Sunday, January 13, 2008

New Year's Eve and the Magical Bucket

This just has to be the most fun wine cooler bucket you can get. If you're not sober, of course! You can stare at it for, well, minutes as it glows different colours. Wow.
Now (rubbing my hands with glee) comes the night's wines. And, best of all, we were in L.A. so the prices are U.S. and CHEAP!!! First up was a cracker. The El Vinculo, Crianza, La Mancha, 2002 should not be this good. It comes from the rather pedestrian appelation of LaMancha in Spain. Luckily we had had this in a wine bar in Madrid years ago on the local sommelier's recommendation and enjoyed it then, so when I saw it I snapped it up in the LA wine shop. A somewhat soapy (yes, soapy) vanilla nose leads into a soft, silky but full bodied fruitcake and fig rich wine. Sultry. Wow. A steal at $25.
The Ridge, Lytton Springs, 2005 is a blend but mostly zinfandel. Fresh berries on the nose. Plush but medium bodied blackberry smoothie with hints of coconut, especially on the finish. A "good" wine, but I prefer their cabs. Not worth the $28.
The J.L. Chave, St.Joseph, 2003 is a bit of an anomaly. St. Joseph's are from the northern Rhone, are made from Syrah and are usually not as deep as this example was. Smoke, coriander and leather on the nose, this is a full bodied chewy piece of leather with a long, smokey finish. Very old world in style, it needed a BBQ'd duck to smooth it out. Wow. An absolute steal at $26.
Next was the Amancaya, Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza, 2006, a combined Rothschild/Catena effort. It was a "good" wine, on the old world side of the fence (for Argentina), price was about right at $17.
The evening finished in fine style with a fantastic Sauternes, the Chateau Coutet 2003, and a nice alternative to Port, a Banyuls from the southeast of France.
Thank you, Maria and Neil, for hosting the wonderful evening.
Cheers!! And may this be a great new year for all of you!!


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