28 February 2011

Domaine Pichot Vouvray 2008 - Update

Just an update for all those interested, Domaine Pichot's Vouvray 2008 made Wine Spectator's 2010 Top 100 Wines of the Year list, coming in at #76; for a $16 bottle, that's pretty impressive!  Get it while you can!

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Books: About to start on Night by Elie Wiesel.

Bottles: Nothing lately...

Writing: Started on third draft of novella.

Guitar: "Sorrow" is the main project; probably starting "Fat Old Sun" soon.

16 February 2011

2006 Ramey Claret (Napa)

I think I've found a new favorite wine EVER.  Ramey's 2006 Claret, a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Malbec (surprising, I know!), 4% Merlot, 3% Syrah, 2% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot, was a revelation to me.

A deep, dark ruby color, it had an exquisite bouquet of blackberry and honey scents.  Upon tasting, it was heaven!  An explosion of ripe and vibrant fruits hit my palate, with strong flavors of cherry and blackberry.  A smooth, clean finish followed, with notes of honey and vanilla lingering.  The acidity and tannins were in perfect harmony, giving the wine structure while letting the fruit shine.

It was high in alcohol - 15% - and had a slightly warming effect, which reminded me of Port.  This is easily one of the best bottles I have ever drank and I hope I can find more.

I drank the wine with a special dinner in which I served grilled salmon and a potato dauphinoise.  The salmon was not the best choice - the wine tended to enhance the fishiness - but I'd had beef the night before and the salmon looked good at the store.  But I was determined to enjoy the Ramey Claret that night!  It wasn't a bad pairing, but it wasn't great.  Hopefully I will find something super enjoyable next time.  It did pair nicely with the dauphinoise, though, the fruit and acidity cutting through the creaminess and cheese of the potatoes.

Ramey Claret 2006 is a great value - I got mine for a little over $30 - and it was divine.  It is easily the most delicious wine I've had at that price point, and maybe just one of the most delicious I have had EVER.  I got it from The Cellar Rat in downtown KC and hope they have more when I go back.

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Books: Still catching up on Wine Spectator.

Bottles: The above Ramey Claret 2006.

Writing: Had a major revelation about the novella.  I'm feeling very stoked.

Guitar: "Sheep," "Sorrow," "Study in A."  I just noticed all my projects begin with S.

Trimbach Riesling 2007

I recently read an article about the wines of Alsace - it wasn't a recent article but I finally got around to reading it.  The article discussed the great values to be found in Alsace, as well as discussing the unique kind of wine they mak there - a Riesling that is similar to their German neighbors but also drier and more acidic.  Trimbach's 2007 Riesling fits this description perfectly.

The wine was a pale peach color, and revealed scents of lemon peel and other citrus fruits.  The mouthfeel was creamy, and when I drank it I was hit first with the potent acidity, which was followed up by strong citrus fruit flavors, and a surprisingly dry and crisp finish, with notes of honey and slate.

I enjoyed the Trimbach with a meal of honey-dijon chicken and fettucine alfredo.  The most interesting interaction was with the chicken - it intensified the potency of the mustard but also enhanced the sweetness of the honey; a surprisingly good pairing!  It didn't hold up as well to the alfredo, however; the cheese and cream of the sauce totally drowned out the wine.

Overall, the Trimbach was an enjoyable first excursion into the wines of Alsace, and at less than $20 for the bottle, one I shall be making again soon!

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Books: Still catching up on Wine Spectators.

Bottles: The above, plus a bottle of 2006 Ramey Claret.

Writing: About to commence on the third draft of the novella, which will also include a Part 3, which has yet to be written!  I begin tomorrow!

Guitar: Started on "Sorrow."  Still looking at "Sheep" and Carcassi's "Study in A."

08 February 2011

Salem's Lot

I recently finished reading Salem's Lot by Stephen King.  I have never really been into vampire fiction, but I enjoyed Salem's Lot a great deal.  I must confess to even being a bit unnerved by some passages if I read before bed time, and that's fairly rare for me these days.

I've been a lover of The Dark Tower Series for several years, and that is what led me to read Lot, to see Father Callahan in action.  I enjoyed seeing him - it was like visiting an old friend - and I enjoyed the other characters as well.  Barlow was one of the most fascinating characters to me - not necessarily for being an embodiment of evil so much as being so old, that life has become more or less a game to him.

I read the illustrated edition, which also included two short stories relating to the Lot,  "One For the Road" and "Jerusalem's Lot," the latter of which was extremely chilling to me, and its depiction of demonic worship was darkly fascinating.

I also noticed the extreme frequency of the word "tenebrous" in the novel.  I've read the word before but never really given it that much thought - it means dark - but having been reminded of its existence, I may have to start using it more.  Though it doesn't really sound like me - I shall have to save it for special occasions, I suppose.

Salem's Lot was an extremely good read.  More of King's oeuvre is on my reading list down the line and I look forward to immersing myself in another long read!

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Books: Finished Salem's Lot.  Catching up on some issues of Wine Spectator that I'm behind on.

Bottles: Bought two bottles recently - Ramey Claret 2006 and Chappellet Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, both of which I look forward to enjoying in the future.

Writing: Finished second draft of my novella.  It consists of two parts.  More and more, I'm thinking it won't really be complete until the third part is done as well.  I am going to start on that soon.  It has been on my mind a great deal lately.

Guitar: Working on "Sheep" and Carcassi's "Study in A."  Not practicing as much as I wanted to - truth be told, the blizzard sapped most of my energy, and what wasn't sapped was put into the novella revisions.  I will be much more dedicated this week.  I must be!