Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Drew Vineyards Syrah 2006 Anderson Valley, California (USA)

So you probably think I'm some fucking snob on an exclusively imported wine agenda here, but truth is I'm not. I love American wine, I really do. In front of me is a glass of said wine. Hailing from Anderson Valley in Mendocino, California. The wine was again found at the local Sigel's, I am rather familiar with the vineyard from my days as a Sommelier. I had sampled and sold various vintages of their Pinot Noir, but never their Syrah, and apparently I've been missing out. 28 USD, this bottling is from the fruit grown at their Broken Leg vineyard (love that name), visually it has a very nice deep sanguine color and signs of rim variation, with a concentrated nose of cassis, vanilla, pepper, allspice and some espresso. Rich is an understatement, this could literally pass as a Syrah preserve. The mouth feel however is quite gentle and silky with medium tannic character. The cassis/blackcurrant makes a second appearance as does the allspice, leading to a nice full finish that simply beckons another sip. Yeah, I can (and will!) totally down this bottle in one sitting. Go buy yourself a bottle now, this is a GREAT example of the kind of seriousness that California can produce with Rhone varietals (See also : Saxum, Lillian, Ojai and if you're willing to pay the price, Sine Qua Non).

Until next time, friends.

A Cru Beajoulais at Patriarchs / Dinner at Little Sichuan Cuisine

Château des Capitans 2007 Juliénas, Beaujolais (France)

Beaujolais, forever the object of undeserved infamy in the world of wine. The reason? The vagueness of misunderstanding. There are three major levels of Beaujolais, the basic Beaujolais or Beaujolais Noveau, which reign as the largest in terms of market and which are quite decent, inexpensive reds, but nothing to write a poem about. Followed by the more respected Beaujolais-Villages, which is an intermediate step and one which I recommend to anyone just getting into wine. Then there are the Cru, a word simply meaning growth; These are the crown's jewel of the AOC and yet a class apart, starting with labels that will often confuse consumers with something they've never heard of, since the Cru labels will almost always read the village name (Saint-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, etc.) instead of the BEAUJOLAIS letterheads one would expect. The grape varietal in these wines is the Gamay, a frankenstein'd Pinot Noir clone which unlike Pinot, is not a high-maintenance monster bitch, speaking strictly in viticultural terms.Ok, so with that little lesson covered, let's move onto the wine, shall we?
My friend, fellow oenophile/sommelier/mixologist/foodie/bon vivant Paul at Patriarchs (an amazing bar/cigar purveyor literally across the street from where I live) invited me to sample this lovely Cru Beaujolais with him. This is one in particular is produced by one of the domaines of G. Duboeuf (the area's #1 négociant) and donning the Juliénas village nomenclature, known to be one of the most structured and cellar-worthy spawns of the aforementioned appellation. The initial nose was balanced and a bit shy yet beautifully floral and expressive. The palate was super smooth, medium-bodied and certainly richer than any Beaujolais even a lush like me has ever tried. At once, I heralded it as having Burgundian qualities enough to match a mid-tier Gevrey-Chambertin or the like. About half an hour into it, the bouquet started to REALLY open up to some gorgeous degree of unexpected bliss with juicy ripe raspberry, nutmeg, and a hint of incense. The palate and the finish both became more pronounced. This my friends, is fucking serious, downright classy wine. Impressive stuff out of a bottle fetching a little under 30 USD. Furthermore, enjoying an evening of pure degustation with someone like Paul, is simply priceless. We shall gather later this month with his favorite wine companion, Rhone superstar Château de Beaucastel! (Coincidentally, one of my favorites as well.)


I love food. All kinds of foods. French, Spanish, Latin American, Arabic, Greek, African, Micronesian, Neptunian, Hyrulian, whatever! Yet one of my ULTIMATE favourite cuisines is Chinese (and I'm not talking fucking orange chicken and fried rice here) and to me, the mecca of such is Sichuan/Szechuan province, known so well for their spicy and savory offerings. So, we found this wonderful spot called Little Sichuan Cuisine in Plano, and holy fuck! This place is superb, traditional and incredibly cheap Sichuanese/Chinese food. We ordered the Chengdu dumplings, an order of baby bok choy and tea-smoked duck. TEA-SMOKED MOTHERFUCKING DUCK. The dumplings were rich, spicy yet sweet and blessed by the magical animal (pork) as a filling, served in a bowl, bathing in hot-oil goodness and topped with scallions and minced garlic. The bok choy was delightful and spicy (this is Sichuan food, after all) and the duck? Well, fuck, it was DUCK. Fatty, crispy, well-seasoned, amazing, orgasmic, etc..
Can't wait to come back here and try some of the other items we wanted to try like the ox tongue and tripe with roasted chili-peanut or the quintessential fiery mapo doufu.