TN: Bad P.Blanc, bad mystery Zin, ok Gewurz, good Merlot

Not much exciting in the way of wine this last few days. Thursday we
went with friends to a local Thai place. Green mango salad, whole fried
snapper w/tamarind sauce, beef penang, Japanese eggplant w/basil and
ginger. All pretty good (I avoided the pad thai, as this place serves
it awfully sweet). I ordered a glass of Alsace Pinot Blanc. The 2003
Adam Pinot Blanc was pretty awful, offdry and flabby with canned peach
and rotten flower aromas. C-
Betsy's Hook& Ladder Gewurztraminer (missed vintage) was a bit better,
good acidity for a CA geuwrz, floral typicity,not exciting but a
standout next to the PB. B, from a couple sips (she wisely wouldn't
The next day I wasn't feeling 100%, but after long day at work we drove
into city to meet my brother and his family, who had flown in for
weekend's shopping. They picked Bobby Van's Grill, a steakhouse in
midtown with plenty of stuff to keep kids happy (calamari, etc). As my
stomach wasn't great I didn't order a steak (maybe1st time ever in a
steakhouse), but a pasta with tomato/basil/ricotta. I asked waiter if
they had a wine by glas list, he said no, red or white. I said red, he
said "CA cab, CA pinot noir, CA red zin, French merlot." Um. So I said
what CA pinot, he said he's check. He came back and said "I was wrong,
it's French, Barton and Guestier." I ordered the Zin, which he said was
"Redwood." I know there's a Redwood Valley, don't know if this was
producer or geography, but doesn't matter because in any case it
rivalled the Adam for sucking. Sweet, empty, short. C. Steaks were good
(I had some of Betsy's leftovers next day), but that kind of combo of
bad btg list and bad server knowledge is inexcusable imho at a
reasonably expensive steakhouse. Only Luger's has steaks good enough
for that.
I was feeling better Saturday, and Betsy made the duck with quince
compote recipe from Wed's NYT, designed to be served with WA Merlot.
Which I didn't have any of, of substituted the 1999 Albini Family
Merlot (Russian River Valley). Rich dark fruit, some chocolately oak
notes without being confectionary, some earth. This is clearly
Californian, big ripe fruit, but good balancing tannins and acidity.
Nice. B+
Recipe was good and ok as a match, but I'm not sure I can see the
affinity for Merlot (and don't think it was because I didn't have a WA
one). I think a simpler meat or poultry dish would have been better for
Merlot, and this dish could use something more acid-driven to counter
the compote's sweetness.
Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent
wine, B a good wine, C mediocre. Anything below C means I wouldn't
drink at a party where it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no
promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.
Reply to
It's possible that he meant Renwood --- an Amador County, Ca winery.
formatting link

They make a number of Zins.
Mike P
Reply to
"Mikep" wrote in news:4585d6f8$0$68971 $
Or, perhaps "Redwood Creek", which seems to be positioned price-wise to be in competition with Mondavi Woodbridge...though I don't know if they make a zinfandel d.
Reply to
In article ,
You made my argument for staying out of steak restaurants as I always find the steaks overpriced the wine knowledge poor and just generally a bad value. The only advantage they had was that they could get prime beef but even that is past as you now order prime beef yourself and have your own wines. Peter Lugar's is the exception but getting to Brooklyn is not too easy for me.
Reply to
Lawrence Leichtman
Probably Redwood Creek, about same level as the Barton & Guestier PN & Merlot they had. In past Renwood made much better wine than this, hope it wasn't that!
Reply to
Actually some NYC area steakhouses (Smith & Wollensky group, Flames, Sparks) have good wine service and ok wine by glass list (and very good bottle list in Sparks' case). I tend not to want to go to steakhouses because I'd rather buy a dry-aged hopefully prime steak myself. The exception is of course Peter Lugers- crappy wine list, insolent service, but they do get first choice at the prime meat, so I can't say their beef isn't the best. But I haven't been in years- Lobels has made eat at home almost as good.
Reply to
In article ,
You can now buy Peter Luger's steaks from them. I bought some beautiful Porterhouse steaks. They weren't cheap but they were great. I guess I have been burned by less than stellar service at Smith and Wollensky's turned me off.
Reply to
Lawrence Leichtman

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