Oldish and still goodish
A bunch of years ago, I bought two bottles of this because I was enchanted with the idea of 100% Grenache (I still am). The first bottle was long ago consumed, but I remember how it was one of the most spectacular wines I had ever had. So I hoarded that last bottle for as long as I could. Years. And I forgot about it. And how it was a screwtop. Sure, a lot of great wines come in screwtops, but most of them aren’t nine years old.
So when I decided to reheat a pot pie from KO Catering & Pies, I knew which wine I had to open with it, and hope for the best.
Still has some nice color. Plus the screwcap.
You know how Elizabeth Taylor, Jacqueline Kennedy, Greta Garbo, and a bunch of other glamour girls still had that sparkle, that mystique after their heydays? How you were excited to see them, even after all these years (rehab and bloat aside)? That was this wine. Take a bunch of strawberries, black cherries, cassis and blackberries. Add tobacco and a little cedar, violet and anise. And voila. Probably not the bestest ever wine to put with meat pie but still managed to hold its own. There was still a little heat (alcohol) climbing out of the glass and ready to bitchslap me as I tilted the glass toward me, and a bit of tannin left. But mostly this was a red fruit lovefest, even with a little fridge time.
I tried some after dinner, and it was still lovely and as hedonistic as Ava Gardner, but overwhelming and a little cloying without food. I had a
third and a half
Craneford Wines, point of purchase forgotten, probably around $25
Ignore the messy kitchen table.
I had to ask the sales associate three times to repeat the name of this grape. Never, ever heard of it before. She said it was one she was currently enjoying herself at home, especially with lamb.
Gaillac is in southwest France, and supposedly was the site of the oldest Roman vineyards back in the
Asterix et Obelix days it was called Gaul. They have their own spin on Beaujolais Nouveau that they release in November as well, called Primeur, and is, hopefully, less galling.
I found it like a mildly spicier Pinot Noir: peppery and briny, yet eminently drinkable and friendly. It matched up well with blue cheese shortbread, and cheese and saucisson sec avec herbs de Provence. Yeah, I’m throwing in dime-store French since I never get to use it anymore. Fer also means iron, and that comes from the wood’s toughness, not the wine’s drinkability. This was tres bien.
If you can pick some up, do so.
Domaine Philemon Croix d’Azal 2008, Gaillac
Urban Grape, $12 (the orphan shelf. All gone. Sorry.)
There are a lot of crackers that think they have the cojones to stand up to your Cabs and Crianzas, but a lot of them fail short (I never understand why bakers think “merlot crackers” are enhanced by actually using merlot in the recipe, but that’s beside the point).
O Pair may have converted me with their blue cheese and fig crackers. My friend Magda got me a three-month tasting box subscription to Foodzie.com for Christmas. In box #3 were these little shortbread beauties, and for a sample size, it took me two or three attempts to finish them off. Their Foodzie site says they can last four weeks, but these were so buttery, I was afraid they’d go bad in a few days. Silly me.
I have never been a fan of figs, but I really dug these. I tried them with a cab blend, a shiraz, and even a Portugieser and these crackers were perfect with all of them. They also have other flavors like garlic/rosemary, lemon mint, salt and pepper, and rosemary/walnut, but frankly, I’m a little afraid to mess with perfection and order the others.
Butter, salt, cheese. Really, what more do you need?
Foodzie.com, $19.50 for three 4-oz bags.
The Ribatejo DOC, southwestyish Portugal, is not too far from Lisbon. It’s an extremely important wine region there, and Fernao Pires is Portugal’s #1 white grape. Jancis says it produces “simple, honeyed, and sometimes slightly spicy dry white wine.” Not really.
There are two ways I could describe this wine: 1) You pet a sleeping dog that starts humping your leg aggressively. 2) You’re at a bar, looking for a little action. You acquaint yourself with a young lass, retire to one’s quarters, and she turns out to be a way freaky lady-boy. (I dated a guy who had “sleep with tranny hooker” on his bucket list. Crossed off. That was the least of his issues. But I digress.)
Basically, this wine was watery and blah until it hit the back of the throat, and then it took a bad turn into Oxidation Junction. This thing got shrill. The label says it’s such a great match for fruit and cheese. The only way I could drink this stuff was with a hunk of smoked cheddar. Then it tasted okay, but I think it was the smoke that was dulling my taste buds into thinking all was well once again in Mouthland.
Quinta do Alqueve 2008, $12.
The wine collection’s gotten out of hand. It’s gotten out of racks and closets and into my hallway. It’s gotten ridiculous. One hundred eighteen bottles. About two dozen of the ones with longest cellar potential are going into storage (I spent all evening researching that). Here’s who they are.
Drink these after 2020. What shape will they--and I--be in?
More deep-storage wines (drink by 2020)
These are the ones to drink 2014-2018. Playing it conservatively on the Rieslings. Only one of them is GG quality, although all are VDP.
These will be consumed in the next 2-4 years, thought they could go possibly longer.