Eighty degrees on a summer evening with a crowd of weird tasters and weird wines serving grilled food is a recipe for entertainment. Weird wines AND weird foods crosses the line. The extra WEIRD was delivered by the US Open golf tournament held at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, hosted by the USGA. These regulatory sourpusses provided more than enough weirdness for a national audience. I will make this brief but it must be said. The USGA is beyond starchy. These guardians of the ancient game make it plain that shooting par is a good score to win the national open tournament. To put it in wine terms this is like Robert Parker saying wines should strive to taste the same. Wait. He does say that…big and fruity and alcoholic. Well, there is my point. The USGA is so starchy they make Robert Parker seem drip dry.We may not fuzzy up to Parker’s palate but at least he stands for something not squarely in the middle-of-the-road. The USGA would put Charlize Theron in a form fitting bodysuit and not give her a talking part. Insist Jackson Pollack paint inside the lines. Force Nicky Minaj to wear brown and navy business suits. The USGA took all the pleasure out of the national open golf tournament.
Fortunately, at tBoW’s table on a warm summer evening the Team Tasters responded to the call of the Weird with gusto and style. The theme was Summer Whites Wines and here is what showed up in the ice bucket. There were also REDs which we will be recounted next post.
2009 Georges Vigouroux Pigmentum VDP Ugni Blanc Colombard $10: IGTY kicked things off with a nutty flavored almondine wine from the Languedoc. Light yellow color. Subtle with flavor. Light color. Ugni Blanc aka Trebbiano is one of the grapes used in Cognac and Armagnac. Colombard is the workhorse for inexpensive Central California white wines. This is Gascony Vin Des Pays so it is way down on the snobby wine ladder. But this one worked! 12%
2011 Tablas Creek Rosé $15: Rosé reviews should always begin with the color. A lovely deep salmon color. Blend of Mourvedre, Grenache and Counoise. Typical TC style, i.e., crisp, bright, lean with strawberry flavors. TC is always too severe for some but it is rarely OFF. This wine is ON. Nice job. 14.5%
2006 Blees Ferber Riesling Triettenheimer Apotheke Trocken Kabinett $5: You saw it right. Kris-B picked this up on clearance at Pasadena’s most secret deal house, the Chronicle Wine Cellar where Gus Martin holds court. Gus has long time connections so he finds deals like this. He must have paid $2.50 to clear out whatever many odd cases the distributor had left. The wine shows peaches with chalky notes. Very good. Hooray for Gus and Kris-B. SUPER U10!! 7.5%
2010 Colline Lucchesi Fattoria di Fubbiano Vermentino $20: Rich mouthful of grapefruit and orange flavors. Very good. Tasted the Uvaggio Vermentino next to it just for fun. 11%
2010 Uvaggio Vermentino $12: We have tasted this wine over several vintages on many occasions. It was great to taste it next to a really nice Italian bottle. The Uvaggio is brighter and more racy. The flavors are similar with grapefruit and citrus rind without the bitter. Two excellent bottles. 13%
NV Susucaru 3 $$NOT CHEAP: Gets the Gold Medal for height of weird. Height is an appropriate descriptor because this wine is grown on Mt. Etna in Sicily which peaks at 11,000 feet. The grapes are grown between 1500 and 5,000 feet. This wine is not for the patient. A few of the impulsive adjunct tasters actually tossed it out of their glasses (which is why everyone received small pours). The wine shows little fruit upon being poured. Pretty rosy pink color. It is slow to open before it shows some fruit. But it shows plenty of volcanic soil and ash. It is bitter tasting more like the rind than the pulp. Resin and Juniper. The winemaker is Frank Cornelissen, a believer in doing nothing to treat the wine. His Mt. Etna vineyard is on the north slope which has received little lava of late. Zev Rovine is the importer. Zev says, in his experience, the wine will be ready for drinking at the end of summer, like September. You know what that means. See you in September! Of course it is a Garagiste pick. 12%
FRV100 Rose Jean Paul Brun $20: Pronounced “effervescent.” Tinkaboudid. It hardly seems fair to put a wine like this in a Summer lineup. It is the Steely Dan of summer wines. A crowd favorite AND sophisticated. Always selling out. And no wonder; it is so freaking delicious. Perfectly balanced with just enough spritz. Of course, Dotoré contributed. [ed. he knows his fizz.] This bottle is everything you want in pink wine – fresh strawberry flavors, tickly fizz, light alcohol. Super value because it is worth the price. 7.5%