Mon 13 Apr 2009
We don’t typically celebrate Easter or mount a special meal for the occasion, but some friends suggested that we collaborate on a dinner, so after a bit of discussion and investigating, we agreed and settled on a menu. There would be three couples and a child. The menu: ham; sweet potatoes with apples and a maple glaze; roasted fingerling potatoes with tea-marinated black figs, thyme and garlic; asparagus with lemon and Parmesan cheese; cornbread; and for dessert a cake that was supposed to look like a lamb but that didn’t quite work out, though of course we ate it anyway. LL and I prepared the cornbread and fingerling potatoes; another couple — parents of the charming and precocious six-year-old Gia — brought the incredibly tender, sweet-glazed spiral-cut ham; and the host couple did the sweet potatoes and the, um, cake.
With ham, I immediately thought of the fresh appeal of rosé and riesling wines, so I took to the dinner a bottle of the Belle Glos “Oiel de Perdrix” Pinot Noir Blanc 2007, Yorkville Highlands, Mendocino County, and the Pierre Sparr Reserve Riesling 2007, from Alsace. One advantage to these selections is their modest and manageable alcohol content, 12.8 percent for the rose and 12.5 percent for the riesling.
“Eye of the Partridge” in the case of the Belle Glos Pinot Noir Blanc 2007 translates to a lovely peach-melon hue. That theme continues with scents of peach and melon permeated by pear and a hint of ripe red currant. Flavors are more red than pale (and a little spicy), as in red current with a touch of raspberry. The wine is spare, minerally, even a touch attenuated at first, though it gains weight and substance in the glass. Quite enjoyable (and good with the dinner), though I look forward to the release of the 2008 version as perhaps more lively with acidity and vigor. Still, I’ll rate it Very Good+. About $25.
I’ll repeat what I have said about the presentation of this wine, and their other highly-rated pinot noirs. Belle Glos, a partner winery of Caymus, would do everyone a favor by abandoning the drape of wax-like plastic the covers the top and neck of the bottle. The material is, first, unsightly, and, second, very difficult to penetrate. Any method you use to try and open a bottle results in pink shards scattered over the table. A wine intended for immediate and pleasurable consumption should be more accessible.
The label image here is the 2006; the wine under review is 2007.
No caveats whatever about the Pierre Sparr Reserve Riesling 2007. This is a marvelous wine, fresh, crisp, energetic, yet composed of strains, threads and layers of deft and elegant delicacies. Classic aromas of rose petals, pear, lychee and the requisite rubber eraser (some call it petrol), with a background of exotic spice, are enticing. In the mouth, the wine is almost electric with acidity; it’s very dry, spare and supple, delicious with roasted lemon, pear and peach flavors. As a few minutes pass, it unfolds scents of jasmine and honeysuckle, while a wash of limestone-like minerality completes the finish. This was great with the Easter dinner, nicely bridging the different flavors and the contrasting elements of sweet and savory. Drink through 2012 to ’14. Excellent. About $20 to $23, though I have seen this wine discounted as low as $17.
Imported by W.J. Deutsch & Sons, White Plains, N.Y.
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