Two unexpected beauties

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Manfred Krankl
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Two unexpected beauties

Post by Manfred Krankl » Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:02 am

The first is a wine my friend Greg brought over. Apparently he was introduced to it by the talented Spago Sommelier Christopher Miller. It was a Spanish white called NUN Vinya dels Taus 2006. It is made from a grape called XARELLO, one I had never even heard of and it was simply delicious. Had I tasted this wine blind I would have thought white Rhone for sure. Possibly even Roussanne or at least some of it in it. The aromatics are little bit more floral than Roussanne, but still in that camp, with a certain waxy quality. This comes out even more so on the palate, where the wine is very creamy and almost dense, but with great minerality and livliness. A very distinct and interesting and most importantly delicious wine. I have no idea what it costs, but I know I am going to find some more.

The second wine was unexpected because it was a Merlot. I realized as I was delightlfully sipping away that I hardly ever drink Merlot. That poor variety has been so shafted a number of years ago that it all but disappeared from the radar screen. How many times do ever read about Merlot? But it is not the grape's fault. It obviously can be quite charming and delicious as this wine, the 2008 Switchback Ridge Merlot was proof of. It was a gorgeously voluptuous wine with kirsch and all sorts of berry fruits in both the nose and on the palate. No slouch, but not at all heavy or clumsy. To the contrary, it had a lovely, soft and supple texture, but also enough of a framework to hold it's shape. Really a very sophisticated wine, but where the sophistication comes in the form of sumptuousness, not the scratching your head kind.
Merlot! It can be done.

You are welcome.

Tony Velebil
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Post by Tony Velebil » Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:07 pm

I always enjoy the Switchback wines for the exact reason you mention - the sumptuousness.

laurent gibet
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Post by laurent gibet » Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:58 am

Xarello (and Parellada) are used to produced sparkling wines (Cava).

Manfred Krankl
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Post by Manfred Krankl » Thu Feb 17, 2011 8:26 am

Sorry folks, but I just realized I made a mistake with the NUN. I kept the empty bottle and just noticed that it was the 2006 vintage, not 2008. Will correct in my posts above. Very sorry.

Carrie Bowman
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Post by Carrie Bowman » Thu Feb 17, 2011 7:52 pm

Manfred,
I've always thought of Switchback Merlot to be a cab lovers Merlot, the other one that drinks like that is Buccella, it was a big surprise to me the first time I had it, stylistically similar to the Switchback. There are several great Merlots that have been lost in the "I won't drink any stinkin' Merlot". We've seen a trend of people being more open to trying them again.

Gene Keenan
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Post by Gene Keenan » Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:17 pm

Manfred,

It's funny that you would post about the Switchback Merlot because that is the bottle that made me fall in love with American Merlot again. I agree with you that it has gotten the shaft for a number of years now and Miles certainly didn't help the cause :)

GK

david shaw
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Post by david shaw » Sun Feb 20, 2011 12:52 pm

Manfred..did you enjoy the Switchback because it had immediate, voluptuous charm or did it have a great backbone of natural acidity to say " I wanna put away a few bottles of that beauty'' ?

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