Friday, June 8, 2012

My Friend John From Cornvally

Hi Everybody,

OK, so I was blathering on about rosé season being upon us, and summer right around the corner...

I'm sorry. That was wrong of me. Don't pack away your gore tex just yet. I forgot about the Oregon summer rule that states summer doesn't properly start until after the last fourth of July picnic is rained out. But a good rosé is a good rosé, and you don't need to be sweltering to enjoy one.

As usual, we'll have a couple of wines open for our free Saturday tasting. Many of our standard issue, snappy little fish wines are arriving in their 2011 versions, and we'll sample them out as they show up. The latest is the 2011 Pravis pinot grigio of Trentino. The new vintage is even more bright and lifted than the very good 2010 bottling. This is definitely not the over cropped, cash cow cuvee that you too often find in pinot grigio/gris in this price range. ($12.75)

The red wine has a very interesting back story. The iconic Chianti (and Montalcino and the Tuscan coast holdings too) producer, San Felice, has long made the wine for various clannish districts, or Contrada, of the nearby city of Siena. The historical celebrations and banquets for various events need wine, and San Felice helps supply it. One event you may have heard of is the Palio, a wild bareback horse race around the central plaza of the Piazzo del Campo. There are 17 Contrada in Siena, and twice a year, 10 of them compete in the horse race. The race is, of course, much more than a horse race. Each Contrada has its own colors, flag, and livery. The tiny hilltop village of Borgo San Felice seems to have a close association with Contrada d'Oca, (Goose), which actually won one of the races last year. Go ahead and google it, it's very colorful, and there's a lot of fascinating information (wikipedia is pretty comprehensive).

Oh, the wine. Almost forgot. This wine was only recently been bottled for sale, and despite being half merlot, it's very Italianate. Maybe that's because the rest is mostly sangiovese with a dollop of cabernet sauvignon. Very Tuscan, and very easy to like. Come taste it. Only $10.75.

So come on by, it will be good to see you.

Time to Wake Up an '08 Pinot Noir

Just opened a bottle of Ghost Hill's '08 Pinot Noir and am letting it catch its breath after having been tucked away sleeping in our special place for these last 3 years. First sniff: Hints of mint and ceder under bright berry and a fusion of really ripe strawberry still warm from the sun.
First sip:My mouth is AWAKE! It has lots of creamy mouthfeel and that has been added to by a bright, complex, and after taste of semi-sweet red fruit. Really a good time to drink this one, but it still has much more to give so if you have some, give it a few more years and be surprised!

Two Glorious Wines Against Some Very Odd Pairings

Salad for tonight's tasting: A REALLY green salad, finely slices cucumber (quartered), diced zucchini, finely sliced celery, chopped lime (shined) dressed with lemon infused olive oil and champagne vinegar.
Dipping sauces: 5 tsp maple syrup, 2 tsp Amaretto
Republic of Jam's Spicy Apricot jam with Hot sauce
Fig Jam with Fig balsamic
Baked sweet potato, mayo, and ginger paste
Various white cheeses (brie, Cowgirl white cheddar, and an Italian goat), slow cooked roast beef thinly sliced then grilled to crisp, sour dough crackers.
Paired wit two amazing wines, the '08 Jory Hills and the '08 Kiana from WillaKenzie.
The Kiana is rich with cedar, dark complex berry with hints of clove, earth and a subtle smokiness, and it pulled it's weight against all but the salad, while the Jory was light, joyful and bright, after a huge nose full of 777 and 677, and it paired with every cheese, sauce, and salad. Loved them both, but I must say that the Jory was my evening favorite.