A few weeks ago, I was helping my friend Doug in his store and he asked if I wanted to try a few wines with him. You know me, I’m not one to turn down the opportunity to try something new, so I said of course. These were really interesting wines We tried La Orquesta which was a Barrel aged verdejo. Normally verdejo is a bright, bracing white wine that pairs wonderfully with seared scallops or raw oysters. So when Doug offered me a chance to try this one which had been aged in oak barrels I jumped at it. While the palate still held a ton of acidity, the flavors were much more mellow, like crisp apple and starfruit, and the finish held some of that beautiful creaminess that you normally see coming from the regions of burgundy, France, not Spain. The wine was a bit darker colored where you would normally see a lighter straw colored wine and had an unfamiliar richness to the nose which I think were also imparted from the oak contact. I think this wine would have been beautiful with salmon in a mustard sauce as opposed to the normal scallops and cheeses.
Next, we tried the Waterbrook 2014 Syrah hailing from Walla Walla washington. I don’t know that I have had a wine from this region before, but I expected rich fruit, silky tannins and a lingering complexity. I was not disappointed. Rich fruit and obvious malolactic fermentation are the key characteristics of this red wine. While the acidity is definitely present in the mid palate, and in the concentrated plum and berry fruit notes, it doesn’t linger on the palate allowing delicate, soft tannins to take control and extend the finish. This is a great sipping and socializing wine, but it would also pair well with just about any meat or poultry dish. The sweet fruits would balance something on the spicier side of the palate and the soft tannins make a gracious cohabitant with other flavors.
The last wine of the evening was a Portuguese red blend called Vilava. This wine is from the Douro region of Portugal, a well known and historically well priced area, and is a blend of touriga-nacional, tinta-roriz, and touriga-franca all harvested in 2013. It got a 91 point rating from wine enthusiast, which isn’t bad at all. This wine was a bit brighter than the Washington Syrah, as can be expected, with hints of red bell pepper and bright red fruits like cranberry and raspberry. There was definitely a bright cedar quality that kept the mid palate interesting and light and provided a cool menthol quality. While this wine would certainly play into The maxim “grow together, go together,” this wine would also do well with big salads, strong cheeses, and pork or sausage.
A great trio of wines that I’m really glad I did not miss out on, and some new food for thought with Thanksgiving right around the corner. Next week look for my Thanksgiving wine recommendation and my menu the week after that. Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday of the year so I’m a bore you all just a bit with some memories and my planning, but I hope you’ll stick with me.
As always, if you try, or have tried, any of these wine, I would love to hear your opinion. Do you think you’ve had one that I might like? Please let me know below or email me at email@example.com!