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Wine with a Warning
Trepat came with a warning from the waitress. “It’s really light, are you sure you’re ok with that?” We had just sat down at Boqueria, site of Spanish fried tapas, boisterous conversations from every table and pitchers of repeatedly-delicious sangria at many tables. But Trepat was on the menu, and it seemed just plain weird. Knowing nothing about Trepat, I said “Yes.”

Warning Received
Turns out, I wasn’t ok with it being really light. At first and without any food to accompany it, Trepat tasted too light, like somebody had thrown some H2O into the Barbera bottle. But with the arrival of the fried food, the Trepat managed to play off the different tapas plates we ordered fairly well. Still not sure it would rank on my Top Light Red list but with the right combination of green onions and lighter fare, Trepat could be a pretty understated and surprising pairing. Particularly for summer.

Warning Ignored
Apparently though, Josep Foraster – the producer of this wine – is one of only two producers to make a 100% pure bottle of Trepat. Because Trepat is typically used for cava, red cava. Strange on a number of levels, this Trepat opens its own rabbithole within another rabbithole. So, yes – there is red cava (who knew?). And Trepat is regularly grown for that purpose in the Conca de Barberà DOC in southern Catalonia, the area where the cava plants grow. Would definitely be up for trying a red cava someday (called “Rosado Cava”), and possibly trying out the Trepat once the weather warms up even more. Crazy how much you can learn from ordering one wine… and ignoring the warning.

Taste
Notes jotted down at the time of tasting – Extraordinarily light, smell of cherries and some raspberry. Hardly any finish. Pizza pizza. Barbera’s weaker brother. (And then, a few minutes later) Much better with food – like a chameleon wrapping around the food.

Detail Up!
Josep Foraster 2010 with 13% alc. from Conca de Barberà DOC in Catalonia, Spain

Random Googles:
* 1,100 hectares of Trepat grow in the world. 1,000 of them are in Catalonia. No idea where the others are located. Random guess – France? California?
* Rosado cava is made from four grapes: Garnacha, Monsatrell , Pinot Noir and Trepat
* Trepat is apparently #200 on the list of most commonly grown grapes. Seems remarkably high in my opinion.

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Thai Wine

Thailand has many vices (recounted in banned book splendor) and an equal number of virtues, most of which are left to the reader’s imagination. Wine, whether vice or virtue, will not appear on your mental spreadsheet but should according to the 5+ bottles of Thai wine at the Khao Lak mini-market. All wines in Thailand win gold medals, if the mini-market aisle is to be believed, and all wines in Thailand do not list their grapes on the bottles. Save one.

Colombard

My featured bottle has no gold metal – aberration! – and sits on the bottom shelf of the wine and Chang beer aisle. Written prominently in small print on the back however is a grape pronouncement of Colombard and Syrah. Never heard of Colombard before so off went the 2007 dust and into the cart with the water and Strawberry Oreos.

Suprising to this uncultured drinker, Colombard is actually a high-class grape that’s allowed into the VIP ABC French parties. A. Armagnac, B. Bordeaux, C. Cognac. Each deigns to allow Colombard into their high-priced milieu. In North America, we make it into jug wine. We classy.

In Thailand though, they blend Colombard with Syrah to make a rose wine. And there are at least 3 wine regions in Thailand, of which Khao Yai makes the bottle you see above.

Thai Taste

So, Thai and Colombard pair up with a blush of Syrah to form wine. Taste? Loads of acid on the front with not many other smells, texture is stupendously flat in a very plateau-centric way, and there’s a one-note symphony of sweet lychee playing like a cello on that plateau.

Detail Up!
PB Khao Yai Reserve Rose 2007

Random Googles
* Australia’s 5th most planted grape is Colombard
* Khao Yai wine makers worry about things you don’t. Like elephants and gibbons.
* Brits recommend Spiced carrot & lentil soup for your Colombard. Thais recommend Thai food.

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New Year’s Eve could be the most overhyped day in the year (yes, i’m a curmudgeon), and if there’s one thing that’s even more overhyped than NYE it’s Champagne on NYE. Bubbly, festive, champagne. Either it’s ridiculously overpriced or it’s dreadfully wretched (wow, that sounded very British, even in the hating on France).

Better Bubbly

Fortunately however, there’s plenty of other bubbly that still tastes good and leaves you without a debt the size of the US deficit. Cava’s been my standby since the muni government days of yore, and Prosecco’s another that I found during the grad school days later on. Champagne though has just been awful.

Still, it was Chardonnay (the principal grape in Champagne) that I bought after the wine tasting at my local LIC haunt – Vine Wine – a neighborhood wine treasure. True to the NYE joy, their free tasting the Wednesday before the ball drop had bubbles. Really excellent bubbles too. So I bought my fave and busted it open (without my saber) that night. Truth be told, it was three days before NYE but totally worth the celebratory splurge.

Gruet: Ugly Name, Excellent Rose

Strawberries galore and a bit of raspberry. Unfortunately, no name of grapes on the label but thanks to winegeeks, there’s an answer. Gruet (from New Mexico – seriously?!?) only puts Chardonnay and Pinot Noir into their roses it’s easy money that this one has Chardonnay. From somebody who really detests the grape, this bottle is changing minds. Nice work New Mexico!

In sum
Rose bubbly for a night in with your special ballerina.

Detail Up!
Gruet Rose

Google Randoms
* Chardonnay is the most over-planted grape in the world. Didn’t even have to google that one. It’s just true.
* Apparently, because it grows everywhere, like dandelions.
* Champagne grapes are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, pretty much in that order.
* Spread the Champagne myth of Marie Antoinette’s breasts. Better hype than NYE.

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