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Can't recall the wine that came to our table that afternoon at Bourbon House, but it wasn't any of these three.
Some will snort and think: Tourist Trap. But they'd be wrong.The service was impeccable. The food was incredibly good. Memories are slippery, except that the awesome Navy Bean soup with spicy Andouille sausage sticks in my mind, something like the way it was meant to stick to the ribs. Just a late lunch with a few friends, spontaneous and serendipitous, something that just happens.
Cabernet Sauvignon, in all of its incarnations, is generally my favorite wine.
Thanks to modern DNA mapping, the grape's origins were uncovered at UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology. The DNA evidence determined that Cabernet Sauvignon was the offspring of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, which is a white wine grape. WTH? Cabernet Franc, OTOH, is an outstanding grape and imparts a lot of structure when blended in the Bordeaux tradition. In recent years, Cabernet Franc has proven itself as a stand-alone varietal, often producing a stunning wine.
If you have a penchant for black cherry soda, this is definitely your wine. I ain't bein' mean, neither. Stella Rosa's Stella Black is big bubbly and tickles your throat like White Rock black cherry soda did when you was a kid.
I suppose the nanny staters will claim that the target market is high school kids (or sixth graders, depending upon which of them you ask), but the real target market is people who aren't necessarily wine aficionados. The wine is fun and it beats the heck out of stuff like Boone's Farm, which isn't even wine anymore. Tax policy has consequences: Make it more expensive to make cheap wine? Voila! Boone's Farm morphs into a malted beverage. Not sure that's an improvement.
Stella Black is semi-sweet and smooth. It's from the Piedmont region of Italy. At five percent alcohol, it isn't going to hammer you. On the down side, plenty or residual sugar mean plenty of carburetors (carbs) and calories.
You ought to be able to find this newest release from Stella Rosa for around ten bucks American. I hear they're doing a land office business. If you live in the southland, you can pick some up at San Antonio Winery, which is the only surviving pre-prohibition winery in So Cal.
Though the concept of leftover wine eludes moi, this device offers some outstanding possibilities. For instance, one could enjoy a flight* of wine without being concerned with spoilage. Or, simply begin with a light fruity wine and appetizers, move on to a big red with the grilled steak, and finish the evening with a cigar and a glass of port, thus allowing one to enjoy several different wines in one evening.
A *flight of wine is a selection of wines offered at a wine tasting event. Although the number can vary, one can expect three to ten different wines to be presented. Unlike traditional wine tasting with which we are all familiar, a tasting flight can take two forms. A horizontal flight is one which compares the same wine produced by several different wineries. A vertical flight is generally a tasting of a wine made by the same winery over a period of several years. For instance, a vertical tasting of a particular winery's Cabernet Sauvignon might include tasting a 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010, hence the use of the term vertical.
Garnacha is Spanish for Grenache, which is French for Cannonau, which is
Italian for one of the most widely planted grapes in the world. The
grape probably originated in Aragon (Spain) and migrated to France and
Italy from there.
Garnacha can be light and fruity but the Espelt is fairly robust, a lovely ruby color in the glass. It is an interesting wine, with a very dry mouth feel. Wait, did I actually say mouth feel? WTH is mouth feel? Sounds vaguely obscene. No. I. Did. Not.
The wine is very dry on the palate (just my style). There is something oddly intriguing about the black fruit and how it sort of lingers on the tongue. It has nice tannins to give it a bit of a bite with a smooth and easy finish.
The vines were planted in 1920 and are tended to using modern methods of viticulture with an end goal of keeping the vines off of the chemicals. There are a lot of buzz words that describe the process. Bio-dynamic. Organic. I hate each of them, but it is difficult to get the point across without using the jargon. And, honestly, a lot of oranic wine is just OK. Or worse. But I love this stuff.
Here's what Parker's outfit had to say......
A magnificent custom cuvee for Eric Solomon, this 2010 was made from
high-elevation vineyards in the Costa Brava planted in granite. It was
fashioned by the brilliant Jean-Marc Lafage, whose wines are reviewed
elsewhere in this article. Composed of 100% Grenache aged 3 months in
new French oak, it reveals copious aromas of raspberry jam, black
currants, kirsch, flowers and forest floor, full body, terrific fruit,
lots of complexity already, and a multidimensional mouthfeel.
They gave it 92 points and I would concur. This is a very good wine and it comes in right at ten bucks. Pair it with Italian red sauce, a steak, or a smoked cheese.
Bonus for Throwback Thursday:
Yes, they're lip synching. Might be American Band Stand. I know a girl who used to be one of those dancers.
America is often portrayed as a one dimensional caricature, without historical context or cultural reference. The big bully, living on land stolen from the natives, oppressing people world wide, and sucking up all the of the world's resources. The truth is, of course, substantially more nuanced. Sure, we're a long way from perfect, but irrespective of America's flaws, there's no massive out-migration to better places.
Today we celebrate the birth of the only nation in the world that was explicitly founded on the notion that the nation-state should be subordinate to the individual. However imperfect the execution, we are not a theocracy, a kleptocracy, a mobacracy, a kingdom, a sheikdom, or a dictatorship. There's no barbed wire to keep us in, and TSA, NSA, the evolving police state, and the unending wars notwithstanding, we are still a relatively free and prosperous people. Particularly in the context of history.
An old friend had given me a bottle of 1992 Knights Valley Meritage many years ago. Any Knights Valley wine is almost a penchant we share, definitely something that we both enjoy, and on those infrequent times that we are able to break bread and share wine, a Knights Valley is often what ends up on the table.
My original intent was to drink a bottle of Tuesday night wine tonight, after all, the night isn't particularly special. It's been scorching and I had just given The Boy another lesson in the manly art of changing oil. While rooting through the inexpensive wine on the rack, I happened upon this bottle.
I'm like: WTH? Why isn't this in the wine fridge?
Then I'm like: OMIGOD! I hope this isn't spoiled! I gotta drink this now. Suffice it to say that I've had some bad luck lately with keeping older wines too long.
Not so with this. It is outstanding and at 21 years of age, surprisingly, it still has life left in it. You buy it today and it will cost you a C-note and a Jackson to boot.
The wine is, of course, very dry with a subdued, aromatic nose of cherries, leather, tobacco, and dark fruit. It is smooth on the palate and retains some tannins, dark fruit, and an earthy finish.
A lovely and enexpected treat for a Sunday night in the heat (that rhymes). Mrs TWC better get back here with the House Blond pretty quick or she's gonna.....let's see, how did we used to phrase that? She's gonna be S.O.L. I mean, she's gonna miss out.
I don't eat much pizza, but I do like a little thin crust works now and again. And a little pepperoncini with every bite? Heaven.
The wine is a Bottaro red table wine and it comes in a nice retro-lookin' straw bottle with a long, twisty neck. The closure is cork, as it should be. Otherwise why would God have planted all those cork oak trees in Portugal?
The wine is deep purple in the glass and dry as a bone. It isn't going to knock your socks off, but it is much better than most house wines by the glass, and certainly better than the harsh, straw-bottle plonk that the Italians were shipping over here by the boatload in the days of my vagrant yoot. Best of all, it's about $7.00 American money, which makes it a fifty percenter. I like it, you might like it too.
Bonus: The bottle is cool, stick a candle in it, let the wax drip for weeks on end, and, voila! A hippie candle wine bottle. Yes, we thought these were cool. Laurie Hawkins had some awesome straw bottle candles.
You can buy an empty bottle on Ebay for more than a full bottle cost. Go figure.