Some nights wine is simply frustrating.
Tonight started off well. I stopped by a great local wine shop to pick up a gift bottle of rosé that a kind local person had purchased for me after I provided simple directions across town. Oh, the kindness of acquaintances. Thanks Melissa, that was really cool.
I also got the chance to try some wines, a white, a different rosé, and a red. Things started well. The first two wines were delicious. Both 2007s, both from Spain, both labeled Protocolo, but I can't be bothered to look up the real name of the producer if that's not just a brand. The white was fresh and sauvignon like, but not sauvignon. I haven't looked up the variety or varieties used here, but this is terrific cheap white wine for casual sipping or the dinner table. Same with the rosé, also fresh and clean though perhaps a bit fat. I loved the finish though, with a clean soil note that really added intrigue to what is otherwise a pleasant wine. For $8 or less, these are steals.
Then I look a gift horse in the mouth. (Pardon the Belmont Stakes pun.) These were free pours but the red was perplexing to say the least. It was a 2005 "reserve" type wine of Oregon Pinot Noir from a producer I know well and usually enjoy. If you've followed this blog, I've found I simply can't be honestly critical about local stuff and not hear waaaayyyyy too much griping from the producers. So I've given up. I can't name names here, but email me if you must have the tawdry details. Suffice it to say, this wine is crap. Herbal, barnyardy, and overly oaky from barrel aging on the nose, with a soft, diffuse palate that finished with sour, almost bitter oak notes amid perfectly fine acid and tannin structure. Perhaps this bottle is off, and savvy readers of course are thinking the bottle was off, or opened too long. I don't think so. I might expect a 2005 to be tight and needing aeration. This wine is a mess, and the likely brett issues here are what's really troubling. That finish, now with a metallic edge, really suggests a problem. I'm saddened actually and I really do hope this example is somehow not representative. Otherwise, hmm, how do you bottle and sell this? I'm glad to try it and I'll seek out another chance to see if this was an abberation, but given the issues I doubt it was a bottle thing. There was no oxidation, not corkiness, and the diffuse nature of things suggested nothing to the hope that time would turn things around. Strange, very strange.
So at home I go to the cellar and select a wine for dinner. My choice, the humble 2004 Perrin Cotes du Rhone Nature is usually lovely, peppery southern Rhone red wine. Tonight, it's corked. So I find my wife and ask if she really wants some wine with dinner, or perhaps I should just give up. No, no, no, she would love something decent. Nothing special though. So I pick the NV Plan de Pegau Vin de Table L.04, meaning it's nonvintage wine by the letter of the law, but generally if not totally from 2004. Vin de Table in France can't have a vintage, and is usually a blend of things not allowed by any specific appellation. Perhaps even a blend of years, and who knows if there's little of this and that in what is otherwise apparently 2004 wine. Does all this matter? No, it's musty but maybe not corked. My wife finds band aid flavors, especially on the finish. That's brett, the spoilage yeast that can be fine in some amounts. Here, it's just bitter and ugly. So it's another wine down the drain.
That's it, I'm done with wine tonight. I open my last bottle of 2007 (not labeled as such) Laurelwood Vinter Varmer ale from a brewpub down the road. Well finally, this isn't compromised. Lots of malt and hop notes, it almost smells like my kitchen did when I brewed beer. A bit coarse and vulgar, otherwise tasty, clean, and full flavored. This does the trick.
But damn, what a crap night for wine. Sometimes...sometimes...it's just not your night.