aphors loureiro 2011 lima vinho verde

As much as Loureiro and Vinho Verde are both worth a full description (probably way more than a blogpost in fact), I just read Harpo Speaks! And standing on one’s head is precisely the type of activity that Harpo advocated in word and in action, both for himself in Monaco casinos and for his children in his house rules. So, today there is no description of wine. Or Loureiro.

Today there is only mayhem related to topics other than wine. To families gathering and figuring out the best for ourselves as individuals and trying to find the best for ourselves as relatives together. To Fringe Wine – for writing 282 posts and bringing estoerica to the topics of the google search pages while fighting for what is far more important. To surrealists in whatever form, in whatever age. To nights on rooftops with clouds and rain. To books unread and un-reread. To nights and days and vespers best. To wandering and forests black, but most of all to sunflowers at dawn. To hostas and rose on the North Fork. To homemade chicken, rice and you. To what remains and what’s the same – an M. Wells dish and night of bliss. To family and friends remiss, to what we have at finger tips and what lies just beyond, where dreams insist.

Detail Up!
Loureiro, 2011 Aphros 12.0% abv, Vinho Verde from Lima River area in Galicia, Portugal

Taste
Acidic and crisp. Similar to Sauvignon Blanc but less of a finish. Little bit of lime but you have to look for it. Lemon is more present but still fairly subtle. Pairs really well with fish esp with lemon on top

Random Googles:
* Lima, one of my favorite words in any language, happens to be the river that flows through Galicia, the very northwestern areas of Portugal that produces Vinho Verde thanks to the many Celt ancestors that settled in this area… along with Ireland, Scotland and other crazy-beautiful parts of earth.
* Loueriro is a kissing cousin to Albarinho, the Portunhol grape that is loved and forgotten by many a good Spaniard
* Loureiro means “laurel” or “bay”, which is apparently based on the smell of the wine. I did not notice that but probably couldn’t identify either spice… unless the smell of Old Bay french fries is somehow related

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liatikoImperfect Memory
As much as I would love to have a perfect log and memory of every grape and wine that has passed my lips, the reality is so far removed from that aspiration that it’s equivalent to wishing for world peace.. and just as naive. Wine people love to romanticize “that first wine,” “that night they fell in love with Amarone” and “that unknown wine on the left bank of the Seine” but let’s be clear – this is about much more than wine. Wine people romanticize wine because that’s what they’re about. Beer people romanticize beer in much the same way. Flower growers do the same thing, and people in general romanticize youth like a bunch of Baudelaire devotees.

Past sweet nothings
That is normal and thank goodness everyone does romanticize their past. Life can use a whole lot more romance than it currently has and is likely to have in the near future. Can anyone please romanticize Excel and/or Powerpoint? Correct – and please don’t try.

Getting old – better than the alternative
Because sometimes (and probably most times) it is much more important to enjoy the night, enjoy the romance of the moment and be utterly grateful that the moment exists and that you were there and can remember something of that moment, even if it’s imperfect, imprecise and heavily filtered by time. Precision and accuracy can follow to pick through the crumbs of the memory from the feast of the moment, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Detail Up!
Drank at M. Wells Steakhouse with Selenho. No further details available.

Taste
Like a barolo with spice and more umami savoriness. Very smooth and long lasting – bit harsh on the finish on its own. Fragrant with medium body and floral and spice. Solid compliment to poutine. Spicy red fruit, like raspberry with spices.

Random Googles:
* Liatiko is actually named after the month of July (July = Iouliatiko in Greek, lingua franca of Astoria, NY). Ιούλιος is how it appears when you flip past June on your Greek calendar.
* Wine is grown on Crete – on the eastern part of the island – and is believed to be the most planted grape on the island.
* Liatiko has very high acidity (up to 16%), which perhaps explains why it went so well with steak and lots of other delicious, rich foods.

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Piedirosso – think Pompeii
Piedirosso is an Italian grape that prefers volcanic soil and makes a wine called “Gragnano” so even before finishing this well-written article on Piedirosso, I needed to google where Gragnano is located and if it is close to Pompeii. Please see embedded map. Yes, right next to Vesuvius is Pompeii and right next to Pompeii is Gragnano, home to inky pastas and fizzy red wines. A short 39 minute drive down from Naples that requires driving around Vesuvius.

Volcanic Wine
Quite literally, when pairing that pizza at Motorino’s with Gragnano, you are drinking the volcanic fruits of an enormous eruption from nearly two thousand years ago (79 A.D. per helpful wikipedia). Fittingly enough, Vesuvius vino is fizzy. That bottle of red might look normal and dry but open it up and you’ll notice the bubbles raising to the surface, trying to find that cone of the volcano. Try shaking the bottle – will it explode all of your Pompeii doilies? An experiment still to be tested, perhaps in 2079 in memorial of the 2,000 year anniversary. That would be my 98th birthday and certainly seems permissible at the age of 98 to be as crazy as you like. Future nursing home – please consider yourself forewarned. I may bring Alka-Seltzer.

photo

Taste:
Slightly fizzy, bit mid body with surprisingly little fruit. Somewhere between Sangria and Lambrusco. Long and dry finish

Detail Up!
Piedirosso grape of Penisola Sorrentina “Gragnano”, Monteleone 2012 from Gragnano near Naples in Campania, Italy

Random Googles:
* Gragnano is the region in Naples province that makes this Piedirosso grape into the slightly fizzy Gragnano
* Gragnano is often cited as a fantastic accompaniment to pizza, one of the rare wines that Italians will actually drink with pizza. Beer is the more popular choice apparently.
* Piedirosso literally means “red feet”. Jancis Robinson points that that this is because the bottom of the vine of this grape used to have red feet that looked similar to the red feet of pigeons… perhaps the only cute thing about pigeons.

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00mbx2i1br5bs_375x5008 years a Life
Think of the difference of 8 years of life – what you were doing 8 years ago, how old everyone was in their professional 20s when you were a teenager, how a toddler imagines the 9 year cruising around the neighborhood on their bicycle without training wheels or fear. Try and construct that gap in the adult world and you’ll arrive at a loss – octogenarians and those in their 30s have more in common. Careers, language, shared memories and locations – nothing that you can bridge between a newborn and an 8 year old.

Ocho – the latin answer to Ohio
It is with great pleasure that I am happy to report that the gap is bridgeable, that 8 years is not sufficient to keep the toddler off the bike. Eight times this year, I will be visiting the crossroads of America – the part of the country that is Southern and Northern, East reaching to West, the part that spectacularly shoots the arch with imaginary planes and daytime fireflies. It’s a year that I relish and savor and anticipate – the year of the horse and the auspicious numero ocho, a sign of good luck, of fortune foretold, a year of the vine and the wonders unknown.

Ellipsis
But on to the details, the excuse to go blog. Lidia, oh Lidia.

Groucho Wine
The Lidia we know from excessive refrain and hyperactive eyebrows apparently originates from Moldova, one of the least appealing country names on earth. Little is known of the country apart from three critical facts:
1. Romanians dislike it and tend to view it like the New Jersey of Europe, as if Romania were somehow the Park Avenue of Europe, a doubtful conjecture
2. The Russian bear laps up its wine like an intoxicated infant, an unimaginable supposition for a country beset with alcoholism rates that bend the life expectancy toward countries with perpetual anarchy.
3. Moldovan wine is very sweet.

Moldova and the Bear
Lidia is a grape that Moldovans grow, principally for Russian extract (85% of total wine exports from Moldova go to Russia) but occasionally for smuggling to other parts of the world that appreciate it less and consume it a LOT less. Moldova happens to be the poorest country in Europe and wine is an enormously disproportionate percentage of the country’s livelihood, where some say that wine exports are Moldova’s most lucrative export outside of its less viniferous expat community.

Taste
Sweet smell, plums and strawberry taste starts sugary and then turns dental quickly. Very metallic and bloody – truly a trip to the orthodontic chair where you receive a raisin at the end for surviving the procedure. Different and worth trying.

imageDetail Up!
Lidia, Four Seasons Collection – Dionysos-Mereni Estate Bottled, year and ABV unknown even though definitely a dessert wine, from Moldova

Random Googles

* Lidia grapes are only grown in Moldova, although even the entity created to publicize the virtues of Moldovan wine (Moldovan Wine Guild) have not deemed Lidia significant enough to include on their list of Moldovan Grape Varieties
* Lidia wine can also be encountered in large-ish containers similar to the Carlo Rossi containers you may have found in your local wine haunt
* Dig into Moldovan history just an inch deep and be prepared to be amazed. Transnistria, for example – where one quote should whet the curiosity bug sufficiently for further exploration —- “Transnistria’s economy is frequently described as dependent on contraband and gunrunning, with some labelling it a mafia state. These allegations are denied by the Transnistrian government, and sometimes downplayed by the officials of Russia and Ukraine.”

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Fleur du Rhone 2010 13.5%, Valais petite arvine

Swiss Wine Region #1
Switzerland’s largest wine region is the Valais, basically producing 50% of all Swiss wine. Truth be known, that’s not a lot of wine volume compared to all of Switzerland’s neighbors but in relative terms, Valais is clearly the wino-spot of the Swiss slopes.

Swiss Grapes Aplenty
Which grape then would you try if you were into trying grapes? There are a few you could locate in Switzerland without too much trouble – your Chasselas (never heard of it), your Pinot Noir (thanks Sideways for making it unaffordable), Gamay, Petite Arvine, Syrah, Cornalin (also a new one), Humagne Rouge and quite a few more. But Petite Arvine appears to the favorite of the Swiss press, people of Valais and even the wine experts.

Wine Gurus on Petite Arvine
Wine gurus really ignore Switzerland for the most part and one can see why when you’re looking at dozens of regions and hundreds of grapes – it’s just a lot to put into a book. Take Karen MacNeil, for example. She wrote 901 page book called “The Wine Bible” that you’ll see fairly often in wine bars and it has a great introduction to the wine regions of the world. There is exactly 1 page dedicated to Switzerland, and Petite Arvine receives accolades such as – “intensely floral, exotically fruity” – and is even noted as “far more interesting” than certain other Swiss varieties. Pretty decent phrase when you’re considering that all of Switzerland fits on one page, and in fact, it’s the highest praise for a Swiss grape in the book.

Proud of the Petite
Jancis Robinson (my personal favorite and secret crush – pun now intended) barely notes the grape in her encyclopedic “Vines, Grapes and Wines,” including it on a list with other Swiss grapes, and Oz Clarke of much fame heaps praise on the grape (“high quality”, elegance, finesse, “unusual minerality” are some of the words he chooses) and noting that he has a bottle of 1969 Petite Arvine in his cellar. Perhaps a bit of showing of his cellar of course, but clearly he’s proud of this bottle and this grape.

Taste
Tastes like green. Green apples, some green lime and NZ Sauvignon Blanc. Tastes a little rounder with slight pear, peach and quince. Not much of a finish – some green apple but finish ends quickly.

Detail Up!
Fleur du Rhone 2010 Petite Arvine with 13.5% alcohol from Valais, Switzerland – never before reviewed on the internets

Random Googles:
* Petite Arvine received its name because there used to be a grape called Gross Arvine. Marketing people can tell you which grape has survived… even though Gross Arvine is still in grape stock libraries, just not in bottles. Nowadays, Petite Arvine is being positioned as just Arvine by the (surprisingly in-existence) Swiss Wine pushers.
* Petite Arvine might be the most frequently grown grape of the Valais but Chasselas is king when it comes to acreage planted in Switzerland. Being a sucker for pie charts (and pie!), have a look at the dominant 8.36% position that Chasselas has compared to the puny #4 position position that Petite Arvine has at 6.46% – it sets one’s heart aflutter. If only that pesky 56.65% of “Other Wines” could be eliminated from the pie chart, this would truly be an impressive display.
* The other place in the world where Petite Arvine grows is Valle d’Aosta in Italy, which is basically where you land when you step across the border from Valais in Switzerland. No doubt there is a Hemingway novel about this very trek.

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