Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summer of Love...

After my 2 week work related "vacation" in Italy visiting and touring wineries, it was great to come back to Napa and fall more in love with the wines here. One of my favorite spots was in Montalcino, where the famed Brunello's come from in Tuscany. After checking into the hotel, I went to a place called Il Grifo, where the wine list was comprised of local offerings of Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino's. That gave me the inspiration of trying to make the wine list at Carpe more focused and comprised of local offerings as well as out-of-town wines. This summer, come into Carpe and check out some of these wines...

 Friuli is one place where I stopped and let it be known, if it isn't already, that some of the most unique and sought after white wines come from this region in Italy. One grape that has gotten a bit of buzz in the wine circles is the return of pinot grigio. I'm not talking about the cheap bulk pinot grigio. I'm talking about sitting on the beach over in Bodega Bay and enjoying crisp, balanced and overall damn good tasting wine. My pick for such an event is the Scarpetta Pinot Grigio. This wine is seductive in the sense that you'll wish it was a day off all of the time and kicking back with this wine. Master Somm Bobby Stuckey and Chef Lachlan MacKinnon from Frasca Restaurant in Boulder, Colorado are completely obssessed with Friulian whites and this Pinot Grigio shows that. This wine is so good, which is why I put it on the list for Carpe, but even better with the House-Made Burrata!

The one thing I constantly tell people about my goal for the wine list at Carpe is to put together an extensive wines by the glass program that you really can't get anywhere else. One such wine is the Barnett Vineyrard Pinot from the Donnelly Creek Vineyard in Anderson Valley. Anderson Valley is quickly becoming the spot to make great pinot noirs. The 2010 Barnett is no exception. This is a bold and beautiful pinot that makes you fall in love with Anderson Valley pinots. With all of the talk of smoke taint in 2008, this will make you forget all of that. Barnett is known for making great Cabs up on Spring Mountain, in Napa. Winemaker David Tate only made 582 cases of this layered pinot.

One of the legends of the Napa Valley, Randy Dunn, makes his wines one way. His way. His wines are so damn good I had to carry a few of his vintages because I couldn't decide which I liked best. We have the 1998 Napa Valley Cab, the 2002 Howell Mountain Cab and another by the glass gem, the 2003 Napa Valley Cab. Having the 2003 Napa Valley Cab by the glass, I think, will give people a better understanding of why he not only makes great wines, but why he is a legend. His wines are big but not too high in alcohol, which makes for a better food pairing. He's worked with many wineries along the way including Palmaz Family in which he made their first vintage in 2001 and has his own project under the Longshadows label called Feather in Washington. The Napa Valley Cab is 85% Howell Mountain fruit and 15% valley floor fruit. Pair this with the ostrich burger and you won't be disappointed!

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