Saturday, March 8, 2008

Tasting Notes: ABC's of Wine (Java Monkey Thursday Wine Series)

ABC's stands for "Anything but Chardonnay or Cabernet," and this is what we got. Jess and wine rep Chuck (who will introduce himself as "Sacajawea," but don't be fooled) put together an interesting and tasty program. It could also be dubbed as the night for "Wines that are hard to spell."

Minini Orvieto 2006, Orvieto Italy (DOCG)
Grapes: Trebbiano toscano, druppelo, and verdello
Rating: good
Citrus fruit and mineral

Craftsman Cserszegi Fuszeres 2006, Nesmely, Hungary
Grapes: Gewurtz and Irsai Oliver
Rating: okay
Very floral on the nose with apricot hints, but the taste was very different; an unenthusiastic start gave way to a fruity and flowery finish

Chrismont Rosato Mezzanotte 2005, King Valley, Australia
Grapes: 50% Sangiovese, 25% Barbera, and 25% Marzenino
Rating: good
One of our table-mates immediately picked out cherries on the nose and palate. Others described it as "strawberry Kool-aid." I didn't find it to be that sweet. It's fruit-forward with a mineral backbone and not much of a finish.

La Caplana Barbera d'Asti 2005, Piedmont, Italy
Rating: good at first, very good after it had opened up a bit
A little green on the nose until it had breathed. Dark fruit, then acid with a mineral finish. A red Italian wine like this begs for food. One of our table-mates suggested that it be served slightly chilled, which is an intriguing idea, but I would suggest that if it has time to chill, it also has time to breathe. Consider this a take-home experiment.

Salena Petit Verdot 2003, Southeastern Australia
Rating: very good
This one comes out of the bottle a deep purple. It had a grape syrup/jammy nose but proved to be a medium-bodied red: lots of fruit but with a slightly acid finish.

Monte Volpe Primo Rosso 2005, Mendocino County
Grapes: Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Carignan, Negro Arraro, and Nebbiolo
Rating: excellent
This is a wine by Greg Graziano, whom I tend to like. This was a fruit bomb, very smooth, and with both stone and dark fruit flavors. My favorite of the evening.

Rankings: I polled random people whom I happened to be sitting near, and the last wine universally ranked as number one. The Barbera and Petit Verdot also did very well. Our friend who's an equal opportunity red and white drinker also liked the first one, but the second and third ones were given an "elusive check + crooked check" rating (essentially a 1.5 out of 2) by one of the others.

In other words, it seems that this wine tasting had something for everyone. I'll close with a quote from a young man who particularly liked the Rosato:

"If you're a dude drinking pink wine, you've gotta be prepared to take some [crap]!"
(Yes, I lightened the language.)

So, gentle readers, let us not allow prejudice to taint our wine-drinking experiences. I look forward to your comments.

Coming next week: Going OTP for a restaurant review, and perhaps even some oeno-fiction.

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