Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Salmon and Pinot Noir

What a delicious day yesterday was.  The weather was in the mid 80 degrees range but the humidity was very low for Ohio at this time of the year, and there were very few clouds.  Just perfect grillling weather.  The local market flew in a plane load of fresh sockeye salmon from Alaska and I picked out a six pound fish for dinner.  It took my favorite fish monger less than a minute so fillet the fish, a skill that makes me envious. 

The day was mostly about Pinot Noir and there were three worthy candidates, a 2003 Beaulieu Private Reserve from Napa, a 2007 Argyle from Oregon and a 2005 Lemelson, Stermer Vineyard from the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

When all the tasting and eating was done it was obvious that there was one remarkable wine and two pretenders.  Flatly put, the Lemelson wine was outstanding with the fish.  Dark in color it smelled of fresh black cherries and the deep woods after a rain.  The cherries dominated in the taste, and they were definitely on the darker side.  There was some warm spice and a taste of mushrooms browned in a small amount of butter. There was a slight vegetative aspect to it that not only was not a distraction, it just added to the complexity of the wine.  The acid was more than acceptable and the finish was long and sweet without being over the top.  Salmon is a rich fish and the acid in the Lemelson wine was totally complimentary to the fish.  This was a very serious wine and a truly outstanding effort. 13.5% alcohol and an original price of $45.  Sadly, this was my only bottle of this wine but there are some newer vintages in the market that will probably find their way home with me.

The Beaulieu was thin, somewhat tannic and lacking in fruit.  The wine was very much a disappointment.  The Argyle was a Pinot of a different style.  It was bright and fresh, light weight with young vibrant flavors of tart red cherries.  On its own it was an easy drink, but it was a little overpowered by the salmon.  Good stuff, but not in the same league as the Lemelson.

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