Every bottle has a story

I am not a wine expert, but with each bottle I try and share with friends, I learn more. Wine is an exceptional social drink; it is the marijuana of alcoholic beverages because it must be shared. I seek to share with you my thoughts and experiences as I drink the wine in my closet, as well as my enthusiasm for the finds that come my way and the excellent values that I find. I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences too, so please share!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A “ghostly” and “insane” dinner

I enjoyed another wine tasting menu while in Jerome, Arizona, and I also want to share with you the wines I drank with a nearly splendid meal I had at The Asylum, the restaurant in the Jerome Grand Hotel (which allegedly is haunted!).

When I saw that The Asylum had a tasting menu, I knew I had to try it. You may select four wines from their tasting menu for a reasonable price of $10. It’s a great opportunity to try new varietals as well as new producers.

My first choice was the Schwartzbock Grüner Veltliner 2009. This was a light, fresh, juicy and crisp Austrian wine, one of my favorite varietals. I loved this one.

The next one was a Spanish blend that was 60 percent Verdejo, 25 percent Viura and 15 percent Sauvignon Blanc. The Con Class Rueda 2009 was full of orchard fruit on the nose and had a clean mineral taste with a bit of lemon. It finished like a cool mountain stream lined with Colorado columbine. It was, indeed, a delightful wine.

Moving on to reds, I tasted the Los Lobos Malbec 2009, a very interesting wine from Mendoza that was spicy on the nose with a hint of cassis. Yet despite that intriguing aroma, the wine was very subtle on the pallet without much tannin. The finish was smooth and nice. All the flavors were very interesting and I couldn’t quite nail them down, but I know that this is a wine that I would enjoy a bottle of.

My final wine of the flight was the Villa Pozzi Nero d’Avola 2009 from Sicily. I’ve been disappointed by these wines in the past, but this one redeemed all its brethren. It had a rich, blackberry nose heavy with fruit, but not off-putting. It was delicious, juicy with plum and cherry with a tight, dry finish. You don’t taste the tannin until the finish, which leads me to think that this has some closet time potential. This was very good, certainly the best Nero d’Avola I’ve had after a string of disappointments. In fact, I ordered a full glass of this to enjoy with my entree, their delicious grilled Achiote rubbed pork tenderloin, prepared perfectly.

The previous night I had dinner at The Asylum as well, they had so many good wines! I began that evening with the Indaba 2010 Chenin Blanc from the Western Cape, South Africa. I haven’t had much success with South African wines, but this was a nice find. It was smooth and delicate like an excellent Chenin Blanc, ripe with apple, pear, and even a bit of pepper on the finish.

My dinner was a Rocky Point shrimp scampi with tomato Beurre Blanc and shredded Parmesan brown rice. With this I had the Zolo 2010 Torrontes from Mendoza. The Torrontes had a really nice bite with my appetizer, a delicious butternut squash soup that was divine! By the way, if you visit the restaurant’s website, you can find the recipe! The wine was also quite good with the entrée, although the shrimp was a tad overcooked.

All in all, the wines found at The Asylum were delicious and the variety inspiring.

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