Friday, November 25, 2011

A Lazy Last Night

It might have only been our second night here on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, but it was also our last. The good thing about November on the OBX is that things are pretty low key and mellow. From what little I saw, it looks like the area pretty much shuts down after sundown. This I can handle - particularly with a comfy couch and a glass of wine.

998. 2010 Montresor Il Veronese (Valpolicella DOC - Verona - Italy)

With last night's Amarone long gone, we opened one of that wine's little brothers - a Valpolicella. Made from the same grapes and in the same part of Italy, Valpolicella is a lighter version of the big Amarone's. And that lightness has been a bit of marketing problem for winemakers. Too often, bulk Valpolicella's were being shipped abroad and impressions have long been that the wine hasn't caught up with current day standards. As with many other Old World regions, steady and conscious efforts to modernize production has seen some marked improvement in the overall quality of Valpolicella.

Tonight's wine was no shrinking violet. If other wineries are stepping up their game like this, I could see trying another Valpolicella - as opposed to gravitating more to the bigger Ripasso's and Amarone's.

Montresor is a big player in Verona and the family's history is one filled with intrigue. I read on one site, The Wine News, that the family "fled the Touraine in the heart of the LoireValley in the 18th century after having been involved in a backroom plot to 'physically eliminate Cardinal Richelieu." The family is also mentioned in Edgar Allen Poe's tale, "The Amontillado Cask."

We spent the better part of the evening filling in the loose ends on all the intrigues surrounding Desirée's and our lives. There may not have been any plots to knock off religious leaders to tell of, but there was more than enough going on to drop the odd jaw and induce some heavy sighs and, of course, prompt a few good old belly laughs.

We were all fairly ready to make an early night of it, but I took a quick inventory of the wine we hadn't touched and there was no way that Boo and I were going to be able to bring that many bottles home with us. We knew that Desirée would offer the remaining bottles a good home - at least for a little while - but I did want to open at least one more of the locally produced bottles.

999. N.V. Stonefield Cellars - Vin de Narlé (Bottled in North Carolina)

Seeing as how this is the third Stonefield Cellars wine that I'm adding to The List, I suppose it's fair to say that I've found that there's at least a little something to North Carolina wines.

Regular readers will know that dessert wines and I are frequent friends. Finding a Port-styled wine from North Carolina just seemed like something that had to be tried.

Regardless of my being Canadian, my comprehension of la langue française is hardly what we'd call strong. Regardless of that fact, the word "Narlé" stumps me - even after a quick check in an English/French dictionary. I guess I didn't think to ask for the linguistic background when we visited the winery, but I didn't see any reference on the winery website either. I saw a couple of online comments that seem to point in the direction that owner and winemaker, Robert Wurz, was experimenting with a Port-like wine and there were early references to that "gnarly" wine. "Gnarly" became the sophisticated "Narlé" and the rest is marketing history. I'd like to know if that tale is true or merely tall but, in the meantime, we got to try something out of the ordinary for us here in Vancouver.

As far as Port-style wine go, this was fairly light bodied but there was still enough flavour in the glass that we didn't have a problem finishing the bottle. I don't know how quick I'd be to pay the asking price of $20 or so for another half bottle - but I certainly don't regret the purchase in the first place. As mentioned, I like "out of the ordinary" - almost as much as I like Port.

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