The other night, six friends came over for a wine tasting, friends found through different aspects of my life, some through the ritual of church, some through the shared experience of raising children. We are all at different points in our lives, working part time or full time or home with the kids. The evening’s conversation flowed with humor, rolled along with reflection and intellectual curiosity, never stalling, but lingering at times as it changed direction, filtering through our different perspectives.
We compared two French blends, one a Bordeaux, Chateau de Macard, 2009, the other a southern Rhone, Ortas Rasteau, 2007. The Bordeaux blend was 50% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot, and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cote du Rhone was 50% Granache, 35% Syrah, and 15% Mouvedre, both from the same country, of the same color, but completely different regions and blends. What would we learn? We were hoping to perceive and understand the nuanced differences of the two blends.
Like a lush forest, the Bordeaux drew me in with its aromas of wood and soil. The wine rolled through my mouth with a texture of medium body and crisp acidity hinting at flavors of coffee and sour cherry, lingering for several minutes after the swallow The Ortas Rasteau was a little lighter, and a little more acidic than the Bordeaux. The wine began with aromas of anise and vanilla continuing along with cherry and just a hint of olive. The tannins were soft and like the Bordeaux, the Rhone lingered after the swallow Our next tasting was comparing two Syrahs, one old world, one new. The Cave de Tain from Crozes-Hermitage opened with a smoky umami aroma, earthy and herbal. This was the heaviest wine of the night, but with good acidity and medium tannins to keep a balanced structure. The new world Syrah was from Barossa, Thorn-Clark, Shotfire, 2010. The aromas said oak, the flavors sour cherry with a citrus quality followed by licorice. It was acidic, lingering in the aftertaste