September 27, 2009

Parker's On Ponce With Two Terrific Cali Cabernets

We found ourselves at Parker's On Ponce again this weekend. I've chronicled our visits to Parker's here before; in August, and May. Each time I return to Parker's I want them to hit it out the park, and they just can't get there for me. There is nothing really wrong with Parker's, but there's nothing outrageously good about Paker's either. Therein lies my dilemma. Last night, they struggled again with cooking meats to the right temperature. The lamb lollipops and ribeyes that should have been medium rare were nearly rare. The mushroom portobello mushroom dish was probably the highlight, along with the fried calamari appetizer, which Parker's has mastered.
We brought two killer, hard to find Cabernets with us ( I do love Parker's ZERO CORKAGE policy!)

The 2001 Neal Family Cabernet ($40) was in a great groove. We decanted it at the table for 30 minutes. It showed as a nicely maturing Cabernet with currant, cedar, and pencil notes. Just delicious and drinking on point. This beauty just kept unfolding over the two hours we sat with it. A wonderful wine. I wish all my Cali Cabernet experiences were this good.

The 2005 Justin Isosceles Reserve($75) is a bruiser. A blend of Cabernet, Merlot, Petite Verdot, and Malbec. While the Neal was drinking perfectly, the Isosceles is in need of years to shed its youthful brashness. It's a huge, modern styled wine that tips the scales at 15.2% alcohol. The ripe-rich fruit and higher alcohol is not a style I'm loving these days, but this is a terrific wine. And, the Isoscles will get ya' loaded real quick if you just want to get freaky! Not cheap.

Jadot and Thibault Liger-Belair-A Step Closer to Burgundy Each Day

Some folks say it's inevitable. Others may try to deny it. I am here to tell you, it is true... All roads lead to Burgundy. I've been drinking and thinking about wine seriously for 5 years, and I now find myself increasingly drawn to old-world wines. Especially the Pinot Noirs from Burgundy. There is something haunting about good Burgundy; it speaks of a place, and a people unlike any other wine. And, equally as important, it tastes like wine! No manipulated, over-oaked fruit juice here. My journey is just beginning, but the journey is what it is all about. I popped two young Burgs this weekend. Each was special in its own way.

2006 Louis Jadot Beaune Clos des Ursules ($50)

Jadot Ursules is a walled in portion of the Beaune 1er Cru (Vignes Franches). It was purchased in 1826 by Louis Henry Denis Jadot and has remained a solely owned property of the Jadot. The wine needs 10-15 years to strut its stuff. This took a long time to come around. It was really tight initially. Took about 4 hours in the decanter to show signs of what is down the road. Medium-light red in the glass. Raspberry and red fruit nose. Precise. Clean. There is a little bit of spicy wood on the nose. Needs 5 years.

2004 Thibault Liger-Belair Nuits Saint Georges La Charmotte ($30)

The Thibault comes from vineyards in Nuits St George. I've been through several bottles the past couple of years. This was the best showing yet. Nose is slightly dirty, some funk and truffle. Palate is irony, with minerals and stock. Dark fruit pokes its head out with some air. Really fine with the food. Finishes with an earth and truffle note. Solid. Good now with some air.

I also whipped up quick deconstructed BLTs for Sat night. These were just freaking tasty. Not much more I can say.

September 17, 2009

A Photo Montage-More Killer Food at Rowdy's

I've praised Rowdy's skills in the kitchen here before. Last night, I joined The Legend and Broderick at Chez Rowdy for some killer food and cheering-on of Atlanta's Eli Kirshtein and Kevin Gillespie in their quest to be Top Chef. Rowdy made his insane Spicy-Szechuan chicken (it made The Legend cry) and some kicking Dan Dan noodles. Very nice ribs flown in from KC. There was some wine, too.
A few photos.

September 14, 2009

Three Wines This Weekend-1997 Arcadian Pinot, 2005 Copain Syrah, 2001 Ojai Syrah

Three wines this weekend that were each quite nice. Well, actually, one was profound, one was rich and boisterous, and one was in a nice mature groove. Let's start with the profound:
The 1997 Arcadian Pinot Noir Sleepy Hollow ($...good luck!) is a profound wine. At 12 years of age, it is drinking triumphantly. A hauting perfume on the nose, floral, smoky and spiced. The palate is mature, with focused cranberry and cirtus notes. The herb-tinged finish is penetrating and lasting. Joe Davis is a jedi-knight of Cali pinot, and he works wonder with Sleepy Hollow especially. Recall my note on the 2001 from this summer.
                  The 2005 Copain Syrah Eaglepoint Ranch ($35) was dark and brooding. A full-throttle Cali Syrah that reminded me a bit of the oozing Ausie Shriazes I once drank. This one isn't so sappy, there's a nice bit of acidity here, but still, it approaches a style I no longer chase. Good with the sloppy joe's and pommes anna.

Finally, the 2001 Ojai Syrah Bien Nacido was in a nice mature space. More red fruit than the Copain, more earth and mature spice as well. A nice Syrah that has performed well over the years. Still like the '99 best, but this was nice.

September 8, 2009

Uninspiring California Pinots This Weekend

Didn't drink too much wine this weekend. It was hot, again, and beer is the way to go when chilling at the Decatur Book Festival and concert Sunday night.

Did take some time Saturday afternoon to full around with
These litle buggers are so damn fine, full of hot and airy cheesy goodness right from the oven.
On Saturday, I also had an epic with my own creation for salmon cakes that just didn't want to come together (literally). I'll spare you the pics of that disaster.

Couple of California Pinots we opened this weekend just didn't wow me. I think my palate is moving toward more old world wines, my glory days of drinking boatloads of Cali pinot seem to be waning. I'm tiring of the overtly fruity-often alcohol-laden California stuff. As for what we drank:

2005 Breggo Family Pinot Noir Ferrington Vineyard ($35): Rather simple, low acidity and a boatload of dark, cola-tinged fruit. Rather lush, I don't love it, but I could see it being a hit at a party when ya' just want to get freaky.

2006 Inman Family Pinot Noir Olivet Grange ($40): Kathleen Inman cranks out serious wines from vineyards in the Russian River Valley. I've enjoyed Inman Family pinots in the past, and they do have a terrific reputation for producing some of Cali's finest pinot juice. This one just didn't move me, but I'm not writing it off, as its young, and I know what they can do at Inman. This bottle was just out of sorts Saturday night. Uncharacterisitcally candied and lacking the nice touch of acidity I usually find in Kathleen's wines. Just an off night perhaps.

September 2, 2009

Wines of Argentina Tasting--Colome, Etchart, Michel Torino

I was fortunate to be invited to taste a few Argentinian wines as part of the Wines of Argentina tasting with TASTELIVE. Tastelive is an interesting new platform that brings winemakers and consumers together via the TasteLive social media platform that is fully integrated with Twitter. Some of the world's top wine bloggers, including 1Wine Dude, WannabeWino, and Jasonswineblog, also participated.
The Sep.2 tasting was the first in the Wines of Argentina series. It featured two wines from each of the following producers from the Salta region in northern Argentina: Etchart, Colome, and Michel Torino.

The table was set on a beautiful late summer eve-we finaly got to sit outside again!

We started out with the 2008 Bodegas Etchart Torrontes and the 2007 Bodegas Etchart Malbec. The Etchart Torrentes was the Torrontes to beat. Crisp and clean wiht lively acidity and understated grapefruit and pear notes. The Etchart Malbec was dark and tight. Needed some air to reveal its dark fruit and leather notes. Nice value at $15.

We then moved on to the 2008 Colome Torrontes and the 2008 Colome Malbec.
The Torrontes here was slightly flawed to me. There was some volatile chemical aspect to the palate. Wannabewino said it tasted like lemon pledge smells...I agree.
Beautiful, floral nose, but the palate was not what it should have been.

However, the 2008 Colome Malbec was the WOTN (wine of the night) for me. Deep, dark and brooding nose of olives, tar, black cherry. Palate was tight at first, it took some coaxing, but slowly revealed dark fruit, clove and tobacco notes. It was rich and tannic. Needs a big 'ol piece of beef. Also seems it could use a few years in the cellar...

We finished up, palate fatigue and all, with the 2008 Michel Torino Torrontes Don David, and the 2007 Michel Torrino Cabernet Sauvignon Don David.
Both of these wines showed well, if somewhat unremarkably. The Cabernet was quite nice, it tasted like a young Cab. Rich and nuanced, but slightly over-oaked for. May need a year or two for some of that oak to integrate.

All in all a great night. Much thanks to TasteLive and WinesofArgentina!