Sunday, May 18, 2008

Warm weather & wine

I came home this week twice to find that three bottles in my wine rack had leaked due to the intense heat wave that hit the Bay Area recently. The telltale crimson drops on the linoleum had me frowning since two of the bottles were pretty nice ones I had been looking forward to drinking -- the'04 Mariner from Dry Creek Vineyards and the '06 Cab Franc from Irish Monkey Cellars. So once the weather cooled off enough Friday night we drank them with friends on our back patio for fear they would oxidize if we waited to consume them. The Mariner (46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 6% Malbec, 5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot)was especially good, a smooth and rich blend that featured prominent berry flavors but was well balanced.

The temperatures of 90+ degrees coincided nicely, however, with an Albariño tasting I went to in San Francisco on Wednesday, given that grape's tendency to produce very refreshing, high-acidity wines that are just what one craves when trying to beat the heat. The Jug Shop put on the event, which featured about 10 reps from importers/distributors at B44 in the charming Belden Place alley in SF. There was a wide variety of styles of Albariño at the event, including some that had spent a bit of time in oak, producing a much rounder wine, but not a style I particularly cared for.

My favorites were (naturally), the two that aren't available in California. The '07 Don Pedro Soutomaior from Adegas Galegas was fresh, lively and zesty with grapefruit on the nose. It was also slightly fizzy, reminding me of how the grape tastes when it's in the form of the Portugese Vinho Verde. The '07 Fulget from Maior de Mendoza was also slightly effervescent, with crisp citrus characteristics and a slight tartness on the finish.

My favorite bottle that is available in CA was 2007 Laxas from Bodega As Laxas, which featured peachy notes and had a clean flavor with wonderful acidity and a medium finish. I had a great time sipping on many "tastes" of the Laxas while talking to Luis, who works for the importer Viños Unico. Given my recent trip, we chatted about his native Cuba as well as the wines he's providing to two soon-to-open spots in Alameda, BarCeluna (which is re-opening) and a Alameda Wine Co., a combo wine bar/retail shop adjacent to the renovated theater. Finally, I won't have to leave the island to go to a wine bar!


jason said...

Bummer to hear about the wine. Hopefully I won't find any of those spots when I move in a couple weeks, got me a little nervous!

As for the Albariño TJ's use to have a nice one but the 2nd vintage, the 2005, was not as good. Guess I might have to open my wallet up!