Tag Archives: tannat

Autumn in DC

2 Nov

Hello, again.

It’s been a while, I know.  I just finished a 12-page memo for my legal writing class; I have a very small window of freedom before the wheels of finals start turning.

Just because I haven’t written for over a month doesn’t mean I’ve stopped drinking.  Well–I’ve cut down my alcohol consumption generally, which is a good thing.  (For instance, I can actually remember what I’m doing while I’m doing what I’m doing!)  Nonetheless, I have had many, many bottles of wine.

My original intent for this wine blog was to keep track of the wines I consumed.  I’ve let dozens slip through the cracks, unfortunately.  My solution for this is to post shorter comments more frequently.  Occasionally–when I have time–I will post longer musings on wine and its connection to life, etc.

Photo Credit: Elise @ Simply Recipes

Autumn in DC has been pretty cool–literally.  Currently, it’s about 55 degrees outside.  There were days of high 30s – low 40s.  I’m used to short bursts of cold weather in California (especially up north), but sustained cold is something new to me.  I like it, however.  I don’t get all sweaty walking around; I can layer; my roommate Alex can make thick, hearty stews; and I feel more alert.  Oh yeah, and there are no more darn mosquitoes to eat me alive.

Concomitantly, I’ve turned away from white wines and have started to look more to reds to sustain my alcoholic tendencies.  Côtes du Rhône come to mind, as do malbec from Cahors and tannat-based wines from Irouleguy.

I will be making rabbit stew for dinner tomorrow (you can buy rabbit at Eastern Market for like… $3.99 a pound!) and am thinking of serving it with a Clos La Coutale from the Cahors region of France.  This wine–70% malbec, 15% merlot, and 15% tannat–was one of my favorites from Kermit Lynch in Berkeley, and I was so excited to see one lone bottle at the Wine Specialist the other day… for $13.99 it was a bit more expensive than in California, but then again, we ARE on the opposite side of the US from Berkeley.  I will be sure to post my thoughts on that meal afterwards–if I have the time!

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Irouléguy: or, How Poorly Korean Food Matches with ANY Wine

28 Feb

I know–I know: I promised #2 of the long, memorable wine tasting from Saturday. That will come soon. First, I want to take the time to review a quirky little wine and talk about stuff such as ethnic food pairing and how the bouquet of every wine smells like cherries.

There. I’ve said it. Maybe it’s because I’m a “neo-oenophile”, but almost every red wine smells like cherry. Almost every wine is evocative of cherry. I suppose this is somewhat understandable, given that wine = fruit = cherry (I got a B- in second-semester calculus, so you can be sure the transitive property applies here!). However, oft is the time I’ve opened a new bottle, poured a bit of its content into the waiting glass, swirled the liquid around and around, and raised the globe to my nose to smell one and but one thing: cherry.

One recent wine stands out as an exception to this rule. The Pleiades from Sean Thackrey, one of the wines I had at the Saturday tasting, smelled overwhelmingly of menthol–as in eucalyptus–and anise–as in biscotti. Cherry, it was not. Delicious and unique, it was. More about that particular wine in the promised post!

Speaking of unique wines, or, more properly, wine regions, there’s an obscure little appellation in Southwestern France–just by the Spanish border–called Irouléguy. This runs into the Basque area of Spain, and many people here speak Basque in addition to French and Spanish. The majority of red wines produced in this area is made of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and, most importantly, tannat.

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Mmm Mmm, Malbec!

20 Jan

I love malbec. The best are sensual, sexy, full-bodied red wines that, at a price range between $7.99 – $11.99, are a great bargain.

It’s sort of an immigrant grape. One of the up to six grapes used in Bordeaux wines, it rarely took center stage except in other more “rustic” regions like Cahors. (One example is the really excellent Clos La Coutale from Cahors, which is a bit southeast of Bordeaux. The Clos La Coutale is 70% malbec, 15% merlot, and 15% tannat. This Kermit Lynch selection has the finesse and grace of a fine merlot but the suppleness of a Argentine malbec.) It took the importation of this grape to the New World in the mid-1800s to give malbec the home it deserved.

The growing conditions in South America–especially Argentina–were ideal for malbec, which requires more sun and heat than cabernet and merlot (its more famous compatriots). This allows for New World wines that are 100% malbec.

My favorite malbec is from Maipe, which is an intense, staining shade of deep purple. It almost pulses with an animal, sensual energy. There are dusty fruit aromas that, upon drinking, fill your mouth with an utterly satisfying, powerful explosion of plum, chocolate, earth. It’s a bronze fist covered with a silk glove. It is delicious by itself, with chocolate, with anything you can throw at it–I wouldn’t, however, pair it with fish or anything too delicate. The Maipe would destroy any gentle partner.

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