Thursday, September 17, 2009

Unique and noteworthy wines

We’ve had some note-worthy wines lately…..

At a recent wine club event I had my first red Pinot Meunier, by Domaine Chandon. (it’s the grape typically blended in sparkling wines with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) It was oh so good, in fact, Domaine Chandon describes it perfectly: its Pinot Noir’s soulful sister. It’s everything that’s great about Pinot Noir- delicate, a bit fruity, but with some subtle smoke added in to round it out, which is rare in a New World Pinot Noir. We bought it at Friar Tucks for $32 and it was a hit at the wine club event – unique treat!

Since Mr. Lush has been a bit under the weather, we’ve also tried to drink some value wines, where I can enjoy them to their fullest potential but not be sad that Mr. Lush’s palate is off by wasting an expensive bottle. One of which has been the Cameron Hughes Lot 150 Central Coast Meritage (blend of Cab, Cab Franc, and Merlot) – Sam’s Club bought all of it and is selling it for $6.22 a bottle. That’s right - $6.22!!! Now, my expectations for a $6 wine are pretty low, but honestly, it is really good and I’d totally stack this up against something 2-3 times the price. Its got some good fruit, a little bit of oak, overall pretty easy drinking. Note: it benefits from a little bit of decanting, although their website says it drinks great straight out of the bottle, but that’s ok. (We have 3 decanters so we don’t mind if we have to decant something 20 minutes before hand – particularly for an enjoyable bargain wine!!) We drank it with my parents who came to visit and help with the bathroom remodel and they enjoyed it as well, so I’ve been back twice to buy more and will probably pick up a few more bottles this weekend during my Sam’s Club trip. Its also a FANTASTIC choice for a holiday dinner wine - easy drinking for everyone, but priced low enough you don't care if your wine-swilling uncle chugs it like Nat Light.....

Another one is the Artiste Vanessa. (see label to the right) It was a special 3 bottle white purchase and I was a bit excited for the “Franco Italian” blend. 29% Malvasia Bianca, 28% Orange Muscat, 24% Gewurtztraminer, and 19% Chardonnay. I expected it to be fruity and a smidge sweet and hoped for a good pairing with spicy sushi. Not so much – its not overly fruity, its not sweet….its not acidic – the chard rounds it out but it doesn’t taste very chard-ish….its hard to classify, but I liked it, just not with the sushi. I think we might try it with Chicken Marsala tomorrow night and see how it goes- as you know from the Marsala Quest, I’m always on the lookout for the perfect Marsala friendly wine and who knows, this might be it. At the very least, as with all the Artiste wines, it fits nicely with my Artist Series Quest.
(can you tell I like wine-related quests??)