Monday, December 14, 2009

Faux-hawks and Birthdays

My birthday party was kick-ass for a number of reasons: so many of my awesome friends showed up - keg-stands - horse races - karaoke - awesome sparkly & ruffled presents - and of course, a mohawk.

When your birthday falls so close to Christmas, it's easy to feel like you'd be more important if, and only if, you'd been conceived by a virgin.

Luckily, this year my friends went all out to make me feel special. For the purposes of this blog there are a few highlights to share with you:

Wine Aerator!

I took this on my recent ski-vacay for some testing. We poured 2 glasses of wine, one with and one without the aerator. You could totally tell the difference! It made our wines taste a little more smooth, richer, deeper, and more complex. Totally awesome gift! Thanks J!

And Now For The Wines!

My friends know me so well... I got so much tasty wine for my b-day! Woot!

2007 Frei Brothers Reserve: Chardonnay from Northern Sonoma, CA ~Thanks Hugh!

Herding Cats: Pinotage/Merlot from South Africa. ~Thanks Kristen!

Il Valore: Sangiovese from the Puglia region of Italy. ~ Thanks Trish & Ben!

Best of all... Reed went out of his way to find my favorite varietal - AMARONE

For Amarone, only the ripest recie ("ears") of the grape bunches are picked in late October, then dried under shelter in the open air in flat wood crates holding 7 kilos until January/February (appassimento method). Fermentation of the raisined, non-botrytis affected grapes is done in temperature-controlled, stainless steel tanks with indigenous yeasts and can last 20-30 days. Aged 1 year in stainless, 4-5 years in Slovenian oak botte (casks). Average production: 3000-3500 cases per vintage.

IN OTHER WORDS, its a very rare, and expensive, imported wine. AND DELICIOUS!!! I can't say enough about this wine. It is a powerful, intense red with concentrated black cherry and jammy-ness. It is dense, rich, dry and has firm tannins while also being incredibly well-balanced.

The second wine he gave me is another of Italy's prize wines, SFORZATO (which translates to withering or strained).

Sforzato is a very special wine obtained uniquely from Nebbiolo grapes that are left to ripen for a longer period than is required for the production of regular wines. Its quality depends not so much on technical matters as on climatic conditions and the quality of the grapes. It is thus an embodiment of the uniqueness of this Alpine territory.

My Sforzato was deep red with an intense bouquet, ethereal and very complex. Full-bodied, structured, and velvety. This was a great sipping wine, and we spent the evening enjoying it next to the fireplace in our Waterville Valley "chateau".

An internet search revealed that "Sforzato is the pride of Valtellina and one of the greatest wines of Italy. Its unrivaled complexity and elegance makes it a premium wine from Lombardy. It is a vintage wine only produced during propitious harvests and is truly a connoisseur’s delight."


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