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April 23, 2008
Here is where Grochau belongs, making wines you guzzle instead of sip. Everyone should want to drink this--an unpretentious wine so purely fruity, even the sangria lovers out there would love it. It tastes full of cherry (Tylenol) with a mossy framboise finish and this herbal undercurrent of grilled lamb and thyme. Thyme tumbleweeds to be precise. Falling into a lake of fermenting kriek. Here is where Grochau belongs, not messing with syrah. Be Mayweather, Trinidad. You don't have to be Tyson to be a contender. It satisfies whatever that urge is inside of you to buy hot-vintage Spanish garnacha. Eat some fried mushroom risotto balls at a bar--on a bar--one pocked with wine stains and sardine oil. It's that kind of wine. The kind you drink al fresco. For God's sake keep the crispy pizza coming. Just leave that tray of Arbequina olives on the bar. And a round of grape popsicles and anise biscotti on me. Yes, more wine. More wine. More food. Toute de suite.
April 10, 2008
05 Foundry Vineyards, Walla Walla Red Wine
I finally get to say it: This is the best red wine you're not drinking. I haven't felt this good about a table wine since Lot 1 of the 2002 Magnificent Wine Company House Wine (well before it became the jug juice you know today, which is still quite good). That 02 wasn't Charlie Smith's best bottling of the House Wine, but it was a beacon that signaled something new was coming onto the radar. I think when I get a chance to look back on the Foundry wines a few years from now, I'll remember this 2005 the same way. It's hands-down the best Washington cab blend I've had this year, and unless something great happens with my Owen Roe wines, I don't see that changing. For all its smoky, brambly blackberry fruit, all its bacon-chocolate essence, and its almost peaty, whisky-like finish, there's a prettiness to this wine that you'll only see in Walla. I don't even think about the cabernet and merlot varieties that make up this wine. To me, it's much more about a style, a sensibility clear to good Walla producers--and great ones like Foundry. A mission to mix heady fruit with a clean finish that reminds you more of what you're eating (preferably peppery prime rib) than what you're drinking. Which makes this wine a segue into your next bite, which is a segue into your next sip. And so on. And so on. For as long as humanly possible.
April 02, 2008
04 Francis-Tannahill, Jack White
When I first had this wine, I saw it as prophecy. Now that prophecy has come true. This Oregon white wine is one of my favorite Rhone reds. But unlike the truly esoteric bottling I tried at Small Batch, deep down inside this one actually knows what it is. What I have to tell you here is not how strange this wine is. Not that it is rust colored and tannic. Not that it smells like a mix between apricots and exhaust. Or tastes like olives and orange marmalade. No, because you'll just
see experience all that for yourself--somewhere between your first sip and the moment your brain collapses in on itself. What you must know is, after hours of sitting open, this wine has a moment of actualization, like the crosslegged yogi who sees her blue pearl of light. The machine becomes human, spits out an infinity of Pi. I might be dying and smell like carignane, but I am chardonnay. Chardonnay makes up about a third of this wine (the rest is pinot blanc and pinot gris), but it's all that remains if you take it for its full 750 mL. Not the ones you have with dinner; the ones you have with friends, when in your weakest hour you reach way back in the Eurocave for that bottle you've been saving. Since you were married. Until your kid is 21. And you open it, regretfully, but not really. Your kid will never know. It might just taste like wood chips and Barbasol right now, but damn it it's fantastic. Treat this like those wines. If you do, then the end will be great chardonnay. Only the great survives. It's like the densities settle. What's on top goes well with fish, fennel, maybe even asparagus. And suddenly, you notice the wine has changed, but you don't know how. Not until you get to Burgundy, which, on a map, is located in the final two ounces of a glass of Jack White. At last, I understand you, Jackass. I know who you really are.
© 2005-2011 Nilay Gandhi