TN: Piedmont, Loire, MSR, and Veneto


Tuesday I had a 5 PM presentation to a church charity board near Grand Central, I took train in but Betsy drove in to meet me for dinner afterwards (and chauffeur me home). She however forgot the Riesling I had asked her to bring, so we ducked into a wine store and grabbed a bottle. Opened at Phoenix Garden with excellent salt & pepper shrimp and snow pea leaves, good Dungeness crab, and mediocre seafood chow fun and pork ribs. The 2005 St Urbans-Hof Ockfener Bockstein Kabinett showed pretty well and was a nice backdrop to the food. White peach fruit with a lime note and good acidity, just a hint of slatey minerality. Pretty good for a $14 last minute sub. B+/B
Wednesday was an Asian-accented stew of beef, cinnamon, and arugula over udon noodles. I was looking for a light red wih a bit of spice, chose the 2005 Domaine de la Pepiere Cuvee Granit ( label says Cabernet, but there's an oversticker that says "Mal Etiquetee Cuvee Granit"). Peppery, light, spicy, and fun. A bit riper than the '04. There's a little bit of that gamay geranium note, but not overpowering (though I think that doesn't appeal much to Betsy). B+
Thursday was osso buco (Milanese from a Biba C. cookbook, just a touch of tomato in sauce) with a saffron risotto and cabbage. The cooking wine was the 2005 Anselmi San Vincenzo, but I salvaged a glass. Always a fave, this Soave-in-disguise did very well in '05, nice ripe pear fruit yet with a backbone of acidity, plenty of that almond/nutty note that I often find in northern Italian whites. B+
The dinner wine was a red, the 1998 Gianfranco Alessandria Barolo. I think I bought this as I had really liked the 1996 Alessandria San Giovanni, finding it modern but classy. Well, the 1998 normale is modern, not so sure about classy. Anonymous red fruit, some rather chewy tannins, a bit of a green streak and some vanilla. It's ok, just not very Barolean (Baroloish? Baroloesque?). Hope I enjoy the '96 San Giovanni more when I open. B (C for value at $30).
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.
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DaleW

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