Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Wine Tasting Wednesday with the HoseMaster
I get a lot of complaints that I don't write enough about wine. OK, I got one complaint. But it was from a real big shot in the wine business. OK, it was from the security guard at Chalk Hill Winery. He may be nobody to you, but he's my connection for black market Zicam. So I thought that every other Wednesday or so I'd write about some of the wines that I've consumed in recent days. Sounds boring, doesn't it? But let's face it, no one has been reading HoseMaster of Wine since I stopped showing tits. So, basically, this is just my little whacking off Wine Journal. But you can think of it as my contribution to the dreary, sleep-inducing world of wine reviewing.
ETUDE 1995 CABERNET SAUVIGNON NAPA VALLEY
Before Tony Soter sold Etude and went off to Oregon to make sparkling wine (Soter pop), he produced some stellar Cabernets at Etude. That chain-smokin' bastard could really make Cab. And I have always loved the '95 vintage from Napa Valley--it's far superior to the overhyped vintages of '94 and '97--hell, the '97's, highly touted by Wine Spectator in their youth, have gone downhill quicker than David Carradine's erection. There was a period in the mid-90's that Etude was on top of the Napa Cabernet world with a superb bottling sourced from great vineyards like Madrona Ranch, Vine Hill Ranch and, I think, a touch of Creamy Ranch. I was going through my wine cellar and found a bottle of the '95 and thought, Hmm, this should be about ready to drink. This proved to be inaccurate, but then I remembered you have to remove the cork first--then it's ready to drink. I don't know what to say about this wine except that it was amazing. OK, I'll think of something. It's wines like this that remind me why I have Napa Cabernets in my cellar to begin with. When they are good, they are majestic. The '95 Etude was seamless, rich, delicious, balanced, astonishing Cabernet, and the best thing I've put in my mouth that didn't have hair on it in a really long time.
DEHLINGER 2003 PINOT NOIR GOLDRIDGE VINEYARD RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY
My gorgeous wife broiled a beautiful piece of King Salmon and it's dying words were, "Drink a Pinot Noir with me." OK, it was one of those talking wall-mounted fish, but it was damned tasty anyway. The Dehlinger 2003 was luscious. It seems like there are as many "hot" new Pinot Noir producers these days as there are new wine blogs. They should all put a cork in it. Or, as an alternative, get screwed. Trust me, most of those "hot" new producers make horrible wine. But, gratefully, in small lots. When a new Pinot producer says he only made 200 cases of his new single-vineyard monstrosity it is apt to remind him, "If there were only 200 cases of syphilis in the world I wouldn't want one of those either." But Tom Dehlinger has been making great Pinot Noir in the Russian River for decades and should be on everyone's short list of great Pinot Noir producers. The 2003 "Goldridge Vineyard" was right at the age where I think most good California Pinot Noirs hit their sweet spot, about six years from the vintage. Pinot Noirs are like Olympic gymnasts--they're limber and erotic and lithe in their youth, but you end up throwing them away after eight years because there are new and better ones right behind them. They age about like Olga Korbut (who, coincidentally, hails from the Belarussian River). Showing off what used to be a perfect 10 Give the Dehlinger a 9.5, a 9.0, a 8.5, a 9.5, and a 7.5 from the Chinese judge.
DRY CREEK VINEYARDS 2006 CABERNET SAUVIGNON DRY CREEK VALLEY
A HoseMaster Best Buy!
I recently paid a visit to Dry Creek Vineyards to taste wine and see Kim Stare Wallace (if you don't read her blog Wilma's Wine World, well, join the club), but the fantastically beautiful Kim was on vacation so I met with Bill Smart, who should more aptly be named Bill Tall. I guess I won't be welcome there any more. After tasting through their large lineup of wines, and coming away impressed by many of them for their quality and fair prices, Bill sent me home with a bottle of their 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon and a restraining order. I have to say for $23 this is terrific Cabernet, and, I'll also add, a heck of a buy for free! Honestly, it beat the crap out of the '07 Murphy-Goode I wrote about a week ago, a wine at its same modest price point. The '06 Dry Creek has very nice black currant, black cherry, smoky character, modest tannins that are nicely integrated, just a kiss of oak, and a very pleasing finish. I like that its unpretentious nature mimics the unpretentiousness of the winery and the lovely Kim. If you see this wine at retail for around $20, you can't go wrong. Nice wine.
There, you see, I can write wine reviews without a single joke in them. My jokes are a lot like residual sugar in wine--mostly they are under the threshold of taste and very hard to detect.