A neighbor had a range of different grape varietals at a backyard party last year. I tasted the Zinfandel grape and realized that it was the grape varietal that lined the south property line of the home I grew up in. There was something elemental to my appreciation of that wine, I thought.
That was before the season of good wines that began with my sampling of the Instant Wine Cellar. In the course of the last few months, I’ve lost my taste for the cheap unbalanced wines that I used to favor. I had a few bad super fruity Zinfandels recently, and I was ready to cut that varietal out entirely.
A bottle of Chacewater that I still had on hand provided me with some perspective. This wine is complex. The fruity Zinfandel character is balanced out with a lot of other smoky and spicy business. (Trying to describe these tastes, I understand why wine descriptions are always so absurd.) This is a good well-priced wine.
With all the call backs to previous episodes, I’m not sure whether I just watched the Star Trek movie or the new season of Arrested Development. Then again, with Oakland’s cameo during the climax, maybe it was a Pixar film.
We made a weekend trip to the Napa Valley last month, carefully balancing some wine tourism with kid tolerant activities.
On our first night in Calistoga, I ordered a glass of this Cabernet at a family-friendly restaurant. I primarily chose ti because it was local. It was fantastic: Slightly fruity, but that was balanced out by some other business. I asked to see the menu again after dinner to remind myself of what I’d ordered and the waitress talked me into buying a bottle. (I confess that once I had the bottle in my hands, I was charmed by the vineyard‘s aol.com email address.)
When I opened the bottle a couple of weeks later, it was good, but less striking than the glass I’d had at the restaurant. Tricia and I both had a glass and I re-corked and shelved the bottle. I poured a glass the next night and it was much better, perhaps better than the glass at the restaurant. Lesson learned: let it breathe. I may break out the crystal decanter we received as a wedding gift for further experimentation.
This bottle came from my “Instant Wine Cellar”, a collection that I won at a fundraiser for my son’s school. We’ve tread lightly as we’ve dipped into that collection, generally saving the higher end bottles for sharing. This was one of the first bottles we opened on our own that made a big impact.
The label copy makes much of the wine’s extended oak barrel aging period. That is with good reason; the oak dominates the wine’s complex layering of flavor. This bottle was fantastic and I gather that it would have improved if we’d held it for a few years longer.
The grapes came from my Dad’s hometown, though Husch is located one valley over.
Though there are over 100 cardinals who are eligible to be elected the next pope, I feel that the winner is likely to be one of the following eight:
John Paul III
Paul John I
There is a new busker outside Peet’s today. He is sitting up on the seat back of his parked car — a green Saturn convertible two-seater, wailing a Leonard Cohen song with no amplification. He’s accompanied by the car stereo which plays an organ arrangement of the same song.