Summer gatherings call for variety in choices

June 23, 2014

On Father’s Day we cooked some steaks on the barbi and I whipped up an eggplant caponata. Barbara put together a gorgeous sponge cake and filled it with fresh whipped cream, blueberries and strawberries. I broke out a bottle of Molly Dooker Two Left Feet 2011 and had at it. Molly was recommended here a few years ago, and it lived up to my expectations. A blend of Shiraz, Cab and Merlot, it was ready to go. Still shows a deep crimson with great balanced frame, blackberries, and currants with oak-driven vanilla and pie spice with a long, clean finish, 92 points plus 1 price point. We bought it for $18; it will keep until at least 2017. The 2012 are also in the 90s. Please give this a try. I’ll bet you spring for a case.

With dessert, I opened a bottle of Mionetto Prosecco Superiore Valdobbiadene DOCG that I was able to sample thanks to Jane Kettlewell from Creative Palate. Tx Jane! My entire family think you are the bomb. This Prosecco comes in a pretty black bottle. It is a charmat processed sparkler made extra dry in temperature-controlled stainless. Pours pale straw with a nice creamy bead. Some ripe apple and pear flavors and some apricot and peach aromas. A lot of sparkler for less than $20. Remember, gang, extra dry means a tad of residual sugar. In this case 17g/liter. Still dry but with enough acid/sugar balance to really support fruit desserts.

Ken Wright has a long and storied career in winemaking. As the first president of Yamhill-Carlton AVA in Oregon, he was one of the chief proponents in the development of the Oregon AVA declarations and is credited with writing the proposal for the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. It appears that the grape didn’t fall for from the vine in the case of his son Cody. Cody and his folks moved to Oregon when he was 5. His exposure has been through dad’s stints at Panther Creek and Ken Wright Cellars, and his stepdad is Rollin Soles of Argyle and ROCO. So , I guess this facilitated his getting juice from the famous Dundee Hills Vineyards. 2012 was a fine year in the region, and with those ingredients and his skills, Cody produced Purple Hands Pinot Noir Holstein Vineyard. I wonder if these were grown on a former cow pasture? Harvey Steiman of WS gave the 2012 a hefty 93 points, and the price surged, but it has settled back into the $34 range. His review reads, “Taut in structure, this is focused and expansive in flavor, brimming with currant and blackberry fruit and festooned with floral and mineral grace notes, lingering expressively and intensely.” I’m down with that.

If you are looking for a very nice Pomerol, try to corral a few bottles of Chateau Moulin 2012, 92 points, $42. With 80 percent merlot and the rest Cab Franc, it has a lovely mixed bouquet of Asian spice, black cherry with hints of caramel, toast and incense provided by the cooperage. A full-bodied, juicy wine, I was surprised that the Cab Franc did not give any tannic override. Drink this over the next few years.

Tanzer laid 90 points on Vinos sin Ley Yecla Murcia Monastrell. Parker 2-upped him to 92. McD says +1 for pricing at $13. Made with 100 percent Mourvedre, organically grown, it pours dark purple and opens to a lovely bouquet of blueberries and blackberries enhanced with loam and chalky minerality. This is much more kind than the normal rustic profiles that emanate from the region. There is some sweetness from the fruit nose and a very slight touch of bitterness (negligible) in the finish.

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