Tag Archives: Australian Wine

Why 2014 Will Be Your Best Wine Year Yet

JamsheedTasting.jpg

With the close of the calendar comes contemplation: what have I learned from the wine world in 2013 and what do I expect (or hope) to see in 2014? A few observations: the rise of a new breed of “somm”, the demise of the wine score, the discovery of a Jedi Wine Master, and the impending Best Wine Year Ever.

A Return to the Antipodes

Australia Does the theory “If you build it, he will come” apply to wine? I hope so, because the woeful state of Australian imports in the U.S. belies the health and creativity of the industry Down Under. A recent visit to Astor Wines confirms the lack of antipodean demand — NZ and Oz shared a shelf smaller than the one devoted solely to NY State craft spirits! The Australian wine market has languished for years at the bottom of the U.S. market, so with nowhere else to go but up, expect to see a breakthrough of fresh vinous perspective in stores and restaurants. Importers like Little Peacock, which focus exclusively on Australian wines, have expressed tremendous optimism for the coming year. The wines produced by the new generation of risk-takers in Oz are lean, refined, funky, terroir-driven, and characterful. They don’t all work, but the journey’s as interesting as the destination.
Two to Try: Ben Haines Marsanne 2011, Yarra Valley and Jamsheed “Healesville Vineyard” Syrah 2010, Yarra Valley.

New Zealand This island country faces a different problem from Oz, albeit its wines are still underrepresented in the U.S. New Zealand has done so well with Sauvignon Blanc, the rest of its wines have been ignored. The importance of the grape cannot be overstated. The entire world drinks it (including, to the chagrin of Aussie winemakers, heaps of Aussies). The crisp, grassy style is the New World benchmark for the variety. But there’s plenty more from the land of jagged peaks and glacial lakes to capture a wine drinker’s imagination, and we’re starting to see those wines here in NYC. Fantastic Pinot Noir is trickling out of both Central Otago and, amazingly, Marlborough (the spiritual home to Sauvignon Blanc). For alternative whites, seek out James Millton’s Chenin Blanc. Although produced in the otherwise unremarkable region of Gisborne, he’s been called the Yoda of Kiwi winemakers — a serious endorsement. Is he a true Jedi Wine Master? Drink and find out.
Two to try: Terra Sancta Mysterious Diggings Pinot Noir 2012, Central Otago and Millton Te Arai Vineyard Chenin Blanc 2011, Gisborne.

The New Somm
In the past, a restaurant’s “sommelier” often fell into one of several categories, each of which — in an era of increased consumer wine knowledge facilitated by ease of access to information and greater willingness to experiment with up-and-coming regions — have become increasingly irrelevant.

We’ve suffered through uninformed yet opinionated waiters posing as sommeliers, informed and condescending sommeliers, and, most exasperating, the Grand Cru-obsessed, pompous sommeliers selling 100 percent Western European lists with 100 percent of the bottles priced over $100. Thus, it was about time the role either be redefined or abolished. (Yes, I acknowledge someone still has to build and manage the list.)

Fortunately for restaurant-goers, we’ve met the new generation of enthusiastic, educated sommeliers or “somms” who’ve reinvented their role, gifting us a new reason to dine out: access to diverse, reasonably priced bottles. Sure, we’ve seen prices on certain wines this year soar to previously unseen heights, but for the rest of us scanning the lower end of a list for value, we’re in luck: lots more under $50 selections than ever. And somms have managed to balance their lists serving traditional needs while presenting to the curious a plethora of distinctive wines such as zero dosage, undisgorged crémant from the Jura.
Where to Try: Corkbuzz by sommelier Laura Maniec, Pearl & Ash by sommelier Patrick Cappiello.

Jamsheed

Domestic Affairs
Wine lists and retail stores in NYC used to be dominated by European selections — France, Italy, and Spain — with small weight given to the New World and even less to the juice of our citizen winemakers. However, with increased demand for local and hyper-local food sourcing, we’re seeing the same interest applied to wine. While in the past a reputable fine dining establishment might not dare be caught with anything from the East Coast on its list, sommelier Thomas Pastuszak at The Nomad has embraced our home state. A huge advocate of NY wines, he puts out an extensive list of Finger Lakes bottles. The best part? These wines offer tremendous value — $35 for a bottle of vibrant Riesling with dinner? Yes, thank you.
Where to Try: The NomadFrankly Wines.

Coravin as a Verb
2013 saw the launch of the most lauded device in recent wine history: the Coravin. It’s a wine extraction system that allows the user to pull out a measure of wine, while safeguarding the remaining precious liquid inside against oxidation with inert, tasteless argon gas. Testing has shown the wine can keep for years, allowing drinkers to sample the bottle to check for development or just have a glass of that rare Cabernet bought at auction now and again with a Wagyu ribeye. The pricey but genius device will change wine drinking habits both at home and in restaurants, truly, forever. Del Posto, an initial supporter of the device, offers rare wines by the glass, and Anfora has updated its menu to include a selection of “Coravin Wines.” What shall we Coravin tonight, dear? And a verb was born.
Where to Try: Del PostoAnfora.

Nobody’s Worrying about Robert Parker
Finally, America’s adherence to a mono-palate (Parker’s) approach to wine is on the decline. Although Parker stepped down in late 2012 from his post as editor-in-chief of the Wine Advocate — the newsletter he founded that spawned decades of obsession over a 100-point grading system that favored huge wines — in February 2013, he became the first wine critic inducted into the Culinary Institute of America’s Vintners Hall of Fame in Napa Valley. Perhaps a deserved award, but the collective unfettering of our taste buds over the year has left individuals free to make independent decisions — or at least use more resources to do so. Trusted local retailers in conjunction with social media apps like Delectable and Drync have been filling the void.
Retailer: Le Du’s Wines
Apps: DelectableDrync.

More Curiosity, More Choice 
Overall, NYC wine drinkers are imbibing during exciting times. Whatever we want, short of actually flying to the vineyard, we can find. Wines from Croatia? Blue Danube’s got them. Need that expressive, biodynamic Umathum from Austria? WineMonger’s your importer. Our increased curiosity and willingness to drink anything has encouraged importers to scour the globe and bring us a range of wines that dazzle in their diversity. So, keep sipping folks — 2014 looks to be our best year yet.

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The Lightness of Being Australian Chardonnay

Aussie Chardonnay Tasting

Aussie Chardonnay Tasting @ Corkbuzz

Today’s Topic: Chardonnay from Australia. Writing that took a lot of nerve, so please refrain from grumbling and hear me out. I probably elicited a cask’s worth of groans over my Shiraz post last week; maybe you are wondering how I can now press you to read about Chardonnay. Where are the Hungarian whites? The Romanian Pinots? Even the Australian Pinots! I will be getting to those too, promise.

Remember, the point of this blog is to not just uncover regions and wines you’ve never met, but to revisit categories whose cobwebs deserve to be dusted off. Carrie gave Mr. Big a second chance and they ended up married–yes, I just referenced Sex and the City and it felt icky, but I’m trying to make a point here. Should Australian Chardonnay get another shot at your affection?

As I mentioned in my Shiraz piece, I am in an ongoing Wines of Australia immersion class during which we explore different regions/styles/varieties in each session. This week we sampled Chardonnay.

I admit to never, ever, ever, never reaching for a bottle of Chardonnay, ever. Not when sitting down to dinner at home (truth be told, we eat sitting on the couch, but still) nor for a post-work aperitif with the ladies; not ever at a wine bar with a long list of white Burgundies (value problem in this case) nor when a restaurant only offers a choice of either Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio. Well, maybe then, but if that’s the extent of their wine program, I should probably be ordering a cocktail. Simply. Never. Do. I. Drink. Chardonnay.

Now that you know how low Chardonnay ranks on my personal beverage totem pole, here are 5 Australian Chardonnays that I would not only drink if I had to, but would twist open on my couch, sacred place that it is, because I want to. This demonstrates an overarching principle that I too must be reminded of: We have one shot at this life; always keep an open mind.

We tasted through two flights of wines populated with pretty examples of how refreshingly different Chardonnay can be. In fact, one reason Chardonnay is so loved by growers and winemakers is for its adaptability and malleability: Stainless steel; lightly oaked; Mediterranean sun; cool climate. Each unique set of circumstances and choices provides a distinct rendition on a general theme.

I prefer a lightness and brightness in my white wines; imagine the weight of a balloon drifting into the sky and the brilliance of a sunlit diamond. Many of the Australian Chardonnays showed those qualities and were fresh, perfumed, and perhaps most important to consumers, competitively priced. Gone were the heavily oaked, dull palates of many earlier forms of Aussie Chardonnay.

Australia does some other varieties extremely well, in ways that no one else can touch: Inimitable Clare and Eden Valley Riesling, and Hunter Valley Semillon, for example. So, I can’t agree I believe the way to America’s heart should be through Chardonnay, but at least these wines prove they have a place on the wine drinker’s table—or couch.

I have included some tasting notes with each wine. Truth be told, the personalities of each wine evolved so much, that each note is merely a snapshot of a moment in a glass.

  1. Wirra Wirra Scrubby Rise Unoaked Chardonnay 2011, Mclaren Vale, SA, $12.00: Refreshing, good value offering mandarin-orange aromatics and peaches and pear on the palate.
  2. West Cape Howe Chardonnay 2011, Western Australia $17.99: Bright and fresh with kiwi, guava and lemony-citrus notes busting out of the glass.
  3. Stonier Chardonnay 2007, Mornington Peninsula, VIC $20.00: Elegant and lively showing ripe lemon and stone fruit laced with minerality. Interesting savory note on finish.
  4. Heggies Chardonnay 2011, Eden Valley, SA $20.00: Jasmine and orange-blossom evolve into ripe white fruits and citrus with an herbal edge. Well-balanced and priced.
  5. Giant Steps Sexton Vineyard Chardonnay 2008, Yarra Valley, VIC, $35.00: Obvious but lithely applied oak-influence, balanced with bright apple and notes of garden herbs. Delicious.

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Australian Shiraz 2.0: Six Wines Worth Finding

Recent tasting of Australian Shiraz at Corkbuzz Wine Studio

Recent tasting of Australian Shiraz at Corkbuzz Wine Studio

I think we can all agree that Australian Shiraz went through a bubble not unlike the housing crisis in the U.S. But just as homeownership is making a slow, wobbly comeback, so is Shiraz trickling back into the market.

I addressed some of the issues the Australian wine market faced in a previous post, so this is old news. But to briefly recap the story of Shiraz, by winemakers’ own admissions, they glommed on to the trend of producing ripe, oaky syrup intended to please palates of critics and Coca-Cola loving Americans. But they made too much of it, and the style expired (or is still expiring—fingers crossed for the Mid-West!), as all trends do. Americans opened up their wallets and palates to different countries—Argentinian Malbec, for example—as well as to leaner wines with greater finesse. Shiraz was left to wither on the proverbial vine.

Enter Australia 2.0. The country has since come to realize their epic mistake for relying on one grape, one style, one low price point and a couple of critters to represent the country’s potential. Frankly, any thoughtful wine drinker can look at a map of Australia and conceive that there are many different micro-climates, varieties, producers and thus styles that should be heading our way.  However, Australians needed introspection; thus, the industry took a look at their own map, defined their regions, embraced them and are looking to share it with us.

In progression towards this goal, Wine Australia has hosted monthly regional immersion classes for industry folks in hopes we spread the good wine word. I have attended class the last four months, each one focusing on different grapes/styles/regions.

To be honest, when the Shiraz class came up on the schedule, I wasn’t particularly thrilled. I had recently been to a tasting that left me underwhelmed—many of the wines were too ripe, lacked acidity, and had the same profile for which we sent the grape packing in the first place. So, why relive the nightmare in the classroom, when there are so many other wines worth knowing? However, I kept an open mind because that is kind of the point of discovery and Australia is, by my own acknowledgment, a big place.

We tasted 22 wines in all price points, and surprise, many of them were wonderful! I felt like I was tasting the real Shiraz, or at least something different from the past 10 years. Don’t get me wrong—the wines still hold loads of plush fruit, but many had depth, complexity and finally some acidity. The class was a great re-introduction to Aussie Shiraz’ potential, and I kept notes on a handful of wines I believe deserve recognition.

What’s fun about this list is that good Shiraz is being made all over Australia, some regions with cooler climes and thus less ripe styles. Here are a few worth seeking out, and my simplified tasting notes from class:

2010 Inkberry Mountain Estate Shiraz-Cabernet, Central Ranges, NSW, $13: Black cherry, blackberry, black raspberry and a touch of menthol; good value.

2009 Fowles Stone Dwellers Shiraz, Strathbogie Ranges, VIC $20: Fruit and flowers nose; fruit leather, Christmas spice, Sichuan peppercorn and integrated oak palate.

2010 Shingleback The Davey Estate Shiraz, McLaren Vale, SA $22: Mint-choco chip ice cream with silky, warm blackberry sauce; lingering, pepper and herb finish.

2008 Plantagenet Shiraz, Mount Barker, WA $29: Earthy, floral and fruity; lifting acidity and a chocolate-minty finish.

2009 Brokenwood Shiraz, Hunter Valley, NSW, $36: Potpourri of baking spice, dried orange rind, cherries with traces of white fruit; good structure and acidity.

2007 Kilikanoon Oracle Shiraz, Clare Valley, SA $70: Vibrant mint, tobacco and black fruits; silky tannins fine like turkish coffee.

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What I Drank- d’Arenberg The Hermit Crab, Viognier/Marsanne Blend, 2009

I love Viognier, so to continue my theme of tasting Australian vinos, I decided to throw this nugget into my imaginary wine.com “basket” since I was already paying a flat rate for shipping, and online shopping is make believe anyway—until the bill and box show up. The d’Arenberg is actually a blend of 72% Viognier and 28% Marsanne, similar to styles found in the Southern Rhone of France. Mmmm—getting excited for this one.

First, a few winery facts, if you care: d’Arenberg vineyard was founded in McLaren Vale in 1912 by a teetotaler, crazy enough.  The winery is well-regarded in Australia, and their wines are prolific in the U.S., at least more so than other Aussie producers. The name The Hermit Crab has a two-fold origin: first, deriving from a shortening of “Hermitage”, the region in Southern Rhone known for the Marsanne varietal; second, honoring of the little crustaceans that once crawled the floor of the region, millions of years ago, in the old-timey days of Australia.

Hello, aromatics! One of my favorite sensual enjoyments from a glass of wine is the sniffing. I am like a dog to another’s behind, gathering data and pleasure from the aromas.  Yea, bad imagery, but the analogy works. My nose is blasted by juicy pears, apricots and peaches so ripe you really should make a smoothie with them. The palate builds upon that, with layers of citrus pith, grapefruit, almond, spice and the slightest hint of tropical deliciousness.  Fairly full-bodied with a touch of oak, this is a marathon wine—two days later, tasting just as fragrant and vibrant as the first.  Not life-altering, but could be enthusiastically enjoyed on a summer weekend.  $17.49 from wine.com.

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Australian Riesling Round-Up: The Exciting(?) Conclusion

Wakefield and Grosset Riesling in a bike basket

Australian Riesling Round-Up

I felt like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day every time I wrote an Australian Riesling tasting note.  “Minerals, acidity, lemon-lime, dry as a Brit’s sense of humor”—yes, most of the wines had some or all of these qualities.  If you like this taste profile, try these wines.  I found them to be very good to excellent in quality, and aside from one bottle, extremely reasonably priced.  If any of the wines are sold-out through my links, try wine-searcher to check for bottles around the country, or the next vintage if the one I reviewed is no longer available. Unfortunately, I have looked back on a few bottles I tasted and discovered they are now tapped out completely in the American market.

After tasting 9 Rieslings, I conclude they offer the following:

  • Reliable quality and flavor profile.  Across the board, these wines are very consistent in palate.  For the wine buyer who doesn’t like to purchase brands they don’t know, this is a good thing. I was a little surprised not to find more variation between the wineries or even Clare and Eden Valley, but at least you know what you are getting yourself into if you can’t find the specific bottle you want. This is also good for Australia—their wines need to achieve regional identity to attract more admirers, and this is aided by consistency.
  • Good value.  I found many of these wines on sale, most likely because the American wine drinker doesn’t value them.  Very few people are storming the stores looking for Australian Rieslings, as evidenced by my inability to find them in local shops. I also imagine the casual wine buyer searching online, for say, white wine on sale on wine.com is not aware that for Australian Riesling, older vintages are better—this goes against the norm of white wine; shoppers may be disinclined to order them, mistakenly thinking they are over the hill.  Which brings me to the next suggestion:
  • Look for older vintages.  The fresh-out-of-the-vineyard wines are full of acidity and could use a year or three to even begin to mellow.
  • No need to drop a lot of cash.  You can reap the rewards of Australian Riesling in the lower price bracket, as they are well-made wines.  If you do splurge for prize wines (Grosset), get the oldest vintage you can find or hold it for several years, to really get the most bang for your buck and enjoy the qualities that make aged Riesling special.

I hope this enlightened some of you to the joys of Australian Riesling.  Comments or suggestions are welcome, particularly if you have another bottle to recommend or an idea for the next Untapped Region Series!

Sunglasses reflecting a wine glass in the Hudson Valley

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Pewsey Vale “The Contours” Museum Reserve Riesling, Eden Valley 2006

We have reached the final wine in my Australian Riesling review—Pewsey Vale “The Contours” Museum Reserve from the Eden Valley; the most prestigious bottling in the winery’s narrow line-up.  The winemakers hold this wine back for an impressive 5 years before it hits shelves, making 2006 the most recent vintage available.

You would never believe this juice was bottled nearly six years ago.  The wine exudes freshness and bursts like a citrus-y pop-rock on the tongue:  zippy and bright with grapefruit, lemon, lime and green apple.  As the wine opens and warms, toast and a touch of honey shine through with hints of Marcona almond and key lime pie.  Clearly this bottle can endure many years of wine-ownership, if you have the storage space and the self-restraint.  $26.99 at K&L Wines.

LET’S DRINK THIS IN IBIZA, SPAIN!

Late-nights at mega-clubs, drunk Brits and chicks, Euro boys in tight clothes and party sunglasses—this is the European version of Jersey Shore, and for many first-time visitors to Ibiza, their only taste of summer on the island.  But with a car and a companion, one can discover all the secrets of this intriguing place— hidden, romantic restaurants; the wild, herb-scented shores of the rocky north coast; gorgeous beaches found by following a footpath coupled with curiosity; and historic villages in which the original islanders still reside.  After a day exploring, let’s unscrew a bottle of The Contours, watch the sun set and toast to taking the road less traveled.

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Dandelion Vineyards, Wonderland of the Eden Valley Riesling, 2010

Dandelion Vineyards, Wonderland of the Eden Valley, may have a whimsical label and name, but their grapes have serious history.  The vineyard was planted in the early 190o’s—some speculate late 1880’s—and grower 90-year old Colin Kroehn has tended his grape babies nearly his whole life.  Wha? No pension and gold watch for the farmer?  I admire someone committed to the longevity of his passion, as did the Dandelion team, a young winemaking group who chose his grapes for their Wonderland Riesling.

Refreshing like a cold shower after a summer day in New Orleans, Dandelion is crisp, clean and focused.  Fresh grapefruit, lemon pith and lime commingle with streaks of flinty rock,  suspended by taut acidity.  This wine exhilarates: a spa day for the palate at Guerlain, priced like a Chinese nail shop.  Loving this stuff for $14.99 at Wine.com.

LET’S DRINK THIS IN NEW ORLEANS!

It is summer and New Orleans is a swamp.  Fight these soggy dollar days (your hands sweat so much your fistful of bills are soaked) with a glass of Dandelion.  If your B&B doesn’t have AC, kick your feet up on the nearest balcony and try not to move.  Hand-held fans are coming back into vogue anyway.  If you must get out of the city, shack up at a plantation house and whittle away the day gazing into the massive trees that frame the splendid Oak Alley.  A platter of the state’s finest oysters round out a sultry afternoon.

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Grosset, Polish Hill Riesling, Clare Valley 2010

Damn girl, you got it going on but your tag is priced high—too many awards inflate the ego?  Grosset in the Clare Valley is considered by many the pinnacle of Riesling in Australia, including Langton’s, Australia’s leading classification authority on auction-worthy wines. It was definitely at the price point pinnacle of my Series, beating out the next highest wine by $20.  Does Polish Hill merit the big bucks?

The nose is restrained, but the palate pops with what I have learned are the hallmarks of Clare Valley—lime and stone, and is bone dry.  So what makes this bottle different from the rest? Balance, structure and intensity—Mikhail Baryshnikov posing as Riesling.  Polish Hill waltzes seamlessly between wet-slate minerality, pressed-lime fruit and crisp acidity.  While this is an impressive bottle and will age beautifully, $47 is a lot of money to drop on any wine, particularly one this young.  Buy and hold, or mark your google calendar to wine-search a bottle on July 1st, 2014 at, say, noon?  And invite me to your appointment, please.  $46.95 at Sherry-Lehmann

LET’S DRINK THIS IN BARDEJOV, SLOVAKIA!

You are probably wondering where the heck is Bardejov and why anyone would go to Slovakia besides lascivious college kids looking for a hostel bunk.  The answer is in the image, if beautiful, intact medieval villages woo you (they do me).  There isn’t much to do there besides sit around and watch the passerby, so you want to have something good in your glass.  Slovakia produces wine, but nothing great, yet, so Polish Hill will do nicely on a hot, Central European afternoon.  Plus, the dry Riesling will cut the heaviness of Slovakian dumplings and bryndzové halušky (sheep cheese gnocchi), that you will find yourself over-eating.

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Wakefield Riesling, Clare Valley 2008

Finally, a bottle from the Clare Valley!  Wakefield Riesling is brought to us by Taylors Wines, three generations of winemakers who believe the terra rossa soil (red brown loam over limestone) of the region is conducive to premium wine production. By the way, if you are looking for other Taylor wines in North America, you won’t find them—due to trademark restrictions, they have to go by Wakefield up ‘round these parts.

How does she taste?  This bottle is alive—all the energy of a red-bull without the caffeine.  Her fragrance is evocative of fresh picked lemons and chiseled limestone. The acidity is fresh, exciting and pricks the tongue like a Sichuan peppercorn.  Bursting with grapefruit and lime, delivered on a long finish, this bottle is still young at four years old—I could easily drink this for another five. Pick up a case and taste the fireworks.  $15.29 at Wine.com.

LET’S DRINK THIS IN BEIJING, CHINA!

Riesling and spicy food are a natural duo, so let’s get down to business in China—they could use a few good bottles of wine over there.  Not only can you find fiery cuisine in China, but a summer day in Beijing can feel like your skin and lungs are ablaze as well. With the sky a yellow haze that blankets your head like the breath of a 1000 smokers, a cold glass of Riesling is perfect for squelching the heat of Beijing’s midsummer days, or as a reward after a stiflingly hot hike up the steep stairs of the Great Wall.

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Mesh Riesling, Eden Valley 2008

Another Eden Valley wine, Mesh, founded in 2002, is the product of two long-time South Australian winemakers—Robert Hill Smith of Yalumba and Jeffrey Grosset of same-last-name fame (not famous to you readers I assume, but he produces the most expensive and by many accounts, acclaimed label in the American market—Grosset.  Notes on his wine in a later post.)  The two tracked down 3 vineyard plots of similar altitude—apparently a difficult task in Eden Valley, a region of multitudinous hills and dales. They produce one wine each vintage through a “mesh” of visions: the season’s bounty is divided while still on the vine, the grapes are plucked and vinified separately using different but agreed upon methods, and the winemakers reconvene with the finished juice.  The bottle is filled with a blend of both, and voilà—Mesh.  Can two famous winemakers produce a delicious $19 wine?  Let’s find out.

I am surprised by the tropical breeze blowing through the glass.  The previous Eden Valley wines were razor sharp with tart citrus and acidity—perhaps anybody would find a fruity bone in this bottle?  Mesh has also had a few years in bottle, so perhaps a little Copacabana comes with age?  After a tactical pause to reset my palate, I receive the anticipated punch of acidity, but with a fleshier, weightier body than the others.  And the longer the bottle is open, the softer she becomes; in fact, after an hour, both my husband and I simultaneously suspect some degree of malolactic fermentation at play, which seems absurd for a Riesling (and my husband doesn’t even study wine).  As the wine continues to evolve, I detect notes of almond paste, and possibly Marzipan, pineapple and guava filtered through Limón y Limón (that is lemon AND lime in Spanish.) Am I nuts? Is this Eden Valley Riesling? (Can one be nuts and know it?) Regardless, Mesh delivers twists and turns, and is perfectly pitched at $19.99 on Wine.Com. (Wine.come is now showing this vintage as sold out—BOO. But they have the 2010.) So, where are we drinking this?

LET’S DRINK THIS on Playa Blanca in PUERTO ESCONDIDO, MEXICO!

I can’t write Copacabana in a tasting note and not think of a Mexican beach, which leads me to dream about a fish. Seated beneath a palapa, palm leaves rustling in the faint breeze, on a near deserted beach of pure Columbian white (aka Playa Blanca), strewn with boulders that evoke the Seychelles, and a cerulean sea beckoning for a playmate, I was served a fish.  A perfect pescado, humbly offered by a local fisherman, transcended my finest dining moments. The glistening Snapper morphed into a char-grilled masterpiece, crusted in garlic and trimmed with fresh cilantro, Mexican limes and sea salt.  On this beach, with this fish, let’s drink a bottle of Mesh, her crisp citrus and tropical notes mingling harmoniously with our simple yet sublime Snapper.

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Filed under Australian Riesling, Mesh 2008