This week, David and Robby check in on Bordeaux and California while I pull a sauvignon blanc from the cellar in anticipation of this week’s spring shipment from one of my favorite domestic producers!
On Monday, I visited Central, a Michel Richard restaurant in DC, with fellow Terroirist Robby Schrum and an out-of-town friend. Robby brought a 2006 Jean Edwards Napa Valley; I brought a 2010 Kutch Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast; and we ordered a 2009 Hamilton Russell Chardonnay off the menu.
The Jean Edwards Cab was fantastic. I wasn’t familiar with the producer, and I’ll definitely be seeking it out in the future. Opening the Kutch was infanticide, but the wine drank beautifully — a true Sonoma Coast nose (complete with black tea, tart cherries, and blackberries); a concentrated but not thick palate; and great structure and acidity.
The Chardonnay was stunning. While I’d heard good things about Hamilton Russell wines, I’d never actually tasted one — and it delivered. Even though it was big, it showed freshness, great citrus notes, minerality, and nice acidity. This could easily pass for a very expensive white Burgundy.
On Tuesday, I attended a WineAmerica event at the U.S. Capitol. Even though I didn’t take any formal notes, it was fun to taste so many wines from so many different states. Todd Godbout has a nice summary of the event on his blog.
On Sunday, I opened up four fun wines with some friends as we enjoyed the spring weather.
First up was the Domaine la Croix des Marchands’ Fraîcheur Perlée, purchased from First Vine for just $12. A blend of equal parts Muscadlle, Mauzac, and Loin de L’oeil, this wine is a perfect summer quaffer — floral, fruity, simple, and crisp.
We then opened the 2011 Arnot-Roberts Touriga Nacional Luchsinger Vineyard and the 2010 Matthiasson White Wine — these are probably my two favorite wines right now.
Finally, we opened a 2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Heirloom Compagni Portis. A old-vine field blend of mixed whites — but primarily Gewurztraminer, Trousseau Gris, and Riesling — the wine reminded me most of a dry Riesling. While it lacked the acidity I expected, I loved the sweet citrus and stone fruit flavors of the wine — and would love to pair it with some Asian cuisine.
One Old World Wine and one from the New World for which to share notes this week. First, a big, thoroughly enjoyable Napa Cab — a 2006 Jean Edwards Napa Valley. The juice was sourced from three spots in the Napa Valley — the famous To-Kalon Vineyard in Oakville, the Inkgrade Vineyard on Howell Mountain, and the Trailside Vineyard in Rutherford. Balanced throughout, with baking spices and gingerbread notes on both the nose and palate. Classic cab notes throughout, too, of vanilla, toasted oak. A very good wine — would definitely seek out again.
The Old World Wine, a 2007 Chateau Haut-Brisson La Reserve Bordeaux blend I picked up through CinderellaWine.com, was not as enjoyable. Rather light in color. Leather and muted red fruits on the nose, along with roasted meat and baked goods. Savory, smooth palate, with tart cranberries and cherries, and bitter, dusty cocoa. Medium-length finish, with some tannins. Incredibly lean, both texturally and flavor-wise.
This one would likely benefit from a long decant or some more time in the bottle. Definitely not for fans of fruit-forward wines but does contain elements worthy of appreciation.
Like much of the country, we had some seriously amazing weather in Chicago this week. On Sunday, my wife and I had some friends over to sit on the deck and enjoy the “summer in March” weather. We paired a couple lighter wines with some grilled citrus chicken tacos. The stars of the night were a 2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc Kick Ranch and a 2009 Copain Pinot Noir Tous Ensemble.
Bedrock continues to be one of my favorite domestic producers, and I opened this wine not only because of the unseasonably warm weather but also in anticipation of my spring shipment arriving this week. The 2010 sauv blanc, which I hadn’t had before, was wonderful. Tight upon opening, it really opened up with about 45 minutes of air. It’s exactly what I look for in sauv blanc – tart, cooling fruit enhanced by some subtle minerality and complementary acidity. Unless I had too many jalapenos, I even picked up some roasted almond notes. This is ready to drink now but absolutely benefits from at least 45 minutes of air.
The Copain pinot was another wonderful pairing with the citrus chicken. This is a domestic pinot for those with tastes that trend toward the old world. Delicate and subtle, cherries and spices are complemented wonderfully by some subtle raspberry notes. Like the Bedrock, plenty of acidity makes this a wonderful food wine. Ready now, but should be great for quite a few more years.