Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Blind Lovely

I have a terrible soft spot for rhone whites. Viognier, Roussane, Marsanne; from intense candy store perfume to sublime flinty subtlety, it is always a surprise when you open a bottle. Last month when Sam Tannahill was in town, we were discussing our love of these wines while we should have been talking about the lovely pinot noir he was pouring. Still, it is fun to talk about a shared passion when everyone else in the room is getting shnockered.

Since Sam had been on the road for quite a few days and was feeling pretty shredded, I brought along a pound of Metropolis coffee to send home with him. It is our favorite local roaster, even though Intelligentsia has had more success in their nationwide growth. Sam reported that he and Cheryl, his lovely, talented wife, enjoyed the coffee over Mother's day weekend. That made us happy.

What made me even happier is when a package arrived from Sam this week. Enclosed were two bottles from their Francis Tannahill label; a 2005 Grenache, and a 2006 Blind Love. These were tiny bottllings; 138 and 93 cases produced respectively. While A to Z and Rex Hill might pay the bills, these bottles seem to represent what they can really do when unleashed in the winery. Elegant and balanced wines both.
We had the Blind Love with a nice light dinner of grilled asparagus, fresh homemade ricotta, baby greens and poached eggs. I also tried doing a pizza on the grill, but failed miserably; I will have woodfired pizza at home by the end of summer or die trying. The wine, on the other hand, was tremendously successful. When we first opened this there was a full nose of perfectly ripe fruit, and a nice spring floral bouquet. We expected it to be almost too big on the palate. On the contrary; what a lovely, creamy mouthfeel with a gentle but present acidity to give it a clean light finish. Light enough that I kept wanting more. It was a wine that was perhaps too elusive; but we loved every drop.

The second wine was the 2005 Grenache from the Rogue Valley. We had this the following Wednesday while I listened to the fifth game of the Blackhawks/Redwings series. (a tragic finish, even as I write this. 2-1 Detroit.) Ness was home late from work and we wanted something simple for dinner, so we settled on one of our standby favorites. We call it Beans & Greens, but it is a recipe that we lifted from one of our favorite blogs, who in turn lifted it from Splendid Table. A fantastic filling salad with beans, baby greens, bread crumbs and toasted cheese. The wine was superb from the first taste; my first impression being that of a clean, young Chateauneuf. The color was rich and opaque, but by no means inky. It just had the look of a wine that had been given ample opportunity to develop naturally, and had nothing taken away from it in the racking ad aging process. The nose was nowhere near overpowering, instead delivering exactly what it promised; balance, backbone, and finish. As the night went on, we talked about how it progressed, ending with "plum jam on toast with white pepper." At that point, we decided to end the pretentious wine talk and cut ourselves off.
Sam, thank you for two delicious, elegant bottles. We had a great weekend and look forward to a summer of nice bottles, and good thoughts for good friends.

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