Friday, December 14, 2012

Four Wines With Varying Degrees of Interest (Australia / California / Italy)

The only thing better than making new friends is making new friends with a good wine cellar who are willing to share ... I have been very fortunate this weekend to find myself in New York meeting some wonderful people and drinking some pretty interesting wines.  Friday was Sushi night and while everything we tried might not seem like sushi matching wines they were of varying degrees of interests all on their own.  Starting with a MollyDooker 2011 The Violinist, a wine made from the Verdelho grape - a grape found primarily in Portugal and Spain ... what the Aussies are doing with it I have no idea but this wine was not to many people's liking - there was a suggestion that maybe it needed time and I'm not so sure, this was just a very underwhelming wine that lacked character and acidity.  Should have been a great wine with the sushi, but in the end it fell flat.  Opened next (and quickly after the white debacle) was a Sine Que Non 2003 Omega ... it doesn't get much weirder than this an Oregon Pinot Noir made by a California winery, but what the heck. I'm picking up a lot of interesting tidbits this week ... like the US system is much freer in what you can make and from where than my beloved Ontario (more on that tomorrow).  This bottle was brought by our host because the bottle was leaking in his cellar and he wanted to see if it was still any good.  After I had this wine I looked at a few reviews on-line and discovered that ours tasted more like Pinot than others, who spoke of it as more Syrah/Shiraz like ... this was most definitely Pinot Noir, in fact it seemed to blend the old and the new worlds with its old world stinky nose and its new world fruit flavours, a dichotomy of sorts that worked out well ... maybe the leakage helped it along.  Final bottle at dinner was a Dark Matter 2006 Zinfandel, a delicious spicy, chocolatey with raspberry mixed in - it was a wonderful Zin, not for sushi matching but a lovely sipper tht would have been divine with BBQ ... maybe next time.

I'd be remiss if I did not mention a bottle of San Gregorio 2001 Serpico which was open earlier in the day on a dare ... and to see if this wine really was holding up.  Parker gave this particular vintage of this old vines Aglianico 98 points and the scuttlebutt is that it can age 30 years.  Upon first taste it would have been surprising that it lasted a second taste, but we were adventurous and kept giving it air and another try.  It started off quite fruit driven, then closed up on itself and revealed nothing but wood, cedar and oak notes.  The finish was raw and became like drinking liquid wood ... could this be the end of this wine?  About an hour later we came back to the glass and it had really blossom with fruit and the wood had dissipated to a dull roar - a supporting player to all that lovely fruit.  Post Script:  we left the bottle for about 24 hours and re-tasted it ... the end result was a so-so wine but that middle part was wonderful, that was the sweet spot.

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