Wine tasting preview August 1

August? August? What happened to June and July??

The 25th was an interesting tasting. We had our first visitors who had actually discovered us on Facebook, where Leigh had given us a presence last month sometime. Amazing!

As expected, the Argiolas vermentino from Sardinia made everyone smile, it is SO delicious. Could possibly be August wine of the month. Similar in some ways to the verdicchio we poured on the 18th, which was also very yummy.

We also had our first somewhat controversial wine this past weekend: the Viñas de Vila Tinto Fundación Argentine blend of bonarda, malbec, and cab. The first bottle had a decided funkiness to it (not a “fault,” just a personality characteristic) that stopped a number of people in their tasting tracks and aimed them toward the spit bucket.  I have to say I kinda liked it. It had a slight pitchy note (think Retsina or one of our old favorites the Chuckanut Rockslide Red of a few years ago) and the textured mouth you sometimes get with an unfiltered wine. The second bottle was milder, showing notes in the direction of cranberry and thimbleberry. Finished the bottle last night with a pork chop from the barbie, and it was a nice match. I think it would also do well up against spicy salsa.

The two malbecs were both winners, with some preferring the Mt Baker, some the Catena. My sense was the Catena had more structure and just kept getting better, while the Mt Baker was nice out of the gate and stayed at about the same level. Tasted the last bit of the Catena on Sunday night, and it had “continued to open up to a smooth-textured, layered, rich wine bordering on opulence”…(Parker 91pts).

Supposed to be hot all week, so not sure what will be appropriate for the coming weekend. I am leaning toward a side by side of two Portuguese vinho verdes (literally “green wine” because they are so fresh) which are light and just a bit sparkly, the perfect hot weather wine. I suspect they will be hard to tell apart, but we shall see! The other thing I like about this wine is that it is grown by just about everyone in the region, all over the place.

Then we will need a couple of reds…I am thinking of going in the opposite direction with a couple of cabernets. This could change, but for the moment the lineup looks like this:

Aveleda vinho verde  (Portugal) $9: High acidity makes it refreshing, and a bit of spiciness tempers the melon, green apple and peach flavors.

Casal Garcia vinho verde (Portugal) $9: A lightly effervescent white with notes of lime and melon, with crisp acidity and a palate-cleansing minerality.

Altas Cumbres Cabernet Sauvignon ’06 (Argentina)  $10: Rated one of the New York Times “Best Wines Under $10,”  “lingering, jammy flavors of cherry and licorice are offset by a mineral note that adds further depth…an excellent value.

Townshend T3 blend (Washington) $18 : Soft oak and chocolate aromas with blackberry and chocolate flavors; robust yet smooth and rich.

Wine Tasting

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