Sunday, August 1, 2010

Dr. Dirt Ages Gracefully

So, Dr. Dirt has become the latest of our gang of friends that has taken out membership at Club 50. Seems like, lately, the exclusivity of this club is being thrown out with the thrash - much like many of the bottles that we've emptied in getting this far on The List.

Well, if what they say is true and age is simply a state of mind, Club 50 or not, our Dr. has got it going on. And, these milestones do make for marvelous opportunities for grand get-togethers. Known to have enjoyed the odd bottle of wine (and many not so odd bottles) in her day, this little b-day bash had the potential of helping add to The List rather dramatically. All things considered, however, we were pretty well behaved. A few too many chores on all our respective To Do Lists kept the number of bottles down and allowed for a reasonable start the next morning.

That bottles that were opened, however, included some nice surprises. The first bottle I'm mentioning doesn't get added to The List since it's already there at #372. With a winery name such as it has though, I thought it was a no-brainer to bring along a bottle of:

2008 Young & Wyse Merlot (VQA Okanagan Valley) Being young at heart and wise beyond her years, this bottle was simply calling out Dr. Dirt's name.

543. 2006 Chateau du Cedre (AOC Cahors - France)

The first new wine for The List was a pleasant surprise. With new Argentinean Malbec hitting local shelves all the time nowadays, it was nice to see a French Malbec. The Malbec varietal is also known as Cot in Cahors.

I didn't find out an awful lot about this wine or the winery. The website is rather limited and only en francais. The site didn't go into any detail about this particular label, however, I did find one wine purveyor that stated that, at least in one prior vintage, this label was a blend of 80% Malbec and 20% Merlot. That might make a bit of sense with this bottle as well, since the appellation allows its Malbec wines to be blended with up to 30% of either Merlot or Tannat. This bottle didn't seem to be nearly as tannic or austere as what little I remember of other Cahors wines that I've tried.

It probably doesn't hurt either that a few sites have referred to Chateau du Cedre as being one of the notable wineries in the region. I think we all thought this was a producer to try again.

544. 2009 Bodegas Olivares (DO Jumilla - Spain)

Being a summer for plenty of Rose and plenty of Spain, I definitely wanted to try this bottle. Jumilla is one of those regions in Spain that is becoming synonymous with value and quality. It hasn't got the reputation of Rioja or Priorat, as it was largely seen as producing bulk wine. However, it is now capitalizing on its potential and realizing that more can be done with the fact that it was one of the few regions in Europe that was not devastated by phylloxera in the last century. As a result, Cahors has some of the world's oldest vines and has a large percentage of ungrafted vines. The region's primary varietal, Mourvedre or Monastrell, are still grown on its own rootstock instead of having been grafted onto imported American rootstock that was more immune to the phylloxera insect. The result is a potential for a varietal flavour that is more pronounced and truer to the distinctiveness of that varietal.

Once again, not a whole lot of information seemed to be available with an online search, but this Rose is primarily Monastrell with some Syrah added as well. At $14, however, its brightness and acidity (without crossing into off-dry) makes it a lovely wine for a BBQ on the deck.

545. 2008 Klinker Brick Farrah Syrah (Lodi - California)

Never having heard of this winery before either, this was yet another pleasant surprise. I don't know a ton about Californian wines. This is mostly because, as mentioned before in this blog, as soon as American wines cross the 49th Parallel and the Canadian border, I find that the price of the intriguing or noteworthy ones leaves me mostly uninterested. I think one of the girls brought this bottle back from the US though. So, I don't know if it's even available up here or at what price.

I'd definitely keep an eye open for it though. If it's not up here, it should be.

When it comes to the Lodi region, however, I would normally think of Zinfandel and, sure enough, Klinker Brick is particularly known for its Zin's. They produce this single-vineyard Syrah, named after the winery owners' daughter, and it delivers rich colour, flavours and finish - but in a nicely integrated way - without going over the top in a "bigger is better" manner.

It was a fun crowd and a completely satisfying evening of wine, whimsy and song. Knowing Dr. Dirt's predilection for certain cultural imports from Colombia, the salsa gang was out in full force - and I'm not talking just about chips and dips. "Annoying" the neighbours with Latin rhythms until the early hours was a bit of a concern, but it couldn't - and didn't - prevent all attempts at teaching some of the gringos a little something about how shaking the hips is talent held by more Colombians than just Shakira.

I'd be remiss in not giving a shout out to Isotopos and the birthday cakes that she masterminded in the kitchen. She can come and bake for me any day of the week. I doubt I could ever suffer too many birthdays to tire of her rum cake or dulce de leche.

Happy Happy there Doctor.

No comments:

Post a Comment