13 Mar 2007

Resetting Sip

I ACCIDENTALLY JOINED a long line of blue-rinsed OAPs this morning. I thought they were there for the California Annual Tasting, which seemed demographically disproportionate. It transpired they were fans of flowers... My mistake, but the venues, 'Royal Horticultural Halls' and 'Lindley Hall', looked alike on the map.
Tasting U.S. wines can be exhausting - some are ungainly heavyweights which feel almost claustrophobic, pummeling the palate, requiring a resetting sip of something sparkling. But broadly speaking, I was impressed by the elegance and perfume in those encountered. My apologies in advance for the dearth of U.K. stockists.
Stylishly labelled J (Judy) Vineyards Pinot Gris '06 from the cooler Russian River Valley area was almost Alsatian in style with its wide, viscous texture. Apples on the nose, jasmine on the palate with a slight teeth-pull of tannin.
Merryvale Vineyards' '03 Starmont Merlot from the Napa Valley (or 'land of plenty' in native American, even though the valley is only 30 miles long by five wide) was so open "it planted a kiss on both cheeks". A wine of real character with slender tannins. Incidentally when prompted, European Sales Manager Freddy Wohnrau said that to truly appreciate this wine, it would be better to drink this free from female distraction! Labels and letterheads feature a literal and metaphorical 'cut above' (see above).
Au Bon Climat's multi-vineyard blend Isabelle Morgan Pinot Noir '04 was particularly seductive: almost intimidatingly feminine, whilst the '02 Knox Alexander was leaner.
By contrast, Sonoma Coast Pinot Pioneers La Crema served in their '05 something resembling burgundy playing squash: a complete caricature.
Unlike their forgiveably cloying website, Frog's Leap '04 Napa Zinfandel was berry fruit-forward with a distinct, sharp capsicum twist towards the finish.
I now depart for sweet dreams. I am a willing slave to this blog. Slave + Blog = Slog! Without sleep I will lose my smile and have to pop in for a 'Smile Makeover', as advised in this sign near Victoria...