Buy recommended wines before prices go up

November 18, 2013

My drive to my other job at Grove Market takes me through the backwoods of Sussex County. I have other options, but I prefer the path less traveled. Although I get the reason for no open burning, I’m glad the hinterland dwellers thwart the law this time of year. The smell of burning leaves in the fall is nostalgic for me. It evokes the wonderful anticipation of a new school year, the festivities of the holidays and the easing of the purse strings of most of my paper route customers that it prompted. There is a downside, though. The cold, wet smell of death extinguished fires exude lingers on the late evening breeze during the ride home.

Here’s a brief on Dark Horse Distillery Reunion Rye Whiskey. There aren’t very many great rye whiskies these days. Reunion is remedying that. It is a beautiful, clear amber-brown color with a spicy bouquet of allspice, cinnamon, cloves and Vermont maple syrup. Unlike some ryes, Reunion is smooth, with lovely flavors of butterscotch, ginger, rye, and charred oak. I also thought I detected some citrus in the long finish. Drink this neat or in one of the best Manhattans you ever enjoyed. Easy on the sweet vermouth, please.

Remember David Schildknecht, the Wine Advocate guy whose reviews I enjoy so much? He wrote about Domaine Calvet-Thunevin Cuvee Constance 2010: "Black raspberry and blackberry - isn't sweetly ripe; in fact it's nearly liqueur-like. But here, my animal appetite as well as my intellectual curiosity sends me in search of a second sip. Scrubby suggestions of juniper and arbor vitae; resinous mint and marjoram; and saliva-inducing salinity that seems linked to a more intriguing sense of mineral impingement vie for attention and contribute to a sense of vibrancy which let's hope will be preserved in bottle, from which this ought then to be worth revisiting for at least 3-4 years.” You know I had to try some of this from the Cotes Catalanes, in the Languedoc. Especially when I discovered proper shopping could bring it home for less than $165/case. Or $15-16/bottle. It was a delicious blend of Carignan, Grenache and Syrah I associate with North Rhone at half the price. I give it a solid 93 points, two of which are price points.

Wine Spectator is set to produce the Top 100 wine list for 2013. You can beat the price increase by buying these now. If I’m wrong and some don’t make the list, you will still have some terrific wine to drink at a fair price. You need to move quickly though. Here is my list: 99-point Dow’s Vintage 2011 Port, $80; Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape 2012, 96 points, $85; Mollydooker Two Left Feet 2011 Shiraz blend, 92 points, $21; Seghesio Zinfandel Sonoma 2011, 92 points, $18; and last but far from least, Cali sparkler Roederer Estate Brut NV California, 91 points, $18. Careful readers will note these names keep repeating in my column in most years. Great wine chefs reside at these estates.

Pinot Noir drinkers, avoid Merry Edwards Klopp Ranch 2010 rated 88 points and selling north of $65/bottle. After a long skein of terrific Pinots, the 2010 is relatively disappointing. Terrible QPR. But a possible buy when priced less than $50. Much better value are half bottles of Belle Glos (this is Caymus

PN label) Meiomi PN California 2011, 92 points. These are easy to locate for $14, or $21 for 750ml.In the glass, it’s deep plum-colored with great legs showing its body. It opens to spicy alcohol so I swirled it a bit to allow dispersal. This allowed the lovely aromas of grape gum followed by blackberry, leather and mocha to rise from the glass. Robert Dwyer hit the nail on the head with these comments. I have paraphrased for brevity, “The Budweiser of Cali PN under $20,” and “These guys have found the formula for benchmark under $20 Cali fruit forward PN.” Dwyer’s blog is usually a good read.

To all my veteran buddies, I hope you enjoyed the moment. Although I failed to print this last week, I’m certain you honorable folks needed no prodding to pause to remember our fallen brothers. It is instructive that the Supremes are debating prayer at public meetings. I can assure all who have not served that some may strike down prayer in public meetings, but it is the first place most men turn in extremis. Famed writer Kurt Vonnegut, who served in World War II, received a Purple Heart and fought through the Battle of the Bulge, said it much better. ”People say there are no atheists in foxholes. They think that is a good argument against atheism. I think it is a much better argument against foxholes.”