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Old 08-12-2009, 08:44 PM posted to
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Default TN: assorted wines- for book party, Nikolausfest, etc

Friday was Betsy's birthday, but she was working and we scheduled her
real party for tonight. She had an all day rehearsal, and requested a
quiet quick meal out for dinner. We gave a try to a new Asian fusion
restaurant in town- it wasn't exciting, but competent with fresh
ingredients (we started with a duck roll and calamari, then she had
eggplant and tofu in garlic sauce, I had seafood (shrimp, lobster,
scallop) in XO sauce. Wine was the 1998 Charles Ellner "Cuvee
Prestige" Brut Champagne (waitress called manager to open, then I had
to show him). Medium to full bodied, some biscuit meets oxidative
notes (like a baby Bollys), apple and citrus. Good, not great. B

Saturday I was spending a lot of time with snow logistics, but not
much actually happened so it all worked out. I went over to friends
for their annual Man Booker party, this year the prize winner was
"Wolf Hall" which tells the Henry VIII/More/Boleyn tale through Thomas
Crowell's eye. I carried a thematic bottle as well as some open wines
and a cauliflower-pimenton side. Liz had made a platter of sausages,
others brought a variety including chicken, samosas, tablouli.

My themed bottle was the 2005 Nipozzano (Frescobaldi) Chianti Rýfina
Riserva. Not in the book, but I knew Cromwell worked for the
Frescobaldis before he came back to England. Bigger riper styled
Chianti, plummy red fruit, just a hint of oak, modest acidity, maybe
just a touch of heat. Not great, but for a theme botlte ok! B/B-

The awkward moment for me was of course the woman who really wanted me
to agree with her that the 2007 Trapiche Oak Cask Malbec was a great
wine. Dark fruits, cola, oaky, short. "It's certainly an example of
the style, really a great value if that's what you like" B-/C+

The 2008 Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc Viognier is an old QPR fave, now it's
$10 instead of $4, but in today's market not a bad value. Citrus fruit
and flowers, moderate acidity, nice mouthfeel. B-

Sunday we went to a Nikolaustag celebration in Roger's chilly
backyard. He had made mulled wine, a bit stronger than I'm used to. I
had carried some Guion Bourgueil as a host gift, but Fred greeted me
with a couple of his samples. The one I hadn't tried before was a
Bordeaux AC, the 2007 Tire de Diem, an honest straightforward claret.
Light to medium bodied, black plum and raspberry, light tannins, nice
(and I'm sure "natural"). B

We went home to a pot of chili (of the no tomato style, though she
added beans). Not a wine friendly dish, but I opened the 2007 Iche
"Les Heritques" (nothing will match well, so something with a little
spice that's cheap). Fun, sassy, dark fruits and a little earth, good
length for a $9 wine. B

Last night pork chops with mushrooms, along with spinach, brown rice,
and a half bottle of the 2006 JN Gagnard "Morgeot" Chassagne-
Montrachet rouge. Reticent at first, comes alive with some time. Black
cherrries, woodsmoke, a bit of earth. Nice little wine, but at $22/375
not a screaming deal. B/B+

Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an
excellent*wine, B a good wine, C mediocre. Anything below C means I
wouldn't*drink at a party where it was only choice. Furthermore, I
offer no*promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of

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