Wine Intelligence part 1: Time of the Season

I am not finished with the recent entry about corresponding the wine to the season. The good dokker calls it wine intelligence. I agree. The immediate objective is to provide a few simple guidelines for how to know what to take to a wine dinner-slash-tasting. The longer term objective is to give some hints on how to enhance your enjoyment of wine.
The impulse that we must all fight is to take a heavy-hitter that we believe will guarantee savvy and breeding. Wrong. The better aspiration is to bring a bottle that fits a set of criteria, such as the taste of the host, the meal being served, the other wines, e.g., a theme‚ and the SEASON or time of year. Cabs in summer? Fogettum. Albariňo for Thanksgiving? Not really. Perhaps it is time for a seasonal wine chart instead of another tasting wheel? This past week we tasted an array of wines that showed intelligence on the part of the guests who trotted them out. Here are the notes. You can ascertain the reasons why.
2006 Chateau des Baumelles Bandol $16: Another rosé from Southwest France. I guess we will just keep drinking these until winter hits SoCal and the temps drop to 60 overnight. What is not to like? Well balanced with just the right amount acidity that, combined with the perfectly ripe fruit, gives the perfect mineral flavor. I liked this one quite a bit and will purchase some more. All rosés are not the same although they do share many similarities. And they seem most enjoyable in the summer season. 13.1% alcohol.
2005 Domaine de Fondreche Cotes du Ventoux Instant Ros√© $15: The label with the cute “Instant” name says “for the American market.” Great. I am buying. Cotes du Ventoux is in the Rhone region which is north of Provence. So what’s in the bottle? Grenache, syrah and one or two more grapes in combo? Alcohol is 12.8%. Wine is more ripe than the Bandol above but you would still probably not mistake this for a California product. This is one of those ros√©s that supports the stereotype all ros√©s taste alike. Compared to the Bandol it comes in a distant second. I am glad I tried it. Purchased at the local premium wine store Woodland Hills Wine Company (but not a Steve tout!).
2003 Magnien Morey St Denis Herbuottes ~$20: Now this is smart wine toting. Bring this to a dinner to which you are invited and everyone will be impressed with whatever-heck-was-that-wine-you-brought. The designation (MSD) is lighter for red Burgundy. While Burgundy is arguably the most expensive and collectible region among wine cognoscenti, the region of Morey St Denis is not what the big collectors search out and bag like the big game hunters they are. Why? Because it is just an ordinary little village that makes great wines in certain vintages from the same fricking grape that goes into DRC La Tache or Romanee Conti. Some will laugh and more will scoff at my declaration‚Ķnevertheless, this bottle is plenty of evidence that what I say is at least worth looking into. North Berkeley Wine seems to have an exclusive with this producer. NBW selected the barrels and had it bottled just for them. This is the kind of red wine one can drink with sockeye salmon on a totally relaxed summer night discussing presidential candidates and children and/or choices in prospective spouses. Great nose, fruit is right there, violets, tannins. Good fruit flavors‚ raspberry? Рright up front. Tastes like the best wines from the 2005 Beaujolais vintage. Even better. Holds up for a couple hours. Wonderful wine.
2005 Curran Grenache Blanc $24: My last bottle from the 2005 vintage. My experience with this wine is consistent as 100+ heat in Palm Springs in August. curran-wines.jpgThis wine needs time. I first tasted the 2004 at the Wine Cask March tasting and it was not appealing. I did not understand the grape of the wine, especially as constructed by Ms. Curran. I next had it at a tasting I put together at which Kris Curran poured the same vintage. Blew me away. Where did all the honey and peaches come from? I bought the 2005 and sat on it for 6 months. Drank it Thanksgiving 06. Perfect with bird and stuffing showing the same rich peach and honey flavors. Tasted the 2006 a few weeks ago and covered it here. Not even close to ready. But now I know better. This 2005 is now almost 18 months past release. Honeysuckle nose with acid evident on the nose. The wine is viscous, rich, exhilarating. We kept tasting it against the Morey St Denis. I know. Sounds silly but it held up impressively. Sip of Morey. Sip of Curran. Stupendous. Probably the two most memorable wines so far this summer (excluding the 1995 Dehlinger Pinot Reserve).
Part two in a couple days; a Santa Rita Viognier and a couple domestic Pinots.

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