Monday, May 24, 2010

Spring Tasting Features Italy, Finger Lakes and Spain

The TWAV tasting team recently convened for a spring wine tasting. the line-up was:
  • Sandhill Crane Vineyard Vidal Blanc NV
  • Banear Prosecco Delle Venezie Italia NV
  • Bully Hill Marechal Foch NV
  • Sebastiani 2007 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast
  • Lan Rioja Reserva 2004
The Vidal Blanc had been picked up during a visit to the Sandhill Crane Vineyard near Jackson in Michigan. It's a great winery with a comfortable and fun tasting room. This wine is a great choice for a warm afternoon on the patio with friends. The taste is complex with floral taste notes and a clean finish. On this evening, some of the tasting panel thought this was just a tad bit too sweet.

I had wanted to start the group with a glass of the bubbly Prosecco, but my wife insisted we wait until all had arrived since we needed to have a toast to celebrate our anniversary. I've learned enough to know that when "anniversary" is mentioned, it's best to let the Green Dragon have her way.

The Prosecco was worth the wait. This is a simple, yet fun wine. It is in the frizzante style, bubbly, but not a Deepwater Horizon gusher of carbonation. It is light straw in color and somewhat dry with streams of elegant bubbles.

Our first red was the Bully Hill Marechal Foch. Bully Hill is the court jester of Finger Lakes wines. Creating great wines with an irreverant attitude that carries over to its labels, marketing material and tasting room staff. During our last trip to the Finger Lakes with Spiderman and Glorious T, each couple picked up a bottle of this wine. Marechal Foch is a variety that abounds in Ohio and the Finger Lakes, but is scarce elsewhere.

Not only did we enjoy the wine during our visit to Bully Hill, but the bottle is a beautiful work of art, decorated with a a day-glo blue butterfly. Bully Hill calls it a Tuscan style wine. It is dark, almost black in color with a warm berry nose. The flavor is red cherry with a dash of spice. We decanted this using my new Vinturi aerator. This is a primo pasta wine.

The star of the evening was the delightful Sebastiani Pinot Noir. We waxed poetic about this wine in a post about the Charmed and Cherished wine event. You can read all about it here.

I then asked a silly question, "I don't need to open this last bottle of wine, do I?" We had been engaged in a heated game of "Buzzwords" with the "guys" shellacking the "girls" until they pulled off an improbable come-from-behind win. It looked like the evening was starting to wind down.

The group called out for more (actually just Spiderman) and the cork was popped on the Lan Rioja Reserva. The Rioja is a Tempranillo with a black cherry color. This was named a Wine Spectator Top 100 wine a couple years ago and it is a nicely balanced red. It has a slight plum taste with an elegant smokey and earthy quality. It has a smooth, velvety texture through the mouth and a dry finish. It has some intense tannins, but not off-putting.

It was a nice exclamation point to an enjoyable spring evening.

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