overpowering with the raspberries and currants predominating.  The Barolo tannins were in full force on the initial sip, but quickly mellowed.  Wonderful acidity cut through the richness of the steak.  At fourteen years it was singing a beautiful song.

Two days later I finished the vacuumed wine and noticed only that the tannins weren't as strong.  It was still a beautiful wine.

2001 Maura Veglio Barolo, Vigneto Arborina.  14.5% alcohol and $50 when purchased more than several years ago.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

♪♫Summertime, and the Living Is Easy♫

...and the wine was delicious.

After many days of rain and clouds Mother Nature apologized to us yesterday with a beautiful, sunny day with a low humidity and a light breeze.  It was perfect weather for a rose' wine. One of the things I missed this spring with the medications making everything taste bitter and metallic was the joy of rose'.

The wine of the evening was a 2014 Domaine du Dragon from the Cotes du Provence area of France.  The wine is a mixture of Cinsault, Syrah, Mourvedre and Grenache.  It was a very pale salmon color in the glass - just beautiful.  It smelled of strawberries and roses and citrus.  It tasted much the same and had a wonderful lightness to it that belied its 13.5% alcohol.  Sweet and yet dry, full flavored but light, it was just about perfect for the day.

There was a large rib steak from the grill and there was fresh corn, basil and red onion relish served at room temperature. 

2014 Domaine du Dragon Rose'.  13.5% alcohol and $16