after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Week 6 of COVID

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t says: Ok – it’s been a few more weeks of being ordered to stay at home, so it’s time for an update!

We’ve done a few more places for takeout:
Little Serow: Delicious food done in “family style” with a main entree that is shared between two. We did their roasted chicken (which was solid!) but what really stole the show was some kind of chickpea side and the hummus. That hummus might have been the best hummus outside of Zahav/Dizengoff. Bravo! Can’t wait to go there in person as we’ve been told their vegetables are insane.
Little Pearl: We went for their Mexican dinner with al pastor tacos. They were a little light on the tortillas (only three per order), and in general the food was not quite as refined as Seven Reasons but still quite solid for Covid take-out. But man, their wine choices were incredible (See Winifred below!).
Mandu: Definitely killing it. Ddak jjim, kimchi jige, soon dubu, dukbooki … all delicious! Their mandu, ironically, were not as good as Anju’s – if they just brought those over to Mandu, then Mandu would be be batting 1.000.
Rasika: “Modern” Indian that was quite nice for take-out. I thought of it as a very tasty “normal” Indian takeout (at least by what we ordered). There are some dishes that we still need to try (something about crispy spinach?) – so the jury is still out. I’d give them another chance for Covid-era takeout (and definitely still want to go visit them in-house after all this is over).

And now … for the wine:

2018 Donhoff Riesling (Germany)
2018 Massican Annia (California, US)
2018 Pazo de Barrantes Albarino (Spain)
2019 Alan Scott Sauvignon Blanc (NZ)
2018 Leah Jorgenson “Blanc de Cabernet Franc” (Oregon, US)
2018 Leah Jorgenson Rose (Oregon, US)
2018 Gut Oggau Winifred Rose (Austria)
2013 Prunotto Mompertone Monferrato (Italy)

Ok – our wine drinking is definitely upping its game since the shut-in started, both in frequency and quality … Sometimes you just need a glass of wine at the end of a long day of zoom meetings … and with dinner … and after dinner … amiright? So here are some notes:
1) Donhoff was a bit disappointing – one-dimensional and too honeyed. Definitely going to be avoiding future “estate” bottlings, and the vineyard designated bottlings are too $$$.
2) Massican was as awesome as usual. We did taste the recently shipped 2019 SB that was as zippy and chalky as we expect.
3) The Albarino was solid but not something I’d seek out again.
4) The NZ SB was actually wonderful. Not at all the one-dimensional fruit-fest that New Zealand SB typically are for me (which are fine! but you don’t need more than one glass of Kim Crawford …). This one had some floral elements, the fruit was tamed, and it had nice length. It was a very pretty SB – not just some over-the-top bruiser.
5) Leah Jorgensen was introduced to us by our last dine-in dinner at Little Pearl. She does a white cab franc that is amazing and the whole reason I literally ordered from the winery the next day! For $26 that white cab franc is quite a steal: great flavor profile, not too heavy, not too acidic, very nicely balanced. It’s one of those whites that would please a crowd as well as a wine snob. The rose is also delicious at $19 which is once again hitting well above its pricepoint. In a vacuum, yes, Clos Solene will be more refined and longer and more nuanced – but when you have two bottles of Leah Jorgensen for one for Clos Solene, it really makes you think … (i.e. it makes you think you need to be drinking more rose!)
6) That Winifred rose was something else. It was a “natural” wine of zwiegelt and blaufrankisch from Austria made in a rose style. Now, I hate natural wines (literally have never liked one ever!), but this one tasted quite unique and I’ll admit that I was impressed. It was a very dirty, earthy strawberry – it was like someone took an Oregon pinot but got really funky with it. I’d gladly buy at least one more bottle of it (if anyone had it in stock!) just to make a few wine friends try it and see what they think!
7) Barbera and syrah made up that Italian wine which I think is quite a crowd pleaser. Good amount of round fruit up front. Not particularly complicated, but also not offensive. Definitely a bold new world Italian wine.

And here we are! Covid is here and not really showing signs of stopping in the DC area (if anything, we’re still on the upswing). So I got a fully stocked cellar and we’re ready to go!

Written by afterdinnersneeze

24 April 2020 at 10:06pm

Posted in Happenings

Wining in the time of COVID

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t says: So it’s been three solid weeks. We’ve done some damage. Once again – not sure how many will count towards our 20&20, as some of these are more like “everyday” wines for us.

From left to right:
Dr. Loosen “Dr. L” Riesling, Germany (2018)
Massican x3, Cali (2018)
Left Coast White Pinot Noir, OR (?2018?)
Close Solene Rose, Paso Robles (2019)
Leah Jorgenson Cabernet Franc, OR (?2017?)
Chateau Laforge, Bordeaux (2005)
Chateau D’Aiguilhe, Bordeaux (2009)

A few thoughts:

  1. Dr. L tastes like alcoholic Sprite without the bubbles. Now I’m going off of memory of what Sprite tastes like (I haven’t had soda in 20 years!), but that was the first thing I thought of. And you can drink it just as fast as Sprite, so there’s that! A quaffable off-dry white that just flies by!
  2. Dan Petroski at Massican can just do no wrong. If you’re like us, you like your whites with plenty of “zip” (mouth-watering acidity) and citrus notes, with a healthy dose of chalky minerality. We actually just got done ordering next year’s allotment. Quickly! If you want in, just email Dan Petroski through the Massican website and he will hook you up! (No one at this website makes any commission off of Massican sales!)
  3. Clos Solene Rose is some fancy-@$$ rose. Coming in at $40 a bottle, it is not for the faint of heart and not a porch guzzler (or at least, not for us!). And by golly it drinks like a $40 bottle of wine every time we have it. A beautiful pale pink, it goes from a burst of watermelon jolly rancher to a ballet of floral and stone fruits that lasts nearly a full minute on the finish. This is the only rose that I’d willing pay that much for. Do you have doubts? Come find me, and I’ll crack open another bottle (we have one left!).
  4. While the ’05 Bordeaux was “ok”, that ’09 was wonderful. At 80% Merlot and 20% Cab Franc, it really had a nice balance of fruit and savory flavors, with a smidge of age (definitely drinking younger than 10 years old, but it’s ready!). Smooth tannins, reasonable alcohol. Drink ’em if you got ’em!

Undoubtedly, as we sequester for longer, more wines will be opened. I need to stock up on some cellar defenders for sure! We’ll see you next time!

Written by afterdinnersneeze

9 April 2020 at 3:35pm

Posted in Happenings

DC Dining in the time of COVID

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t says: Ok, so our “20&20 in 2020” challenge has hit a huge hiccup: “shelter in place”. Ugh. While we’ll be socially distanced until at least 4/30, I have a very high suspicion that we’ll be in place until mid-June. Things are just getting ramped up here in DC, and we haven’t yet gotten an idea of how long it’ll take NYC to hit its peak, so there’s still a lot of at-home meals ahead!

g and I have been cooking a lot, which is nice. We made some delicious lamb provencal, some beef bolognese, and lots of simpler dishes (chili, pasta, stuffed peppers). Although with the burden of having to ensure that our little one receives some sort of nutritionally replete meal three times a day, with reasonable variety, we are a bit burnt out. Fortunately, DC restaurants have stepped up and totally provided us some “nicer” meals with minimal fuss. Now how many of these will count in the 20&20 challenge, I’m not sure. Let’s see how desperate we get. I don’t have pictures or lengthy reviews of each, but here’s a quick-hits:

ABC Pony: Doing take-out with a rotating menu of dinners-for-two for $50 (including an adult beverage), we’ve had two pretty good meals. We did their prime rib dinner, which was solid (although perhaps something we could have emulated at home with a steak dinner). The second dinner we enjoyed was their Korean Fried Chicken which was absolutely delicious, and something we know we couldn’t do at home if we wanted. Very nice! We’ll keep them in rotation for some of their more unique offerings.

Unconventional Diner: We did their meatloaf dinner, which was quite a deal at $40 with all the sides. While technically it wasn’t a very complicated dinner, it was one of those where it really hit just the right amount of QPR to make us feel like it was totally worth it. The meatloaf was exactly what meatloaf should be, and those Brussels sprouts are on a whole another level (i.e. fried). g and I know that their brunch is amazing, so we know we want to see what their dine-in options are eventually.

Maketto: They have some delicious dumplings, for sure! Crystal shrimp dumplings, scallion pancakes, bao buns, shrimp fried rice – I mean it was all wonderfully delicious. For a brief second, it’s like we were transported to our home in SF, eating takeout from Dumpling Time. As a result, we’re also very interested in seeing what a dine-in experience would be like – like these were fun in our home, but would be have the same appeal at a restaurant?

Anju: A featured dining selection for one of our cyber-double-dates, we were happy with Anju. With each dish there was a bit of a twist on a Korean classic, from the pancakes, to the kimchi jigae, to the ddak jim, to the dukbooki. I think it was fun and tasty, however, for real “craveability” (i.e. more like “grandmom used to make”) I think we’ll probably hit up sister restaurant Mandu for a homier appeal. Also, the takeout process at Anju was a frickin’ disaster, so definitely be prepared to wait outside the restaurant for a bit for your order.

7 Reasons: Ok. 7 reasons is one of those places that looks like it could be trying too hard. It’s hard to get into, the website suggests that they may be a bit too hoity-toity (?sp?). However, given their very clear, sincere letter they have posted in response to the COVID situation, g and I had to give them at least one try. And damn did they do a great job, too! The black rice dish, the shrimp appetizer, the arepitas were top-notch. Every single shrimp was perfectly cooked – how they did that for delivery, I cannot fathom.

Coconut caramel tres leches cake. This thing was incredible. It was so simple, and when I tasted it there was something so comforting about a sweet, coconut-laden soaked tres leches cake. I ate the whole thing despite being full. It was that good. Best delivery dessert yet (although the ABC Pony cookies were also good).
7 Reasons also gets the award for weirdest dish. This dish, which isn’t classified as dessert, is a butternut squash puree in a cacao tart crust, with some chives, and a nuts and black truffle topping that was amazing. It was salty and crunchy and sweet and bitterly chocolate. It could be dessert. It could be an appetizer. You decide – either way, you win!

So what’s next? We have no idea. The above were all delightful to have, with its ups and downs (oh, yea, 7 Reasons roast chicken was a letdown). So far, no single place has risen to the point where we’re contemplating aborting grocery shopping for the week so we can just order out every night (that’d be the dream!). At this rate, we use restaurants for those nights when g and I look in each other’s eyes after putting p to bed, and they simultaneously scream “ARGH! I’VE HAD ENOUGH!”. And that’s when we open our phones and place the order. We know there’s more to come, so hang on!

Written by afterdinnersneeze

4 April 2020 at 3:18pm

Posted in Happenings

Dinner #5 and Wine #6: Rose’s Luxury and 2014 Macdonald (Oakville)

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t says: Ok – it was date night super-XL edition. We got g’s parents to come and babysit P so we could take off for the day AND night to explore DC (and sleep without a baby monitor on!)! During the day, we took the opportunity to walk around Georgetown – an area of DC that sometimes seems “so far” away from us (we live in Noma). As we walked toured the cute shops, I was stopped in my tracks by a sign advertising some of “the best” chocolate in the world … and on the inside: chocolate chip cookies!!

Look at the height of these cookies!

Ok … $4 for a cookie is a bit insane – even by SF standards. But hear me out! I’m no stranger to making chocolate chip cookies. I value a cookie with a firm edge, a soft center, and lots of height with a sweet, fluffy, “cakey” quality juxtaposed against tons of borderline-bitter-dark chocolate. The limiting factor for me has always been the baking properties of the chocolate. While I want to bite into largest, softest chocolate chunks suspended in cookie, the larger morselscompromise the structural integrity of the cookie while baking. Now, I’ve used those fancy Valrhona fevres – they’re delicious – but I failed on numerous attempts to get the height I wanted because the chocolate would destabilize the cookies, causing them to collapse in the baking process, resulting in really wide, flat cookies. No height! So when I saw these, I was impressed by the height of the cookie. And when I finally bit into one, I was surprised at just how much soft, delicious, dark chocolate there was in there. Instantly, this cookie has catapulted itself amongst the finest from SF, including Tartine Manufactory. Also, the rest of the chocolate shop looks fantastic, right on down to the variety of single origin drinking chocolates. Definitely going there again …

So back to the main event! Dinner at Rose’s Luxury.

Dinner, Party of 2, March 2020. So we braved the in-person waitlist line at Rose’s and nabbed ourselves a dinner at the bar. (We killed time at an awesome wine shop called Decanter down the street – more later!). Before we knew, we were seated at the upstairs bar and enjoying ourselves.

(Warning: not my photo!) We brought with us a bottle of wine. Whhaaattt? That’s right -$20 corkage, baby! We had to take advantage. And given that we were without p that night, we opened up something special – 2014 MacDonald Cabernet Sauvignon from To Kalon vineyard in Oakville. The owners of the label, Alex and Graeme MacDonald are wonderful, down-to-earth people, a refreshing contrast to the world of high-end, snooty wineries that share the similar cult-y status that this wine possesses. Furthermore, the wine was brilliant. Already fairly open for such a young wine, it greeted us with bold, bright, violet-laden red-and-blackberry fist to the mouth, with a silky, moderate finish. While powerful, it had a minerally element that kept it lighter than a usual Napa cab – it was so slick we drank the whole bottle (we’re small, so that’s a tremendous feat!)
We started off with the cacioe pepe bread. It’s exactly what you imagine – that real deep cheesy flavor with pops of lightning black pepper on a canvas of squishy, buttery bread – so good that we can’t believe we’ve never had something like it before.
This dish was on the forgettable side. I forget what the components are, exactly, but insert a seared fish with a simple slaw (with fruit!) to provide an acidic contrast, and here it is. Moving on …
Maybe the last dish was so forgettable because it was completely overshadowed by this badass cauliflower concoction. Now at baseline, I’m only “so-so” with cauliflower. I’ve had awesomeness in the form of Zahav’s cauliflower, and a lot more lows (i.e. every time I try to cook it at home). This was amazing. There’s something about the way they ?roasted? the cauliflower and how it balanced with the sweet-and-sour golden raisin and the truffley yogurt sauce – I really can’t explain it in words because as I type it right now, it doesn’t sound good at all. Just take my word and order it.
Oh broccoli fusilli. This one is one of those “obvious” wins. Perfectly cooked pasta, broccoli, a little bit of ?jalapeno? for a subtle kick, gouda for a salty richness, and breadcrumbs for texture. It tastes as good as you would imagine. Not very surprising or avante-garde in any way – but it checked all the boxes nicely.
So up until now, we have 1 “easy” win, 1 right-out win, and 1 forgettable … Could Rose’s pull out just one more eye-opening dish to push them from a “it’s good but we’ll try someplace else next time” to a “it’s good and I can’t wait to come back?”. Well this is it. The brisket. It’s so simple. Meat. Bread. Slaw. Horse radish. But HOLY CRAP. This is one of those dishes where the chef can’t hide. There’s no fancy tweezer-dependent presentation. There’s no fancy ingredient (e.g. caviar, truffle, foie). Here’s a slab of meat – do you like it? Answer: yes. It’s quite possibly the best-cooked brisket I’ve ever had. It was incredibly tender, but not so tender that you’d forget it’s meat (because then it’d be tofu …). Incredibly well seasoned and flavorful. I ate it by itself like a steak. Yes the other parts were delicious (I mean that bread was like 95% butter – I don’t even know how it maintained it’s form as bread!) – but there was a singular star of the show!
We finished the meal with our glasses of wine and a take on banana pudding that was simple-but-effective. It reminded me of the salted caramel budino at Barbuzzo in its no-frills approach, with the total ending up being more powerful than the sum of its parts.

So where does Rose’s fit in our personal list of DC restaurants? Well, it wasn’t a flawless meal, but what really clinched it for us was the quality of the food combined with the very comfortable atmosphere. Don’t confuse that with “casual” atmosphere (although it was casual), rather, the feeling that the entire restaurant was comfortable with what it was. The servers (who were incredibly warm and accommodating), the fixtures, the ambience, – it was all part of a “package” that felt at peace with what they were trying to do: serve delicious food (with a moderate combination of novelty and “classic”) in a very normal, approachable atmosphere at a not-ridiculous price. No expense accounts. No “bros”. No power moves. Just people being normal. So we place Rose’s near the top of the list of places we’ve tried in DC. We’ll gladly try it again – it’ll be a combination of trying out a new menu and ensuring we have the time to deal with their day-of reservations policy. And of course: we’re happy they let us bring our own wine if we want!

Written by afterdinnersneeze

16 March 2020 at 10:50pm

Posted in Happenings

Dinner #4 and Wine #5: American Son and 2014 Ayoub (Brittan Vineyard)

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t says: I miss BYO’s. There was a time, back in the day when we lived in Philadelphia, that we loved frequenting amazing BYO’s. Mercato, Melograno, Sotto, Bibou, Fond, Modo Mio, Django (reaching WAY far back!). When we landed in SF, we were forced to realize that BYOs are not the norm at all. Actually, the corkage at some places was purposefully prohibitive (e.g. $50). Now that we’re in a new town, I had to investigate: how much is corkage? It’s actually a question that doesn’t seem to get much traction in DC. It’s not advertised anywhere. None of my dining friends knows. It’s apparently not something that anyone thinks about?

Well … I ask the hard questions: “How much is corkage at your restaurant?” And when American Son said “$25”, I was like “Oh! That’s it?”. Lady must have thought I was crazy. So we had our next dinner date ready to go!

Party of 2, Weekend, February 2020. After reading about American Son, we were pretty excited. The story is just so cute and cuddly, how could we not fall in love? Just look at the letter that’s on every menu:

Does your heart not just melt?

So we were excited for the food that followed:

We started off with some “obvious” favorites. You know – the kind that any good restaurant would have on the menu. The Brussels sprouts in the foreground were perfectly cooked (i.e. probably deep fried to crisp deliciousness), and accompanied with an assortment of togarashi sauce, “everything bagel” seasoning, and “leafy green things” that rounded out the profile with a bit of tang, a bit of nuttiness, and some fresh green. A no-brainer of a dish (i.e. there’s no way that this composition could be bad!) that really delivered!
In the background is their take on ricotta on a zatar cracker. Our criticism: give us more ricotta! Let us taste the cheese! The rest of the seasoning and accompaniment were good enough, but give us the cheese, damnit!
The seared sea scallops (background) with fennel and leaks were expertly prepared. Absolutely no qualms with execution there. Meanwhile the rabbit rigatoni in the foreground did not disappoint, with its walnut gremolata – an interesting combination that brought some earthy tones. Two very nicely done dishes that deserve applause for being able to hit several flavors at once that marry well.
And finally, you see our dessert and our wine for the evening. The dessert was probably the best take I’ve had on a S’more since the deconstructed s’more dessert of the Philly Talula’s Garden days. The scorching of the marshmallow was key. Meanwhile the Ayoub … I need a separate paragraph for Ayoub …

So what can I tell you about the wine? First off, Ayoub wines have always been amazing for us. Mo (the owner) just can’t make a bad pinot. He can make unusual pinots on occasion, but in general, they follow a pretty similar pattern: very tight and borderline abrasive in the first couple years after release, then they settle a little bit and give you what I can only describe as an Oregon Pinot at 11. But don’t think of it as over-extracted southern California pinot – no. This is still cool weather Oregon – it’s just that the flavors are all throttled WAY up, with bright red cherries and a hit of blackberry and licorice. This is followed by a burst of tongue-watering acidity and that Oregon dirt on a finish that lasts for seconds. The 2014 Ayoub Brittan Vineyard that we drank above still has plenty of life, for sure. I may have to rejoin his list because I just can’t find his wines in stores!

So back to the restaurant. Did we like it? Yes. It was a delicious meal, for sure. The service was courteous. I will say, however, that we wished for a little more soul. Go back and read that letter. That warmth and honesty should permeate the place. The ambience should be intimate and warm, not stark, chic, and full of windows. The food was indeed delicious, but perhaps in a way that was “safe”. I am hopeful for a little more. Make me feel the warmth of that letter. The food clearly shows a very good, talented chef – one that can combine flavors and appeal to a broad audience; but I’m just hoping that next time I’ll get to feel what it means to be the “American Son”.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

5 March 2020 at 11:15am

Posted in Happenings

Wine #4: 2014 Tor “Propietary Red Blend”

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t says: We needed some wine. Stat. It was a long week. p was getting over a cold. We were getting over p getting over a cold. Wine! Now! And it better be really good, damnit!

2014 TOR “Proprietary Red Wine”

I only turned 35 once – and we celebrated by going to Napa, where g allowed me free reign to buy whatever wine I wanted. Living in the moment, I kept my purchases “reasonable”: I bought this bottle. And now, as I write this, I wonder, “did we open it up at an occasion worthy of remembering my 35th Birthday?” Yes. Yes we did. Because the wine was the occasion.

And Tor did not disappoint. This mix of Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, and a smidge of Cabernet Sauvignon gave us an experience that was quite unlike any of its individual components. Smooth as a baby’s bottom, it crept in and pounced like a tiger, offering deep dark plush black fruits – thinking cherry, plum, blackberry. What followed was a subtle hit of dried herb – it reminded me of what I usually get out of California Cab Francs. And then it finished with a little bit of a bitter bite on the finish – not necessarily a tannic drying, but something else – ?licorice? pepper?. Couldn’t put my finger on it. It was a bit short versus Tor’s usual offerings, but offered a nice way to remind ourselves of our “old”, pre-p life. Are there better wines for the money? Sure. But the memories more than make up for it.

Thirty-five was great – but thirty-seven is even better. Cheers!

Written by afterdinnersneeze

22 February 2020 at 8:45pm

Posted in Happenings

Dinner #3 and Wine #3: Thamee and 2014 Lutum Pinot Noir (Bien Nacido Vineyard)

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t says: “Cheater! Two in the same post, but you didn’t have them at the same time! Cheater!” Yea – I’m a cheater. But if I’m also the one making the rules, I might not be an actual “cheater”, right? Something hating the game and not the player …?

We went out to dinner with our new DC friends to Thamee on H St. Boasting Burmese food, I was cautiously excited. Was it going to be like Rangoon (in Philly)? Or Burma Superstar (in SF/Oakland?) The website made it seem “elevated”, but the prices didn’t scream “fancy”. So we just zipped up our blizzard-ready jackets (no, it wasn’t snowing, but we were cold) and braved the Friday night.

Dinner for 4. Friday, February 2020. From the moment we stepped in, we knew that the service experience was going to be amazing. The very pleasant hostess was very accommodating, even though we showed up 20 minutes early. We were shown to the bar and invited to have a drink while we waiting for our table (and the rest of our party). No huddling by the door, bracing ourselves as each cold draft ripped through when anyone opened the door? How civilized!

The drinks we had were a-mazing. I had a vodka-laden mango lassi that was incredibly addictive. I’m surprised I stopped at 1. g’s mixed drink was artfully done – head and shoulders above whatever she had at Kitsuen recently.

As our friends arrived and we took our seats, we ventured a smorgasboard of Burmese food. But what “is” Burmese food? How do you explain it? The waiter did a good job: “it’s a combination of a variety of nearby Asian influences, resulting in a flavor all its own”.

And yet – we took no photos. #bloggerfail. Can’t believe I forgot AGAIN. The biggest disappointment is that the food was delicious! We enjoyed nearly everything, but, as the cuisine was fairly unique, I know my words will fail me, so we’re just going to have to go back, take pics and copious notes. One thing is for sure: the “Ma Jo Tofu” was incredible. I love Ma Po Tofu – and the way this dish recalled that flavor exactly, but then made it deeper, more savory, and then incorporated a cube of ?chickpea? in lieu of tofu … That was my favorite. 100% doing that again.

Also: the wine list was incredibly nerdy (bonus!). The staff continued to be amicable. It was another fantastic restaurant recommendation by our friends – perhaps even better than Emilie’s because this time, the restaurant felt more like an original concept unique to DC. Bravo!

Now for wine #3 (because I’m too lazy for a separate post):

2014 Lutum Pinot Noir (Bien Nacido Vineyard)

This was a “bargain” purchased on one of the last Last Bottle marathons before we left San Francisco. No – don’t take “marathon” literally – there was no running involved. is a flash-sale site that usually puts a different wine on “sale” one at a time. During their “marathons”, they change up the bottle hourly (or even faster if an offering sells out) so you gotta be quick with the trigger finger if you see something you like. This bottle popped up with a rave review and a serious discount (something having to do with the owners divorcing and having to liquidate all the leftover bottles in the cellar?), so I jumped on it. That said, rarely does Last Bottle actually deliver a bottle that lives up to the hype … EXCEPT this one!

This bottle was all the luscious dark/black cherry wrapped up in all the dirty/loamy earth that we love. It was dirrrty. In the best way. It was actually far closer to an Oregon pinot than a California pinot, which traditionally for me, gives off a cough syrup flavor (when over-ripe) or a bitter green, “stemmy” flavor (when extracted too hard) or an alcoholic burn (once again, when over-ripe). As a not-winemaker, I actually have no idea if these are the real reasons why CA pinots taste this way to me – they’re just a guess. Meanwhile, g and I both liked and praise Lutum for producing this pinot that pushes the fruit without being “too much”, while not being afraid to let the earth show. It finished with good acidity, porcelain tannin. Great stuff. And, when I went back to check the vinous review, it lined up pretty well with the reviewer’s palate:
“Hints of earthiness, crushed leaves, dark wild cherries and licorice … this is an especially virile, masculine expression of Bien Nacido.”

Not sure if I agree with ever calling a wine “especially virile” (I mean, really? “virile”?), but I understand what the reviewer meant, even if the language is absurdly dated. We have another bottle of Lutum in the cellar so I’m excited to see where it goes!

So here we are – a bit over a month in and we have done 3 and 3 of our 20&20. Gotta keep up the pressure!

Written by afterdinnersneeze

18 February 2020 at 8:45pm

Posted in Happenings