Mon 11 Aug 2008
Sometimes the way it goes with food and wine pairing is that the food is great and the wine is great but they don’t add up to a marriage made in heaven. That’s OK. Every dish and every wine don’t have to come off together like Astaire and Rogers twirling so damn beautifully and effortlessly on the silver screen. Sometimes it’s fine just to say, “That’s nice.” and “Yep, that worked.” You don’t have to be fanatics. Sometimes, you know, you just want a glass of wine.
And sometimes a dish and a wine match so perfectly that it makes you shiver, right down to your toes.
LL bought some shrimp and tiny spears of asparagus at the store. She cleaned the shrimp, and I grilled them over charcoal, and the dish was pappardelle with grilled shrimp, asparagus and lemon.
I opened a bottle of The Yard Whispering Hill Vineyard Riesling 2007 from Mount Barker in Western Australia. Bingo. No, BINGO!
This elegant riesling is classic but individual. It’s dry and crisp and very minerally, composed of tissues of delicacies woven into a display of tensile strength. Scents of roasted lemon are highlighted by yellow plum, rubber eraser and oyster shell, and indeed there’s something bracing and invigorating about the wine. After a few minutes in the glass, touches of jasmine and spice cake drift up, filling out the citrus and orange rind flavors. It’s so pure and intense, so vibrant, that you feel as if you could be drinking crystals of riesling. The wine could age through 2012 or ’13. Excellent. About $25.
The wine is made by Larry Cherubino, who is also a consultant for Merryvale, in the Napa Valley.
Here are notes on two more wines from The Yard.
The Yard Pedestal Vineyard Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2007, Willyabrup, Western Australia, is frankly a brilliant example of thoughtful winemaking, which begins, of course, in the vineyard. One-third of this blend of 83 percent semillon and 17% sauvignon blanc ages four months in new French oak, the rest in stainless steel. Only natural yeast is used in fermentation. The color is pale straw; the bouquet offers scents of peach and pear, apricot and lemon, with touches of fig, dusty leaves and pine. The texture is supple, seductive, silky, though crackling acid and study limestone keep the wine lively and well-structured. It’s very dry, yet juicy with fresh and spicy lemon and pear flavors that yield an insinuating core of lanolin and bee’s-wax, dried herbs and flowers. Drink now through 2012 or ’13. Exceptional. About $25.
And this very evening I made fajitas from leftover grilled flank steak and opened a bottle of The Yard Acacia Vineyard Shiraz 2006, Frankland River, Western Australia. Wow, what pinpoint execution and balance, like a great gymnast on the parallel bars; the combination of power and elegance is what I’m talking about. Take a sniff of this deep purple wine and you feel as if you have snorted the awesome intensity of the syrah grape. A penetrating mineral quality arrows through dark and ripe black currant, blackberry and black plum scents and flavors, which are juicy and luscious in the mouth without being jammy or cloying. The wine is large-framed, generous, substantial but not massive, not overbearing; it’s actually rather light on its feet. Oak and tannin are indelible yet play their supporting roles with subtlety, until, that is, 30 or 40 minutes have passed and the finish begins to acquire notable foresty and brambly austerity. Drink now through 2013 or ’14. Excellent. About $40.
The importer is Tom Eddy Wines, Calistoga, Cal.