The Old Days, Bardolino Pairing, Tokaji Aszu

The Old Days.

Look at this picture of the Intersection of Laurel Canyon Blvd and Ventura Blvd. Wow. I was just there today, and I can assure you it looks different. Now, there are 2 CVS stores on either side of the street, just staring at each other blankly. And an Urban Outfitters, for some reason. However, the bus stop is still here. 299668_2473520047143_187245487_n

Truth In Advertising Award [1952]
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Mistral Tasting

This was a great tasting at Mistral, my favorite restaurant in The Valley. 2008 The FMC, a Chenin Blanc that makes you sit up and take notice. A world-class effort, to be sure. The Ramey was certainly a treat and of course we love Brunello. The Leviathan was made by Andy Erickson. IMG-20150114-01557

Upstairs with The Wine Jerk January Tasting
“Mostly Italian, with some Cab for Bruce”

Now this was a great tasting. Some very nice Italian wines and a couple of great 2012 Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignons.
Livio Felluga Pinot Grigio is one of my personal favorites. A true stand-out in the sometimes boring world of Pinot Grigio. The Cavalier Pepe Greco di Tufo was a real eye-opener for a lot of our guests. A virtual unknown, this is a supremely satisfying and serious wine. Cavalchina Bardolino is a textbook example of this wine region. I have included more on Greco di Tufo and Bardolino later in this post. I must tell you, this 2006 Ridolfi Brunello di Montalcino was superb. It could have lasted for 15 more years, to be sure. However, it was drinking very nice. It makes me smile when I can go to the classic regions and pull out a winner, almost every time. This was a big, powerful wine with finesse and a true sense of place. And to finish, some Somona County Enkidu Cabernet Sauvignon. The VJB Estate Sonoma Valley Cabernet was decanted and ready to rock in about 30 minutes. Rich, chocolatey and full of Cabernet power. I remember early in my wine career when Sonoma was poo-pooed as second-tier to Napa. Not any more. The name of the tasting says it all. I called Busy Bruce and he said “Italian Wines…oh and some Cabernet”. Boom! The Wine Jerk delivers.

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A must for all wine nerds is the World Atlas Of Wine. It is available here. I highly recommend the digital version on iTunes now. It truly is a invaluable resource for all wine region-related questions. Look at this map!Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 11.19.27 AM

Bardolino

This wine comes from the Province of Verona.  You can see it in the above map. Think “Romeo & Juliet” This is a great Bardolino primer from Wine-Searcher.com. Like its more famous neighbor Valpolicella, Bardolino is made from a blend of Corvina and Rondinella grapes, complemented by up to 20% Molinara. In the past decade or so the traditional blend has been beefed up with additions of such grapes as Barbera, Sangiovese, Marzemino, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, which are permitted up to 20% in total under the DOCG’s production laws. Here is a fun graphic I found for paring Bardolino.

CARTOLINA_abbinamenti_new-02Greco Di Tufo

Oh, now here is a great wine region. Lost among the more famous DOCG wines of Italy is Greco Di Tufo. Greco di Tufo wines stand out from the crowd thanks to the unique characteristics of the sulfur- and tufa-rich volcanic and clay soils; it is believed that these lend the wine its perfume and mineral complexity. The refreshing, crisp white wines are known for their aromatic notes of lemons, pears and toasted almonds and a lingering mineral finish.

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1967 Monimpex Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos

I hope everyone can appreciate just how special this bottle is. The history of Tokaji is fascinating, I encourage everyone to take a look. This is truly a noble wine. “Vinum Regum, Rex Vinorum”

This particular bottle falls under the Aszu category. What does that mean, you ask? Let’s ask Wikipedia:
Aszú: This is the world-famous sweet, topaz-colored wine known throughout the English-speaking world as Tokay.

The original meaning of the Hungarian word aszú was “dried”, but the term aszú came to be associated with the type of wine made with botrytised(i.e. “nobly” rotten) grapes. The process of making Aszú wine is as follows.

Aszú berries are individually picked, then collected in huge vats and trampled into the consistency of paste.
Must or wine is poured on the aszú dough and left for 24–48 hours, stirred occasionally.
The wine is racked off into wooden casks or vats where fermentation is completed and the aszú wine is to mature. The casks are stored in a cool environment, and are not tightly closed, so a slow fermentation process continues in the cask, usually for several years.
The concentration of aszú was traditionally defined by the number of puttony of dough added to a Gönc cask (136 liter barrel) of must. Nowadays the puttony number is based on the content of sugar and sugar-free extract in the mature wine. Aszú ranges from 1 puttonyos to 6 puttonyos, with a further category called Aszú-Eszencia representing wines above 6 puttonyos. Unlike most other wines, alcohol content of aszú typically runs higher than 14%. Annual production of aszú is less than one percent of the region’s total output.
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Until next time…rest well and dream of large women.
Wine Jerk OUT