More from Oz Clarke

When I wrote about my tasting party with Oz Clarke,
the gregarious and hilarious British wine writer, several readers
chastised me for not revealing Oz’s reactions to the individual wines.
So he was kind enough to send me some tasting notes of his favorites.
Keep in mind that we tasted probably 30 or so wines that evening ranging
up and down the East Coast of the US, but centered on the Mid-Atlantic
region. Here are the ones that stuck in Oz’s mind:

NASSAU VALLEY VINEYARDS (DELAWARE) CHARDONNAY  2006 AND CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2007

These
Delaware wines were new to me. I really liked the lean, stoney fruit,
even a little leafy in the red, and the restrained alcohol. I‚€™d
countenance a very light hand with the oak, but this is a promising
newcomer.

BLACK ANKLE VINEYARDS VIOGNIER 2009 AND LEAF-STONE SYRAH 2008 (MARYLAND)

With
a name like that, you just know I‚€™m going to love the wines, though
my fantasy about the exact turn of the black ankle may not be entirely
based on fact. These are restrained, reserved styles from Frederick
County in Maryland and good examples of Maryland‚€™s late but youthful
charge on the Eastern wine scene. Or should I say, re-charge; I have
fond memories of Byrd Chardonnays from the 1980s.

MICHAEL SHAPS PETIT VERDOT 2005 (VIRGINIA)

Virginia
just loves to play hard ball. Most wine regions steer well clear of
Petit Verdot ‚€“ too tricky to ripen, too tannic, can‚€™t pronounce the
name, blah, blah. But good ‚€™ole Virginia thinks ‚€“ hey. Warmish
climate, humid, rain in the fall ‚€“ Petit Verdot, thick skin to avoid
rot, needs the heat. We can do that ‚€“ and they do.  Lovely dark
fruit, pleasant tannic grip, a smudge of oak. Welcome to your New World
home, P-V.

HORTON VINEYARDS RKATSITELI RESERVE 2008 (VIRGINIA)

Now.
Is that R silent? Some people call it Rekatsiteli, the Finger Lakes
boys call it Arkatsiteli ‚€“ but that R, ‚€“ that P in Russian ‚€“
isn‚€™t it silent before a consonant? I learnt a bit of Russian ‚€“
admittedly from a book published in the 1930s when presumably most
decent Russian linguists had been incarcerated ‚€“ so that I could sing
Mussorgsky better. I then realised that Mussorgsky isn‚€™t one of those
guys you can sing better unless you‚€™re born in deepest Siberia with a
throat as wide as a 100-year-old pine tree trunk, so I sort of lost
interest. But I still think the R/P question is silent before a
consonant. I‚€™m going to pronounce it Katsiteli. And Horton, God bless
the fact that they‚€™ve probably planted a row or two of every vine
variety known to man ‚€“ produce a really classic, full, apple puree
example only matched in the East by Frank‚€™s Finger Lakes classic that I
tasted a few days later. 

SHINDIG 2009 (FINGER LAKES, NEW YORK)

For
those toffee-noses who don‚€™t believe the hybrids can do dick shit
(sorry, ed – Note from Dave: That’s OK, this is the Internet!) this
mean, lean, chewy, apple skin and shimmering green flesh tongue scourer
is 80% Vidal with a dash of Riesling to pull it towards the legit. side
of the blanket.

BOXWOOD WINERY ‚€œBOXWOOD‚€ 2007, (VIRGINIA) 

Well,
some Virginian had to take on the twin Shibboleths of St-Emilion
garagiste and Napa Titan. It‚€™s pretty good if that‚€™s your thing ‚€“
and Virginia is sort of equidistant, so it should be good. (Note from
Dave: Boxwood does two red blends: Topiary, which is modeled after St.
Emilion – half merlot, half cabernet franc – and Boxwood, which follows a
Left Bank recipe based on cabernet sauvignon, merlot and petit verdot.
We tasted the Boxwood, because that‚€™s the one I had on hand, but Oz
can be forgiven for mixing them up slightly given the sheer number of
wines we tasted that night. Besides, we probably talked about the
Topiary and how that is the most popular of the two.)

BILTMORE RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2008, (NORTH CAROLINA)

I‚€™ve
been looking at photos of that damned railroad pile for so long, and at
last I taste the wine. Intair-es-ting. Here come de Judge. (Note from
Dave: I don‚€™t understand this. But the wine was pretty good!)

  

This entry was posted in , Books, Eastern US, Local Wine, Maryland, New York, Syrah, Virginia, Washington Post, Weblogs, Wine, writers and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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