Saturday, November 14, 2009

Tasting Notes: Six Blind Tastes at JavaMonkey

Apologies for the delay between my last post and this one. I should've figured something was up when I was super irritable on Thursday and was nearly in tears over trying -- and failing until late in the day -- to buy a new laptop. Then I almost threw my Blackberry down the parking deck steps when my attempts to call Hubby ended in multiple, okay two, dropped call fails. Normally I'm a pretty even-tempered gal, but I was being stalked and didn't realize it. I should've given up that evening when a wave of profound fatigue hit me while I sat at dinner with Hubby, but I wasn't paying attention. But I knew Friday morning that my stalker, the one that had turned me into superb*tch on Thursday, was a stomach virus.

Of all the cruddy things to get... It's keeping my from joining my parents and BabySis at the North Georgia cabin. The worst part? I don't even feel like drinking coffee or wine, and chocolate? Ugh, no thanks! Yeah, that's how I know I'm sick.

So, enough about me and my whining. On to the fun kind of wine...

Hubby and I decided that, since I was going to be done with work early on Thursday, we could actually go to dinner before the tasting instead of grabbing something quick at JavaMonkey like we usually do. I'll post a full review of Pharm House later, like when I can think about food again, with my first impressions of Iberian Pig. I just want to make it clear that I was already getting sick when we were there, and my tummy bug has NOTHING to do with the restaurant or the food.

We didn't know what the tasting would be, and I actually had a premonition with a thought, "I hope it's not a brown bag tasting!" Imagine my dismay when it turned out to be just that. I'll admit to not putting my full oenophile effort into guessing the wines, but I do have full notes and ratings.

Wine #1 was very fruity with a floral melon (someone else said pear) nose, dry finish, and mineral backbone. Our guesses included Albarino, Viognier, and Oregon Pinot Gris. We were closest with the last one. This was an incredibly hefty and fruity Italian (Venezie) Pinot Grigio, the 2008 Zenato.
Rating: Good (maybe should be Very Good since it's an Italian Pinot Grigio that Hubby actually liked)

The most obvious characteristic of Wine #2 was its toasty oaky nose and flavor. It also had a strong floral gardenia overlay and a crushed flower petal finish. Yep, it was the 2008 Mark West Chardonnay (Central Coast, California -- duh!).
Rating: Meh, but I'm not an okay chard fan

The question about number three was not so much what, but from where. We ruled out France right away because it didn't have enough acidity. Classic Pinot Noir flavors of cherry with a little vanilla on the finish. Hubby and I found the 2008 Lucky Star Pinot Noir from California to be very smooth and drinkable.
Rating: Very Good

Okay, so this is where I kind of gave up. I have to give kudos to famous violinist Kirsten Browning* props for picking out the next one as a Tempranillo. Lots of dark fruit, but again with smooth tannins and nicely balanced acidity, the 2005 Sierra Cantabria Crianza (Rioja, Spain) was another favorite.
Rating: Very Good

No one at the table got #5, the 2008 Saint Cosme (Cotes-du Rhone, France), which is 100% Syrah. Barnyard funk (yes, really!) on the nose, chewy and fruity with good acidity. Yeah, that's what I get for not studying my French wines this year like I had intended.
Rating: Good

The last one was another obvious one, the Alvear's Amontillado (Montila, Spain), a 100% Pedro Ximenez sherry. Okay, I didn't get all the fancy stuff, but I did pick it out as a sherry. Oaky cedar nose and not too sweet, this was another one that Hubby liked, and he usually turns his nose up at sherry.

We're looking forward to this coming Thursday's Beaujolais Release party at JavaMonkey. Wine, food, more wine, and prizes! I came away with a corkscrew, beret, and scarf last year. The scarf got incorporated into my Random Oenophile costume for the Decatur Book Festival, and sometimes I wear the beret just for fun because I look good in hats. Hope to see you there!

*She's really good, and she teaches lessons!


Donna Carrick said...

Great article, Cecilia, but I do hope the tummy bug has moved on. Sounds like you & hubby really know your wines. What a fun topic--thanks for sharing your knowledge!
Best regards,
Donna Carrick

Dan Holloway said...

Thanks to donna for nudging me this way. My books have a nasty habit of being set on vineyards because of my wine passion (last one a vineyard in Tokaj)

Pedro Ximenez is one of the wonders of the world, isn't it? What a wonderful wonderful blog. I must go forthwith & make sure I'm following you on twitter.

Very best

Cecilia Dominic said...

Thanks, Donna! Blind tastings, more than any other, demonstrate to me how much I still have to learn. I've been repeating "barnyard funky French Syrah" to myself for 2 days now.

Thanks to you, too, Dan! I manage to incorporate wine in mine, but no vineyards yet. I think I've had the Pedro Ximenez before and liked it. Looking forward to following you as well on Twitter!