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3. '09 Chardonnay de la Fruitiere, $10: Similar to 1 but more muted nose. More body than 1 & 2. Some/mild toast. Mild bitter (steel) finish. 84
4. '09 La Craie, Vouvray, $15: Similar nose to 1-3 with some honey; pleasant. Mild sweetness/honey, bigger body/more viscosity than 1-3. Lower acidity. Medium finish. 88. IMO, wine of the night...yes, I bought a bottle.
5. NV Louis De Grenelle, Samur Brute Rose (100% Cab Franc), $17: Strawberry nose muted. Fine bubbles, mild creaminess, focused body, balanced. 88 IMO, runner-up wine of the night.
6. '08 Les Hexagonales (Pinot Noir), $15: Red fruit (cranberry), spice and mild oak. Near perfect Pinot nose. Somewhat flat (not enough acidity). Let down after such a nice nose. 83
7. La Claux Delorme, Valencay Rouge (Gamay, Malbec, Cab Franc, Pinot Noir blend), $15: Red fruit and... kitty litter (!) nose. Some pepper, mild green veg (raw collards) some oak. 85
8. '08 J. Merieau, Cot Cenit Visage (100% Malbec), $16: Super dry, tight prune brown leaves... bizarre nose! Dry but Not bone dry. This needs cellar/decanting time... or a blackened steak to reveal everything it has. 84
9. '09 La Paradou, Provance (Grenache), $12: Button mushroom, moist forest floor nose. Fruitest of all the reds. Acceptable everyday red. 85
This winter I've had the desire for something to drink that could warm you up… something fortified. So I decided to try a few ports. Always in pursuit of variety I decided to try one aged port and another blended port; both are non-vintage. And since I’m always in pursuit of good values, I chose Warre’s 10 Year Old Otima and Trevor Jones Jonesy Tawny Port. (Both pictured above & below.)
Both of these ports are made using the traditional Portuguese blend of grapes, e.g., Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Roriz and Tinto Cão. After fermentation it is fortified with brandy. And the alcohol content is 20% by volume.
The Otima is made in the Douro region of Portugal and is a lighter style Tawny (pictured right, below) that clearly shows aged aromas and flavors on the finish, e.g., Sherry or Madeira oxidized characteristics together with honey, hazelnuts, orange peel on the mid-palate.
The Jonesy is made in the Barossa Valley in southern Australia and is a blend averaging 46 years in age. It is dark brown (pictured left, below), with notes of candied black cherry and molasses.
I found the Jonesy more approachable than the Otima but enjoyed both for their differences.
You can find both of these Ports at The Wine Warehouse; the Jonesy is $11 and the Otima is $25.
Some white grapes are grown, e.g., Chardonnary, Viognier, Riesling; and some growers in Walla Walla are starting to break out of the Bordeaux paradigm and are planting other red varietals. But red grapes dominate this AVA.
During my visit to the three tasting rooms I tasted three whites--a Sauvingnon Blanc blend, a Viognier blend and a late harvest Semillon. I found the white blends to be average; the late harvest Semillon was better, but still doesn't compare to a $25 half bottle of Sauternes. The rest of the reds were almost all blends; except for one 100% Syrah at Northstar. Without exception I found the reds to be very well made. None of the wines showed the slightest hint of being off balanced; all had a seamless transition from the attack to the finish. All were incredibly polished. In general they were fruity; and all received some amount of oak treatment--some more than others, but even for someone with old-world preferences like me none of the wines had an offensive amount of oak. To me these wines tasted like they were made by very skilled people with state of the art technology. Although I personally prefer something from the south of France to these reds, I can see why people would enjoy these wines. They're seductive. I look forward to going back soon to visit more wineries... oh yeah, and family too!
Feel free to leave a Italian wine-related comment....
I would not have chosen rosé to pair with this course. A full-bodied white high in acid (e.g., Chardonnay, Sancerre, Pouilly Fume, etc.) would seem to pair better with the richness of the lobster and the acidity of the lemon tartar sauce. But the rosé may surprise.
Second course: Fennel Seed Salami and Summer Truffle Flatbread with salted mozzarella, roasted tomatoes, local arugula and roasted garlic-oregano sauce.