Ah, what a whirlwind life! One day the toast of the electronic town, the next I'm over at Kane's place, as Mr. Brad scurries about whipping up a gorgeous meal for me, Lisa and the soon-to-be-saying-goodbye-to-carefee-bachelor-life Andrew Scott.

As Mr. Kane sniffs at two decanters in a vain effort to try and remember which wine he has poured into which decanter, all I can think is 'now that I've set poor Sam Beckett's remains a-spinning, whom can I plunder next?'

Hmmm... a Shakespearean take?

O what a rogue and peasant slave am I
That hath, in my extremest haste to pour,
Confusˇd in my mind two decanters,
Both alike in dignity, one containing
Merlowe from the new land of endless sun
The other sweetest nectar nurtured on
The vasty fields of France. Now where's
That damn teevee remote control gone to?

No, that's not it...

The Kaneterbury Tales?

Whanne that Septembre wyth the stormie soake
And wee alle waite for the Yankees to choake,
In that tyme, from every streetes ende
Of Manhattanne to Kaneterbury we wende,
Somme tastie woodie vinoe for to seeke...



Sing, goddess, of the thirst of Garnetes' son, Bradkanes, that destructive thirst which brought countless woes upon the WLDGeans, and sent forth to the recycle bin many valiant bottles drained of life...

No, no, no, that just won't do at all. Best not to force it. There's wine to drink, and literary pursuits must take a back seat when the juice is flowing.

We started with the Clos des Briords Muscadet Cuvée Vielles Vignes 1997, which had an elegant, reserved minerally-based nose with a happy zing to it, hints of lemon and carambola. Or perhaps the carambola note came from the actual carambola that Andrew had placed in my glass prior to pouring, I can't say for sure. A racy wine, tangy-tasting, crisply acidic, stony and bright, with some honeysuckle-plumeria hints emerging after some glass time. Lively.

Next our host poured a Dr. Thanisch Berncasteler Doctor Riesling Auslese 1994, which served as a nice contrast to the muscadet and complemented a great heap of pork. Another light nose, but honey and green apple this time, while the wine in the mouth is velvety and smooth, with medium-light sweetness and medium-light acidity, smooth and quaffable. Andrew pronounced the pork 'oaky.'

A Puzelat Le Buisson Pouilleux Touraine 1998 was the first controversial wine, getting the patented Kane sneer/raised eyebrow combination, while Andrew pleaded that it needed some time to open up, which request was summarily dismissed as 'what you Loireheads always say.' I thought it had a tight & tangy nose, spritzy with grapefruit and chalky hints; in the mouth it was very much like it smelled, tart and crisp, white grapefruit and ginger, a bigger, more vivid version of the same producer's Touraine Sauvignon.

Now it was time for the lobster risotto, which was delicious, although Andrew thought it too was a bit oaky. To go with it, we opened an Andre Brunel Châteauneuf-du-Pape 'Les Cailloux' 1996. I'm not sure if that's the right spelling of 'Les Cailloux' because the label was missing, but that's what Brad said and I'm going with it. The wine was straw-gold, with baked apple and cream soda-ish hints drifting around the bowl of the glass, and a slightly round, flat, buttery mouthfeel. Seems a bit limpid, with some heat on the finish. May have been a touch oxidized, but I haven't had enough white CdP to quite put my finger on it.

We also managed to pry the bottle Andrew had been cradling all night out of his hands and pour ourselves some.

Taluau St. Nicolas-de-Bourgueil 1996: Medium red; taut cherry-tobacco-herby aromas, thin and tart, some decent cherry fruit, light, gritty tannins. Not the worst. Lisa wishes that she could like it, but ultimately fails to do so. I at least enjoy the name Taluau, which puts me pleasantly in mind of leaf-covered pig baking in a pit.

At this point the two mixed-up decanters appeared and we all snuffled at them to figure out which was France and which California. It took approximately four seconds, if that.

Château Sociando-Mallet Haut-Médoc 1995: Medium-dark and dense; young and tight as a drum, but also quite rich, nice dense cassis nose, light hint of green olive & vanilla, medium-crisp, full-bodied mouthfeel with some very fine, very strong tannins. Mr. Scott bemoaned the lack of finish, but I just put it down to youth. My '85 Sociandos are just beginning to come around now--I'm putting my remaining stash of this to bed for ten years, but they're gonna be good down the road.

Beringer Howell Mountain Merlot 1992: Also medium-dark, with a lot of chocolate and cherry in the nose, some very light pizza herbs as well. Very fleshy mouthfeel, meaty and velvety & with some nice tangy dark tar undertones. Very decent, very accessible and up-front. I commented that the flavor profile was much like the '92 PR cabernet (minus the blueberry), which prompted Andrew to say "Now THAT's winemaking--getting all those different grapes to taste the same--that's true art!" He went on to pronounce Kane's roast chicken delicious, if a bit overoaked for his tastes.

At this point Brad and Lisa began to squabble about the merlot, with Brad positing that it needed time and was closed and Lisa saying it was as open as Sharon Stone's legs in Basic Instinct, berating him and the horse he rode in on and calling his parentage into question. Or something like that, it's all a blur at this point. I knew this had to be broken up, so in lieu of turning the hose on them I opened a sweetie.

Joseph 'La Magia' Botrytis Riesling Edna Valley 1996: Pale gold; odd nose--botrytis and plastic. Very sweet, with some acidity, but not enough. Caramel cream, apple flavors, glyceriney mouthfeel, actually okay by me except for that annoying plastic note in the nose.

Well, that distracted the warring parties long enough for us to all realize how late it was and tumble out the door in search of a cab to take us downtown, with me completely forgetting about my carambola and leaving it to Brad's tender mercies. Happily, though, I did give it a good nasal once-over, and while Robin says 'strawberries' I would say yes, but maybe also with something green like kiwifruit-honeydew in the mix as well. Nice to finally get to the bottom of the mystery of the starfruit.

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