Wednesday, April 16, 2008


So I am in the midst of a maelstrom it seems, with more and more tasks at hand, yet as my new No.2, Jess, gets more adept at handling my excess chaos, I find a few moments every so often to relax and focus on my home hobby – cat herding. For those of you that do not know me all that well, my wife and I have 7 cats – most of them the size of small dogs – and they all have become a huge source of calm and hilarity in my world. (The most puckish of them – Stinkerbell (a short-haired Torty with big alien eyes) – has just joined me at the table and is demanding that I pay her some attention).

And so, it is at one of those moments of calm that I am able to sit before my laptop and wield a few tasting notes on a threesome of wines I have recently tasted.

First off, I managed to try the new Layer Cake Cotes-du-Rhone 2006 ($13.98). You heard right – Layer Cake Cotes-du-Rhone. This rather brawny version of a Cotes-du-Rhone is juicy, jammy, and very appealing for those of you that like your wines a bit more voluptuous than a typical Old World wine. Far from the normal style, this fruity red is loaded with red and black berry fruit aromas and flavors, with hints of mocha, vanilla and white pepper. Conjuring the image of Baked Alaska, this jammy red has a wonderfully long and satisfying finish, and certainly brings a smile to one’s lips.

Second of all, I finally got to try a stunning effort from Michele Laluce – the Zimberno Aglianico del Vulture 2005 ($21.49). This is a fairly new addition to the portfolio of John Given Wines, one of my favorite importers of Italian wine. This delectable red from the Basilicata region of Italy (lying between Campania and Puglia – the knuckle of the foot so to speak) demonstrates a lighter, more acidic style of the grape, showing off loads of red and black cherries, with hints of cola, red flowers and even a dash of rosemary. Lighter tannins and well-balanced acidity give this wine a big advantage when matched with Sicilian or Mediterranean cuisine. A really nice effort!

(My tiniest of cats, Peaseblossom – a black cat with white socks and a small marshmallow smudge on the nose – has just made an appearance at my feet.)

The last wine of my home flight is the Chateau les Reuilles Bordeaux 2005 ($9.99). A blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot, this inexpensive red is medium-bodied, with medium tannins and a good presence of acidity. Though not overwhelming, the expression of red and black currants in the nose give this wine a boast, with red and black fruit flavors exposing notes of cola and baking spices. Remarkable considering the demand for 2005 Bordeaux is so high right now, this value-packed red is a nice treat, and good exposure to what really is a spectacular vintage.

With the sun going down on my back porch, and the natives of the house getting restless (my youngest of the broad, the white long-haired colossus known to our home as Moonshine, is busy chasing all the girls around, hoping for at least a bit of affection (they all find Moonshine a bit boorish)), it is time to head off to bed so I can get up tomorrow and start the whirlwind all over again.

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