The blackish-gray sky is filled to the brim with fat and swollen clouds. The clattering of the rain on the windowsill and the roar of thunder might have quiet down the birds, but it nevertheless still sounds like a rainy jungle out there. Although it is beautifully green everywhere, after months of the monotonous white and grayish fare that the winter dished up, trees have blossomed and here and there the irises, columbines, clematises and dianthuses are displaying their bounty of early spring beauty. Nevertheless, in the wake of near-constant rainy days nature has taken on a solemn demure on a day like today. Everything is damp and wet and weighted down with heavy raindrops. It’s spring, the rainy season, but there is no spring in nature’s step, only heavy footfalls of storms and tornadoes and more storms and more rain.
Looking out the window I feel like humming Eddie Rabbitt’s I Love A Rainy Day, but instead Tab Benoit is bluesing in my ears about being on the Night Train from his excellent 2005 album Fever For The Bayou, true gumbo blues, swamp music.
I recently attended a wine tasting at one of the wine shops in town. V-The Market, a wine, beer and gourmet food market holds a tasting every Friday evening. Every week they offer something different, although they quite often focus on bourbons, which I can understand in their effort to promote local produce, seeing that 90% of the world’s bourbon is made in Kentucky.
I went to taste 5 reds. Cover cost $5. Cheese and snacks are free. Not bad.
Swirling through Europe
The 2008 Barco Reale di Carmignano, made from Sangiovese (75%), Canaiolo (10%), Cabernet Sauvignon (10%) and Merlot (5%) was classic Chianti in appearance: bright, ruby red. Although fruity on the nose, the flavor was medium-bodied, slightly tannic and dry. Too dry for my taste. The Barco Reale, made from younger vines, first pressed harvest and designed to drink early, must be seen as the little brother of the Super Tuscans or Chianti's that come from the same DOCG.
For the 3rd wine to be tasted we went south in location and far south in taste. It was a total let down. Maybe it is my mistake of always expecting something great from the Rhône Valley. The 2007 Chateau Sainte-Elisabeth originates from an appellation called Costiéres de Nimes, which is on the western side of the Rhône River and east of the ancient Roman city of Nimes. The wine lacked everyhing that makes Côtes du Rhône wines great. It was terrible on the nose and in taste. Made mostly from Grenache it was flat, tarish, and very minerally. I am sure this was a simple village wine, meant to sell locally, but unfortunately exported.