Distractions, Diversions, Books, Wines, Whiskeys and Other Stuff To Think About When You Should Be Doing Something Else.

Vino Veritas

The State of Distraction: February 1, 2012

I’m going to try something new. Maybe it will start a conversation. Maybe it will only happen once. Maybe it will alleviate some boredom…

The purpose of The State of Distraction is to throw out some things that may be of interest that may not get their own posts or that I may not get around to posting about.

We will see how it goes.

Books:

I just got done with Ghost in the Wires the autobiography / memoir of Kevin Mitnick. I liked it as much as The Art of Deception and The Art of Intrusion (both are must-reads on the 5GW bookshelf). I might get around to doing a more complete post about this one but in short I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in security or cyber-security.

I’m currently reading Storm Front by Jim Butcher. I’ve heard a lot about how good The Dresden Files are but never picked up the novels. So far I am enjoying it quite a bit and I will probably end up reading the series, though I probably won’t post reviews about them. Storm Front came out in 2000 after all so there isn’t much new there to talk about. My local library seems to have all of the books available and I already have Fool Moon waiting on deck. I might have to make it a point to go back and read up on series that I didn’t read because they were already a couple of books in before I noticed them. Suggestions would be great.

Wines:

Of the wines I’ve been sampling lately a couple have stood out from the rest. One is the S.I.P. certified (a classification that goes beyond the organic tag) 2009 Carmel Road Pinot Noir from Monterey California. It has a nice, rich cherry / plum flavor and a beautiful black tea-like character. It also has very nice structure and balance and is worth looking for.

Another winner is a Spanish Rioja, the 2005 Marques de Murrieta Reserva. This is a wine at its peak right now showing a wonderful glowing garnet (going brickish) color, and a nice fruit / earth / wood balance with a delicious finish.

Whiskey:

Most recently I’ve been drinking (rī)¹ and it is delicious. I have lately been kind of developing a taste for high-rye bourbon and straight rye whiskey. I guess something about that extra spicy character and extra touch of heat appeals to my palate. This one is exceptionally complex with layers of nuanced flavor. My preferred way to enjoy this one is in a Glencairn glass with no ice.

Other Diversions:

Who couldn’t be diverted by the Presidential primaries right now. It looks like it is coming down to Mit and Newt (though Mit has the upper hand I would say). As an independent moderate (if I can be called anything except cynical) I really should like Mit, but he seems like a weaksauce politician to me who will do anything to get a vote. Newt appeals to me (I hate to admit) because he seems more like a political animal rather than a politician. I acknowledge his strategic ability but I have doubts about his ability to lead. I guess if you show me a real leader with the ability to deliberately improve the position domestic and international position of my country beyond the next election’s time frame, then I’ll vote for that candidate. It’s pretty much that simple for me, I just don’t see that guy on the ticket.

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Vino Veritas: Lemelson Vineyards Thea’s Selection Pinot Noir 2008

 

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Lemelson Vineyards

2008

Thea’s Selection Pinot Noir

Willamette Valley, Oregon

The Lemlson Vineyards Thea’s Selection Pinot Noir is one of the better Pinots I have had the pleasure to sample lately. Usually I prefer wines with a bit more weight than Pinot but the Thea’s Selection is certainly bulky enough to please my palate.

The nose is typical Pinot. Bright and heavy on the fruit. The taste is an entirely different story as it is much more fuller in body than most Pinots while remaining exceptionally well balanced. I am especially impressed by the winemaking skill it took to coax this much weight from a Pinot Noir grape while maintaining this seamless an integration of bright and dark fruit, bright acidity and firm grippy tannin. I have to wonder if there is a good measure of Syrah or something else dark and spicy blended here. Whatever it is it is a style I can really appreciate and get used to.

Delicious. Pair it with beef tenderloin or BBQ chicken.


Vino Veritas: Mollydooker “Two Left Feet” 2009

Mollydooker “Two Left Feet”

2009: South Australia

68% Shiraz, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon,

14% Merlot

Before the reviewing festivities commence we need to do some preparation. Why, you ask? Well, this is a Mollydooker wine and that means we get to have a little fun before we drink.

Let’s get to shaking!

The video will explain:

Fo those of you who didn’t watch the video; yes, you actually do need to shake up this wine before you drink it. You could also decant it, but that wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining. It really, really does taste completely different before and after the shake.

Yes, I tried it before I shook it up. I’m that kind of guy. Curiosity might be ultimately unpleasant for cats, but I’ve never heard a similar cliché about wine drinkers. Anyway, the flavors were dark, heavy and tight, with tarry, cocoa overtones and an edgy harshness. It wasn’t terrible at all, but then again it wasn’t really great either.

The better question is what is it like afterward. The answer is absolutely delicious. Bright flavors came out to balance the darker notes with nice roundness and chewy goodness. Acids and tannins achieved a harmony. The alcohol, though pretty high at 16% abv, didn’t overpower in its harshness. The finish was long and smooth, begging for food, any food, to accompany it. Personally speaking, the blend for this wine is right in the sweet-spot of my wine-drinking wheelhouse and Mollydooker just went yard like a left-handed all-star against a right-handed fastball pitcher who just got called up from the farm team. What I liked most about “Two Left Feet” was its balance and sheer drinkability. Mollydooker “Two Left Feet”  is the kind of wine that makes wine fun and interesting because it has a great story, great wine makers, and flat-out great bottles to enjoy.


(De)Motivational Poster: My Christmas Tree

Merry Christmas Everyone!


Vino Veritas: Francis Ford Coppola Director’s Pinot Noir, 2008

 Francis Ford Coppola Director’s Pinot Noir

2008, North Coast, California

Pinot Noir is not typically a wine that tends to be in my personal wheelhouse. My palate tends to favor big, jammy, spicy and bold Zinfandels and Syrahs/Shiraz. On the other hand, I’ll take good wine wherever I can find it and this Pinot Noir qualifies.

In the glass this wine is very, very pale to point of appearing watery. I think I’ve actually had a rosé wine or two that were actually a touch darker. The nose is also light, but spicy with hints of dark cherry and plums. The taste is light, but round and very well-balanced. The flavor, lightly filled with strawberry and cherry notes, doesn’t exactly make a bold statement but its earthy spiciness does linger with a bright acidity and not much tannin.

This is the kind of dry red that I would tend to recommend for those family gatherings where tastes are greatly varied. I also think that this would be a pretty good pairing with turkey, so I bet you can tell where I am going with that. I also would recommend this as a nice party starter, something to prime the palate before moving on to larger, dryer and more robust wines.

(H/T to Corks and Caftans for the excellent picture.)


Vino Veritas: Fools Bay “Dusty’s Desire” Shiraz, 2008

Fools Bay “Dusty’s Desire” Shiraz, 2008

Barossa Valley, Australia

by Hently Farms

“You might be thinking Dusty’s Desire Shiraz is named after an Aussie bloke who desires a lifestyle of heavy drinking and promiscuity! Though we have a bloke working on the farm who fits this description, it’s not about him. Dusty is our loyal farm dog. Affectionate, mischievous but a damn hard worker to boot. All he desires is a good pat and a dip in the water trough at the end of a hot day.”

(From the label)

I was such a big fan of another Hently Farms offering, the 2008 Boxhead Shiraz, that I had to try out a couple of their other wines. Fools Bay “Dusty’s Desire” Shiraz is another wine produced in partnership with TGIC Importers. They haven’t updated their website as of this writing for the 2008 vintage of “Dusty’s Desire” but it gives a general overview.

The wine itself is very tasty and a very nice representative for Barossa Valley Shiraz.  It is, at the same time, bold and balanced. Strong dark fruit flavors; blackberry, raspberry and lots of  plums dominate, backed up by a solidly earthy foundation laden with vanilla and wood-spice notes. Soft-edged tannins ensure that the finish is long and silky smooth.

For a pairing suggestion I’m going meat and potatoes, literally. Specifically, prime rib and a loaded baked potato. Can’t go too far wrong there.


Vino Veritas: Cambria, Katherine’s Vineyard Chardonnay, 2007

 

Cambria Katherine’s Vineyard Chardonnay

2007 Santa Maria Valley California

The first thing that hits you about Cambria’s Katherine’s Vineyard Chardonnay is the smell. Yes there are citrus and tropical fruit aromas but even before you taste the wine you can tell it is going to have a creamy, butteryness. Indeed, wine mouthfeel is smooth, rich and creamy, malolatic fermentation anyone, bringing out the flavors of pear, apple, apricot, vanilla and white peach with a solid yet subtle and balanced undertone of wood and just enough acid to maintain a bright finish.

This wine would be excellent paired with herb-roasted poultry or lightly smoked mild cheeses.