… that is the question. I’ve decided to switch our blog over to wordpress, as it fits our needs a bit more snugly. Check it out at orchidwine.wordpress.com.
So alright, we’re tasting three California Cabernet Sauvignons this week: Michael David’s 2011 Freakshow, Kenny Likitprakong’s 2011 Camp, and Raymond Vineyards’ 2011 Lot 3. The Freakshow has a bit of Petite Sirah blended in, but they can still call it Cabernet - the Camp’s the same way, it has touches of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot, but is still at least 85% Cabernet. It’s sure to be a good one. Oh, and next week, I thought we’d follow the Judgement of Paris theme and taste all California Chardonnays: Foxglove, Annabella, and Butternut. For those of you who like your buttery Chards, we just brought the Annabella in, and it’s priced to sell at $14.
As for the painting, I was looking up images for Judgement of Paris, and found this. The Judgement of Paris was a Greek myth, and starts with Eris, goddess of discord, not being invited to a banquet, because she would have made the party unpleasant for everyone. She throws a golden apple into the proceedings, with the inscription ‘for the fairest one’ on it. Three goddesses claim the apple: Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. They ask Zeus to judge which of them is fairest, and he appoints the Trojan mortal Paris to judge them, because Paris had shown exemplary fairness in judging the god Ares against his own prize bull, unhesitatingly awarding the god the prize. So the three goddesses go bathe in the spring of Ida, and meet Paris to be judged. Each attempts with her powers to bribe him, Hera offering to make him king of Europe and Asia, Athena offering skill in war, and Aphrodite - being the goddess of sexuality - offering him the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen of Sparta, wife of King Menelaus. And, well, the rest is pretty much history.
George Barbier is the artist here; he was a prominent French illustrator in the early part of the 20th century. I like it because it shows the judgement of the three goddesses in the myth, but it seems to be set in Paris as well, in the 20’s. If all three ladies are vying for the golden apple that the man in the foreground holds, they sure are playing it cool.
We’re pretty excited for this week’s tasting - this is the first tasting we’ve done where all three wines are made of the same grape, and I think it’s going to be interesting to (sort of) isolate the effect different amounts of time in oak has on these three tempranillos. Over the few years I’ve been tasting wine, I’ve found that I can learn a lot from controlled tastings like this. Back before I knew anything about wine, I was lucky enough to take a trip out to Calistoga, in Napa, and one of the wineries up at the very top of the valley had two Cabernets for us to taste, one grown on the valley floor and the other grown on the hillsides surrounding. Both were amazing, but the hillside Cab was so much more light on the palate, and had that fresh, alpine-y, mountain clarity, while the valley floor one was richer and denser. That was one of the first ‘a-ha!’ moments I had with wine.
So, anyhow, onto the details. The first wine we’ll taste is Emilio Moro’s 2010 ‘Hito’, which is Spanish for milestone or boundary post. It is organically produced in Moro’s Ribera del Duero vineyards, and sees 8 months of French oak before bottling.
We’re tasting Chilean wines this week! Chile’s wine region is 800 miles long from north to south, and subtle changes in terroir occur from east to west as the Andes and the cold currents of the Pacific influence the region’s climate. Chilean wines usually have a distinctly green, herbaceous note to them, which makes them great food wines. Our star of the show will most likely be Paul Hobbs’ 2011 Ritual Pinot Noir: Hobbs is a renowned winemaker from California who has teamed up with Chilean wine giant Veramonte to make a Pinot Noir that can compete with the Russian River Valley, Oregon, and even Bourgogne. We’re excited to taste all of these unusual wines from Chile!
Tabali’s 2011 Sauvignon Blanc Reserva is lean and minerally, making it a great wine to cut through buttery scallops or lobster, if you wanna get fancy. Lomas del Valle’s 2010 Cabernet Franc adds a beautiful floral note to Chile’s classic green terroir, and will shine when paired with grilled veggies, especially eggplant and zucchini. Teillery’s Syrah is smooth and easy-drinking, and can pair with a variety of dishes. Come taste with us today through Saturday, 2-7!
Alright, it took us a while to decide, there’s so many delicious wines in our store, but we finally settled on Austrian wine! The 2012 Hopler Gruner Veltliner, 2011 Paul D. Zweigelt, and 2009 Winzerkeller Andau Blaufrankisch are all wonderful performers, especially at their price points: $11, $14, and $17, respectively.
The 2012 Hopler Gruner Veltliner is green-yellow in the glass, with a nose of spicy hay, pear, mauve, mandarin and lime. The palate is multi-layered, with citrus and a slight pepper finish. Grown in the hills west of Lake Neusiedl, 40 miles southeast of Vienna, this is a beautiful, affordable expression of one of the most food-friendly white wines out there. Serve with cold starters, sushi, pastas, or delicate salads.
The 2011 Paul D. Zweigelt is reminiscent of a young Cru Beaujolais, with lively violet and raspberry aromas, soft, jammy, red berry fruit up front, a lush mid-palate of fresh prickly berries, and a clean, spicy, acidic finish. Wooh. Winemaker Paul Direder is only 20 years old, but with Austrian wine guru Anton Bauer as his mentor, he’s already got a couple brilliant vintages under his belt, and continues to amaze. And, this bottle is a full liter of wine, so it’s comparable to a $10 or $11 dollar 750ml bottle. Drink this with friends or loved ones.
The 2009 Winzerkeller Andau Blaufrankisch starts with subtle dark cherry and cassis aromas, folding nicely into a palate showing the same. It’s pure and elegant with good length and structure. In recent years, wine subsidies from the E.U. have helped improve the quality of Austrian co-op wine dramatically, and the savings are passed on to you!
Come in and taste these three brilliant Austrian wines today, tomorrow and Saturday from 2-7pm. We’ll have cheese and crackers as well!
In order of appearance:
Ernesto and Remo Sportoletti’s 2011 Grechetto is a beautiful realization of the naturally low-yielding Grechetto grape. The aromatics are nutty and herbal, the pineapple-esque fruit is rich and concentrated, and balanced acidity gives the whole thing structure and length.
This week, in order of appearance: Patrick Piuze’s 2011 ‘Val de Mer’ Bourgogne Blanc, Boulder-based Master Sommelier Richard Betts’ 2012 ‘My Essential Rosé’ from Provence, and Domaine Valade’s 2010 Chateau le Peyrat Castillon.