TN: Glimpses of wines (US, Italy, Spain, France)

Betsy and her friend Nancy have been working on a piece for a while, and s ome of their collaborators were in town. Ron and Nancy hosted a dinner. I b rought scallop ceviche and smoked salmon on cucumber, plus watermelon pickl es for color, while hosts had some duck sausage they’d (accidentally) smu ggled from France.
So I opened a NV Gosset “Excellence” Brut Champagne. This is only secon d time I’ve ever had this happen in 30 years of wine drinking- : as I rem oved cage, no pressure. So I twist the cork, and it turns. I pull out- no n oise. The weird thing wasn’t that this was almost totally non-sparkling, but that it then didn’t taste oxidized. Dosage was apparent, tasted like a just off dry white wine. For Champagne, D
There was a 2011 J. Lohr Chardonnay that didn’t leave much of an impressi on, some oak, fat, fairly typical. C+/B-
Dinner was salad, lamb shanks with white beans, and asparagus. Some reds ro tated:
2007 LAN Rioja Reserva Red fruits, spice, some vanilla/mocha oak notes. Modest tannins, soft on th e acid scale. ok. B-
2011 d’Orsaria Cabernet Franc Cab Franc was in big letters, Friuli was in fine print on back. Who ever he ard of Fruilian CF? This actually wasn’t bad at all- sharp raspberry frui t, a little herbal edge, no apparent oak, clean and bright. B/B-
2000 La Magia Brunello di Montalcino Mid-bodied, black cherry with a bit of leather, fully mature. No flaws, but not much exciting here. Middle of the road Brunello. B-
2007 Rotie Southern Rhone blend (Washington) Soft, fleshy, redder fruits, some wildflower. This is supposed to remind on e of CdP, and it does to an extent (but not of my favorite CdPs!). B
berries, lemon pie, 2008 Quady Elysium (sp?) Sweet and to me simple to me despite heavy perfume notes, some acid but not enough, just not my style. C+
OK, so better night for food and company than for wine.
Monday I threw together a stirfry of tofu, sprouts, tatsoi, & mushrooms, wi th an arugula salad on the side. Wine was the 2007 R. Haart Piesporter Gold tropchen Riesling Kabinett. Nectarine, citrus, and orange blossoms. Sweet b ut with some zesty acids. I’m drinking these too young, but awful tasty n ow. B+/A- Tonight we had a narrow window for dinner, as Betsy finished a rehearsal in city and then was leading a meditation circle tonight. I promised to have dinner ready when she arrived, but little time for cooking (turns out I had more leeway than imagined as she was stuck in traffic). Fast choice was pa sta with littlenecks, along with salad, sauteed arugula/tatsoi, and garlic bread. Wine was the 2011 Guimaro “Joven” Godello. This was a replacemen t for the Benaza that was out of stock, an obviously more “serious” win e, but I thought less appealing (during dinner).Somewhat stolid, some stony /citrus flavors, nice length, but I’d have preferred the cheaper Benaza. But wait- revisited later in the evening, this is some pretty good stuff. A bit like Granite de Clisson meets Do Ferrieiro. Long, very good. B+/A- (of course, if a dinner party, the first and second tastes would have been only, and I probably would have given a B/B-)
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 pa rty where it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no promises of objectivi ty, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.
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