On Monday night we met with our architect, and when our talks spilled into happy hour I offered glasses of wine. Craig requested red wine, then added "sweet". Nothing flummoxes me more--I can't even think what people who request sweet red wine could possibly have in mind. So I went to my cellar and pulled the sweetest red wine I have, the 2003 Glen Carlou Syrah from South Africa. I bought a bottle plus a backup s some time ago for a Pal-Cal kind of exercise with my Vancouver buddies, and this was the second bottle. I hadn't liked the first: way too sleek, modern and confected. Girly. With another year in bottle it showed more peppery qualities but the original objections still apply and that's why it was perfect for purpose: Craig had a second glass.
Last night, weather issues prevented me from trekking to Vancouver for dinner, so I consoled myself by inviting some friends over to share a casual dinner of Shepherd's Pie and salad.
First, we sampled the Vacuvinned/refrigerated remains of the 05 Tedeschi Soave we'd opened on Sunday: yuck. The creamy guava veneer was gone and all that was left was an ugly little wine that tasted like motor oil. Buy again? Absolutely not. So instead we opened:
2003 Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio, Alto Adige Now this is what we want when we want an Italian white wine. Pear and apple fruit, mild lemon acidity, bright and yet elegant in that unique way these Northern Italian whites can have. I stole these for $3 ea and am thrilled to have five more.
2004 Drouhin Laforet Bourgogne Never been a fan of the Laforet label and never expect a bottle to be more than just moderately good, so this bottle a guest brought shocked me with how good it was. Vivid pinot fruit, balanced and correct, and immediately slurpable. Prolly the best $10 pinot I've ever tasted.
2005 Domaine Robert Perroud Brouilly "l'Enfer des Balloquets" Like the Drouhin, this wine was recommended and sold to my friends by the impeccably palate-ed John DeGloria at Slough Foods. It's almost easier to describe what it is by describing what it's not: it's gorgeously ripe but it's not overripe, nor is it extracted or full of bananas. This joins the Brun at the top of my favorite 05 Bojo list. It's a little bolder and juicier than the Brun, but perhaps a tad more serious too. Marc D: put this on your shopping list. I'm going to ask John to order more. Don't know the cost but my friends say they bought six bottles for about $60, so it couldn't have been much. My WOTN.
2005 Grove Mill pinot noir, Marlborough
I had great memories of visiting this winery with Robin and Sue Courtney winery back in 2000, so I picked up a few bottles recently to try. Darker than the last two, mostly raspberry and a hint of blueberry, and weighed down by a sweetness that caused vanilla and caramel to get mentioned before we decided that maple was the better fit. Well made, but not in a style I enjoy. Next time a guest asks for a sweet red wine, this is the one I'm pulling.
1999 Matthews Red Wine, Yakima Valley
David B if you're reading: this is from the batch I picked up at auction for $10 ea. And they're fine: definitely like your bottle and not my last one from the pair purchased locally. Complex red and black fruit with dusty tannins, leather and earth. At or close to peak, but should hold here and possibly improve for a couple years.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov