Bacchic Reflections

      " thy bread with joy, and drink thy
                        wine with a merry heart."
                                                         King Solomon
           Fermentation is one of the oldest symbols for
              transformation. When grapes combine their juice
              and are closed up together for a time in the dark,
              the results are spectacular.
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What is B.E. drinking this week?  Go to...

Reds worth cellaring...Cabs, Pinots, Other
                            B.E.'s Cellar Notes

  Special Aged Wines:   B.E.'s Discoveries

Interesting Links:   see  Other Interests

Wine Books for Wine Lovers
            see B.E.'s Wine Tips

Articles by B.E.   see  B.E. in print
      Starting a Wine Cellar:   B.E.'s  Wine Tips
      Wines for aging:  see B.E. Cellar Notes
B.E. on organic and biodynamic wines
                  see  article

Events:  Super Bowl Sunday February 7, 2016
If you're headed west for the big event, go a few days early. The city is celebrating all week ahead of the game--and offers some very good wine-tasting opportunities. Stop in at the Taste of Sonoma lounge in Super Bowl City--which spreads across the plaza in front of the Ferry Building down on the waterfront. From January 30 to February 7th some of Sonoma's top wineries will be pouring their wares, paired with the region's cheeses. Here's a chance to taste & compare Sonoma's regional styles, with wines from Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley, Sonoma Mountain among others. Find the pouring schedule here:


Wine Buy(s) of the Week

Bourgueil 2012 "Cuvée Beauvais"  Loire Valley  $16-18** 
Pronounced  boor - GAY - ee
Don't be put off by the difficulty of the name because it drinks real easy. Like its nearby cousin, Chinon, Bourgueil is made from cabernet franc, and this selection from Kermit Lynch exhibits the punch of lively red currant fruit I like so much in Cab Franc. This is a wine for daily suppers, weekend brunches, a happy accompaniment to patés, cheeses creamy or savory, light meats.

Rodney Strong 2013 Merlot  Sonoma  County $15-18**   Appealing flavors of blackberry and ripe plums envelop this nicely balanced Merlot. Enough tannin to give it some grip, but smooth and drinking well now, though likely to be even better with a couple of years aging (buy two or more bottles to test this out). It has the heft to handle grilled or roast beef or lamb, but smooth enough for roast pork or duck.

Capezzana Barco Reale di Carmignano 2013, Tuscany $13-16**+  
Sangiovese-dominant, which makes it Chianti-like but the addition of cabernet gives it a pleasing earthiness and weight. Smooth, easy to drink, versatile with meat dishes.

Dry Creek Vineyards 2013 Zinfandel Heritage Vines   Sonoma  $15**+   An excellent value and drinking well now. 21% petite sirah darkens this red, but the raspberry and ripe plum flavors sift through to make it quite juicy and appealing.

Verdicchio di Matelica 2014 Cantina Sant' Isidoro  Italy (Marche) $15-17**+  Oh so brisk, oh so bright, steely and crisp, yet with zingy citrus flavors. Great with clam or scallop dishes; also mussels. The Wine Merchant in Cary has it.

Riesling Hugel 2013 Riesling, Alsace, $20-24***
  A classic dry Riesling--and in its third year of age just right for drinking now, though fine Rieslings, dry or sweet, can age a decade if properly stored. Crisp, with citrus notes and a nice edge of minerality, it's developed a pleasing richness.  Excellent with Asian  foods that aren't  too sweet/sour;  patés, white fish and chicken.

Left Coast Cellars Pinot Noir 'Cali's Cuvee' 2013, Willamette Valley, $24***   Another classic--classic Oregon Pinot--balanced, supple, highly versatile with food. This young winery  is producing excellent, flavorful wines from its 100 acres of vineyard. Ripe berry flavors, with accents of cherries. A lovely wine--excellent for grilled salmon, veal, roast pork or fowl (including  turkey, chicken, gamebirds).

Domaine Chandon Blanc de Noirs NV, Califonria, $18-22**+  Brisk, bright, clean, dry and quite delicious. Keep this sparkler on hand  as a great aperitif, year-round.  I've tasted this wine several times with great pleasure. An excellent value, too.


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                                                                                                                                             ©Barbara Ensrud