About this Blog

The blog focuses on the essence of wine and food, not how many points or stars it receives. The opinions are mine and should be taken only as that, an opinion not gospel.

Like many collectors, initially I was very much influenced by wine ratings. I purchased wines based on points, even if I had never tasted the wine. And it was much worse than that. I would drink a wine with a high rating, not like it, yet since it was highly rated I’d rationalize that I did not yet appreciate the wine, or that my palate was not sophisticated enough to understand the wine. How’s that for lunacy? As a result my cellar grew in all directions while my palate narrowed. By the time I realized the style of wine that I enjoyed, my cellar abounded with wines whose styles I did not enjoy. All of these wines were very highly rated, just not my cup of tea, or glass of wine to be more accurate. Fortunately I was able to sell many of these wines to those who either enjoyed them or wanted highly rated wines. Don’t misunderstand, I am not against wines with high ratings, in fact I own many. It is just that I now purchase wines based on the producer, the style and my palate, not the rating. Nor do I shun reading reviews. I very much respect Antonio Galloni, Alan Meadows, Eric Asimov and John Gilman and read their reviews routinely. I pay attention to what they write, not the points they award.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Super Bowl XLIX Wines

While the weather forecast called for a winter storm starting during the Super Bowl, our usual party attendees opted to brave the potential storm and join Carol and I for some good eats and wine. The menu remained the same as last year from the same contributors (Super Bowl XLVIII).  Once again they all did a terrific job.  The wines, with one exception, were different and all drank beautifully.

We began, as it seems we always do, with NV Renardat-Fache Bugey Cerdon Méthode Ancestrale Rosé from magnum.  The Bugey, one of the tiniest and most obscure wine areas in France, is located halfway between Lyons and Geneva.  A semi-dry, pink bubbly wine made by spontaneous, but incomplete, fermentation is crafted from Gamay and Poulsard grapes by Alain Renardat, resulting in a crisp and round delicious wine, that is delightful to drink.  $23. Wine-Searcher.

2013 Dominique et Janine Crochet Sancerre.  Made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc, this is a mineral infused pale yellow wine with hints of nectarine and peaches on the palate.  The refreshing acidity is harmoniously balanced with the stony minerality and the finish leaves one wanting more.  An absolute bargain at $25.  Moore Brothers.

2005 Bouchard Pere et Fils Beaune Greves L’Enfant Jesus 1er Cru. 2005 was an exceptional vintage in the Cote de Beaune as is apparent in this elegant Burgundian Pinot Noir from the estate’s famous monopole vineyard.  The wine exhibits lots of terroir on both the nose and palate.  The tannins are well integrated, adding to the terrific balance and complexity of the wine.  The wine finished with harmonious elegance. $130. Wine-Searcher.

2005 Bouchard Pere et Fils Beaune Teurons 1er Cru.  Just south of Les Greves lies Les Teurons, one of Beaune's most highly-respected Premier Cru vineyards.  We drank this alongside the ‘05 L’Enfant and it held its own beautifully, especially considering it sells for less than half the price of the L’Enfant.  This is a superb entry level Burgundy.  The terroir laden and delicate palate exhibited excellent depth and weight.  A delicious wine and a great value at $50. Wine-Searcher.

2003 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie Chateau D'Ampuis.  I gave this wine a 90 minute slo-o.  Fruit was alive, tannins soft and finish was lengthy.  It lacked however the depth and focus of the 2001 we drank immediately after this bottle.  $150.  Wine-Searcher.

2001 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie Chateau D'Ampuis.  Right out of the bottle it had more depth, complexity and balance than the 2003.  Fruit was vibrant on a slightly peppery palate and the finish was long and elegant.  This was a terrific bottle of wine.  $150.  Wine-Searcher.

The wines of Chateau D’Ampuis are produced from ancient plots which are amongst some of the finest of the Guigal domaine.

1989 Hans Kramp Ayler Kupp Riesling Kabinett Troken.  Gino brought along this delicious dry, bright, balanced and mineraly Riesling from Kramp’s prime vineyard, Ayler Kupp, located in the Saar River region of Germany. The wine had a lovely nose of petrol and evolved and opened more with each sip.  $30…if you can find it.

2009 G.D. Vajra Freisa Kyé.  Another superb showing of this wine.  Gorgeous translucent hue, earthy, chewy and balanced palate with a lengthy and elegant finish.

2005 Quintarelli Ca del Merlo Rosso. Emil brought along this recent release from Quintarelli. A blend of Corvina, Molinara, Rondinella grapes, this was a classic Quintarelli Valpolicella with fantastic balance, depth and finesse.  The finish was long and lush.  I had read that the difference between the Ca del Merlo bottling and regular Valpolicella bottling is that this is aged longer in large wood vessels and comes from a hilltop single vineyard.  I have also been told there is no separate vineyard and that Ca del Merlo was produced for an old US importer, to show a distinction with what the rest of the world was buying and what he was getting. Whatever the case it is a round and delicious wine that will provide years of drinking pleasure.  $92.  Wine-Searcher.

One of my favorite Producers is Paolo Bea from Umbria, Italy. Paolo is a quintessential artisanal producer who presides over a classic family-owned estate that makes handcrafted wines.  His approach to winemaking is wholly natural and follows the traditional, old world wine making style that has been the family hallmark since the 1500s. The two wines we drank, 2001 and 2003 Paolo Bea Sagrantino di Montefalco Secco were both stunning examples of this. Both wines exhibited magnificent earthiness, purity, complexity and balance with a refined excellence.  Wines with soul!  The wines are then aged for one year in stainless steel, another two years in large Slavonian oak barrels and, finally, one more year in bottle and like all Bea wines, is unfiltered before release.  Annual production is 15,000 to 20,000 bottles.  Current vintages are available for around $83.  Wine-Searcher.

With coffee and dessert we drank 2000 Ezio Voyat Ambrato Le Muraglie. Located in the town of Chambave in the Valle d’Aosta region of Northwestern Italy, the wine, made from Moscato Bianco grapes, had a beautiful amber color, with a bouquet and taste of figs on the nose and palate.  The finish was sweet and oh so seductive.  As far as I can tell, this vineyard is no more, which is a shame as I have enjoyed, along with this wine, their white and red wines in the past.

An exciting game, great wines, food and good friends made for a perfect afternoon and evening in spite of the weather.


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