The wines I have been enjoying over the past few days?
Christmas Eve the kids came over to the house for the Eggplant, Caesar and Pudding Eve meal.
Three wines from Piemonte:
1999 Anselma “Vigna Rionda” Barolo
2001 Cortese “Rabaja” Barbaresco
2002 Damilano Barolo
I opened the Anselma first, to have before the meal started and then worked it around the room. Pleasant, with some life in it. The acidity was bracing, the fruit was glorious and the overall balance was just right. The wine was 14%.
I was excited to open the Cortese Barbaresco, a cru from Rabaja. Two bottles, the first one, as expected, was a little softer in the acidity than the Barolo. The fruit was rich and plum-like. It was served with the eggplant dish, this timbale of eggplant, hard boiled eggs, mozzarella, reggiano and tomato sauce. It went very well. Unfortunately the second bottle, which we needed, was corked. The wine was 13.5%.
I punted with the Damilano, which would have benefited from some air. However it disappeared soon enough. Free wine and young ones (all legal drinking age) have a way of emptying bottles. The Damilano was tight, with focused fruit flavors. In spite of the 2002 vintage the wine was still 14%.
The salad, my classic Caesar, the one that I made, tableside, hundreds of times, in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, was mellow enough and underdressed in a proper way so as to allow wine to be enjoyed with it.
We finished with chocolate pudding (made from scratch – America’s Test Kitchen cookbook) and vin Santo.
On Christmas day we had a family invitation. The meal centered on a beautiful ham, garlic-cheese grits, and many wonderful vegetable dishes. I brought two wines to enjoy with that meal.
The 2003 Petra a Cabernet Merlot from the Maremma and a 2006 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spatlese from Dr. Loosen.
The Petra was something I thought the gang would like, as they started out drinking Merlot from California and afterwards stayed in the Cabernet category. They all seemed to love it and I should have brought more. Again, young folks (again, all legal) and free wine, the bottle emptied before I could get a sip.
I was perfectly happy sipping on the Wehlener with the ham. Confession: I love German Rieslings, especially during the holidays. The wine usually matches well with the foods, the alcohol is lower, so I can drive home unimpaired, and usually folks go after the big reds, so the bottle and I have our high noon moment enjoying each others company before one of us dies, which is always the bottle. I am a faster draw.
The Wehlener had that shower of slate softened by the rasp of fruit that entered the palate ever so gracefully. I could have taken the bottle outside and sat on a swing (it was 65 degrees F and sunny) and made a day of it.
The ham, the grits, the Wehlener, one of those magic match points in food and wine. I like the Noble Riesling grape, I am a closet Riesling lover, yes it is true, guilty as charged.
We have another week of outings. The end of the year is upon us. In the wine business, we still have two more week of selling this year. Something we call the extended selling season, in order to make the numbers. The year 2007 will end on December 35th. More about that phenom in another post.