Sunday, January 11, 2009

2006 Graff Riesling Auslese – Mosel-Saar Ruwar – Germany

Quick Note: 2006 Graff Riesling Auslese – Mosel-Saar Ruwar – Germany. Pale yellow in color with peaches and apricots mingling with honey on the nose. Light bodies with a medium finish and a light touch of acidity. Sweet notes but not overly so.

I’d give this wine a C. Not bad but really reminds me more of a slightly sweeter version of an entry level kabinett than anything else. It basically lacks any distinctiveness for me as well.

All said with the understanding that '06 was a difficult vintage for Riesling in Germany. At roughtly $20, I'm hoping that the '07 provides more QPR as the price certainly could be seen as right for an auslese.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

New Year’s Resolution #4 - To start the process of creating a more balanced cellar than what I have now.

This came about as a result of reading a thread on the Mark Squires Wine Discussion Board where the question posed was “how to other collectors balance their cellar.” It came from someone who had a fair numbers of wines stashed away but with few of them being ready to drink.

That aspect mirrors my own situation but I also have the added issue of having 75% of my cellar devoted to Bordeaux, much of which I’m sitting on for future aging!

I don’t feel that is so much of a problem but truth be told, there are other wine regions I very much enjoy drinking but are lacking in my cellar for no good reason. Among my favorites are Tuscan reds, California Pinot Noir, and German Riesling. There are also what I will call secondary regions that I am now starting to uncover and enjoy such as France’s Rhone Valley (mainly Southern), Loire, and even Cru Beaujolais. That’s not even counting dabbling in Finger Lake Rieslings (and their whites in general), Greece, South America, Lebanon, etc… This list goes on…

I admit that my palate does definitely lean heavily towards Bordeaux as it is my “first true love” in wine with Tuscany and California in the wings. But I also don’t want to shut out these other regions that I either know I like or want to explore more of. I want to continue to learn and expand my palate and and to also have more choice when heading down into the basement to pull something for dinner.

This is a long term goal given my current economic situation (see: Lily - born 3/19/08) but I would like to start the process this year.

Resolution #5 - Drink more of what I currently have. No need to sit on some of the stuff I’m sitting on and there are only so many special occasions throughout the year.

To quote Maya from Sideways - "You know, the day you open a '61 Cheval Blanc … that's the special occasion."

(Disclaimer - I do not actually own a ‘61 Cheval Blanc.)

Sunday, January 04, 2009

'05 Two Hands Lily's Garden Shiraz - And the Story of a Cork

The ‘05 Lily’s Garden Shiraz from Two Hands Winery in Barossa Valley - Australia is one of the best Aussie shiraz I’ve had in a while.

This is a very concentrated wine with a nearly impenetrable black color. Very complex aroma of blackberry, chocolate and spices along with smoke and tabac notes. Silky texture and a super-long mouth-coating finish. The complexity and lushness masks its high 14.5% alcohol but I guess that’s standard with most Aussie shiraz anyway.

This wine is a definite keeper which I found for $40 at T.B. Ackerson Wines in Brooklyn.

All the above said, I did note one somewhat eye-raising mark with the cork of this wine.

I was initially worried when the foil was pulled off the bottle as wine had soaked through cork, covering about 1/3 of the top end of the cork. When the cork was pulled and examined, there was a slit from one end to the other which facilitated the seepage of wine through the cork itself. The only thing keeping the wine from soaking through more was that the cork appears to be “capped” with two end cork pieces that did not split. These were the “saviors” of the wine if you will as without them, the wine would have basically seeped on through.

This is noteworthy to me for a couple of reasons. First is that I had never seen anything like it before in a cork with the split down the side. Second is that I was surprised to see this on a relatively high end wine which retails for $40+ a bottle.

As you can tell from the note above, this wine was still fantastic. Just makes me think that screwcaps on higher end wines might not be such a bad thing, even if this particular bottle dodged a bullet.

Friday, January 02, 2009

'06 Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Gris - Willamette Valley - Oregon

I consider the ‘06 Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Gris to be one of my “wine finds” of the year. We originally tasted it at the Eyrie tasting room on a visit to Willamette Valley this past summer and bottles we’ve had since then have never failed to impress.

The wine is straw-hay colored with a floral nose mixed with apricot and maybe even a hint of orange peel. It is medium to full bodied with a creamy texture and a medium-long finish.

Very very nice and a wonderful food-pairing wine.

The '06 Eyrie Pinot Gris can be found for $20 at Chelsea Wine Vault.