Wednesday, July 22, 2015

No Pie in the Sky

Our delightful delicatessen down the road is manned (or should that be womanned) by some respectful, fun, unassuming staff.  I live buying my pies there – both individual sized and family sized, and it’s Pia the pie lady that serves us.  After some time getting to know her, she revealed her family connections with Titus Vineyard in the Napa Valley, offering a bottle of the Cabernet Franc 2010 for us to try, knowing that SWMBO and I were connected with wine.  Very humbly, she said I hope you enjoy it.  It may not be their best wine, but I like it… We wanted to open it on an occasion, which soon came. 

Dinner Party with The Young One and Jo-Lo who are becoming more discriminating with every passing wine experience.  Jo-Lo was given the responsibility of opening said bottle, and poured it into our glasses.  The 2010 Titus Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Franc was a stunner.  Black as black, and poured out in a near unctuous flow.  Sweet and ripe, generous and lush.  Ripe black fruits with a sweetness and hint of lift.  Not confection, but more opulence.  A little inky complexity, with just enough tannin structure appearing above the fruitful parapets. There may be other varieites – Merlot, Malbec, Petit Syrah, and of course Cabernet Sauvignon.  No matter what, it pleased our palates with its rich density and sweet flow.  It would be no pie in the sky, as the Titus family have been making wine for more than 2 decades.  It would have been perfect with a game-meat pie, from Pia the pie-girl.   

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Friendly Face

Every year we get a friendly visit from The Chairman, friendly because of his personality, nrather than because he bears gifts.  This time, a bottle of 2004 Moet & Chandon ‘Grand Vintage’ Champagne Rosé was tucked under his arm.  Things didn’t quite go to plan, as we intended to open it immediately on his arrival whit white fluffy snow beckoned him away.  The Chairman has gone back to his homeland now, but not before leaving instructions to open it with SWMBO over a special occasion.  This occasion conveniently turned up with a birthday which resultee in The Young One and Jo-Lo joining us for dinner. 

The first wine on the agenda was… 2004 Moet & Chandon ‘Grand Vintage’ Champagne Rosé.  With all this fascination for delicate and pale, pretty and possibly characterless, it was refreshing to see a decent pink colour, salmon-pink-red.  And the nose, quite voluminous and up-front with a well-packed amalgam of soft red berry fruits, yeasty-bready autolysis, and fresh apples thrown in.  You were left without any doubt what this was.  No searching required.  And the palate echoing the nose, fulsome, fruity and lush, with sweet fruit countered by the yeast and bread.  The fruit just to let you know there were strawberries and raspberries, but in a way, only just.  Sweet and friendly, but teasingly so.  Smooth and rounded, but with just fine enough a line.  By the time we opened the presents, the wine’s last drop was gone too.   

Saturday, July 11, 2015

A Bundle of Brundlmayer

We’ve come across a smattering of these Bundllmayer Austrian beauties over recent years, but only since the Aromatics Ace got his hands on them have we managed to get some stocks for ourselves.  Our little session with the Writer Joll need a little more fuel so SWMBO magically brought a bacon and egg pie to add to substance to the two Brundlmayer bottles.  Surprisingly bot wines accompanied the food remarkably well.  We were hungry too. 

Firstly the 2013 Brundlmayer Zobinger ‘Heiligenstein’ 1 ‘OTW’ Kamptal DAC  Riesling, from a superior site on very old soils.  This looks to be a wine of clarity, ant it sure is.  Purity of white florals and minerals with a core of herbals that fades away, leaving the aromatic beauty.  Bright and vivacious and only a hint of austerity that translates to thirst-quenching acidity.  This has fruit depth and the phenolics super-fine.  Great vibrancy, tautness and depth too.  Cut through the bacon and egg without losing integrity, and added moisture to the dish too.  12.5% alc. and sealed in a Stelvin screwcap, these modern, thinking Austrians are doing it all right.

Though Gruner Veltliner and Riesling are what Brundlmayer do, the Blauburgunder and Pinot Noir reds are not to be scoffed at.  As we quickly learned with the 2011 Brundlmayer ‘Reserve’ Pinot Noir.  Ripe fruit from the ‘Decant’ and ‘Kaferberg’ sites fermented to 13.5% alc, given a 2 week maceration and aged 12-18 months in 300L Austrian casks, 1-2 y.o.  That’s serious enough!  Black-red colour and black fruits with a mineral heart.  Lovely depth and intensity with a purity plus hint of savoury herb and liquorice,  Very supple, fine grained, soft and satiny tannins.  Maybe carried a little by the acid.  The savoury nuances of complexity emerging in the glass.  And just the subtlty and savoury counterbalance to the salt and texture of the pie. 

More pie and Brundlmayer were on offer, but our guest hade to depart…

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Delicacy and Deliciousness

There’s something about the best German wines that showcase the balance between delicacy and deliciousness that very few other countries achieve. It’s that Hugh Johnson description of fruity acidity and sweetness that is etched on all wine lovers’ minds.  Our friend the Writers Joll was in town and in the mood for a visit.  She’s more of a Riesling protagonist than SWMOBO, if that’s possible!  But in her true style and to our delight, she brought around to share a 2011 von Hovel Scharzhofber Riesling Kabinett.

Now this is my all time-great vineyard, but I know I’m not alone in saying that, The Saar in a good and great year is impossible to beat for sheer electric excitement and subtle exoticism, steel and richness.  The epitome of deliciousness and delicacy.  2011 was an ideal earlier vintage where all tastes just right.  von Hovel hasn’t been my most consistent and compelling producer, but when it’s right, it really is right – and this was just so!  Lush and honeysuckle sweetness with gentle florals, maybe even a touch of toast.  Pire and fine cut with perfect 8.5% alc.  We could have drunk it all night….