Monday, March 25, 2013

Napa Valley Masterclass in Houston

Matt Stamp, Master Sommelier
I, along with most wine professionals I know, feel fortunate to have the chance to take these special event classes here in our town. Once again, Matt Stamp, Master Sommelier, came to Houston as part of the Guild of Sommeliers ongoing Masterclass series. The focus of this event was the wines of Napa Valley. It was a great class and the wine community of Houston is looking forward to more.
Along with a good review of all things Napa, it was interesting to hear Matt Stamp's take on how some of the inner AVA's should be delineated (he feels the current system doesn't do justice to the terroir variation of Napa) and what to expect from the upcoming vintages.
We also tasted three flights of great wine. All were well balanced, really nice wines that are worth seeking out. I put stars by some of my favorites.



Flight 1:
2011 Matthiasson White - A Friulian style blend with some Semillion added. Fresh, crisp, light. *
2011 Chappellet Chenin Blanc - crisp, apricot and green apple. *
2011 Massican Chardonnay - Light, crisp, clean, high acidity, no ML, citrus with some pineapple.
2000 Mayacamas Chardonnay - Coconut Creme Brulee, full body, long finish, very slight oxidation.  *
2010 Kongsgaard Chardonnay - pronounced vanilla over light lemon citrus. Full body, long finish.

Flight 2:
2010 Frog's Leap Merlot - Drinkable, soft, plum, blueberry. *
2008 Corison "Kronos" Cabernet - Elegant, firm structure, red fruit, pencil shavings, bit of mint. *
2006 Bressler Cabernet - Slightly jammy, rich blackberry flavor, firm tannins.
2010 Araujo "Eisele" Cabernet - very French. nice acidity, black fruit, pencil shavings, bit of tobacco. *
2005 Heitz "Martha's Vineyard" Cabernet - Classic Napa, ripe black fruit, cigar box, bit of eucalyptus, rich flavor, long finish. *
1992 Robert Mondavi "Reserve" Cabernet - surprisingly young! Slightly grippy tannins, over ripe black fruit flavor, bit of black olive and a slight floral note. Long finish. Just going garnet at rim, small amount of sediment.

Flight 3:
2010 Lagier Meredith Syrah, Mount Veeder - Juicy and tannic. Red fruit with chocolate dipped bacon and a slight herbal note. High tannins with good acidity, very drinkable.
2009 Spring Mountain Vineyards "Elivette", Spring Mountain District - somewhat tight. Black fruit, bit of baking spice, grippy tannins.
2009 Ovid (Pritchard Hill) - Ripe black fruit, licorice, grippy tannins.
2010 Continuum (Pritchard Hill) -Big, rich, ripe mixed cherry/berries.
2009 Dalle Valle "Maya" (Pritchard Hill) - Medium+ everything, smooth tannins, fruity-red cherry and plum. *
2008 Diamond Creek "Gravelly Meadow" Cabernet, Diamond Mountain District - tannic, youthful, cherry/berry and vanilla.
2001 Cardinale - ripe cherry/berry with chocolate and a bit of cedar, velvety tannins, long juicy finish. *

related post:
Wines of Germany Masterclass

Friday, March 22, 2013

Family, food and two French wines

 
My 22 year old son was home for a few days during Spring Break and requested grilled marinated pork chops for dinner. Since he became of legal drinking age, my husband and I have enjoyed sharing different wines with him to see which ones he really enjoys. I invited my father to join us for dinner and my son invited a friend as well.

With my manly meal of pork, peppers and potatoes prepped for the grill, I decided to open a Rhone Valley Rosé to start as I had some cold boiled shrimp and Caprese salad kabobs out to nibble on while everything went on the grill. My son's friend was interested to learn that "all rosé is not bad or, you know, cheap wine" and that real men do drink pink wine as role modeled by my husband and father. The wine was Paul Jaboulet Parallele 45 Cotes du Rhone Rosé 2011. This rosé is a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Cinsault and 10% Syrah. It smelled and tasted of fresh ripe strawberries with a bit of baking spice. Medium- body, alcohol with medium+ acidity and a fruity medium length finish. Recommended and enjoyed by all. I purchased this bottle at Whole Foods for $17.
We finished the rosé as the main course came off the grill. With the pork chops, I served a Syrah from the Languedoc. This wine was a big hit with all the men at my table, both the young and the older, I just got one small taste of it. I bought this bottle at Max's Wine Dive in a mixed case so I don't remember the price but you can call Drew over at Max's and he can  help you out. The wine was the Rare Vineyards Pays D'Oc Syrah 2011 and it was fruit forward with a bit of smoked meat, medium+ body, alcohol, and acidity with smooth, medium tannins and a medium length blackberry and black pepper finish. Recommended and enjoyed by all.