Tuesday, September 29, 2015

An Old Friend

The twice delayed pig roast finally got off the ground last Saturday and with a good crowd came some good wines.  One that stood out from the crowd was a 2005 a Domaine du Vieux Telegraph, La Crau, a Chateauneuf de Pape.

A long,long time ago in a galaxy far away I owned and drank my fair share of Chateauneuf de Pape, but over the years the wines kept getting bigger and bigger and higher and higher in alcohol.  They stepped over the line for me a decade ago.  Nonetheless I plunged into this one without trepidation.  After one sip I got an empty glass and spent about five minutes pouring the wine back and forth between the two glasses to open it up a little.  It helped, but a few more hours would have helped more.

This is a very tight and dense wine.  I could smell clean leather, fruit and spice. It had a ton of ripe blackberry flavors with bits of oak and cinnamon added in to the mix.  The tannin was still strong and the acid was good, but there was still a bit of alcohol burn on the finish.  Produced from a blend of 65% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre and 5% Cinsault.
2005 a Domaine du Vieux Telegraph, La Crau.  15% alcohol and $90.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Hemingway Daiquiri

Hemingway Daiquiri

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”  ― Ernest Hemingway

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Autumn Fruit and Willi Schaefer


It was a great summer for agriculture in this area with almost ideal growing conditions and plenty of moisture.  The local market is full of fully ripe tree fruit.  The pears looked very good the other day and the result was a pear tart made with frozen puff pastry with cinnamon, cardamon, cloves, nutmeg, mace, salt and sugar mixed in with the pear slices.   

The wine was a 2005 Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Auslese #9 in a 375 ml bottle.  I love it when the first sip of wine makes one pause, look at the glass and think what a wonderful thing someone has made.  The golden color looked like fall in the glass, and aromas of apples, pears, pineapple and spices were not at all shy about expressing themselves.  It was wonderfully sweet but with so much acid that it was refreshing.  It tasted mostly of fully ripe apples and pears, and that taste lingered and lingered. 

It was wonderful with the tart, but it would have been just as great by itself.

2005 Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Auslese #9.  7.5% alcohol and $55 a few years ago.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


"The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many."
-   Oliver Wendell Holmes

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Good Red Wine

Barbera D'Alba

It had been some time since I opened a Barbera D'Alba.  I am still in cellar clearing mode and these are not wines I cellar.  I buy them and drink them.  This one was a Mauro Veglio from the 2013 vintage.

The wine was bright reddish purple in the glass. It was full of sharp and tart fruit, fully ripe but not sweet.  Dusty aromas of red berries.  There was a lot of acid and a good amount of tannin.  The acid and tannin cut through a fat, juicy steak just as I was hoping it would.  Wonderful together.

2013 Mauro Veglio Barbera D'Alba.  13.5% alcohol and $16.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Summer into Autumn

The bike path along the river
The resident Gordon Setter and I were out early again this morning and it required a substantial change in plans.  A light jacket was needed as the temperature was 46 degrees (7 degrees c).  After a very hot and humid period last week this was pure joy.  The water along the Great Miami river was warmer than the air so the fog and mist created some beautiful sights

A Great Blue Heron
There were a number of waterfowl next to or in the river;  mallards, Canada Geese, a couple of river gulls and a kingfisher were spotted.  Add in the sound of the numerous woodpeckers pecking and it made for a nice walk.  One of the herons kept eyeing us as we walked along the shoreline and eventually decided the other side of the river was safer.  Beautiful bird.

During the hot spell we kept our morning walks between three and four miles, but this morning we did a comfortable seven and a half miles.   After the sun was more fully up in the sky the rabbits, squirrels and gophers made their appearance so the dog got much more exercise than I did.  She was still willing to play when we got home.

There was some wild caught Columbia River king salmon for dinner last night and I opened a bottle of the Lowell Marie Pinot Grigio.  It performed its assigned task of washing down the salmon and polenta squares that sat alongside.

The rive an hour after starting 

Sunday, September 13, 2015


The drink is a cobbler.   Oloroso Sherry and simple syrup muddle with an orange slice and then stirred over ice.   Strained into a glass of crushed ice and garnished with another orange slice, a few slices of white peaches and two slices of dark plums.  Light, refreshing and simple on a summer evening.   

Friday, September 11, 2015


Last of the morning fog on the river

There was a good and early morning walk with the resident canine along the shores of the Great Miami River.  In two days the weather has gone from 90+ degrees to this morning's beautiful 58 degrees thanks to a weather front from Canada coming south.

Great Miami River

There was a celebration of sorts last night with a dry aged, strip steak cooked over hardwood.  Thanks to video cameras in a convenience store the "gentlemen" who vandalized  my car early last week and stole my credit cards were apprehended and charged with felonies.  I still had the expense of having the auto glass replaced, but the charges on my cards were refunded and the arrests gave me some satisfaction.

We opened one of the bottles of the Lowell Marie Merlot (two posts below) that I purchased last weekend.  It's a beautiful wine to transition from the bright and happy rose's of summer to the heartier reds that will come when the weather is much cooler.  It did a wonderful job of washing down the steak. 

The web

I loved the sunlight coming through this spider web this morning.  I wouldn't have seen it if Ms. Birdie had not been chasing a rabbit which ducked around the edge of the woods.  She also managed to chase a few gophers and couple of squirrels.  She got much more exercise than I did. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Approaching Autumn

Now that it is September the start of autumn is approaching here and the colors are beginning to change from deep green to drier shades of green, red and brown. 

There was a wonderful wine this past weekend that pleased both me and a large group.  The wine was a 2007 Max Ferd. Richter Brauneberger Juffer Kabinett Trocken Riesling from the Mosel.  I took it to a party where the entree was a smoked pork butt.  Of the eight people there only two are true Riesling fans, but this wine won over the other six.  It quickly disappeared.

For a seven year old Riesling I expected a more golden color, but it looked much younger.  A bit of kerosene on the nose quickly gave way to spring flowers and citrus.  Flavors were apples and grapefruit, but the thing that won over everyone was the acid and minerality in this wine.  Crisp and clean and dry.    This bottle was long gone before the pork was ready.   As one person remarked, 'this tastes like an apple on a cool, October day."   Remarkable wine.

There is one more bottle of this in the cellar, and there are three other vintages of the same wine resting there with the 2007.  Good times ahead.

2007 Max Ferd. Richter Brauneberger Juffer Kabinett Trocken Riesling.  9% alcohol.  $18.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Kinkead Ridge / Lowell Marie

The new label
Log time readers of this corner of the internet should be aware of my fascination with Kinkead Ridge wines from the Ohio River Valley.  They have been world class wines from locally grown, vinifera grapes - not an easy project in this part of the country.

The good news is that the winery opened again on September 4 after being closed for a year due to the two  devastatingly cold winters this area experienced in 2014 and 2015.  In short  - there were no grapes.  The sad news is that the vineyard is no more.  It could not recover from those two bad winters.   Additionally the winery has new ownership, and the land where the vineyard was has  been sold to different ownership.  The new owners of the land do not intend to replant the vineyard.  The estate grapes are gone.  Very sad. 

Viognier grapes before the two bad winters
There are still three red, estate wines from the 2013 vintage that will be released in November, but the winery reopened with wines made from purchased grapes, some from a considerable distance away.  The wines also have a new name,  Lowell Marie, named for the new owners.  Plans are to produce wines under that name from purchased grapes and hopefully plant a vineyard elsewhere to again make estate wines under the Kinkead Ridge label.  The news wines are good and interesting and after tasting through the lineup I found four to bring home in a mixed case.

A row of cabernet vines
The  2014 Pinot Gris made from juice purchased from Washington State.  It is light, refreshing and a wine with an herbal core to it.  It would be good chilled with whitefish or lighter chicken or pork dishes, but would probably be at its best just chilled and consumed with snacks.  It’s a happy wine.  13.5% alcohol.  105 cases produced.  A good bargain at $11.99.

There is a 2014 Sauvignon Blanc (53%)  and Semillon (47%) blend made from grapes purchased from Washington state.  There is mellow apple, some citrus and green figs on the nose.  The figs really came through to me in the taste of the wine.  This is much fuller bodied than the Pinot Gris.  It was unquestionably my favorite of all the wines.  14.8% alcohol.  258 cases produced.    At $13.99 it is the best buy of all of the wines. 

Cabernet grapes
The 2014 Merlot was made from grapes purchased from the Lodi, California area.  It smells like fresh crushed plums and berries.  It’s light bodied and full of fruity flavors with just enough tannin to keep the fruit in check.  This is not a wine for keeping,  just a wine to open and enjoy.  12.9%  alcohol.  190 cases produced.   $10.99

The last wine in my case was a 2013 Chambourcin from the McCafferty Bridge vineyard from the Ohio River Valley.  Chambourcin is a French-American hybrid that survives the winters in this area.  It is a very full bodied wine with dark color.  It attacks the palate on the first few sips with tannin and grip, but it quickly mellows to dark fruits.  I got a bit of mushroom in the wine.  It is not for the faint of heart.  I am usually not a fan of the hybrid grapes, but I can make an exception for this wine.  It is sold under the River Village Cellars label. 12.8% alcohol.  111 cases produced. $11.99.

There are three other wines available that I did not purchase.

A 2014 Rousanne-Viognier was made from Washington state grapes.  The mix is a little strong on the Rousanne for me.  Good wine, but I would have preferred more Viognier.  And there were two vintages of Traminette available on the River Village Cellars   The 2013 I already had in the cellar.  The 2014, at 2.9%  residual sugar, is a better wine.  The acid is better and makes this a better wine.  Both are $9.99.

The vineyard house