Saturday, February 16, 2008

Winin' and Lovin', or maybe just lovin' wine

Happy belated Valentine's Day! I hope it was happy and that you had some wonderful imbibing with your sweetie and/or your favorite vintage.

Just a couple of blog updates: My guest blogger for last weekend bailed, and the wine-mary polls are going to be open until I get enough votes to declare a winner for each party. Sorry for the dearth of updates this week. I had the flu, and then I had to make up all the work missed due to the flu.

I spent Valentine's evening at Java Monkey. Jess slaughtered some roses, put others in vases, and lit some extra candles, and she even put table cloths out! It was all tres elegant. The best part, as always, was that we got chocolate fondue to go with our wines. I could say that chocolate fondue is one of the most perfect foods because it allows for experimentation with regard to pairing different tastes, but I'll admit it, I like spearing stuff, covering it with chocolate, and eating with sharp, pointy objects. I was good and didn't stab any of my table mates because there was enough to go around. And I love chocolate. See? No stuffy, overly sophisticated foodie stuff here!

The wine list:

We got there really early (but were still beaten there by our favorite freelance editor -- we think he lives there), so we decided to start with a glass of the Codice Tempranilo. It's still a nice, big red, but smooth with a little bit of butter. It's one of those that's really nice for sipping on its own.

Now for the real wine list:

Gruet Rose, NV, New Mexico: One of my ambitions is to get to New Mexico and visit this winery because every sparkling wine we've had from it is fabulous. Rumor has it that we can get their still wines here in Atlanta, but we haven't found any yet. This wine is a lovely, romantic pink, fruity, and was a bit overwhelmed by the chocolate, but still fun.

Cooper Hill Pinot Noir '06, Willamette Valley, Oregon: This wine is biodynamic and organic, but the stars just weren't aligned right for it to pair with chocolate, which erased most of the flavor and resulted in a watery taste. Probably deserves to be tried on its own.

Edge Cabernet Sauvignon '05, Napa Valley, California: Was described as "stony" and had kind of an odd finish.

7 Deadly Zins '06, Lodi, California: This is one of our favorites. One of my other ambitions is to go to Lodi and spend a few days in Zinfandel heaven. With the chocolate, it had a bit of a smoky overtone, and I liked it much better after dessert was over.

Maramonte Syrage '05, California: A blend of 58% Syrah, 29% Petit Verdot, and 13% Petite Sirah, this one was big, fruity, and elegant.

Pineto Brachetto d'Acqui '06, Strevi, Italy: A sweet, sparkling dessert wine. Would be a good intermediate step for the Asti Spumante crowd to move them on to more sophisticated dessert wines. I really liked it.

As much as I enjoyed the chocolate fondue, my palate is typically killed by really sweet stuff, and I probably liked the last three wines because I tasted them after dessert was finished. The Pinot Noir and Cab probably deserve another taste on their own or with typical wine munchies.

Next week: more famous drunk guys and another wine tasting review from Java Monkey -- Syrah vs. Petite Sirah

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Being a JM regular who's been remiss in responding to CD's request for commentary, I thought the JM's Valentine's Day wine & fondue auspicious for beginnings.

Going in, I knew this was going to be a toughie - after all, as CD points out, melted dark chocolate has the ability to simply overrun many wines by virtue of its body alone. Combine it with the raspberries, strawberries, banana, etc. for dipping, and your palate will be shot sooner than you can say "pour me another."

Add to that, this was one of the rare occasions I got my better half to join me. Oh the pressure! But we were not disappointed.

In the interest of brevity, I'll comment on the notable, rather than on everything.

The Gruet Rose was very quaffable. A light and fruity sparkling, it matched up nicely with the raspberries and strawberries. Now normally, I'm not a big fan of sparklings - I dislike the tendency toward combination of very dry and very sweet that's so marketable these days. But this one avoided those sins, and supplied a nice package that made you want to drink more it!

The Cooper Hill was a good straight-up pinot noir...nothing fancy or super-sophisticated about it. A bit light on body, it may not have been a great match with chocolate, but it was sufficiently fruity to have a personality with the fruit I was partaking of at the time.

I'll skip along to 7 Deadly Zins, and confess my liking for zinfandels as a preface here. My wife jumped on this one, stating it tasted like "dirt"...but that was a compliment under the circumstances, since I like the earthiness zin can provide. I thought the smokiness CD referred to made it the best pairing with the fondue. Nice dark berries, good body, a lasting smoky finish. But then there goes my prejudice towards zins again...

The Pineto Brachetto was the surprise of the evening. We really enjoyed this one, getting tastes of fig that we haven't found in a while. Round and sweet, but with a smooth finish...this one deserved a second round.

If I had to pick just one, it would be the Pineto as the fav for the evening.

And so brings to a close my first contribution to this esteemed company.

See you all on Thursday. Same bat time, same bat channel.

- Nick