CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I've been all over this wonderful state in the past few weeks engaging in what some would refer to as work. Of course, work requires energy, which depends upon sustenance that is fueled by food and enhanced by liquids -- especially those produced from fermented grapes.
In other words, I made a point of eating and drinking well. And, as always, your intrepid wineaux sought out opportunities to evaluate wines that readers might find appealing. So here are some wines with suggested menu pairings for consideration:
2007 Bridlewood Viognier ($14): While viognier originated in France's Rhone Valley, the grape is grown especially well in California, particularly along that state's central coast. The Bridlewood is an extremely aromatic wine with aromas of ripe peaches and apricots. Round, lush and slightly sweet, it has mango and tropical fruit flavors with a nice touch of acidity enabling it to pair well with foods such as stir fry pork and veggies in a honey soy sauce.
2007 Emmolo Merlot ($25): This is a Napa Valley merlot made in the style of Duckhorn at about half the price. Deep, dark fruit and mocha flavors along with mid-palate tannin and excellent acidity make this a wine that needs to be decanted for a couple of hours if it is to be consumed in the short term. However, I'd buy a few bottles to hold for three to five years and taste this baby when it's at its peak. This wine needs full-flavored roasted meat like prime rib or sirloin of pork infused with plenty of garlic and black pepper.
2008 Villa Pozzi Nero D' Avola ($10): Nero d'avola is the ubiquitous red of Sicily and Villa Pozzi's 2008 version of the wine is a good one. Ripe cherries and spicy cola flavors predominate in this medium-bodied wine that is exceptionally well balanced. Like most Italian wines, this one is made to be paired with food and my choice would be grilled lamb chops that have been marinated in lemon, olive oil, garlic and rosemary.
2008 Acrobat Pinot Gris ($12): Oregon is known for pinot noir and is also getting a well-deserved reputation for producing distinctive pinot gris. Made by King Estate in Oregon, Acrobat stylistically is a cross between the crisp, floral type of pinot gris produced in northern Italy and the rounder, fuller-bodied wines of Alsace. Ripe green apple and melon flavors with crisp acidity, this is a porch sipper that would also be great with strawberries and cheese and other appetizer foods.
2008 Wente Riva Ranch Chardonnay ($23): Produced from grapes grown in the Arroyo Secco region of Monterey County, this is the style of chardonnay that I truly enjoy. Rich and creamy on the palate, this wine is extremely well balanced with just a kiss of oak and none of the overripe tropical flavors sometimes present in California-produced chardonnay. Roast a rosemary-and-garlic-rubbed chicken breast stuffed with chevre, sun-dried tomatoes and chives and then pour yourself a glass of this elixir. Nirvana!
For more on the art and craft of wine, visit John Brown's WineBoy blog at thegazz.com.