Easy like Sunday Morning-And St. Supery

Today is the unicorn fall day in Minnesota: those days that are so beautiful-crisp air, blue skies, fluffy clouds hovering over crimson, gold,  and green-leafed rainbows, verdant lawns and sunlight sure pure, it’s like its been strained through a filter for any lingering debris. But hard to believe they (these kinds of days) are real.

I took advantage of it in full force. (Side note: didn’t know my current roommate substituted real coffee with decaf. I’ve been sad all week.  I had full strength this morning, and think I could have built Hoover Dam.  Glad the day and the jolt coincided).  I first went for a run of 7.5  miles, then a bike ride around town and took in the sites against the many neighborhoods I traveled through.  (Then, I bought the new iPhone and went to Whole foods, and felt bphoto-87roke.)

The day, however, and a good wine, is something that can all of us feel rich.

This is that wine.  St. Supery, a Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 from Napa Valley is full of pomp and circumstance.  Or should I say plump and circumstance? It is big.

On the nose, rich cassis that feels like it was liquored in the sun,  blackberry and vanilla.  It is a potpourri of all the best a Cabernet Sauv can offer.  On the palette, it is big–and slightly drowned out by the alcohol at 14.7%, but with a little cheese and some rosemary crackers–it numbed down the alcohol and became much smoother.  The length was a good medium length and medium-full on the tannins. The fruit came out and with a little food, was nice and balanced.

I recommend no more than half a bottle–especially on a Sunday.  But if you can call in sick to work, have at it!


Pinot Nero: Translating tastes

photo-85It’s a cut to the chase kind of day.

The wine is called hofstatter joshph meczan.  It is a Pinot-Nero-blauburgunder. Alto-Adige, 2011.  The common layman, or rather, any of the poor fools Jay Leno interviews on the street isn’t going to have the faintest as to what this is, let along what region it is.  (Psst: Italy).  It kind of sounds Norwegian, Italian and German all in one–WWII would have been proud to name this the wine of the war, most often picked by the Axis of Evil.  Almost.  Except at the core of this wine is goodness.  Pure goodness.

Pinot Nero, or Blauburgunder, is a Pinot Noir.  This one opened on the nose a little spicier than the last one I had. More pepper, black fruit with cherries.  It was a nice “chill” kind of wine with medium acid, medium-long finish with good balance (13.5% alcohol level).   I am just drinking it to drink it–which is nice, but think it will go really well with some earthy mushroom, well-spiced pork, salty turkey–something that screams, “I CAME OUT OF A FORREST.”  It also soothlingly proclaims, “I’m mellow.”  Mixing metaphors, like sounds of its origins, seems okay to do.

The wine shop I purchased this at proclaimed it was the owners favorite wine.  But then again, I couldn’t find a Sauternes, Riesling, or the usual go-to wines, so you be the judge.  (This might be another Jay Leno moment, I know).  This bottle is very nice, and I would bring this over to a friends, or drink the bottle over two days, but I have new-employee orientation in the morning, so… You can bet your inner evil-superhero I’m making the 5 am workout in the morning.


Molly Dooker returns: Two left Feet Is A Smooth Operator

photo-83Have you ever seen a long long friend turn a corner (after you’ve been straining your head in wait) to have them appear and your head fills up with glee as your pulse races in happiness and expectation?  It’s called being smitten.

That is how I’m starting to feel about a Molly Dooker wine.  “Too Left Feet” is a blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  On the nose it is baked plums, soft leather, light oak, and spicy chocolate. On the tongue, the tannins are soft (from the Merlot addition) and it tastes like your favorite Christmas dessert wrapped up in a chocolate birthday cupcake (with the same flavor profiles as on the nose). The taste is smooth and balanced and the alcohol (at 15.5%!) is not overpowering.  It has such a bright taste, that I almost expected bubbles.

I would give this high marks easily, especially since you can find the brand anywhere (even in MSP),  and with the right friends (I have) the right dessert (Jill is making chocolate molten cake to go with it), and the right day (can you say stress?), it puts the right spin on the day.  I don’t think I’m working out tomorrow–probably something to do with a coordination problem after drinking this.


La Dame Rousee roused my spirits

Ever start a new job and think, really? How did I not know it was going to be this busy right away?  In a way, it’s great to wrap oneself up completely in a task, a meeting, conversations and thought.  In another way, the art and practicality of breathing becomes laborious.

Enter a Cotes-Du-Rhone, primarily a Syrah/Grenache blend.   Two or three years ago, I would have thought something ‘unbranded’, or ‘not of a California’ title would have been weak or off in taste.  Now, I’ve come to appreciate a region probably often under-appreciated, except for it’s glittery older sister, the Chateauneuf-du-Pape.  Now I know better, as all older women do, that a table wine can be the star of one’s night and help catch up with the day…and breathing.


 The wine: The Cotes-Du-Rhone, “La Dame Rousse” by Domaine De La Mordoree  seemed like it would be lackluster in the store.  It was in a bin, it was on sale for $16.99, had a red game bird on its label and displayed the ever popular vintage, 2012. Le sigh.

Opening the bottle up, getting a whiff of the faint fruit, vanilla and cedar notes, I  thought–okay. This is fine for tonight.  On the palette, the red cherries and deep black current came out, as did the spice.  Perhaps it was due to the 14.5% alcohol content, but the flavors seemed as if someone started to draw a blueprint, but then erased it and you can still see the outline and most of the details.  The wine was medium on tannins and on length.  I would have given it a nice 5/10 or on my scale, a 2.5.

Then I read the description of the wine on the winemaker’s website, and noted it said to pair it with deli meats and cheeses (I had not eaten dinner yet),  so I quickly added a smoked gouda to the line-up, and the distant taste and punctuated alcohol all of a sudden become a silky fruit roll up around the tongue, forming a nice lilt around the mouth–like it wanted to frolick in some flowers or chocolate syrup,  but instead, did a small pirouette in silent joy.   Understated, I think, defines a nice CdR.

It was a good, pairing wine (something that perhaps should not stand alone).  I would definitely have a few glasses, but my alarm is going off bright and early to work out, so will not miss the workout for this one.   It was a great chance, though, to catch my breath.


Falling for Riesling

As I walked in the woods today, with a premature autumn note in the air, my thoughts turned to Thoreau.  “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” Moments at peace in clean air, ripening leaves, and crispening air are priceless.  And I’ve found that in terms of wine, its price does not need to equal the quintessential arm and a leg pay-to-play fee.  Enter: The Riesling.

The Wine: Peter Jakob Bruhn’s “Jacobus”‘s 2011 Rheingau Riesling Troken is a single vineyard Riesling and it is amazing.  I mentioned I went for the first walk of a burgeoning autumn in Minnesota, and it’s taste is that like a color wheel of fall leaves swept over a golden, green field on the edge of a darkening woods.

On the nose, there is a bit of yeasty brioche, as if a distant cousin of Champagne.  On the palette, there are notes of green and golden apple, with a faint bit of pear and hints of passion fruit.  The acid is high, and it is a crisp, bone dry wine with a medium-long finish and no lingering tartness.  It is complex like the light entering an evening in the autumn woods.

RieslingIf you are a fan of reds when the temps start to drop, you might have another wine to add to the line-up.  This wine pairs nicely with some Italian antipasti and high-acid foods–it will go well with fish or even a day in front of a football game.   At 11.5% in alcohol, it ranks a little higher than other Rieslings, but you can drink this entire bottle AND still make the workout in the morning.

Just be prepared to look at a white wine, and a Riesling, in a new way. Again, in Thoreau’s words, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”  You will see a quality wine in a quality Riesling.