Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Week in Wines – Labor Day – August 25-September 2

This week included a nice variety of wines this week from Napa, Oz, France and Sonoma.


Le Paradou Viognier 2007 VDP, Provence $11

This is a young, crisp, leaner styled Viognier. Nice citrus fruits mingle with stony, mineral laced stone fruit flavors to complete this acid driven fresh tasting wine. I would pair this with leaner white fish and light shellfish dishes, even lighter poultry dishes.

Color – Bright yellow

Nose – Stony minerals, lemons and limes

Palate/Finish – The entry is light and laser like with lemons and limes. By mid-palate this Viognier gains some weight from the peachy stone fruit and sweeter lemon flavors that peak through. The finish is clean and crisp, typical “rocks and fruit” from this Provencal wine.

This wine paired well with sushi one night and cheese the next night!

Stony Hill Napa Valley Chardonnay 2005 - $36

Another light white wine – must be the theme of the week, though this is probably to balance out the really big reds we’ve had so far this week. Elegant and well made, this is an ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) drinker’s Chardonnay – very reminiscent of a Chablis from the northern reaches of Burgundy or a very complex Poilly Fuisse from the southern reaches of Burgundy. Stony Hill happens to be the longest running commercial winery in the Napa Valley since they are the first new winery after prohibition. The McCrea family were true visionaries - way ahead of their time in planting Burgundy varietals in the Napa Valley. Even today the McCrea’s vision remains ahead of its time as their style of wine is fast becoming the preference for wine drinkers the world round that are tired of the flabby, over-oaked, sweet butter bomb Chardonnays. But if you drink White Burgundy now and always have, you know exactly what style I am talking about.

Color - Light gold, green flecks on the edges

Nose - Slate, minerals, crispy granny smith apples and warm pear.

Palate/Finish - I almost feel like we opened it too soon and should have let it age and mellow some more. This wine was UBER complex, yet super light on its feet. Like a riverbed of slate and pebbly rocks, the palate was mineral driven, with very crisp lemon and fresh, yet gripping granny smith apples. The finish was crisp, dry and razor like in its bracing acidity!
We had this wine with the wrong food, grilled thick pork chops with grilled peaches, blue cheese, balsamic vinegar, pine nuts and red onion. The wine was too elegant and was screaming for a Sole Meunière. It was still enjoyable, but I saved more of the wine for after dinner.


Mollydooker “The Boxer” Shiraz 2006, McClaren Vale, South Australia $20

This is the third time I have had this wine and it was showing its best this time around. Big and powerful, yet so well balanced it was not heavy nor cloying in the way that very ripe wines with lots of oak can unfortunately seem when they are not well balanced or as well made as this Mollydooker. One simple word describes the Mollydooker line of wines: “Yummy”

Color - Dark purple with dark ruby red edges

Nose - Lilacs, Ripe and jammy Blackberry and blueberry fruits, sweet oak and chocolate aromas
Palate - The texture was light for a wine with such rich and strong flavors. This wine was not too complex - it was all there and easy to pick out for the palate to savor and enjoy: ripe fruits of black raspberry and black cherry, milk chocolate and savory spice notes highlighted the long tasty finish! Some acidity on the back end helped clean up the palate for the next bite of lamb chops!

Worthy “Sophia’s Cuvee” 2003 Napa Valley, California $32

This is my last bottle of the 2003 vintage, and probably the last from this and all future vintages without further tasting. The 2001 was a stunning wine of which I still have about 3 bottles from a case I bought of few years back. The 2002 was great, but not even close to the 2001 in overall quality. The 2003 was great up front on the attack but fell flat on its face on the mid-palate and the balsamic and pencil like finish. The gritty tannins did not help matters here either. My last bottle of the 2003 was similar, but with more fruit up front and a more subtle finish, not as flat and disjointed as this wine. If you have ANY 2003 drink them up now or sell them at auction if you can! I rarely rate wines with a number but this is barely an 83! Worthy is officially coming off of the $50 and under Napa Valley Cabernet recommendations.

Color - Dark red, almost black purple, ruby red edges

Nose - Graphite, Black Cherry and spicy Cedar notes

Palate - Big cassis and cherry fruit up front on the attack, with a mid-palate of mocha that loses grip and turn balsamic and pencil like on the finish. Gritty tannins. Great start, but a weak finish. This wine is past its peak. The Wagyu skirt steaks we had with it were however excellent!

Williams Selyem Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2005 $42

If only more California Pinot Noir could be so Burgundian with a slight Californian twist. I thought this wine was elegantly styled, complex, and Burgundian even with its Northern California roots. William Selyem have been making great California Pinot way before the Sideways Pinot effect gave way to Merlot’s demise. William Selyem are inspired by Burgundy and it shows in the depth and restraint in their wines.

Nose: Redolent of Spices, bright red fruits, Sandalwood and Minerality

Palate/Finish: Fresh tasting, very bright, slight mineral streak on the finish. Great acidity. Red berry flavors of raspberry and dried cranberry. A touch of earthy truffle and some orange zest. Great wine! Atypical of California Pinot of late! Glad I bought two of these!

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