Lenn Thompson: Bois de Boursan 1999 Chateauneuf du Pape
Last weekend, we tasted a lot of wine in the Finger Lakes. And I mean a lot. Enough that by Saturday evening, Nena and our friends C and A were a little worn out I think. But, with Evan and Morgan coming to the house we rented for dinner (and more wine) everyone bucked up and we had an epic evening of good food and drink -- with lots of laughter.
I don't know a ton about CdP, but after tasting this Bois de Boursan 1999 Chateauneuf du Pape that Evan brought, I think I'll be spending some money to explore them more. This one had a beautiful briney, caper berry note that was backed by blackberry, cherry and charcoal-grilled herbs. Evan tells me this is an old school CdP.
As you can see at right, the house we rented was lacking decanters, so we made due with what was available. The Koolaid pitcher worked just fine.
"I'll let you in on the secret of brewing beer," says brewmaster and friend Matt Arlauckas. "If you can boil water, you can brew beer."
Well, it's one thing to brew beer, but quite another to brew it very, very well. This was my first taste of Matt's home brew and -- while I'm certainly no beer expert -- it was outstanding. On a hot (okay, really warm) summer day this was the perfect antidote to yardwork. For this batch Matt used pelletized hops, but he's growing his own hops, which will be ready in the all of 2010. Can it really be that easy to start your own brewing operation? He insists it is, and in the end it doesn't sound that dissimilar to winemaking: "Just care about what you do," Matt says, "and the rest falls into place."
This weekend brought me and my husband to the Jersey shore for the first time in four years. We hit the newly (to us, at least) revitalized downtown of Asbury Park for dinner and wandered into the promising-looking Market in the Middle, a wine bar/bistro. The service and setting -- including a pretty back garden -- were promising, but the food was generally underwhelming.
One thing, however, that did not disappoint were the cocktails. My husband ordered a campari/blood orange martini, and I opted for the Bloody Port Royal: Gosling's rum, ginger beer and blood orange. It was a summery, citrusy variation on the dark and stormy, which is one of my all-time favorites. If a bushel of blood oranges ever comes my way, I will definitely add it to my cocktail rotation.
Blueberry wine? Yes, they make it in Maine, but where else would you expect to find it?
My wife and I picked this bottle of riesling/blueberry wine by Blacksmiths on a trip to Boothbay Harbor about four years ago, and then we promptly forgot about it.
I wish I had re-discovered it about two years ago as it had faded considerably upon opening four years later. Perhaps it was never that good (I suspect it wasn't) but in any case the curious nature of the concoction is certainly worth a mention.
Sharing a sisters-only evening is a rarity for me and my younger sister Linda. But we were lucky to get a couple
of hours together this past week and I brought the Twisted Oak 2008 Viognier to drink at a table in her backyard on a beautiful evening.
This is the first Viognier that she had tasted and she joked about trying to pronounce the varietal, "Vogue-ne-ay?"
We both took our first sips and in tandem said, "Ooo, this is good." Bright, beautiful tropical fruit lit up our palates and crisp acidity complemented the fruit flavors. After the lingering finish ended, I was hooked. It is now on both of our lists of favorite wines and I'll cherish the memory of the fun evening my sister and I shared, giggling like kids about silly childhood antics.
I've been enjoying the Southampton IPA which has been on tap at DEKS for the last couple of weeks (not sure how much is left of the keg though). The Southampton IPA is has a smoother and less candy-like finish than a lot of the West Coast IPAs. It's a good balance between an American take on a classic without forgetting the origins of the style.