Wednesday, September 26, 2012

WW: Duchman 2010 Aglianico

Right now, it seems Duchman Family Winery is the talk to Texas, at least those interested in Hill Country wine. This Italian styled winery boasts an incredible line-up of interesting and unique single varietal wines. These wines, mainly Italian based, are crowd pleasers. In fact, these wines can be found throughout Texas, including fine restaurants and at Whole Foods (often on tap). At the moment, it seems most are focusing on the strong whites, especially the always crisp and refreshing Vermentino and the interesting Trebbiano. The reds are just as exciting. Recently, I opened up a bottle of 2010 Aglianico. These red is not the typical sort of red; its unique flavors and their combination create another facet to the strong line-up at Duchman.

Beneath me, a stone
no moisture, just a hard stone
smooth, slick against me.

I don't move. The stone supports 
me, feels good against my feet.


This wine is strong, especially when it comes to the more dry and natural flavors like oak and earth. These flavors are strong from the onset and soften as the wine progresses. This odd approach makes me think of grit. What I mean by that is the flavors remind me of the dryness and rough nature of grit; the wine is not gritty. When I taste such strong earth and oak, I can only think of dry soil. In a wine, this can make the taste problematic; however, with this wine, it softens as it goes along, accentuating the dryness. This dryness works well with the other flavors.

Towards the middle of the palate and to the end, other flavors weave into the earth and oak that is so pronounced up front. Dark flavors -- like those of very dark, bitter chocolate and dark, minimally sweet fruit (I can envision an aging plum or a raisin) -- mingle with the other flavors. The sweetness so often brought to a wine through the fruit flavors is lessened, allowing the other aspects of the fruit flavors to come forward. The bitter chocolate flavor seems to help with the blending; this makes it hard to clearly distinguish the other flavors from the developing taste. I was amazed by this progression.
At the end, there is only the faintest taste and feel of earth (it's dryness) that lingers. Before long,
even that calms and drifts away.


Visual Tasting

From Balcones Canyonland National Wildlife Refuge (near Marble Falls, TX and Lago Vista, TX)
No matter what I did, I kept envisioning a dry stretch of ground. The ground is dark brown, but it is dry and brittle. Interspersed in this spot are clumps of caliche; however, they are not white, exactly, but are blending into the dirt to keep a more even color. What is most notable is the clumping; the dirt gathers in large, strong clumps and pack together. And hidden in this are small, dirty rocks. These rocks are barely noticeable, but they are there if you look closely. All of this is the dryness I get from the wine, but there is a unity in the flavors -- the caliche -- and hidden gems -- the rocks -- that combine to make a strong collection.

Sunset on South Padre Island
What came to me as the night wore on, though, was the idea that this wine was like the last rays of sun at dusk. In these moments, the sky is mostly this darkening purple and navy, blending seamlessly as it turns to black. The strong, upfront sensations of the wine resemble this primary essence. But, at this point, there are those dying embers of orange and red that streak through those few clouds resting on the western horizon. These colors are that last stand of the day, but they are also not as apparent as everything else; this is the other flavors in the wine. And like the other flavors, despite their difference in color, they do blend and combine with the other colors, softening a bit to pink that turns purple and enfolds into the navy. As I drink the wine, I sense that blending of the less noticed into the dominate.

Physical sensation

What I found most interesting in this wine was the dryness. We all talk about wines being dry, but it doesn't often seem to really come through. I rarely find myself noticing that my mouth feels dry, in a sense. I had that with this wine, which I found intriguing. For me, that dryness was pleasant, like running along a bunch of smooth rocks. The rocks are most definitely dry under my feet. They are also dominating the sensations I get as I run along them. However, there is something more to the dryness. The feel is smooth. This is not rough with rock edges poking into my feet; this is smoothness that slides gently underneath my foot. The dryness in the wine creates a smooth movement like running along smooth rocks.

The Duchman Aglianico (which is just so hard to pronounce sometimes) was a puzzler, but that is the reason that it is a Wine Wednesday wine. There is something oddly pleasant about a wine that challenges one's taste buds and mind. As I spent time swishing the dark red liquid, I pondered over it. I spent sip after sip probing and exploring this unique experience. In the end,  I was left feeling all smoothed out, relaxed and comfortable. This is a great wine to spend time with, and I know it will be a great pairing wine.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

On Things to Come

This Saturday, I was lucky enough to get a bit of insight on what it is coming down the track. At Bending Branch, I was given a full tour, and at Pedernales Cellars, I was given a glimpse.

Bending Branch

As I already mentioned in a quiet little post on Saturday, Bending Branch has a lot of great wine just about to see release. These 2010s will be great pleasers.

The Favorites

Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo will be available quite soon. These two wines, that weren't available to sample just yet, will make their first appearances at the Pearl Farmers Market in San Antonio. Jen heads out every other week to the great spot at the historic Pearl Brewery to sample Texas appellation Bending Branch wines. Right now, they have the Rose (only available at the market) and the new Texas Tannat. And soon, two more will join the assembly (probably just in time for the Rose to disappear).

Some of those barrels say Tempranillo (July 2012).

As for these two, I can conjecture that the Tempranillo is made from grapes grown by respected high plains growers  -- my barrel room visit in July suggests that. With that in mind, there is every indication that we have some great wine coming up. Also, the Cab will likely make its debut at San Antonio Cellar Classic events on Friday, Oct. 12 and Saturday, Oct. 13. That I am very much looking forward to. In fact, Bending Branch will be a featured Texas winery: great news!

Special Tannats

Vintage Texas Tannat
 First, the Texas Tannat will see two versions this year. The second run of this great wine is coming into its own right now, developing great body and balance; the fruit and oak are beginning to harmonize well. But, that is only the beginning. A Vintage Texas Tannat is on its way. This wine still needs some time in the bottle -- the oak dominates the palate -- but it shows a dark fruit flavor that will be robust and hearty, a good match for the American oak that it was aged in.

From left: Vintage Texas Tannat, Tannat Port (labels are coming), and Chloe Cuvee

The wine that has made a select appearance is the new Tannat port (it was served at the Wine and Tennis Charity dinner). This port is a home run for drinkers like me, and even port lovers like Sean. I get bogged down by the sweetness of so many ports. This port has that, but there is an even tone as the other flavors come through. The fruit has an almost earthy quality -- fresh and dried under the sun -- that takes the sweet edge off. And the sugar that comes through is a rich, deep flavor, one that I would associate with dark desserts like gingerbread or Mexican chocolate. It finishes in a way that makes Sean very happy; there is a deep caramel and pecan hint that lingers at the finish. Sean informed me that good ports should end more like this, a richer sweetness. For me, this richer sweetness made the port more approachable.


At the Pedernales wine club party, winemaker David Kuhlken again treated members to a barrel tasting. This time, we tasted an estate Tempranillo. This wine was still in need of aging (I was told at least six more months), but already, the signature earth and bite of Pedernales' Tempranillo are shining through (like the Bending Branch Tannat, it was still heavy on the oak). David explained that this wine will likely find its way into the reserve blends. These blends are a culmination of what is best about Pedernales wines, and so they are made from some of the best materials. The newer blends will have a strong connection to the earth with the addition of this wine. But what I found interesting was that it had a stronger fruit character than some of their previous Tempranillo's -- something that is evident in the wine club Hill Country Tempranillo released last week. This will likely accentuate the other red grapes likely to find their way into the blends.

Ah, Fall is here and the reds are coming out in force. I am a happy camper. I am more thrilled about what I will be able to take delight in as the year keeps going (or maybe early next year). Honestly, I really excited.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Quick Visit to Bending Branch

Sean and I decided to stop in at Bending Branch to see how the Wine & Tennis charity event went. We got more than we bargained for.

First, the charity news: the amateur players brought in $25,000 and the sold out dinner added another $10,000. We left before the auction, but that looked promising. So, Bending Branch will add quite a bit to the coffers of the Boys & Girls Club of Comfort. Congrats!

We also learned about new and upcoming releases. The Texas Tannat is a second release and is coming along well in the bottle. A Vintage Texas Tannat is on its way -- more to come later. A Tannat port made its debut last night at the dinner and is just so smooth and drinkable, even on a day like today. I tasted these two today, and I  just had to sit and savor each.

On the way are a Texas Temparnillo and Cabernet Sauvignon that will find their place among the selection at San Antonio's Pearl Farmer's Market. The cab may see a special release at the San Antonio Cellar Classic in October.

So many goodies today. More details will come.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

An Ode to TX Wine Club Members

An Ode to Wine Club Members

They deliver in rain,
sleet, snow; an intrepid bunch
that braves the elements

to gather,

to sip and savor
each sample poured
and each nibble provided.

They gather
to listen to each melody
harmonize with the beat
of the rain.

This group comes together
to share a word
and a gesture, their common bond
in a fraternity like no other.

For every winery,  there are
who put aside the world
to share their love.

It has been busy. This week saw the start of my gauntlet of fall wine club events, one that will last into October but mainly covers three key weekends in September. Sean and I will make the trek to Fredericksburg at least four times to fetch our most recent shipments. On the way, we will enjoy the great hopsitality of each winery, as well as the wine, some food, great music, and great company.

The Ode encapsulates weekend one. We put off our first foray until Sunday. We awoke to clouds and rain. The weather forecast said it would lighten by noon and would move off shortly after. We dawdled that morning, not heading out till after eleven, all in hopes that the rain would slow during the trip. The rain was our constant companion all day. Despite that, we, and many others, came to celebrate each of the wineries.

When we arrived at Becker for our first gathering -- they do a regular small scale party with cheese and crackers, live music, and private tastings -- we found a growing number in the "party room." The tasting tables were lined, not several people deep as it is sometimes, and the tables were full with guests. The room bustled with life as the rain poured down around us. The crowd still came, despite the weather. This contrasted greatly with the normal tasting room. On the weekends the Becker tasting room is packed. There are groups huddled around every spot tasting is occuring. Well, on this dreary Sunday, spots and wine stewards were plentiful, a testament to the wine club members that visited despite the weather (and despite the fact that this was the second day).

We moved down the road to the always vibrant William Chris. The Sunday Hye Society release parties bring out the members in droves; they seem to grow every season. Today was no different, despite the mud and the rain. When we arrived, we were told that they didn't have parking space. We were directed to park near the feed store and a bus would drive us back over. The bus was just about to depart when we arrived, and Mary Beth kindly shuttled the slightly soggy group back to the winery. And once there, it was evident it was crowded.

Generally, the folks at William Chris tried to make it possible for the guests to stay dry (plenty of tents, additional seating in with the tanks and barrels, etc.). To do that, these dedicated people were often the casualities of the weather: Carol spent most of her time running about taking care of everyone and getting wet, and Bill, as he lead us through our tasting, stood just on the edges of the rain (looking a bit drippy himself). This level of service -- Chris later described the winery as feeling like a large family that was always happy to have their guests -- proves why their wine club keeps growing and their members will come even in horrid weather. The tank and barrel tasting of the new Merlot and the Blanc du Bois/Vermentino (which was amazing) also helped.

The good cheer of the event was never drowned or washed away by the rain. Many members sat out under the trees in the rain, and others were willing to spend some time getting a bit wet as they waited in the continually long line for Chef Jesse Lemos' delectable barbeque. Of course, the dogs and the kids in attendance played in the rain, the perfect symbol for the day.

Now, I don't have pictures; I opted for keeping the camera at home and storing my phone (to keep it dry and not have issues in the crowds), but I do have memories. Sometimes I think, I want to join that wine club or that one. Of course, I do really want to join more (I have a list), but I just can't afford it. With that in mind, I ask myself, which one should I drop (for now? for good?) so I can accommodate another. I always end up not being able to decide. I enjoy all that these wineries offer to us -- besides the wine -- and would hate to give it up. I, and many, take pride in our memberships and do whatever it takes to be active within the club. So, I find  myself waiting till a bit more extra income shows up, and I pledge it some place else.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wine Wednesday: Dripping with Taste 2012

This past Saturday, Sean and I joined wine lovers from across Central Texas (and all of Texas for that matter) to enjoy 22 area wineries, as well as 5 microbreweries, cider, and sake at Dripping with Taste in Dripping Springs. To whet our palate, there was some great food -- even gluten free for Sean. It was a delight for the taste buds and an overall good time (especially all the great company).

Red, gold, translucent 
drops fill my glass, delight me
with each unique taste.

A few notes:

  1. I didn't really have much in the way of pictures. Sean and I got so caught up in things and in places that taking pictures wouldn't have been easy that we didn't take many pictures. 
  2. I am combining this this Wine Wednesday. I want to do a quick tasting for the cider and sake (and yes, sake is rice WINE).  I am also doing this for Wine Wednesday because I have been busy grading -- just graded 100 papers with 50 more coming on Thursday. 

The Festival

Upon arrival we faced the one troubling issue at this wonderful event: size. I love the Texas Hill Country Olive Oil Company, but it was too small. Getting in was a terrible hassle -- it took over 30 minutes. They couldn't manage the lines with the space they had. This same problem presented itself in the main tasting room. There was so much in there and so many people that it was hard to navigate.

The worst part in the tasting room was the lack of space. I felt as if I needed to keep moving to be kind to others (and many seemed to have the same idea). Because of that I couldn't take time to taste; it also made speaking with the wineries and others difficult (though, somehow, Jeff Cope at Texas Wine Lover found a space where we got a chance to catch up with him). It also posed another problem for the those serving the wine; Sabrina Houser at Dry Comal Creek had to get a second door open to aid in the air flow (it was just too hot in the crowded space).

Tastings: Cider, Sake, and Wine

Outside, a cool breeze and cooler Texas temperatures greeted us. And outside we had the most intersting expereince: Texas cider and sake. First, we had the cider.


Sean is celiac so beer is out; he has turned to wine and cider to replace it. We drink Crispin and Wood Chuck most often, but were very pleased that Texas made a cider. What was better was that it didn't taste like the other two -- offering another flavor. Argus Cidery brought with them a mild and subtle drink; I think this was due to the sparkling wine base. I found it light and pleasing on the palate. It was refreshing after the hot tasting room, but it was also subtle and soothing on my palate (especially after all the reds I had drank and the wonderful sweet Gotas de Oro (from Dotson-Cervantes).

I would relate it to the cool front that had just come through. This wine is like a late summer, early fall cool front (much like the one that made Saturday a delight). Though the weather isn't greatly changed by the front, it is a release. One can notice the difference, as much due to the deviation from the extreme as from the change. These fronts are always appreciated, but they do not wash the best parts of summer away, as the sun still kept things warm. The cider has the same subtle affect that smoothed out the weather. The cider was a cler blue sky -- much like the one overhead on Saturday. It spread out smooth and clear before us.


We moved on to the sake. We have a LONG history of sake. Anyone following the blog has noticed my preference for Japanese poetic forms. In graduate school, I studied the various forms of Japanese poetry, as well as poetic themes and language, religion, culture, etc. In the end, Sean and I dug so deep in Japanese culture that we found ourselves looking for more (as I write this, Sean is writing a blog post on Lupin the Third while watching the first series, especially the Miyazaki -- that Miyazaki -- episodes). One thing we looked into was sake. Honestly, I had problems drinking it, cold or warm. But that wasn't the case on Saturday. Both sakes brought by Texas Sake Company were more to my taste. In fact, they were more like a good dry white wine -- my favorite kind. This Texas approach warmed me to sake.

They brought two with them Saturday, the clear Whooping Crane (what most people see as sake) and Rising Star (a cloudy sake done in the Nigori style). The one I most got a chacne to drink was the Whooping Crane. First I was glad it was called Whooping Crane -- I have actually seen, from a distance, Whooping Cranes at San Antonio Bay in the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. This refined sake at first seemed like the first hints of many of the sakes I have tried in the past. There was that earthiness of the rice -- an earthiness that tastes comfortable dry and solid. However, instead of turning sweet, it mellowed into the earthiness found in most dry Texas whites. I knew I could drink this sake.

As for my review, this sake is like a field of tall, light grass. The grass is fine and thin, only noticeable because of the quantity. It is light in color, primarily green but seems to be made solid by a light brown -- as if the grass was so fine that what sun touched it started to cook it. And of course, this field is swaying as a gentle breeze ruffles the grass in ripples. This fine and light sense spreads out in the land, much like the earthiness and dryness of the sake smoothes out over the palate.


As for the wine, well, I won't give that away. But the people and I do agree. Three participants -- Pedernales Cellars, Spicewood Vineyards, and Dotson-Cervantes -- took the prize. I am long time Pedernales fan -- as the blog can attest to -- and I enjoy Gotas de Oro. As for Spicewood, I was relaly impressed with what they brought with them (on my first and only visit I didn't think too much of them, but it looks like things have changed). Though the awards don't show, there was another favorite, Becker's Claret (Sean's absolute favorite wine). When we nabbed a bottle to enjoy around 3, there were only 2 bottles left. My favorite for the day was Duchman (where we made a quick stop before heading home). I was also glad to try Wedding Oak; their Tempranillo was smooth and strong.


And then there was the food. For me, I indulged in the sweets (thanks to better bites bakery for the GF treats!). I knew what I was getting into with Ms. Choclatier (a San Antonio favorite from the Pearl Farmer's Market). I hadn't tried the truffles yet, and so took the chance to really enjoy the truly (but not overpowering) Amaretto truffle. We also visited my Comfort favorite place, High Street Chocolate. I finally tried the Aztec and was wowed. I am a big fan of their 80% dark (found only at Bending Branch), and that is saying something because, normally, I don't go much above 70; the hint of vanilla they add balances the bitter in the chocolate. With the Aztec, the complex flavors found in Mexican chocolate are more rounded and even, a subtle flavor rather than an overpowering one (making it a good pairing chocolate). And as good as the chocolate was so was the chocolate lesson. I leared that most chocolate makers (for the base chcolate) use more cocoa butter than cacao; this can make the chocolate a bit bland. At High Street, they reverse the numbers, putting cacao first. Well, the choice in ingredients and quality says it all.
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Sean, my glass, and Becker Claret hanging out.

Sean and I made sure to make the most of our time. We just spent time outside sipping wine, eating delictable chocolates, and listening to good music. We also made sure to catch up with those we know -- it was so awesome to see Russ Kane (Vintage Texas) and Jeff Cope. We met some other great winery folks -- Matt at Duchman, Sabrina Houser at Dry Comal Creek, and Gary Gilstrap from Texas Hills. We also met wonderful people who, like us, just were out for a good time. How could this not be a good day. I am so glad they are looking for a larger location for next year (Sept. 21, 2013 by the way). With a little tweaking, this will be an annual favorite on my festival list.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Grape Stomp Day Two: Chisholm Trail and Becker

Sean and I ventured out on the first of September to hunt down the last remaining grape stomps in the area. The road was clear: trekking out to Chisholm Trail and back to where everything started for us, Becker.

Chisholm Trail Winery

We started at Chisholm Trail, west of Fredericksburg. To be fair, we haven't been there in ages. On top of that, it usually hasn't been busy, or even sunny for that matter. Today was a change, as the sun was brilliant and the tasting room was hopping. And the sunshine followed us in; our greeting was friendly and welcoming. We quickly got an idea of how things were working -- $5 for a bandana to stomp and $7 to $9 for a tasting (9 is with logo glass). We got one bandana and proceeded out to the stomp.

When we found our way to the stomping, a few others were already ankle deep. We drew in to get a look at the set-up. As we did, we were rudely whistled at to alert us to what was obvious -- someone was already stomping. I am not sure who whistled, the younger man that works for Chisholm or the guest he was lounging with, but I was rather disappointed by the lack of help. For the time, we blew it off and waited. Once the pair stomping were done, we expected a bit of guidance or help. There was nothing. We were left to navigate it ourselves. This was awkward and uncomfortable, so we quickly finished and went back inside. We altered the folks inside to the dilemma -- we actually thought that no one outside worked for the winery as we were generally ignored. We were informed that one of the people did, and I made it cleared that we were never greeted or helped. Unfortunately, there was no follow-up. I can say, though, that it was better for other. When we left, we walked by the stomp, and things were more active. I also didn't see the guy from earlier, but it did seem like the group of stompers was getting help.

Stomping mainly store bought grapes @ Chisholm Trail

Inside, our friendly stewardess guided us through our tasting. She told us what she liked and her thoughts of the wine, and she engaged us, asking for ours. The tasting setting at the bar was pleasant enough, but I did remember why I don't come often. I'm a dry wine drinker, and the dry wines at Chisholm accentuate flavors and sensations I am nor particularly fond off -- there were tangy and tart or overly herbaceous. The better flavors appeared in the more Texas driven wines (some of the grapes were not Texas grown, but I couldn't find out which). The Lone Wolf -- a Black Spanish based wine -- and the Belle Star -- made from Blanc du Bois -- are both solid, clean wines. These were my favorites. I'll admit, I avoided the sweets, but they may be worth a second look. Sean had the port, which was a nicely balanced sweetness and depth. This may be a sign that the sweet wines, which are not my favorite -- may be a strength here. To each his own.

Becker  Vineyards

After our less than great experience, we headed off to Becker. The stomp was buzzing, and they just couldn't keep enough people around to deal with the crowd. We did get some direction, but were left to much of it on our own; I guess we seemed experienced (and we are as this was our third Becker stomp). We got help getting our shirt up to dry, which was very helpful with all the shirts blowing in the wind. Sean did have a bad experience after (it ended up an unusually troubled day). As we tried to clean up, people kept dashing in and stealing the hose before we could get a chance. This happened twice. Once we spoke up though, those that did it apologized and were kind enough to let us our turn.

Stomping in a half barrel at Becker Vineyards

Inside, we decide to do yet another Becker tasting. Due to the state of things -- it was really busy -- they had set-up two additional bars in the tank room. We found a friendly and familiar face in Chris who tends to do our tastings at wine club events. We caught up with her and shared some great stories -- she missed out on the roses at Rambling Rose, so we filled her in. I also got to meet Katie Jane. She oversees much of the social media and similar media and promotion. It was nice to finally meet her, but it was also gratifying when she asked me if I was the same person that did the write-ups on Bending Branch (I couldn't help but  beam when she asked). The tasting was leisurely and comfortable, just what we wanted. After a rough start, our end was just what we were hoping for.

The end result at Becker: Sean's (foot & sandal pictured) and my feet

We would have delayed and visited more, but we had plans. Vinously Speaking was doing a wonderful cheese and wine pairing tasting, and we just had to go. So, after our short visit, we rushed backed to San Antonio for a bite to eat and more wine with new and old friends. We enjoyed some great cheeses from Costco and some great wine from all over the world. It capped our day. Now, we'll just wait till next year, when I hope to see some familiar faces joining us in the cool gunk.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Bending Branch Charity Pro-Am

For those who are in or will be visiting South Central Texas next weekend, there is a great event just waiting for you to attend: Wine and Tennis Doubles Pro-Am at Bending Branch.

Next Friday and Saturday (Sept. 14 and 15), Bending Branch Winery in Comfort will be hosting a tennis event. This charity fundraiser will go to support the Boys and Girls Club of Comfort. There will be lots of great things going on. First, the kids from the Boys and Girls club will get some great tennis lessons. For those just coming to watch, there will be doubles tennis featuring amateurs paired with professional tennis players. And for those not interesting in tennis, there will be live music and great wine.

The low down is simple. For $25, guests will get to enjoy two days worth of doubles tennis. They will also get a complimentary beverage of their choice -- including the great wine at Bending Branch. And all that money is going to charity.

If you are not a tennis buff, you can still stop by the winery and enjoy a tasting, glass, or bottle at the normal fee, and you can enjoy the live jazz music on Saturday for free.

What's not to love about this? So despite my very busy schedule next weekend, I still hope to come by for a bit and cheer on Bending Branch. And as Brenda Young told me back in July when I visited, they hope to make this a regular event, so if you miss this year, make plans to come by next September.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wine Wednesday: Hilmy Cellars' Persephone

I am generally a red drinker; I love the flavors conjured by reds, like the earth, the berries, and so on. I also like the tannins and similar elements. To be honest, I generally turn to a red. However, in the past year I have come to really appreciate whites, though I drink few. And those I do drink, and drink again, are usually pretty amazing. One such wine is Hilmy Cellars' Persephone (and to be honest, all their whites are wonderful). This white blend of grapes from the Texas high plains is a melody that moves smoothly through its expereince.


This is a subtle and fine wine; a great representation of a complex and refreshing white. The nose is a good tell for the wine. The aroma is light yet poignant. A light citrus smell, like pineapples, comes through. To be honest, I am quite fond of these citrus flavors, especially in wine. Lemon and lime can be so overpowering -- but great in ades. Orange is a hard flavor to balance in wine and works well in sweets. But when it comes to dry whites, pineapple and its similar flavors are the ones that make for a beautiful experience. The pineapple scent, though, is paired well with a buttery scent that makes me think of barrel aging. Overall, it is a smooth movement into a balance of these scents.

The same goes for the flavor. The flavor is light -- even when well chilled -- and is a fluid harmony. At first, the greater flavors are only hints, flirting at the taste buds. But, the flavor builds. The pineapple shines through and is softened by the butter, which is less pronounced here. The fruit flavors take center stage as the pineapple mingles with pear and a light, delicate hint of peach. As the fruit comes out, the flavor enhances to a summit. A crisp acid sense sets in -- lightening and edging off any possible sweetness. At this point, the flavors slip away before there is time to notice.

Sensory Experiences

This wine brought so much to mind. I was swept up into so many different concepts. The visual always quickly comes to me, but I also had a greater sense of smell and feel. And this time, I thought of music; however, I was also inspired by a conversation I had Saturday at Vinously Speaking too. So, I decided to do a few quick descriptions. In the end, the movement of the wine stood out, so most of my renderings focus on that quality.


I was I torn here. At first, I saw and sensed a rain storm. But, I realized that the underlying element here was the movement of flavor, so a Japanese wall scroll came to mind.

First, the wine is quick and surprising; this surprise is refreshing and makes the drinker want another sip, or another glass. A quick rain storm is so like that. There are those first few heavy drops, signalling something good. Then the clouds open up and let the rain come down as a full out shower. And just as soon as the rain soaks in, it suddenly goes away. This is the wine. But the wine is also bright; the sun that shines through the rain clouds, despite the rain, is just the same.

The wine is also fluid and smooth as it moves from lighter flavors to strong ones and then into calm. I can't see a particular scroll -- there are so many anyway -- but I see the fluid brushstrokes of water moving, especially a light, washed out blue that is accentuated by startling white waves. But the fluidity is also like birds. In Japanese scrolls, the birds are often a few smooth simple lines. Perched or in flight, these birds are simple touches of smoothness; I see pale birds in colors like green. These birds, their trees, and such are punctuated by bold black strokes that add depth to the smoothness and movement. The wine is smooth and fluid, but it has its bold moments too.

Touch and Smell

This wine is also like the Christmas season. I have always enjoyed the bracing chill of winter; sometimes I think I need to go back and live in the mountains. When it gets cold here, I relish in it. So for me, the nip in the air around Christmas is invigorating. The wine is similar in its sense of refreshment and invigoratation with its light, airy flavors.

But Christmas is a time that longs for spring and summer. In its early days, it incorproated Saturnalia and similar pagan holidays as people celebrated the winter solsitce and the beginning of longer days. Scents of these times, citrus especially, is so common, as they are often equated to the warmth and sun. Pineapple on ham, fruit cake, fruit cookies empahsize that fruit. And of course, the smell of buttery sugar cookies baking always mingle with that. That sense is this wine.


What struck me most here was the movement in this wine. The wine feels so operatic as it starts quiet, soft, only hinting at the power yet to come. And then, the power is there, ringing loud and clear, a brillance of sound. Finally, without warning, it slips away, only a memory. This movement is my experience of this wine.
From Collider

And I wish I could pinpoint a specific opera for this, but I know few operas, symphonies, sonatas, and the like so intimately. So I turn to what I know best. I see this as the opening movements of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." Freddie Mercury (Happy 66th birthday by the way!) has a soft, lilting voice that beckons us in. Then, suddenly, Brian May's guitar charges in with Roger Taylor's drums. The beating bassline of John Deacon quickly falls in line with Freddie's powerful voice, burtsing at the seams. And then, just as quickly as they appeared, it all falls away.

The wine at Hilmy has such exciting complexities, red or white. Their whites delve into ideas and sensations that mingle nd harmonize. The reds are bright and bold, striking with powerful strokes. All have a sense of movement and feel that is so interesting. And in the case of Persephone, the movement draws in the drinker and beckons. As I said earlier, one sip must have another. A glass beckons for a second. And despite the young age of this winery, each bottle I buy and drink moves into the next.