Halloween Wine Tasting October 31
halloween greeting (click)
NOTE: Pat is making Special Halloween Truffles; wear a costume to the tasting and get a Free Truffle Treat!
Last weekend: It’s been a long time since we had a day like this. Gorgeous day, the sort I was tempted to call “Indian Summer” but was informed it had to be longer than one day really to be called that. And as you know, it didn’t last, as Sunday the rains returned. Ah, but it was lovely: warm sun, cool breeze, even the blackberry leaves were in splendid colors.
In the shop it was quiet at one. Quiet at two. Quiet at 3. Quiet at 3:45. Our eyes meet. We shrug. Well, we thought, haven’t experienced this for some long while…! Then just before four o’clock within the space of a few minutes, there were 10 or 11 guests, and the usual festivities ensued. Once again we narrowly avert Disaster!
Wines were a bit of a mixed bag. The Cremant was very interesting, with a fine-bubbled and frothy mousse and amazing acidity; load up and serve with anything edible! The Denis Gayte seemed young and undistinguished, might have to wait a while on that, though it did show a nice freshness. As promised the Marquis Philips Sarah’s blend was a bit of a Dark Fruit Bomb (works for me!), and the Termes was a bit brooding for most, needed even more air perhaps.
Again don’t forget to wear a costume (simple is fine, but no, sunglasses are not a “costume,” we do have some standards!).
This week’s wines:
• Aveleda vinho verde (Portugal) $9
High acidity makes it refreshing, and a bit of spiciness tempers the melon, green apple and peach flavors.
• Chandler Reach corella 06 Washington WS 90pts $18
Super Tuscan blend of 70% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot is definitely Italian in heritage. Bright, refined and beautifully focused, this is light on its feet, with guava, berry and a hint of pear as the silky texture carries the flavors through the long, vivid finish.
• Terre Rouge Tête-à-Tête Syrah 02 California $16
A likable and out-of-the-ordinary blend, with aromas of cedar, plum and spice and zesty yet supple flavors of licorice, coffee and blackberry.
• Robert Karl Cab Sauv 05 Washington WE91pts $23
Dense, deep and angular, this young Cabernet is a lot of wine, loaded with bright berry flavors mixing raspberry, strawberry and boysenberry. With great concentration and palate presence, this youthful wine shows grip and texture, as light pepper and spice flavors filter in, and the tannins add definition and power to the finish, which slowly opens into a light dusting of chocolate.
Wine Tasting October 26
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Well, the day started with a very soft “bang” as a first-time couple from Seattle arrived early in the afternoon for tasting. It was a pleasant reminder of the quieter days before last May, when there were rarely more than three or four visitors, and it was quiet and easy to chat and get to know our guests. That typically gets more difficult as the day goes on.
Anyway, the “bang” was that these lovely folks decided to buy a case of the day’s wines, clearing out the few remaining bottles of the Relagnes Cotes de Rhone, and setting up later arrivals for “Here, you might like this, by the way we don’t have any more.” So when that ran out we poured the Château Saint-André Corbin St-Georges-St-Émilion 2004, which, like many wines in our shop, have been languishing in a corner for a couple of years. We have poured it a few times, but on this day it was Ready, and was a hit. I think we have just one bottle left, and I might have to “disappear” it…!
When we run out of something during a tasting, and have to replace it with something else, it is always fun to renumber the new wine as “the New Number Two,” which leads to considerable confusion and always reminds me of the old (ancient to some) TV series The Prisoner, which began with Patrick McGoohan’s abduction and awakening at The Village:
Why did you resign?
WHO are YOU?
I’m the new Number Two.
Whose side are you on?
That would be telling.
Who is Number One?
YOU are Number Six.
I AM NOT A NUMBER! I AM A FREE MAN!
…and then some spy-movie music would start and you could see him racing around in his little Lotus Super 7 and how he got captured…If you are too young to remember it (it WAS forty years ago!) then check it out on Netflix and we’ll talk about it. But I digress; the other wines for the day were also quite popular; we are down to one bottle of the Brooks Amycas, which everyone liked, and though everyone loved the OS syrah, not many buyers in the price range.
This week’s tasting:
Domaine Laurens Cremant de Limoux (France) $14 — This ancient cousin to champagne is from a little area in the SW corner of France near the Spanish border, with creamy mousse texture, and notes of baked apple, prune, yeast, and minerality.
Denis Gayte “Harmonie” ’07 (France) $10 — I haven’t actually tasted this vintage, but the wine has an interesting story (http://wsm.wsu.edu/s/index.php?id=214#) and I have liked it in the past. Made in Provence by a young American who grew up in Seattle. (http://www.lagramiere.com/blog/2007/07/meet-denis-gayt.html#). Come try it out!
Marquis Philips Sarah’s Blend Shiraz ’06 $15 (Australia) – This wine is made by an American in Australia, and was one of the pioneers of the big fat Aussie shiraz’s we all love to wallow in from Mclaren Vale; the nose is big and jammy with plums, spice, almond and chocolate aromas, and full-bodied, fruit-driven, intense flavors.
Numanthia Termes ’04 (Spain) $26 – Parker 94 pts: Inky purple-colored, it emits a beautiful bouquet of scorched earth, graphite, wild blueberry, and blackberry liqueur, followed by a full-bodied, layered, concentrated, intensely flavored wine with exceptional balance and length. (only have a few, better show up early; in most wine shops these disappeared minutes after arrival about 3 years ago!)
Wine Tasting October 17
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Last week we spent on the road with the dogs in Eastern Washington. Visited a few interesting wineries whose wines we will be ordering and featuring soon–more on that later. We got back on the midnight boat on Friday, imagining a quiet day in the wine shop Saturday. WRONG! We had lots of visitors, went through two bottles of everything we were pouring, compared to the usual of something less than one bottle of each wine.
It was also one of those days when all the wines were really showing well. The Argiolas vermentino continues to impress me every time I taste it; the Marchetti was strutting its stuff; we ran out of the OS Red (don’t worry, will get more, this is a staple for us) so opened the Townshend T3 red blend (which some people liked even better); and the Alexandra Nicole Quarry Butte was probably the favorite of the day, at least for some people…so it was a good day for Washington reds (yum yum!)!
Here are a few of the revelers:
Wines for this weekend:
Brooks Amycas ’07 (Oregon) $15 Aromas of apricots, minerals, white flowers, melons, white peach, lime, and kiwis; In the mouth, ripe acidity and tremendous minerality; pure notes of tangerines, honey, and ripe apricots finish of pure stones slathered in lime blossom honey.
Durigutti Bonarda ’06 (Argentina) $9 Juicy notes of blackberry and blueberry, with tinges of tobacco, fig and smoke.
Domaine de Relagnes CdRhone Vielles Vignes ’05 (France) $13 Earthy old world style syrah/grenache blend with soft briar, cherry, licorice, and tobacco notes, and an open texture that speaks of bread & cheese in summer meadows…
OS syrah Dineen Vineyard ’04 (Washington) $25 Been sitting on this one for a few years, just now hitting its stride with winemaker Bill Owen’s trademark luscious fruit on both the nose and palette.
Weekly wine tasting October 10
The gloomy and cold weather the past week came as a bit of a shock after a really lovely September. Around here, of course, once the Fall Gloom makes an appearance, you never quite know if it will be hours, days, or perhaps months till you see the sun again. So sometime Friday the sky cleared, the the weekend has been sunny and beautiful, a bit breezy, with cool air and warm sun. Leaves are dry and rattle on the trees, a few falling here and there, and fields and meadows have a swishy whoosh as dry stalks dance in patterns like flocks of birds, first this way, then that.
The past Saturday could be called “the Day of Three Elizabeths,” all visiting for the first time, and somewhat improbable given the quiet start to the day. And no, they did not all come in together. This is fodder for all you conspiracy theorists out there…What Could It Mean?!!
OR, based on the photos that actually came out, it might be called, “Gee, that Brian is Cute Day”…(you be the judge!)
The wines were all showing very well, if just a bit cold. Finally wound up sitting the reds in warm water for a bit to bring them up to a comfortable temperature. I don’t even like white wines (except sparklers) ice cold, and most wines including whites generally have more aroma and bigger flavor as they approach 68-70 degrees. Of course, a lot of wines do better cold because it really is better NOT to taste some of the details! But I can’t imagine that ever happening here, because we just don’t carry wines like that!
Iif you follow ratings, that means we try to keep as much of our inventory as possible over 90 points, the cutoff between “very good” and “outstanding” on the 100 pt scales used by Wine Spectator or Wine Enthusiast (Parker). Our “bargain rack” permits some exceptions, maybe down to 88 or 89…just so you know all our selections are carefully made…”many are tasted; few are chosen!”
Wines for the coming weekend:
Argiolas Costamolino Vermentino 2006 (Italy-Sardinia)–Supple aromas of citrus, pineapple, tropical fruits and honey are wonderfully supported by a zesty acidity. Delicate and pleasantly refreshing on the palate…(I love this wine!) $14
Marchetti Montepulciano ’06 (Italy) : Laced with intriguing smoky cranberry spiciness over vividly flavored dark cherry and plum fruit. A joy to drink.…$10
OS Winery Red ’06 (Washington): aroma of black cherries and clove with hints of roses. Rich, concentrated and balanced with soft, supple tannins; flavors of cassis, dark chocolate and ripe blackberry are generous but still subtle. This is a graceful wine from its plush, mouth-filling start to its deliciously lingering finish. $16.
Alexandria Nicole Quarry Butte Red ’04 (Washington): Velvety, focused, and impeccably balanced, a nicely crafted mouthful of plum, prune, and mocha flavors that linger effortlessly on the seamless finish. $22