February 4, 2008

Nagging, Classes, and Vegas Wineaux does Tasting Notes!

Consider this a weekly nag! I’m encouraging everyone to subscribe to this Blog’s updates for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is that it saves me from LOTS of emailing. I have a lot of loyal readers (I get letters …!) but subscribing would give me the ability to better track everyone. On the right-hand side somewhere (there really should be an arrow pointing) there are now two ways that you can subscribe: one by the “regular” email way and the other via RSS feed. I have a Widget on my Google homepage and it serves as a very annoying reminder that it’s time for me to update! Yes, I created a Google Widget, so if Google is your home page, you can find the Widget and save it! And then let me know so that I can remove your name from my ever-growing update list.

I’ve been very happy with the CSE-Lite! classes. New people, enthusiasm, and new wine fans who are ready to go forth and learn more are the result of attending a Combatting Swirl Envy – Lite! class.

Decanters and Jazz.jpgI had to reschedule the first class on the west side due to a conflict, but West Valley folks should not despair! There is another one already scheduled for early March. I will have more information next entry!

The board meeting for Vegas Wineaux took place this last weekend, and I’d like to share my tasting notes of some of the nice wines that we had.

The first wine was 2004 Hendry Block 7 Zinfandel. A deep, inky purple, the wine resonated with notes of rich summer berries, vanilla, flowers, spice, pepper, and dark fruit. Silky and luscious, it had a rich mouthfeel and was quite the toothstainer. Tannins were well-integrated, and the structure would stand up well to barbeque, although all we had were noshes.

The second wine was one of those from my treasure trove: 2000 Vergenoegd Estate Grown Shiraz from South Africa. This was truly unusual upon opening. I opened it well in advance because I knew from experience that this bruiser needs at least three hours decanting time. The cork was incredibly difficult to remove from the bottle, but oh man! The wine end of the cork was nearly black and earned a couple of double takes. A small sample was poured immediately into a glass before the rest was upended into a decanter.

This wine has the potential for aging. With barely an age ring, the rich purple/red/garnet color belies its eight years. The first sip was exactly as I had expected – funky, astringent, muddled, with the unmistakable terroir of South Africa on the nose and palate. There was an odd, solvent-like character to the nose. I contended with raised eyebrows from the dubious.

Fast forward three hours.

The harsh qualities I mentioned were gone. Instead, we had a rich, young wine with character and body. A big wine, the Vergenoed had surprising fruit, with plum and cassis on the front, and spices, including Asian spice, cedar, vanilla, pepper and black cherry, all integrated together in a complex and satisfying whole. All of this, coupled with that distinctive South African bacony, banana-y terroir and essence weaving through the experience, gave this wine a certain, indefinable *something.* A definite food wine, it went well with perfectly seasoned veal sausage and chunky avocado salad. Easily the wine of the night.

I only have one bottle of the Vergenoed left and hope to open that one in 2010. What a nice wine! It shows much better now than it did several years ago when it went through the usual tasting assessment in one of the mega-wine magazines. Just like the 2000 Robert Young Scion, it received an 88 at release, but could easily be scored well into the 90s at this time. A truly good wine benefits from a few extra years of bottle age. I’ve never seen anything so true before.

Prager Portworks is a small winery in Napa that specializes in, well, *Port*! Along with some Lindt 85% chocolate, this port shone! This was a NV (that means non-vintage to y’all Neophytes!) Petit Sirah Port. Cherries, strawberries, sweet spice, and dark fruit showcased this wine, and drunk alongside such a dark, bitter chocolate, the Port absolutely shone.

None of these wines was cheap; each one retails (if you can find them) at prices ranging from $32.00 to about $40.00. Worth it? If I could find and afford it, I’d get another case of the Vergenoed. Who knew it’d age so well!

Life’s too short to drink bad wine. So when you get the good stuff, it’s time to celebrate!

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