Wine of the Week
2006 Jordan Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($52). An excellent wine that is more European than Californian in nature. I decided to decant it, as I do most serious wines, but I knew there was little need, because the tannins in Jordan Cabs are always so well-integrated already and because the wines are usually bottle ready to drink. The wine reminds me in style of a slightly more fruity Margaux from one of the better châteaux – fine mature berries with a lean finish, good closing acidity and barely noticeable tannins.
Wines of Interest
2009 Helfrich Vin d’Alsace Riesling ($15) and 2007 Helfrich Alsace Grand Cru Riesling ($25). Thank god for Alsace Riesling table wines! The varietal fragrances and tastes of Rieslings as they appear in Germany and California make for great sipping wines and dessert wines in their sweeter forms, but they always taste not-quite-right for my palate with foods. They may “work,” but there are always two or three other wines I would prefer, regardless of the food. I drank both the Helfrich Rieslings, as well as their Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer, over a delightful lunch at Chifa restaurant in Philadelphiawith one of the owners, Anne-Laurie Helfrich, and the winemaker, Serge Fleischer. Both Rieslings were quite good. The everyday (“noble tier”) Riesling is a perfect food wine. While it has the Riesling fragrances, it is dominated by minerally, earthy, tart, rocky, raspy flavors that are very food friendly. The grand cru version spent much of its extra age on the lees, so it is fuller with a yeasty/brioche layer on top of the minerals. Very reasonable prices for both, as well. I found both versions of the Pinot Gris and the Gewurtz enjoyable, but a little more ordinary and somewhat sweeter.
2008 Treana Central Coast White ($25). Last week, I had the Treana red as the wine of the week, and the white could easily deserve such honors as well. It is a perfect blend of fruit and savory flavors, as the best Rhone-style whites are - fruit essences of ripe peaches and mangoes and Mediterranean dried herbs. Full and unctuous on the palate with good acidity. Marsanne dominates in this blend with Viognier.
2009 Dancing Wolf Clarksburg Verdelho ($11). In the May 7 Friday Lineup, I said some nice things about two of the line-priced Dancing Wolf wines, but I found this one rather ordinary and with a tad too much residual sugar. Yeah, I know, what do you expect for $11? They just spoiled me with the Albarino.
2007 Clos la Chance Santa Clara Mountains “Biagini” Pinot Noir ($50). This wine has about as much concentrated, jammy fruit – black raspberries and preserved cherries – as you’ll ever get from a Pinot Noir without being heavy on the palate. Delicious flavors! Unfortunately, it is also somewhat hot and prickly at the finish, which is becoming more common with La Chance wines. Maybe it’s because of the 14.5% alcohol, but there may be something else going on here in the cellar.
Articles of Some Note:
1. "A River Runs Through It” in the current issue of Drinks magazine (http://www.drinksmag.com/) is a run-down of the lovely white wines of the Loire Valley.
2. My debut review for Book Page, the independent booksellers’ journal, in on Anthony Bourdain’s Medium Raw. Such a nice young boy, that Tony! (http://www.bookpage.com/).
3. My journeys through Italy’s are chronicled in “Nebbiolo Country” in the current Sommelier News. (http://www.internationalsommelier.com/).
4. And, closer to home, my blog in www.ccdwell.com looks at putting together a “50-Mile Wineries” cellar from my home base in Chester County, Pennsylvania.
Until next time…