Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Let's start with what was the stunning surprise of the evening, the order of preference of the three wines, chosen by the wine fans in the crowd.
The third choice was the 2003 Opus One from Napa Valley. Big, bold and fruity, and to my palate it was dried out. Throughout the evening it never bloomed. At $250 a bottle it should have been blooming and singing. Instead it was boring.
The second choice was a 2001 Chateau Lafite Rothschild. This wine was closed at the start but eventually began to open. Wonderful, restrained fruit and integrated tannin led to a somewhat dry and flat finish. It also seemed a little short in the acid department and that made it a poor choice for the prime rib. At $450 it too was disappointing.
The top wine was the Drew, Ridgeline, Mendocino Ridge Syrah from California. At ten years of age this wine was alive with fruit and acidity. Wonderful aromas of herbs and flowers poured from the glass. In the mouth this wine both felt and tasted like Cote Rotie used to taste before hugeness became the sought after quality in that region. The acid in the wine cut through the fat from the meat. At $40 a bottle it shone as bright as the star on top of the Christmas tree.
Saturday, December 24, 2016
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
After five days of nearly continuous rain in this area the slow moving front is finally to the east. The rain stopped just before noon today. It's much worse to the south and the rain was needed here, but five days was more than enough.
The resident canine and I ventured out to the Great Miami river late this morning and discovered this solitary sunflower growing on the remains of an old bridge piling in the middle of the river. The only soil there is river mud and sand and the piling is far enough from shore that it has to be a volunteer plant. The seed had to have been left sometime this spring by a bird who obtained it from a well stocked, backyard feeding station in the area. I'm sure it comes as a surprise to the river gulls who frequent the piling. Given a chance - life takes hold.
The other two photos are a wildflower on the shore and a shot looking north along the river. Five days of heavy rain and things look like spring again.
Monday, August 8, 2016
The second half of the bottle of Staglin (see the post below) only lasted a day under vacuum seal. There was a roast chicken and the wine was just too good to ignore.
There was only a slight degradation from the first day and the wine was still delightful. The only thing different was the tannins were a wee bit softer and that was probably a good thing with the chicken. Just an outstanding wine.
Sunday, August 7, 2016
In 2006 I attended a retrospective tasting at a local merchant who bought a substantial amount of Napa cabernets from the 1996 vintage. They held the wines for ten years in perfect conditions and then offered them to the folks attending the tasting at the original offering price. For the Staglin that was $65. I purchased my allotted two and brought them home. Yesterday was a beautiful evening following a long stretch of high temperatures and high humidity in this area. It was time for good, red wine.
The cork was not in the best of shape, but came out in two pieces with minimal crumbling, though the wine was poured through a strainer to remove some of the floating small bits. The color was a medium garnet, showing some fading at the edges. It was crystal clear and beautiful. The bouquet was beautiful, a bit of fruit, a bit of oak and a bit of mint. One sip was all it took to decide the wine was at a perfect point and was a perfect mix of dark cherries with highlight of red cherries. The tannin were soft and enveloping and gave the wine its structure. The finish was long and mellow and at the very end was bone dry. This wine was a pleasure to drink.
1996 Staglin Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. 13.8% alcohol. I was unable to find an auction price for this vintage but the current vintage price is above $200.
Thursday, August 4, 2016
That said it was a hit with the part of the crowd that likes fruity soft drinks.
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Friday, July 29, 2016
Monday, July 18, 2016
We were there very early yesterday morning as the sun was coming through a stand of trees and highlighting this stalk of native grass. The red part looks like Indian grass, but the broad leaf doesn't match what the rest of the plant should look like. I will leave the description as red grass and do some more research. The other blooms are yellow cone flowers.
The prairie is full of rabbits and it keeps the dog busy stalking them.
Saturday, July 16, 2016
I was at the market a few days ago and there were some good looking veal chops in the butcher case. In this area one has to look hard to find veal so I brought home two that were one inch thick. The result is pictured above. The chops were marinated in lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, garlic, chopped fresh rosemary and red pepper flakes. They were grilled over hardwood charcoal and finished with a little chopped parsley and orange zest. Add in a local tomato and two orange slices with tarragon and it was a meal worth repeating.
For the wine we opted for the last bottle of 2012 Kinkead Ridge Ohio Valley Riesling. It was tart and dry but with some hints of sweetness at the very end. Good match and a fitting meal for that last bottle of any vintage for that particular wine. The vineyard is no more.
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
With some pulled pork sandwiches it made for a great picnic.
2015 Wagner Vineyards Rose of Cabernet Franc. 11% alcohol and $14.
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
My apologies for my absence lately in this little corner of the internet. There was a sudden and unexpected death in the family and that left little time for anything other than getting a lot of affairs in order. Those chores are mostly done.
To celebrate the resident canine and I took a long walk on an unseasonably cool morning along the Great Miami River yesterday. The first hour we had the place to ourselves and that was rejuvenating for both of us.
There's been some wine and a few good meals in the interim and I'm sure those will start appearing here soon.
Friday, July 1, 2016
|The Great Miami River|
“The beauty of that June day was almost staggering. After the wet spring, everything that could turn green had outdone itself in greenness and everything that could even dream of blooming or blossoming was in bloom and blossom. The sunlight was a benediction. The breezes were so caressingly soft and intimate on the skin as to be embarrassing.” ―Dan Simmons, Drood
Saturday, June 18, 2016
The Americano is equal parts Campari and sweet red Vermouth shaken over ice until very cold. It was poured into a glass with crushed ice and topped with club soda. Sweet at the front end and bitter at the back end and low in alcohol. Perfect for the day.
Monday, June 13, 2016
|Great Miami River. June 13. 7:00 AM EDT|
“AND what is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days; Then heaven tries earth if it be in tune, And over it softly her warm ear lays; Whether we look, or whether we listen, we hear life murmur, or see it glisten;”Nature was very kind this morning. After two days of temperatures over 90 degrees (F) and high humidity we woke this morning to 55 degrees and much less humidity. The resident canine and I were out before dawn and spent several hours walking the bike paths along the river and through the woods. It improved both of our moods, and developed an appetite that will be satisfied this evening.
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
The wine was tart and tight with tremendous acid on the first sip. Light strawberries and cherries finally made their presence known in the mid-palate. The finish was bone dry and crisp.
There was a grilled yellow tail snapper from the grill and a bit of farotto Nicoise to eat between sips of wine. Add in a remarkably low amount of humidity in the air and no clouds at all and it was a Grande Cuvee evening.
2015 Domaine du Dragon Grande Cuvee, Cotes de Provence. 13% alcohol and a true bargain at $13.
Wednesday, June 1, 2016
This was the tenth year for this party with friends, though it goes back another twelve years with family. There were two new guests this year and they brought what turned out to be my second favorite wine, a 2013 Cloudy Bay Chardonnay from New Zealand. This was a richer wine in both color and taste but still stayed on the balanced side of things. The fruit was more pronounced and forward than the Chablis and the finish was a bit sweeter and shorter, but it was a very good wine.
|A brace of lobsters after cooking|
2013 Cloudy Bay Chardonnay. 13.5% alcohol and $40.
Monday, May 30, 2016
2013 Kinkead Ridge Ohio River Valley Estate Viognier/Roussanne. 14% alcohol and $16.
Sunday, May 29, 2016
First up was a 2014 Loosen Brothers Dr. L. Riesling from the Mosel. Riesling is not my first choice for lobster but this one certainly worked well with the grilled version, not so much with the steamed version. A dry, tart and sharp wine with tons of the mineral sensation that somehow seemed to be a much better choice with the slight smokiness of the grilled lobster. There was some fruit in the wine when it was chilled, a little more as the wine warmed up but mostly this was about how the minerality played with the smoke.
There was a long finish on this wine, one that gave a hint a sweetness at the very end. At $11 a bottle this wine is amazing.
|Sarah before her demise|
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
There are wine notes and other things to post but I'll start with the first lily to bloom in the garden this spring, a yellow bee lily. And the photo below is the resident canine complaining that I should not be taking pictures of flowers, I should be inside fixing her breakfast.
Saturday, May 7, 2016
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
One of the joys of poor record keeping is that once in awhile one discovers a forgotten bottle of wine. That was the case several days ago with a bottle of 2004 Gianfranco Alessandria Langhe Nebbiolo. I bought half a case of these when they were first issued and over the intervening years I drank them and enjoyed them. My records showed all of the six consumed.
What I forgot was that I bought a seventh bottle at another wine store and apparently never entered it into what passes as my database. It was not from the same store where I know the other six were purchased, so that is the only possible reason it was never entered into the database. Also, it was not stored anywhere near the other Italian wines. It was forgotten.
Of course I opened it. Heaven in a bottle. Dusty aromas of earth and flowers, great red fruit and body and tannin still giving its all for the fight. It was mature and evolved, not youthful but not old. The finish was long and perfect. With two lamb chops it was delicious.
2004 Gianfranco Alessandria Langhe Nebbiolo. 14% alcohol and the price tag said $15.
Saturday, April 30, 2016
The lamb was stirred dried with onions, asparagus, red pepper, hot, dried peppers, ginger, garlic and hoisin based sauce to bring it all together. There was some heat so a Riesling was in order.
The flavors were still tart citrus but there was more than acid, there was a golden raisin or two to contend with. The wine was sweet on the front of the tongue, bloomed in the mid palate and finished with wonderful acid a a hint of sweetness at the very end. It really married well with the gaminess of the lamb and the heat from the dried, red peppers.
This was the last of three bottles that I bought when the wine was released about eight years ago. Very sad to drink the last one, but the pleasure lives on.
2005 Weingut Spreitzer Oestricher Lenchen Kabnett. 8.5% alcohol and $20 when originally purchased. Excellent wine.
Thursday, April 21, 2016
The wine was a 2005 Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia. I liked it the second the cork came out of the bottle. It was inky dark and closed up, but with some swirling the first small glass started to bloom. The rest of the bottle was decanted. The aromas were fruit and earth in a beautiful proportion. More swirling and the first sip was still closed, but it was full bodied with good tannin and fruit.
An hour later the decanted wine was a quintessential Tuscan red wine. That sense of earth or dirt was strong, but it it was overlaid with bright red fruit with darker aspects. The wine had tremendous acid that was just what I was looking for to cut through a rich, dry aged strip steak from the grill. This was a great match and meal. This was a combination to savor and not one to rush in any way.
Friday, April 15, 2016
Mallard searching for breakfast yesterday morning. His somewhat more formal portrait is below. We are in an extended period of good weather and after the long winter that makes me very happy.
And along the shoreline a turtle (non-Teenage Mutant Ninja type) finds a sunny spot to warm up.
And a Canada Goose mother sits on her nest.
And along the shoreline a turtle (non-Teenage Mutant Ninja type) finds a sunny spot to warm up.
And a Canada Goose mother sits on her nest.
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
I love spring
Wednesday, April 6, 2016
One of my local markets now carries Berkshire pork on a semi-regular basis and I have become addicted to it.There is more fat in the pork and when cooked correctly it remains moist, juicy and habit forming. Above is an inch thick rib chop seasoned with salt, pepper and a bit of smoked paprika and then grilled on a fire of hickory wood. The potatoes are small redskins that were cooked in a very salty brine, dried, and then flattened with the bottom of a glass into hockey pucks. They were then pierced all over with the tines of a fork and sauteed in butter until lightly crisp on the outside and then finished with a couple splashes of malt vinegar and some fresh chives.
The wine was a 2010 Alfred Merkelbach Urziger Wurtzgarten Riesling Kabinett. The wine had darkened since I first opened a bottle a few years ago, but it was still crisp and fruity. The flavors were citrus and melon and unmistakable slate. The tremendous acid cut through the fat from the pork like a pro. Delicious pairing. Wonderful meal.
2010 Alfred Merkelbach Urziger Wurtzgarten Riesling Kabinett. 9% alcohol and $18.
Friday, April 1, 2016
I had two.
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Saturday, March 26, 2016
When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself. - Ernest HemingwayA beautiful walk with the dog on a spring morning.
Saturday, March 19, 2016
This was a bright red wine with lots of aromas of strawberries, cherries and flowers. The first sip was fruity and broad and tasted like spring. It was wide and expansive in the mid palate and bone dry on the finish. A very nice wine that was oh so easy to drink.
2105 Martin Ray Russian River Valley Rose' of Pinot Noir. 12.5% alcohol and $16.
Saturday, March 12, 2016
Dinner was a fresh trout on the grill with grilled asparagus and lemons. Fresh rosemary and thyme were stuffed inside the trout for added flavor. I love the taste of the juice from the grilled lemon when it was squeezed over both the trout and the asparagus.
The wine was a 2013 Chateau Ste. Michelle Sauvignon Blanc from the Horse Heaven Vineyard from the Horse Heaven Hills a.v.a. in Washington state.
Citrusy wine with grapefruit and lemon flavors, but wonderful herb and grassiness to go along with the fruit. Nicely balanced, tart wine and fairly priced. It was a good match for the trout.
2013 Chateau Ste. Michelle Horse Heaven Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Horse Heaven Hills, Washington. 13% alcohol and $14.
Wednesday, March 9, 2016
The color had just a bit of gold hue to it, but not nearly as much as one would expect for an 11 year old wine not intended to age. It smelled of fresh apples and cardamon, almost like an apple pie. Still sharp and tart tasting, the flavors were a sweet apple loaded with crispness and a bit of citrus. The finish was long and not as sweet as one would expect thanks to a great bit of acid at the finish.
Yes, it had been a very well stored wine but this was still a joy and a treat for a wine that should have been heading downhill. It was not. And on a warm, sunny late winter day it was perfect with a light chill on the patio that had been neglected since last autumn.
2004 Willi Schaefer Riesling. Mosel-Saar-Ruwer. 9% alcohol by volume and a beautiful $12 when purchased eight or more years ago.
Saturday, March 5, 2016
The above picture was taken at the spot where Crain's Run meets the Great Miami. The water from the run was clear and pure coming off the hillside while the brown, muddy water of the Great Miami was flowing rapidly by and backing up a bit into Crain's Run. A bit farther to the right the water was perfectly clear to a depth of several feet.
Thursday, March 3, 2016
There is much more light in the mornings now that spring is closer. I love the light on a sunny morning. The resident canine and I encountered this group of Canada geese on our early morning walk a few days ago. The dog was somewhat disappointed that the geese were already in the water as one of her favorite things is to chase them into the water.
The photograph below was taken about forty minutes later and about half a mile downstream. A beautiful morning.
And I have to add here that the one glass of Barbaresco discussed in the post below this one was just as good, if not better, on the second day. A delicious wine that was a treat to drink.
Sunday, February 28, 2016
The photos were in the early afternoon when the wine was opened and decanted to breathe, something this wine needed. It was very closed up with little or no aroma coming out of it. The taste was very flat and one dimensional, mostly tasting like cooked fruit.
After six hours in the decanter one would never guess this was the same wine. The nose was full of flowers and tar and earth. Tart, dried cherry flavors were gushing from the wine. The earthiness was still there and the wine was full of sharp acid.
Dinner was a thick, grilled rib eye steak cooked to the rare side of medium rare and a farotto made with enriched beef broth and porcini mushrooms. This was a memorable pairing and a wonderful evening. One small glass is left for a good sip tonight.
And as always with an exceptional bottle of wine the thought occurred to me, "why didn't I buy more of this?"
2004 Produttori del Barbaresca Moccagatta Riserva. 14% alcohol $50 several years ago.