Sunday, March 16, 2008

2002 Paul Hobbs Chardonnay Russian River Valley - $40

I have been sitting on this baby for a while and have read recently in CellarTracker that this wine is peaking.

Color: Golden Yellow, in a strong firm way. Surprisingly, it’s not as dark as I’d expect from a Chardonnay of this age.

Nose: Aromas of lemon oil and pear, with a touch of mineral and spice.

Palate: Pear and spice greet the palate up front and carry through the mid-palate where it mingles with vanilla. A slight, but very strong note of honeysuckle explodes on the finish. The wine ends with a refreshing dose of acidity.

The is the second oldest California Chardonnay I have had, I had a 2001 Cakebread reserve a few months back that had peaked and was a shadow of its younger self. This wine however is less intense than at release but more complex and noble in its older stage of life. I pulled it from the cellar yesterday as it’s been in the back of my mind to drink up. We picked up some scallops to eat for dinner and some triple cream cheese. I am typing this up in the kitchen as Lisa is cooking away on the scallops. The triple cream cheese, which most pair especially with Champagne or Chardonnay wines, was a great pairing. The triple cream cow’s milk we chose was called L’Explorateur, named after our first satellite. From France, this has a soft edible rind, and is VERY rich. Similar to Brie, but better fans of Brie should pick some up ASAP! The texture is more like soft butter or cream cheese. Brie tends to be softer and gooier, especially after being out of the fridge for a while. One of the creamiest I have come across, this cheese is excellent. The cheese is from Petit Morin in France and received its name from the first United States satellite in space, Explorer I, which launched in the 1950s shortly before the cheese was developed. Great with the wine, the bubbles from champagne and the texture they’d add I feel would be a better pairing.


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

La Font de L'Olivier Carignan Vielilles Vignes VDP des Cotes de Thongue 2004 $15

It may seem like a mouthful; well I guess it is a mouthful. This excellent Carignan from the Languedoc region of France comes from some of the oldest Carignan (the grape) vines in the region - 75 years old in fact. Made by wine maker Bruno Granier, the wine is fashioned for simple, easy drinking, without giving away the cow for free. Some complexity comes from the herbs, fruit and minimal tannin and fresh acidity on the finish. Without any barrel aging, I would guess the wine is fermented in either concrete or stainless steel tanks. La Font de L'Olivier translates to ''The Fountain of Olive Tree''. I love olives and I love this wine.

Day 1 - The color is very dark, almost opaque. In the nose herbs and violets mingle with lots of crushed ripe black raspberry and some mocha notes. On the palate, black cherry, ripe raspberry, and chocolate finish off crisp and clean from the supple tannin and refreshing acidity.

Day 2 - Much better - more of the same but more complex and aromatic. This means I could have decanted it for a little while the first night to help it unfold. Or maybe all it needed was to be gassed (inert layer of gas to seal), re-corked and stored over night in my fridge.

I purchased this wine at "The Green Grape" who specializes in small batch, handcrafted wines mostly from Europe; many at under $20. They have a store near my office in downtown Manhattan (Financial District) and in Brooklyn. They have a great discount on case purchases (15%) and a membership that tracks your purchases and sends you a $20 voucher once you spend $350 to use on future purchases.

I will definitely buy this again!


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