November 29, 2010

Wines I'm Thankful For: Arcadian

I've posted many times here on one of my favorite California wineries: Arcadian. Joe Davis, winemaker and owner of Arcadian, strives to make wines that "Challenge the Style of the New World." His Pinot Noirs, Syrah, and Chardonnay speak of old world sensibilities; they show lower alcohol levels, bright acidity, and most have the ability to age longer than most of their California counterparts.

It is also a bit of a Thanksgiving tradition for me to open some Arcadian wines on Turkey Day. This year, I opened another 1997 Pinot Sleepy Hollow, as well as the 2005 Fiddlestix.

The 1997 was memorable once again. The wine looked mature; it was a cloudy pinkish-orange in the glass. There was, as is often characteristic of Arcadian pinots, still a good dose of lively acid keeping the wine feeling fresh. Tart cherry fruit and cranberry notes danced amidst a nose that smelled smoky and slightly funky. A great example of California Pinot Noir with some age on it.
The 2005 Fiddlestix was good, but not showing nearly the tertiary characteristics of the older Sleepy Hollow. It was still rather primary and probably needs another few years to shed its youthfulness. Still, it was another good wine with which to celebrate the holidays.

November 22, 2010

Maison Louis Jadot: 2006 Gevrey Chambertin Lavaux St Jacques and 2006 Nuits St Georges

Checked in on two 2006s from Louis Jadot this weekend. The 2006 vintage will forever live in the shadows of the heralded 2005 vintage; yet, 2006 red can provide a lot of enjoyment, and in many cases, you won't have to wait as long for the wines to come around. Jancis Robinson has a nice summary of 2006 here. This past weekend I opened two bottles from Louis Jadot, one was village level, and one premier cru.

The 2006 Nuits St. Georges was already drinking quite well. Rather simple right now, it was mostly strawberry fruit and spice. Not too much depth and relative short finish with a bit of heat. Perhaps some short-term cellaring will bring out some tertiary characteristics. A good match with my simple roast chicken dinner. 

The 2006 Gevrey-Chambertin Lavaux St. Jacques was quite pretty, despite its youthfulness. A real step up in depth and detail from the village, it offers a glimpse now of what it will become in  5 to 10 years. A wine full of perfume, floral notes, cherry fruit, and a strong acidic spine. Nice wine, but not cheap at $65.

November 17, 2010

2007 Alto Almanzora Este: Because I Can't Drink Grand Cru Every Day

Alto Almanzora’s 2007 Este is a blend of 45% Monastrell, 25% Tempranillo, and the balance Syrah, Garnacha, and Cabernet Sauvignon. It is sourced from vines in located in eastern Andalucia in the south-east corner of Spain. The wine was aged for six months in French and American Oak.
The wine shows ripe blue and black fruit that is rich, but not totally overbearing. There's an attractive peppery-spice to the wine as well. The oak treatment is fairly restrained for a mass-produced, inexpensive blended wine. The nice thing about this wine is that is a fairly interesting everyday red wine drinker that costs all of $10. I bought mine at Ansley Kroger, but most of the shops in town carry the wine. Go get some.

November 11, 2010

The Cru Boo Train Rolls Along:2009 Louis Jadot Chateau de Jacques Moulin-a-Vent

I've been drinking my share of 2009 Cru Boujolais lately. I can't help it; the stuff is great, and a relative bargain in today's dollars. One cannot drink Grand Cru every day, you know. Well, perhaps some people can drink Grand Cru every day, but not me .
Moulin-A-Vent is one of the finest of Boujolais' Grand Cru vineyards. It produces wines that have a good deal of structure, rich fruit tones, and the ability to age well. The 2009 Chateau de Jacques Moulin-A-Vent from MasionLouis Jadot is perhaps my favorite 2009 to date. The wine is full of bright red fruit, dashing acidity, with a real  rocky-mineral laden power to the finish. Just terrific with the Cassoulet I made last weekend. It's a crowd-pleaser wine that will get the attention of wine geeks and non-geeks alike. And it is quite a deal at $20. Go get some.

November 6, 2010

No Wine Before Its Time: Especially Grand Cru Burgundy!

Got together with the usual suspects this past week to drink some Burgs. The Legend was here, as was Rowdy.  We drank some nice wines, but I think we also schooled ourselves again. Not that we didn't know this would happen, but its always good to drink in the name of science. See, the thing is, most Grand Cru wines from top producers in Burgundy, arguably some of the greatest wines known to man, take time to reveal their glory.


We drank two wines from Domaine Faiveley, a respected, old-school house that has been making killer Burgundy for seven generations. One of the wines Wednesday night was the 1999 Corton Clos Des Cortons 
The second Grand Cru of the night, also from Faiveley, was the 1998 Latricieres-Chambertin.
You're thinking, huh, those wines are each more than 10 years old, they should be starting to strut their stuff. Ha! Think again. While each wine showed glimpses of the beauty they hold, neither was really ready for Grand Cru drinking experiences. The '99 was actually a bit more giving with some nice layers of fruit and earth, but the '98, despite its beautiful nose, was wrapped up tight. Allen Meadows, author of Burghound, and one of the world's foremost experts on Burgundy, recommends beginning to think about drinking the 1998 Latricieres in 2013!....we should have heeded his advice.

The lesson here is one of patience when it comes to drinking the great wines of Burgundy. One must adjust one's thinking and realize that 12 years from vintage in just the beginning when it comes to great Grand Cru Red Burgundy.

November 1, 2010

Lunch at FarmBurger

Hadn't been to Farmburger in a few months, so stopped in for lunch Monday with my teacher-workday-no-school-post-Halloween candy-coma-son. I've always liked my meals at Farmburger. I can't say I'd proclaim their burgers as really that special, but their food ethics make them worthy of special attention.

The onion rings steal the show, as usual. These are damn fine rings along with the tasty smoked paprika-spiked mayo dipping sauce.
I got the Farmburger No.1. It's a rather vanilla choice, I know, but sometimes a cheeseburger with caramelized onions is what I'm after. The No. 1, in its simplicity of toppings, offers a good  possibility that my FarmBurger wont fall apart into a soupy, gloppy mess...oh yeah, that happens, and not just to me.
This visit to Farmburger was made all the more fun by the conversation I had with my son during lunch. He loves animals, and is recently beginning to put the pieces together about where his food comes from. Kids gonna be a vegetarian soon, I see it coming. He's also inquisitive, as all kids are (nod to Aristotle and John Dewey), which lead to the following questions, prompted by the large pictures of beautiful cows and pigs on the wall at Farmburger:

1. "So Dad, how many hamburgers can you make from one adult cow? I'd hate it if they killed a cow just to make a couple burgers."
2. "Do they put the cows to sleep before they kill them? It would be sad if they didn't put them to sleep first."
3."Do you think the cows get to say goodbye to their families before they get killed?"
4. "Do sharks have meat? I'd rather kill sharks for food instead of cows."

As for lunch at Farmburger, it was good, as usual. My son, despite his line of inquiry, really liked his cheeseburger, fries, and root beer. He wants to go back...for now.

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