My wine knowledge is hardly encyclopedic. The most educational side effect of writing this column is learning about new, useful wines. I've had a number of suggestions from fellow lovers of The Grape, and I want to share their selections.
Alice White 2005 Lexia -- Vine reader Ginny M. from
The Lexia is a strongly fragrant white wine -- stronger even than most Viogners or Rieslings I've tried. Lexia is made from
La Vieille Ferme 2003 Cotes du Ventoux -- Vine reader Dan R. from Eugene, OR offered up this suggestion: "Our favorite cheapies this year have been two Rhone reds: Abel Clement Cotes du Rhone and La Vielle Ferme. Both can be found under $8, and both are genuinely good and not overly simple. Notably, for inexpensive wines, both open up a lot with breathing. Abel Clement, in particular, deserves at least an hour out of the bottle."
Unfortunately, I was unable to track down the Abel Clement, but the La Vielle Ferme was readily available and quite decent. As Dan mentioned (as well as with many French wines) the La Ville Femme is better if you crack the bottle a half hour or so before drinking. The earthy characteristics of many European, especially French, wines can take some getting used to. These aromas can overpower many a palate, but a little decanting (WineSpeak for "letting a little air get to the stuff") can ease the initial shock. One other note: "Cotes du Ventoux" is the region the wine was made, not the grape. The naming standard for French wines can be a little confusing, and I'll touch on that in a later column. This wine is a blend of largely grenache and syrah grapes.
The La Vielle Ferme greets you with a fat smell of freshly turned earth and blackberries. The first taste is a bit tart, with some deep fruit flavors with the earthiness. The finish is somewhat smoky and dry. Like most French wines, lamb, root vegetables, grilled meats, veggie chili, and most stews with beans (cassoulet being the quintessential example) would be excellent. You can take this little trip to the
Veramonte 2005 Sauvignon Blanc -- Vine reader Mike B. of
"Akanena 2005 Chardonnay (
"Veramonte 2005 Sauvignon Blanc (
Hawk Crest 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon -- Vine reader McGrupp from
Many of the high-end wineries, especially
As for the Hawk Crest itself -- the wine has a soft, smooth nose of plums, vanilla, and wood. Like any good cabernet, it's a mouthful when you taste it. You get waves of big black cherry flavors and a fair amount of tannic bitterness -- not overwhelming, since it's balanced by the continuing vanilla taste. The finish is long and dry, with a little fruit hanging on. I imagine a ribeye, a baked potato, some steamed broccoli, and a big ol' glass of this one.
Again, thanks so much to everyone -- keep the suggestions coming!
Until next time -- skaal.