Sunday, December 21, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Wineaux: Celebrating flight survival

SusanLeonardiWineauxW

By
From page A9 | October 04, 2012 |

In the last “Wineaux,” I planned a holiday-in-Davis, culminating, of course, in a leisurely dinner with a good bottle of wine. I had great fun writing that column and it was quite therapeutic as well, because all the while I was drafting it, I was also making arrangements (ugh!) and packing for a trip to New Mexico.

If you’re a regular reader, you know that going (or even thinking about going) to an airport induces in me as much anxiety as a trip to the dentist. And now that Sacramento and other airports have installed those awful (and probably unsafe) whole-body X-ray machines, I dread air travel even more. I opt for the pat-down, which takes even more time and is bad enough in itself without the security folks doing a lot of sighing and eye rolling at me because they think I’m a health nut and a crank. Guilty as charged.

But the eventual beauty of the New Mexican landscape and the company of friends soon dispelled my airport gloom. And you won’t be surprised to learn that I drank a lot of good wine (none of it from New Mexico, alas) while I looked out on those beautiful, stark mountains.

The first bottle — the bottle Gordon and Bruce chose to welcome us — was an Italian Prosecco made from organic grapes. Mionetto has been making Prosecco since 1887 and definitely has perfected the art if this bright apple-y sparkler is typical. Mionetto also uses recycled material for the bottles and labels of its organic line, so naturally I felt enormously virtuous drinking it.

We moved on to a red that our hosts, much more adventuresome travelers than I, had brought back from a recent trip to the Czech Republic. Bottled in a cute little jug, it tasted very much like the sort of wonderful red you’d drink by the glass or carafe in its local setting. I wouldn’t ordinarily write about a wine that readers won’t be able to try (without extensive travel), but its intriguing earthiness was matched by an equally intriguing name, Ludmila — in honor of a woman who was born in Melnik (the source of the grape) and was the grandmother of (Good) King Wenceslas.

Sometime in the 9th century, the story goes, Ludmila planted the first vineyards in that area. Her grandson went even further in the arts of cultivating grapes and making wine and became known as “Supremus Magister Vinearum.” At just about this time of year, Melnik celebrates the feast of St. Wenceslas with a wine festival.

The following night I provided the wines — though I wasn’t able to come up with anything so well-storied. At the Santa Fe Whole Foods, I roamed the shelves looking for “interesting” and picked up a bottle of French Cabernet franc from the Loire called Trinch! (the sound of glasses pinging).

Suddenly, a voice behind me (with a lovely Italian accent) said, “That’s my favorite wine in the whole store.” Not only did this wine have the imprimatur of the wine buyer, but it turned out to be made from biodynamic grapes and imported by Kermit Lynch (you’ve heard my Kermit Lynch raves many times). This beautiful forest-y, earthy, medium-bodied wine is made by acclaimed vintners Catherine and Pierre Breton; coincidentally, cab franc is known in the area as “breton.” Not quite so good as the Ludmila story but close.

I balked a little at the $27 ($23 at the KL store in Berkeley) price tag, but I had to celebrate surviving the flight, didn’t I?

I also found another Kermit selection (“oh yes,” said the voice, “I love that one, too”), Vin de Pays de Vaucluse Rouge, one of Kermit’s own red Rhône blends, this one about $10 less — and just as delicious and food-friendly as I had hoped. Many “ahhs” from my table mates for both bottles.

When I went to look for these wines in Berkeley, I asked for another recommendation — $15 or less — and was enthusiastically steered to a 2011 red wine from the town of Corse Calvi in Corsica. Called Clos Reginu, it’s made from grapes grown in a former olive grove. I brought it home and opened it immediately to accompany a dinner of pasta with a hearty, spicy red sauce. (No, that sauce didn’t quite match the 90-degree day, but it is fall, time for all-day simmered sugo in spite of the temperature.)

I think I might have liked this KL wine even more than the first two. Earthy and rustic, it has good tannins, a whole range of dark fruit flavors (maybe even a touch of olive or am I just imagining it?), lots of pepper, and a lovely intensity that seems barely possible in a wine with only 12.5  percent alcohol. This, too, is a blend — of grapes both Rhône-ish and native to Corsica — neillucciu (a close relative of sangiovese), grenache, sciaccarellu, syrah, mourvedre and carignan. The taste is as exotic as the grapes. My partner and I finished the bottle and longed for just one more splash. Fortunately, I’m going to be able to provide that and more, since Valley Wine Company just ordered some (and the other two as well!).

Finally, I want to follow up on the Valley Wine Company recommendation in the last column of the Domaine du Salvard “Unique” sauvignon blanc. Yes, it’s just as good as promised — and we did drink it with the fresh sardine appetizer and wild coho I hoped would be on the Monticello menu that night.

The crisp, zesty, citrus-y wine paired perfectly with both and went equally well with the fresh albacore-topped, lemon-caper whole wheat penne. Since we finished the bottle before dessert arrived, I can’t promise it would complement Italian chocolate cake with kumquat (possibly the best cake I’ve ever had in a restaurant). But then, I wouldn’t expect it to.

Lest I seem disloyal to our local wines with all these Italian and French offerings, I’m happy to announce our very own Putah Creek’s semi-annual tasting on Saturday, Oct. 27, from 2 to 6 p.m. at the winery, 9518 Drummond St. Not only will there be live music, local art and good things to eat but also a release party for their ’09 Cab, their first Late Harvest Viognier and their ’10 Reserve Chardonnay. For $15, you can taste all of these and several other current releases — and enjoy an afternoon of great fun.

And while you’re putting this on your calendar, don’t forget the Davis High School Madrigals fundraiser/wine-tasting on Sunday, Oct. 14, from 2 to 5 p.m. at Osteria Fasulo Restaurant, 2657 Portage Bay Ave. — $25 in advance/$30 at door. A lovely event starring, of course, the Madrigals themselves, who will not be drinking wine but will be singing.

— Reach Susan Leonardi at vinosusana@gmail.com. Comment on this column at www.davisenterprise.com

Comments

comments

Susan Leonardi

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    What’s new at UCD? Construction projects abound

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    No-nonsense Musser voted Citizen of the Year

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Sharing a meal, and so much more

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Brinley Plaque honors environmental stalwart

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    AP sources: Cops’ killer angry over Garner death

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Raul Castro: Don’t expect detente to change Cuban system

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Police seek help in finding runaway twin girls

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Downtown crash results in DUI arrest

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    March trial date set in Davis molest case

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    North Korea proposes joint probe over Sony hacking

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Enterprise plans Christmas, New Year’s holiday hours

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
     
    Luminaria display planned in West Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Soup’s On will benefit NAMI-Yolo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Donors, volunteers honored on Philanthropy Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Supplies collected for victims of abuse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Surprise honor is really nice, dude

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Konditorei presents free holiday concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    .

    Forum

     
    E-cigs surpass regular cigarettes among teens

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

    Google me this: Should I hit that button?

    By Marion Franck | From Page: B4

     
    Too late to pick a fight

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    All police need to humanize

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Are we only a fair-weather bike city?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Join us in making our world more just

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

     
    The electronic equivalent of war

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

    The Green House effect: Homes where the elderly thrive

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A11

     
    .

    Sports

     
    Stenz shines as DHS girls take a tournament title

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie Manzanares not quite finished carrying the rock

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UCD women look to improve, despite game at No. 7 Stanford

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Second-half run spurs Aggie men to 8-1

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    49ers fall to San Diego in overtime

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Marrone Bio expands its product reach in Latin America

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Sierra Northern Railway names CEO

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Sink your teeth into Vampire Penguin

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, December 21, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8