Inferior Good: Diminishing Marginal Stupidity in Action

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

What do you have that will change my life?

A few days ago, fellow imbiber E.F. Glutton walked into a local wine shop and asked "What do you have that will change my life?" Our favorite sales person fetched, from his personal stash, a bottle of the 2001 Damijan Bianco, Collio (about $30). Lucky for me, Mr. Glutton invited me over to his house to enjoy the Damijan and others, paired with his fine cooking. I had a wonderful time and greatly expanded my vineanshauung. Mr. Glutton’s life was changed. Definitely a good night.

First off was the 2005 Hanna Estate Russian Rivery Sauvignon Blanc, Slusser Road. This wine gives you plenty of fat citrus fruit and grassiness while still being dry and crisp. A nice wine for around $15.

After enjoying my contribution to WBW #25 with some bree, we drank the 2001 Gary Farrell Chardonnay Russian River Valley, Rochioli – Allen Ranch (about $30) with an excellent cod filet. This is the richest wine I’ve ever had and actually liked. It is a very rich, fat, modern, fruit-forward wine that gives you some oak and bright fruit. This isn’t really my style of wine, but it taught me that very rich Chardonnay need not be flabby, for this wine wasn’t.

Next was the much anticipated feature wine of the night, paired with delicious pork tenderloin. Damijan is made by biodynamic grower and winemaker Damijan Podversic, a former student of Josko Gravener. This Ribolla Gialla from Friuli looks a bit like apple cider in the glass. The wine is tannic for a white, quite dry and offers a variety of muted flavors I have trouble describing. It tastes like no wine I’ve had before… it completely stumped me. We served the wine cold, though I see now it’s actually meant to be served at room temperature. I suspect we unwittingly muted the wine's potential by doing this. Craig Camp notes intense orange spiced flavors and feels the Damijan could be confused for a red in a blind tasting.

The wine didn’t change my life, but it expanded my conception of wine. The wine apparently did change E.F. Glutton’s life. He said it was an "incredible expression of what wine can be when you don’t adhere to the mass production model". I think he liked it!

Next we enjoyed a bottle of the 2004 Mary Edwards Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley (about $37) with a deftly grilled lamb chop. Said E.F. Glutton, "These folks are world class Pinot makers. They blow my mind every time. Rich, complex, great mouth feel, unmistakable New World Pinot." The wine is lush and fruit forward in the modern style, though I remember thinking it had more sweetness than I would have liked. Frankly, this was our fifth bottle of wine that night, so my recollection is pretty hazy.

Lastly, we had a few glasses of the 2003 Chateau d’Aussieres Corbieres, but I have absolutely no idea what that tasted like. You can find Kim Marcus' impression of the wine here.

This was a really great night. E.F. Glutton’s food was excellent. Further, I learned a lot about wine. I learned that rich Chardonnay need not be flabby, that sparkling wine can be much more than a simple palate cleansing accompaniment to food, and that artisan winemakers can produce wines that taste like nothing I’ve ever imagined.

[Ed. Also, Whit was reminded that gulping down 2.5 bottles of wine will put a hurtin’ on oneself. The next morning wasn’t very pleasant for him.]

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