Hidden Trackers and WTFs (Wine Tasting Friends) –
BBQ season has finally come to Phoenix! And the “no wearing white after Labor Day” rule is closely followed here as we head outside to enjoy the sun, socialize, and use that grill! Fire up the range, get some mesquite ready, let the marinading begin – and be sure to have the BBQ wine progression ready. This is prime time to showcase the refined wine experience we have been working on this summer from the confines of our air conditioned homes – the grape way of life that wine is all about!
During The Craig’s recent trip to Germany, he dined with Dr. Rowald Hepp of Schloss Vollrads Winery. In a post-dinner chat, Dr. Hepp asked, “If you could drink any bottle of wine in the world, what would it be?” After pondering the question for a moment, The Craig’s reply was that wine is of the experience and moment. It can be good or bad. And that will lead to conversation on how good or bad the bottle might be. There wasn’t a favorite bottle or a desire for one specific bottle that The Craig could name. Instead, it’s a desire for wine to enhance an experience or a moment of the occasion. Wine is social!
After hearing The Craig’s response, Dr. Hepp was silent for a few moments. He then said with a soft smile that he had never heard this answer from anyone, but that he held the same feeling for the meaning of wine. He then went to his cellar and brought back a bottle of 1988 Domderhant Wernerfches Hochheimer Holle Riesling Spatlese halbtrocken. He said that this vintage was “not the best,” but the year was of a great memory and importance to him. It was the year that Dr. Hepp and his wife were married. He proceeded to open the bottle and pour tastes. He and his guests quickly made note of the wine (which was balanced, drinkable, amazing) and continued on to conversations about the memories built during that time in Dr. Hepp’s life. It was as if they were looking at a photograph that prompted a rush of memories and moments in time. That evening, like many others, was formed from wine, but was not about wine. The evening was about conversations on how the wine was paired with the cuisine and how those pairings reminded the group of other memories. It was a social evening – a Tuesday night (literally) that was meant for a group of people to meet and have dinner.
So get out there and enjoy the BBQ season. And as you put thought into what you are going to eat, be sure to put the same thought into the wine or beer you will be drinking. As family and friends come over, before they get to the food, they get to the beverage selection. And why not start the conversation there?! Find that $10-$15 bottle of wine that is going to make your guests ask what it is they are drinking. And you can share and start the stories as to why.
Remember, if a picture can say a thousand words, wine can make a thousand stories come to life!
Yep…we’re on glass number two.
And on to the wines of September…
Peter Zemmer Lagrein Raut 2012, Alto Adige
Italian Red Alert! We have not had an Italian red in the club until now. One might first think, “OK, so what’s the name of the Chianti? Or is it a Super Tuscan?” But we went deep on this one! Yes, the grape is called “Lagrein.” Ever heard of it? That’s OK, that’s why you have us to bring it to you! Peter Zemmer is a fourth generation winemaker in Alto Adige, Italy. The family winery was started in 1928 and has recently modernized its sustainability by deriving its energy from solar panels. This region is the northernmost growing region in Italy, sharing a border with Austria. Alto Adige is known for producing some of the most elegant Pinot Grigio in the world, as well as for a handful of other varietals. Lagrein is perhaps the most talked about red varietal from Alto Adige, though Pinot Noir could give it a run for this recognition. Although Lagrein is considered “often talked about” from Alto Adige, it is not a common varietal to stumble upon. The best indication of Lagrein’s origin points to the Trentino Valley where the varietal was likely discovered growing along the Lagrina River. DNA analysis shows that Lagrein was born from a cross of Syrah and Teroldego. The profile of this wine is unique. The color is very dark and rich, yet the palate shows light, spicy notes that are fresh and balanced. A nice balance of acid and fruit makes this a great food wine – and a great conversation starter!
Copain “Tous Ensemble” Chardonnay 2014, Anderson Valley
Hello California, how is Anderson Valley doing? Actually, can “Tous Ensemble” vineyard come out to play? And come out to play it will in this great offering of single vineyard Chardonnay. Copain got its start back in 1999 and the party hasn’t stopped. The philosophy of Wells Gutherie (owner/winemaker) was influenced by his time in Europe, and perhaps conversations and memories derived from wine. The winery brings a European style of wine making to the forefront of California’s wine industry. Copain showcases this style beautifully with this Burgundian-style Chardonnay. Fermented in both stainless steel and neutral oak, this elegant wine drops notes of green apple and citrus on your palate. Only about 3,700 cases made.
Enjoy these BBQ season kickoff wines!
Craig & Danielle