Monday, April 23, 2007

Selected Tasting Notes, 4/22/07

I'm in the middle of completing a transaction for some Bi-Rite creamery Balsamic Strawberry Ice Cream when the call comes.

Adam: Jason, we're going to go large at Hog Island today.
Jason: *deep breath* Alright. Let's do it.

So much for my well-intentioned sleepy Sunday. Not going to be lazily reading books at the park, or doing my required cardio. Nope. Instead, I'm going to look directly into Satan's lard-encrusted maw. Yay!

Later, when I meet Adam at the Ferry Plaza, he looks angrily at the box I have in tow - apparently I had been there long enough to blow a chunk of my paycheck at the Wine Merchant.

Adam: Now how can I justify buying a bunch of wine if it's not part of a movement? I'm already having buyer's remorse and I haven't got to buy anything yet.
Jason: It's all part of my plan to go hopelessly broke buying wine so I can claim it on my tax return.
Adam : That's not going to work.

We take two seats at the bar at Hog Island and Adam begins to detail how it's a pretty narrow selection for a supposed Oyster Specialist. He's not a native, but he's become a Bay Arean. Why, Zuni Cafe has two dozen different oysters! Hog Island offers FIVE! Zuni, in a word, is badass.

2004 Didier Dageneau "Silex", Pouilly-Fume, Loire Valley, France

This wine was appropriate. I kept wanting to have some sort of detuned hypnotic cosmo-epiphany but the wine was just perfectly matched to the oysters. Just kept the glasses full, and portioned some out to the bar manager with the covetous eyes. He needs to know...for career research...of course. I even tried pouring it onto a HI Sweetwater in lieu of lemon or mignonette. For future reference, not necessary at all. The alcohol creates a weird diesel-y taste. Better to alternate between oyster and wine. Minerals, a lick of lemonade (the french kind, not ours) and a fair amount of heft in terms of palate weight. I don't think I would pay retail for this wine, for what it's worth. I could be just as happy with a Brocard Chablis or a lesser Pouilly-Fuisse. 36 oysters later, no sign of tainted seafood (despite an unsettling interlude where all of the staff were smelling a plate of oysters for freshness followed by a round of shrugs), and a glass of Silex left in the bottle as thanks for taking the corkage off my tab. Still no sign of the bottom of the abyss, so Adam and I resolve to move more briskly.

Adam: I want to buy a white Burgundy, and maybe a mid-weight red, but stronger than a Burgundy.
Jason to FPWM employee: Please sell my friend a bottle of Chablis and a Northern Rhone.
FPWM: *blinks* Ok.

SETTING: In Cole Valley. Outside, med-students and hippies with a bad sense of direction mill around enjoying the sun and enjoying being seen. Adam and I enter Say Cheese, a small local foodie shop where they know us as the guys with four days beard growth and a lack of dignity.

Jason (to Mike): Mike, I want to purchase foodstuffs that are disgustingly tasty, bad for you, or soon to be outlawed.
(there are some laughs from other customers)
Adam: I really want to get...
Jason: The stinkiest washed-rind cheese they have?
Adam: Yeah.
Jason: I know, Adam. I know you do.

2004 Hope and Grace Pinot Noir, "Sleepy Hollow Vineyard", Santa Lucia Highlands, California

Bought this on recommendation. It was hot and tasted like strawberry jam. Even when I drank after combining the washed rind cheese and the duck liver mousse, it was still hot and simple. If that doesn't work, I don't know what could. It cost me $36. Wouldn't buy this again. I kept drinking, but each sip was followed by dragon-breath. That hot, evaporating sensation. I like to think that the reason my insides hurt today is this wine. Hope and Grace and Kidney Failure.

2004 Moshin Family Vineyards Pinot Noir, Molinari Vineyard, Sonoma Valley, California

This was light, well-balanced and delicious. Beautiful raspberry and cherry fruit, bright, tangy acidity, and silky, soft tannins. Great find and a great value - about $25. At one point, Adam sprang to his feet, snatched the bottle and drank half the contents in one guzzle before bellowing. Which left him completely vulnerable to a strike to the solar plexus. You can't let a man get too high off his own power. He needs to be tempered. You let Adam get too many crazy juices in his head and he's prone to do something stupid, like kidnapping. I like to think this is how wine critics operated back in the Dark Ages. I give this wine four stars out of five. It paired nicely with mixed olives, truffle mousse, Red Hawk cheese and rilletes du perigord. Not so good with the hot coppa. I intend to purchase this for the store.

2004 Chablis (producer not remembered), 1er Cru "Vaillons"

I was pretty out of my head by this point. Everyone else seemed to agree this was a very pretty wine, but I just remembered that it was very refined, liquid stone and light fruits. Its delicacy was completely ignored. It stirred in me a desire to eat more oysters, but some pre-conscious brainstem instinct warned me to quit while I was ahead. I spent the next two hours talking to Johnson about life (he's a skilled conversationalist) and then packed up and went home.

This morning I awoke in great pain. All in the name of career research. I suffer so that you might drink well.

Your humble servant,

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