Friday, June 17, 2011

Stickybeak, Dunning, more beets and 2 Rieslings

The 2009 Stickybeak Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County is a blend of 72% Semillon and 28% Sauvignon Blanc and one of the featured wines of Off the Vine Design's Wine of the Month Club. Quite a bit more than I expected here with an earthy, almost truffle-like nose, with yeast and smoke playing a supporting role. Rich palate with fine acidity and light melon notes on the finish. No fruit bomb. Enjoy this one as it approaches room temperature. And consider pairing it with a quiche. About $20

No surprise that the 2008 Dunning Vineyards Vin de Casa, Paso Robles - remains a consistent winner in my book. The blend of 45% Cabernet Franc, 35% Zinfandel, 20% Syrah shows dark cherry with hints of herb and licorice in the nose. Great concentration of fruit and licorice on palate. Nice acidity, fiercely tannic. Sweet, herbaceous finish. Consumed with a couple of meaty take-out pizzas. About $24

Last weekend we harvested the last of our spring/summer beets and cut another huge bunch of peppery arugula. I turned it into an arugula salad tossed with a quasi-Asian vinaigrette, roasted beets, candied cashews and smoked salmon (also treated with an Asian-inspired rub). A couple of Rieslings were opened for the sake of comparison and contrast.

First up was the 2008 Michelle Loosen Eroica Riesling, Columbia Valley. Yeasty, green apple nose with just a bit of the petrol that I dig in Riesling. Laser-sharp focus with more tart green apple and mineral flavors on the palate. Just barely off-dry. Overall, this is a very well-made wine, but alas it was too dry to successfully accompany the food. $20

Slightly sweeter was the 2009 Leitz Dragonstone Riesling, Rheingau. Peach and apricot dominate with supporting tropical notes of kiwi and pineapple and petrol. Moderately sweet (though considerably sweeter than the Eroica), this was a better pairing with the food, but still not as sweet as I needed it to be. Nicely balanced minerals and acidity on the finish. Softer than the Eroica. $16

The recipe I used is from an older cookbook and sadly I can't find any link to it on the internet. I really liked the concept of this salad, but it needs some modifications. Next time I want to try it with seared, thinly-sliced ahi instead of smoked salmon. And I'll ditch the olive oil called for in the dressing and use a more neutral vegetable oil instead. And I'll seek out a Riesling or Gewurztraminer (or both) with a bit more residual sugar to counteract the heat and saltiness of the recipe. When I get around to making it again (with modifications) I'll type out the recipe here.

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