This is what we've been drinking...
For $8, this wine is an absurd value. For its regular list price of $12, it's still very, very good.I picked it up on sale at our local store when oppressive summer heat staged an encore. It turned out to be an excellent match for our food and the weather. I tend to think wine and weather is overly discussed, but I'm fully on board with rose in summer.
And for all of the wonderful rose made in NY state these days, it's nice to have that reference point of what the best rose producing region in the world is doing. This one brought perhaps a bit less of the classic Provencal floral aromatics, and instead delivered glazed melon, but who can argue? It was crisp, refreshing, and deftly made. A true steal, a wonderful QPR.
I attended a tasting of Michael Skurnik wines recently, the highlight of which was the Italian table. There was more character and value among the ten or twelve Italians I tasted than anywhere else in the room.
Particularly interesting was this Negroamaro, a unique and oh-so-Italian example in the $15 price range.
I've had some damn good Negroamaro lately, and this one continued the winning streak.
The nose showed yummy tar, definite notes of clove spice, and dark fruit which exploded into a palate of juicy middle-of-summer blackberries. I loved this wine for its genuine personality and for how much it made me want to spend two hours in the kitchen cooking a meal to pair.
Saturday night, I joined -- virtually, via Twitter -- some folks in tasting these three just-released zinfandel-centered wines.
For a cool-climate wine enthusiast with a palate more used to ABV topping out at 13% or so, it took me a few sips of each -- these were 14.4%, 14.9% and 15% respectively -- to get used to the size here, but once I did, I was surprised by the balance and relative elegance these showed.
These aren't you're simple, juicy $12 zinfandels. Not by a long shot.
The Lytton Springs showed the most high-toned fruit of the lot with a floral quality and surprising acidity. Ultimately, it seemed a bit thin, but only because of the two monsters next to it.
The Pagani Ranch was definitely the most approachable of the three, with intense, lush fruit, better integrated structure and beautiful spice. This was my preferred wine on days 1 and 3 of tasting them.
The York Creek was just a monster. On the day of the tasting it was incredibly dense with dark, brooding fruit and a savory, umami side to it that intrigued. It wasn't giving much up though. By day two, it had uncrossed its arms, pushing forward more of the fruit while retaining that savoriness. My favorite on day 2, it fell apart on day 3 however.
Once again I was in the right place at the right time to try something special.
This bottle of Hungarian wine was brought over by hand from a woman that stopped in the winery last weekend. Without one word of English on the label it wasn’t easy to get background info on it but what I could deduce after some wine encyclopedia snooping was that it was from the region of Mátraaja and the area of Gyongyostarján.
Revealing a beautiful brick garnet color in the glass this wine showed mature aromas of dried cherry, strawberry preserves, nutmeg, tobacco and cinnamon. On the palate it was perfectly balanced with good acid, great flesh and fine tannins.
I got an Italian vibe from this wine overall. I gathered it was a Cab Franc/Sauvignon blend after some deliberation.
My sommelier friend described it as Bordeaulean leaving us to agree that it had old world qualities that put it in good company. It was a fun wine to try in the middle of a workday and the story behind it made me want to go to Hungary.
David Flaherty: Hanssens Artisanaal, Oude Gueuze, BelgiumLambics are some of the strangest beverages on the planet Earth. If there is terroir in beer, this is it.This last week, I visited my brother in Seatlle. In preparation for our camping trip to Mt. Rainier, we attacked the local craft beer storm like the Vikings stormed a village. (View the complete list of our booty here: http://bit.ly/arxPSj)I was shocked to hear he wasn't familiar with lambics or other "sour" beers, for that matter. It was time to take him to beer school. Lambics hail from the Pajottenland region of Belgium and, in contrast to other breweries, they celebrate their local bacteria like royalty. Spontaneously fermented in large open vats, the brewers use ambient yeasts present in the air which give a unique quality specific to their immediate surroundings.With slightly funky notes of apple cider vinegar on the nose, what follows is nothing short of a death-defying roller coaster ride. A bracing acidity grabs a hold of your tongue and torques your mouth into a joyful bear hug. Dry as a bone and stridently complex, this Gueuze (a blend of 1-3 year old Lambics) is a standard-bearer.The beautiful thing? Hanssens has been making them this way since 1896. I love a good antique.