Saturday, April 13, 2013

Come a Storm

The tasting last night was simply boffo!  Friday, being my reliably busy day, was just that until 5pm when David Rimmer our guest wine presenter arrived for the two hour event.  Then it died.  At a little before 6pm all hell broke loose.  We ended up doubling our day's receipts in the last hour of the day!  That's retail, now go figure.  Thank God, David was here to help.

You know how when you're going into a tasting, how you just know that the three Italian reds are going to be special and how you hope the Chilean whites and rose are going to be okay?  That is called prejudice.  Were the Italians up to it?  Most assuredly and the Chileans over-performed just like they usually do.  In total, we had eight wines open here last night.  David added two, the Stangeland Pinot Gris from Oregon and Brix 24.5 Degrees Pinot Noir from Sonoma's Russian River Valley.  They were exceptional also but let's start at the beginning...

The first two on the table were the Chilean Del Sol Sauvignon Blanc and Unoaked Chardonnay.  Both were crisp and fruity with the first being more citrusy and astringent like you would expect and the second being fuller and rounder as it should be.

The next two were the Russian River Pinot and the Del Sol Pinot Noir Rose.  The Brix was "the bomb".  At close to a thirty dollar retail, it was surprisingly the first wine to sell out which left the remaining tasters asking for a phone call when we got re-stocked.  The Rose was good but overshadowed by Brix.  It was a bad lineup placement choice on my part.

The next two were the Convento Cappucini Barbera and L'Albarossa, two dry Piedmont reds that had as much in common as they did in difference.  The '07 Barbera d'Asti was accessible and easy drinking for what was clearly intended to be a food wine.  Both of these were decanted at 11:00am and unfortunately not early enough for the L'Albarossa.  It remained closed and dumb (not showing up to its potential) throughout the evening.

There were two noticeably sweeter wines in the lineup: Stangeland, a white, and Brachetto d'Acqui, a light red also from the convent in Italy.  Stangeland is a great property in Oregon that really excels in Pinot Noir.  The Brachetto is a historically sweet frizzante red that fits the profile for such light, charming Italian reds, seducing the uninitiated taster in the process.

So, the Italians were expected to be as good as they turned out to be.  The Chileans, priced the way Chileans are always priced, tasted way better than should have been expected.  Am I creating a controversy?  Is a storm brewing or am I creating a tempest in a teapot?  Try the Chileans and you be the judge.  Are they way better than they should be?

Next Friday from 5 to 7pm Tommy Basham of Continental Beverage joins us here and presents: Dance Del Mar Spanish Tempranillo/Merlot, Le Seianti Chianti, Ridge Crest Washington State Merlot and Chardonnay, Coto de Hayas Centennaria (100 year old vines!) Garnacha, and Ulmen Argentine Malbec Dulce.  Please join us for this one.

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