I believe Bierzo wines are a satisfying ‘alternative’ for steak-eating, Cabernet Sauvignon lovers. The other night at ‘Jack The Horse’ in Brooklyn Heights, we ordered both a Cab and a Bierzo for our steak-eating men because we couldn’t decide. The table enjoyed both wines but next time I’d feel confident that Bierzo is can stand on it’s own for tried-and-true Cab lovers.
Wine: Villa de Corullon, 2006
Grapes: Mencia (red grape variety increasing in value).
Tasting Note: Visually this wine was a deep garnet red with aromas of wild berries and some pleasing menthol. It was extremely concentrated with well integrated alcohol and creamy tannins.
Assessment: The wine was excellent; it has class. Fresh berries and minerality and an amazing mouthfeel make this a must drink again wine.
Factoid: Producer Alvaro Palacios made this bottle and is known as one of the resurrectors of this wine region in the 1990s. Mencia is identical to Portugal’s Jaen grape variety.
Pairing: Strong enough to stand-up to pepper-crusted sirloin but smooth enough for a hearty roasted cod.
Price: $49.99 (on Snooth but now this vintage appears hard to find).
Winemaker Christian Stark and I bought Munjebel at Astor Wines because it’s a natural wine. Natural wine means there is no, none, nada intervention from the winemaker. The wine makes itself! After all, the first ancient wines were made when yeast just happened to come into contact with grapes stored in a vessel. Thanks to the Gods, above the grapes turned into an beverage with a buzz!
Wine: Munjebel (2009-2010 vintage blend)
Tasting Note: Visually this wine has a dull brownish-red color (due to oxidation) and virtually no aromas on the nose. It was on the palate where this wine was very pleasing. It was dry, with well integrated fine-grained tannins and medium amounts alcohol. It has nice amounts of refreshing acid from the high altitude site. The flavors were unusual and strangely mesmerizing with blueberry, bramble, earth and graphite. The flavor intensity was enjoyable and with a medium length.
Assessment: The wine was very good for its unusual flavors, freshness, and over all balance.
Factoid: This wine was aged in amphorae. Amphorae are clay vessels used in ancient antiquity to transport wine and other liquids. Generally these amphorae had two handles and a narrow mouth. They were porous and can allow some desirable oxidation that can make the resulting wine’s flavors more complex.
Pairing: We ate with thinly sliced steak and chicken with an earth chermoula sauce, roasted new potatoes and roasted brussels sprouts. Chermoula is a Moroccan marinade that rocks!
Price: $54.96 (worth it if you like to try unusual wines)
Since I officially pulled the trigger on purchasing 5 tons of Sonoma Chardonnay grapes in September 2011, time has tick-tocked slowly and extremely fast (at the same time). It seemed like the wine would never hit the shelves. (You guessed it, patience is not my biggest virtue.)
Well, the day has come! Stark Thirst is on the shelves at Chelsea Wine Vault. In fact, Stark Thirst is exclusively sold at Chelsea Wine Vault. I’m honored, thrilled and as giddy as a first-time parent!
75 9th Avenue (@ 16th Street) inside The Chelsea Market.