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Archive for WBW

Area 51…WBW…Madeira or not

I actually know nothing about aliens and what they might know about Madeira, fortified wines, etc.  But since it is Wine Blogging Wednesday #51, I pulled a wine out of my cellar that I had hidden away, out of public view: Rombauer VineyardsJOY – Late Harvest Chardonnay Carneros. The Rombauers – one of Napa’s royal families – are reknown for their chardonnay.  Not to say they don’t do a great job with all they produce, but I loved their Chard even before coming to wine.  The JOY is a barrel fermented botrytis Chardonnay that was picked at 45 degrees Brix at harvest, left with over 27% residual sugar and less than 10% alcohol.  Does this wine qualify for WBW #51?

Well, it’s not Madeira.  However it is oxidized and about as brown as iced tea!  Was this intentional?  I think not.  Should I have kept this bottle for about ten years?  Probably not.  It looks a lot more like maple syrup than the pale golden nectar I bought well before #43 learned the secrets of Area 51.

It is as viscous as syrup!  A beautifully complex nose filled with apricot, hibiscus, almond, honeysuckle, thyme, baked apples, and Meyers lemon peel.  The wine explodes on the tongue and coats the mouth like custard on the back of a spoon.  Overripe peaches and various nuts lead the flavors but are tempered by shining acids that have held on rather brightly around the honey and butterscotch.  As I would hope, a long, long citrusy finish that shows the wine’s Carneros roots.

While this wine – or any late harvest chardonnay – would not be my first selection off of a restaurant list, I do like it.  The toffee-brown color frightened me at first.  Thoughts of Kaluha and Tia Maria frightened me; they are o.k. in cocktails, but not what I want to have with Foie Gras or stinky Stilton.  Nevermind.  The Rombauers consistently bring JOY!  But next time… I’ll have some Madeira, M’Dear!

Wine Blogging Wednesday #45 – TBA is King!

Mmmm-Mmmm! There is nothing like Sweet and Sticky when it is done right. Trockenbeerenauslese – literally, a wine made from the harvest of selected dried berries – is regarded as the highest quality category of Austrian wines. This Wine Blogging Wednesday, Tim Elliott of WineCast presented the category of “Old World Riesling” and I rejoiced. I love Riesling. To me, it is the most noble of the noble grape varieties. And even better, I don’t make one. This gives me a chance to track down something yummy from one of my favorite winemongers, Domaine 547. There, Budo-Kun pointed me to a “TBA” made from botrytized Riesling by one of the foremost unsung heroes in Austria.

Pots of Gold at Either End

Weingut Franz Heiss is located on the eastern shores of the Neuseidersee in the Burgenland region of Austria. Long famous in the town of Illmitz for producing “Liquid Gold”, Heiss agrees with those of us in the wine world who hail Riesling as King. Even though it is his favorite grape, he makes very little. Only a small portion of his 500 cases of several different sweet wines became his 2001 Trockenbeerenauslese Riesling.

I put Malia to bed and popped the cork on my bottle. She’s only five, but one whiff of this beauty and I know she’d be pestering me for a tiny sip! I did share with She Who Must Be Obeyed. I’m not THAT stupid. However, I sequestered myself in the dining room so as to not be influenced by my wife’s superhuman palate.

Wow! Liquid Gold is right. If the miller’s daughter had a bottle of this to give the king, Rumplestiltskin would have had no deal! Beautiful inviting color that can be best described as… Liquid Gold. Aromas more of Vaseline than petroleum, apricot, pear, sour apple, lilies, pomegranate, peat smoke, and chanterelles sauteeing in butter. The wine entered my mouth with a rich viscosity. Its unparalleled sweetness on the tip of the tongue played against bright acids along the sides and spicy pepper across the top. Heiss often ages stickies for a year in Acacia wood barrels, not clumsy White Oak, to bring out the floral and savory flavors that distinguish Austrian Riesling. I found flavors of honey, grilled peach, cantaloupe, toasted almonds prosciutto, and Seville orange marmalade. Finally a quick flash of spice and white pepper on the finish before a perfect balance of acid and sweetness love you long time!

I didn’t plan ahead and the Gorgonzola we had in the house was too mild and was lost to the flavors of the wine. On a whim, I brought out my spicy pralines and the Heiss TBA Riesling was actually sweet and savory enough to handle both the brown sugar candy and the liberal pinches of cayenne. As it is now 1:09 am and officially Wine Blogging Wednesday, I’m going to bed. Hmmmm, Riesling and Rice Crispies in the morning?

WBW #44: Romance in a Glass; My 1st Feminine Cab Franc

Let me officially say that I LOVE DOMAINE 547! JB’s selections have been spot on. I seem ready to love each of her wines even more than the last. However, this one rides straight to the top as the newest of my favorite wines. Chateau du Hureau 2005 Saumur-Champigny – Wine Blogging Wednesday #44: French Cabernet Franc!

WBW #44

I first tasted this wine at around 7:30 this morning and continued at around 8:30 because I was so smitten. I just had to revisit this lovely. Did I mention I love Domaine 547 ?

Chateau du Hureau is a domaine in the Loire AOC of Saumur-Champigny. Aside from being the birthplace of the Plantagenet Dynasty of England, the Loire is home to a beautiful expression of Cabernet Franc. The Domaine that produced my fantasy date for the morning is indeed a serious Cinderella Loire Valley Chateau. BTW – un hureau is a solitary old wild boar, very NOT like this wine!)

Her beauty poured in a seductive soft purple hue that reminded me of the color that I would have wanted my raspberry coulis to come out, if I had ever thought to make a raspberry coulis. The first aromas to surface were garden iris and raspberry. They were soon overtaken by green & red bell peppers, black cherry, white peppercorns, and ginger – leaving behind creamy vanilla and the sharpness of Stilton. Her scent was alluring enough to make me want, no need, a taste.

The primary impression that came to mind with the first sip was that this was one well-balanced Cab Franc! No aggressive attack, just a cool medium viscosity not unlike milk. Yet the mouthfeel had enough acid taking over as the the wine left my mouth to get the glands juicing and pining for more. The flavors fused together beautifully trying to elude direct identification, wanting to present a total, yet iridescent impression. She is calculating in the seduction of her unwary prey.

First the fruits : Plum, raspberry, a hint of roadside blackberry and wild strawberry. Then she roughs it up a bit to turn my admiration to longing: radicchio with a very mild soft bleu and bits of crispy bacon. Then she rewards me with a little creaminess: mixed berry yogurt on the way down my eager gullet. Her finish played with a little leather and showed very mild dark and toast caramelized onions, citrus peel and heaps of soft tannins that dried out my mouth only for the acid to do its job and slack my thirst.

And you wonder why I am just posting this now after tasting the Saumur-Champigny almost four hours ago? It has taken me this long to recover. There is still two-thirds of a bottle left. Maybe after my daughter goes to bed tonight, I’ll uncork this beauty again and, in the French tradition, share her with my lovely wife.Romance in the Loire

Wine Blogging Wednesday #42

This blogger has finally tried to get his act together and join with the countless other wine tasting bloggers and post to the world-famous Wine Blogging Wednesday!

What is this, you ask? Every month a “host” selects a topic/category and on the prescribed day, we all post our review of a wine that fits. This month, Andrew Barrow from Spitoon decided we should review an Italian red in “Just 7 Words” and post. Sounds great! I love Vino Rosso and enjoy a word-play challenge. However…

Evil Head Cold keeps my bottle corked!

I am smitten with the plague that seems to have knocked out most of Sonoma County through the past few weeks. Even my AP-celebrated daughter is sniffing and hacking. I would have tasted

Il Dominio 1997 Bagnoli “Classico” Friularo “Vendemmia Tardiva”

Big ‘ol props to anyone who has tried a wine from Bagnoli di Sopra in the Veneto. The DOC has one village, one winery, and is the only region to have the right to the varietal, Friularo.

Alas. No tasting this week. But at least you have my seven words…hopefully not my last.