Friday, August 20, 2010

The Friday Lineup: Ends of the Spectrum

Wine of the Week

2007 Sequoia Grove Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($35). There are certain wines that bring a smile to your face when you pull the cork and smell the bottle, a welcoming aroma like coming through the front door on a cold day at dinner time. This is one of them. It may not be an outstanding wine, but it is certainly a very good one, especially at this price - a full-bodied Napa Cab that is not too oaky, too tannic, nor too fruit-forward. Instead, it has a lovely berry and cassis nose with flavors of tart blackberries, dark chocolate, mushrooms, forest floor and mellow oak. It is also somewhat lean and minerally, only mildly tannic and is, perhaps at this stage, a little too tight. The finish and aftertaste are a surprise - touches of raspberry cream and violets. Well structured and a delicious food wine.

Wines of Interest

2008 Ajello Sicily Nero d'Avola ($12). True to the Nero's taste profile, this is a big, unapoletically assertive wine with dark fruit flavors, mouthfuls of tannin and a pleasant bitterness around the edges. Don't try to explain it - like it or hate it for what it is, the wine equivalent of a burly Islay Scotch. Sip it, savor it with some spicy salumi. Let the afternoon pass away.

2009 Thomas Henry Borden Ranch Verdelho ($12). I had this wine a few days after the Nero d'Alba, and I thought they represented the A and the Z of wine drinking. Although both state 14% alcohol on the label, the Verdelho - how many of those do you see from California? - is a pouf by comparison, a little pond of lemon meringue and sugar floating in the middle of your palate. Drink it, and it immediately disappears. A nice amusement while you're waiting around the kitchen with guests before leaving for dinner.

2005 Undone Rheinhessen Pinot Noir ($13). German Pinots are still a bit of a wonder to us, and few to date have gone beyond the novelty state. This is a very simple one - unoaked - with rooty, cola flavors. Light-body, easy drinking at an attractive price.

2007 Waterstone Napa Merlot ($18). This is a Southwest Airlines kind of no-frills wine. Plump, smooth, plummy fruit with light oak and mild tannins.

Prices approximate. For availability, go to

Until next time...
Roger Morris