Monday, May 5, 2008

Chianti and Cards

I'm a person who dreams about wine even when my palate has been sated. Last night, I lugged home some lamb kofta and poured a few glasses of 2005 Fèlsina Berardenga Chianti Classico, which was on its second night. I rarely buy Chianti — the variability there frightens me, and I'm more of a Piedmont boy in any case — but this is a good one. And though it's scary dark for a Chianti, whatever Fèlsina is using to augment the Sangiovese does not eclipse it, either. It's redolent with black pepper, mint, green pepper, brown earth, and cherry aromas. On the palate, it serves up well-structured sour cherries and mint by the bushel. The acidity is aggressive but it's better integrated with the smooth texture than it was on day one. This has years to go and will probably be best around 2010 to 2012.

Even as the Fèlsina lingered, my thoughts turned to my recently-arrived mixed case of J.K. Carriere Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. Some of these wines, such as the enrapturing "Glass" rosé, I'll be able to enjoy in the coming weeks; and I certainly plan to dive into the 2001 and 2003 Pinots soonish, as these are earlier-drinking, low-acid vintages from Oregon, soft and hot respectively. The rest need time. In some cases, a lot of time.

At bedtime, I pulled out the marketing cards that accompanied the shipment. I couldn't help it. I lulled myself to sleep trying to memorize pH levels, vineyard compositions (all dry-farmed and/or organically grown), and barrel contributions (very little new oak used, if at all). I was, in short, preparing myself for the years ahead when I'm able to actually experience the wines, and I drifted to sleep dreaming of the people I'd be with, the food we would eat, and the wine, J.K. Carriere's wine.

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