Bacchic Reflections

    As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.”  **see below
Ernest Hemingway
                                                                                                              A Moveable Feast

Fermentation is one of the oldest symbols for
              transformation. When grapes combine their juice
              and are closed up together for a time in the dark,
              the results are spectacular.

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Reds worth cellaring...Cabs, Pinots, Other
                            B.E.'s Cellar Notes

  Special Aged Wines:   B.E.'s Discoveries

Interesting Links:   see  Other Interests

Wine Books for Wine Lovers
            see B.E.'s Wine Tips

Articles by B.E.   see  B.E. in print
      Starting a Wine Cellar:   B.E.'s  Wine Tips
      Wines for aging:  see B.E. Cellar Notes
B.E. on organic and biodynamic wines
                  see  article

Wine Buy(s) of the Week

** A terrific wine for oysters (and other seafood!):  Macon La Roche Vineuse 2013 *** $18.99 at Hillsborough Wine Co.
and other wine shops around the country. This 100% chardonnay from southern Burgundy has the dash of minerality that complements raw oysters so well. But it has a broader wash of flavor that makes it great with shrimp, crab and other seafood--crisp citrus accents, hints of green apple and lime zest, yet it's that enticing strain of minerality that makes this wine delectable.

Guigal Côtes-du-Rhône Blanc 2014    France   $15-17** 
Just in time for Easter, this dry white from the Rhône Valley is quite charming, a blend of viognier, marsanne and roussane, with aromas of wildflowers, hints of peach; round, fruity, assertive and well-balanced.

Domaine Les Grands Bois Côte du Rhône 2014  France  $15.99 **
(also at Hillsborough but available around the Triangle). A solid red blend with 65% grenache and 30% syrah--meaty dark-fruit flavors with hints of black pepper. Great for spring grilling.

Saint Cosme Côtes-du-Rhône 2014   Rhône Valley  $16 (on sale at Chapel Hill Wine Co. for $12.79) **  Solid, tasty red with dark berry flavors and appealing juiciness; it's worth stocking a few bottles to have on hand for grilling season.

Coudoulet de Beaucastel  2013   Rhône Valley  $25-28***   From one of the top producers of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Château Beaucastel, this young red reeks of ripe berries. Definitely buy one to taste, and one to tuck away, because it will improve. But the ripe berry fruit and peppery accents are enticing  now--a great match for roast lamb.

Pont Du Gassac 2012 (or '13, just out) Languedoc $15**+ 
Cabernet and Merlot can be a tasty blend--add a healthy dollop of syrah and you often have something quite juicy and highly quaffable, as in this red. This second wine from one of the top estates in the south of France, Mas du Daumas Gassac, is a great value, one to stash in quantity and bring out for the next grilling spree.

Cabernet Sauvignon 'The Federalist'  Lodi     $17-18** 
This cabernet-dominant red blend is very young and tightly wound at the moment. With air, it opens up and reveals spicy dark-fruit aromas and flavors. Good value. I'd decant it--an airy slosh into a carafe makes it drinkable sooner
Konstantin Frank 2013 Dry Riesling   Finger Lakes  $13-15***  Beautiful floral aromas, dry and crisp, with mouthfilling flavors -- this is an amazing value to search out. A superb aperitif but versatile with numerous foods, including fish and seafood. Fresh and appetizing.

Rodney Strong 2013 Merlot  Sonoma  County $15-18**   Appealing flavors of blackberry and ripe plums envelop this nicely balanced Merlot. Enough tannin to give it some grip, but smooth and drinking well now, though likely to be even better with a couple of years aging (buy two or more bottles to test this out). It has the heft to handle grilled or roast beef or lamb, but smooth enough for roast pork or duck.

Dry Creek Vineyards 2013 Zinfandel Heritage Vines   Sonoma  $15**+   An excellent value and drinking well now. 21% petite sirah darkens this red, but the raspberry and ripe plum flavors sift through to make it quite juicy and appealing, good choice with meat and cheese dishes.

Riesling Hugel 2013 Riesling, Alsace, $20-24***  A classic dry Riesling--and in its third year of age just right for drinking now, though fine Rieslings, dry or sweet, can age a decade if properly stored. Crisp, with citrus notes and a nice edge of minerality, it's developed a pleasing richness.  Excellent with Asian  foods that aren't  too sweet/sour;  patés, white fish and chicken.

Left Coast Cellars Pinot Noir 'Cali's Cuvee' 2013, Willamette Valley, $24***   Another classic--classic Oregon Pinot--balanced, supple, highly versatile with food. This young winery  is producing excellent, flavorful wines from its 100 acres of vineyard. Ripe berry flavors, with accents of cherries. A lovely wine--excellent for grilled salmon, veal, roast pork or fowl (including  turkey, chicken, gamebirds).

Bubbles.........always have one on ice, just in case....
J Vineyards 'Cuvée 20'   Russian River Valley   $25***  An appealing very dry froth with floral scents of honeysuckle and bright citrus flavors. Nice zing on the palate but creamy in texture, with a steady stream of tiny bubbles; good depth, long in finish.
Gloria Ferrer 'Royal Cuvée' Brut 2007   Carneros, Sonoma  $22-26.**+  Consistently good, and consistently a medal winner in national wine competitions bright and fresh, good balance and length;  very good with smoked salmon and other saovry hors d'oeuvres.
Domaine Chandon Blanc de Noirs NV, Califonria, $18-22**+  Brisk, bright, clean, dry and quite delicious. Keep this sparkler on hand  as a great aperitif, year-round.  I've tasted this wine several times with great pleasure. An excellent value, too.


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