Slurping Around with P.D.W. July 2012
Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 7:26AM
Rick Robbins, M.D.

Hi all: Apologies for being so late – as if anyone of you even noticed. Blame it on a wild June and July working hard on two continents, in two houses and with two families. Don’t ask.

White Wines

2010 14 Hands white blend, Washington State $9. grapes: Chardonnay, Piniot Gris, Roussanne. Heaven only knows what inspired the winemaker to invent this blend, I don’t. The nose has tropical fruit and pear and was slightly dirty for a few minutes before cleaning up. The palate was rich, clean, tasty and viscous with lots of citrus flavors and pear as well. It is on the borderline of tasting sweet, and for me it could have used a bit more acid. I would accordingly drink it quite cold – right out of the cooler.

2010 Pratsch Gruner Veltliner, Austria, $15. Gone are the bad old days of spiking Austrian wine with antifreeze. GV is the most common Austrian wine export and seems not to be grown elsewhere. The nose and palate almost have gooseberry with some citrus and sharp acidity. It is clean and viscous with good length, as it should be at this price. Great summer poolside wine, nice and cool.

2011 Elk Cove Pinot Gris, Oregon $14. Each year this one rises to the top, and the new vintage is no exception. This is really first rate wine, and that is high praise coming from a Californian. The nose has pear and lemon; the palate has rich pear and lemon and stone fruit too. It is viscous, and has very good acid balance and length. Just think of it with grilled salmon.

2009 MacMurray Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, CA $13. Interesting style: the nose has very little oak, and is mostly quince/pear fruit. While the palate is rich and viscous, it is not buttery or oaky at all. Acidity is medium, the flavors are of baked apple and pear.

Red wines

2010 Columbia Crest red blend, Washington State “Horse Heaven Hills” $10. Is Horse Heaven Hills a good thing or a bad thing? Yes. It has mostly (83%) Merlot with splashes of Cabernet and Syrah. This stuff is easy to drink. And it does not appear to suffer from the implied equine cohabitation. It has lots of dill (American oak) on the nose with nice dark fruit to balance, and the palate is similar, while being soft, integrated and rich. It is not tannic or over-extracted. It almost tastes sweet due to ripe fruit and sweet oak.

NV Bookwalter red wine, Columbia Valley, Washington State $10. Dunno exactly what’s in this blend, but It too has Merlot, Cabernet and Syrah. FYI, “NV” means non-vintage which in turn means a blend across at least two growing years. The nose has toasty oak, some red fruits and a slight gamey character. The palate is ripe and rich with lots of red fruit, slight stemminess, some toasty oak, soft tannins, and good acid and length.

2009 Eos Estates red blend “French Connection”, Paso Robles CA $10. This is a classical Bordeaux blend: Merlot/Cabernet/Petite Verdot/Malbec/Cabernet Franc. It has a clean, forward red and dark cherry nose. The palate is lush with red/dark cherrysoft tannin, good acid, obvious but not too much vanilla oak, and while ripe and hinting at a trace of sweetness, very tasty.

2009 Yorkville Merlot, Mendocino, CA $12. this is classic merlot with a nose and palate of forward red and dark cherry fruit, clear green pepper notes (not too much) with some spice and oak (not too much). It has a nice richness and mouth-feel.

2007 Bradford Mountain Zinfandel, Dry Creek, CA $13. I am always wary of older zinfandels, as many do not age well (sound familiar?). The nose and palate are surprisingly fresh and do not appear too aged. It is in a lighter style with straightforward red berry flavors and nothing bad lurking in the background.

Article originally appeared on SOUTHWEST JOURNAL of PULMONARY & CRITICAL CARE (
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