Welcome to Second Ferment! Wine pairs well with life ... and food, travel, people, work and play. Grab a glass and join me as I explore the wine scene in Ottawa, Canada, and beyond. Love hearing from my readers, so please leave a comment or drop me a line. Cheers! - Bethany

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

In my mind, I am SO there ...

Monday’s saving grace is New World Wine Regions with Denise. It’s where I get to take off my various hats as wife / mother / employee / slave to The System, and just lose myself for a couple of hours in the contents of my glass. Bliss.

This week’s class discussion was on California, specifically the Napa Valley. It was fun to look at the map and go, “been there … been there … done that … saw that, too.” As I slowly inhaled the intricate aromas and flavours of each wine, the memories came flooding back ...


Domaine Carneros, Napa Valley
Dinner at Brix, a classy eatery in Yountville, where hubby and I walked off our meal afterwards in the sprawling, moonlit gardens out back. Hanging off the back of the Napa Wine Train, feeling the exhilarating rush of the wind tugging at my hair, an endless dome of bright stars overhead. Flights of sparkling wine on the vast terrace of Domaine Carneros, while watching the sun set over a sea of rolling, green hills. Bliss …

I was rudely brought back to the present by echoes of “see you next week” as the class wrapped up. My glasses were empty save for a few dregs (and my spittoon was replete with a mish-mosh of the night’s tastings, regurgitated). So I reluctantly packed up and trudged out to clean the snow off my car, already thinking of next week’s class and looking forward to the virtual trip through the Sonoma valley.

Not too shabby a way to spend a Monday night.

My two faves from class:

Sterling Vineyards 2005 Chardonnay
I’m not much of a chard drinker – I can’t quite fathom how so many people consider it a sipping wine, when I find most of them undrinkable without food. I’ve never liked that overpowering, barrel-licking oakiness so common to chards, but this one was different. Clear light straw, tight rim, polished. Soft caramel, butter and floral notes. Medium-high acid, medium bodied, with a complex palate of butterscotch, toast, apple, lemon zest and honey. Long, delicate finish perfected with a bit of acid. DD (as in my instructor, not my daughter) suggests pairing with lobster in lots of butter, fish in a cream sauce, or veggies done on the grill.

Atalon 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon
Deep, opaque ruby with tight purple rim. Scents of dark chocolate nibs, coffee, cherry and plum. All kinds of nice, plush tannins here, medium-to-full bodied. Cola, strawberry syrup, cloves and more chocolate in the mouth. Long, intense finish of tannins and fruit. For those of you to whom it may matter, Parker gave it a score of 90 points. Were it not for its prohibitively steep price tag ($45), I’d go out and get a half-dozen bottles right now. Maybe I can convince hubby to get one, at the very least …

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