Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Soft Red Wines for surf and turf

Pair of soft red wines complement surf and turf dinner

Tonight we dined at The Warehouse seafood and steakhouse in trendy downtown Old Town Alexandria just south of Washington DC Reagan Airport. Colleagues Danny A and James S and I dined with Rod R a business associate in DoD related IT projects. To complement the surf and turf selections of oysters, crab, haddock and filets of beef we started with a young Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley in Oregon followed by a Napa Valley Merlot from the Oak Knoll District.

Trefethen Napa Valley Merlot 2009

Label from 2005 vintage
Like the Merlot based Blackbird Vineyards Proprietary Red Wine we tasted Monday night at dinner, tonight we tasted another Napa Valley Red wine based on Merlot from the Oak Knoll District in southwest Napa Valley. The cooler climate there due to gentle breezes and fog that creeps in off of nearby San Pablo Bay to the south combined with the more moist and richer soil are well suited to the Merlot grape varietal. Blended with other Bordeaux varietals Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec results in a red wine blend in the style of the Pomerol appellation on the Right Bank of the Gironde River Estuary in Bordeaux region in southern France.

The 2009 Trefethen Merlot was dark purple colored, medium to full bodied and rich in ripe forward concentrated fruits, tart cherry and blackberry on opening, it soon softened and opened to give way to complex yet smooth and polished aromas and flavors of nicely integrated ripe black raspberry, ripe plum, black cherry with a subtle layer of chocolate and soft spicy oak and hints of pepper on a lingering soft tannin finish. This was a perfect complement to the grilled fillet of beef. Very similar to the profile of the Napa Valley Proprietary Red Wine from Blackbird last night, indicative of the blend of Bordeaux varietals - 80% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot.

RM 91 points.

Adelsheim Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2010
Since 1979 Adelsheim has been producing quality wines that pair well with the food, blended from diverse flavors and textures of multiple vineyards, clones and elevations, they produce wines typifical of the northern Willamette Valley, what they call a reference standard for the “Oregon style.”

Seventy-six percent of the grapes used in this wine were sourced from their 12 estate vineyards: 58% from the Chehalem Mountains and Ribbon Ridge American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), 12% from the Yamhill Carlton AVA and 6% from the Eola-Amity Hills AVA. The remaining 24% is derived from sixteen other non-estate vineyards located in various sub-regions within the Willamette Valley.

Light bodied, opaque garnet colored, tart cherry gives way to aromas and flavors of candied cherry, pomegranate and raspberry with subtle accents of brown spices - nutmeg, cinnamon, and all-spice, finishing with smooth polished soft tannins.

RM 86 points.