Friday, July 10, 2009
The recession isn't all that bad. Especially if you have a job, don't have any debt, and can save some money. In a way, I'm all for it. I'm young, I rent, and frankly, in Southern California, even though I have a good job (and save a lot of money each month), prices for housing are still a little bit out of reach. Renting is a bargain for the time being. The recession is bringing an inflated bubble back a little closer to reality--and into reach of a new generation of home owners. It also has a silver lining, in that apparently, wine that is over 25$ isn't moving all that well. You always have to take these "proclamations" from the media with a grain of salt, but I have been seeing a lot of crazy deals out there, and this wine is one of them. I don't think that I have ever seen a Cote-Rotie that is less than 40$, much less a single vineyard designated wine. And this wine got a 93 from the Wine Spectator. WTF? It was $18.99. Someone, due to the recession I'm guessing, is having trouble moving through this wine. Or actually, I should say was...because K&L is out now. But not before I picked up a few bottles. I figured that at 19$, even if it wasn't that great, it was something good to have around.
I drank this wine with my neighbor (who also happens to be my landlord), and his wife. (Yes, that's how I spend my Thursday nights...I'm so cool that I hang out with my 60 year old landlords). He happens to be a bit of a Bon Vivant and is a great cook. I've eaten better at his place than at quite a few restaurants. He smoked line-caught coho salmon in a smoker, and then topped it with a mustard sauce (which was pretty great), fried up some fingerlings, and made a salad with green beans, walnuts, fresh tomatoes, and a goat cheese dressing. We also had a cheese plate, and some chocolate that he made. Let's just assume that this was a lot better than whatever I was going to make (and I'm no slouch, just not as refined as him). Great meal. So how was the wine?
The wine was a bit on the austere side (and in my neighbor's words, "Burgundian,") which is funny, because 2003 was a super hot year in Europe. This wine takes a while to open up and then gains additional depth and complexity as it opens. The nose is all blackberries (maybe plums and blueberry too), coffee, mocha, and twinges of herbs. On the palate, the wine has a lot of blackberry character, but it's well-supported by more savory elements. The wine is smooth, with juicy acidity, and just a bit of edge from the tannin. The wine has a fair amount of weight too, but is made in an elegant style. This wine was drinking very well right now. If you're more a fan of California though, it's a more reserved style of Syrah. B+/A- UDPATE 8/19: Had a second bottle, which was much better than the first. It was a much better expression of this cool climate (well, as cool as 2003 could have been in Europe). Very similar to the first bottle, but with more poise, more tannin, and more blueberry character. Lots of roasted coffee character too.
We also had some of the 2006 Adelaida Version Red Blend, which was an interesting counter-point to the more austere Cote Rotie. This wine was juicy and fruity, with good structure, and a nose of spices and cherries. It was on the sappy side, but not an over the top fruit bomb. I was digging this wine; it was great. Still probably a bit pricey compared to some of the stuff you can get out of Spain for the level of quality, but enticing to drink, and at a price of free, you can never complain. B/B+