Last night we had a few people over, which gave us an opportunity to open more wine than we would normally be able to drink. We tried to bottles from a project called Long Shadows out of Washington State and a Chardonnay from a winery called Tandem and a Late disgorged Sparkler from Schramsberg. First the Sparkler (1996 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs late disgorged) , Late disgorged is a sparkling wine that is aged longer than normal before getting it's cork. This typically produces a richer, creamy and nutty sparkling wine. This one is no exception. You can always tell how long that mushroom style cork has been in the bottle, by how straight the portion of the cork that comes out of the neck of the bottle remains. The straighter it remains the longer that cork has been in the bottle. The reason I bring this up is that even the sparkler we had last night was vintage 1996 the cork was still quiet flared, because it had only recently been put in the bottle. So much for that, if you ever have an opportunity to try an older vintage Sparkling wine give it a shot. They are a treat.
The Tandem Chardonnay was a nice oaky chardonnay from a winery that specializes in Single vineyard wine ( Site specific, grapes all coming from a small block) This particular one is from the Ritchie vineyard. This was a wine that I thought paired well with the burgers we served. It was rich and creamy with buttery notes from the oak aging.
Finally the real treat Long Shadows, we had two of the half a dozen or so wines they produce. Both were blends, both Bordeaux blends plus syrah Chester-Kidder 2004 (Allen Shoup & Giles Nicault) and Pirouette 2005 (Phillipe Melka & Agustin Huneeus). First the Piroutte a Cabernet dominant blend This was a big wine with loads of red fruit; raspberry and strawberry. Still slightly tannic, but this should mellow with a little more age. This wine is good on its own or with food. Finally the Chester-Kidder, this wine was good out of the gate. It definitely benefited from the extra year of age. It was mellow and rich with red and black fruit: red & black raspberry and hints of plum. This was the better of the two reds, but not by much. Just a brief note on Long Shadows. This is project started by Allen Shoup several years ago and involves top winemakers from all over the world, who come to Washington to collaborate with Shoup to make wine with his fruit in the style they are noted for. For those interested the web site http://www.longshadows.com/ has more information about these particular wines and the others they produce.
These were all great wines and went well with the onion tarts, burgers, mac & cheese and pasta salad we served. Would they have been better with a more sophisticated meal? Perhaps, but they worked very well with this combination. One should not be afraid to experiment with pairings. They can be magical, but if you are having food and wine you like, you really cannot go to far off of the mark.