Only three contributions to What We Drank this week, but three diverse ones nonetheless.
Evan Dawson: Jean Michel-Stephan 2004 Cote-Rotie
Let's hear it for restaurants that offer creative wine lists.
I was floored when I picked up the wine menu at Good Luck in Rochester. By the glass I could order a Savoie, a White Rioja, a Carmenere, and a handful of other interesting options. The Finger Lakes was nicely represented. But it was a bottle from the Rhone that impressed me most. My favorite producer of syrah in the world is Jean-Michel Stephan, an idiosyncratic Frenchman who makes gorgeous, honest, risky Cote-Roties. He hardly makes a thousand cases a year, and so there isn't much to be found.
The fact that it landed on the list at Good Luck is simply a credit to their wine director. He tells me that he's always looking to add personality to the wine list; he wants the casual drinker to find plenty to like, and he wants the avid consumer to be inspired. It's working. This wine was a classic Cote-Rotie, but a little wilder with smoked game and olive tapenade. It had me raising a glass to restaurants that make a real effort with their wine lists.
Sasha Smith: Substance 2007 Columbia Valley Syrah
Last night we (OK, my husband) grilled up some Newport steak and zucchini, and a friend brought over this Sy Substance Syrah from Washington. I always forget about Washington State wines, a big oversight on my part -- particularly because it's the source of some fine Syrah, my favorite.
I loved this wine's deep fruit and bright acidity. My husband, who is much more musically inclined than I am, talks about how wines can have too much treble or too much bass. By that I think he means too much acidity or too much alcohol and/or extract...in any case, this wine had just the right amount of both. I'm also in love with the label and their website, which is beautifully designed and very informative.
I look forward to trying more of their single-varietal bottlings -- and sampling more wines from Washington.
Lenn Thompson: Green Flash Brewing West Coast IPA
This weekend, we hosted 30 or 40 friends for our almost-annual pork bash at the house. The star of the menu? Two 10-pound pork shoulder that I smoked for about 12 hours. When I asked my followers on Twitter for what they'd drink with that pulled pork, big reds were the most mentioned. Who wants to drink those on an 85-degree summer day? Not me.
For me, there isn't much better with smoky, spicy pork than IPA. The hoppier the better. This is one of my all-time favorite brews because while intensely hoppy, it doesn't have all of the malty sweetness that mar many Double or Imperial IPAs. This is the kind of big IPA I could drink all day. There aren't many I can say that about.