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March 25, 2008
I want to wrap prosciutto around the rim of the glass, fingerpaint the label with swaths of lard. It's clear this comes from something very lovely. Nowhere else could honeydew melon taste so sensual, but in a bottle of wine. Is it just because the grape is called melon de Bourgogne that I'm saying that? If you were writing this note, I would say so. But I snagged this bottle out of the fridge on my way out the door and opened it with dinner before looking. I had no idea what I was drinking, just that it was something I needed more of fast. Ripe and musky with an afterthought of full fat cream and tangerine, you'd think it were sweet if not for the bracing minerality and quince-like acidity that take over, make you think this is perhaps from somewhere just south and east of here, in another region known for its glut of dull white wines from which a few always emerge stoned but alive.
March 20, 2008
05 Cayuse Vineyards, Walla Walla Cailloux Vineyard Syrah
There's nothing American about it. From the winery, to the vineyard, to the varietal, to the winemaker's own name. Christophe Baron. The Baron of Walla Walla. The feudal vassal tending to his land. Our noble Lord. And yet, he might be the most American thing we've got going when it comes to wine. From one word for rocks (Cayuse) to the next (Cailloux), it's clear what this syrah's intentions are--to send vines scampering, deep into some semblance of soil, for whatever cysts of water they can find. Beneath each stone, another stone. None but the toughest would survive, and no one knew who would live to tell their story. A story of pride, really. This is the first wine I've had that I can say actually tastes like hubris. It's concentrated to the point of being sticky, and you can see the grapes smiling maddeningly in your face, gritting their teeth, give me one last shot, your best, right in the jaw. It's not like Mitolo or Glaetzer--not rich in the way shiraz has defined the grape for you. There's no milk chocolate or vanilla sundae. It's not smooth. All the concentration that shows here shows from the grapes. This is what wine would taste like if Ferran Adria were a vintner, bringing to life fruit filled with only the essence of the fruit itself. It's wild French country weeds beside the freshly blacktopped thoroughfare, lavendar and violet on one side, a half-masticated hog on the other, its ass crisping in the sun. You take a sip of water from your saddle leather canteen. Is it raining black pepper? Out in front of you is the ocean, Canada to the north, and a juke box turned to rock and roll.
March 13, 2008
06 Siduri, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
There are pinots that kill you with their economy. Pint-sized and "nuanced" like the roses (ro-zays) that they really are, you find yourself loving them, the way you tell people how much you love reading "War and Peace." Yeah, you really connect to Dada, too. There's something in nothing, 'cause nothing is everything. Man. Then you run to the bathroom with a bottle of Siduri, and come back with streaks of pork fat glistening from your chin. Wines like this tremendous Siduri seem to pride themselves on the grape. Oh, holy altar of pinot noir, you are more than just a conduit for dirt and dogma. Oak and oligarchy. This is the rare freedom that pinot offers--a taste of seasons changing, sweet cherry blossom spring turning to composting leaves, marigolds in the window. There's such a steady force to this wine, controlled, but still full of peppery cherry, mulberry, and watermelon flavors. I'm going on. Truth is, you might not like this wine. It's bright, acidic, and seething with raunchy yeast. It feels like it should be bubbling. Which actually seems quite right, locked in a bathroom with the faucet running. Paul Simon leaking through the speakers. The grass is high, the fields are ripe. It's the springtime of my life.
© 2005-2011 Nilay Gandhi