Chateau Tumbleweed: 2015 Picpoul Blanc

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Yes, I know, I know, I review a lot of Chateau Tumbleweed wines, but the fact is that they’re pretty close by, and they’re doing a lot of interesting things. (Just wait until I start in on their Graciano… eventually.)

Case in point, this is only the third full expression of this varietal I’ve encountered in Arizona, and it’s yet more proof of concept that we need to be planting more Picpoul Blanc in Arizona, forthwith.  It’s not only great for providing acidity in great blends like the Trio from Flying Leap, but also great on its own, as this example shows.

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Chatreau Tumbleweed Picpoul Blanc.

The Wine: This wine is technically a blend; consisting of 97% Picpoul Blanc, coming from Cimmaron Vineyard, and 3% Albariño from Dragoon Mountain Vineyard. The grapes were cold-soaked for 24 hours, then whole-cluster pressed.  The juice was chilled and settled 48 hours prior to racking and then the wine was inoculated with “specially prepared yeasts” (eventually I’ll learn all the yeasts).  The wine was fermented in stainless steel at 55 degrees Fahrenheit for 19 days.  The fermentation was halted at about 1-2% residual sugar, and the resulting wine was aged in stainless steel.  There was minimal cold-stabilization, and it did not undergo heat-stabilization either.  The wine was filtered, but unfined, and the resulting residual sugar was .45%  The pH of the Cimmaron Vineyard picpoul blanc is 3.28.  The winemaker was Joe Bechard.

The Nose:  Like the Sand-reckoner Picpoul, the nose of this wine is pleasing, but simple, with notes of lemon-lime, kumquat, quince, and subtle floral notes of gardenia and cliff rose.  As the wine opens, green apple and vanilla notes emerge from the glass.

The Palate:  While not as acidic as french versions of this grape, there’s still enough acidity here in this wine to belie that oft-cited traditional translation of the name for the grape as “lip-stinger.”  The residual sugar also adds a nice touch; the wine doesn’t taste sweet, but it certainly feels refreshing.  The palate opens with lemon-lime, some refreshing acidity, and coconut notes. As the wine opens, these notes intermingle with notes of  gardenia and green apple.  The finish of this wine is short, lasting for 30 seconds, with a citrus medley commingling with that classic Picpoul acidity.

The Pairing:  Crab Ceviche with a side of hummus, or… any seafood dish, really. This will be difficult to source for a locally-sourced meal, as you can imagine, but if you’re bringing back some fish you caught on a summer trip from Puerto Penasco, it’d be hard to find a better pairing than swordfish or tuna steaks.  For a vegan pairing, you could attempt some vegan sushi with veggies, avocado, and seaweed, or aim for hummus and celery.  Green Thai Curry might work in a pinch, but that is edging into Malvasia territory.   Or drink it outside on the last hot days of early autumn, before we go plunging headfirst directly into winter, on its own.

Impressions:  Don’t age this bottle.  You’ll be sad if you do.  Drink this wine young, and while in the sun.  Or with seafood.  This wine is another stellar example of the real potential of this varietal in Arizona, which to me after this vintage found itself on my list of top five white grapes in Arizona.

As for personality–this picpoul is a little sassy and just a bit sweet.  She’s a cutie; confident in what she does so that she snarks against anyone who stands against her, but when you get to know her, you can’t help but want to constantly be in her company.

 

Prose Piece: Midnight Mourvedre Harvest

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I don’t just write wine reviews (though I’ve got some cool wines coming up to talk about, I promise reviews will return soon); occasionally I work on pieces of prose or poetry, and this is my latest example, trying to pin down just what it feels like to be harvesting Mourvedre throughout the night:

Imagine, if you will, a vineyard in the high desert, growing on the remains of an ancient lake at the foot of an extinct shield volcano. Your feet, eleven million years ago, would be wading along the shores and cool waters of aforementioned lake, while behind you, pillars of fire and smoke arise into the skies against the red walls of the Mogollon Rim, and there would be the sound of fire and the smell of ashes. The world would shake under your feet, like in the midst of an army terrible with banners marching to war.

But now? Now it is a clear night. The distant flashes of monsoon lightning on the far horizon to the south are the only evidence of violence, and above you, the sky is so clear that you can see the very colors of the stars in the heavens above. Everywhere the soft whisper of harvest shears, footsteps on limestone soil, and quiet, murmured conversation surrounds you, while in the distance, coyotes howl and their cries in the dark night pierce your wounded and lonely soul, and all of these eventually fade into silence as you walk between the rows of vines. Meanwhile, you pluck from vines clusters of Mourvedre grapes that are often the size of your face and shaped like hearts. They weigh heavy in your hands: plump, purple, and sweet.

They weigh heavy in your hands, like memories of past lovers, memories of people you’ve wronged by accident either by loving them too much or by not loving them enough. You remember the love that got away; like the bird flying out of the vines into the darkness of night, fleeing to points unknown. The one you would do anything to bring back; she’s the one who’s silence slices like knives painted the color of the night. Snip, snip, in the dark, as the clusters fall into your hands, into the orange bucket you carry between the rows. You try to snip the memories away. (It doesn’t work.) Your mind wanders. The harvest teaches discipline. You must be mindful of where you put your hands, your feet, your heart, your mind, your soul, lest you be grievously wounded by your shears, and then your blood intermingles with the grapes. You remind yourself to apply this lesson to your daily life, outside of the vines, where even greater dangers await. (You will forget, of course.)

The light of your headlamp is the only thing that tells you where you are in the dead of night–but even then, you can’t see the end of the rows. Moths whirl around your head like electrons around a nucleus, their eyes gleaming of polished copper. You feel alone in the world, like you’re walking in a world that is in the process of creation; that hour when God Himself walks on the earth and breathes. The air is fresh and smells of earth and mint, and the waters of Oak Creek, just beyond the next ridge. Some moments, you feel as if you can smell the lost Pedregosa sea that stood here before the lake and the volcano. Grape juice turns your hands crimson. Magically, whenever you fill your bucket full of grapes, someone on a quad swoops in, and picks up your load, and gives you another empty bucket or two, before disappearing back into the night. This, in the end, is the only human contact you will have for much of the night.  All is wonder and magic.

And then the sun begins to come out behind the mountain, turning the few clouds into polished metals: silver, copper, and gold, and the first songs of the birds are heard: Kingbirds, greeting the sun; a distant Gila woodpecker, and the first fall bluebirds call overhead. And that’s when you know the end of the harvest is near. You become sad, again. You don’t want to leave. You don’t want to depart from this magical world. You wonder why you could ever leave. But you do.

For some of us, those wielders of the pruners and shears of righteousness, we will return, night after sleepless night, into that magical kingdom amid the vines, when time holds still under the wheeling stars. For the harvest is our sacred calling, and the vineyards are our temple devoted to the glory of the divine. The land is our bridegroom, and the vines are our children and need our care and devotion in order to safely journey into the bottle to adulthood and old age. We who have been chosen will sleep when all is accomplished, and not a moment sooner. The Harvest needs us. As one author wrote long ago: ‘FOR WHAT CAN THE HARVEST HOPE FOR, IF NOT THE CARE OF THE REAPER MAN?’

 

( to add audio to the experience, I created a playlist that also attempted to create that feel as well, which you can check out here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL_wSUzUlKeBcl3Z4bsNA4TvTiHjm89i5H )

Podcast: Golden Rule 2011 Sangiovese with Jeremiah Craig

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Have you ever wondered why my podcasts sound better than they did when I started out?  Look no further!  In this podcast, I hang out with singer-songwriter and podcast sound editor Jeremiah Craig, and we drink some Sangiovese from Golden Rule Vineyards just as the monsoon rolls in.

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The man himself!

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Sangiovese after the monsoon

 

Harvest season–apologies for the lack of posts.

Apologies all, it’s the midst of harvest season and I haven’t been able to post regularly! Crush season is always a bit hectic, and I’ve been on some antibiotics recently as well which has curtailed much of my drinking.  I did record a podcast recently with Jeremiah Craig recently while drinking some Arizona Sangiovese, and that will be posted soonish.  I also got some video from the recent Hipster Varietal Party of a comparison of Seyval Blanc between Kansas and Arizona, which… if I can find it again, I may also post here.

In the meantime, here’s some harvest pictures for your enjoyment, some shots of other wines I’ve been imbibing, scenes from a podcast that was unusable due to audio difficulties, and a preview of the upcoming podcast!

I wore my crown harvesting one night.

 

Melisa Mills, of Oak Creek Vineyards, with Syrah at PSC

Felcos and Petit Sirah

Scenes from the Grenache harvest at PSC

Gayle Glomski’s hand and Grenache

Andrew Villaverde and Alissa Kueker of DA Ranch

Heart of the Vineyard: this cluster looked and bled like a heart.

Petit Sirah vines at D.A. Ranch. You can see the unique geologic setting of this vineyard at the foot of the ancient House Mountain shield volcano, partly buried still by the limestones of the Verde Formation.

Bonus shot of the Spanish Fly from Flying Leap (Graciano and Grenache) from the sadly failed podcast with Rose Suntken of Confident Brewer. The wind was too much on the mountain for the audio to be understandable or recoverable. But here’s the bottle, sitting pretty on some breccia from the Bisbee Group (Early Cretaceous) in the Huachuca Mountains.

Behind the scenes 1: taking the above photo; Mexico in the background. Photo courtesy of Rose Suntken.

Behind the Scenes 2: Rose tries to keep the wind from blowing the glass and bottle of wine off the mountain.

The 2013 Gallia (Cabernet Franc and Merlot): a wine so sexy that a friend on Instagram asked if I was drinking it for the articles.  It is, I think, among the best Bordeaux-style blends in Arizona.  I’m aging my bottle a bit longer before I write an article about it, though.

2014 Chupacabra: a GSM from Al Buhl Vineyard, and is, as far as I’m aware, the first 100% Arizona Chupacabra blend.

Graciano seems to vary intensely from one vintage to the next; on the left, the Super tannic 2014… and the velvety 2015, both from Château Tumbleweed, both sourced from Cimmaron Vineyards.

Seyval Blanc from Kansas and Arizona at the White and Rosé Hipster Varietal Party. Arizona was ruled as tasting better, and everyone agreed with my friend Sarah’s (of The Sheaf and Vine) assertion of Kansas terroir being saltier than that of Arizona’s general limestone dust.

Lastly, a video preview of part of the podcast I did with Jeremiah Craig, as part of his Web series.  Be sure to keep watching to listen to his song “Dusty Vines,” a song which is both an homage to Arizona wines and the history of our state:


Video Review: Dos Cabezas Sparkling Pink

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I decided to attempt a video review of the Sparkling Pink in a can from Dos Cabezas Winery.

Enjoy!  I may do more of these video reviews as time progresses!

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Fizz.

Golden Rule Vineyards: 2013 Manzora Red

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Golden Rule Vineyards is located near what could be said to have been the mining district of the Sulphur Springs Valley, while Willcox had a more agricultural history.  In fact, the names of many of the wines made by this winery harken back to the local history of mining in the twisted granites and metamorphic rocks that make up the Dragoons and other nearby mountains, which have left their pieces behind in the vineyard–an entirely different terroir than the Willcox Bench.  The Manzora Red is no exception.  This entry also serves as a brief geological examination of Golden Rule Vineyards, so there will be a few more photographs in this entry than normal–be warned!

2013 Manzora Red

2013 Manzora Red and… yes, I’m playing D&D while drinking it. You already knew I was a nerd, so why are you surprised, exactly?

The Wine: The unique terroir of the area around Dragoon owes itself to the same unique geology that made this region a hotbed for mines, such as the Manzora mine which granted this wine its name: a massive influx of mineral-rich volcanic rock (especially porphyritic granites) during the Cretaceous and Tertiary intruding with and subsequently uplifting a suite of Paleozoic sedimentary rocks.  The soils at Golden Rule Vineyard are eroded from these granite intrusions.

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The vines at the foot of the Dragoon Mountains show the geological setting for the terroir of this region.

The Manzora Red is made from 100% Golden Rule Vineyard fruit.  It is a blend of 71% Zinfandel, 14% Petit Sirah, 13% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot.  The wine was made at the Aridus facility (I think, and if so, in 2013 it was made by Rob Hammelman, if I recall my Aridus timetable correctly–but I could be wrong). By taste, this wine definitely has seen some new oak; French for sure, but possibly some American as well.  The Manzora red, as you’d expect for a zin-heavy blend, is pretty high in alcohol at 15.7%; but this is not noticeable on the palate unless the wine is overchilled.

The Nose: The nose of this wine is classically Zinfandel-like, with notes of cherry, plum, watermelon, pomegranate, and minty monsoon petrichor.  As the wine opens, these aromas intermingle with Willcox earth,  orange peel, black tea, and mulberry emerge from the glass.

The Palate: This wine also has a classically Zinfandel-like palate, with jammy plum, cherry, and pomegranate, intermingling with sour mulberry, nutmeg, cedar, and granite earth. It’s almost explosively fruit forward.  As the wine opens, additional notes of dates, black tea, and strawberry emerge from the glass. There are some tannins to be found here; along with hints of tobacco. The finish of this wine lasts for 1 minute and 24 seconds, and is filled with notes of tobacco, granite, and anise.

The Pairing: Pair the Manzora Red as you would a Zinfandel; with barbecue pork or a flank steak, hot off the grill with some green and red bell peppers and asparagus.  For a vegetarian or vegan pairing for this wine, aim for a squash-based casserole with  roasted tomatoes, red and green peppers, and caramelized onions.

Impressions:  The more I examined the geology of Golden Rule Vineyards when I visited there a few months ago, the more I realize that this region doesn’t really belong categorized with the rest of the Willcox region, in terms of terroir. (In distance?  Yes, visit Golden Rule during your visit to Willcox Wine Country).  The wines here taste different thanks to the granitic nature of the soil which has been formed from the particular rocks which have eroded down from the mountains.

I am particularly interested in seeing if this similar geology is going to be reflected in the estate vintages from Four-Tails vineyard, which is in a strikingly similar geologic setting. These two vineyards are far from prehistoric Lake Cochise, which forms the base geologic setting for the wines of the Willcox Bench, as I’ve talked about before.

For now, though, the wines from Golden Rule are the only exploration available for this unique terroir, and the Manzora Red is an easily-approachable, food friendly, red table wine blend that any lover of Zinfandel will deeply appreciate.  Zinfandel and Zin blends are pretty uncommon in Arizona, so be sure to check this one out.  It should cellar for another 5-10 years, no problem.  I was also deeply fond of the Sangiovese and the Black Diamond Cabernet, the latter of which will be reviewed on the blog…. eventually.

The personification of this vintage?  We’re going to go with a D&D character class for this one: Elven Fighter, level three.

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Sangiovese and vines with a building monsoon sky

 

 

Podcast: Making Ocotillo Wine at Trident Winery

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It’s been a crazy week here at the Wine Monk Chateau–harvest is in full swing and I have not had much time for taking notes on wine.  On top of that, allergies have been acting up and interfering with my palate.  So: here’s a podcast I recorded a while back.

In this podcast, Ray Stephens of Trident Winery in Pine, Arizona, walks me through the process of making one of the strangest and most interesting wines in his tasting room: his Ocotillo wine.  This is a long podcast, but well worth it for the sheer amount of wine geekyness that goes on here.

(Should also note that in some aspects of my personal life, this podcast is out of date–but all the wine stuff is solid and immutable!)

Below are some photos from the process.  Enjoy!

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Flowers are ready to be made into a tea that will be the base for the wine

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Getting the yeast ready

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A very blurry Ray Stephens, the mastermind behind this really cool wine.

 

 

Bodega Pierce: 2014 Malvasia Bianca

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It’s been a while since we’ve explored my Ultimate Bae and fiancée Malvasia Bianca here on the Arizona Wine Monk Blog.  That’s my own fault.  It’s a long story we won’t get into, other than it involves a woman who’s perfume bore a remarkable resemblance to most Arizona expressions of this varietal.

But I’m all better now.  I don’t plan on leaving Malvasia Bianca ever again. Malvasia is bae, as I suppose the youngsters might say.   And what better way to get back into Malvasia than with one of the best producers of this grape in the state?  We reviewed the 2013 vintage a while back, so let’s jump forward in time, shall we?

2014 Malvasia Bianca from Bodega Pierce

The Wine: Like the 2013 vintage, and the 2015 that’s currently at Four-Eight Wineworks, this wine is 100% varietal Malvasia, coming from Rolling View Vineyards. I’m pretty certain that this vintage, like the last, was fermented in stainless steel, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some of it was aged on a little bit of neutral oak as well, as it seems a little fuller bodied than last year’s vintage. The incredible differences between vintages make me wonder if different yeasts are being used each year, or if Malvasia naturally is that varied from one year to the next, based on weather conditions, but I digress.  The winemaker was Michael Pierce.  The wine itself is the lovely, cheerful sunshine yellow of an average local Malvasia Bianca; a wine itself which was once described to me as “liquid sunlight.”

The Nose: What’s particularly interesting to me is that every vintage is so incredibly different. The 2013 vintage was quite floral on the nose, and 2014 is decidedly not. (The 2015 in Four-Eight currently is also different, being entirely tropical fruit.) Instead, notes of lemon-lime and apple form the opening salvo, along with tropical fruit such as starfuit, pineapple and banana.  As the wine opens up, these notes begin intermingling with flint, chamomile, and white tea, and the slightest hint of gardenia and lavender.

The Palate: Notes of chamomile, white tea, and starfruit are particularly prominent in this vintage on the palate as well; with hints of elderflower, jasmine, and rose intermngling with the tropical fruit and tea.  As the wine opens, these floral notes intensify, and intermingle with flint and dust. As the wine opens up, notes of honey emerge on the palate.  The finish of this Malvasia lasts for 1 minute and 19 seconds.

The Pairing: I feel like this wine will be a great breakfast or brunch pairing with huevos rancheros or a green chili omlette. I feel this would also be a great wine to pair with a gyro too; the subtle flavors of the wine will play with properly-made tzatziki sauce.  For a vegan or vegetarian pairing, Pad Thai will also work splendidly.

Impressions: As I stated before, I’m struck by how different each vintage of Malvasia from this vineyard is.  Does this grape vary so much by climate? Are different yeasts used every year?  Is it both?  I wasn’t able to reach Michael Pierce to comment about the yeasts used in the different vintages in time for this post to go live, but hopefully he’ll be able to tell me one way or the other.

If you want to try Malvasia, but don’t particularly care for Floral whites, this one is a good one to begin your explorations with.  This particular Malvasia feels more masculine than other expressions, so much so that I would declare this vintage to be a blonde gentleman and scholar of the Crusades. He has a tan from just returning from a dig site at a Crusader castle somewhere in Lebanon.

Caduceus Cellars: 2015 Nagual del Agostina (August Noise Review)

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2015 Naugal del Agostina in the meadows of Mingus Mountain

Hello stranger, Can you tell us where you’ve been? More importantly, how ever did you come to be here?”–Puscifer, The Green Valley.

It is perhaps not terribly surprising that I have a list of recently planted grapes that I’ve had my eye on. These grapes will have their first full vintages released either this year or next. These are grapes which I’ve spent some time imagining would do well here, under open Arizona skies. One of the grapes on this list is a somewhat obscure Italian and French varietal called vermentino (or rolle in France). In its homeland, this grape produces crisp, bright, acidic white wines. When I heard a few years ago that Maynard had planted some vines of this varietal near Cornville, I was excited and awaited the first vintage. This vintage, the 2015 Nagual del Agostina, was recently released in the Caduceus Cellars tasting room, so I grabbed a bottle and sat under my favorite tree atop Mingus Mountain to meet the new grape in town.

The 2015 Nagual del Agostina is technically a blend of 90% vermentino and 10% malvasia bianca, though according to American liquor laws, this qualifies as something that could have been labeled as the majority varietal. The grapes for this wine came from the Agostina vineyard block, not terribly far from Oak Creek, at about 3,300 feet in elevation. The grapes for this wine were whole-cluster pressed, and cold-soaked. This wine was partially fermented in stainless steel at 52 degrees Fahrenheit, and partly in neutral oak puncheons at 65 degrees. These different styles of fermentation add a great deal of complexity and character to this vintage. The wine was aged in stainless steel. Very similar to the typical Italian expression of this varietal, this Arizona vermentino is a bright, almost transparent yellow-green in the glass.

On the nose, the 2015 Agostina is deeply reminiscent of its Italian brethren. Bright and refreshing, the nose opens up with a fragrance akin to a mountain meadow in springtime, intermingling with honeydew melon, apricot, green apple, and lime. As the wine opens, hints of mint, vanilla, limestone, and distant desert rain emerge from the glass, along with just a hint of baking spices. Surprisingly, the only malvasia influences which are noticeable in this wine are very subtle notes of jasmine and gardenia.

The palate of this wine doesn’t have any noticeable characteristics of malvasia, which normally makes itself very explicitly known. Notes of lime, peach, and green apple intermingle with subtle hints of sea salt and limestone. (This limestone note is not something I recognize in Italian expressions of this grape, which leads me to believe it is an artifact of the local terroir; remains of the ancient lakebed which once covered the valley.) As the wine opens, honeydew melon and lychee notes emerge, intermingling with some absolutely stunning acidity. The finish of the 2015 Agostina lasts for 1 minute and four seconds, filled with notes of honeydew melon, vanilla, and sage.

I have to say that I’d be hard-pressed to find a better pairing for this wine than the approach I took: a warm summer’s day in the mountains, among the wildflowers, leaning against a ponderosa pine. It would also pair really well on a porch, watching monsoon storms sailing across the landscape, while smoking some aromatic pipe tobacco. If you must insist on a food pairing, the vibrant acidity of this wine lends itself to a host of varied options. My first thought is to pair this wine with grilled salmon with rosemary and lemon, with a side of saffron rice. For more Southwestern flair, serve this wine with some great grilled chicken tacos, with a squeeze of lime, a tiny bit of chili powder, and just a smidge of avocado. If you’re seeking a vegetarian or vegan pairing for this vermentino, make some falafel with a side of tabbouleh; the flavors in such a dish should meld well with the wine.

The 2015 Agostina is, in a nutshell, the perfect wine for the hot summers here in the Verde Valley. It is a classic vermentino with some local Arizona flair. Light, and airy, with a nice kick of acidity, this is a wine that will quench your thirst in the hot summer sun, whether on a romantic picnic date, or sitting alone under a tall pine tree swaying in the wind. This wine is a blonde photographer, light on her feet, who prefers wilderness photography over all other things. She is kind, a little aloof, but a good friend. I would be remiss to not note that this wine is one of the very first to be approved by the new Arizona Vigneron’s Alliance, an organization specifically devoted to promoting vintages made from Arizona grapes. Grab your bottle from the Caduceus tasting room for $40.

Cody V. Burkett is channeling Omar Khayyam, and bids you remember that you need is a bottle of wine, a picnic lunch, and your own damned self, singing in the wilderness. Follow him on instagram at @theazwinemonk if you like pretty wine and sunrise photos.

Lightning Ridge Cellars: 2011 Estate Petit Verdot

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You don’t see as many Bordeaux grapes grown in the Sonoita AVA these days as you once did.  And in my opinion, Petit Verdot is among my favorites. I had to pick up this bottle of Petit Verdot one of the first times I visited Lightning Ridge Cellars, almost 2 and a half years ago.  I’ve had it aging quietly since then… and I’ve been craving Bordeaux grapes lately for some reason, so I decided to break this bottle out of the cellar and give it a try.

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2011 Petit Verdot from Lghtning Ridge Cellars, Sonoita AVA.

The Wine: I was not able to get details on this vintage, but there is tangerine notes on the nose and on the palate after an extreme decant, so I am assuming this fruit is from the Sonoita AVA.  I’m also guessing this wine was aged on American oak, due to the scent profile, in heavier toast, newer barrels. The wine was made by Ann Roncone.  This wine, as you would expect from Petit Verdot, is an extremely dark, almost blackish purple in color.

The Nose: When first opened, the biggest aromas that grab me hint at a usage of new American oak barrels: cedar, teriyaki sauce, and dill that overwhelm the nose, scents which make me assume the use of american oak.  Given a few hours to decant though, the situation has entirely changed; more subtle notes of the wine come out to play: pencil shavings, banana, sage, and rose come out to play, intermingling with big cassis, blackberry, plum, and mulberry notes.  After a day-long decant, the nose of this wine also contains the scent of violets, cinnamon, and rosemary, and the fruit notes have become more subdued.

Palate: This wine still has huge tannins.  When first imbibed, vanilla, cedar, and nutmeg notes are prominent, but as the wine calms down and opens up, notes of pomegranate, plum, cherry, banana, cassis, rosemary, and mulberry emerge, intermingling with intense leathery tannins, persimmons, espresso, and chalky limestone.  After being open for two hours, the wine has a finish of 4 minutes, with big tannins, spice, and earth .  After further decanting this wine for a day, the wine obtains even more subtle flavors of violets and rosemary (and there’s still lots of tannins and persimmon notes), and the finish lasts for 4 minutes and 21 seconds.

Pairing: Bigger is going to be better with this wine: ribeyes, porterhouses, and other big meat dishes are going to be fantastic with this wine, but since I’ve been on a Persian cuisine kick lately, you should pair this wine with a Beryooni dish (Lamb, basically).  Or Lamb kebabs.  For a vegetarian pairing, big is also going to be your watchword: mushroms will be your best friend.  A lasagna made with portobello mushroom or ruffles with a side of wild rice will shine with this wine.

Impressions:  Petit Verdot for me is usually a sort of brooding artist or writer, sometimes with a bit of a twisted mind, fond of using deep colors, prone to chain smoking and abstract art.  The last one we visited reminded me of Rothko, but this is… different.  More moody, but less abstract, possibly more impressionist in mode… a little like Van Gogh, actually.

I admit, at first I didn’t like this Petit Verdot, and felt it over-oaked, and for those who aren’t fans of American Oak, your first thought may well be like mine: “oh god, what did they do?”  Wait.  Let it decant.  Decanting is your watchword with this wine, and if you don’t decant this wine, (or really, any other Petit Verdot) you’re going to have a bad time.

Which is why I’m going to close with a meme for the first time ever on The Arizona Wine Monk Blog:

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Take this advice to heart. Or cellar this wine for another 10 years and you won’t feel nearly as impatient when you take that first sip just out of the bottle.