Monday, February 18, 2008

THAT'S what I call a wine label

Last weekend when Chris and I had the 2000 Gemstone cab we also drank a 2005 White Barn Black Blend, made from the same vineyard as Coturri's Albarello but in a decidedly different style. It's funny, because the fancy-ass boutiquey overpriced cab got its ass kicked by this tangy, funky, multi-faceted, inexpensive homebrew with no label; with Chris' excellent beef stew, you'd think the Bordeaux blend would be a no-brainer, but the Black Blend kept us coming back (and back again) while the Gemstone tasted like an over-the-hill Australian drag queen in comparison. From the Coturri website:
This blend consists of 40% each of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah with small amounts of Alicante Bouschet, Carignane, Barbera and Gamay for the red varietals, Sauvignon Vert, Semillion and Muscat make up the white grapes.
2005 was the last year for both wines; I believe the vineyard was torn up and replanted.

In addition to the 2005 White Barn Santa Lucia Highlands pinot noir that John brought on Saturday, he also left us a 2006 viognier-chardonnay because he's generous like that. There's still a little of the pinot left, so I'm going back and forth, trying to understand what it is that makes these wines so distinctive; they have a unique signature- the reds in particular- that, like Thackrey's wines, make them unmistakable. The reds are marked by an intense sourness that gives way to kaleidoscopic flavors that seem to rotate rather than form a traditional hierarchy or order. Each sip can seem different somehow, dominated by tastes ranging from sweaty ass (in a good way) to flowery incense.

The white is a deep almost-gold inclining pretty steeply towards peach, and has a fascinating nose that evokes both grapes: stone fruit with a whiff of caramelized pineapple, and a flowery, almost lavender edge that embellishes the more obvious fruit, throwing their burnished glow into bracing relief. In the mouth, it's like some kind of Wonka hard candy with lots of thin layers; around the sweet candy core revolve flavors ranging from the aforementioned fruit to vanilla and even gummi bears- all contained by strong acidity. All for 15 bucks. Unfortunately, as the label might suggest, it's not commercially available. Long live the DIY winemaker.

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