Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Pho Paris Holiday Wine Show

Thursday, December 14th 2006, 6pm to 8pm

Stop by from 6pm to 8 pm to enjoy 40 wines from the wine lists at Pigalls, JeanRo Bistro, Pho Paris and Greenup Cafe. The price is $15 per person (reduced from $35 as an early Christmas gift from Jean Robert). As Pho Paris will be closing after New Years and moving to Covington, this might be the last wine event at the Madison Road address.

There will be a Tasting Dinner afterwards (at an extra charge) and the goal is to help clean out the wine cellar.

Make your reservations by calling Pho Paris at 513-871-1234.

Here is a partial list of wines: Duval-Leroy Brut, Villmart 1er Cru Grande Cellier, Kunstler Hochmeimer Reichestal Kabinett, Alvear 1927 Solera, Danjean-Barthoux 1er Cru La Plante Givry, Finca Sandoval, Lang & Reed Cab Franc, L'Ecole No 41 Merlot, Page Cabernet, Tenuta di Trinoro le Cupole, Tikal Amorio Malbec, Viader Cabernet, Walter Hansel Pinot Noir.

Wine Blogging Wednesday #28

This month's theme, hosted by Culinary Fool, is Sparkling Wines (except no Champagnes, so my Duval-Leroy didn't count and I HAD to drink another bottle!). WBW is the monthly online wine tasting event detailed here.

NV J Vineyards Brut Rose ($38) - Russian River Valley, California. A blend of Pinot Noir/Chardonnay/Pinot Meunier (69/29/2). Hand picked and gently placed in the Coquard press, the only one in North America. Aged at least 36 months in cellar. 860 cases produced. 12% alcohol, 11 grams sugar.

The winery is very popular with one of my customers, so when an extra bottle of the Rose was left around, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. This wine is scarce as only a few cases made it to Ohio.

Pale pink color, soft bubbles and long finish. This is a special wine for a very reasonable price that is south of $40.

PS: I think Sparklers are better served in standard wine glasses and not flutes as the aromas get lost in the tiny openings and I get mostly bubbles.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Erie Avenue Blind Tasting - December 2006

Well, it wasn't on Erie Avenue and it wasn't blind but it was the old group. I can't tell you the location as it would be illegal to consume more than 4 two-ounce servings per person per day, but the pool table was in action and the late night DVD was screaming, particularly Neil Young's Rust Never Sleeps, at concert level decibels.

And I was hoping to perform double duty for Wine Blogging Wednesday as we started with a magnum of Duval Leroy's Paris, but I just read the fine print and the theme is any Sparkler but Champagne. Details, details!!

All the bottle shots are on my album at SmugMug. Here is the wine list with brief comments:

  • NV Duval-Leroy Paris Brut Champagne ($100) -- Nothing like starting the evening with a Mag of good bubbly. Toasty notes with soft bubbles and a great looking bottle.
  • 1974 Beaulieu Vineyard BV Estate Bottled Georges de Latour Private Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($75) -- Had this baby shipped in last week. Color was almost brown as the fruit and flavor were mostly gone but had an appealing almost carmelized note. Held up for several hours before fading.
  • 2002 Claude Dugat, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru - Labaux St. Jacques ($120) -- Robert Kacher Selections. Very drinkable now but would improve with age. Full-bodied.
  • 1986 Clos Pegase Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon -- From a local cellar, this wine had I think peaked but had lots of fruit and even held up the next day. Elegant!
  • 2000 Delectus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon -- Full-bodied fruit and long finish with elegance.
  • 1997 Antinori, Tignanello ($70) -- 80/20 Sangiovese and Cab with 14 months in oak. Chewy. I gave it 4 stars and ordered the last bottle of 2001 from the warehouse.
  • 2001 Blankiet Estate, Paradise Hills Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon -- Not in Ohio, from a mailing list from a very small producer. Very big and smooth. Typical 2001 that will last for years if I can find some more!
  • 1999 Domaine de la Terre Rouge, Ascent Sierra Foothills Syrah ($80) -- I was bored waiting for everyone to show up so I pulled this one from the back room. It is Terre Rouge's best wine and is big and subtle and smooth and long lasting. Syrah is my new favorite varietal as it can be enjoyed by itself or with food and each winemaker can express their creativity.
  • 2002 Penner-Ash, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($50) -- This wine was plucked from the shelves as the pool game and concert was still roaring. Big Pinot with long finish. Not subtle.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Slow Merlot

2002 Larkmead Vineyards, Napa Valley Merlot ($42) -- California. This was one of the last few bottles of 2002 in the state. There is some 2001 available. The 2002 got a bigger score (92 versus 90) so the distributor was cleaned out.

Larkmead Vineyards has been around for about 100 years and has been owned by the Solari family since 1948.

It is amazing that one line in one movie could have such an impact on Merlot sales (I have heard sales are off 20%), but I think the comment was made as a damnation to those who drink (and make) bland mass-produced Red wine. The irony of the comment was that his beloved Cheval Blanc is made from vineyards that are about one-third Merlot.

Merlot from good producers is complex, nuanced, with soft approachable flavors that evolve in the glass after a few hours of being opened. It is a better food wine than a massive, big bad tannic Napa Cab. So take your time next time you savor a Merlot.

The 2002 Larkmead Merlot was all of the above during yesterday's dinner preparation while I watched the Bengal game and the wine married well with a sirloin tip roast and roasted vegetables. I look forward to trying the 2001 if I can keep it in the shop. The last case was snatched away before I had a chance to taste. I found this 2002 at a wine store down the street in their cellar. It was their last bottle.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Las Rocas' Big Brother

2004 Las Rocas Vinas Viejas Garnacha ($15) -- Calatayud, Spain by San Alejandro. Imported by European Cellars. 100% Garacha (Grenache), fermented in tank, 60% aged in one and two year oak barrels for 10 to 12 months. 100 year-old vines.

San Alejandro makes a $10 Garnacha that sees less wood from slightly younger vines that Parker has raved about and that flies off the shelves. This wine is a bit smoother with still very bright fruit and a medium finish. You can mostly tell the difference in that the Vinas Viejas is bottled in a burgundy style bottle.