daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer
John Maynard Keynes
"I drink Champagne when I'm happy, and when I'm sad.
Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone. When I have company
I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I'm not hungry and
drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it -- unless I'm
Madame Lily Bollinger
of Bollinger Champagne
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Buy of the Week
Folk Machine 2013 Tocai Friulano, Mendocino**+ $14 Sleek, brisk, racy--this crisp dry white, made from the Tocai grape native to Friuli and other hilly regions of northern Italy, is rare in the U.S. so it's nice to have such a good one surface in the Triangle. The fruit has mere hints of pear, citrus, minerals and hazelnuts in a pleasing mingle of flavors, an excellent match for seafood pastas.
Winemaker Kenny Likitprakong, owner of Hobo Wine Co., has a very individual --some might say quirky-- approach in producing unusual varieties, grapes from old-vine vineyards....and Zinfandels that are balanced. Caves Taureau in Durham featured a taste of these wines last weekend. Here are others that I found fun and appealing.
Folk Machine 2012 Valdiguié, Mendocino, $19** A juicy quaff from the grape that used to make California's version of Beaujolais; those wines never made the mark, but this one has the light round charm of good Beaujolais.
Hobo 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley **+ $20 Looking for a ready-to-drink young Cabernet? This should be it, with its juicy blackberry-boysenberry
flavors. Perfect for braised shank of lamb or veal.
Hobo 2012 Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley **+ $20 Quelle balance! No fruit bomb this, but plenty of berries, especially Zinfandel's typical and all-too-often missing raspberry flavors. A genuine pleasure to drink with lighter meats, barbecue, pizza..
Tomero Malbec 2012, Argentina $13** A smooth, juicy, full-bodied (but not heavy) Malbec; hand-picked grapes from highland vineyards above Mendoza. A very quaffable red--and great value. Tomero also makes a Cabernet Sauvignon, but it's somewhat angular at the moment and needs a few years in bottle; good value for the future drinking.
Laurent Miquel Syrah - Grenache 2011 France $11.99** More emphasis on fruit in this red from the South of France, chewy and succulent, simple and very drinkable, it will happily suit casual meats from burgers to brisket, as well as pizza and other cheese dishes. Less rugged than Côtes-du-Rhône; very good value.
|Super Reds for Winter Feasts***
Hearty - robust - intensely flavored - memorable! Here are some excellent reds I've recently tasted and recommend for the roast meats and game dishes of the season. I always decant such wines to open up the aromas and flavors for maximum enjoyment.
Robery Sinskey POV Red 2009, Napa Valley, $38. Sinskey always manages to craft tasty, flavorful wines so balanced they also age---as will this POV (Rob's "point of view" style). A juicy blend with ripe berry-rich, slightly smoky flavors.
Jordan 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, $50 The best vintage since Jordan's 2001--which is still a stunning wine. The 2009 has similar depth but supple, fruit-forward flavors of blackberry, cassis and accents of spicy oak. Enjoy it now with steak or lamb, but its balance will reward aging to develop complexity. Consistently voted the most popular Cabernet on top restaurant wine lists.
Trefethen 2010 Merlot, Napa Valley, $26-32 An outstanding Merlot, with lovely currant and ripe berry flavors, hints of chocolate and spicy oak; very well balanced and long in finish. An excellent choice for roast lamb, grilled or sautéed duck breast.
Ridge 2011 Geyserville Zinfandel, Sonoma, $35-38 Black raspberries, black pepper, black cherries and blackberries--for me, the most balanced of Ridge Zins, with plenty of juicy fruit embracing a backbone of tannin and good acidity that make it lively and fresh.
Trione 2009 Syrah, Russian River Valley, $32 The Russian River's cool climes deliver enticing fruit for Syrah as well as Pinot Noir. The bright vibrant black-fruit flavors of this red are immediately engaging.
Dry Creek Vineyards 'The Mariner" 2010 Dry Creek Valley, $30-40. A finely balanced Bordeaux blend, 41% cabernet sauvignon, 41 merlot with malbec, petit verdot and cab franc rounding out the rest. Blackberries, cherries and red currants lightly cloaked in spicy oak. Drink or keep--it will only get better.
|And.....More moderate reds***
suitable for lighter meats, the likes of veal, roast chicken, pork loin
Rioja Bordón Gran Reserva 2004, Spain $25 Rioja, Spain's traditional red, is enjoying renewed interest due to its moderate balance and smooth round flavors. Gran Reservas are from selected top barrels and not made every year; they are aged in oak (used) 3 years, and in bottle 3 years or more before release, making them exceptionally drinkable on release. This 2004 G.R. is aromatic, smooth as silk, excellent for drinking now .... and a great value at the price!
Clos Troteligotte Cahors 2011, France $13-18 Not to be outdone by Argentine Malbecs, the venerable region of Cahors in southwest France has grown malbec for centuries and produces re-vitalized renditions that are very appealing. This wine is blended with 15% merlot, giving it extra round, smooth but darkly rich flavors.
Qupé 2011 Syrah Central Coast, CA $16 Consistently appealing Syrah from one of the pioneers with this variety in California. Balanced and flavorful, with aromas and flavors of black cherries, dark plums and berries and a hint of herby sagebrush that once covered the hills here, the 2011 is highly drinkable now.