Sauvignon Blanc Twitter tasting tonight

I just wanted to alert my tens of followers that I will be participating in a Twitter tasting of Sauvignon Blanc tonight from 8 to 10 p.m. ET. I will be drinking a 2008 Casa Lapostolle SB with Trader Joe’s Veggie Samosas. The Twitter hashtag is #SauvBlanc. You can follow me at ClaudiaPerryInk. Come along for the pour, stay for the fun.
Wine in waiting for tonight's tasting. on Twitpic

Snowbound and headed West shortly

Thanks to about 30 or so inches of snow being dumped on the DC area in the past few days, I’ve been in my house (luckily with power and heat. A few others were not so lucky). I read, caught up on my TV, celebrated the Saints victory in the Super Bowl, was bored by most of the ads in the Super Bowl and slept wrapped in flannel. Of course, through it all, there was wine. Some of the wine had found its way back with me from New Jersey when I was there last week; the rest was from the six-case run I made a few months earlier. Frankly, I am stuck on this 2006 Vina Zaco Rioja Tempranillo, which drinks easily and well. I also mixed in some of the 2007 Casa Lapostolle Cabernet Sauvignon, a lovely value wine I have only seen once in a local booze emporium. Also mixed is 2007 Casa Castillo Monastrell (it’s Mouverdre in France) from the Jumilla region of Spain. I’d recommend the Jumilla with roast pork and it held its own nicely in against the veggie samosas from Trader Joe’s. When I was in New Jersey, I bought the last six bottles of the Vina Zaco. Now it seems like a very good decision.

Assuming the additional snow slated for tomorrow night doesn’t just break this town right in half, I’m headed out to San Francisco then Napa for this year’s Sympsoium for Professional Wine Writers. I’m packed. I may try live blogging from the conference if stamina and interest permit. That’s all for now. Happily Mazzy Star is garaged and snow-free.

The extent of my Christmas shopping

The Negress remains unemployed with a couple of close calls upping the frustration quotient. However, she decided, for the most part, not to exchange presents. She will make a stab a returning the Christmas cards she received, but there is much else to be done. Her own well-being was secured with a timely purchase made in New Jersey to stock the wine cellar for many of the coming months.

Here’s how that went:
12 bottles 2007 Can Blau
12 bottles 2007 Casa Lapostolle Cabernet Sauvignon
12 bottles 2008 Lapostolle Sauvignon Blanc
6 bottles 2008 Yalumba Viognier Y Series
6 bottles 2006 Vina Zaco Rioja
6 bottles 2007 Trimbach Riesling
6 bottles 2009 Crios De Susana Balbo Malbec Rose
3 bottles Casteller Cava Rose NV
3 bottles La Marca Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene NV

What this list contains is some of my favorite solid citizens of the wine world — enjoyable, intermittently surprising and suitable for may occasions. The circumstances of how I came to get them is best left shrouded in mystery since I was informed loudly by a woman  that interstate transport of wine remains illegal if you are not a distributor.  Hypothetically, I suspect it happens all the time. So far the Negress has enjoyed some of the Malbec Rose (dry and rich) and quite a bit of the Casa Sauvignon Blanc and the Yalumba Viognier. Right now, there’s a couple of feet of snow on the ground so nicely chilled whites may seem inappropriate. They’re working for yours truly because they suit my mood of late — cool and light. I dropped some emotional burdens and am slowly getting rid of some physical ones. To that end, the tree and wreath are up. I am also heady with excitement for my other Christmas gift to me — a trip to see the Devils play the Caps at The Phone Booth. This game is meaningful beyond my usual devotion to my beloved Devils since the teams are neck and neck for the conference lead. I had very low expectations for my Satanic Mechanics this year. Happily, my lack of faith was misplaced. So Merry Christmas to all who do that particular observance and Happy Holidays for those who have either finished  with or are prepping for other fetes.

Wine Blogging Wednesday #52: Casa Lapostolle 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon

The indolence of unemployment has left the Negress almost incapable of meeting deadlines so this particular WBW sneaked up on her. Thanks to Tim Lemke at Cheap Wine Ratings, our topic this evening is Chilean red wines under $20. I ended up inadvertently fulfilling this assignment two weeks or so ago when I sampled the 2006 Casa Lapostolle Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2006 retails for about $10 most places, and, unlike its Wine Spectator top wine Clos Apalta $100 a bottle sibling, this is a wine for anyone who relishes a well-balanced Cabernet that doesn’t require making off with the kids’ college money or borrowing against the house. The wine was served with an earthy mushroom dish when I first had it, and its black fruit and supple tannins were a inspired match. All of the Casa Lapostolle wines I’ve had are extraordinary for the price and are perfect for these cash-poor days. In fact, we suspect the Clos Apalta is hideously overrated (Helio San Miguel confirmed this suspicion the last time we tasted with him), but we love the Casa wines right down to the ground.  I can also heartily recommend the 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, which I opened before writing this post since I clearly thought the word “Sauvignon” was enough. This wine came in at $10.69 with tax from an odd little wine store in Livingston New Jersey. The Casa wines are widely available and are now on sale at one of my local wine stores for about $8 a bottle.

MIT Sloan School wine dinner with Shelly Rabin

Wine dinners can often leave you in a cranky frame of mind. Even if the company is good and wines better, you leave feeling as though you’ve been pumping quarters in a peep show. You get some tantalizing sips of a lovely world, but eventually you run out of quarters. Luckily, the MIT Sloan School wine dinner at Matsuri in Manhattan was unassailable instead of unattainable. The restaurant served eight course and appetizers family style. Sheldon and Carol Rabin provided the wines and the takeaway chocolates. Shelly is a collector who understands that life can’t always be one Romanee Conti after another. The wines he donated for the dinner were affordable, drinkable and delightful. The appetizers were unagi pie (think mini eel chimichangas), chicken yakitori, Kobe beef with red radish and mustard, and seared tuna with wasabi and and cucumber. The wine with them? Willm Blanc de Blanc Brut NV, an Alsace sparkler which complemented the whole panoply of flavors in the noshes. Dry, light and a hint of citrus marked the palate.

The Negress is fatally allergic to oysters, but could see the merit of the 2007 Seaglass Sauvignon Blanc from Santa Barbara County. The wine had some grass, citrus and peach notes, I was assured by Wine Comrade Bob that it melded flawlessly with the oyster topped with yuzu granite.

A selection of  sushi and sashimi followed with a 2007 Casa Lapostolle Sauvignon Blanc from Chile poured. Wow! This light, floral gem has a touch of slate and enhanced the sushi and sashimi flavors.

Baked mushrooms in parchment paper were served with the 2006 Casa Lapostolle Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was a fruity fit with some notes of plum and black cherry. But it preceded a pairing of shrimp tempura with 2007 Willm d’Alsace Pinot Blanc. The Pinot Blanc kind of got slapped around by the Cab but some of the usual lychee and pear notes did emerge. Also, in the interests of full disclosure. I came darn close to eating my birth weight in sushi.

Moving on, black cod grilled with sake paste was accompanied by 2006 Bourgogne Les  Setilles, Olivier Le Flaive. The wine had some pear and floral characteristics with citrus and a touch of honey on the palate.

Now here’s where it gets tricky.The wasabi roasted duck breast was served with the 2006 Conn Valley Vineyards Prologue Napa Valley. This cabernet sauvignon was was not a typical California flab cab, but it was rich with black fruit and a little oak.

However, the Conn Valley Cab might have been a better fit for the garlic-soy grilled sirloin, which was paired with my favorite wine of the evening, a 2006 G5 Puerta Bonita, Vinos Sin Ley, S.L. This hot-to-trot garnacha would have cozied up to the duck very well. It was fine with the sirloin, but would have been better with the duck. Wine Comrade Bob and others concurred.

By the time the dessert sampler arrived with bits of chocolate mousse, sweet potato flan and fabulous gelatos, it seemed unlikely that more wine would be welcome. However, the Virbio Carline Silvestri Vino Spumante was pinkish rose and just sweet enough not to overpower the desserts.

This was quite a night for wine and good company.