Get your GEEK on: LUSH Staff Picks – The Newbies
Our favorite wines of the year are a moment captured by a sip, a sigh, a wisp of pure delight…these wines are what we crave, what excites us right now. In an ever evolving world of imbibing, this is the snapshot of the best hits of 2009.
Brent (the last remaining representative of team XY): DogFish Head Palo Santo Marron
Dogfish Head was one of the first breweries to absolutely wow me. They are on the forefront of beer experimentation and this beer is no exception. They’ve pioneered the India Brown Ale, blended wine with beer, and have 5 beers over 15%. Palo Santo Marron is another experiment. Aged on one of the hardest woods known to man, this “Imperial Brown” smells of smoke, cedar, and hints of dark chocolate and coffee. the nose gives way to a chewy, dense brew that tastes of roasted nuts, heavy malt sweetness, with touches toffee, vanilla, cherry and caramel that finish into a long lingering smoke, coffee, toffee and a little reminder that its not a small beer.
Cara: 2008 Tscharke Albarino, Australia
While ” GIRL TALK” might make you nostalgic for a humid summer evening in the garden, the soft jasmine and apricot nose makes it inviting for all seasons. A citrus tingle in the aftertaste is enough to slake your thirst, whether you’re sweatin’ over a stovetop or eating a creamy risotto.
Carrie: 2008 Kugl ‘Mea Culpa’ Samling, Slovenia
So surprising. So aromatic. I could sit and smell this wine for hours. Samling, also known as Scheurebe, this grape is ever so enticing with aromas of juicy grapefruit with a twist of red currant and white chocolate with a bouncy, playful, almost spritzy palate. Exciting to drink! Yes, we are a bit obsessed with the Slovenia wine at the moment…but it is so brilliant and tasty!
Christy: 2006 Domaine Roger Perrin Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge, Rhone Valley, France
I am a huge fan of blended wines. Chateaneuf du Pape from the Southern Rhone is my favorite blend. It has got to be so much fun for the wine maker. Imagine it, having 13 grapes allowed by the French AOC to blend and play with in your wine. Endless possibilities. rarely does a winemaker use all three. Domaine Roger Perrin uses 7. Such a lucky number. The blend varies a bit from year to year but the basically it breaks down to 72-74% grenache, 14-16% syrah, 7-9% mourvedre, 4% cisault and clairette, and 2-3% counoise and vaccarese. Every grape adds it own little special something to make a fantastic wine. This winemaker uses hand picked completely destemmed grapes. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel. Aging however is another blend. 30-40% in oak, 40-50% in stainless, and 15-20% in barrels. After 10 to 12 months the wine is all blended together and bottled. It drinks well now with a little decanting but will lay down for 8-15 years. I love when a wine keeps getting better and better!
Notes of red and black fruits with spices and black pepper. Just a hint of vanilla. Well balanced. Some tannin with medium body and a long finish. This wine is excellent with game, red meat roasts, spicy food and strong cheese. Just writing this makes me want to open a bottle right now. Yum!!
Colleen: 2007 Dashe L’Enfant Terrible Zinfandel, Potter Valley, Mendocino, California
Grown in a vineyard surrounded by only white grapes, this Zinfandel is crazy and amazing. Produced in a way similar to Beaujolais, with carbonic maceration and full cluster fermentation, this precocious wine is quite the stunner…mysterious and juicy and thought provoking. This one will stump most wine fanatics. Gushy red fruit is tempered by earthy flavors and a mild spiciness. Just amazing with food!
Meghan: 2005 O Bilbo Grenache, Saint Saturnin, Languedoc, France
A quaffing wine is one that is defined as a lower quality wine that is to be swigged rather than savored. Although it has a somewhat negative connotation, every once in a while it is quite pleasant to have a genuinely gulp able and swiggable wine. Having visited Montpellier (the biggest city of the Languedoc region), I must say that much like the people and the cuisine thisGrenache from Southern France strikes the perfect balance of elegance and easy going. This wines quaffable nature comes from a process called carbonic maceration. Instead of crushing all of the grapes after harvest the wine maker is sure to keep them intact in a vat with a layer of carbon dioxide. The grapes are left for several weeks to ferment inside of their own skins resulting in a less tannic, lighter, and lively wine. The O Bilbo contains a slight effervescence and a bright jammy mouthfeel that makes you wanna quaff along.
The new(er) kids