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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!

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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?