Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Winecology: Holiday Feasting Part 1

Maya and I were with family in Michigan this past weekend for holiday celebrations and feasting. We took a small stash of wine with us. All in all, we lucked out with our selections. Our first night in the Motor City was traditional Americana. Baked ham with glaze. Spinach salad. Sweet potatoes. Green bean casserole. Cranberry sauce. ALL GOOD. To accompany, we had the following four wines:

Folie a Deux - Menage à Trois, California 2002
An unusual, but tasty blend of Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. "Each variety was fermented and barrel aged separately, then blended together and given further barrel age prior to bottling." Creative winemaker, Scott Harvey has done some really good work in the past, which I've enjoyed. M.A.T. showed deep cherry red in the glass. Sweet caramel aromas on the nose. The wine had a fresh jammy body with delicate underlying structure. Ripe cherry and berry fruit flavors were followed by a smooth hint of spice. The modest finish carried spice. A good drinking wine at the price.
Rating - 8.0 out of 10
Price - $10

Montecillo Gran Reserva, Rioja 1996
The hands down winner of the night. This 100% tempranillo is a great food wine. Rioja's Gran Reserva distinction by law requires at least 5 years of barrel aging. Montecillo displayed great delicacy and didn't feel at all oaky. Its colors were ruby red with hints of brown in the rim. Dense cigar box aromas mingled with floral overtones to form a fantastic bouquet. On the palette it tasted of dark concentrated plum and berry fruits. Anise, smoke and spice added complexity. An ultra-long finish. I will be stocking up for future meals.
Rating - 9.5 out of 10
Price - $19

Beaucanon Estate, Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley, CA 2000
A prototypical Cab Franc that meets the mark. This is Beaucanon's virgin effort with the varietal. Pleasant nose of earth and pepper. A fresh and fruit forward body. Lots of strawberries, smoke & tobacco. Medium finish.
Rating - 8.0 out of 10
Price - $12

Paracombe, Cabernet Franc, Adelaide Hills, Australia 2000
A very close second to the Montecillo. This is a limited run (200 cases) wine with a 90 point Parker rating, so I was pleasantly surprised to see several bottles at my local wine shoppe. Powerful aromas is an understatement! Fresh flowers and earth are pronounced. A densely flavored and concentrated body is balanced with fresh acidity. Berry fruits and spice are followed by an impressive finish.
Rating - 9.0 out of 10
Price - $20