Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Tale of Two Reds (and a White)

Yesterday was Saturday, and every Saturday at the store, we put on a big tasting with a theme. Yesterday's theme was barbecue wines, and we had 12 of them out to taste - 2 whites, 1 rose, and 9 reds. Two of these wines were my picks, a white: 2006 Hirsch Gruner Veltliner which has a cartoon of a deer with a bottle on its head and a wine glass upside down on each antler. Too funny. The wine is delicious, very fresh and bright with great acidity - very indicative of the Kamptal region where it is from. Didn't sell too many bottles of this wine - could have been price point ($16.99) or more likely, I don't think Gruner Veltliner shows well in tastings. Even I wasn't that impressed with most Gruners I tasted in Austria - it's like tasting one light, someone lean citrusy green wine after another... I think Gruners really show their stuff when there's food, at the dinner table, or even with munchies outside and sipping a Gruner. On a tasting, it just comes off as "just there." Though some folks did appreciate its zippiness.

Onto the reds. My one red contribution was an odd Australian wine: 2003 Paiko Cabernet Sauvignon Petit Verdot Red Blend (55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Petit Verdot). I believe it comes from Western Australia. Not only is the blend interesting, the price tag is also - $5.99 a bottle. This one ended up being sold out - 40 bottles sold yesterday. People seemed to like it. I think it is an okay wine, not bad. Not the best, but I guess no one expects a $6 wine to be the best thing they ever tasting, just something good for the price. I think it is. Hopefully we can get more of this wine.

Compare that to the wine I had for dinner last evening with rack of lamb - we decided to open something we have been saving since it was Saturday night and to be honest, I don't have a temperature-controlled wine fridge, so some of these wines are sitting in a dark cupboard. I feel the need to drink them before the summer is done. The wine was 2004 Clos des Papes Chateauneuf du Pape. Admittedly, I bought this wine from the store last year in the wintertime when the Wine Spectator named the 2005 Clos des Pape their Wine of the Year. Since we didn't have the 2005, I thought, the 2004 will do, especially since I heard this was a good producer overall.

The wine was very dense, with tons of red fruit, had significant barnyard/animal on the palate, and tons of spice. I enjoyed it, but not as much as I thought I would. It didn't seem to have depth or complexity, or anything that blew me away. Perhaps my expectations were too high? Or perhaps we opened this too young? Would it have been much better if we decanted? Or perhaps I don't really like Chateauneuf du Pape (anymore)? I don't know! I do recall this bottle was in the $80 range (like $87.99 thereabouts), so in conclusion, both Johan and I drinking this felt we probably wouldn't buy it again (we can't anyway - sold out - but just as an exercise we often wonder if we would buy again).

We did manage to finish the bottle though. So it was certainly a better wine than the $6 wine.

Hmm. Maybe we should have decanted...


Samantha Dugan said...

That wine needs some serious decanting. 2004 was not a fleshy ripe vintage like 2005. I would have waited a another 5 years to open that one but if I had to have it some vigorous decanting would be required. I think you guys would have enjoyed somthing like the La Cabotte Chateauneuf-du-Pape alot more...but you may be on to something when you say you might not be that into Chateauneuf-du-Pape any more.
I think when you taste/drink as much wine as we do, (day in and day out) your palate longs for something brighter, more red fruit, less sap....refreshing which is why so many I know in our field drink more white than red. There are exceptions like Bennett but I still believe that the longer he does this as a job and not a hobby, (years of collecting under his belt) he too will be ready for lighter wines for daily drinking....or maybe it has more to do with the next generation wine people. People like you and I that came to wine first as a job and then a know, coming into this without knowing all the, "rules" or experiencing the evolution of wine in the US....or maybe we are just weird!
Good post and I liked that little Gruner yesterday...probably my favoite wine on the table!

Nancy Deprez said...

Thanks Samantha, you make great points. I really generally do like red wines after a good decant. So that's probably what we should have done with the wine last evening. Also, it should have been stored in a wine fridge for longer, like you suggested.

I'll have to try the La Cabotte CNP!

That said, I'm happy to be able to buy some older vintages from the store. Like the ones I recently bought to share with the inlaws. I plan to enjoy those. We might not have the means to decant however.

Darn it I shouldn't have killed the young CNP! But it is a hassle to bring wine into the store to store. I should really get a wine fridge. :)

Nancy Deprez said...

Live and drink and learn, I guess!

Nancy Deprez said...

Oh, Amy said she likes the Gruner too. She tried it with her turkey and artichoke sandwich - perfect!

Samantha Dugan said...

I bet that wine was delicious with that sandwich...sounds freakin awesome.