Sunday, January 19, 2014

Just for fun

"Just for fun," as my grandmother used to say about practically anything ("feel how heavy this is"), let's taste two wines from opposite sides of the world. Then let's admire a picture of Martha, the cat, taking a bath in the sun.

2004 Coto de Imaz Rioja reserva, "Embotellado por el Coto de Rioja, S.A. Oyon -- Espana"

smoky -- brine -- old berries
light, bracing, and agreeably chewy (that's tannin)
so good

So very good. Remember what Karen MacNeil teaches about Rioja in The Wine Bible: that, while you might expect a Spanish wine to be big and brawny and all syrupy, hot-climate macho, in fact the tempranillo-based Rioja is more often a delicate drink -- "almost fragile" she says. I wouldn't call this one fragile, but rather, let us say, enticing. It's interesting, almost in an intellectual way, and makes us want more. This is as opposed to a syrupy, hot climate macho red, which can delight us with its sweetness at first but then make us mourn, when the first glass is drained, "Jeepers, I suppose I have to finish the bottle, don't I."

Retail, about $22.

And then --

90+ Riesling, Columbia Valley, Washington Lot 19

light, crisp, and dry-finishing
refreshing and racy 
an everyday pleasure

Retail, about $9.

We have met 90+ wines before, and the more I taste them, the more I like them. Anyone may roll his eyes at the company's claim that "this would be a $30 (or $40 or $80 -- pick a price point) wine -- but we buy up great wineries' overstock and Pass The Savings on to You." Still, why shouldn't it be true that in this depressed economy, good winemakers are drowning in unsold product? In fact, we've met evidence before that good, very good wineries are drowning in unsold product. And it seems to me that what 90+ now bottles and sells in plain numbered "Lots," wheresoever it might be from, is quite good.

And this is Martha, bathing. Just for fun.

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