Explore Austrian wines at Maryland tasting event Jan. 20

January 7, 2013

Well, the new year has finally arrived. The Mayan end of the world has been thwarted somehow, and it appears, as I’m writing, we are going over some type of cliff. Sounds to me like it is time to either celebrate or commiserate, and wine is a pretty durn good solution for either scenario. After you read the next paragraph you will rush out for some commiseration juice. I will provide the best bets.

You need to know these facts because the mainstream media has failed to inform us appropriately. They have allowed Sen. Reid and Mr. Obama to blame all the stalemate in D.C. on the GOP.

I guess they forgot that Mr. Obama’s most recent budget went down 400-0 in the House. There are only 234 GOP members in the House, therefore 166 Dems voted against Mr. Obama’s budget in a bipartisan manner. In the Senate the bill failed 99-0 on May 16, 2012. Since there are 100 senators, it is obvious this vote was bipartisan also. Mr. Reid has refused to even allow the last two Republican House budgets to go to the floor for discussion, let alone a vote. As usual, the guy who says, ”You can trust me,” is the one stretching the truth most.

If you have any big bucks after they tax you rich guys, 95-point (both WS and WE) Fonseca Vintage Port 2009 is on sale for $70/bottle when you buy three. Winesearcher has most of it at $90. This is a true bargain, but I would buy a small ladder of the 375 ml bottles: 2009, 95 points, $45; 2007, 93 points, $48; 2003, 97 points, $50; and 2000, 95 points, $55. These are the best that are findable and would provide the opportunity to get a terrific read on Port.

During the doldrums of January, on the 20th, the Tasters Guild of Maryland is staging an Austrian wine tasting at the Café de Paris in Columbia, Md. I have tried to convince folks to acquaint themselves with Austrian wine, and this is a fine opportunity. Go to Tasters Guild and contact Dottie Wayne. The tasting information is on the site, Nonmembers pay $32.

2007 La Ferme Du Mont Chateauneuf du Pape Cotes Capelan, recommended here in 2010, is ready to drink now and for the next few years. We bought it at $47, and I am pleased to say if you tried to purchase it now it would cost $70 plus shipping. If you could find it.

I opened one for a roast leg of lamb, and it was lovely. The bottle did need aeration and decanting, as it has thrown off some sediment. It is starting to open. A splendid bouquet of dark fruits, slight game and lavender aromas precedes a smooth palate that is rich and full but has the structure to keep it clean. The tannins continued to soften the longer it was in the glass. Cotes Capelan went fantastically with leg of lamb with rosemary marinade. I think the perfect window will open next fall, and I can’t wait. Color, tannins and bouquet all say it can cellar several more years. Parker loved this and, give the devil his due, he was right on the money.

While I’m on the varietal, the 2006 Zaca Mesa Winery Reserve Syrah Santa Ynez Valley 2006, recommended in 2010, is drinking beautifully. We bought it at $18 with a 2010-15 window. Today it is sold out at the winery, but there are some around priced at $36. Patient folks might wish to lay in some of the 2009. Most rate it around 90 because it is a bit hot. I think they are wrong due to the color, nose, body, huge dark fruit and tannins. The 2009 defines the terminology “brooding” as it relates to wine. Do not go for the hype on the Black Bear Block bottling from ZM. Although it is lovely, it is not worth the $60 plus.

I heard there was a move afoot to ban lighters and matches. Who needs a 20-match book or box? Let’s disarm those demented arsonists. Write your congressmen and senators today about this issue, before they fall off that cliff.

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