brix recap

Thursday, September 21, 2006


I tried to stick to my plan. But there were magnums of 1977 Reserve Cab, 1988 Napa Cab and 1992 Stags Leap District Cab (in order of preference: 77, 92, 88). So I succumbed and had Cabernet with my Mahi Mahi (to hell with it all).

But I did have an amazing South African Sauvignon Blanc earlier in the evening -- a very unusual, almost earthy/hay-ish nose (okay -- I know the combination of earth and Sauvignon Blanc doesn't exactly conjure up the best image, but I was a fan -- and maybe I'm biased because I like South African wines and sometimes they can be very "dirty"), a nice light body, very crisp, good acidity. And I wish I could tell you what it was, but I didn't get a good look at the bottle. All I can say is that it was a Burgundy-shaped bottle (odd) with a screwcap, and the label was triangular and possibly had an animal on it. And one of the board members brought it with him, so it may not even be available for purchase in the U.S. -- the guy could've gone to South Africa to get it, for all I know. And at my table (there were six of us, I was the only woman -- actually, I was the only woman with 11 men) the reaction to the SB was mixed. I believe I was the only one who really, truly loved it. Everyone else felt it didn't taste the way SB should taste.

Which begs the question: How should wine taste? I understand the notion of varietal characteristics (obviously, you are not going to have a Cab that tastes like melon), but shouldn't there be some room for deviation, particularly since wine should also be an expression of terroir and terroir varies so greatly?

Which brings me to another interesting topic (I am in a rambling mood this morning): One of the board members was recently in Champagne. He said he had seen hillsides leveled to make vineyards more accessible, but then the soil that was brought in to complete the project was from another part of the region. Um, doesn't bringing soil in from somewhere else completely and totally undermine terroir? I would argue so.

A lot to think about. Meanwhile, he is in Paso Robles, also beginning his day. He does punchdowns and takes readings and prepares for more grapes to come in -- maybe early next week, he says. He has forgotten his running shoes. He is tasting as many local Paso wines as he can -- EOS Zinfandel last night, and maybe tonight that bottle of Tobin James Petite Sirah. I tell him to go to Di Raimondo's cheese shop because they give you as many samples as you want and it is impossible to resist the cheese once you have had a sample.

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