Bacchic Reflections

“Oh, the eager joy of vintage, the haste to cast into the wine press on the same day both the ripe grape and the verjus, the rhythm which leaves far behind the ample, dreamy cadence of harvest, the pleasure, redder than other pleasures, the songs and drunken shouts!”
                                                                          La Naissance du Jour

  Harvest: when the vines exult in ripeness, yielding up their gold and ruby treasures to make wine, a song of the earth warmed by the sun.

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HALLOWEEN:   MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!  check out this Star Wars parody from JORDAN WINERY on YouTube:

Fullsteam Brewery St. Basil Ale. on draught***
   One of Fullsteam's seasonal brews, made with fresh basil. This year's version is wonderfully refreshing, subtly flavored with basil in a way that works great with food--cheeses, turkeyburgers and sausages, pizza or pasta with pesto.  Quick!--while it lasts.


Wine Buy(s) of the Week
Domaine des Herbauges Moulin d'Argent Chardonnay 2013** $12.99
at The Wine Merchant in Cary. Very Macon-like--crisp, citrussy, unoaked, very attractive and quite a bargain for good Chardonnay.  Stock up.
Au Bon Climat Chardonnay 2012  Santa Barbara  $22***  Excellent balance in this elegant Chard, a nice touch of oak that give it an extra dimension of flavor; fine length with a smooth creamy aftertaste. 

  O'Reilly Pinot Noir 2013, Willamette Valley, $16-18  
Good, reasonably priced Pinots are not easy to find, so be on the lookout for this charmer from Oregon--juicy, well-balanced, eminently drinkable; great for grilled salmon. An easy label to spot -- Arf! Arf!   Enjoy!

King Estate Pinot Gris 2013, Willamette Valley, OR $16-18***  A lively Pinot Gris (grigio) -- dry, happily, with hints of pear, melon (canteloupe), mineral, and just enough citrus to make it crisp and refreshing. Richer texture than Italian style Grigios.  Consider for Thanksgiving.

Biltmore 2013 Riesling  North Carolina   North Carolina $16.99*** 
Quite a lovely graceful Riesling--not sweet, just off-dry, with fine acid balance. Elegant.
Pouilly-Fuissé  2011 Domaine de Gerbeaux  France   $24-28**+  Think you don't like Chardonnay? Do try this steely, crisp, very lightly oaked rendition from southern Burgundy. An excellent choice for seafood and shellfish
Barista Chardonnay 2013  South Africa  $15**+  Very good value for this fresh, crisp Chardonnay from the Cape Peninsula. A bit on the steely side (which makes it a good match with shellfish), with a light touch of  oak that rounds off the citrus and green apple flavors.  Look for the distinctive black-and-white tile capsule atop the bottle.
Trione Chardonnay 2011  Russian River Valley** $19-22  The  light touch of oak in this chardonnay lends grace and an extra dimension of flavor--hints of vanilla, spice and ripe pear make it a natural with filets of snapper, flounder, tilapia, monkfish, also shrimp or chicken breast in white wine sauce.
Macon La Roche Vineuse Château de la Greffière 2013 Burgundy  France $15-18**+    People who say they don't like Chardonnay just haven't had the good ones (granted, there are too many poor ones). This one is such pleasant sipping I'd suggest keeping a few bottles on hand--it makes a delightful aperitif  but its dry piquant flavors --  unoaked -- are also a nice match with seafoods, such as scallops, shrimp or mahi-mahi.

Season of Apples--
Cider, fermented crushed appels, is a great change of pace from beer and wine. Foggy Ridge First Fruits and Serious Cider are two of my favorites--both on the drier side so they work nicely with food--but wonderfully apple-y, which makes them terrific with Gouda and other semisoft cheeses.
Fishing Creek Hard Cider, also dry, is quite good, too.

Seasonal Reds --
La Casaccia 2013 Grignolino, Piemonte $16-18*** Cherry color, cherry flavors in this juicy little red, made from organically grown grapes in the central Piedmont region of northern Italy.  Fresh and bright--great for pork, salami and other smoked meats, sausages. Find it at Caves Taureau in Durham or Wine Authorities in Raleigh.
Anton Bauer Cuvée 2012, Wagram  Austria   $16-17**+   A juicy blended red that is great for grilling; an excellent match for the lighter meats (veal, pork, chicken) but an appealing richness suits beef as well as savory cheese dishes.  Anton Bauer 2012 Pinot Noir, $20, is also very good with nice Pinot intensity.

Beaujolais-Villages 2013, France **+  $11-15   
The gamay grape makes a perfect red that segues nicely into fall: Beaujolais. Fruit-driven, with aromas and flavors of ripe berries, it is best served lightly cooled, which makes the fruit all the more appealing. Wines labeled Beaujolais or Beaujolais-Villages are the lightest of the region, so look for 2013s. Cru Beaujolais, named for the villages where they are grown (Brouilly, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon and others), are a cut above, and each has its own distinctions, well worth exploring.

Tomero Malbec 2012, Argentina  $13**  A smooth, juicy, full-bodied (but not heavy) Malbec; hand-picked grapes from highland vineyards above Mendoza. A very quaffable red--and great value. Tomero also makes a Cabernet Sauvignon, but it's somewhat angular at the moment and needs a few years in bottle; good value for the future drinking.


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                                                                                                                                             ©Barbara Ensrud