Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Seared Scallops and Two Older Whites

Tonight was my wife's 43rd birthday and she requested seared scallops over pureed cauliflower and a salad from the garden. We opened two older white wines that my father-in-law brought:

2004 Au Bon Climat Hildegard Estate Bottled White Table Wine, Santa Maria Valley - A new wine to me. Over the years I've had a number of Pinot Noirs and other white wines from ABC, but I've never had their top-of-the-line blend of Pinot Gris (73%), Pinot Blanc (23%) and Aligote (4%). Amazingly youthful color. I defy anyone to look at this in the glass and guess "8 year old Pinot Gris." Beautiful lemon oil and roasted peanut notes on the nose. Deliciously oily palate with nice mineral flavors. Normally $40, purchased on closeout for $9.99. Really hitting its stride about now.

2006 Cuvaison ATS Selection Chardonnay, Carneros - Thanks to my father-in-law I've had multiple vintages of this, Cuvaison's top Chardonnay bottling. But I don't recall one ever being this balanced and restrained. Beautiful color shows no sign of age. Light tropical, pineapple, buttery nose lets you now this is a California Chardonnay. Subtle hint of fennel bulb adds unexpected complexity. Rich and creamy on the palate, but there's plenty of acidity here to carry the full-bodied, toasty oak notes. Bit of burned matchstick on the bitter finish. Not terribly complex, but a wonderful pairing with the food. $55 on release ($40 to club members).


  1. Happy birthday to your wife! We share the same age.

    I had a 2010 Pinot Gris from Alsace earlier, & it was far too sweet for my palate. I moved on...

    I can see maybe hanging on to a Chard for a few years, but I admire your father-in-law's sense of adventure in hanging on to that '04!

    And hey -- why in the hell aren't you on Twitter? Do it, doooooo ittttt!!!

    1. He's kept the '96 Cuvaison since release. The '04 ABC was another one of those wines purchased on close out from that retailer in Corpus.

      Been resisting Twitter simply because I already spend enough time in cyberspace. But I probably need to get on it. Someone told me it would probably be good for the business, too. Do you guys tweet anything for your distributor?

      Alsace has always been hit or miss with the sweetness levels. I wish the winemakers there would do a better job of putting descriptors on the labels or something. Maybe just a simple "XX grams/liter" of sugar or something like that.

  2. Eh, Alsace...I agree, & honestly have yet to find one I really like, despite the hype. Not as bad as Pinotage, of course...

    Yes! I run our Facebook & Twitter pages, as well as our website. I update them when new things come in, when there are tastings & wine dinners, when our wines get the all-important scores (note the sarcasm font) & awards, & occasionally, I'll throw a cocktail recipe out there. I also retweet things from suppliers, customers, etc. So,'s a great tool & so is Facebook. My office didn't have any of these things before I came on, & it's made a difference!

    1. I used to drink a lot of white wine from Alsace - Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Gewurz, Chasselas from Mann, Boxler, Hugel, Schoffit, etc. But for some reason I got away from those wines a couple of years back. They're quite food friendly due to the acidity. And even the sweeter ones can pair well with spicy Asian food. I bought a case of that 07 Hugel Riesling from my f-i-l for $50. Can't pass that up! Maybe that will re-kindle my love affair with Alsace.

      I couldn't give a flip about Pinotage (and pretty much everything else from South Afica). Is it just me or does every red wine from South Africa smell like salami? Other wines I've lost all interest in would include Loire Valley Cabernet Franc (too thin and herbal) and most wines from Chile.

      Would you mind sharing your company's website/facebook page with me? I'd love to see how you guys do it. Might help us set up our pages, too! Thanks!

  3. See, I'm not big on Riesling unless it's from WA...I do love the other varietals you mentioned, just not from Alsace!

    South Africa...I've enjoyed some Chenin Blanc & a few other wines from there, but Pinotage has yet to impress me in any way. I always try it, though, just like I do Carmenere from Chile, & I just don't care for it. I had a decent Carmenere from Montes & that's it. I've had a few Chinons, & generally, I agree with you. One to look out for is's a sparkling Cab Franc that is lovely. Rosé, of course...

    I'll email our info to you.

  4. Claire, I've got a pretty good stash of Baumard dessert wines (Clos de Ste. Catherine and Quart de Chaumes) going back to the '89 vintage, but I don't think I've ever had a red from them. I would give their Cab Franc a try just based on the quality of their dry and sweet Chenin Blancs.

    Carmenere is another one that I just don't "get." Every one of them just reeks of green bell peppers. Yuck.

    Just saw your stuff come over on Gmail. I'll check it out now since it's D-E-A-D at the wine store today. Thanks!