Lab Rat report:
What an honor to be chosen! By virtue of dating the golden ticket holder, I was able to swipe his bottle and share it with 4 women. I sent out an email in the morning relaying my troubles: I had to write a report about some free wine. While I felt confident that I could handle this task on my own, I worried that finishing the entire bottle in one sitting would have made the report brief (wine is good – buy some). Everyone was to arrive at 6.
The wine arrived mid-day in perfect condition. Grenache. Not a wine that I’ve had a lot of. Actually, my only recollection was Kent Rasmussen’s 2009 Esoterica grenache rose. That might be nice. To the internets to find suggested pairings! I settled on a selection of salami and crackers to start, followed by a spinach salad with heirloom tomatoes and bacon. Mains were pasta with Italian sausage, peppers, zucchini, mushrooms and onions and a roasted tomato sauce made from the same heirloom tomatoes. I grabbed some brownie bites for dessert.
5:50 – running a bit behind. Pull out Esoterica. Plate salami and cheese.
6:10 – Everyone arrives. Explain that Esoterica is the same grape made in a different style. E. is nervous about the tasting. “I don’t know all the words.”
“It’s okay. You’re not writing the report. You just have to tell me what you think.”
E.: “Okay. I can do that. I do like this. This is really good.”
6:45 – Dinner’s ready. Rinse the glasses and open the golden bottle.
I think it’s a bit understated on its fruit. Maybe I should have decanted it.
G. “You know, it reminds me of a vino noble from Italy”
J. “Whoa, that smells of a lot of alchol.”
I look at the bottle. It says 14.8% by volume.
E. “Does it smell smoky to anyone else?”
It’s pleasant, but it needs a bit of time.
We start digging to food and continue catching up.
E. “No, it smells chocolaty. Like a good dark chocolate.”
C. "Yea, it's definitely opened up more now."
J. “I think this is a strong cheeky number. Just how I like them – a little spicy and steeped in liquour.”
G. “It’s like your favorite alcoholic friend.”
J. “Who is wearing a fruity perfume.”
The wine is smooth. I don’t have the most sophisticated tongue, but there’s a bit of wood. Some chocolate tones and subtle fruit flavors. It goes really well with the meats and tomatoes. Decanting would improve this, and I hope one of the other Lab Rats had the foresight to do this.
E. “Is body a word? Is that a real term?”
It is, and this wine falls in the medium-body. It won’t smack you over the head like some of the zins. It’s not outshining the meal or the conversation. It’s a supporting but loved member of the cast.
Interrupting a discussion on King George 1, 2, and 3:
G. “You know it’s a bit sweet.”
C. “Really? Sweet?”
G. “Well, not like cloying sweet, but a very pleasant flavor. I think that as this has opened, the wood disappeared leaving chocolate and smoke. There’s a nice savory aftertaste.”
There is. I can’t put my finger on the flavor, but it’s light and enjoyable.
C. “We have to try this with chocolate. I tried a merlot once and the flavors really exploded.”
I didn’t think that this wine was set up for chocolate, and it wasn’t. It’s not bad, but neither flavor was improved.
Our verdict: Delicious. Easy to drink and paired well with meats. I think this will be a great wine as we move into fall with stews and hearty meat dishes. Definitely serve with bacon.