Thursday, September 27, 2007

Tasting Wine in Kansas with Friends

“Fruit present and accounted for.” as noted by Zack upon first sniffing this wine, the first of five bottles we shares together with his wife Darci when visiting them in Lawrence, Kansas earlier this month. The bottle was a 2004 Argiolas – Costera – Isola Dei Nuraghi from the Sardina region of Italy. The wine is a blend of 90% Cannonau, 5% Carignano and 5% Bovale Sardo with the Cannonau grape thought to be a descendent of Grenache and that might be the reason it was reminiscent of a Chateauneuf du Pape. The wine has nice balance between the fruits, acids, and tannins with the fruit dark cherry driven, possible blackberry. There are also notes of spice and anise. It’s dark red in color, full bodied with a nice long finish. Very tasty but it could also last another few years. (B+)

It was followed by an actual Chateauneuf du Pape. The 2000 Le Vieux Donjon. A dark, inky black wine that might have been just slightly less complex than the Costera above but what it might have lacked there, it made up in finesse. The wine started out with an earthy mulch like nose but opened up to reveal notes of leather, dark fruit, notably blackberry. Texture was slightly tannic but they were soft tannins, leading to a nice long lush finish. (B but possible a b+ if the flavors meld more together after a few more years in the bottle.)

The next night we shared a 1999 Rosemont Estate Belmoral Syrah from the McLaren Vale in Australia. It was dark inky black in color with aromas reminiscent of grilled meats and prunes with the later coming through on the taste as well. The alcohol shows itself at 14% but softens after some time in the decanter. The acids and tannins had also melded well. (B)

That was the wine of the second evening but we stated out earlier in the afternoon with a couple of white wines.

The 2006 L’ete Viognier is from Mendocino County in California. It was straw yellow in color with a somewhat yeasty nose. The fruit was not as immediately identifiable. Possibly citrus peel underneath but hard to distinguish. Pleasant summer quaffer but not too remarkable. (C)

Also sampled that afternoon on the back patio was the 2005 J. Albin Pinot Gris from the Willamette Valley in Oregon. The wine was mainly fermented in stainless steel with a small portion aged sur lie in small oak barrels. It was straw yellow in color. Very floral on the nose. Honeysuckle. Citrus zest. Grapefruit. Actually more like pink grapefruit. Nice balance of acidity and fruit. Medium long finish. Very good and another strong case for Pinot Gris from the Pacific Northwest. (B+).

As for prices, the only two I bought were the L’ete for $11 and the J. Albin for $17 and those were purchased in Kansas. Other than that, the other wines were generously provided by Zack and Darci.

Those were the wines of the first night. Shared with friends I hadn’t seen in a really long time. The wines were shared over cheeses, olives, caperberries, homemade pizza and long discourses of child rearing and friends. You know how people say that the context of tasting a wine, where you are, who your with, etc. adds to your perception. Well, I would have probably given a Yellow Tail an A+ in this context.

All in all, a great wine weekend and a great weekend with friends. Zack was probably the first friend of mine who developed an interest in wine back when I thought red table wines from the Finger Lakes were the pinnacle of class. It’s be nice to have him here to drink away with at times.


No comments: