Life is better on the corner, the place where great wines meet reasonable prices!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Wine of the Week: 2011 Elk Cove, Mount Richmond Pinot Noir

“He who knows how to taste, does not drink wine, but savors it secrets” ~ Salvador Dali

There were more a few secrets which needed to slowly be unfolded from what turned out to be quite the tasty Pinot Noir I had hoped it would be. It did take two bottles tho to discover it, as Capt. Obvious was no where in sight the first time I uncorked this wine. Some wines while excellent [or at least very good] like the one pictured above take time to understand the distinctive character they possess, if we are patient enough to see them unfold. 

After uncorking this wine and pouring myself a glass into an expressive Riedel Pinot Noir stem, the wine seemed very closed and quite standoffish to the point, that I knew I'd have to open something else until this wine was ready to go. I grabbed my handy-dandy Riedel decanter in hopes that a bit more air would/could coax this wine out of acoma. I knew there was still a pulse, but it was slow and shallow. As I leaned into close to the wine being decanted I thought I could hear it faintly saying, "Decant me for two hours or more first, then enjoy all my rustic charms long into the night!!". It was this wines rustic charms, which convinced me to feature it as the Wine of the Week [a highly coveted title]. Yes indeed, a classic example of what can often be expected from the 2011 vintage. 
“The 2011 Willamette Valley Pinot is a perfect example of a wine that has tons of fruit, but still has great characters other than fruit.  That’s when you know you’ve had low yields and hillside farming on great vineyard sites” – Winemaker Adam Campbell
I know it was two years ago, but if you will recall that 2011 was the year the entire West Coast had no real summer. The majority [blanket statement: meaning most, but not all.] of the growing season was bathed in only cloud-covered sunlight and as we all know, sunlight plays a major parting in the ripening process. 

"Mount Richmond Vineyard sits on Willakenzie soils in the heart of the Yamhill Carlton AVA. Mount Richmond sits at 300-500 feet elevation, lower than the vineyards planted at the winery, which allows for earlier ripening."
After a couple hours of decanting; the nose became much more expressive, and very pretty. I'd even say it became elegant, a vibrant note of elegance, possibly hinting at the lovely complexity waiting to surprise me? On the palate, notes of cranberry and other dark berries, spice, black-tea and briar nuances add some tantalizing breadth. I found the wine light, with raspberry fruit hitting a nice drum solo mid-palate, while veins of stem and earth play bass in the background. It’s nicely balanced, a bit rustic, but true to the variety. The finish was a bit short and sweet, but the gentle tannins and the lingering floral influences and [baking] spice notes bring it all home. Once I had this wine paired with a brilliant mushroom risotto and baked chicken drizzled with a light plum sauce, I thought the wine soared to its highest point of the evening, quite good.

Winemaker, Adam Campbell, comments,“the late and cool vintage really highlights why we choose to grow grapes on the viticultural edge. Extremely long hang time gave us wines with concentrated ripe fruit flavors, beautiful freshness and lower alcohol. These wines are why we love Oregon!”
I did receive this wine as a sample earlier this year and this is the second bottle I'm enjoying. But I'd have to say, to be quite honest that after having rested the second bottle another few months, it's showing much better than my previous experience.This vintage is unfortunately sold out; it was available through their website, selling for $43. The release of their 2012 should be due out very soon, [being a relative term] so stay tuned. If I had to speculate about the possible quality of the soon to be released 2012, it would be "wow" followed by you'd better hurry to place your order before they all disappear. 

For those of you interested in scorekeeping, I scored this wine 90 points. A wine well worth the price admission and a wine worth seeking out if you could get your hands on it. Until next time folks remember life is too short to drink bad wine, so choose wisely, drink only what you like, then sip long and prosper cheers!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Champagne Blanc de Blanc: Mumm is the Word

"Champagne, if you are seeking the truth, is better than a lie detector. It encourages a man to be expansive, even reckless, while lie detectors are only a challenge to tell lies successfully." -- Graham Greene

Some say "Grease is the Word" but in this case, with this brilliant Champagne I think someone may want to rewrite the song. Here's my suggested rewrite, what-do-ya think?
"They think our love is just a growin' pain….Why don't they understand? It’s just a cryin' shame…..Their lips are lyin', only real Champagne is Champagne…...stop the fight right now, we all know how it makes us feel - Mumm is the word!"
Today's Wine of the Week: G.H. Mumm "Mumm de Cramant" Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne is one beautiful Blanc de Blanc, which easily shows off its lacy sumptuous texture immediately, mad sex appeal found here. I'm so glad I avoided enjoying this Champagne in a flute and instead I enjoyed it from one of my new Bordeaux stems and yes I enjoyed this bottle with a seemingly pedestrian meal of Fish & Chips, but they did make beautiful music together. Mumm is the Word!

Here's how Mumm describes this beautiful bottle of bubbles: 
"Mumm de Cramant is a precious cuvée made in the purest Champagne tradition since 1882. A single cru cuvée of incomparable purity, blended in the time-honored tradition with a strict selection of 100% Chardonnay Cramant wines. Truly a great Champagne to grace any occasion."
Most of the time, these statements are just blah, blah, blah 'our wine is world class juice', but in this case I'd have to say I'm in 100% agreement with the statement above. This is my kind of lie detector, hook me up again and again. 

Tasting Note: You'll find this Cramant quite vibrant and creamy. Persistent, lip smacking acidity greets you with delightful flavors of fresh baked patisserie pear, bright honey-crisp apples, toasted almonds, a drop of honey and scented by acacia blossoms. This amazing juice is punctuated by a rich note of smoky minerality, quietly playing bass in the background, and a long sumptuous finish will have you thinking about opening another bottle.

Is this wine worth the price of admission? I'd like to say it succinctly and in one word, absolutely. If you'd like find out why Champagne can be so very captivating and why the word Champagne is so protected, it's because in my mind, a bottle like this one exemplifies what it means to be Champagne. There is no comparison. 

I've tasted many Champagnes and I've tasted plenty of domestic bubbly but nothing prepared me for what I'd find in this bottle. I scored this bottle 94 points, this folks is how you do it, and selling for average price of $59 at a few select retailers. Full Disclosure: This bottle was sent as a media sample. Okay that's all I've for today, I hope you have a great Wine Wednesday, pop some corks and enjoy, remember Mumm is the Word cheers!

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