shhhhhhhhh – – eat! Champagne, Chablis and Sherry tasting!

LA-carsWEBWeeknight tastings always mean a traffic fight. So the food, wines and guests better be worth the battle. They were. Appetizers featured a smoked trout rillettes, assorted salumi olives and gigandes, and mussels gratin. Champagne was poured. Our host says champagne goes with everything. Hard to argue. All the picks are from Eno Fine Wine. In some cases we are posting the online prices because Goldun is not certain when he will get another allocation of the wines tasted. We hope he does because in nearly every case EFW is same cost or lower. Much lower.

fnodelpuertoWEBThe first sherry was served with the appetizers. Color was quite light yellow. Worked very well with nuts and olives.

NV Lustau Almacenista Fino del Puerto Obregon $21: This label prompted a string of questions from tBoW, much to the host’s delight. Begin with the term Almacenista which designates this is a sherry made by a specific sherry winemaker from a specific bodega, in this case bodega José Luis Gonzalez Obregón [ed. queue Lonely Bull, please].

paiging Shelly D

paiging Shelly D

This is a bottle of Fino which is the lower alcohol and perhaps less serious Sherry. The relentlessly curious [ed. Kris-B?] will find more info here. Tasting what we imagine is saddle leather, dry, not earthy. More curiosity. Only the vertical dimension is perceptible at light speed. Think oddly appealing. Beanpole lusticious. Think Shelly Duvall! Fino sherries are less fortified therefore lower alcohol than the Olorosos. By the way, sherries can be the perfect wine complement for artichokes and asparagus! Ha! 14%

Sherry is a new wine experience for tBoW. Shamefully, we do not think we have a palate for the nutty drink. These are fully oxidized fortified wines to the max. They were made to withstand sea travel through any conditions. Just like Oporto without the sweetness. Alcohol is 14% to 20%. The one minute summary follows.

“Sherry is a fortified wine, produced in southwest Spain… consisting of three towns: Puerto de Santa María, Jerez and Sanlúcar de Barrameda. The Palomino and Pedro Ximénez grapes are the primary grapes. The soil is chalky, limestone based.”

If you yearn to learn more, check out this slightly adorned website from whence we copped the quick and dirty sherry lowdown.

We tasted outstanding examples of the two types of sherry – Fino and Oloroso. Each swirl was followed with a nostril whiffing from Sherman’s March thru Georgia [ed. yummy swine]. piuzeno-doz-frontWEBWe are not convinced whether sherry is a drink of preference but we are happy we got the E ticket tasting and would not turn down the right and worthy offer of a pour.

NV Piuze Non Dosé Methodé Traditionnelle $20 online: Cannot be labeled Champagne even though it is from grapes in the Champagne region. This wine was once labeled Melon de Bourgogne sez our host.Bettie-Page-dangle-cropWEB It is a non-vintage sparkler, half Pinot Noir and half Chardonnay. Several variations can be found online but none with this no-doze label. The wine is lean, a bit stark and sexy. I am thinking Bettie Page. Not easily grasped. Terribly interesting. 12%

2006 Daniel Henriet Bazin Cuvee Marie Amelie Fleur de Vigne Blanc Brut Millesime Champagne $60 online: More fruity, candy cane bright. Not treacly. marie-champ06WEBJust more substantial. Is this sufficient excuse for another Bettie Paige foto? Host says this wine is “dense, detailed and precise.” OK. Makes tBoW a lower life form. Or we could go with winery notes: The approach in the palate is soft and fresh with a creamy effervescence. – This Champagne brings you a mineral iodine salted breeze which breathes in the palate, associated with chalk in an outstanding pure expression. 12%

First course brought tonarelli with sea urchin, i.e., noodles bathed in uni. If you need the funk, if you gotta have that funk, then you need this dish. Truffles and uni right next to each other in Davy Jones cookbook. Aarrrr. Popping bass line with bohemian horn. Host served Chardonnay, Old World, to calm the nerves of the high strung sea urchin brine. Worked like buttah because the Chablis wines had plenty of acid to cut the salty seafaring flavors. Chablis is mostly limestone soil and wines tend to be steely and somewhat salty with plenty of Chardonnay fruit to produce an enchanting wine. Chablis is the kind of wine that you love forever or forget quickly.

piuze-chichee12WEB2012 Patrick Piuze Chablis Terriors De Chichée $27 (EFW): Patrick Piuze is the hot ticket in Chablis. Purchased grapes. Chichée is a village WSW of Chablis. The village is on the outer perimeter of the appellation. The wine is yellow straw color like Trigger’s mane. Lime flavors with brininess complements the uni noodles poifickly. Nyuk. At this price it is a high class bargain. Eno Fine Wine seems to specialize in white Burgs. It is good to be able to buy quality Chablis once again at a value price. Goodie for us! 12.5%

piuze-monte-tonerre122012 Piuze Chablis Montée de Tonnerre $57 (cheaper online but TAFI!): Very similar profile as the Chichée wine. Flavors say these wines are getting very light oak and nothing new. Heavier, darker yellow with similar aromatics. Will sit on this wine until Mouse come to town. Rich, gently intense. Not overblown in the least. 12.5%

New World Wine Note: Thinking of what it means to be overblown… we dined at a local fish house and ordered two glasses of wine off the list. The Tablas Creek Patellin Grenache Blanc was balanced, floral and self-contained. Very nice as we would expect from TC. They know what they are doing and have followed their own Old World path from inception. The two other wines were o-v-e-r-b-l-o-w-n: as in extracted, out of whack, top heavy and/or discombobulated. One was a California Chard; the other a New Zealand Sauv Blanc. Just sayin’.

The last wine flight featured the sherries. The main course featured a bourride of rock cod with Seattle butter clams, mussels and prawns.

The Oloroso sherry was served after the main course with manchego cheese. This is, of course, the classic Spanish pairing. Like Port and Stilton. Monroe and Dimaggio. Limbaugh and Bugs Bunny.

NV Emilio Lustau Emperatriz Eugenia Oloroso Very Rare Oloroso $28: “The NV Emperatriz Eugenia Very Rare Oloroso is produced from Palomino from a solera created in 1921 to celebrate the visit of French Empress Eugenia de Montijo. VR-olorosoIt reveals an old wine, brown-colored, with a nose of noble woods, hazelnuts and varnish, a medium- to full-bodied palate, round, glycerin-rich and ample, ending dry and a bit warm.” This wine blew a nose-full of hazelnuts off the top and kept that going for 30 minutes. It was more attractive than the Fino. But what do we know. It did open. We should discuss soleras which are casks of very old base wines to which new wines are added resulting in the sherry that goes in the bottle. Kris-B is traveling to Jerez soon, returning with the complete book on the region plus fotos by Kris-A. Patience.

A few more words about sherry. These wines are dirt cheap for examples of world class wines in this niche. With hundreds of years of tradition the wines belong to a very narrow and very loyal market. If you open a bottle it will keep on the shelf for 6 months so the wines are extremely durable. Now all you need do is develop a taste for them! At least now we know what to buy if and when we do purchase.

The Japanese Ventures play their version of Herb Alpert’s Lonely Bull.

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