Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Confederacy of Geekery

Two friends came over for dinner the other night. These guys are wine professionals and we enjoy sharing interesting wines with one another, but nothing could have prepared any of us for the degree of geekery that occurred on this evening. I didn't tell them what I'd be serving for dinner, we didn't discuss the wines we'd be bringing, it was just a random thing, but everything we drank was the epitome of geek-wine.

I don't aspire to drink geeky wine, and I'm not saying that geeky wine is by definition good wine - that would be absurd. I'm just saying that on this night, with a couple of serious wine lovers, it happened that we drank a lineup of incredibly geeky wine. And I loved it.

We started with the 2010 Ameztoi Getariako Txakoli Rubentis, $22, imported by De Maison Selections. You already know about Txakoli, the refreshing Basque country wine. This is a rosé, though, and there is hardly any rosé Txakoli made. I heard such wonderful things about this wine and bought some of the 2009. Liked it but didn't love it - I just thought it was straight forward fruity wine, not terribly interesting. This wine, however, I loved. Salty and herbal - think rosemary, zesty and fresh, and the effervescent texture is so lovely. There is some fruit but it;s not the main point of the wine. Note to self: find and purchase several bottles of this wine.

Then we drank the 2008 Domaine Gauby Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes Les Calcinaires, $27, imported by Weygandt Metzler. What, never heard of this wine? Me neither. It's a white wine from somewhere in the Roussillon; 50% Muscat, 30% Chardonnay, and 20% Macabeu, for you Macabeu fans and I know you're out there. Here are the specs, if you want to know more. I don't feel like we gave this wine enough attention that evening, but I drank the remaining half bottle the next day and it was delicious - quite intense, focused with acidity and minerals, and the texture is just slightly oily. I like that it is only 12.5% alcohol and very easy to drink. I'm not sure that I understand the price, as this is country wine from the Roussillon after all. But maybe this is one of those culty producers with a following and I just don't know about it.

Then it was the 2002 Vodopivec Vitovska Venezia Giulia IGT, price unknown, imported by JK Imports. Maybe you already know and love this wine. The whole orange wine thing (and the whole Italian wine thing, really) kind of passed me by. I know nothing about this wine or about this type of wine, but here's the website. I've had only a few orange wines and this one was head and shoulders the finest one I've had. Brilliantly fresh and pure with mandarin fruit and perfectly harmonious. The wine changed a bit in the glass and got more and more complex. Just fantastic, a real eye-opener for me. And it was absurdly good with fregola, clams, basil, and dried red chili.

With skirt steak we drank the 2004 Els Jelipins Penedès, $72, Jenny & François Selections. This is that Spanish country wine made from very old Sumoll and Garnacha, a natural wine made by a lovely family who use solar power to run their winery and home. I've heard really good things and was excited to drink this bottle. It smelled great when we opened it - earthy red fruit, complex and deep. I decanted it and we got to it about a half hour later. By then, everything had gone wrong. Aldehyde and volatile acidity all the way, the fruit candied and it felt unstructured. This wasn't a flawed bottle and some people might love this wine, but I found little to enjoy.

And lastly, with a slightly aged hard goat cheese, we drank an amazing Amontillado Sherry, the Valdespino Jerez-Xérès-Sherry Amontillado Tio Diego, purchased in Epernay, France for 20-something Euro, not imported. On the Fino-Amontillado continuum, this wine is as close to Fino as possible, while still being an Amontillado. This is what happens when Valdespino Inocente, quite possibly the world's finest Fino, becomes Amontillado, and it is completely delicious. It's butter (from the flor), salt, and roast nuts, and there is just the beginning of that burnished and deep Amontillado character. The finish is so long and combines lactic buttery-ness with salty nuts. Awesome wine.

Geeky enough for you? I hope so, because we'll be back to regularly scheduled mainstream and most likely boring programming tomorrow.


Yule said...

Gauby is quite culty. Some of their reds go for $100+ (at least in the Weygandt store).

Tista said...

The geekiest part is that you found an Amontillado in Epernay!
We need the address!

TWG said...

The 2009 Ameztoi Rubentis was much more enjoyable recently, wasn't so good last year.

michelecolline said...

Gauby was 'culty' maybe 15 years ago but is well-known for putting the area's wines back on the map. There is huge investment from all over the world happening there right now(and for the past few years). Glad you are trying some different wines these days though I personally don't like the term 'geeky'. New York must be full of such wines. Take advantage!

Anonymous said...

I have had a couple of great bottles of that Els Jelepins. But I am not shocked that there could be variation.


Anonymous said...

Weygandt is one of those importers where everything is 20-30% more expensive than it should be. He's entitled to earn it if he can.

michelecolline said...

The Gauby is priced around 13 euro in France, so with the exchange rate and mark-up, etc., I suppose is not out of line.

Joe Manekin said...

04 Jelipins, from my two bottle experience, can be a bit mean. Had it with the family at their place last month and it did open up after some time. Even so, 05 is more friendly, open knit, and I think just better made wine.

Sounds like we do get the same experience out of Tio Diego. I'm trying to get some for the store but on a spreadsheet from the importer didn't even see it available as a special order from the winery (?)


crabbypatty said...

I have a bottle of that Vodipivec that I bought on a complete whim--now I'm extra excited to drink it! I think I paid $60 or so for it. I'm obsessed with Collio/Brda whites, and this caught my eye as I was contemplating some Movia. Must try that recipe as well, looks fantastic. Have you had any Radikon?