Here's a sampling of what our editors and contributors are drinking:
I am finally seeing the Mosel Valley firsthand. Like a kid who has looked at magazines of Disneyland for years and finally enters the gate, I have crossed the threshold from fantasy to reality.
And reality does not disappoint.
I am an acid hound, and can never have too many rieslings skate across my palate. The steep vineyards abutting the Mosel River are made of slate, and tons of it. The resulting wines are high-acid, mineral-driven, time bombs of fruit and sheer, taut power.
They are not for the faint of heart. Proceed with caution.
This wine swept me off my feet today. An explosion of flavor and sensation, it has a stunning concentration. I wanted to cry a tear of joy but all body defenses were dealing with the roller coaster ride of slate and minerals spinning like a top on the tart lemon backdrop.
This is cotton candy, funnel cakes and a hot dog rolled into one before a ride on Space Mountain.
I'm on the move, please forgive my typos.
Any opportunity I have to go into the city, I usually make some sort of an excuse to go to one of the various beer bars around the city, and see if they happen to have anything interesting on tap.
This past weekend, it was my job to keep a friend out of the house while his wife decorated their apartment to look like a beer garden in preparation for his surprise birthday party. To keep within the theme of the day, I decided to take him to The Blind Tiger, have a couple of pints, and get out of the pouring rain that was making its way through the city. All I can say is that they must have known we were coming.
I am definitely a self-proclaimed Hop-Head. I love IPA's. Any time I see one I haven't tried, I can't help myself. So imagine my surprise when we walked into the bar to the aftermath of a Mikkeller (Danish Brewery) Single Hop event where there were 19 Single Hop IPA's. That's right...19...
After reading through the list, and tasting through a few of them, my favorite was made with "Cluster" Hops. Taken from their tasting notes, Clusters are the oldest Hops grown in the United States. Up until the 1970's, it was one of the few American Hops available.
I didn't know if I would like it at first given the floral tones on the nose, but the orange and citrus balanced with the bittering on the finish won me over big time. Very interesting, and very different. Too many varieties to try in one day, but of the few I did try, Cluster was definitely the standout for me.
This wine is like the upstate New York weather. Don't like it? Wait five minutes. It'll change.
When's the last time you had a wine that was almost entirely carignan from Sardinia? Or a wine from Sardinia at all?
That was interesting enough. More significantly, this is one of the better big reds I've had in the past year.
Truly complex and showing no oak, it's rich but not fat, darkly fruited and yet bright, with an undertone that evokes fresh blacktop covered in lavender. What a fun wine.
We were simply in the mood for a steak and a big red, even on a warm night, and I'm glad we went there.
This one ain't easy to find, but we'll look for more.
My in-laws like wine. They drink it regularly, but they aren't what anyone would consider wine geeks. But they are intrepidly curious and always willing to try just about anything I'll pour for them.
And for me, it's fun to teach them a bit about wine here and there when the opportunity arises.
Saturday we dodged the raindrops and visited a couple North Fork wineries as a family and got to taste something fun from the library at Peconic Bay Winery -- a 2005 cabernet franc. It was soft and silky with mature loamy earth and spice flavors -- actually a bit more mature than I would have expected, but certainly a treat and it sparked a conversation about what 'typically' happens to wines as they age.
When we got home and started to prepare a dinner of flank steak with garlic scape pesto and braised greens with white beans (we had picked up our first CSA share earlier), I decided to open another 2005 cab franc, this time from Pellegrini Vineyards, to see how it would compare.
Tasting a bit more youthful, the fruit was more primary and there was much more structure and tannin with a dose of spicy oak to stood out on the finish.
I'd be curious to hear about your experiences with 5-10 year old cab franc.
Bryan Calandrelli: Mountfair Vineyards 2007 Composition
There aren't many opportunities where I get to try Virginia wines. Even though I've heard great things about their cabernet franc, red blends and viognier, I can count on one hand the examples I've tasted.
Needless to say I was stoked to find this Mountfair Vineyards 2007 Composition at a picnic the other day.
This Monticello-grown blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and petit verdot stood out with its sophisticated cherry, plum fruit and spice aromas. Ripe without being over-extracted, with fine tannins and a good backbone, this blend reminded me of well-made Long Island red blends.
Apparently this producer specializes in Bordeaux blends and it shows in the complexity of this bottle. If I make it to Monticello wine country, they will be on the top of my must visit list.