Wednesday, February 20, 2008
x-fact ~ you say syrah! i say shiraz! let's call the whole thing off! it's syrah in the united states, parts of europe, and parts south america. it's shiraz in south africa, new zealand, and more well known, from australia.
rosenblum california syrah 2005
gift ~ priceless
ah, can wine ever be as sweet as that that is poured from a bottle given in friendship?
yes, yes it can people. be gracious, but don't be fooled.
there are no guarantees in life, less so in wine.
BUT, i am happy to say this was not one of those bottles!
good lord, but this is a good wine. this is a wine i'd buy by the case and keep on hand i love it that much.
though it was given to me by a dear friend and reader, who knows my taste and has taste herself, there is always that long moment before the first sip in any new bottle. more so in a given bottle.
i needn't have worried.
this wine was so smooth at first sip, the kind of smooth i just wish EVERY wine could be.
i know i go on and on and on about smooth. but i'm tellin' you man, there is nothing that can replace that smooth in wine. like the thickness of crust on fried chicken or the level of spice in lamb curry, this gal knows what she likes and what can't be futzed with. my kingdom for smooth.
and if i am remembering correctly, my friend had not had this wine herself, but chose it for me because it sounded rather like the delicious red truck i reviewed not so long ago.
and man if she wasn't right on! yea PJM! you get the sillymortalmama gold star of excellence!!!
seriously, bring me wine (and in this case wine and bavarian beer cheese. good lord in some countries that's as good as a marriage proposal!)
where was i? oh, yeah, bring me wine and really, that gold star is yours. i'm easy. but, i suppose that doesn't come as much of a shock now does it.
it really had that fabulous jammy quality that red truck does, the kind that only really works when the wine is as smooth as it possibly can be. (okay, done with smooth for this post. no more smooth. moving on from the smooth)
and what of the connection between these wines? is it simply the edjucated whimsy of a careful label reader? or the kind of interesting and literally grabbed onto similarity that one generally finds with a stranger who turns out to be from your neck of the woods? how many of us, traveling, living, or working far from home has encountered someone from their own hometown? instant and giddy connection!
these two wines come from little more than an hour's distance apart in my home state. not much more distance from my hometown. perhaps that's the draw? i can feel the crisp heat and hear the crunch of the dried and golden "grass" beneath my feet on my way to that big oak yonder. a shade that will not shelter me from the heat for long, but will be comforting to rest against nonetheless.
okay, okay, i'll quit flashing my poetic license and interject towards a new direction now because i know you're dying to know what the little label under the big label is.
vintner's cuvee. okay, let's see. vintner is the maker. cuvee basically means this is the ultra special offering from the vintner.
in wine you'll see a lot of "reserve" and "special edition" and "limited release" on a lot of labels. i've always wondered about that. because as far as i'm concerned these are just marketing ploys. i mean, considering each wine has a vintage, one specific year in which it was produced and is printed on the label, all of them already are, for all intents and purposes, "special limited releases." am i right? like 1989 is NOT going to come around again, right? please tell me i'm right. please tell me it won't.
cuvee is just a more "actual" and "technical" and "genuine" way of saying this is a "special" wine.
and it is. all of the other fabulous attributes i mentioned above PLUS just enough of the syrupy undertones to keep it interesting sip after sip. but not so syrupy as to be cloying.
too often in wines i feel like the sugar comes in after the first few sips as sort of a stand in or court jester if you will. you know, over here! look at me! don't pay attention to the man behind the curtain!
kind of a distraction from the fact that the wine is about to lose a bit of its drinkability, if it had it to begin with. or that it just can't sustain the favorable taste it initially had through the glass let alone the bottle, so they drag in the sugar.
it's like wine porn. the wine knows it can't keep you hooked, so it tries to hook you with a little sugah.
fortunately, i didn't have to cheapen myself for this wine. because everything was just perfect.
and when i drink a wine like this, i automatically think of two things. one, i'd love to have a very small, very fancy dinner party and serve this reasonably priced wine BY THE CASE and no one is the wiser to the price and appropriately impressed with my largess. and two, i'd love to drink this bottle sitting in the yard, on the top of a hiked to mountain, at the bend of a river.
perfection in wine is like perfection in your favorite people. you can dress them up and take them out or you can lie in the dirt propped against a granite boulder and swig from the bottle or your hiking cup just wiped clean with your sweaty shirt.
you're more than happy either way. and so is the person next to you.
and that's the thing i want to shout from the rooftops about wine. wine is for the people!! it should be as comfortable at table as it is being toted in a backpack and hacked into with the swiss army knife. you know, because the one you always seem to throw in your pack is the one that has the BENT ASS CORKSCREW. seriously, i have like two of these. what's up with that?
and wine, even and especially so, good wine, need not be out of reach. i have had some amazing wines. and i'll tell ya, so SO many of them, close to most, were UNDER 15 dollars, more so UNDER 12, and a hell of a lot of them UNDER 10.
truthfully, if it's over 7.99 a bottle i start to get a bit funny. i look in the cart, see what i'm getting, what i might put back in favor of including the wine in the budget. the babies don't really "need" milk, do they? i mean, we've got sheep in the pasture don't we? if i could just catch them. hmmm?
my comfortable price point definitely lies below 10. and i have to say, if i wasn't such a cheap bastard, i'd drink a LOT more than i do. and that's just another kinda hobby in itself now isn't it?
but even better than a reasonably priced wine is a wine given as a gift.
and DO NOT be afraid of choosing wine for a gift!! it's really not as daunting a task as it seems. and seriously, a true wine lover will totally appreciate any effort. and if they don't, they're an ass and you should question your association with them.
it's like a chef who never gets invited over for dinner because the regular home cook is afraid to cook for the professional cook. poor chef.
the thing about giving wine is the same about giving anything. give what you like, give what you think they will like, give in love, give in adventure, but ultimately, give of yourself. give the gift that says, i took some time and i found this for you.
doesn't matter the price, it really is the thought that counts. and if anyone tries to tell you or convince you different, ditch 'em and come to dinner or on a hike with me.
just pull up a rock and hold out your cup.