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, November 20, 2011

Adding to the closet

It seems I haven’t written anything here since my trip to Arizona, and there’s good reason for that. It’s not that I’ve been negligent in writing about the wines I’ve been drinking, it’s just that I haven’t been drinking all that much wine of late.

There were a couple wines, but in those few cases I was negligent because I didn’t jot down any notes. In one case I did jot down a few words. It was for a 2001 Rioja, the Aribau Cuvee Reserva, a Spanish Tempranillo about which I wrote: “Very light, almost like a Pinot. Delicious fruit.” I think I drank this wine at a tapas restaurant in Columbia, S.C., but I’m not certain. Apparently Parker rated this vintage with a 90.

I did find a Kim Crawford 2010 Sauvignon Blanc for just $11; it was an exceptional bargain as this wine usually retails for $17. It was excellent!

And there was a white from Portugal, the 2010 Casa de Vila Verde, the first white wine I’ve had from Portugal. I recall it being very fresh and delightful, but I jotted down nothing for notes.

But I haven’t been completely idle. I’ve added some exciting wines to my cellar – er, closet – and some of them I expect to be drinking this Thanksgiving with family.

One addition to the closet is a 2009 Lirac, which is in the Southern Rhône, the Chateau de Segries Cuvee Reservee by Henri de Lanzac. I drank this one twice so far – once at a restaurant in Conway, S.C. and the other during a dinner with my friend Curt – but I’m afraid I didn’t take any notes. Suffice it to say that I was very impressed with this wine, considering it was just $15. Ah, but I have two more bottles and I will definitely devote a post to this exceptional find. And if you can’t wait, just go out and buy some! It’s that good!

I’ve decided I’m going to attempt to create a vertical flight – or at least as close as I can come to creating one – for Châteauneuf-du-Pape. With the exception of 2008, I have bottles going back to 2005. Even accounting for the fact that my wine cellar is a closet, these wines are age-worthy, many of them for 15 to 20 years.

My most recent additions of these are the 2009 vintage from Domaine Jean Roger, about which I know absolutely nothing (Cellar Tracker suggests you hold until at least 2014), and the basic bottling from Domaine de Cristia. This latter wine comes from a very consistent producer and the 2009 vintage was rated with a 92 and is expected to cellar through 2023. Domaine de Cristia offers some higher end Châteauneufs that are also 90+ wines, but these will cost you; the basic bottling you can find for about $32.

I also recently added a 2009 Beaujolais, the Domaine Diochon Moulin-a-Vent, which we may drink this weekend.

Some new ones for drinking right away I picked up include the 2010 vintage of the Dry Creek Vineyard Wilson Ranch dry Chenin Blanc. The 2009 vintage was such an exceptional value with its fresh, crisp taste that I thought it worth the risk to try the 2010. We shall see.

For Thanksgiving, Curt was kind enough to donate his Italian Merlot, the2009 Falesco from Umbria. This is a reasonably-price wine from a consistent producer who has offered solid wines for the past decade; this should be a decent match with turkey. We’ll also have the Gruet Blanc de Noir sparkler from New Mexico, which Wine Spectator rated as a Smart Buy recently and gave it a score of 90. Not bad for $13.

So while I may have been silent recently, there will be plenty to write about very soon!