Monday, July 24, 2006

Pleasant Surprise

Mondays are mondays so opened what I expected to be a mediocre wine because last time I tried it two years ago it was just that - mediocre. The D'Arenberg Footbolt Shiraz 2001 had come highly rated so I had bought a whole bunch of bottles; it even had the almost obligatory "gold medal" sticker on the bottle. I had come to the conclusion on 3-4 previous tastings that it was a very ordinary wine and was disappointed at the expert's recommendations. So I did what I normally do with such wine (no, I didn't take it to a party and dump it unceremoniously in the corner somewhere and then ignore it) - I put it in a dark corner and left it there. When I opened the second last bottle tonight I was impressed by the dark stained cork and pleasantly surprised by the balance of fruit and light tannins in this medium bodied "pretty" wine. Just shows you what a little short term aging can do to some initially unimpressive wines (the pros called wines that do this "closed" -they need a little aging to "open up"). The verdict: turns out after all that this is a good wine. (just don't drink it with spicy pasta primavera - Koko had snuck some chilis in that I wasn't expecting...couldn't touch wine with dinner, but it turned out it was more of an after dinner sipper anyway). Value: this wine usually goes for about 20 bucks - so, turns out to be okay value for the money. Maybe I will try later vintages after all.
Started the evening off with a little aperitif - the Alvear's Fino, NV. Always a favourite alternative to sherry, this wine is made in nearby Montilla (sherry is mostly made in Jerez or Sanlucar de Barrameda (Manzanilla)). It is bone dry and very pleasant when drunk cold. Cheap too - usually less than $10/ bottle.



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