Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Back Dated Wine & Beer Post, Q1 2014

I've had bottles building up in my office, and I need to recycle them before our out-of-town house guests arrive this weekend.  I don't want to LOOK like someone with a drinking problem, to a first time visitor.  So instead of multiple smaller posts, this is going to be one big conglomeration of several different beverages, all in the same post (it's my blog and I will post what I want to, post what I want to, post what I want to....)

Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut Champagne.  Maison Fondee en 1811 (the house was founded more than 200 years ago)  Epernay France, NM-267-001.  Imported by Pernod Ricard USA, Purchase NY.  This was a good champagne.  About $25 a bottle, it was drank in celebration of Dr Desert Flower's new job in February of this year.  Not too dry, not too sweet, wonderful bubbles.  Dr Desert Flower picked it out, and we enjoyed it together.  Good quality bubbly.

I do not mean to sound like I am pontificating, but Pontificis was a delightful, delicious, discerning French red that surprised me.  Bought at Trader Joe's for less than $7 a bottle, the Pontificis 2012, Grenache (40%), Syrah (40%), Mourvedre (20%) mix (I can't use the word 'meritage' as it is so often abused in California) is a Indication Géographique Protégée we really enjoyed.  It had a silken finish, complex notes, a hint of pepper on the edges of the tongue, a mineral finish, and a mouthful of enjoyable flavor.  DDF and I both enjoyed it.

What is an Indication Géographique Protégée? you might ask?  Well I learned today, that it is a step DOWN from AOC (Appellation d'origine contrôlée ) and a step up from "table wine" (AKA  Vin de Table).  So it is a "mid range" wine in the French quality control & production classification, but we found it to be first rate.

La Mano Mencia Roble 2010 was not a bad wine, and for $5 a bottle, it was an excellent bargain and very drinkable.  This Spanish red was imported by Axial Wines USA, Manhasset NY (another Trader Joe's wine), Mecia Red Wine, Denominacion de origen Bierzo (the Bierzo region, in the north of Spain).  I continue to believe that there's many very good Spanish reds out there that are undervalued in their home country, and jettisoned off in a shipping container to the US, where enthusiastic amateur neologists like myself can discover & enjoy them without ever having to fly over an ocean.

Sadly, there is one final wine I bring to readers that was an abject failure.  Grifone's "1967" Toscana, Indicazione Geographica Tipica made two sips into my mouth, which confirmed its medicinal tasting quality, and one sip into DDF's mouth, which she spit back out.  I poured the bottle down the drain, as it was not fit for human consumption, cooking, or any other productive means. (life is too short to drink bad wine)

Not only were there strong notes of Robitussin, but it stunk of tobacco, mushrooms, and "old musty shoe" smell.  The cork was fine, and had not lost its seal, but the wine within was undrinkable.  And that really is a shame as I've enjoyed several bottles of the Grifone Primitivo (and I thought other Grifone selections, but google is not finding them for me) and they were delightful.

So two good French beverages, one good Spanish, and one fallimento italiano.

This brings us to the American selection.  Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter.  Brewed by Flying Dog Brewery Frederick MD, the Gonzo Imperial Porter was not bad.  I first saw it on the beer list at the Carolina Ale House in Greenville South Carolina in January.  I tried to order it, but the apologetic barkeep told me they were out of stock.  So when I got back to California in February, and saw a bottle for $4 at WholePaycheck, I thought i'd try it - since that was 1/2 the price that CAH was charging as the bar price.  It did not knock my socks off, and it was not as good as a Stone Brewery Russian Imperial Stout or Smoked Porter, or a Left Coast Voo Doo American Stout, nor anywhere near Pugsley's Perfect Porter, but it was not bad.

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