Bacchic Reflections

erhaps the nearest I come to gluttony is with wine. As often as possible, when a really beautiful bottle is before me, I drink all of it that I can, even when I know that I have had more than I want physically. That is gluttonous. But I think to myself, when again will I have this taste upon my tongue? Where else in the world is there just such a wine as this, with just this bouquet, at just this heat, in just this crystal cup? And when again will I be alive to it as I am this very minute....?                                                       
                                                                                    M.F.K. Fisher

   Drink wine, and you will sleep well. Sleep, and you will not sin. Avoid sin, and you will be saved. Ergo, drink wine and be saved.
                                                                         Old German Proverb
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Reds worth cellaring....Jordan 2011 Cab
                            B.E.'s Cellar Notes

Tasting NC Wines:  B.E.'s Discoveries

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Wine Buy(s) of the Week 

Just back from France, a riverboat trip down the Rhône River, after a fleeting trip to Beaune for a walkabout, then Lyon...Tournon...Avignon....Arles, aboard Grand Circle's MS Provence--me and 44 other passengers, a very genial group. Good food aboard, delightful amenities, spacious cabins, appealing ambience. Both in Paris and en voyage, we drank many delightful rosés, mostly Provençal and a few from the Languedoc (like many of those recommended below).       
      Back in Paris, had lunch with a friend at Le Bistro du Dôme in Montparnasse, a lovely spot --delicious seafood with Michel Redde's delectable P-F 2014 Pouilly-Fumé 2014, fresh and bright, with a nice minerally cut -- not sure it's in the States yet, but be on the lookout for it--great summer white, especially with shellfish. $26-30 a bottle at retail here. At Le Bistro, it was $26 euros, about $30 a bottle, a great buy.

Summer Wines:  the beach, the pool, the patio beckon....what will you drink? Something crisp, bright, alluring and refreshing:  like,  dry rosés
I love these wines -- they are indeed alluring and refreshing...and so versatile with seasonal foods.
Stemmari 2014 Rosato, Sicily***$10  Very appealing lively fruit--made from nero d'avola, a black grape native to southern Italy. Juicy red currant flavors--great sipper, great value!
Mas St. Berthe Rosé 2014, Les Baux de Provence*** $15-17  Grenache-based, sturdy and assertive, can handle heartier foods, light meats, grilled salmon, smoked meats, barbecued pork.
Domaine Houchart 2014 Rosé  Côtes de Provence**+ $14   One of my favorites, dry but juicy with berry accents (strawberry, currant).
Mezzacorona 2014 Rosé Dolomiti**  Trento  $9  You might know this producer's Pinot Grigio--this is their first rosé--fresh and dry, delightful fruit--and quite a bargain! Made from the local lagrein grape, mountain-grown.
Bergerie de l'Hortus 2014   Languedoc  $15**+   Grenache, syrah, mourvèdre lend weight to this dry pink, with plenty of berryish fruit to enjoy.
Domaine de Fontsainte Gris de Gris 2014, Corbières, $14***  Consistently appealing--pale rose in hue, but plenty of berry and cherry flavors for delightful sipping.
Tavel 2014 Ch. de Manissy Cuvée des Lys, Provence, $14***  Bright berry flavors, hints of raspberry and black cherry. Check out at Durham's Caves Taureau.
Look also for these**-***:   Clos de Lumières 2014  Côtes-du-Rhône, $14;  Anton Bauer Rosé  Wagram, $14; J.M. Raffault Chinon Rosé 2014  Loire Valley, $14

Gruner Veltliner,
Austria's snappy white is both appetizing and thirst-quenching.
Anton Bauer 2013**+, consistently bright and appealing, nice zest of lime, hint of lychee, $12-13 for the basic Gmork, $25-28 for the Spiegel, which is creamier, a little more complex.
Meinklang Gruner Veltliner 2014, $15, somewhat fizzy but attractively so.-- delightful with smoked salmon and other savories.
Steininger G.V. 2013, Kamptal   $16**.   Steininger makes several Gruners, including sparkling versions (sekt), but the basic one is quite winning, dry and vibrant, versatile and appealing.

2 Neat Whites from Biltmore:  Biltmore Pinot Grigio**+   $14   Fresh and bright, dry and crisp, a fine summer sipper, great with seafood pastas.  Likewise, Biltmore Sauvignon Blanc**  also dry, with snappy mineral accents and bright citrus flavors.  Both versatile with summer dishes and goat cheese.  Biltmore Winery is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Winemaker Bernard Delille has greatly improved the quality of Biltmore wines across the board.

Benton Lane Pinot Gris 2012  Willamette Valley OR  $18*** Lively, mostly dry, with nice richness of texture and appealing flavor notes of pear and green melon, aromas of sweet honeysuckle.  An excellent example of Oregon Pinot Gris.

A Few Good Reds.....
Dona Paula Estate Malbec 2012, Argentina  $15**+ 
Nice intensity of black fruits (plums, berries) -- great for grilled steaks.
Look also for Catena Zapata Malbec 2012, $15-18**  similarly ripe and dark

Hillinger Blaufrankisch 2013 Burgenland $17-20** 
This black grape is native to Austria, producing dark, rich-textured red wines. Round and drinkable now.
Meiomi Pinot Noir 2013, California**   $20+  Medum-bodied, juicy pinot flavors (cherries, ripe berries) with hints of spice and smoke. Widely available, nice for roast hams, Cornish game hens and other fowl.  Look also for: Schug Sonoma Coast, Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara, Edna Valley Paragon

Chateau Armandiere Cahors, France 2012  $12.99** Cahors, the deep red wine from the Cahors region just east of Bordeaux in France, has long been the prototype for the black grape malbec. Some Cahors are rustic and tannic, but this one, with its ripe blackberry-black cherry flavors, is definitely one to enjoy now--at a great price.

Anton Bauer Cuvée 2012, Wagram  Austria   $16-17**+  
A juicy blended red that is an excellent match for the lighter meats (veal, pork, chicken) but an appealing richness suits beef as well as savory cheese dishes.  Look also for Anton Bauer Zweigelt,$13, a soft appealing red with flavor hints of black raspberry.



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