A Festivus for the Rest of Us!

Take a break from your hectic work week and holiday shopping with a special mid-week Festivus Flight this Wednesday at TasteVin.

Festivus, a holiday created on the Season 9 episode of Seinfeld named "The Strike", which first aired on December 18, 1997. Since then, many people have been inspired by this zany, offbeat Seinfeld holiday and now celebrate Festivus as any other holiday.

A Festivus flight includes a Sparkling, White and Red ! The bubbly and white are from famed importer Kermit Lynch, one of the pioneers of European imports and known for finding family owned, smaller production, high quality wines.  The red is from Tablas Creek in Paso Robles, CA, a pioneer of California’s Rhone movement.

MORE ABOUT THE WINE

Bubbly: NV Sommariva, Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Superiore Brut, DOCG, Veneto, Italy

Grape Variety: Glera.  Imported by Kermit Lynch.

The Sommariva family has been involved with wine in Veneto for several generations.  In the 1970s Caterino Sommariva pinpointed the best slopes for vines and began purchasing hillside vineyards with his wife Urbana.  It wasn’t until the late 1980s that the hills of  Conegliano and Valdobbiadene began to gain recognition.

Prosecco is so popular at the moment and the Sommariva Prosecco is at the high end of the quality spectrum.  DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) is the highest quality level for wines in Italy.

Although Prosecco can often be light in body and a touch off-dry (meaning a touch slightly sweet), this Prosecco is a bit richer in body and dry (meaning without any sweetness on the finish).  It’s a great way to start the evening with appetizers and cheese.  I tasted a line-up of six Kermit Lynch sparkling selections and this was one of two that stood out to me.  It was also the best price of the six.

White: 2015 Kuentz Bas, Riesling, Alsace, France

Grape variety: Riesling.  Imported by Kermit Lynch.

Maison Kuentz-Bas was first established by the Kuentz family in 1795.  Meticulous attention to detail is the defining characteristic of both the viticulture and the vinification, following organic and biodynamic approaches to vineyard work.

Riesling is such a great wine to pair with food, especially anything with a bit of spice.  We recently had a German Riesling for our Thanksgiving Tasting and here we have an Alsatian Riesling.  Although Alsatian Rieslings can have slightly more body and alcohol than their German counterparts, the Kuentz Bas is light, crisp and bone-dry (meaning not sweet at all).  It has beautiful fruit flavors, but finishes dry.

92 points Wine Enthusiast: “A floral freshness hovers above the lemony notes on the nose. It is those concentrated, clean but ripe and pure lemon notes that totally inform the slender and dry palate. This is light but has real impact. Its fruity core reveals some fresh apple notes on the long, clean and refreshing finish. Drink now through 2025 at least.”

Red: 2014 Tablas Creek, Côte de Tablas, Paso Robles, CA

Grape varieties: 44% Grenache, 36% Syrah, 12% Counoise and 8% Mourvèdre.

 

Founded in 1989, Tablas Creek is the culmination of a friendship between two of the international wine community’s leading families dating back to 1967: the Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel and the Haas family of Vineyard Brands.  After a four year seach, the partners chose Paso Robles, California, for its many similarities to the Southern Rhone, and began the length process of importing vine cuttings, building a grapevine nursery, and creating an estate vineyard from scratch.

Included below are wine industry critic’s assessments of the wine when it was released in 2016.  Today, the Côte de Tablas is tasting even better with an additional year of aging.  All the flavors have come together seamlessly and the “harmonious tannins” mentioned below are even smoother to complement the long complex finish.

92 points Wine Enthusiast: “Fresh-pressed boysenberry and olallie-berry aromas are lifted by tons of inviting violet florality, garrigue-like potpourri and oak forest underbrush on the nose of this blend of 44% Grenache, 36% Syrah, 12% Counoise and 8% Mourvèdre. Mulberry and black-plum flavors are fruit-forward, enhanced by toasted vanilla bean. A lavender lift carries deep into the finish.”’

92 points Vinous / Antonio Galloni: “Bright ruby mineral-accented red fruit liqueur scents are complemented by suggestions of white pepper and candied flowers. Fleshy, seamless and gently sweet on the palate, offering juicy cherry and raspberry flavors underscored by a smoky mineral quality. Shows excellent clarity and spicy lift on the finish, which is given shape by smooth, harmonious tannins. The Grenache component is really showing itself right now. (Josh Raynolds, Sept 2016)”