Recently, Steve Heimoff commented on one of my blog postings, asking me when I’d begin to score the wines that I recommend. I’ve long held a personal theory that I’m not as good of a critic as much as I am an enjoyer.
I remember putting an A+ effort into a wine marketing class that I took at the university level. As a final project we had to do a group presentation. I led the group with an A+ presentation. Then, I was given a “B” for the work, while everyone got “A+'” (except my daughter and me, because he knew our relationship). The professor knew that I led the team. The ideas were born from my imagination, I wrote and submitted the written portion of the work, and I directed the group’s presentation. All they had to do was act out the script, for which there was minimal input, and I got the “B.” Hum… Clearly, he had a problem with my daughter and me, born out of the fact that I challenged any flawed thinking he had. Should I have kept my mouth shut? If I was into keeping my 4.0 GPA, the answer would be “yes.” But I wasn’t that sophisticated, yet. Philosophical differences can take down perfection… That’s what I really learned from this class… or, better put, this clash.
This little exercise taught me how everything is so subjective, and that makes me wonder how important my scores are to anyone except myself. Then, with Steve’s thoughtful comment, I decided… I’ll only score the wines that really turn me on, and I’ll not write about those that just don’t reach that pinnacle – on my palate. That’s fair, I think. And takes care of why, if you’re reading it on this blog, it’s 90 points or above. At some point, someone’s going to ask, “Why is everything 90 points or above?” and I’ll just reference back to this blog posting.
Here’s a list of wines that my palate has recently enjoyed.
- 2007 Woollaston Sauvignon Blanc, from Nelson, New Zealand ($15.00) : This wine exhibited grapefruit, white peach, star fruit, and hints of melon on the nose, which all followed through on the palate. It was very easy on the palate with its fruit forward flavors, and clean, crisply fresh – like clean bed linens just in from drying in the sun – finish. Because flavors follow the nose so beautifully, this wine is very easy to recommend, and would be a wonderful apéritif. [Imported by San Francisco Wine Exchange] Woollaston. 91 Points
- 2007 Windy Ridge Chardonnay, Central Coast ($11.00): Brisk citrus aromatics with hints of pineapple and spice. This was a dry Chardonnay that would be a lovely match for lean seafood and favorite chicken dishes. Almost no oak, and great balance. Another winner from maker Larry Brooks. A brand from San Francisco Wine Exchange. This wine would be perfect with a Chicken and Zucchini dish (Chicken breast, garlic, soy sauce, bamboo shoots, mushroom slices, diced zucchini, and roasted, slivered almonds.) Windy Ridge. 90 Points
- 2007 Alentex DOC Alentejo White, from Portugal, this wine is 60 percent Antão and 40 percent Arinto ($8.99): This is a beautiful white wine, and you must not let the price fool you into thinking it isn’t a top notch wine. Land and labor prices around the world are so much less than what we’re used to in California. As a result, it’s a lot easier to find really well crafted wines that are very reflective of their terroir – versus being grown as a simple commodity product that will become California bulk wine with no personality. This product of Portugal is a reminder of how a $9 bottle of wine can be so gorgeously flavorful. Pale lime in color with tropical fruit aromas, this wine richly covered my palate and screamed enjoy me with your “Pork and Green Beans tonight!” (Garlic, soy, rice wine, turbinado sugar, bamboo shoots, celery, and onions, Chinese mushrooms). Enoforum. 90 Points [Will be in the US in the near future as an imported brand.]
- 2007 Alentex DOC Alentejo Portugal Rosé, from Portugal, this wine is a blend of 75 percent Castelão and 25 percent Aragonez ($8.99): Stainless steel fermented under controlled temperatures, this vibrantly lively rosé has a floral nose that segues into beautiful berry flavors on the palate that include raspberries and mashed cherries. As light and fresh as this wine is, it’s a perfect complement to rich sea food dishes, or one of my favorites… Chicken Breast with Toasted Sesame Seeds. (Green peppers, plum sauce, rice wine vinegar + pineapple juice, sesame seeds, and scallions.) Enoforum. 91 Points [Will be in the US in the near future as an imported brand.]