Cheers to ya and Happy Wednesday.
As the introduction to the first wine that I want to share with you, I need to bring up that book I just finished, Cork Dork. About half way through the book there is a chapter titled, “The Orgy.” It is all about an exclusive wine event in New York City called La Paulée. Imagine an event that costs $1,500 to attend, AND you have to bring your own bottle from your cellar. And not just any bottle either, it has to be a “treasure” aka extremely expensive and rare. Ok, you get my drift that this event is beyond anything I can imagine. As the author tells the story of this event, there is a mention of world renowned, celebrity sommeliers who will be pouring the wine, one being Rajat Parr.
About an hour later I am checking my Facebook feed, and I see that there is a wine tasting at Monarch Wine Merchants, my new fave store, featuring Calfornia Chardonnays produced by Rajat Parr + Sandhi Wines next week. I look at the name and think… hmmm that name sounds familiar. It is really bugging me until it dawns on me that I just read that name in Cork Dork. I flip back a few pages with my phone in hand and on Facebook and see that Mr. Parr will, in fact, be in Charleston the following Wednesday. There will be limited seats of only 16. I put down the book and call Justin to reserve a ticket for myself.
I am so glad I did.
Let me be clear; I am not a fan of what most folks consider a classic California Chardonnay. The oaky, buttery, viscous white wine is not my cup of tea. But the notice about the tasting on Facebook promised that his Chardonnays were a departure from the classic and a real game-changer for California wine. So this seemed like a great opportunity for me to broaden my white wine palate and check out his wines.
At the tasting, we sampled five of his Chardonnays all 2014 vintages. Four from his Santa Rita Hills vineyards and one from Santa Maria Valley.
Sandhi Santa Rita Hills Chardonnay 2014
We started the tasting with this wine. Of the four Sta. Rita wines this one is assembled with grapes from three young vineyards. The remaining three are all single vineyard wines.
This wine, as well as all the others, was a shock to my palate in a good way. Based on my assumptions for California Chardonnay it was completely unexpected.
This blend is bright, crisp and refreshing. On the palate is the taste of lemon and tart apple but you can also taste its earthiness. The finish is clean and bright. This wine would pair well with white fish in a butter sauce or a cream based pasta. The acid and citrus in the wine will cut through the heaviness of the butter and or cream.
I really enjoyed this wine which was surprising to me. And honestly, I liked the entire lineup. As we progressed, I fell in love with the Sanford & Benedict 2014. (of course!!) This bottle is the top of the line from this tasting and at $69 a bottle I needed to show some restraint after lavishing ourselves while on vacation. It turns out Justin sold out of that wine as the others tasters got there before me. In the end, I was ok with that and knew that Gary would flip for the Sta Rita Hills 2014. So I brought him home a present.
Fast forward now a couple of days.
Gary opens the wine and waits for it to warm up just a bit as wine directly out of the refrigerator is too cold to drink. A full or aromatic white wine, as well as rosé, should be served roughly 50 degrees. (most refrigerators chill to 35-38 degrees).
As I watched him taste the wine, I was mesmerized. I had not spoken to him about the tasting or what I thought of the wine. All I said was that he would like it a lot. Damn, he has such an amazing palate. As he described his experience with this wine, it was as if he was in the room for the tasting and heard every word that Rajat Parr had said. The light touch of oak, the bright citrus and most notably the earthiness coming right through. It was an amazing experience for me to see him work his way through the layers of the wine. And I was right; he loved it.
This wine is primarily sold directly to restaurants but is available in Charleston at Monarch Wine Merchants at 1107 King Street in downtown Charleston. Cheers!
Schlosskellerei Gobelsburg Rosé Cistercien 2016
What made me want to share his wine with you was the kismet that surrounds this wine. This Austrian rosé was first brought to my attention from that Eric Asimov rosé article back in June. (that I referenced before when sharing the Canary Island Rosé) It is one of the wines we took to P-town to taste. The second thing that intrigued me was the fact that it came from Austria which is not someplace I would have thought makes a rosé with US distribution.
So then we open the bottle one afternoon and are really enjoying its freshness. We found this wine refreshing and bright. Qualities wine with medium-high to high acid will have. There is also a slight effervescence that lingers. The taste and nose of lemon zest permeate this wine. And at $14.99 a bottle, this is one to keep on hand for those hot days that we will certainly get as our summer drags through September.
Before we can finish the bottle, we are off to dinner to Sal’s Place (previously mentioned) with Bob from Somerset House Inn. Upon our arrival, there is a short wait while they ready our table, so we are presented with a complimentary glass of rosé. Gary and I both taste it and look at each other…. “Dang, this tastes like the Gobelsburg” one of us say. And come to find out that is exactly what it was. Needless to stay, we ordered a bottle to enjoy with dinner. Cheers!
That was enough to make me want to share this wine with you, but there is one more thing. Fast forward to the Sandhi Wines tasting (see above) and I am chatting with the wine rep that distributes Sandhi Wines in South Carolina. How we got on the topic is unimportant, but when we start talking rosé and specifically this Gobelsburg, she tells me that more Gobelsburg rosé sells in Massachusetts and more specifically the greater Boston area than any other place in the country. Wierd! But I guess that is how it also made it to the tip of Cape Cod.
Schlosskellerei Gobelsburg Rosé is made using the Zweigelt, St. Laurent and Pinot Noir grapes grown in the Gobelburg and Langenlois regions.
This wine was purchased in Charleston at Bottles in Mount Pleasant.
Thanks to Thomas Verbruggen for the use of his image. (featured)