Thursday, January 1, 2009

Jeudi Soir Janvier 1st ,2009 Chez Nous Avec Fromages, Deux Vins Francais Mousseux , Le CA. TKC 1986 Zinfandel Et Jumbalaya Et Split-Pea

That should be Jambalaya not Jumbalaya in the headline! Yikes !! It sure was good, too...

It's been quite the evening here at our home in northern, Virginia. One of our oldest friends , Barry came over bringing with him two dogs, six cheeses from Balducci's, a layered cream chocolate cake and two hand-made ice creams : pistachio and key-lime.

We have our own dog and she did not get along very well with one of the other two dogs. That was a bit trying the whole evening. We managed though it was quite trying at times. It was fun to watch everything unfold as the one dog that was difficult had to sit on Barry's lap a lot of the time and as Barry tried to eat some of these excellent cheeses he often had to stretch his hand out far away and out of the reach of the small dog sitting on his lap. I was asked to take some pictures of all of this and was happy to oblige with my new Canon camera.

I brought to the table two French bubblies : the light rose-pink-colored Bugey Cerdon ( $22.99, methode ancestrale, VDQS, Bernard Rondeau, vigneron au Hameau de Cornelle, 01640 Boyeaux-Saint-Jerome, France =33 ( 0 ) 4 74 37 12 34 ) that is a bit fruity and like a soda cranberry/cherry/strawberry flavor that grows on you - and the Loire Valley cremant CRAY ( elabore par SORET, pour Boutinot Af37400 methode traditionelle ) 2002 ( $14.99 ) which is quite robust, intense, aged and flavorful. They were great contrasts and both enjoyed. Both cut through the stronger flavors of the six cheeses ( cheddar, goat's cheese, Saint Andre, blue and more ).

My wife got up this first day of the year 2009 and made in her new crock pot a wonderfully aromatic jambalaya , corn bread muffins and a split-pea cold green salad. This was a great New Year's day meal - traditional and tasty : spicy but not too spicy and not too heavy, either.

I served in honor of our daughter's birthday a 1986 TKC ( Tierre Karina Courtney BW-CA 5071 , Plymouth, CA. )Shenandoah Valley, CA. Zinfandel, 14% alcohol. Barry noticed the bottle on our table immediately and commented on it right away. I appreciated that he noticed and said something so quickly. When I opened and poured it he also immediately commented first on the bouquet and then on the taste that was still quite fruity and the color still quite red though now certainly a bit brick-red.

This TKC 1986 really tasted great with the Jambalaya. It's medium-to-light-bodied and yet has all the flavor needed to hold it's own against the spices and heat of the crock-pot Jambalaya. It did not suffer at all and also let one breathe between bites with a sip of this 22 year-old red California Zinfandel which definitely needed the food to remove the edges that age has given it.

There's an old-style to it, a bit earthy and musty and at times volatile or almost so : right at the edges, ready to show volatility and yet with the food it worked fabulously. Funny, too : it got a bit richer and thicker and sweeter ( less brier and weed and rustic earth ) : more like sunshine warming up the earth a bit more and the wine at the same time. It was two hours plus later easier on the palate and more enjoyable all by itself with this extra breathing time. We still have some bottles and I think it can age another ten years. It will be a grand experience to put this to the test over the next several years.

In today's world and more recent perceptions/opinions of wine it would be thought that the wine was over it's prime. It may be, I don't have enough experience to make this final pronouncement. But from what I do know for certain now with about thirsty years of tasting experience is that one bottle does not define exactly all the others as they all age somewhat differently. The next bottle may be a whole lot more open and bright and fresh. This bottle was not so fresh-tasting ; it did show in part it's age, but it wore that age - carried it off pretty well.

So, I don't want to rush to conclusions. I don't think that that is wise. I prefer to reserve judgement and see better with the next bottle. With this bottle it definitely showed signs of tasting like a European wine from Italy or southern France, perhaps northern Spain. It tastes like a food wine or a wine that was made to accompany a meal and not be drunk all by itself. I like this type of wine. I also feel as if the wine was made with balance of all the components in mind. I do not feel like the winemaker/owner was producing a wine to satisfy the modern fickle palates. I like that as well, that integrity : let the wine be what it will and let those that like and appreciate it's style drink it for itself.

I met Louis Martini years ago ( in the mid 90's ) when I worked for Forman Brothers wholesalers and I asked him point-blank : " How long can you age a Zinfandel and count on it still being good? " He responded that a good zinfandel could easily last twenty years or more.

So, here now at 2:06 AM on January 2nd, 2009 I wish everyone Happy New Year and I promise to write more about this TKC 1986 Zinfandel when we open the second bottle. In the meantime I will add a further not later as I try some a day-old with dinner later tonight , Friday.

Cheers, and as I told our friend Barry this was a great first day 2009 !  TONY

No comments: