Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Rough Cut Through the Wine Cellar

The Chapman House Line-up -- click on the photo for the label close-up.

No Foodspiration vacation would be complete without the wine . . . and since we're traveling by road rather than air it only makes sense to pack a mixed case from our collection. It took only minutes to choose this line up (not that I knew what I wanted to bring, but I was already running late and getting increasingly in big trouble with my 'collaborator'), so I went with my gut. Now after putting the bottles side by side, I'm more than satisfied with what made it into the box . . . I went with some 'old and/or distinguished wines' . . . either those wines with some sort of story or and a few that are simply wine cellar 'driftwood' (how appropriate for a seaside vacation).

2002 Twomey Napa Valley Merlot -- We had just visited Twomey (Silver Oak's second winery) for the first time this April with our Pebble Place Wine Club. We liked what we tasted and picked up this winery-aged Merlot for drinking now. I cracked this bottle on our post-midnight arrival. Full fruit with tannins in full fade . . .

2002 Argyle ‘Nuthouse’ Willamette Valley Pinot Noir -- Not sure where I picked up this bottle, but I most likely bought it in homage to our Minnesota wine friends (the Smiths) who tended to favor this quaff, especially when Costco made them a deal. I was looking forward to putting this up against . . .

2002 St. Innocent ‘Anden Vineyard’ Willamette Valley Pinot Noir -- for a little horizontal pinot noir cage match. Both '02, both Willamette (damn-it!), and this wine bought in homage to our Oregon foodie friends Ann and Bill, who apparently know the proprietors or farmers (or someone?).

1999 Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon -- This wine may be the kingpin of the bunch, as this is Lauren and my 'engagement wine'. We were engaged in 2002, however as we traversed the Napa Valley on that warm September day the '99 Caymus was our favorite wine. Every now and then I'll pull a bottle . . . we've probably got another half case laid away to celebrate future events. While it is our sixth Anniversary this fall, it will be decade of age for this this guy!

2000 Concha Y Toro ‘Don Melchor’ Puente Alto Cabernet Sauvignon -- I've been to this winery on the boarder of Santiago. If Chile had 'first growths' this would be one . . . somehow they are always able to pack an impressive wine into a $45-50 package year-after-year and distribute in quantities that you can find all over the world.

2000 Chateau Talbot Saint-Julien Bordeaux -- This wine was one of the first, and only, wines that I bought on the futures market. I heard the 2000 Bordeaux were going to rock and as an impressionable wine collector thought I should get in on the action . . . In the French corner of the cellar I have a few of these laid down along side the pricier Chateau Palmer and the more affordable Chateau Gloria.

2003 Dievole ‘La Vendemmia’ Chianti Classico -- I lugged this wine back (with her bigger brother the 'Novecento') over the pond from after our stay in Sienna in 2006. Dievole happened to be just down the road from our agritourism-converted-monestary-home-away-from-home and we liked what we were drinking . . .

2001 Franco-Fiorina Barbaresco -- I picked this Barbaresco up on the cheap while filling out the wine cellar in back in Minnesota. At the time it was on deal (note the orange sticker) because it was already old enough to become a burden on their inventory. I'm hopeful this wine will still be drinking fine as I broke into a '00 FF last month and was not disappointed.

2000 Rizzi Barbaresco -- I have no memory where this wine came from. I am drinking this wine as I write this post. The balance of the bottle may be going into the lamb shank that will be accompanying the gnocchi we're making tonight. No defects, but I think all this leathery goodness may best marry with that bone marrow and I can move on to the next bottle for drinking (plus the recipe demands 2 cups of dry red and I have to make the tough call).

NV Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Sparkling Wine -- Even though I brought this wine from home it is definitely the hometown favorite! Just down the street from our oceanside getaway, we may visit Roederer before the week is out. We decided to pair this sparkler with Pt. Reyes Blue Cheese dripping with Gipsons Golden blackberry honey for our happy hour.

2006 Clos Du Bois North Coast Sauvignon Blanc -- This wine is a bit of a castaway . . . unloved and unappreciated we were 'gifted' this wine by a friend that didn't drink whites. I've sat on the wine long enough . . . it's 2009 already and it definitely ain't getting any better. Hopefully it gets hot so we have a reason to give this bad boy a reason to be before it is all acid and fruit is dead (unless that has already happened).

2005 ZD Napa Valley Chardonnay Reserve -- I'm not much of a Chardonnay man, especially those over-oaked malo-lactic bombs that form the template for many California Chards. I usually prefer the zip and zing of Pinot Grigio and Sauv Blanc on those hot summer days, however, on a visit to ZD I got really turned on to their fruit-forward stainless steel fermented Chardonnays.

What are some notable omissions? Well, I guess I missed anything from Australia or New Zealand . . . I scanned through that part of the cellar and pulled and then returned a few Penfolds and a Dead Arm or two, punting for a while. There's no Burgundy or CdP . . . I worked in those Oregon Pinots, but the really isn't any type of attempt at Syrah/Shiraz or in the Rhone style. Spain is overlooked as well as are many, many whites from everywhere.

Next time we'll have to take a longer vacation!